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 3: DEN @ OAK, NE @ DAL, SF @ NYG, PIT @ SD
Broncos @ Raiders
Point Total: 43.5
Spread: -5 Broncos
The Bronco’s defense has destroyed opposing QBs this year recording 6 INTs already while allowing just two passing TDs against. While I love the way QB Derek Carr has been playing (7 TDs and 2 INTs in 3 games) this is an impossible matchup against possibly the best D in the business, avoid for fantasy.
The targeting on the Raiders WRs now looks like this through 4 weeks:
The Bronco’s have been extremely tough against the WR for the most part this year but Mike Wallace did break out last week for his best game of the year. While I don’t love the matchup I actually think you could consider Amari Cooper as a tournament play as his quickness and elusiveness should give the Bronco’s the same sorts of problems Mike Wallace did… The player I would highly considering targeting for the Raiders this weekend however is RB Latavius Murray. As we see by the chart he’s been a constant part of the pass game thus far and even after a mediocre week 4 is still averaging 4.36 ypc on the season. The Bronco’s D hasn’t been nearly as stout against the run as they have been against the pass and have now surrendered 5 TDs to the RB position in their last 3 games. I love Murray this week as a completely overlooked fantasy play and a high upside tournament option.
The Raiders pass D has allowed an average of 318 passing yards and 2 TDs per game thus far in 2015. Peyton Manning hasn’t looked great thus far in 2015 but has attempted over 40 passes in 3 of his 4 games. With such great receiving options you could do worse than contemplate using Peyton as part of a Bronco’s stack in tournaments to target a weak pass defense.
If you’re going to be targeting Peyton the WR I’d be looking to use him with is Demaryius Thomas. After a slow start to the year Thomas has led the Broncos in receiving the past two weeks. Thomas has also feasted on the Raiders in the past couple years, amassing well over 400 yards receiving and 2 TDs in their last four matchups. With Thomas now at 27 targets for his last two games I won’t be shocked if we see Peyton and Demaryius hook up for multiple TDs this week and think it’s a great stack to target this weekend.
Even though RB Ronnie Hillman had a massive game against the Vikings (11 car. 103 yards TD) CJ Anderson still out snapped him 29-25 last week. Coach Gary Kubiak has stated that Hillman has earned the right to get more carries and with Hillman still being priced $400 cheaper than Anderson ($5300-$4900) there’s a good case to be made for using Hillman in a game where the Bronco’s are favoured and figure to be running lots late. I wouldn’t overcommit to any RB in a timeshare but I do think Hillman has upside this week.
Gameflow: I think this game will be closer than people think, at least at the start. The Raiders are a decent team and could come out fired up. If they are able to move the ball on the ground that would allow them to keep Manning off the field, stay away from the Bronco’s vaunted secondary and control the tempo of the game. However even if that scenario happens eventually I think Manning and the Bronco’s will get some points and do enough in the end to pull out a win.
Broncos 24 Raiders 22
– Demaryius Thomas $8100
– Peyton Manning $7000
– Ronnie Hillman $4900
– Latavius Murray $6300
Patriots @ Cowboys
Point Total: 49
Spread: -8 Patriots
The Patriots defense may have given up a lot of passing yards thus far in 2015 but many of those were achieved in garbage time with the game already over. As a squad the Pats have already amassed 5 INTs and are 5th in the league in sacks at 13. With Branden Weeden at QB the Cowboys have thrown for exactly one TD in the past two games and only completed 14 passes to WRs in that same span. I think this is an epic spot to use the Patriots defense for fantasy purposes as they have been solid against the run and should force Weeden into more risky passing situations in this game.
Here are the targets for all Cowboy receivers from week 4:
While Terrence Williams and Branden Weeden have had trouble connecting since Weeden took over at QB the game flow of this matchup might allow Williams to post a big point total this Sunday. The Pats defense has been very giving late in games when up big and right now they are 8 point favorites and projected to up lots at some point. I love the price point on Williams as he only needs 12 points or so for a decent game and could easily achieve that in second half receptions alone… As for the Dallas RBs with Lance Dunbar out expect to see Christine Michael a little more this game and for Darren McFadden to work more in the passing game. With such a big point spread however I wouldn’t bother with anyone from this group as Dallas will likely be in pass first mode by the second half.
After a strong start the Cowboys defense has now allowed opposing QBs to throw for 644 yards and 4 TDs in the past two games. Tom Brady is the second highest priced QB on DraftKings this week but has also registered at least 25 fantasy points in every single game he’s played in thus far. Brady’s a fine play and the only risk he doesn’t pay off comes from the Patriots running the ball all over the Cowboys early and not needing to pass.
Speaking of running, here are the snap counts for the Patriots running backs through 3 weeks (on bye week 4)
Even with the increased snaps of LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis is firmly entrenched as this team’s starting RB. Lewis has not only seen the most snaps but he’s also seen 21 passing targets over 3 weeks of play, which includes one blowout where he was lightly used. Lewis has looked great both as a receiver and running between the tackles thus far in 2015 and brings an all-roundedness we haven’t seen in a Pats RB before. At $4800 he’s extremely great value in the league’s best offense and someone I’d highly consider for all formats.
WR Julien Edelman’s price keeps creeping up on DraftKings every week and he’s now priced at $7000, only $500 less than TE Rob Gronkowski ($7500). With the Cowboys giving up a ton of passing yards and this game sitting on a 49 point game total both of these players should be considered for fantasy although fitting them into your lineups will be tough. Given the week to week point fluxing at TE my preference, if choosing between the two, would be to roster Gronk and look for value elsewhere at WR (a position which has more plays to choose from).
Gameflow: I think the spread in this game is far too small. The Cowboys lost another key player on offense last week and will now be facing the consensus best team in the NFL coming off of a buy week. To make matters worse the once reliable Cowboys D has also now been burned for big rushing and passing days in multiple weeks and looks vulnerable without Tony Romo there to help eat up clock on offense. Expect the Pats to romp.
Patriots 31 Cowboys 14
– Rob Gronkowski $7500
– Tom Brady $7800
– Dion Lewis $4800
– Patriots D $3300
– Julien Edelman $7000
– Terrence Williams $4300
49ers @ Giants
Point Total: 43
Spread: -7 Giants
The Giants defense has been a huge surprise thus far in 2015. After getting shelled by the run in 2014 they’ve only allowed 3.28 ypc to RBs thus far and have the fewest rushing yards against in the league. While they have allowed some decent passing totals they’ve only let the opposition QBs throw for 3 TDs in their last 3 games and also landed 3 INTs in that span. With 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick struggling (under 170 yards passing in 3 of four games) and the run game non-existent of late I’m fine leaving both Kaepernick and RB Carlos Hyde out of my week 4 lineup plans. There’s simply better upside elsewhere.
Since the start of the season no 49ers receiving option has recorded more than 6 passes in a game. Additionally, and to make matters even more bleak, with both Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara healthy the Giants have also not allowed a receiving TD in their past two games and also stopped any WR from gaining over 70 yards. I’m not interested in rostering any WRs from San Fran either… While the Giants have given up large yardage to the TEs the past 2 weeks (224 yards to be exact) San Fran’s top TE Vernon Davis is dealing with a bruised thigh and is questionable. If he plays you could consider him as a long shot tournament option but the better choice is too simply avoid SF altogether and wait till they show some life again on offense.
Giants QB Eli Manning has been quietly solid to start the season and since his opening day debacle has posted at least 19 fantasy points in every game since. Manning’s fantasy price has come down to $6800 and he’ll be facing a San Francisco squad who has been quietly murdered this year by teams #1 WR’s. I think Manning and Odell Beckham could have a field day in this game and I love the idea of pairing them together and hoping for an explosion this upcoming week.
Speaking of Beckham, here are the targets for Manning and his receivers through 4 weeks:
While Odell Beckham was semi-shut down last week the Giants truly didn’t need his magic as they beat the Bills handily regardless. This week though there is no stud corner to shadow him and he’ll be left to roam free against the 49er secondary who has allowed teams opposing number 1 WRs to rack up an average of 142 yards and a TD against them over their past 3 games. Don’t live in the past, use Beckham in a great matchup and look for a huge rebound week to follow… You could gamble with using either WR Reuben Randle or TE Larry Donnell as a cheap secondary option and hope for a TD but to be honest I’m not sure they’ll be needed. With the Niners un able to cover big time WRs with any consistency expect Beckham to eat up most of the fantasy points this week.
At RB for the Giants Rashad Jennings saw a big game week 4 (mainly due to one big run) and also saw the most snaps (over 40%). With the Giants being huge favorites this week it makes sense that you might see more Rashad again if the Giants get up late. I’d consider him a decent tournament option as his price is still only $4500 and he has multi-TD upside in a game the Giants should win easily.
Gameflow: We’re going to find out if the Giants are for real in this game. After blowing a couple games the Giants have got back on track recently with two straight wins and have looked like a well-rounded team in the process. Meanwhile the 49ers are a complete dumpster fire and have averaged 5 points on offense in their last two games. This should be a cakewalk but the Giants do like to make things tough on themselves. I expect a New York win but not without some drama.
Giants 27 49ers 17
– Odell Beckham $9000
– Eli Manning $6800
– Rashad Jennings $4500
Steelers @ Chargers
Point Total: 45
Spread: -3 Chargers
The Chargers defense has been getting gashed by the run this season and have now allowed 6 TDS to RBs through the first 4 games of the year. Last week with Mike Vick starting at QB the Steelers turned to Le’Veon Bell to lead their offense handing him the ball 22 times while also targeting him 7 times in the pass game. This is a fantastic matchup. Bell may be $8500 and the most expensive RB on DraftKings for the week but you would be crazy to completely fade him. Look to value plays and other cheap targets to help make room for Bell but make sure you get some exposure to him.
While the Chargers rush defense has been one of the worst in the league the Chargers secondary has absolutely shut down opposing WRs. Last week with Michael Vick at QB the Steelers were completely un able to get the ball downfield and Antonio Brown had his worst game fantasy wise in the past 3 years. At a still pricy $8700 I’m off of Brown this week as I just don’t see the upside in this tough matchup with a limited QB at the helm… the news this week for the Steelers of course is the return of Martavis Bryant. Bryant will play in his first game of 2015 and is currently listed at $3800 on DraftKings. In a game that could see a lot of high scoring Bryant’s deep play and red zone abilities make him a decent tournament gamble but not one that I’d want a ton of exposure too. He would be a cheap way to get more exposure to the Pittsburgh offense though if you were planning to stack this game in a lineup or two.
The Chargers have been passing the ball a ton in 2015. QB Phillip Rivers has now attempted 34 or more passes in three of his four games thus far and also averaged 312 yards passing per game. With the Steelers being pretty stout against the run and the Chargers not having scored a rushing TD since week 1 it’s very likely you’ll see Rivers chucking the ball a lot once again. At a mere $6200 Rivers is a great target to use in pretty much all formats this week.
Here’s the targets for the Chargers from week 4
Both Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd look set to miss this game which should open up thing for Keenan Allen to have a big game, and will also mean that the returning Antonio Gates (suspension) should get a lot of looks too. Allen is likely to be highly owned considering that the Pitt secondary has been fairly giving to opposing WRs thus far in 2015. At $7200 he could pay off through receptions alone and is a great target this weekend… As for Gates, the Steelers have allowed 5.5 receptions per game to the TE position and allowed the Patriots big guys to score 4 times on them in week 1. I like this spot for Gates, whose size still makes him one of the best red zone targets in the league… Using him with Rivers would be a great way to differentiate yourself in large fields.
RB Danny Woodhead played on 55% of the snaps last week and has been the third most targeted player passing wise through 4 games. While everyone keeps waiting for rookie Melvin Gordon to break out you can keep playing Woodhead who has also seen 7 red zone carries to Gordon’s 1 and has been the more effective player for the most part. At $4600, in a possible back and forth game, I think Woodhead’s a great value play and someone you can target in a lot of different formats for fantasy week 5.
Gameflow: This should be a fun game. With both defenses having holes in them so to speak you should see a lot of fantasy points scored. Even though Mike Vick will be leading the offense for the Steelers I don’t think the Chargers will be able to stop the Pittsburgh offense which should attack mainly via the ground. While the Steelers defense got burned a lot weeks 1 and 2, that unit has been solid of late and I think it does enough to allow the Steelers to pull out a win.
Steelers 28 Chargers 24
– Le’Veon Bell $8500
– Keenan Allen $7200
– Phillip Rivers $6200
– Antonio Gates $4200
– Danny Woodhead $4600
– Martavis Bryant $3800
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