5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 14
In fantasy football, matchups are key to setting any lineup.
This series will take a look at a few matchups that can be exploited for success on the football field and for profit in DFS.
Seahawks Offense vs. Jets Defense
After a shocking loss to the New York Giants last week, the Seattle Seahawks now face the New York Jets this Sunday. The Seahawks managed just 327 total yards and 12 points against a Giants defense that entered the game ranked 21st in our schedule-adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Up next is the Jets' 25th-ranked defense.
Russell Wilson ($9,000), D.K. Metcalf ($8,600) and Tyler Lockett ($7,900) are all strong bounce-back plays against Gang Green's defense, which has allowed the third-most FanDuel points to quarterbacks and the ninth-most to wide receivers this season. Jets cornerbacks Bryce Hall, Lamar Jackson and Arthur Maulet rank 62nd, 121st and 122nd, respectively, in Pro Football Focus coverage grade among 135 qualifying cornerbacks and will have their hands full all game. The Jets rank 24th in pressure rate (the Giants rank sixth), so Wilson should have plenty of time in the pocket to produce his first 20-FanDuel-point game in nearly a month.
Lockett and Metcalf both have plus-matchups and should be upgraded accordingly, but Seattle’s tight ends will enjoy facing a Jets defense that has allowed the most touchdowns and FanDuel points to the position this year. Darren Waller erupted for 13 catches, 200 yards and two touchdowns against New York last week. Will Dissly ($4,600) has out-snapped Jacob Hollister ($4,900) in three of Seattle’s past four games and earned season-highs in targets (5) and receptions (4) last week. His floor is low -- but then again, so is nearly every other tight end’s -- but his ceiling is fairly high given this cupcake matchup, his encouraging recent usage and tight rapport with Wilson last season before suffering an Achilles tear.
Speaking of usage, Chris Carson ($7,700) recorded his most touches and snaps last week since the first month of the season. Carson still isn’t 100% healthy, but he’s seemingly returned to the same workload he enjoyed in the campaign's opening four weeks, when he scored 21.6, 18.3, 9.1 and 23.5 FanDuel points. Assuming he suits up on Sunday, he should also find success against the Jets in an offense with an implied total of 30.5 (per FanDuel Sportsbook), albeit New York’s run defense is far better than its pass defense.
Packers Offense vs. Lions Defense
The Green Bay Packers have been on an offensive tear in Matt LaFleur’s second season as head coach. The Packers rank first in offensive efficiency, first in points scored, second in yards per play and seventh in explosive play rate (plays of 15-plus yards, per Sharp Football Stats).
Green Bay has faced a middling schedule of opposing defenses in the past few weeks -- Indianapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia -- but will now play a Detroit Lions defense that ranks 29th in rush defense efficiency, 32nd in pass defense efficiency and 32nd in overall defensive efficiency. The Lions most recently allowed 30 points to the Bears' 29th-ranked offense in its first game without former head coach Matt Patricia. The Lions are allowing the most FanDuel points per game to running backs, the 11th most to signal callers and 8th most to receivers.
Last week Aaron Jones ($8,700) played his highest snap rate since Week 3 and accumulated 148 total yards on just 18 touches. He’s in line for a monster performance against a Detroit defense that has allowed 30.1 FanDuel points per game to opposing backfields since its Week 5 bye. Jones also had the best game of his season against this team, when he scored three touchdowns and 43.6 FanDuel points in Week 2.
While Jones is an obvious boom play, Aaron Rodgers ($9,100) and Davante Adams ($9,600) are also likely to continue their dominant seasons. Adams scored just 5.1 FanDuel points in the previous matchup with Detroit because he left the game with a hamstring injury. In games that he has started and finished, though, Adams is averaging a ludicrous 24.0 FanDuel points, including his 29.1-point performance last week.
Rodgers had the second-worst performance of his season -- in terms of fantasy production -- against Detroit in Week 2, but with Adams fully healthy, fantasy’s QB5 shouldn’t face the same difficulties. Rodgers will also get to play with Allen Lazard ($5,800), who has logged less snaps but has out-targeted Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,400) in each of the past two weeks. The Packers rank 2nd in explosive pass play rate, while Detroit ranks 30th in explosive pass play rate allowed. Lazard is taking his time getting back to a full workload due to his core injury but has his best chance at a major comeback game this week against Detroit’s clearly woeful defense.
Saints Offense vs. Eagles Defense
Quarterback/tight end/running back/wide receiver/head coach/general manager Taysom Hill ($7,700) is likely to make his fourth consecutive start, assuming that Drew Brees still isn’t ready to return from his rib injury.
Hill has scored 24.2, 18.5 and 23.6 FanDuel points in his three starts thus far while generating much of his production on the ground. He has double-digit rush attempts in each of the past three weeks. In that span, he ranks in the top 20 in total rushing attempts and yards, fifth in red zone rushes and first in rushing touchdowns among all players (not just quarterbacks). Philadelphia has allowed the 11th-fewest FanDuel points to quarterbacks this season, although it has also allowed the second-most rushing yards to the position.
Hill is a solid high-floor option again this week, but his presence has lowered the formerly elite floor of Alvin Kamara ($7,800). In games that Brees started and finished, Kamara averaged 13.1 FanDuel points per game on receiving production alone (he would have ranked 17th among wide receivers in receiving fantasy production in that span) as he was peppered with 9.0 targets per contest.
With Hill under center, though, Kamara has earned just six total targets over the past three games as his total FanDuel points per game has dropped from 22.7 (RB2) with Brees to 11.0 (RB14) with Hill. Kamara is still a dominant player, but without those valuable passes from Brees, it’s hard to justify paying up for him, especially against an Eagles defense that ranks in the top 12 in rush defense efficiency and is allowing the 11th fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs.
Unlike Kamara, Michael Thomas ($7,300) has continued to prosper despite the quarterback change. He has a ludicrous 39% target share and 57% air yards share since Hill took over, both of which lead the league. He’ll look to score his first touchdown of the season against an Eagles defense that has allowed a combined 25 targets, 20 receptions, 198 yards and 2 touchdowns to D.K. Metcalf and Davante Adams in the past two weeks as Darius Slay has tried to fight off injuries.
Chicago Offense vs. Houston Defense
The Bears are the beneficiaries of two straight dream matchups. Last week, the Bears scored a season-high 30 points against the Lions' 32nd-ranked defense. This week, Chicago will face the Houston Texans' 30th-ranked defense.
Houston ranks in the top half of the league in most FanDuel points allowed to every skill position player, including second-most to opposing running backs. David Montgomery ($6,600) scored a career-high 25.1 FanDuel points last week as he converted red zone scores. The Texans sit 25th in rush defense efficiency and could allow Montgomery to reach 20-plus FanDuel points for the third week in a row.
Allen Robinson ($7,000) didn’t boom as much as Montgomery did last week, as he hauled in just six of seven targets for 75 yards. His seven targets were actually his second-fewest of the season, but he should have a bounce-back outing against the Texans. Cornerback Bradley Roby is out for the remainder of the season (suspension), and without Roby, Houston has been absolutely crushed by opposing number-one receivers. In the three games that Roby has missed or left early this year, the Texans have allowed double-digit targets, more than 100 yards and at least one score to Davante Adams (Week 7), D.J. Chark (Week 9) and T.Y. Hilton (Week 13).
Cole Kmet ($4,600) is a viable punt option for those looking to save at the tight end position. The rookie has out-snapped Jimmy Graham ($5,200) in three straight games and set season-high marks last week in targets (7), catches (5) and yards (37) while scoring his second career touchdown. Indianapolis’ three-headed tight end trio combined for nine targets, five catches and 46 yards last week against Houston.
Titans Offense vs. Jaguars Defense
The Tennessee Titans will face the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second time this season. The Jags have surrendered the sixth-most rushing yards, eighth-most rushing scores and fifth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. Part of the reason Jacksonville has been torched on the ground is because it has allowed the third-most carries as a result of leading the league in time of possession when trailing (per Football Outsiders).
The Jaguars intend to stop the run, as exemplified last week when Dalvin Cook mustered just 120 yards despite 32 attempts (3.8 yards per carry) as well as when the two teams met in Week 2, when Derrick Henry ($9,600) earned only 84 rushing yards on 25 carries (3.4 yards per carry). Unfortunately for the Jaguars, their defensive game plan may not matter if they get too far behind -- especially against late-season Henry, as Jacksonville has witnessed itself.
Derrick Henry vs. JAX since DeMarco Murray retired following the 2017 season
— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) December 11, 2020
If history has taught us anything, it’s that Henry is in line for a monster week against the Jaguars. Of course, this evidence isn’t foolproof, but despite the tougher-than-it-might-look matchup, Henry is a strong play this week, and who knows, maybe he won't be insanely popular after his dud last week.
Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill ($7,900), A.J. Brown ($8,000), Corey Davis ($6,800) and Jonnu Smith ($5,400) should all be in consideration, as well. Tannehill threw four touchdowns on just 26 drop backs versus Jacksonville in Week 2, and the Jaguars are allowing top-eight fantasy production to both tight ends and wideouts this season. Tannehill had his third-best fantasy game of the season in the first clash with the Jaguars while Smith had his best -- both should find similar success this week.
Davis leads Brown in a variety of receiver metrics, but Brown still paces the team in targets, touchdowns and FanDuel points. AJB could have a slate-breaking performance against a Jacksonville defense that is down to Tre Herndon and Luq Barcoo as its starting cornerbacks. That duo has respective PFF coverage grades of 49.4 and 31.3 this season. The Titans' offense ranks 7th in explosive plays, while Jacksonville’s defense ranks 27th in such plays allowed.