The NFL Game Breakdown will be a weekly analysis of every game on the NFL schedule in extreme detail. From targets to game flow and other matchup variables, this article will be your one-stop-shop for everything you could ever need to prepare for DraftKings NFL contests.
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PAGE 2: NO @ PHI, SEA @ CIN, STL @ GB, WAS @ ATL, ARI @ DET
Saints @ Eagles
Point Total: 42
Spread: -5 Eagles
The Saints will be going up against a Philly D who will be at home and has yet to allow a QB to throw for more than 300 yards or pass for more than 2 TDs in a game. Still, with the Saints a 5 point underdog I’d look at QB Drew Brees as a tournament play who might be forced into throwing up to 50 times just to stay close. There’s always a lot of fantasy potential when a game total is this high and one team is a big dog so I’d consider Brees as he’s still affordable enough at $7200.
At RB here is how the snap counts and output looked in week 4 with all three Saints RBs healthy:
While CJ Spiller led the Saints with over 20 fantasy points last week he scored almost all of them on one big play in OT (70+ yard passing TD). Mark Ingram on the other hand received most of the volume, just missed a TD and was a huge factor in the passing game once again. I love Ingram’s usage so far this year but he does have a tough matchup against Philly who hasn’t allowed a single TD to RBs on the season. Meanwhile the Eagles have allowed scat backs like Chris Thompson and Bilal Powell last week to roam freely against them in the pass game of late. As much as I like the volume Ingram is getting his price ($6200) is pretty high against a team who defends the run so well. I’d much rather leave him on the bench week 5 and take my chances with CJ Spiller at only $3800 who is well suited as a play in tournaments.
As for the Saints WRs no one on this team has received more than 8 targets in a game this season and the Saints have also yet to have a 100 yard receiving game. While I’m avoiding Brandin Cooks ($5900) one player that might be worth a cheap gamble this week is WR Willie Snead. Snead has now been targeted no less than 6 times the past three games and at $3000 needs only a few catches to pay off. He played the second most snaps of any Saint WR week 4 (66%) and is a great value play.
After a slow start Sam Bradford has now thrown 4 TDs in his last two games vs. zero INTs. He’ll be going against a Saints pass D who has allowed two 300 yard passing games, 7 TDs and recorded zero INTs on the year. While the Saints are getting healthier in the secondary I still love this matchup for Bradford who I expect will get better as the season rolls on. At $6000 he’s got nice upside for tournaments.
The Eagles receiving targets on the year are as follows:
I believe there is some positive fantasy games coming for Jordan Matthews in the future. Matthews still leads the Eagles in targeting (by a ton) and has been unlucky not to find the end zone on multiple occasions. Outside of the Cards week 1 the Saints have yet to face a decent passing attack and I am of the opinion that Philly’s spread offense could give the Saints (who are still banged up on defense) some problems. I love Matthews as an under-looked tournament play week 5… Zach Ertz finally saw small bump in usage last week as he out-snapped Brent Celek 38 to 19. With the Saints allowing 83 yards receiving per game to the TE thus far in 2015 don’t be afraid to look to Ertz as a huge value play this week at only $2900.
In games where all three Philly RBs have been healthy none of their RBs have put up more than 20 points in a game for fantasy. While you could continue to gamble on Demarco Murray “breaking out” the only real play to consider for me is Darren Sproles at $4200. Sproles keep getting targets in the pass game (5.75 per game) and through 4 games has played on over 36% of all snaps. Consider him as a value play against his old team.
Gameflow: Philly’s defense is a little banged up but still talented enough that it should be able to limit the Saints who have struggled on offense to start the year. More importantly I think Philly’s offense has looked better in recent weeks and they could easily have a semi explosion week 4 at home against a very vulnerable Saints unit. I think Philly takes this one and puts up some points while doing so.
Eagles 31 Saints 21
– Sam Bradford $6000
– Willie Snead $3000
– Jordan Matthews $6400
– Zach Ertz $2900
– Darren Sproles $4200
– CJ Spiller $3800
Seahawks @ Bengals
Point Total: 43.5
Spread: -3 Bengals
Russell Wilson has been sacked 4.5 times per game so far in 2015, the second most in the league. While this is bad for the Hawks pass game it does mean Wilson has had to use his feet more, and through four games Wilson has now attempted no fewer than 6 rushes. While the matchup is tough Cincy has allowed back to back 300 yard passing games and the scrambling ability of Wilson could negate their pass rush. Think about using Wilson as a boom or bust play in tournaments… he should be wildly under owned this weekend.
AT RB for the Seahawks Marshawn Lynch is currently questionable for week 5 and one of his backups, Fred Jackson, is also out with an ankle sprain. If both miss RB Thomas Rawls would be an every down back and a near must play considering his price is still only $3800. Jamaal Charles racked up 145 total yards vs the Bengals in week 4 and Rawls could see insane usage given the problems with the Hawks pass protection right now. Watch the news on Lynch and make sure you fire up Rawls this week if he misses the game.
At receiver for the Hawks rookie Tyler Lockett is starting to see an uptick in usage and actually saw the most targets of anyone on the field for Seattle week 5. At $3400 pairing Lockett with Seattle’s defense for his return abilities is still a decent play as the Hawks D can put up points against anyone. He’s risky but Lockett has upside against a Bengals pass D who has been burnt by WRs in consecutive games.
Andy Dalton has been one of the hottest QBs to start the year and has now put up over 20 fantasy points in each of his first 4 games. Still, this is not the week to keep using the Red Rocket as the Seahawks defense has been murder to play against for opposing QBs and only allowed 3 passing TDs to be scored against them through 3 games. Keep Dalton on the sideline for week 5.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, the Seahawks defense is also going to make playing any of their WRs really tough for fantasy purposes as well. Through 4 games the Hawks have only allowed one WR to find the end zone and only Randall Cobb has exceeded the 100 yard mark against them. I’m completely fine leaving AJ Green and Marvin Jones out of my plans this week and looking to other games for more upside… At TE Tyler Eifert bounced back with 3 rec. 70 yards last week and I expect him to be used more against the Hawks who have been known to give up decent games to the TE in the past. A $4600 Eifert is the one player in this passing game I’d consider albeit only as a very contrarian tournament play. He has potential to see a ton of targets.
Here’s the snap count and RB output for the Bengals from week 4;
Even though Jeremy Hill got back on the scoresheet last week with three TDs using him this week is asking for trouble. The Hawks have arguably the best run defense in the league at the moment and Hill’s price is still very high at $6100… I’m guessing Gio Bernard might see a lot of work in this game as the Bengals likely try to get him out in space rather than challenge the D-line of the Hawks straight on with Hill. Gio is much cheaper at $4700 so he’s affordable to take a chance on, but just be aware that the Seahawks have yet to surrender a TD to the RB position in 2015, so the upside is limited.
Gameflow: Many people will probably side with the Bengals in this game but I think the Seahawks are going to rise up and end Cincy’s unbeaten streak. Even with their abundance of weapons I’m just not sure if the Bengals can move the ball as they have been all year vs. the Hawks… and while he’s been great to start the season Andy Dalton has struggled against tough D’s in the past. I see Russell Wilson doing just enough to stake the Hawks to a win and a 3-2 record.
Seahawks 24 Bengals 20
– Thomas Rawls $3800 (if no Lynch)
– Tyler Lockett $3400
– Russell Wilson $6900
– Tyler Eifert $4600
– Seattle D $4000 (pair with Lockett where possible)
Rams @ Packers
Point Total: 46
Spread: -9 Packers
The Rams defense has limited opposing QBs to three passing TDs on the season and is also second in sacks with 17 (but they did lose LB Alec Ogletree last week). As much as I love targeting Aaron Rodgers at home the Rams have been extremely tough on opposing QBs for fantasy. While I’d almost never tell you to completely fade Arod I am saying to keep him to tournaments only this week if using him, the Rams D is dangerous with or without their star player.
Here’s the Packers targeting from week 4 with no Davante Adams in the lineup:
With Adams out and Randall Cobb still nursing a sore shoulder James Jones has morphed into the de facto #1B WR for the Packers and is playing at an extremely high level. While the Rams haven’t given up many TDs to WRs (1) they have given up a lot of yards and at $5700 Jones is still great value since he gets to play with Aaron Rodgers every week. Expect Jones to see lots of quick screens and shorter targets as the Packers try to eliminate the pass rush. He’s my top choice amoung all GB WRs this week… You could also give some consideration to Ty Montgomery as well. He’s been involved in the shorter passing game more and is only $3400. With Cobb still semi-hurting I won’t be shocked if he sees a few targets and some designed plays, he’s a decent tournament gamble.
The best position to target this week for the Packers offense is likely RB as the Rams defense has given up 4.4 ypc and a TD every game to the RB position. Eddie Lacy’s price has come down (again) to $6700 and I am assuming that the Packers will make him a huge part of their game plan this week in an effort to counteract the Rams pass rush. I was disappointed by Lacy last week but am going all in on him this weekend. He should be the difference in this game and a focal point on offense for Green Bay.
RB Todd Gurley played on 36 snaps week 4, compared to just 2 for counterpart Tre Mason, and produced 146 yards rushing on 19 carries, good for a gaudy 7.7 ypc… all against a very strong Zona run D. With Gurley still only being priced at a meager $4300 his talent alone makes him a virtual must play. I expect the Rams to not only feed Gurley the ball early and often but to also use him in the pass game to counteract the strong Packers rush D who have only allowed 3.1 ypc to RBs in the past three games. Gurley talent and price makes him a highly attractive play.
Here’s the Rams WR targeting for the past 4 weeks:
As you can see the targeting has been erratic with only Kenny Britt receiving more than double digit carries in any given week. With such a dispersement I would advocate fading everyone on the list not named Tavon Austin. Austin is still only $4200 after his 2 TD outburst last week and has also been averaging 3.3 carries per game as well. The Rams are using Austin all over the field this year (deep passes, slot, backfield) and it’s really been working as he’s upped his yardage per reception average by almost 2 yards thus far in 2015. In a game with a high point total Tavon would be the only receiver I’d be OK using in tournaments from the Rams.
As for QB Nick Foles he amassed 468 yards and 4 TDs in 2 games against the Cardinals and Seahawks and gets another tough pass D this week as the Packers have yet to allow a 300 yard passer against them. With the Rams slated as 9 point underdogs you have to like the upside that could happen with with Foles likely having to pass a ton late. Considering him a cheap option ($5200) for tournaments in a possible high scoring game.
Gameflow: Don’t be shocked if the Rams make a game of this one. They’ve now beaten two of the consensus top 5 teams in the NFC and have a defense that is really good at pressuring the QB. Their also now featuring a potential superstar at RB and may have found some life in the pass game from former 1st rounder Tavon Austin. I’m not going to call for the upset but I will call for a very tight Packers win.
Packers 27 Rams 24
– Todd Gurley $4300
– Tavon Austin $4200
– Eddie Lacy $6700
– James Jones $5700
– Ty Montgomery $3400
– Nick Foles $5200
Redskins @ Falcons
Point Total: 48
Spread: -7 Falcons
With the Falcons getting up big early last week QB Matt Ryan only threw 27 times, his lowest number in his last 17 games. The Redskins defense has been tough against the run in 2015 but has now given up 5 passing TDs in their last 2 games. This bodes well for the fortunes of QB Matt Ryan’s who’s had great protection this year (only sacked 6 times in 4 games) and will be at home for the second straight game. At $6700 Ryan is one of my top ranked QB picks for the week and a great choice to anchor your lineups.
Ryan’s targets through 4 weeks look like this:
With the Falcons likely ramping back up their passing attack this week it’s time to start taking WR Leonard Hankerson seriously for fantasy. Hankerson is now up to 26 targets through his last three games (nearly 9 per) and is only $4000 this week on DraftKings. With so much traffic going towards Julio Jones Hankerson has prospered and recorded his first 100 yard game of the year in week 4. I love Hank as a value play in this game and won’t be shocked if he haunts his old team with a big game… As for Julio Jones, last week was the first time he had received under double digits in targeting all year. It was a one week blip due to game flow and I fully expect him to return to fantasy dominance in this game against the Skins, roster him with confidence.
At RB for the Falcons it’s very possible that the Devonta Freeman show will come to an end this week. The Skins have only allowed 3.37 ypc to RBs this season and have also only surrendered one rushing TD in 4 games. There’s also the fact that talented rookie Tevin Coleman will return to the lineup this week and cut into Freeman’s workload. Respect Freeman for the big weeks he’s put in but don’t chase an RB whose price is now over 6k ($6200) and has a potential timeshare looming.
Opposing QBs vs the Falcons have now averaged 43 attempts per game and put up an average of 310 passing yards. While I’m not a huge proponent of Kirk Cousins I recognize there might be some fantasy potential with him in this week. At only $5300 Cousins might again have to throw 40+ times in this game and he should have some confidence from last week’s win over Philly. Fire him up as a low-owned play in tournaments.
Here’s the breakdown of the Redskins RB usage from the past two weeks:
At only $3300 Chris Thompson is not only the cheapest Redskins RB this week but he’s also the one who’s seen the most snaps in the past two games. Thompson is more of a scat-back who’s seen a bunch of targets of late (10 rec. in past two games). With the Redskins projected to be down in this game I would back rostering Thompson as a tournament play this week as he should see plenty of snaps and be targeted heavily again in the pass game
With TE Jordan Reed most likely out for week 5 and WR Desean Jackson questionable expect Pierre Garcon to see a heavy workload. The Falcons have been burned by teams #1 WR and have already allowed three 100 yard receiving games in 2014 (and 13 in their last 20 games). At $5300 Garcon is very affordable should see a ton of targets in a possible back and forth affair. Use him in all formats… The other WR to consider this week is rookie Jamison Crowder, who has seen a huge jump in work with DJax out. Crowder received 12 targets last week and has looked great working both the middle of the field and as a deep option. At $3500 he’s definitely one of the best values for me in this game and a sneaky tournament play.
Gameflow: I think you’ll see these two teams score a lot of points. The Skins secondary is not in good shape right now and Matt Ryan should have a field day throwing to his WRs. On the flip side the Falcons D has given up a lot of yards as well and I expect the Skins to be able to counter with some big plays of their own, both on the ground and through the air. This might be a last possession wins sort of game, and in that scenario I’ll go with Matty Ice to get the win.
Falcons 31 Redskins 28
– Matt Ryan $6700
– Julio Jones $9200
– Leonard Hankerson $4000
– Jamison Crowder $3500 (if Reed and DJax out)
– Pierre Garcon $5300
– Chris Thompson $3300
– Kirk Cousins $5200
Cardinals @ Lions
Point Total: 44
Spread: -2.5 Cardinals
Carson Palmer has been one of the least sacked QBs of 2015 hitting the turf only 5 times for a loss in 2015. Palmer has been unbelievable to start the year and one of the main reasons for the Cards early season success. With the Lions giving up an average of 292 yards passing per game it’s quite possible you see Palmer show up with a big fantasy game against a weak secondary week 5 and he’s very roster-able for me in all formats at $6600.
The Cards passing targets for the first four weeks look like this:
Michael Floyd has been getting more looks of late and could be an interesting target in this game. Floyd is a complete boom or bust for fantasy though as many of his looks are of the deep variety (16.9 yards aver. depth per throw per Pro Football Focus) and he’s also only converted 50% of his targets into catches for the year. At a mere $3000 he’s risky but definitely an interesting tournament gamble… With Larry Fitzgerald’s price now soaring to $6800 it’s getting a tad harder to justify paying up for him. Fitz is still is playing great but also now sharing targets with two WRs in Floyd and John Brown. At $5100 I like Brown as a value play a little better than Fitz this week as the Detroit secondary hasn’t exactly been great at guarding against the big play.
With RB Andre Ellington returning this week coach Bruce Arians has already indicated that rookie David Johnson (10 targets week 4) will be losing snaps. With Detroit looking improved as a run stopping unit last week I don’t love the Zona RB group but would take a shot on Ellington having a decent ppr game in his return. Ellington will be the passing back and with Palmer targeting the RBs a ton of late (19 times in last 2 games) a bunch of targets and a homerun TD is certainly possible.
Detroit QB Matt Stafford has had a brutal start to 2015 and will be up against a Cardinal defense who has limited opposing QBs to under 200 yards passing in three of four games this season. The Cards have a great secondary but did allow 3 TDs last week to Nick Foles so they are not foolproof. In my complete gut play of the week I actually like Stafford in this matchup at home. At $5400 I think there’s a chance he could blow up with a big game in a do or die scenario for Detroit.
WR Calvin Johnson will likely be matched up against stud CB Patrick Peterson in this game. Johnson has had success against Peterson before, recording two games of over 100 yards receiving v Peterson in their last three matchups. Calvin has led the Lions in receiving the past two games and was a yard away from a go ahead TD against the tough Seahawk secondary last week. At home, in a nothing to lose scenario, I think Megatron is worth considering as a low-owned tournament play.
At RB for it appears that the Lions will again be without Joique Bell. Last week without Bell rookie Ameer Abdullah played on 30 snaps, nine more than passing threat Theo Riddick. Abdullah ran hard last week against a tough Seahawk front and he should keep getting a lot of touches against a Cards defense who got gashed by Todd Gurley last week. At $4100, I love his price and upside.
Gameflow: The Cards are a good team but Detroit is at home and essentially playing with nothing to lose after starting 0-4. The Lions played the Seahawks extremely tough last week and I expect them to play the Cards just as tough this week. Look for Calvin Johnson and Ameer Abdullah to finally get the Lions offense going and pull off the upset.
Lions 27 Cardinals 24
– Ameer Abdullah $4100
– Carson Palmer $6600
– Matthew Stafford $5400
– Calvin Johnson $7400
– Michael Floyd $3000
– John Brown $5100
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NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 2