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 1: SEA @ SF, BUF @ JAX, ATL @ TEN, CLE @ STL, HOU @ MIA
Seahawks @ 49ers
Point Total: 42
Spread: Seahawks -6
Russell Wilson has been the most sacked QB through 6 weeks of the regular season going down at a rate of over 4 times per game. This week though he gets a bit of a reprieve ad will be facing the 49ers who are third last in sacks for the year as a team with 9. The San Francisco defense has also been absolutely torched by opposing teams through the air thus far in 2015 and both of their main corners Kenneth Aker and Tramaine Brock have negative grades thus far in 2015 on Pro Football Focus. This is a great setup for Wilson to get back track offensively as 4 of the 6 QBs who have faced SF thus far in 2015 have thrown for over 300 yards. At an affordable $6500 he’s a great Thursday night QB target for me in week 7.
Over the past four weeks no Seahawk WR has received over 4 targets in a game. While rookie Tyler Lockett saw 54% of the snaps last week using him or any other Seattle WR would simply be a shot in the dark. Even against the weak SF secondary, avoiding Seattle’s WRs is the prudent play for DFS… TE Jimmy Graham received 12 targets in week 6 (8 more than anyone else) and would seem primed for a big follow up versus a depleted 49ers LB core. This could be the beginning of a nice run for Graham/Wilson as the focus in week 6 was clearly on getting him the ball more… using the duo as a stack in Thursday NFL tournaments on DK isn’t a bad option.
RB Marshawn Lynch returned last week and other than one short TD run got shut down for the most part. Lynch as had some big days against the 49ers in the past though and while the 49ers have been OK against the run this year I wouldn’t be scared off of using him in this game. He’s got multi-TD upside for me this week but his price ($6900) would make me think twice about having too much exposure… keep him to tournament lineups if possible.
QB Colin Kaepenick has thrown for over 600 yards and 4 TDs with zero INTs in his last 2 games. While that may seem great Kaepernick has been completely shut down in the past by the Seahawk defense throwing for only 564 yards total in their last 4 meetings, an average of 141 yards per game. Even with the Seahawks recent struggles I simply don’t trust Kaepernick or the 49ers offense to consider him as a play.
The 49er pass game targets have been distributed as such over the last three games:
Outside of Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin there’s really not been any other San Francisco receivers to discuss this year. TE Vernon Davis might seem like a sneaky play against a Seattle team who’s surprisingly weak versus the TE but he’s been playing less every week and might also be hobbled by an injured knee. The Seahawks have still been dominate versus the WR position this season, and outside of Randall Cobb in week 2, no one’s come close to posting a 100 yard day versus them. If choosing between the two SF receivers it’s important to note that Smith is very likely to see a lot of the burnable Cary Williams at corner and so if needing a Thursday night contrarian pick at WR he’d be my choice… but the preference would be to avoid the SF receiving core altogether.
RB Carlos Hyde is coming into this game with a semi-sprained foot he re-aggravated in last week’s win. Seattle has been the best team in the league at limiting the RB this year and a non-100% Hyde isn’t very appealing at any price. I’d avoid him and look at other teams for more upside.
Gameflow: The 49ers are coming into this game off the high of a second win and two solid weeks in a row, while the Seahawks will be stark raving mad after blowing two games with some shoddy play near the end. My feeling is the Hawks destroy the 49ers and take out some frustration on their division rivals by running up the score a bit. Look for the Hawks to put up some points and get back on track week 7.
Seahawks 30 49ers 14
– Russell Wilson $6500
– Seahawks D $3800
– Torrey Smith $4200
– Jimmy Graham $5400
– Marshawn Lynch $6900
Bills @ Jaguars
Point Total: 41
Spread: Bills -4
Tyrod Taylor is out this week meaning EJ Manuel will get his second start for the Bills. The Jags have already given up over 280 yards passing to both Matt Hasslebeck and Brian Hoyer on the season but even at min price I can’t seriously recommend Manuel, especially not when there’s so much more upside with other QBs this week. Avoid the Bills QB situation for now.
RB Lesean McCoy looked healthy last week and rushed for over 5 ypc on 17 touches versus a decent Bengals D. The Jags have given up some monster games to the RB position thus far in 2015 (including two 3 TD performances) and have also given up the second most passing yards to RBs this season. With the Bills travelling to London and favoured by 4 points, this screams monster game for McCoy and I won’t be shocked to see him take 20+ touches with rookie Karlos Williams still out. He’s one of my top targets at RB this week and has massive upside against a weak Jags front.
Both WR Percy Harvin and WR Sammy Watkins were injured last week, without them the Bills targets were distributed as follows:
TE Charles Clay is turning into one of the most consistent non-Gronk TE options for fantasy. Clay has been targeted 30 times over the past three games, and even with Harvin and Watkins in the lineup, he’s been the best producer passing wise for the Bills. At only $4300, and with both of the Bills starting WRs out week 7, using Clay almost seems like stealing this week. He’s a great play in all fantasy formats… There’s also some good fantasy value at WR in this game from the Bills offense too. At only $3300 both WRs Robert Woods and Chris Hogan will see an uptick in targets this week. Of the pair Woods is the bigger-upside option and a decent outside receiver who’s produced when given more playing time before. We’ve seen the Jags get burned repeatedly by the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Rishard Matthews and Woods definitively has the skill to add his name to that list this coming week. He’s a great value play this weekend.
Jags QB Blake Bortles threw for his second 300 yard passing game in a row last week, however a lot of his production was a product of garbage time. I’d look for the Bortles garbage time fantasy fun streak to come to an end this week though against the Bills, who should be much more capable of running the clock out and limiting his late yardage than Texas or Tampa have been in previous weeks. Leave Bortles at home week 7 and also consider the Buffalo defense as a play… I’d also highly recommend avoiding the Jaguars run game. Outside of the last week the Bills defense had given up one of the lowest yards per carry averages in the entire league. RB TJ Yeldon (who looks likely to return this week) is only averaging 3.6 ypc this year and with the Jags such big underdogs it’s hard to see him getting the workload he’d need for a big fantasy day… he’s an easy fade for me.
Bills CB Stephon Gilmore has been terrific at shutting down the opposing team’s best receiver, and in the past three games he has limited AJ Green and Odell Beckham to games of 4 rec. for 35 yards and 5 rec. for 38 yards respectively. However it’s not all good news for the Bills D as secondary receivers have posted some massive games versus them in 2015. Rishard Matthews (6rec. 113 yards 2 TDs), Dwayne Harris (5 rec, 51 yards TD) and Marvin Jones (9 rec. 95 yards TD) all had a ton of success versus Buffalo as teams have tended to throw away from Gilmore and exploit the better matchups. This bodes well for the fortunes of WR Allen Hurns and TE Julius Thomas who have been the main targets for the Jags after Allen Robinson. At $5300 Hurns might be a great option in this game if Robinson is active and takes some of the attention off of him… I’m a buyer on him for tournaments and also would consider Julius Thomas who has upside at TE for only $4500.
Gameflow: Jacksonville has been keeping games close the past couple weeks by producing when down big late against prevent/soft defenses. The Bills have been up and down all year but have generally bounced back from losses well… Even with Tyrod out I doubt they have much trouble with the Jags in London and could see the offense get rolling again with a healthy Shady back in the mix.
Bills 20 Jaguars 14
– Tyrod Taylor $5300
– Lesean McCoy $5500
– Charles Clay $4300
– Allen Hurns $5300
– Julius Thomas $4500
Falcons @ Titans
Point Total: 48
Spread: Falcons -4
The rise of the Falcons running game and the injury to Julio Jones has limited Matt Ryan’s production over the past few weeks but so has some pretty mediocre play. The Titans have been solid versus the pass all year and their overhauled D-line has recorded 15 sacks through just 5 games. I’m not high enough on Ryan for fantasy purposes this week as I expect more running and another middling performance from him. There’s simply better spots with more upside at QB right now than ATL.
The Falcons receiving targets over the past few games have gone as follows:
Julio Jones is coming off a long week of rest and should be back to 100% for this game. I expect him to have a big day versus the Titans secondary who have been playing a little over their heads so far in 2015, and haven’t been matched up yet with a WR like Julio. I would be fine paying up $9200 for Jones in tournaments as there is big game potential written all over this matchup… Both Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson have played themselves off my DFS list for the time being. However TE Jacob Tamme has seen a rise in targeting and importance in this offense in the last two games. The Titans have been getting exposed by the TE all season and at only $2900 I love the savings you get with Tamme, he has enough upside this week to make a great tournament play as a TE or flex.
At Running Back, any fears that ATL RB Devonta Freeman would lose work and fantasy points to Tevin Coleman last week were squashed rather quickly as Freeman played over 86% of the snaps and had another monster game in the week 6 loss. The Titans just got run over by Lamar Miller and Freeman has already produced against better run D’s than Tennessee. Even at a pricy $7900 Freeman’s one of the few backs I would consider paying up of in any format (cash or tournament)… there’s no reason not to expect another great performance from Freeman week 7, just play him.
The Titans will be without QB Marcus Mariota week 7 and second year man Zach Mettenberger will get the start in his place. Mettenberger might actually be a better downfield passer than Mariota at the moment but the Falcons secondary has been playing extremely well all year. They are only allowing one passing TD per game thus far, and are also averaging an INT per game as a unit as well. I like this spot to roster the Falcons defense and believe there’s a huge chance for a pick 6 against a young and rusty one read QB like Mettenberger, who averaged an INT per game as starter last season.
TE Delanie Walker leads the Titans in receptions the past two games with 15 and has a great matchup as the Falcons have allowed TEs to have big games against them all year (and just let 34 year old Ben Watson rack up 127 yards and a TD last week). I love Walker to continue his roll as Tennessee’s top target in week 7 and at $3900 think he’s a great value play in all formats… As for the rest of the Titans receivers, no one else is getting consistent enough targeting for me to consider. While Harry Douglas or Kendall Wright might see a slight bump in usage with Mettenberger at the helm it’s not enough for me to want to recommend them for your rosters in week 7.
At RB for the Titans Dexter McCluster has now played over 40% of the snaps in the past two games and is averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game on DK since week 2. The Falcons have allowed the most receiving yards to RBs in the league through 6 weeks and in a game where the Titans are 4 point underdogs I expect McCluster to get another decent workload. He’s a cheap target at only $3200 and should have some real fantasy upside in this game.
Gameflow: The Falcons have looked not so great the past few weeks but will luckily be taking on a Titans squad who seems to be headed even faster in the wrong direction. Given that Julio Jones is returning to full health, and the Falcons pass D is playing well, I think ATL will have a pretty easy time of dispatching Tennessee and would look for them to post a solid road win to get back on track for a possible post-season run.
Falcons 24 Titans 14
– Julio Jones $9200
– Devonta Freeman $7800
– Delanie Walker $3900
– Atlanta D $3300
– Jacob Tamme $2900
– Dexter McCluster $3200
Browns @ Rams
Point Total: 42
Spread: Rams -5.5
The Browns defense gave up 150+ yards to the Bronco’s on the ground last week, a team that had previously only had one game of 100 yards or more rushing in 2015. It’s safe to say that after pummelling two very good run defenses for over 300 yards in his last two games Rams RB Todd Gurley is a must play this week for fantasy. At only $5000 Gurley’s upside is almost unlimited against one of the weakest rush D’s in the league… expect him to produce some massive numbers and make sure you roster him somewhere (if not everywhere).
Outside of one week where Kenny Britt got 11 targets, no other Rams receiver has received double digit targets in a game all season. While that normally would immediately exclude any Rams receivers for use by me, Tavon Austin gets an exception to that rule as he has been seeing usage as a returner and in the run game as well. Austin has been getting between 2-6 carries a game and is now up to 5 TDs on the year overall as the Rams have been doing their best to get him the ball in space any way possible. Against a beat up Browns secondary who might be without their best corner in Joe Haden again week 7 Austin is certainly capable of some big plays and might be a great pairing with the Rams defense this week for tournaments as a return TD is always possible… The other tournament play I might consider from the Rams is at QB with Nick Foles. We saw the now noodle-armed Peyton Manning beat the Browns downfield last week for some big plays and there’s no reason that Foles, who’s shown he’s a decent downfield passer throughout his career, can’t do better. At $5100 he’s strictly a tournament play for me but carries surprising upside versus the lacklustre Browns D.
Outside of a bad pick near the end of the game in week 6 Josh McCown performed admirably versus the Bronco’s defense. The problem with using McCown for fantasy this week is that he gets an almost equally tough test in a matchup on the road with St. Louis. The Rams have only given up 5 TD passes through five games and even after a bye last week remain fourth in the league in sacks. I simply don’t like the outlook in this game for McCown as a fantasy play and would recommend staying completely away.
At receiver for the Browns it’s basically a two man show. TE Gary Barnidge only caught 3 of his 8 targets last week but two of them were for TDs. Barnidge leads the Browns in red zone targets but faces a tough Rams defense who hasn’t given up a TD to the TE position since week 1. At $4900 now I feel like Barnidge’s price has over shot his actual upside in this matchup and will be looking elsewhere for a TE… At WR Travis Benjamin produced big time in a tough matchup last week and should find the going much easier in week 7 versus a Rams secondary who has allowed some big days to the WR position. Even at $5300 I think Benjamin’s a solid play this week and would consider him in all formats.
Here is the breakdown of snaps and production for the Browns RBs from week 6:
Just when you thought it was safe to play Duke Johnson for fantasy every week, here comes Robert Turbin. While Johnson remained the most targeted RB on the Browns it was disappointing not to see a more sustained usage last week. The good news for week 7 is that the Rams have been allowing RBs to prosper as receivers against them, giving up an average of 6 receptions per game to the position. Given the toughness of the Rams front using Duke Johnson for fantasy and expecting more usage from him as a receiver is probably a decent idea, at only $4200 he’s cheap and has tournament upside for me in this matchup.
Gameflow: Even though the Rams have been tough at home I expect another close game. The Browns are increasingly scrappy and their offense is shockingly effective this year. I have this game pegged as a possible surprise/high-scoring affair for fantasy and won’t be shocked if we see some points put up by both teams. I like the Rams to win, but not by much.
Rams 27 Browns 24
– Todd Gurley $5000
– Tavon Austin $4500
– Travis Benjamin $5300
– Nick Foles $5100
– St. Louis D $2400
– Duke Johnson $4200
Texans @ Dolphins
Point Total: 44.5
Spread: -4 Dolphins
A zombie Apocalypse might be amoung us… RB Lamar Miller rose from the dead last week and looked terrific, gaining 199 yards rushing on just 19 carries against a pretty decent Titans run D. With the Dolphins at home and favoured by 4 points coming in Miller should get another big workload week 7. At just $4600 he’s a great cheap RB option for use in all formats and I won’t be shocked if he gets a little more involved in the passing game eventually under his new head coach too. He could post his second big game in row versus the Texans.
Under new head coach Dan Campbell the Dolphins ran the ball 26 times (versus just 29 passes) in their week 7 win. Meanwhile QB Ryan Tannehill had his best completion rate of the year in week 6, hitting on over 70% of his passes but only threw the ball 29 times. Tannehill is probably a decent tournament play at $5700 but beware as he could have his totals muted by the Dolphins new run first philosophy.
Here were the Dolphins receiving targets from the first week under their new head coach:
The Texans have struggled with bigger receivers Andre Johnson and Allen Robinson of late and because of that I’m more inclined to make TE Jordan Cameron and Rishard Matthews my targets in this game and leave the more expensive Jarvis Landry ($6200) on the bench. Cameron is only $3300 and a great target versus a Texans team who have allowed more athletic TEs to have monster days. He’s got a great shot at recording a TD in this game and I like his upside for all formats… Matthews meanwhile is only $4300 and is currently entrenched as the WR2 in Miami. I love his athleticism and upside as a receiver and at $4300 think he’s great value against a weak Texans secondary. Game flow however could affect him negatively and means he’s more suited as a tournament play.
After starting the season slowly, the Dolphins defense also rose to life last week (more Zombies?!) and recorded 5 sacks against Marcus Mariota, including two forced fumbles. I love the way Brian Hoyer used his weapons to tear apart a weak Jacksonville team but want no part of him against a talented and now motivated Dolphins front… don’t chase the points here, avoid Hoyer week 7.
The Texans offense right now is a two man show as DeAndre Hopkins and Arian Foster were either targeted or received carries on 39 of Houston’s 67 offensive plays from week 6. I don’t love the price increases on either of these players (Arian is now $7500 and Hopkins $8600 on DK) and given the newly inspired Miami defense I’m not as high on either of them as I was in week 6. Still, with Houston coming in as a fairly big dog using Hopkins as a big upside play at WR is still a pretty decent strategy this week even with the price increase. He’s been targeted 52 times over the past three weeks (an insane 17 times per game) and the Dolphins secondary is still extremely burnable by teams #1 WRs. He’s still one of the safest and highest-upside plays for fantasy week 7 and someone you can consider playing in any formats.
Gameflow: I’m not fooled by the Texans week 6 win over the Jags. This is still a pretty flawed team who has been beaten by some pretty lousy QBs already this year. The Dolphins are still a talented bunch and now have some hope after righting the ship in week 6. I expect a possible back and forth game but also for Miami to prevail on both sides of the ball eventually and push their win streak to 2.
Dolphins 27 Texans 20
– Lamar Miller $4600
– DeAndre Hopkins $8600
– Jordan Cameron $3300
– Ryan Tannehill $5700
– Rishard Matthews $4300
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 1