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: MIN @ DET, NO @ IND, NYJ @ NE, PIT @ KC, TB @ WAS
Vikings @ Lions
Point Total: 44.5
Spread: Vikings -2.5
The Lions won a lot of fantasy leagues for players last week on DraftKings with their offensive explosion. This week though they get the Vikings who have allowed the second fewest points in the league per game through 6 weeks of play and have yet to allow a single QB to throw for more than 300 yards against them in a game. This sets up as tough matchup and possible huge let down spot for Matthew Stafford who, outside of last week, has been utterly terrible in 2015. I’m not chasing the points with him in week 7.
The Lions passing targets from the past three weeks were as follows:
Golden Tate has seen a rise in targets the past couple weeks and might be headed for a bigger game or two down the road but the smart play again at WR for the Lions is probably Calvin Johnson. Johnson burned the Vikings in week two for 80 yards and a TD and gets Xavier Rhodes in coverage who has graded out as one of the worst CBs in the league so far in 2015 on Pro Football Focus. Tate meanwhile will get the surprisingly solid Captain Munnerlyn who has one of the best grades in the league through 6 weeks. Stay on Calvin this week and don’t be shocked if he delivers with more fantasy goodness… As for the rest of the Lions receivers, Tim Wright isn’t seeing enough targets for me to be on him, even as a cheap value play. I’d rather look elsewhere for TE value… RB Theo Riddick continues to see a bunch of targets each week and still remains insanely cheap at $3400. Riddick played over 50% of the snaps week 6 and with Zach Zenner out for the year and Ameer Abdullah’s fumbling issues Riddick makes for a great value target against the Vikings and the only Lions RB I’d consider on DK.
The Lions are giving up the 4th most points in the league per game and just playing bad football pretty much everywhere on defense. Still, you can’t seriously trust Teddy Bridgewater for fantasy as the Vikings have attempted the third fewest passes per game thus far in 2015. It’s possible the Vikings get behind early and we see a breakout game from Bridgewater here but it’s a longshot, and Teddy’s not someone I’d recommend as anything more than a highly variable tournament play.
The Vikings passing targets from last week with Charles Johnson out were as follows:
WR Stefon Diggs has been a revelation working with Teddy Bridgewater and looked great working all over the field and piling up over 100 yards receiving in week 6. Diggs is a more complete receiver already than either Charles Johnson or Mike Wallace and I can’t seriously believe that the Vikings would hold him back any longer even when all 3 are healthy. At $4200 I think he’s again a great value play against one of the weakest secondary’s in the league. Watch the reports out of Minnesota to ensure he’s starting but as of now he’s an all systems go play for me in fantasy.
RB Adrian Peterson didn’t produce at all versus a pretty tough KC D-line but still received 26 carries in the Vikings week 6 win. He gets a much better matchup in week 7 versus the now vulnerable Lions front whom he burned for 140+ yards in week 2. I don’t really love paying up for Peterson as his lack of involvement in the pass game really draws down his upside for me on a full PPR scoring system like DraftKings. I’ll advocate for him but only as a tournament play in week 7.
Gameflow: I have a feeling the Lions might show up again week 7 and push the Vikings. This could be the game we see Teddy Bridgewater emerge from the fantasy hole he’s been hiding in all year and have a big day to lead the Vikings to glory. This game is hard to pin down for me but I just can’t trust the Lions who barely got by a weak Bears squad last week.
Vikings 24 Lions 21
– Calvin Johnson $7700
– Stefon Diggs $4200 (watch the news to see if starting)
– Theo Riddick $3400
– Teddy Bridgewater $5100
– Adrian Peterson $ 7600
Saints @ Colts
Point Total: 52
Spread: Colts -5
The Saints have been one of the worst teams in the league at defending the QB for fantasy and have given up multiple passing TDs in every game that didn’t feature Brandon Weeden or Jameis Winston at QB. Meanwhile Andrew Luck returned week 6 against a tough Pats D and proceeded to have his best game of the year showing more poise and accuracy than he has all season. Even after a strong week 6 showing I think the Saints are set up to be a sacrificial lamb so to speak vs an angry Colts team. Luck screams big game potential for me in fantasy week 7.
Here’s the passing targets for the last three weeks for the Colts offense:
Both TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief have seen pretty similar targeting over the past couple of games and I like the potential with both in week 7. Moncrief is the better value at $5200 and is slated to go against one of the worst graded cover corners (as per Pro Football Focus) in the league in Brandon Browner. Moncrief is extremely affordable and makes for a good cash game target in a tasty matchup… While Moncrief might be the safe option I am still a huge believer that a healthy Luck should mean big things in the future for the explosive TY Hilton. The rest of the Saints secondary has been solid but I view a healthy Luck-Hilton pairing as almost matchup proof due to Hilton’s speed and ability after the catch. I think Luck-Hilton has huge potential this weekend and is one of the main stacks I will be targeting for play in tournaments.
I also love the potential for RB Frank Gore in week 7 too. Gore has totaled almost 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his last three games and looked spry in doing so. More red zone work should be coming his way as the Colts are big favorites in a game that has a 52 point total. Gore is great value at only $4900 and a reliable RB to target for 50/50’s and HU’s play on DraftKings.
Drew Brees isn’t racking up TDs at the pace he used to but he’s thrown for over 300 yards in 4 of 5 games he’s started in 2015. As the Saints are nearly full TD underdogs you could see Brees have a 400+ yard performance in this game. Expect the Colts to jump all over the Saints early and make them abandon any semblance of a balanced offensive attack. Brees is definitely a tournament target in week 7.
Here’s the Saints passing targets over the past three weeks of play:
Brandin Cooks has been slightly more productive over the past couple of weeks but looks likely to be lined up against CB Vontae Davis in this game. Teams Secondary and slot receivers have had big games versus the Colts (see week 4 and Allen Hurns 11 rec. 116 yards TD) and that bodes well for WR Willie Snead who’s been getting almost the same targeting as Cooks and will probably see more of the much worse Darius Butler in coverage. At $4300 Snead is $1200 cheaper than Cooks and might have one of the best matchups of the week at WR, he’s in play for me everywhere this week… It might seem foolish to chase the points from last week’s breakout by TE Ben Watson but at only $3300 Watson has been a pretty consistent third target for Brees recently. The Colts are by no means a great coverage team and Watson could easily get free for another big day. He’s a tournament only option but one to consider especially if you’re interested in stacking a bunch of players from this game.
At RB the return of CJ Spiller has cut into some of Mark Ingram’s passing targets the past couple weeks as Spiller has out targeted Ingram 9-6 in the Saints last two games. Even though the Colts are susceptible to being run on I don’t love this spot for Ingram as I also project the Colts to be ahead for a large majority of this game. At $6300 Ingram is $3000 more than Spiller ($3300) who could see a lot more work in this game if things get out of hand. I’d be fine using Spiller in tournaments and for pricing concerns would be fine avoiding Ingram as I think there’s better value at RB in other games.
Gameflow: I’m expecting the Colts offense to have their way in this game and hit impatient DFS players with a bit of a breakout. The Saints looked good last week but will be in over their head on the road against a now healthy and likely motivated Luck. I predict a high scoring game but ultimately a Colts thrashing.
Colts 35 Saints 24
– Andrew Luck $7600
– Frank Gore $4900
– Donte Moncrief $5300
– Willie Snead $4300
– TY Hilton $6500
– Drew Brees $7000
– CJ Spiller $3300
Jets @ Patriots
Point Total: 48
Spread: Patriots -9
The Jets passing defense has been stifling so far in 2015 allowing just one QB to throw for more than 200 yards against them. As good as they have been though they still have not been as good as Tom Brady who has thrown for 14 TDs and only 1 INT through 5 games. Brady is matchup proof at this point and even though his price has risen I’d still consider him as a possible low owned tournament option for week 7.
Here’s the Patriots passing targets over the past few games:
TE Rob Gronkowski’s targets may seem like they’re dwindling but it’s not something I would pay much attention to for this game. The Jets have strong corners but they’re not going to help in shutting down Gronk, who might actually see more targets in this game than he has the past couple weeks as the Pats likely try to avoid targeting Darrelle Revis. Ownership might be lower on Gronk than we’ve seen all year and I think this is a great week to target him for tournaments… Julian Edelman on the other hand will gets another tough matchup this week as he projects to see a lot of Revis. Edelman is an easy fade for me as there’s simply not enough upside with him going against a corner who is still one of the top 5 in the league in coverage.
The Jets have actually been just as good against the run as they have been against the pass on defense and because of that this game looks like a perfect spot to avoid LeGarrette Blount and possibly get back on the Dion Lewis bandwagon. The Jets have mostly shut down other team’s power runners but have given up a decent amount of receptions to RBs. Lewis is still the de facto third receiver right now with Brandon LaFell out, and I expect a big rebound after he failed to produce double digit fantasy points for the first time all season in week 6. Even at a now pricy $6500 Lewis is in play for me week 7.
The Patriots have been killing opponents and thus allowing a lot of teams QBs to accumulate yards and TDs in garbage time. Still, this represents a big jump up in competition for Ryan Fitzpatrick who I expect to be under constant pressure by a pretty lethal Patriots front line. At $5200 Fitz is a tournament option due to price, but is by no means guaranteed a big day… be careful with your exposure.
The Patriots haven’t allowed a rushing TD since week 2 and have also limited opposing RBs to under 100 yards in every game since then as well. Meanwhile Jets RB Chris Ivory has produced amazing fantasy returns against weaker competition thus far in 2015 but is still only seeing 50% or so of the snaps every week. Ivory is still affordable to roster at $5800 but in a game where the Jets are 9 point underdogs I’m not sure he’ll get the usage or be as effective as he was last week at home versus a much weaker opponent. I’m not risking him in this matchup.
Since week 1 the Patriots have limited any WRs from posting massive games against them but the Jets do feature two elite WRs who could pose matchup problems for the Pats secondary. Eric Decker is a criminally underrated receiver who should benefit from the extra attention Brandon Marshall is likely going to receive in this game, and at only $5300 is $2500 cheaper than Marshall too. Decker represents great value in a game which could see his team post some big passing totals if they fall behind early and this makes him a great WR to target in pretty much any format for your week 7 lineups.
Gameflow: I love the way the Jets have been playing thus far in 2015 but I’m not sold on the idea that they can stand up to the Patriots juggernaut. The difference in talent and play at the QB position is so extreme this week that I think the spread, which is big, is actually fairly accurate and I expect the Patriots to eventually run up a big lead and never look back. Look for the Jets to put up a respectable fight but to eventually get rolled over like everyone else.
Patriots 35 Jets 24
– Eric Decker $5300
– Patriots D $3200
– Dion Lewis $6500
– Tom Brady $8500
– Rob Gronkowski $8100
Steelers @ Chiefs
Point Total: 44
Spread: Steelers -3
This game has a lot of question marks at the moment as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is currently questionable to return this week. If Ben does return I would strongly consider starting all of the primary targets in the Steelers offense. With Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant both back and spreading the field more for Antonio Brown this offense has video game potential every time they play and would be a potential nightmare for a Chiefs team who has been burned by every receiving core they faced this year. Consider all three of the aforementioned players as targets… if Ben suits up.
For now however, assuming Ben is out, I would not invest heavily in anyone on this offense. Landry Jones is not really an upgrade over Mike Vick and while he might get lucky with another TD to stud second year player Martavis Bryant he’s not going to resurrect Antonio Brown. Bryant is tempting and probably still a decent tournament target considering his insane TD conversion rate, cheap price tag ($4700) and the matchup, but no Ben still means no Brown in my eyes… I’d also stay away from Le’Veon Bell for one more week as well. The Chiefs defensive front is excellent versus the run and just held Adrian Peterson to under 70 yards on 26 carries. Pittsburgh’s been feeding Bell with Big Ben out, but no Roethlisberger would also mean the Chiefs could tee off on the run on almost every play. His price tag is way too high at $8400 to overcome that kind of matchup.
As for the Chiefs, here are the receiving targets laid out by Alex Smith in week 6:
The Chiefs might be without Jeremy Maclin in week 7 (concussion) as he’s yet to be cleared for action. That could mean huge things for TE Travis Kelce who had an OK week 6 but would become the prime weapon in this offense for Alex Smith if Maclin sat. Pittsburgh has been killed by bigger more athletic receiving TEs and this could be the breakout spot for Kelce myself and everyone else in fantasy has been waiting for since week 1. At $4900 he’d be close to must play territory if Maclin was a no go… As for the rest of the Chiefs WRs slot man Albert Wilson is back and healthy again and might also get an uptick in work if Maclin can’t go. He caught four passes and a TD last week and had some effective games with Smith in 2014. At only $3000 Wilson’s worth a look if you need a min-price play with some decent upside for your week 7 lineups.
At RB Charcandrick West out-snapped Knile Davis 43-19 in week 6 although neither back played particularly well. Pittsburgh’s run defense has been superb in 2015 and they’ve only allowed one team to gain more than 70 yards rushing versus them in a game all year. With the workload still up in the air this isn’t a spot I’m fond of focusing on for DFS this week and would suggest looking elsewhere for RB value.
Gameflow: This game could really go one of two ways for me. If Roethlisberger sits the Steelers would be in real danger of losing game for me as the Chiefs run defense could shut down the Steelers best weapon and put the game in the hands of the not very good Landry Jones. If Ben plays I could see the Steelers winning by a ton. For now I’ll assume Ben sits one more week and the Chiefs get the ugly upset win.
Chiefs 21 Steelers 20
– Travis Kelce $4900
– Entire Steelers offense if Ben Roethlisberger plays
– Albert Wilson $3000
– Martavis Bryant $4700
Buccaneers @ Redskins
Point Total: 43
Spread: Redskins -3
The Redskins have been gashed for 350 yards rushing and two rushing TDs over the past two weeks. Doug Martin comes into this game off his best performance since his rookie season and into what suddenly looks like a good matchup vs Washington. Martin’s insanely cheap this week at $4900 and could easily put up another 100 yard game on the Redskins who might be reeling after a couple tough losses. I like Martin’s upside this week but because he’s on Tampa he’s still not someone I’d trust outside of tournaments so watch you’re exposure on him.
The other reason I like Martin in this matchup is the fact he has Jameis Winston as his QB. After a couple horrific performances the Bucs limited Winston to just 19 pass attempts in week 5 and I suspect the Bucs will once again attempt to run the ball to keep it out of his hands… At this point, I would also be remiss if I didn’t at least suggest the Redskins as a cheap defensive option for tournaments. If the Redskins get in front early the Bucs will have no choice but to “unleash” Jameis and make those who roster the Redskins D very happy, they’re on my list of plays for week 7 and will have pick 6 potential.
The Bucs have run the third highest percentage of run plays per game thus far in 2015 and that doesn’t bode well for either Vincent Jackson or Mike Evans, especially in a game with a close spread (3 points). Evans is probably due for a breakout game soon and against a middling Washington secondary who just got burned by another big WR in Brandon Marshall, he’s probably worthy of at least consideration as a highly variable tournament play week 7. Be careful though, as he’s more of a suggestion than a recommendation from me.
Redskins QB Kirk Cousins hasn’t thrown for multiple TDs yet in a game in 2015 and might actually be in danger of losing his starting job with another poor performance. The matchup versus the extremely exploitable Tampa defense is nice but it’s still not enough for me to consider rostering him. Expect Washington go run heavy and limit his passing attempts.
Speaking of running backs, Alfred Morris was left as the last man standing last week as both Chris Thompson and Matt Jones went down with injuries. Jones looks likely to rejoin the Skins this week, with Thompson looking questionable. I think this is a great spot for a rebound for one of these backs but deciphering which one is the problem. Morris is the healthiest of the entire trio and at only $3300 is sickly cheap in a matchup where he could easily get off to a hot start and hog all the work. He’s risky but there’s multi-TD upside with him. I’m a buyer on him in tournaments, especially if one of Jones/Thompson were to sit.
Here’s the distribution of targets for the Skins main receivers over the past few games:
Rookie Jamison Crowder had a slow week 6 but overall has been a great source of cheap fantasy points with Desean Jackson out. Pierre Garcon hasn’t had any sort of breakout yet and with Crowder still $1300 cheaper than Garcon at $3700 he’s a great value pick for a possible breakout game versus a weak Tampa secondary… the other piece of news to keep in mind for this game is that TE Jordan Reed might be cleared to return this week. Reed is only $4200 and basically plays his position like a WR. He showed great chemistry with Cousins before getting hurt and would be a great/sneaky tournament play if he plays. Make sure you consider him if the injury news is positive for him this weekend.
Gameflow: While it’s possible we see the Bucs run all over the Skins with Doug Martin I’m still not confident enough to say the Bucs are going to take this game. The Skins have been tough at home and after a few tough opponents should rebound here quite nicely against a much weaker opponent. I’m predicting a close, low scoring game but ultimately a Skins victory.
Redskins 20 Bucs 17
– Jamison Crowder $3700
– Doug Martin $4900
– Redskins D $2500
– Alfred Morris $3300
– Jordan Reed $4200 (if healthy)
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 2