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: NYJ @ OAK, SEA @ DAL, GB @ DEN, IND @ CAR
Jets @ Raiders
Point Total: 44
Spread: Jets -2.5
Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has played incredibly solid to start the year and has now posted over 20 fantasy points in his last two games. One of the nice things you get with Fitz at QB is a few running yards each week and he’s now up to 26.7 yards per game rushing over his last 4 games. The Raiders are a much improved team but still don’t get nearly enough pressure on the QB and still allow far too many completions in their secondary… opposing QBs have averaged 312 yards and 1.83 TDs a game versus them thus far in 2015. At $5300 a little Fitz-magic in your life might not be a bad thing this week as he’s got one of the best floors for a QB under $5500 on DK.
Here are how the Jets passing targets have been distributed over the past two games:
Even though Brandon Marshall’s targets have come down a bit the past two weeks I’d expect to see an uptick in targets and production for him versus the Raiders. Oakland simply doesn’t have the corners to deal with Marshall’s size or strength and after a sub-par week 7 I’m expecting a big bounce back. At $7600 he’s a WR I’d definitely be OK paying up for this week… At $5300 I like the uptick in targets Eric Decker has seen of late but am not thrilled with his conversion rate. Decker turned 13 targets last week into just 6 catches and has failed to break the 100 yard barrier in any game this season. He’s still a tournament play to consider but I think he has less upside in this offense than people realize.
At RB Chris Ivory is dealing with a bit of a quad issue otherwise he’d get a full recommendation from me. Ivory’s run with better than average speed all year but only saw 51% of the snaps last week due to the injury. If Ivory gets in a full practice session in Friday he’s a play you could consider in all formats as few players have dominated their team’s red zone work like him. A multi TD game here is possible versus Oakland.
So far in 2015 QB Derek Carr has increased his yards per completion rate by over a yard (10.68 ypr) after finishing dead last in the category in 2014 at a rate of 9.47 ypr. Carr has a tough matchup this week however as the Jets defense has held every QB not named Tom Brady to 250 yards or less passing. As much as I like the way Carr is playing this is simply not the week to chase the points. The Jets defense should be out for blood after getting gashed last week and there’s way more upside in other cheap play QBs… leave Carr on the bench week 8.
At WR as much as I Iove the way Amari Cooper has looked as a rookie he gets a visit to Revis Island this week making it difficult to justify paying up for his $6700 price tag. On the other side for the Raiders however Michael Crabtree has been looking in great form this season and leads the Raiders in both overall targets and red zone targets for the year. Crabtree has looked like a different player since joining Oakland and I love the fact he’s still priced under $5000 but is essentially in a timeshare with Cooper as the number 1 WR for Oakland. The Jets secondary have allowed big days to secondary WRs all year (Donte Moncrief, Danny Amendola) and I expect Crabtree to take advantage of the matchup. He’s a great value pick at $4700.
As much as I love the talent with Latavius Murray he’s losing some of his workload (down to 53% of the snaps week 7) and will be facing off with the toughest run D in the league. Outside of one big game by Philly’s two RBs the Jets haven’t allowed a rushing TD all season and have given up less than 40 yards in their last two matchups combined to RBs… avoid Murray this week, there’s no upside for running backs versus the Jets.
Gameflow: I really want to pick the Raiders in this game as they’ve been playing incredibly solid football all season and even went toe to toe with Denver before succumbing late. The Jets are one of the most solid teams top to bottom in the league right now and even though I fear they’ll eventually push through Oakland too I am picking Oakland to win. Look for a tight game but for the Raiders to eventually prevail.
Oakland 24 Jets 21
– Brandon Marshall $7600
– Michael Crabtree $4700
– Chris Ivory $6000 (check health)
– Ryan Fitzpatrick $5200
Seahawks @ Cowboys
Point Total: 41
Spread: Seahawks -6
The Seahawks defense will get their second straight plum matchup in a row as backup QB Matt Cassel is slated to get his second straight start in this game. Outside of a couple big days by Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton the Hawks defense hasn’t allowed more than one passing TD against them in 2015 and now have 3 INTs to their credit over their last three games. Cassel looked better than Brandon Weeden last week but still threw 3 INTs versus the Giants and so there’s definitely potential for a big fantasy game from the Seattle D… at $3700 they’re incredibly expensive but might be worth paying up for in tournaments.
Cassel was able to inject a bit of life into Terrence Williams and Jason Witten last week and while I wouldn’t trust Williams, who is likely to get the Richard Sherman treatment, Witten could have a decent game against the Seahawks who have been complete disasters at covering the TE this year. Witten keeps producing some PPR points every week and as a tournament play has upside. He might be the only chance the Cowboys have to move the ball in this game.
RB Darren McFadden had a huge day out of nowhere against the now porous Giants defense but gets a much different beast this week. The Hawks have only allowed a rushing TD in one game thus far in 2015 and have held opposing RBs to 3.6 ypc. The good news for McFadden lovers is that on top of getting the nod as starter this week for the Cowboys he’s also still only $3800. While a huge day isn’t likely McFadden’s role as a starter and ability as a pass catcher might make him a sneaky value play as he’ll probably have a great shot at hitting the low teens in fantasy points based on volume alone. He’s in play for me this week too…
In Seattle, here’s how Russell Wilson has distributed his passes over the past two games:
As much as I’d love to pretend I know what was going to happen with this passing game I don’t. The targeting and production have been all over the map and the Hawks have one of the lowest passing attempts per game average in the league. It’s possible Wilson goes back to getting Jimmy Graham more involved but the prudent play for fantasy is to ignore the Hawks passing game altogether this week and look elsewhere for receivers. Don’t play the guessing game here for fantasy.
The Seahawks got Marshawn Lynch and the run game going last week and another good result is possibly in store for him this week too. Dallas has had trouble stopping the run all year and just let Giants fourth string RB Orleans Darkwa run semi-wild over them on only 8 carries. Lynch is expensive at $7100 but looks to be in for a big role this Sunday as backup Thomas Rawls might miss this game. I love targeting Lynch as a high upside play in tournaments, he’s got multi-TD potential versus a bad Dallas run D.
Gameflow: I see this game being pretty similar to Seattle’s week 7 win over San Francisco. Dallas isn’t great against the run and the Hawks certainly looked to get Marshawn Lynch moving pretty well last week. Meanwhile Matt Cassell looks like an improvement over Branden Weeden but faces a Hawks D who got come swagger back versus the 49ers and is coming in off a long rest. This will probably be a long day for Cowboy fans.
Seahawks 24 Cowboys 10
– Marshawn Lynch $7100
– Seahawks D $3700
– Russell Wilson $6300
* Packers @ Broncos*
Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Packers -3
Peyton Manning’s thrown 2 or more INTs in each of his last 3 games and has 7 TDs versus 9 INTs on the year. Meanwhile the Green Bay defense has allowed the fewest points per game and recorded the third most sacks in the league through 7 weeks. You see where I’m going with this… Green Bay’s D is playing fantastic and gets the cable TV version of Manning who has trouble not floating passes over 4 yards. This could be a massacre and a huge day for Green Bay’s D, make them a target this weekend.
Outside of a couple garbage time fueled runs by Keenan Allen and Jeremy Maclin the Packers have been lock down versus opposing WRs allowing no more than 5 rec. and 80 yards to all but the two aforementioned players. At $7500 and $7300 Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have still managed to produce some decent games this year despite Manning’s regression but only have 2 TDs between them in the past 4 games. With Sanders slightly banged up (sprained shoulder) the better play in this game is likely Demaryius Thomas and he could see a lot of work as Manning attempts to use his size to complete a few passes versus the tough Green Bay secondary. Thomas would be a bit risky but still has some upside in this game for me, he’d be a tournament only play week 8.
At RB the Bronco’s finally started to give Ronnie Hillman the ball a little more in their last game as he played on over 52% of the snaps. Hillman produced against the terrible Cleveland run defense but gets an awful matchup this week as the Packers have held opposing RBs to 60 yards or less in 4 or their 6 games. I’d avoid this matchup and look elsewhere for RBs.
Aaron Rodgers has played well this year, but outside of one huge game really hasn’t done much fantasy wise. While I’d love to pick this spot as a week to use Rodgers as a contrarian play at QB the Denver defense at home is truly not an upside spot, even for the likes of AGod. So far Denver’s only allowed 2 passing TDs in three games at Mile High and with Rodgers still listed as the second highest priced QB there’s simply not enough upside in this matchup to justify the price tag. Avoid him week 8.
Here’s the passing targets from Green Bay’s last two games:
The Packers have been winning games with solid defense and timely running and haven’t really had a high passing output since week 3. When you add in the fact the Packers receivers have a matchup with the league’s best secondary—who has only given up one TD to a WR so far through 6 games—this entire WR unit is a fade for me this week… One final note, Davante Adams looks likely to return this week and while he might be too risky for me to play in this game, at only $3900 don’t be shocked if he steps up and makes a few plays right off the bat, he could be an X-factor for Green Bay.
RB James Starks was added to the injury report this week with a hip issue and is now questionable for Sunday. If he misses time Eddie Lacy would presumably see a big workload and be a consideration in fantasy. Lacy has been an utter disappointment this year and essentially lost his starting job to Starks over the past couple weeks. While Denver is solid versus the run they’re not as impenetrable as they are against the pass. Lacy is a tournament option, but only a viable one if Starks is indeed out.
Gameflow: Two years ago this game might have had an over under of 60, but today it’s really all about defense as two of the best will go at it this Sunday. Even though Denver’s D is probably a little scarier on paper Green Bay’s gets the far better matchup as they should have a field day picking apart Peyton Manning. I’d look for a close game but for Green Bay to eventually prevail.
Packers 24 Broncos 17
– Packers D $3300
– Eddie Lacy $6200 (if no Starks)
– Demaryius Thomas $7700
* Colts @ Panthers*
Point Total: 46
Spread: Panthers -7
Andrew Luck has now thrown for over 300 yards and 2 or more TDs in his two games but has truly not looked good doing it. Luck got “lucky” last week on a few broken plays late that really padded his fantasy total and made him a big play. This week though he gets a Panthers defense who’s only allowed 5 passing TDs through 6 games and is also up to 9 INTs as well as a team. The Panthers are playing exceptional defense and with Luck possibly still not 100% I’m completely avoiding him in this matchup. Look elsewhere for big games from the QB position this week.
The Colts WRs are also going to be off limits for me this week. TY Hilton finally got free on a few big plays in week 7 but this week will likely be shadowed by the unquestioned best CB in the league, Josh Norman. Hilton was also the beneficiary of a few lucky plays in week 7 and I’m not counting on that happening versus Norman, stay away for fantasy… While secondary WR Donte Moncrief has the better matchup on paper you have to semi-question whether Moncrief will have enough upside in this game to be a viable play. Since breaking out versus the Jets Moncrief hasn’t caught more than 6 passes or totaled more than 75 yards receiving in a game. With TY on lock down though he might be the only way for the Colts to move the ball and therefore becomes a tournament target for me, at $5500 I expect him to be wildly under owned and he may benefit from some cheap garbage time production.
While I like the way Frank Gore has been running the Colts come into this game as 7 point underdogs and will likely be forced to abandon the run game at some point. I’m not willing to chance Gore, especially against the Panthers who have their star LB Luke Kuechly back and healthy. Kuechly single handily shut down the Eagles run game in week 7 and I expect him to do the same to Gore. Stay away…
As for the Panthers, QB Cam Newton has taken an average of 9 carries per game and is second on his team in red zone carries with 10. The Colts don’t really have a pass rush and rank near the bottom of the league in sacks per game in 2015 meaning less pressure and more time for Cam to pick apart the Colts D with his arm or feet. In a prime time game against constant QB comparison Andrew Luck look for a possible statement game from Cam. At $6800 he’s a possibly overlooked tournament option for me in week 8.
Here’s the Panthers passing targets over their past two games
I love the way Ted Ginn has been producing this season. Consistently priced under $4000 Ginn has now put up 13 or more fantasy points in 4 out of six games and leads all Carolina WRs in targets by a bunch. Ginn may see a lot of Vontae Davis in this game but the way they use him on end arounds and short screens I still think he’ll have a great shot at reaching double digit points again. He’s in play for me again as a cheap tournament option at $3400… I also love this spot for TE Greg Olsen. Olsen’s been up and down as far as production goes but should find room against Indy who, outside of their one stud corner, doesn’t have the personnel to keep up with Olsen. Olsen still leads the Panthers in red zone targets by a bunch and should find a return to fantasy relevance this week, deploy him in all formats this week on DK and expect a big game.
While RB Jonathan Stewart may have started the season slowly he’s really picked it up of late and is averaging 4.61 ypc and 18.55 fantasy points per game over his last two outings. I love this spot for Stewart as the Colts were decimated last week by similar power back Mark Ingram and will have a lot of trouble stopping the massive Stewart once he gets rolling. At only $4100 there’s plenty of upside with JStew in this game and he could be the one Panther to gobble up all the points. Consider him for play on DK as well.
Gameflow: You could see a Colts uprising in this game but the more likely scenario is that the Panthers simply dominate from start to finish. The Colts as a team haven’t looked right all year and this might be the week they get truly embarrassed by a Panthers squad who looks incredibly confident on both side of the ball right now. I’m expecting a Carolina win and for this to potentially be Chuck Pagano’s swan song in Indy.
Panthers 27 Colts 10
– Greg Olsen $6500
– Jonathan Stewart $4100
– Cam Newton $6800
– Ted Ginn Jr. $3400
– Donte Moncrief $5500
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3