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: WAS @ CHI, OAK @ DEN, DAL @ GB, NE @ HOU, NYG @ MIA
Redskins @ Bears
Point Total: 44
Spread: Bears -3
The Redskins have been awful on the road this season and are now 0-5 as a team and have allowed an average of 32.5 points against through those 5 games. The Redskins played well last weekend against the listless Cowboy offense but in general have been awful in defending against the WR position all season. Before last week the Skins had allowed 6 TDs to WRs in their last three games and were only saved by a conservative offense and bad QB play last week. This week the Skins will have to defend Alshon Jeffery who, even after last week’s dud, is still averaging just under 20 fantasy points a game for the year. Jeffery is also averaging over 11 targets over the 7 games he’s started this season and is in a great spot here to rebound after a pretty awful performance from him in week 13. I’ll once again consider him in all formats and think the Bears offense in general should get rolling after last weeks debacle.
AT RB Matt Forte had a decent day last week running for just under 100 yards and a TD while also catching 5 passes. It was good to see Forte back and heavily involved in the offense, and while he only played on 56% of the snaps, it was obvious he was the clear lead back for Chicago. While I generally stay away from teams with RBBC’s Forte has an awesome matchup this week as Washington as struggled big time with RBs all season and given up a total of 7 TDs to the position through 5 road games. At $6800 Forte is risky considering he’s in a timeshare but given his talent and the likelihood of a decent workload I think he makes for a great low owned tournament play at RB. There is big upside against this very leaky run D.
The Bears may have given up a bunch of late game points to Blaine Gabbert last weekend but outside of that meltdown they’ve been pretty stingy defensively allowing just 6 passing TDs over their last 6 games. While I won’t be considering Kirk Cousins at QB there is chance that Washington will have to pass the ball a bit more in this game and some of their receivers might be worth considering, here’s a list of their passing targets from the last two weeks:
DeSean Jackson has now caught long TD passes in his last three games and looks to be in top form finally after an early season hamstring injury. Jackson has looked great on the field but has yet to see a ton of targets in any one game. With the Skins on the road and 3 point underdogs it’s quite possible that the speedy WR stays on track and records his third decent game in a row here. At $4800 the low targeting makes him risky but the chances of a big play or two gives him great upside for tournaments where I think he makes a great value target. Consider Desean as a nice big field tourney target in week 14… While I’m almost always an advocate of TE Jordan Reed I do think this matchup is less than ideal as the Bears have been one of the best at defending the position this year and only allowed two TEs to score versus them all season. I’ll likely avoid Reed this week although the talent means a big game is always possible.
While I’m not a huge fan of the Skins run game at all it was interesting to note that Matt Jones played on 40 snaps last week and the Skins essentially benched Alfred Morris, who played on just 8. At $3600 if you’re looking to go with extreme value at RB Jones is probably a decent target as there’s not many backs at his price getting that kind of playing time. He’s also risky but could pay off with one goal line carry or 3-4 receptions in the passing game.
Gameflow: This game features two teams coming off of bad losses in week 13. The Bears looked tentative last weekend versus the 49ers and the Skins blew some late chances to seal away the game last weekend as well. Ultimately I think Washington’s defensive issues on the road will catch up with them here and you could see a huge rebound game from Alshon Jeffery. I’m looking for a Bears home win with a couple big fantasy performances from their offensive stars.
– Alshon Jeffery $6900
– Matt Forte $6800
– Jay Cutler $5100
– DeSean Jackson $4800
– Matt Jones $3600
Raiders @ Broncos
Point Total: 43.5
Spread: Broncos -7
The Raiders Derek Carr has played well this season against some tough competition and is averaging over 20 fantasy points a game. He gets the unfortunate task of facing the Denver defense in Denver this weekend which greatly brings down his potential as a fantasy play. Denver’s yet to allow a 300 yard passer against them this year and also leads the league in sacks as a team.
To be honest Carr and the entire Oakland offense are pretty much off limits to me. Denver has still only allowed 1 TD to the WR position all season (week 4-Mike Wallace) and even though I could see the talent of Amari Cooper overcoming this matchup and posting a big game he still is getting out targeted many weeks by teammates and not seeing a lot of red zone looks… At RB Latavius Murray is getting most of the workload for Oakland but faces a rush D who hasn’t given up over 100 yards to a RB since week 2. Murray ran well this week and is only $4800 so I suppose he could be considered as a contrarian play at RB but there’s definitely more reliable plays out there this week. The best play for me is to avoid Oakland on offense altogether and think about using the Denver D as a play this weekend. Oakland’s aggression might lead to multiple turnovers and possibly a defensive score as well.
As for the Denver offense Brock Osweiler hasn’t exactly been lighting it up since taking over as starter and has just 2TDs v 2 INTs over his last two starts. QBs versus the Raiders have averaged just 200 yards passing against them over their last four games and so I don’t see much reason to consider Osweiler as a play at all either, there’s zero need to risk using a player with such low upside.
At receiver for the Broncos here’s the breakdown of passing targets from Osweiler’s last two starts:
The increased production last week from Demaryius Thomas was good to see and he has a fantastic matchup this week versus DJ Hayden who’s been awful all season in coverage. Thomas had one of his best games of the year in week 5 versus Oakland and even though I’m not a fan of this game I do recognize there’s some upside here with Thomas given how dominant he could be against this weaker secondary. At $6800 Thomas is a WR I’ll consider for tournaments but would still advocate limited exposure. This game doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence from me for fantasy.
The best play from this entire game might in fact be RB Ronnie Hillman who could get a huge bump in workload if CJ Anderson (ankle) sits. Anderson was pulled from last week’s game with an injury and looks very questionable to play in week 14. Hillman would likely see at least 60% of the snaps and be facing an Oakland defense who’s been decent against the rush at times but who’s also given up some massive games to RBs this season. At home and at only $4800 in salary Hillman would be a great value play and my favorite fantasy target from this game by far if his teammate sat out. Watch the injury reports and consider Hillman for your lineups if Anderson misses.
Gameflow: I love how aggressive the Raiders have been this season versus tough teams. They almost knocked off KC last week (were up 20-14 at one point) and get another tough matchup here. Ultimately it’s just too hard to see the Raiders pull off the upset and knock off such a great Denver Defense at home. I do think the Broncos offense might struggle however so a close game will not shock me, ultimately I think the Broncos squeeze out a tight one.
Broncos 23 Raiders 21
– Ronnie Hillman $4700
– Broncos D $3400
– Demaryius Thomas $6800
Cowboys @ Packers
Point Total: 43.5
Spread: Packers -7
This is matchup between two solid teams who have played well defensively but struggled on offense. With the low point total and Dallas, as a team, currently with the slowest pace of play in the NFL I don’t see much fantasy upside and won’t be targeting this game much personally.
The Cowboys offense has been particularly terrible lately and doesn’t hold a lot of upside at any position. Dez Bryant has really been hindered by the loss of Tony Romo and has only two TDs to his name on the year. Bryant will likely matchup with CB Sam Shields who has been solid again this season and did a god job of limiting Calvin Johnson last weekend. Even though his price came down a bit this week ($6800) I see no reason to pay top dollar for Dez in an iffy matchup.
At RB Darren Mcfadden is still the lead back in this offense but looks increasingly worn down by his heavy workload to me and started to lose some snaps to Robert Turbin last week. The Packers have also been great at defending the rush lately letting no RB gain more than 67 yards against them since week 8. On the road in a tough matchup I have no reason or desire to recommend McFadden to you as a play. I’d look elsewhere than Dallas for position pays and heavily consider the Green Bay defense in tournaments. At home there’s every chance they limit the Cowboys to just a field goal or two and rack up some turnovers in the process.
The Dallas defense has also been quite good lately allowing just 5 passing TDs over its last 6 games. QB Aaron Rodgers is coming off one of his biggest games of the season last week but struggled mightily for many portions of that game versus Detroit only to be bailed out by a last minute Hail Mary. While I hate to cross Rodgers off my list any week the matchup and past play of this Green Bay offense makes it almost impossible for me to consider him. At $7000 Rodgers doesn’t have the upside I’m looking for at a QB in his price range and I think this is definitely not a week to chase the points with the Green Bay QB.
Here’s Rodgers passing targets from the last two weeks of play:
All of the Green Bay receivers have been sporadic and completely unpredictable all season. Richard Rodgers had a nice week 13 (punctuated by a lucky last play) and at $3900 will be a popular play this weekend. Rodgers has showed he has a nice set of hands but doesn’t have a ton speed after the catch which could be an issue in this game. The Cowboys have been great at covering the TE all year and only allowed Jordan Reed to catch 3 balls for under 35 yards last weekend. I’d be careful with Rodgers as a I expect speedy LB Sean Lee to limit him from a second big game this weekend… AT WR both Davante Adams and Randall Cobb have seen consistent targeting but haven’t been able to put together a big game for fantasy recently. Going up against weaker corners Tyler Patmon and Morris Claibourne either or both of these players could have a decent game but the lack of TDs between the two (Cobb has two in his last nine games, Adams has one on the year) makes them very risky plays too. I like Cobb from a contrarian standpoint but he comes with a ton of risk and is someone I wouldn’t suggest having too much exposure to this weekend either.
Gameflow: Given the way these two teams have played recently I’m expecting a pretty close and low scoring game. While there’s always the possibility the Packers offense gets a huge lift from that miracle play from last Thursday, one play likely can’t fix a seasons worth of hardship. The Dallas D has been very good lately and should continue to give the Packers problems. Ultimately though I’ll take the team with Arod at QB and think the Packers win a fairly tight game.
Packers 23 Cowboys 17
– Packers D $3200
– Randall Cobb $6300
Patriots @ Texans
Point Total: 44.5
Spread: Patriots -3
The Patriots have now lost back to back games and are still without Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman on offense. Tom Brady had a massive game last week as he tried to will his team to a late win. Outside of allowing Tyrod Taylor a big game last week though the Texans have been very good recently against the pass and have creeped up to 8th in the league in sacks as a team. I never count Brady out and love the fact he’ll likely be low owned this week as people focus on better matchups, that being said I’d only recommend him as a tournament play. The Texans will be at home and are playing well on D.
Here’s the distribution of passing targets from Brady over his last couple of game:
It’s going to be semi-hard to figure out where the ball is going for NE this week. RB James White performed well in the passing back role last week but his final total was buoyed by a late comeback. The Texans haven’t allowed a TD to an RB in five straight games but have allowed some decent games receiving wise to RBs. If you need a cheap option at RB White’s risky but carries some upside at $4100, the Pats don’t have a ton of options better than him right now… AT WR Danny Amendola is probably the safest play from this group of receivers and gets a nice matchup this week as he’ll likely see a lot of Houston’s weakest CB Kareem Jackson when in the slot. At $5200 I think he’s probably the main person I’d target from this offense and a pretty safe play at his price… TE Scott Chandler caught a late TD last week and should be involved in the pass game again with Rob Gronkowski out. I don’t like the fact he’s now $3800 and that Houston has covered the TE position well all year. He’s by no means a terrible play but could be semi-shut down by Houston’s LBs.
As for the Houston side there’s not a ton I like about this matchup. New England allowed a ton of points last week but it had almost nothing to do with the play of the Patriots D as they only allowed Sam Bradford to throw for 120 yards. The Patriots still possess one of the best pass rushes in the league (second in team sacks) and DE Chandler Jones could have a big game here if Houston can’t establish a run. While you could consider DeAndre Hopkins as a tournament option he’s been seeing less targets than normal of late and was actually out targeted by both Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington last week. With the Texans underdogs and likely forced to pass a ton in this game Hopkins has upside but at $8500 but I advocate limited exposure. There’s simply a ton of better matchups to exploit in that price range at WR. My main advice is that you limit your exposure to Houston this week and look elsewhere for better matchups.
Gameflow: This is an intriguing game with some serious playoff implications. While it sounds ridiculous to question the Patriots they’re reeling from some injuries, bad luck and two straight losses. Still, I don’t like this spot for the Texans much and think with a little time to figure things out on offense this week you’ll likely see a rebound here from the Pats. It might be close for a while but ultimately I see the Patriots ending their two game losing streak.
Patriots 24 Texans 17
– Danny Amendola $5200
– James White $4100
– Tom Brady $7800
– Patriots D $3500
– DeAndre Hopkins $8500
Giants @ Dolphins
Point Total: 47
Spread: Giants -1
This is a potentially interesting game for fantasy purposes as both teams are projected score in the 23-24 point range and have struggled at times on defense. Ryan Tannehill had a low output passing last week but could easily rebound here with a decent game. The Giants have been horrible at limiting opposing QBs and have now given up three straight 300+ yard passing games. With so many people likely not using Tannehill because of his poor performance last week I think he makes for an excellent tournament target at only $5200. This game has just as much potential to turn into a shootout as some of the more popular ones on the slate this week.
Here’s the pass distribution for Tannehill’s last couple of games:
Coming off his worst game of the year a lot of people might also avoid WR Jarvis Landry this weekend and that might also be a mistake. Landry posted his only fantasy game with less than 10 points last weekend as he was generally not needed in the Fins ugly win versus the Ravens. Landry plays out of the slot mostly and will avoid the Giants two best CBs in Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for most of this game and that should give him all kinds of upside in this matchup. As I expect the Giants offense to be able to move the ball and put up some points, look for Miami to be forced into more passing situations in this game and for Landry to bounce back this week. He’s a definite target of mine in week 14… While I love the red zone ability of Devante Parker he will be seeing a lot of Rodgers-Cromartie who grades out as the Giants best cover corner. At $4000 Parker is still cheap enough to consider but I’d limit him to tournaments this week as he could be limited by this matchup.
AT RB Lamar Miller had a fantastic under the radar game versus a tough Baltimore run D last week and played on over 65% of the snaps while doing so. The Giants gave up a big game receiving wise to Bilal Powell last week and its very possible Miller gets involved both as a runner and receiver this week. I like this spot for the Miami offense and think Miller’s both a great affordable play to target in general and for a tournament stack with Landry and Tannehill.
The Miami defense has been up and down all season. While they’ve been exploited by good running teams for most of the season they’ve also given up some big fantasy days to QBs too and have been hurt as a unit by the loss of DE Cameron Wake. Eli Manning has been hit or miss all season (more miss than hit) but should be completely overlooked this weekend as a fantasy play. While I do think there’s better cheap QB plays this week (Taylor, Fitzgerald and even Tannehill comes to mind) it wouldn’t shock me if the Giants offense has a good day. Eli’s a risky but somewhat interesting tournament target for week 14.
At receiver for the Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is now averaging 30 fantasy points over his last 5 games and been on another late season tear. With New York needing wins to stay relevant Beckham has been targeted early and often by QB Eli Manning and the matchup this week doesn’t make me think he won’t be able to put up another decent game. Miami CB Brent Grimes has struggled to limit elite WRs all season and has allowed Brandon Marshall, Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins to all post monster days against him. With the targeting on Beckham being so high expect another big play at some point and another big fantasy day. He’ll once again be one of my top 3 receivers this week in terms of rankings… The other Giants receiver I might consider, TE Will Tye. At only $2800 Tye looks like good value as he’s actually been the most popular secondary receiver in this offense the past few weeks. With Larry Donnell on IR Tye has picked up the slack and now posted double digit fantasy points in three straight games. If you’re looking for an under 3k TE Tye might be the most reliable option as Eli will eventually need someone other than Beckham to make a play for him.
Gameflow: In a game between two very exploitable defenses with great offensive weapons on both sides expect some exciting plays and some decent fantasy games too. The Giants have done a great job blowing the division title this year but I still like them a lot more than the Dolphins who blew their season weeks ago. The Giants likely get their fans hopes up again with a win here, although I do expect a semi-close and possibly exciting game.
Giants 27 Dolphins 23
– Odell Beckham Jr. $9100
– Jarvis Landry $6300
– Ryan Tannehill $5200
– Lamar Miller $5700
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3