WATCH: SLEEPER PICK – DOUG BALDWIN
This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high upside plays and pairings that could really pay off big for you in a tournament.
Andrew Luck ($6,900) and T.Y. Hilton ($7,500) = Combined $14,400 total
Andrew Luck played fantastic in his Week 13 return, and a huge reason why was the protection of his O-line. The Colts only gave up one sack last week and gave Luck all day to pick apart a weak secondary. This week the Colts take on a Houston team who only ranks 26th in sacks as a team and who have given up multiple TD passes in each of their last four games. Luck and T.Y. Hilton have now combined for over 50 DraftKings points on four separate occasions already in 2016, and there is good reason why this week could be the fifth.
Playing out of the slot, Hilton should avoid the Texans’ best corner in A.J. Bouye most snaps, and instead could see lots of newly acquired Al-Hajj Shabazz, a player who wasn’t good enough to start for Pittsburgh and who was just picked-up to replace Charles James. With Luck and Hilton playing indoors, and no cold weather to worry to about, seeing them go off as the top stack this week isn’t hard to envision for me.
Bonus: Eli Manning ($5,500) and Odell Beckham ($8,000)
Philip Rivers ($6,600): Rivers has not played well in his past three games, as he’s now thrown for eight TDs v seven INTs in that span. The good news though is that Rivers is going to be playing a somewhat depleted Carolina defense Week 14 in a game with a close point spread and a projected point total of 48.5 as of writing. Carolina has allowed veteran QBs to pick them apart this season and has now given up at least 285 yards passing in seven of their last nine games. With Rivers getting his best target back closer to full health this week in Tyrell Williams, big plays are going to be very possible against a defense that has given up the fifth most fantasy points to the QB position thus far on the season.
Bonus: Marcus Mariota ($6,200)
WATCH: PIVOT PLAY: DEMARCO MURRAY
Demarco Murray ($7,000): This is a case where one team’s weakness is going to play directly into one team’s strength as the Titans have averaged the third most rush yards per game in the NFL this season, while the Broncos have now given up the fourth most rushing yards to RBs in 2016. Murray himself is coming off a week of rest for an injured toe, and has averaged 24 DK points in home games this season making this an even better scenario for him. He’s also caught 17 of his last 18 targets and has only been held under 16 DK points twice this year.
Todd Gurley ($5,000): This pick is all about matchup as well. The Falcons have been uber generous all season to opposing RBs, giving up the third most fantasy points to the position along with the most passing yards and receptions. I won’t linger on Gurley’s struggles this year (there are many), but I will point out that without Tavon Austin in the lineup, he’s actually fourth on the Rams in targets (one behind Brian Quick on the year). This puts him three spots higher than he was last season — when he only ranked as the seventh most targeted receiver on the team. At only $5,000, in the best possible matchup, I believe Gurley can overcome at least some of his recent struggles and has legitimate big game upside this week.
Bonus: Isaiah Crowell ($3,900)
Davante Adams ($5,500): The theme with Green Bay receivers this year seems to be choosing which one has the better matchup. Last week it was Jordy Nelson who avoided the extremely solid A.J. Bouye, but this week it will likely be Adams, who seems set to avoid seeing too much of Richard Sherman. Adams has been spectacular at times this season and has now put up 19 or more DK points in five of his last nine games. In a must win game for Green Bay, I expect Aaron Rodgers to take advantage of the better matchup Adams should have most snaps and for Adams to bounce back from a slow Week 13 with a big Week 14.
Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,000): Here’s a few stats about Ginn that should get your attention: over his last four games he’s now averaged 7 targets and 1 carry, scored an average of 17.45 DK points and made three catches of 40 yards or longer (all for TDs). The Panthers are struggling defensively of late — which means more passing for the offense — and Kelvin Benjamin is still drawing top coverage every week, leaving Ginn in man-to-man on many a snap. This week Benjamin will again likely see a lot of San Diego’s top corner in Casey Hayward, leaving Ginn free to roam against the likes of Craig Mager, one of Pro Football Focus’ worst rated corners. I love the upside for Ginn in a game that could get a little wild for fantasy.
Bonus: Robbie Anderson ($3,000)
Vance McDonald ($3,000): McDonald is a tantalizing talent who has been solid at times this year but hasn’t put up a monster game yet. This week could be that spot, however. The 49ers are thin at WR and don’t have a big name on the outside they can look to when in the red zone. Meanwhile, they take on the Jets this week who just allowed three TDs to TE Dwayne Allen last week (and nearly a fourth to TE Jack Doyle). McDonald has big play ability – six catches of 24 yards or more on the season – and is in a great spot to add to that total here.
Bonus: Zach Ertz ($4,900)
WATCH: PIVOT PLAY: VIKINGS DST
Lions ($3,600): The Lions defense has gone somewhat under the radar of late, but they’ve now held opposing offenses to 20 points or less in six straight games (including the humiliation of Drew Brees last week). This week they are at home, and playing for a chance to stay two games ahead of the Packers for the division against a depleted Bears team. While Matt Barkley has been better than most people (including myself) thought he would be as the Bears starter, this will be his first road game and first game against an upper echelon defense (at least it has been in recent weeks). With the Bears sporting a low 18-point implied team total, this looks like a good chance to get in on the likely low-owned Detroit defense, who is in a good spot to produce multiple turnovers and possibly a defensive score.
Bonus: Buccaneers ($2,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.