Daily Fantasy Football: Sannes' Situations to Monitor in Week 13
You've got a lot on your plate this week. Hopefully, that is literal, and you're preparing to enjoy a heaping portion of green bean casserole within the next 48 hours. But it's figurative, too.
The week of Thanksgiving is a hectic one as we travel, dodge political discussions with family members, and covertly check our phones to see how poorly our lineups are doing on the three-game Thursday slate. Free time is at a minimum, and something's going to get the squeeze.
For a lot of people, that's keeping up with news for Sunday's main slate. That's especially true because Thursday and Friday are the biggest information dumps of the week for the NFL, and those happen to be the ones where we'll be most distracted by tryptophan and department-store stampedes. From a research perspective, this is going to be the lightest week of the year.
That gives an edge to everybody who does decide to put in that work in order to know which situations are impacting the outlook for each team. Obviously, you shouldn't take away time from the good things tied to Thanksgiving in order to do this, but a little Sunday-morning skim session before filling out lineups will go a long way.
This post usually goes up on Fridays, but given the holiday, it's going up on Wednesday, instead. That means we won't have any injury reports to go off of, and you're going to have to run through all the player news blurbs later in the week to make sure nothing unexpected changes. The goal, though, is to arm you with the information you need to make decisions once we do know how things are going to break.
With that said, let's dive on in. Here are some situations primed to impact the Week 13 main slate and how those changes should influence the way we view the affected teams.
The Chiefs' Return to the Main Slate
The Kansas City Chiefs have been on the main slate just three times in the past eight weeks thanks to a bye and a bunch of primetime games. The only downside of Patrick Mahomes is that he's good enough where we never get to use him in situations like this.
Unfortunately, we've got a couple of injuries to juggle with the Chiefs as they come out of their bye, killing the vibe on the Chiefs' welcome wagon.
The first is to Tyreek Hill, though it seems like Hill is on the right side of questionable after injuring his hamstring in Week 11.
Andy Reid said he’s optimistic about Tyreek Hill’s availability this week but added he wants to see how he does at practice. Hill left the game early against the Chargers with a hamstring injury.
— BJ Kissel (@ChiefsReporter) November 25, 2019
The other name we'll have to monitor is Damien Williams. Williams had seemingly taken control of the backfield in Week 10 with LeSean McCoy inactive, but then Williams picked up a rib injury in Week 11 and did not return. Head coach Andy Reid didn't give an update on Williams on Monday, meaning we're flying in blind here.
The Hill situation impacts how we view Williams. If the Chiefs were to have Hill back, it would be the third time all year in which they've had all their top-end guys healthy. The other two games were in Weeks 1 and 11, and Hill got hurt during both of those games. Having them and left tackle Eric Fisher all healthy means we should expect this offense to ruin dreams.
The expected efficiency of the offense would be astronomical if everyone were healthy, and we want to tie our running backs to efficient offenses. It gives them more chances at touchdowns, and it increases the odds they'll be able to run the ball deep into the game.
If Williams can go, then he might be worth the risk at $6,000 on FanDuel. He did lose some work to McCoy even before the rib injury in Week 11, but the team had McCoy inactive for a reason in Week 10. They've said it was load management, but it's hard to justify that on a team that already had three losses entering the game and is fighting for a 2 seed. Williams just seemed to be the back they trusted more.
In two games with his featured role, Williams averaged 15.5 carries and 3.5 targets per game while playing more than 70% of the snaps in both. If you can get that as a 9.5-point home favorite against the league's 21st-ranked rush defense, you should take advantage. He would be out of play for cash games, and it's hard to make him a core play in tournaments, but the path to a big game, if he's the lead back, is fairly clear.
Things are a bit messier if Williams can't go. It would whittle it down to just two players, but the backfield was still split after Williams' injury in Week 11. Here's the touch distribution for the Chiefs after Williams' injury and before McCoy left to be checked for a concussion.
|Between Williams' and McCoy's Injuries||Carries||Targets|
The passing-game work for McCoy is super valuable, and we should seek that out when possible. But Darrel Williams stole the lone carry inside the 10 in that time, and with McCoy's propensity for fumbling, that probably wasn't a fluke.
There's a lot of ambiguity here whether Damien Williams plays or not. If Damien does go, he's a risky tournament option at $6,000. If not, we'd likely be wise to avoid this backfield and the headache of choosing between McCoy and Darrel Williams.
For the pass-catchers, it's a whole heck of a lot easier, and we've got multiple avenues for stacking Mahomes.
There has been only one game this entire year in which all of Hill, Mahomes, and Sammy Watkins were able to play a full game together. That was Week 10 against the Tennessee Titans, and Mahomes fed Hill.
|In Week 10||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
If Hill is able to return, he's an elite wide-receiver target, even up at $8,300.
Watkins and Travis Kelce would be options, too, despite so many of the targets likely going Hill's way. At $6,100 and $7,100, they'd be low-salary exposure to the slate's best offense, and they both still got high-leverage work in Week 10.
Kelce helps fill a generally wretched position, and he comes with yardage and touchdown upside. He has at least 75 yards and a touchdown in both games since Mahomes returned from injury. He would grade out ahead of Watkins, who hasn't had more than 70 receiving yards since Week 1 and plays a more populated position.
In the event that Hill can't go, we'll be tested with Watkins. The Chiefs have played three games with Watkins and Mahomes and without Hill, and Watkins got solid volume in those games.
|Weeks 2 to 4||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Watkins got good, high-leverage volume in that split, and we always want that in a Mahomes-led offense. It led to a max of 64 receiving yards, though, so it's hard to fully buy into Watkins regardless.
You can always just take the easy route and use Kelce, but we would likely have to suck it up and use Watkins if Hill can't go. The productivity is easy to bash, but as he showed in Week 1, a blow-up is fully within his range of outcomes. That matters at $6,100, especially against the league's 29th-ranked pass defense.
The one tweak we'd want to make to the above table if Hill were to miss would be pushing Mecole Hardman ahead of Demarcus Robinson. With Hill playing just 10.3% of the snaps in Week 11, we saw how the Chiefs would handle playing without him, and they gave Hardman 76.5% of the snaps compared to Robinson at 57.4%. Hardman also had four targets to Robinson's one, so if you want non-Watkins exposure to the Chiefs if Hill sits, Hardman is the ideal route at $5,600.
The Raiders Without Hunter Renfrow
Hunter Renfrow had carved out a nice, little role for the Oakland Raiders the past few weeks, and he was playing well within it. That means the news that he will miss at least this week with a fractured rib and a punctured lung does force us to reevaluate the way we view the Raiders' passing game.
The Raiders have played five games since Tyrell Williams returned from his injury. The targets in that time have been a bit spread out.
|Past 5 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
That made both Williams and Darren Waller tough to trust in daily fantasy because it put a major dent in their respective floors. With Renfrow out of the picture, though, things tighten back up.
At the time of Williams' injury, he had 19.5% of the team's targets, and Waller was at 30.1%. We shouldn't expect Waller to return to quite the level, but projecting a target share bump is pretty easy to do. That amps up the floor for both.
The ceiling was already there for both guys due to their downfield and red-zone work, meaning the addition of a floor would be big for their DFS appeal. Not having Renfrow definitely should alter the way we view Waller and Williams.
This isn't to say that the Raiders are in some can't-miss spot. They're facing a divisional foe for a second time on the road, and the Chiefs (surprisingly) are fifth against the pass, based on numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. There are still paths to disappointment. But Williams and Waller at $6,200 and $6,100, respectively, deserve to be on our radar.
Red Rifle Returns
The #Bengals are going back to Andy Dalton at quarterback, per coach Zac Taylor.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 25, 2019
Gird your loins, football fans. It's Andy Dalton time once again.
The Ryan Finley era was a nightmare for the Bengals, and it made it hard to ever be jazzed about using any of the pieces in the offense, even as Joe Mixon's usage shot to the moon. Things may be a bit different now with Dalton at the helm.
It's worth remembering, though, that Dalton was benched for a reason, and that reason was that the Bengals were winless. That doesn't happen if your quarterback is playing lights out football. It was definitely a lot better than what Finley was putting out there, though.
Here's what the two have done this year through the eyes of numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP). NEP is the metric we use to track the expected points added or subtracted on each play throughout the season, and Passing NEP deducts for expected points lost on events such as incompletions, interceptions, and sacks. Passing Success Rate is the percentage of drop backs that increase the team's expected points for the drive.
|In 2019||Passing NEP per Drop Back||Passing Success Rate|
Each time Finley dropped back, the team's expected point total for the drive fell half a point. That is not what you want. Dalton wasn't good (the league average is closer to 0.10), but this is a major lift for the entire offense.
The question is whether it's enough for us to use any Bengals. It helps that they're facing the Jets, who rank 23rd against the pass, but we still shouldn't expect this to be a good offense.
One thing that would help would be steady volume to somebody in the passing game. Volume can overcome a lack of efficiency. Here's where the targets went in Weeks 6 through 8 after Alex Erickson's snap rate rose and before Dalton got benched.
|Weeks 6 to 8||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
The usage would seem to indicate that Auden Tate is the guy here, and Tate did get at least 65 receiving yards in each game during this stretch. He's just $5,200, which is low enough to push us that direction.
As for Tyler Boyd, he made some grown-man catches in Week 12, and he's likely the most talented piece in this passing offense. That definitely matters, and it means we shouldn't cross him off at $6,000. But with Tate being $800 cheaper, it does seem as if Tate is the more desirable player for this week, and he is a player we can target in tournaments for DFS.
Dalton's return is also a lift for Mixon, who averaged 21 carries per game with Finley starting. We want more efficient offenses to generate touchdown drives, and Dalton helps in those departments.
The lingering issues are that Mixon is facing the league's second-ranked rush defense, and he doesn't get enough work in the passing game to make up for it. Mixon is someone you can rotate in because there's a chance the Bengals grab a lead and can give him massive volume again, but he's not someone you absolutely must have in your player pool.
Le'Veon Bell's Resurgence
On the other side of that game, we find the Jets. You've likely noticed that their passing game has been popping recently, and they get a boost here if Dalton can keep the game closer. But recent improvements for Le'Veon Bell have flown a bit more under the radar.
Even while dealing with injuries, Bell has averaged 16.3 carries and 5 targets per game. That amounts to what we'll call 26.3 "adjusted opportunities" per game (carries plus two-times the player's target total to account for the value gap between a carry and a target for a running back in half-PPR scoring settings). That has allowed Bell to score at least 13.3 FanDuel points in all four games despite failing to score in two of them.
Last week was prepped to be a mini-breakout, but the game got out of hand, and Bell was allowed to rest a bit. Bell had eight carries and four targets at halftime but didn't touch the ball in the fourth quarter because the Jets were already up 34-3.
This is another chance for Bell to put up a big number. The Bengals rank 22nd against the rush, and even with Dalton as the starter, the Jets are still 3.5-point favorites. Although the passing game is worth consideration, Bell may be the best route for getting exposure to this Bengals defense.
Jonathan Williams... the Bellcow?
Frank Reich knows what's up. He knew we'd be in a bind with Thanksgiving this week, so he went ahead and let us know ahead of time that Marlon Mack would miss another game and that Eric Ebron was going on injured reserve. Those two guys are fun to watch, so it's a bummer they're banged up. It does, though, open up volume and value elsewhere in the offense.
The main attraction here is Jonathan Williams, who stepped into a borderline-bellcow role last week with Mack out.
|In Week 12||Carries||Targets||Snap Rate|
Williams had 100 yards in relief of Mack in Week 11, too, which isn't all that surprising given the Colts' strength up front. He has just four targets, but with 31 and 17 receiving yards, respectively, Williams has more receiving yards in both games than Mack has had in a game all year long.
Essentially, Williams was Mack last week from a usage perspective, which makes him pretty easy to diagnose for DFS. Would you use Mack if he were $6,800, at home, and facing the Titans?
In cash games, the answer there would be "no." Neither Mack nor Williams project to get enough passing-down work to have a great floor, and they would likely lose work to Nyheim Hines if the team were to fall behind. With how well Ryan Tannehill has played recently, that's within the range of outcomes.
But in tournaments, Williams is definitely on the map. Tennessee is good against opposing ground games, ranking fourth against the rush, but the Colts did run for 167 yards against them in Tennessee in the teams' first meeting this year. There's a situation in which Williams has a solid rushing day again, and if he adds a touchdown, that's enough to pay off at $6,800. So Williams will work.
A potential complication here is also relevant for the pass-catchers. That's the health of T.Y. Hilton.
Hilton made his return in Week 12, but he looked sluggish during the game, and he said Tuesday that he isn't sure he'll be able to go on Sunday. If Hilton can't play, it lowers the expected efficiency of the entire offense, which hurts Williams' outlook, as well.
The other ripple effect of Hilton not going is that it would open up even more volume for the passing game before we even account for Ebron's injury. Ebron was second on the team in targets in the most recent three games that Hilton missed.
|Weeks 9 to 11||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
If Hilton can go and is able to log a full practice by Friday, we'd be wise to at least give him consideration. Despite not looking all that good last week, he did have a pair of deep targets and led the team with six total looks. Prior to that game, he had practiced only once in the previous month, so a bit of rust was to be expected.
There were times last year where Hilton would not practice at all during the week and then blow up on Sunday. It would be foolish to use him in cash at $7,000, and he couldn't be a core play for tournaments, but getting some shares is wise, again assuming that he's able to work in some practice time.
The Rams' Schedule
Last week, the Cleveland Browns were an obvious team to target because they had struggled all season long but wer'e finally seeing their schedule open up. Then Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, and Odell Beckham all had either their best or second-best fantasy day of the season against the Miami Dolphins.
The Los Angeles Rams are Week 13's Browns in that sense. Suppress that vomit in your mouth.
The Rams have sucked recently. They've looked completely out of sorts, averaging 11.7 points per game in November. That's not great, Bob!
But we also have to consider the context behind those games. Brandin Cooks missed two due to a concussion, Robert Woods missed one due to a personal issue, and the Rams now have different starters at left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle than they had before this stretch.
They underwent all of those changes while facing the team's ranked third, seventh, and fourth against the pass, based on numberFire's metrics. It would have been a miracle if they had excelled.
The tough schedule has been a theme this year for the Rams. Of their 11 games, six have come against teams ranked eighth or better against the pass, and they also faced the 11th-ranked team. This means they've had just four games against teams ranked outside the top one-third of the league in schedule-adjusted pass defense.
The Arizona Cardinals are 28th in that department. Things are about to open up in a big way.
Not only that, but this game also features the teams ranked second and fourth in situation-neutral pace, according to Football Outsiders. These suckas fly, which inflates the play volume for both sides. As much as it hurts, we should be willing to use the Rams this week despite their struggles.
The one big hesitation that you could have is that the Rams have seemingly put Jared Goff on ice, deferring to the run when possible in this stretch. That's a valid concern because if the coaching staff doesn't trust him, they're not going to use him.
If that's your worry, then you should check out Todd Gurley, whose role is suddenly jumping back to life.
In the Rams' Week 12 thrashing by the Baltimore Ravens, Gurley played a season-high 96.3% of the snaps. It was the second time all season Gurley has played more than 76% of the snaps, and it gave him a snap rate of at least 74.0% in all three games since their bye. It's a big usage change for him.
Gurley still hasn't gotten a ton of passing-down work in this time with 10.5% of the targets, and that's another reason his output has gone down this year. But if he's going to play that many snaps in a pace-up game against the league's 18th-ranked rush defense, sign me up.
The reason we can still entertain using the passing game, though, is that the rush-heavy gameplan could have been matchup-specific. When you've got new linemen against those defensive fronts, it makes sense they'd want to be more conservative. But the Cardinals are a middling 16th in adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders, meaning things could be a bit more free this time around. Goff shouldn't sniff a cash-game lineup, but you'll be getting a quarterback in likely the fastest-paced game on the slate while he's on almost no rosters. There are worse ideas, even with Goff up at $7,900.
For stacking Goff, you could pair him with Gurley in order to scoop up (likely) most of the Rams' yardage and touchdowns. The better route seems to be an equally-slumpy Cooper Kupp.
Kupp has just 88 receiving yards total in three games since the bye, and he has more dropped-passes-turned-into-picks and fumbles than he has touchdowns. But he does still have a healthy lead in target share in the seven games in which he, Wood, and Cooks have all played at least two-thirds of the snaps.
|With All Healthy||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Kupp -- like Goff -- is overpriced at $7,800. But that should allow him to fly under the radar, so there's value in paying up to be contrarian here.
Woods has more targets than Cooks in this time, which is valuable. But Cooks ran more routes from the slot in Week 12, according to Pro Football Focus, meaning his odds of avoiding Patrick Peterson are higher than Woods'. Additionally, Cooks is cheaper at $6,700, so we should likely rank Cooks higher than Woods on our stacking list this weekend.
The Cardinals have been simply wretched against tight ends, which could lead you to targeting Tyler Higbee this week. But Higbee is $5,500, which isn't exactly cheap, and he's yet to have more than 50 receiving yards in a game this year. Gurley and the other pass-catchers are the best way to dabble in the Rams, and even with their recent struggles considered, it's a route we should be willing to take.
The Cardinals' Mess of a Backfield
The pace for Rams-Cardinals means we want exposure to both sides of this game. We just shouldn't be looking to get it via the Cardinals' backfield.
The past three games have been great for Kenyan Drake's usage as he has averaged 13.7 carries and 6.0 targets per game. If he were guaranteed that role this week, we'd gobble him up at $6,400.
Not only are the Cardinals getting Chase Edmonds back from his hamstring injury, but David Johnson also had the bye to get his ankle healthier than it was earlier on. He clearly was not at full health, and the Cardinals shoved him into a reserve role as a result.
It's possible Drake continues serving in his old role. But it's also possible that Johnson gets his pre-injury role back, and we could see this backfield devolve into a complete committee with all three guys healthy. As such, we'll likely want to stay away from all of them and instead get our Cardinals exposure via the passing game.
A Bounce-Back Spot for the Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles seem to have hit rock bottom. They've scored 19 total points in two home games since their bye, and it has led to some wild conclusions about the viability of Carson Wentz as a franchise quarterback.
What better time for a tango with the Dolphins?
The Dolphins last week helped the Browns -- at least momentarily -- quiet their detractors. That's what happens when you're the league's worst pass defense and improve to just 26th against the rush. It's a spot where the broken go to heal.
"Broken" is an appropriate word to use for the Eagles given that a lot of their issues seem to stem from the health of their offense. DeSean Jackson isn't coming back, but they also played all or part of Sunday's game without Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Jordan Howard. None of those players have been ruled out for this week. Johnson and Brooks seem likely to go, and Jeffery and Agholor were "trending in the right direction" on Monday, according to head coach Doug Pederson. There's a chance this Eagles offense looks much different than it did in Week 12.
Assuming that does happen, Wentz will be in play for DFS at $7,300. He hasn't scored 22 FanDuel points since Jackson's injury, but he also hasn't faced a pass defense ranked outside the top 20 since they squared off with the Jets in Week 5. If Johnson and Jeffery can't get back, then it's good to be cautious with Wentz, but this is a good rebound spot for him.
As far as the pass-catchers go, we prepared for Jeffery's return in last week's situations to monitor, but it wound up being for nought as Jeffery couldn't get back in time. The most relevant sample we zeroed in on there was the four-game stretch when Jeffery was healthy after Dallas Goedert's role expanded. Here's the target distribution in that time.
|Weeks 6 to 9||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
That was what got us on Ertz at $6,100. This week, he's up to $6,900, but even that's not high enough for us to jump ship.
Ertz is getting massive target volume, and he's leveraging it into yardage upside, something we don't often get out of a tight end. Ertz has at least 11 targets and 90 receiving yards in three straight games, and a date with the Dolphins would not lower his upside. Outside of Kelce, it'll be hard to find a high-salary tight end more deserving of a roster slot than Ertz.
Jeffery would be a bit of a tougher sell. Even with the injury, his salary is at $6,500, a number that is hard to swallow for a guy who hasn't had more than 76 receiving yards in a game. That's especially true with Jeffery coming off a multi-week injury absence.
The value option in this passing game is still Goedert at $5,200. He definitely hasn't had the yardage upside of Ertz with a max of 69 receiving yards this year, but you don't need as much juice there for a tight end to pay off at such a low salary. Goedert got some downfield work and plenty of action in the red zone during the sample above, meaning he's one of the better cheap tight ends on the main slate.
If Howard is still unable to get clearance, it'd be another week to target Miles Sanders at $5,800.
Sanders feels like someone we'd want to avoid given that he has scored just 15.8 FanDuel points total in the two games without Howard. But again, we have to remember the context. Johnson lasted only 24 plays before his concussion in Week 11, and the Eagles' leading target-getter at wide receiver those two games was (the since-released) Jordan Matthews. If he gets Johnson, Brooks, and Jeffery out there, it'll increase the team's efficiency and give Sanders jacked up odds of finding the end zone.
Sanders has averaged 11.5 carries and 4.5 targets per game in two contests without Howard while playing 84% of the snaps. If you get that against the Dolphins for $5,800, you should take it and run no matter what the results have looked like previously.
Nick Foles' Target Distribution
If we're going to talk about Wentz, it feels only just to also chat up the man to whom he will forever be tied, Nick Foles. Foles is another guy who will play a key role in the Week 13 main slate.
Sure, Foles has struggled in two games since coming off the shelf, but he's finally back at home now and slated to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They're the league's best rush defense and rank just 19th against the pass. Teams throw often and efficiently against them, positioning Foles and his pass-catchers for success.
We're up to a two-game sample now on Foles as the full-time starter again, which is enough to work off of. It also gives us some actionable takeaways for DFS.
|Past 2 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Chark is $6,900, so his salary partly accounts for that. He's still a good play in this matchup for sure; it's just hard to say he's an immense value.
It's a bit different for Conley. He's down at $6,000, which is pretty solid for a guy who has at least seven targets in five straight games. He hasn't had a ceiling game yet, but the numbers above show that one of those is within Conley's range of outcomes.
If you're looking for floor, Chark is your guy. His overall target share gives him that, and he adds the high-leverage looks to bolster his ceiling, too. That's a rock-solid profile.
Conley deserves to be in our tournament player pool, though. He's cheap exposure to a quarterback who is chucking it deep and is facing a poor secondary. That'll work, given that he's unlikely to be on many rosters this weekend.
The other takeaway from Foles' target distribution is that he is pumping volume to Leonard Fournette. That's a key given the difficulty of the matchup with the Buccaneers' rush defense. Fournette has at least 30 receiving yards in four straight games, so while we don't need to target him in cash games, he's still someone with the upside necessary to pay off in tournaments.
Another Steelers Quarterback Change
Hodges took over at quarterback for Rudolph at halftime in Week 12 and will now start on Sunday in Pittsburgh. It can't hurt because Rudolph had been a massive liability of late, but it's also not going to put us on this Steelers offense.
Between his one start and two relief appearances, Hodges has thrown 40 passes this year. Only three of those have been at least 16 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, and his average depth of target is just 4.8 yards, per FantasyADHD.com. At least Rudolph had the common courtesy to occasionally -- whether on purpose or not -- push the ball downfield.
It's a small sample, so things could always change, but Hodges' bunny-target ways would put a lid on this entire offense, limiting the appeal even with JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner potentially in line to miss another game. If you're not throwing downfield, it's hard to move the ball in chunks, making touchdown drives nearly impossible to generate. Sure, James Washington could bust off another long tuddy, but banking on a broken play is generally a losing strategy in DFS.
Hodges starting is enough for us to lower our thoughts on the Steelers, and it also makes this game wholly unattractive, including the suddenly resurgent Browns. It's a repeat matchup for the second time in three weeks, and the Steelers are numberFire's third-ranked pass defense. We'll be back on the Browns soon enough, but this isn't the week to do it.
The Packers Without Bryan Bulaga
As you saw in Week 12, not having right tackle Bryan Bulaga is a big deal for the Green Bay Packers. Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa spent more time in the Packers' backfield than Aaron Jones. With Bulaga on the wrong side of questionable for Week 13, that's definitely a major concern for the Packers.
Once you adjust for schedule, the 49ers rank second against the pass, according to numberFire's metrics. The Giants are 26th, and their sack rate is about half of the 49ers'. If you're going to be missing your right tackle, this is the spot to do it.
Bulaga missed more than half the season in 2017, but we can't look at their splits with and without him that year as both Aaron Rodgers and left tackle David Bakhtiari missed time due to injuries. Last year, though, Bulaga missed a pair of games. One of them was against the Chicago Bears, who had arguably the best defense in football. We can write that off.
The other, though, was against the Atlanta Falcons. Their defense was far more similar to the Giants' than the 49ers'.
In that one, the Packers led, 20-7, at halftime and were up 34-7 at the end of the third quarter. It wasn't Rodgers' most efficient game, but it was far from being his worst. They can run up the score with Bulaga out... it's just not ideal.
We should downgrade the Packers' expected efficiency for this week, which dings Rodgers significantly at $8,100. It also lowers the odds that Jones hits his ceiling, and that's his biggest appeal at $8,000. Both are off the cash-game radar, and neither is a must-have player for tournaments.
The one guy who maintains major appeal with Bulaga out is Davante Adams. At $8,000, he's right between Hill, Kupp, and the Bucs' receivers, but he can pay off that salary.
We've got a three-game sample since Adams returned from injury, and he has been hogging all of the looks.
|Past 3 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
If you're not Davante, you're not getting diddly. That's fine by us for DFS.
Kupp is going to be less popular than Adams, which is alluring, and Hill's at home with a healthier offensive line. But Adams has the talent and usage to go nuts on any given slate, so all three are worthy of exposure.
Another Injury for the Giants' Pass-Catchers
Daniel Jones has had a rough rookie year, and a lot of that is self-inflicted. He has made some bad throws, and he has shown a massive affinity for sacks. We just have to grade him on a curve because his pass-catchers have been in flux all year long.
During the same game in which Sterling Shepard was returning from a long layoff due to a concussion, Golden Tate sustained one late and is now in concussion protocol. Add in that Evan Engram isn't a lock to return on Sunday, and things are shaky once again.
If either Tate or Engram can't go, it'll lock in steady volume for Shepard and Darius Slayton. Shepard had nine targets in Week 12, and Slayton had seven. Seven others went to Tate, so his absence would likely put a couple of extra looks on their plates.
Shepard's salary has jumped down to $5,900, which is sweet for a guy who has 24.0% of the targets in the games he has played this year. He'd be in play for both cash games and tournaments if the Giants were to remain down a piece.
Slayton is $6,300, which is super high for a guy whose floor is definitely lower than Shepard's. We should likely go Slayton's way only if both Tate and Engram can't go.
The other potential value play here if Engram sits is Kaden Smith at $4,000. Smith had six targets and played 98.3% of the snaps in Week 12, and you're not going to find that for anybody else within shouting distance of his salary. If you need help finding the $11,000 to get to Christian McCaffrey, Smith is a massive crutch.
Saquon Barkley is likely the only guy in this equation who loses some viability with additional players sidelined. The volume should be there for him regardless; he just needs efficiency to swing back in his favor, and the odds that happens go up the more relevant guys they've got available.
Barkley's at home against the league's 31st-ranked rush defense, and the Giants should be able to get him involved as a rusher. That alone puts him on the map at $7,600. But if they get Tate, Engram, or both in the fold, his touchdown expectation would jump up. Despite his bloody game logs, Barkley is a name we'll need to keep in mind as the week progresses.