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: NYG @ TB, DEN @ IND, PHI @ DAL, CHI @ SD
Giants @ Buccaneers
Point Total: 48
Spread: Giants -2.5
The Bucs continue to limit Jameis Winston’ responsibilities as he’s now thrown less than 30 times in every game since week 4. At $5200 Winston certainly is worth entertaining in tournaments this week as the Giants are currently last in the league in sacks and extremely exploitable through the pass—as we all learned last week. Winston has as much upside as he’ll probably ever have in this matchup, use his cheap price to your advantage this weekend but limit exposure to tournament play.
At receiver the Bucs are still without WR Vincent Jackson but look to be getting TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins back this week. The Giants have given up a couple huge games to pass catching TE’s already this year and while Jenkins is a talented enough receiver that he could easily take advantage of this matchup and make an immediate impact versus the G-Men. At only $2800 make sure Jenkins is healthy before using him, but if he is roster him with impunity this week, he should be targeted lots with Jackson out… With Vincent Jackson likely out that also means that WR Mike Evans is also likely to see a ton of targets. Evans saw 13 passes thrown his way last week (and now has 27 targets over two games) but converted a paltry 3 of those passes into catches. While some of this can be attributed to the stellar play of the Falcons secondary a lot also has to do with accuracy issues of his QB. While I still like Evans as a play this week do note that Prince Amukamara is due back for the Giants and will likely be guarding Evans… that is a huge upgrade for the Giants and downgrades Evans a bit in my mind as well.
At RB the Bucs have been riding Doug Martin a lot more lately and he’s now averaged 22 carries and over 100 yards rushing in his last 3 games. While many will be targeting the Bucs pass catchers this week I think Martin is better target. The Giants have allowed at least one TD to a RB in every game except their first and have also allowed well over 100 yards rushing in each of their past 4 matchups. At $5700 expect Martin to be much lower owned than the Tampa Bay receivers, he’s a great target for fantasy in week 9.
Eli Manning had a career day in the Giants week 8 loss and gets another quality matchup in week 9. The Bucs have allowed 9 passing TDs in their last three games and well over 300 yards per game in that span too. The Giants continue to pass lots and haven’t got much production from their RBs all season… look for another massive game from Eli and the Giants high-volume passing game week 9.
Here’s the distribution of pass targets for the Giants last three weeks of play:
The Buccaneers allowed Julio Jones and TE Jacob Tamme to go nuts versus them last week and judging by that performance I’d say the bar is set pretty high for Odell Beckham, Shane Vereen and the rest of the Giants receivers in week 9. With Rueben Randle questionable it’s possible Odell could recreate his magic from week 8 in this game especially considering the uptick in targets he might get if Randle sits or is limited. After his outburst week 8, Odell returns to the top of the WR chart for me and I’ll be looking to roster him as much as possible in this matchup… As for the other Giants receiving options, targeting one of Shane Vereen or Dwayne Harris in tournaments is a decent idea as well. While Harris hasn’t caught a ton of volume he would be counted on as an almost every down player if Randle was out. Similarly, Vereen has been used more frequently of late as a receiver and would probably get more work as well should the Giants be down a man… Make sure you watch the injury news this week as using one or both of these players in a tournament stack with Eli and Beckham could be fruitful.
Gameflow: This could easily be another no defense, last person who scores type of contest as both teams are equally inept at covering the pass right now. The Giants having the edge in offensive firepower but the Bucs have a clear edge in the run game. Ultimately I don’t see the Bucs pulling off back to back upsets and think the Giants take this one in a back and forth type of affair.
Giants 30 Bucs 27
– Eli Manning $6900
– Odell Beckham, Jr. $8800
– Doug Martin $5700
– Austin Seferian-Jenkins $2800
– Jameis Winston $5200
– Mike Evans $6800
– Dwayne Harris $3800 (if no Randle)
Broncos @ Colts
Point Total: 45
Spread: Broncos -4.5
Peyton Manning threw for well over 300 yards last week but still doesn’t have a TD pass in his last three games. Manning is returning to the scene of his greatest successes this week (Indy) and has a chance to break Brett Favre’s all-time passing yard record. Even still, I’m not sure if I can recommend Manning as anything more than a highly risky, narrative only tournament option. Even if he throws for a TD or two his current penchant for throwing picks could hurt his fantasy total… he’s got limited upside even in a great matchup.
The Broncos run game has looked good in consecutive weeks and here’s how the snaps have broken down in those two games.
Ronnie Hillman ($4600) has taken over lead duties in this offense and also now comes in at $500 more than CJ Anderson on DK. Hillman not only saw more snaps last week but actually got all of the red zone work too and converted on his chances by scoring twice. The Colts D have been allowing strong run games to flourish all year and so I expect Denver’s to keep rolling in week 9. At only $4600 I love targeting Hillman in this matchup and would consider him in most formats this weekend.
As for the Denver receivers, if Peyton is going to break the all-time passing mark this weekend someone is going to have to catch the ball. Demaryius Thomas has been seeing a lot more targets of late and been productive with those chances. The issue with Thomas is that he’ll likely have Vontae Davis covering him, meaning more room to roam for Emmanuel Sanders. Secondary and slot receivers like Eric Decker, Kendall Wright and Allen Hurns have burned the Colts all year and after a few slow weeks Sanders is probably a good choice to bounce back in this matchup and continue the tradition of burning the Colts secondary, consider him with Peyton if going for the big game narrative.
The Colts Andrew Luck has been brutal so far this year and both he and he Colts receivers have a horrible matchup in this game. The Broncos lead the league in sacks and have allowed the fewest overall points to the QB position through 8 weeks. Passing generally doesn’t work against the Denver D and with Luck so off-kilter this is an easy fade… avoid the entire Indy pass game.
Instead of going into detail about any of Indy’s other offensive players I’ll simply remind you once again what a horrible matchup this is for just about everyone on the Colts. Even if you like Frank Gore the Colts won’t be making a ton of red zone appearances and the likelihood of a TD is low. Meanwhile at WR the Broncos have limited opposing players at that position to just one TD all year making TY Hilton and crew a no go too. I won’t bore you with more details, just avoid the Colts side in this game.
Gameflow: This game has chance of getting quite ugly. With the way the Colts are playing and the supremacy of the Broncos D the Indy offense should get taken to school in this game. While I still like Andrew Luck he’s making too many bad decisions for Indy to keep a game like this close. Expect few fantasy points to be scored on either side and an easy Denver to win.
Denver 28 Colts 13
– Broncos D $3000
– Ronnie Hillman $4600
– Peyton Manning $6300 (narrative play)
– Emmanuel Sanders $7300
Eagles @ Cowboys
Point Total: 44.5
Spread: Eagles -2.5
The Cowboys have been pretty pathetic on offense without Tony Romo and haven’t generated more than 300 yards passing in a game since week 1. WR Dez Bryant did return last week though and should see an uptick in workload and targets in this week’s game. Dez has a great matchup versus the Philly D who struggles against elite WRs, the question is whether the Cowboys can take advantage of it with Matt Cassell at QB. If I had to guess I’d say that Dez has a decent game this week in a pretty much must win for Dallas. At $7900 he’s insanely risk but has a lot of upside in this matchup for tournaments.
The best play this week from this game though is undoubtedly at RB for Dallas with Darren McFadden who is still only $4300 and playing on over 80% of the snaps. With Joseph Randle gone McFadden is now the main carry and main passing back taking over the role that Demarco Murray held for Dallas last season. While the matchup versus the Eagles isn’t great McFadden is now averaging nearly 6 catches a game and his involvement as a pass catcher makes him nearly a lock for double digit points against almost anyone. He’s definitely a weekly consideration until his price rises to meet his production.
The Cowboys have actually been great at limiting the production of opposing teams QBs and with the addition of Greg Hardy have been tough to score against of late. Sam Bradford is up to 6 INTs in his last 3 games and I really dislike the matchup this week for the struggling Bradford against this underrated defense. Avoid him week 9… I also can’t recommend any Eagles passing targets. While Jordan Matthews still leads the way in targeting and red zone looks for Philly he’s priced far too expensively at $6400 for what he’s achieved so far on the year. Matthews hasn’t cracked the 100 yard mark since week and is an easy fade along with the entire Eagles pass game this week.
Here’s how the Eagles snap counts at RB have panned out the past couple games
Outside of the obvious revenge factor/narrative play going on with Demarco Murray this week he has also been seeing a more consistent workload for the Eagle’s in the last two games. While Ryan Mathews has actually been the better overall player this year Murray gets a pretty good matchup versus the Dallas D who haven’t been great at stopping RBs from racking up big games versus them. With the way the Eagles employ their RBs in the pass game I’d consider Murray who will obviously have some motivation for a big game in his return to the Big D. Outside of the revenge theme, there’s enough matchup and usage wise for me to recommend Murray as a tournament play and a big game is certainly possible.
Gameflow: As you can probably tell I’m not super high on this game at all for fantasy. These are actually two very solid defenses who should neutralize the others best players. While the Eagles have played poorly all year I’m guessing the bye week might help them sort through some issues on offense while also getting healthier on defense. I’ll take them to win in a lower scoring game.
Eagles 20 Cowboys 13
– Darren McFadden $4300
– Dez Bryant $7900
– DeMarco Murray $6400
Bears @ Chargers
Point Total: 49
Spread: Chargers -4
Philip Rivers is on a tear having passed for over 300 yards in 5 straight games while also producing 13 TDs versus just 3 INTs in that span as well. The Chargers may not be winning much but that doesn’t matter for fantasy. The weak Chargers D just means more passing for Rivers and this week, against the Bears defense who features a pretty exploitable secondary I expect another big game from Rivers. He’s probably the best value and most reliable play in fantasy at QB this week once again.
Here’s the passing targets from last week for the Chargers receivers:
With Keenan Allen out for the season there’s some serious value at WR this week on the Chargers as both Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman should see an increase in snaps. Of the two Johnson is likely the more reliable play and at only $3200 should see a lot more work in the short pass game. Inman is interesting too though as he’s a much bigger target and could be used more on downfield throws and in the red zone. He played over 60% of the snaps last week and with the Chargers deploying a lot of three WR sets he’ll once again see at least that much field. I’d make Inman a possible tournament target to pair with Rivers as a big game for him versus this weak Bears D is very possible.
Outside of these two players possibly being nice value plays the likely scenario is that Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Danny Woodhead also get an uptick in workload. Floyd is generally more of a deep route specialist and I would expect that role to continue even with Allen gone. Gates on the other hand looks healthy and has been practicing in full for the most part this week making him a reliable option in this game. I’d look for Rivers to target Gates a lot in this matchup and wouldn’t be shocked if he led the way in catches for San Diego with Allen gone. I love his upside at under 5k in salary and he’s likely going to be my top target from this game.
On the Chicago side of the ball Jay Cutler continues to play surprisingly solid this season but also continues to be mediocre for fantasy. The Bears have been run heavy for the most part and Cutler has only broken 20 fantasy points once this year on DK. I’m not interested in using him even though the matchup isn’t awful… As far as receivers go Alshon Jeffery is the main man in Chicago again and has absolutely dominated the targets since returning (26 in two games). Jeffery is still horribly underpriced at $6700 but has a tougher matchup against CB Jason Verret who’s been one of the best coverage corners all season. With heavy targeting and enough athleticism to overcome this matchup I wouldn’t completely fade Alshon this week. He’ll be the Bears main weapon on offense and is sure to get you at least decent production.
The best value play in this game might at RB for the Bears who will be without Matt Forte and relying heavily on rookie Jeremy Langford ($4000) as a result. Langford has a great matchup as the Chargers have one of the worst defenses versus the run in the league, but I do worry about his ability to really put together a big game. If I knew Langford was going to get most of the carries and all the work in the passing game I’d make him a larger recommendation but for now, with second year player Ka’Deem Carry still in the mix, Langford’s only useful in larger tournaments for me personally. Langford comes with some risk and there’s simply better and more reliable upside plays at RB this week.
Gameflow: This could be a semi-fun offensive game between two teams with not much to play for. I like the Bears resiliency and the fact they just played the Vikings tough last week. Still, this matchup versus Rivers and the Chargers pass game is bad for their secondary and I’m not sure if the Bears will be able to stop them enough to ultimately win this game. I like the Chargers to pick up the win on MNF.
Chargers 27 Bears 21
– Philip Rivers $6900
– Stevie Johnson $3200
– Antonio Gates $4700
– Dontrelle Inman $3000
– Alshon Jeffery $6700
– Jeremy Langford $4000
– Danny Woodhead $4800
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3