Monday, Dec 5th
Bye Week:
Cardinals
Panthers

Week 14 Player Grid

Late news ::

There are a few pieces of important news this morning. In case you unsubscribed from the Sunday Morning email (um…why?!?), you can find it posted here.

Week 14 Player Grid!

(by JMToWin)
OWS Fam ::
This is not a complete list of all the good plays on the slate.

This is, instead, a look at the player pool I’ll be fishing.

Bottom-Up Build

:: covered in-depth in the Angles Pod (it’s highly recommended that you listen to the breakdown of the roster in order to see the thinking behind it, and in order to understand what we’re talking about when we look at a “bottom-up build”; also, it is highly recommended that you join in our “Bottom-Up Build Challenge” on Twitter // DraftKings! — first prize is 200 Edge Points!)

Blue Chips

:: these are my “Tier 1” plays: the plays I feel confident leaning into across different types of builds; players who have a high ceiling and a low likelihood of price-considered failure

Build-Arounds

:: these are games, offenses, situations, or scenarios I’ll be looking to build around across my rosters

Bonuses

:: these are players who don’t fit into the categories above — either Upside pieces who don’t have the floor to be Blue Chips (and are not being focused on within my game-focused builds) or players who may not have a strong shot at ceiling, but are worth keeping in mind from a “role” perspective; essentially, these are the leftover “Tier 2 // Tier 3” guys from the old Player Grid verbiage; ones who don’t otherwise fit into the Bottom-up Build or a “build-around” spot

Run To Daylight!

Run To Daylight (hosted by TodFromPA || presented by OWS!) will be live at 8 PM Eastern.

Hilow will be on.

Lex will be on.

Let’s have some fun!

(Note: the podcast runs live, but it will be archived shortly after it finishes.)

And with that, let’s get to the Player Grid!


Catch the Angles Pod here

Download MP3 For Offline Listening


Processing The Edge:

Josh Marrano (NFL Edge audio reader // excellent season-long fantasy player) walked through the Week 14 NFL Edge with me, asking questions and picking my brain on how I translate this “NFL information” into DFS rosters. This is a massively valuable listen. One of my favorite “special pods” we do. Throw this on 1.5x speed and study up! (TONS of my late-week thoughts on this slate included.)

Download MP3 For Offline Listening

Bonus Pod!

Scott Barrett and I went position by position on the slate Saturday evening!

Download MP3 For Offline Listening

Player Grid Update!

Aaaaaaaand Saturday “Pod” #3. This one is key. My condensed late-week thoughts/additions (including thoughts on the Dolphins’ RB situation) ::

Download MP3 For Offline Listening

Final Update ::

I’m heavier on DeAndre Washington than I expected to be. Like…I might end up with him on all of my rosters.

To be clear: this isn’t because I think he’s some automatic, free square, smash play. But I’m working with a very tight player pool this week; and as such, I have a general roster foundation on which I’m swapping around key wide receiver pieces (i.e., “this Jets receiver on one, this Jets receiver on another” || “Thielen solo, then Jefferson on the next, then Thielen + Jefferson on the next” || etc.). If I were also swapping around players in spots outside of these wide receiver swaps, I would decrease some of the potential power of this WR-Cycle roster block. What I mean by that is: the idea behind “Thielen // Jefferson” cycled throughout all builds is that (as explored throughout the week), the chances are high of one of them (and possibly both of them) going for 25+ (with the chances of one of these two having a 40+ point game elevated if the other is disappointing). Similarly — as also explored throughout this week — I’m cycling Jets wideouts using a similar thought process (at lower prices, and lower raw ceilings, of course). The goal for me this week :: maximize the chances that at least four or five of my rosters will have a 50-point pairing at wide receiver. From there, I could either branch out widely (with my rosters all looking very different from one another), or I could build around a tighter core throughout. If I were choosing to branch out widely, I would want to start my rosters with the designated pieces from this WR-Cycle, and then I would want to get creative from there: messing around with builds and finding something exciting to land on. But since I like a smaller number of players this week (as detailed below), I instead naturally gravitated toward the second approach and found myself deepening the foundation with a couple more “every roster” pieces and then building a couple more Cycles that I could spin through my builds. Without really intending for this to be the case, the high-floor/ceiling combo of Davante + Washington ended up on all of my builds.

Now, as for calling Washington “high-floor/ceiling,” we’re obviously talking price-considered. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized: this Miami team has been seemingly intentional about allowing a single back carry the early-down role — allowing both Gaskin and Ahmed (neither of whom really pops on the field) the chance to maintain a firm grip on the standard, lead-RB role. I have some concerns that the hamstring issue that kept Washington out of last week’s game will lead to him having less of a role than the other backs have had in this offense; but that’s really the only true “concern.” A healthy Washington would see 17+ touches in this role at least eight times out of 10, with early-down pass game involvement and a high probability of carrying any potential inside-the-five role. At this price tag, it has sort of become a “don’t overthink it” spot to me. A bad game is likeliest to land at around 10 to 12 points, and a good game is likeliest to land at around 17 to 19 (DK scoring; shave off 1.5 to 2.5 points from those numbers for FD). That’s a good enough “likeliest range” for me that I ended up inadvertently locking him in across the board. Outside of any potential lingering of the hamstring issue, we could “come up with scenarios in which he totally bombs even with this role,” but we could come up with a near-equal number of scenarios in which he catches a surprising number of passes or knocks in a pair of touchdowns or breaks off a long run on a busted play.

Finally, if Crowder is out (no one is really talking about this one, but Jets beat writer Rich Cimini said this on Friday: “Jamison Crowder (calf) did not practice and is listed as questionable. There was hope that he’d do some work today, so this doesn’t bode well for his chances on Sunday.”), I may have more Berrios than Perriman. This is partly due to some of the aggressive spend-up builds I’m putting together (that little bit of extra salary makes a difference), but it’s also due to the fact that he has seven or more targets in three of the four games in which he was featured while Crowder was out, and this is partly due to the fact that betting on Berrios is more of a “bet on the Seattle soft pass defense, and bet on likely game flow” than a “bet on Darnold” play. What I mean by that is: Perriman has a high ceiling, but he needs Darnold to play “well enough” to get him going on perimeter looks. Berrios, however, could have a big game at minimum price even if Darnold has a bad game, as Darnold leans heavily enough on the high-percentage slot throws for Berrios to be relatively “total dud” bulletproof at his minuscule price. With his touchdown equity, his ceiling is also nice. (Not quite as nice as Perriman’s “best case.” But at this price tag, and given the way I’m approaching this week, I’m comfortable giving up a bit of “absolute best case” ceiling in favor of some extra safety). Furthermore, if Crowder is out, Perriman could actually push for 20% to 25% ownership (frustratingly, Perriman seems to be catching some late-week steam from other sites, as his ownership projection has already climbed from below 5% earlier in the week to the 10% to 15% range), but Berrios would likely come in at 1/5 of that. This is a late game, so while I’ll obviously watch for early news, I’ll have to make sure to have a late-swap backup plan for any Berrios builds. But he’s another guy who can provide some really nice roster flexibility — with the floor/ceiling of a $4.5k to $5k receiver (as we often note: that mid-$4k to low-$5k range at wide receiver on DK is generally reserved for a combination of “safe but unspectacular slot-type guys, and low-floor, but high-ceiling downfield guys”; Berrios would fit into the former category, even with Darnold; Perriman would fit into the latter category if he were working with a better, less skittish quarterback than Darnold).

That does it on my end.

I’m about to work through some Berrios backup builds and then catch a bit of sleep before the Sunday morning email. See you in your inbox soon!

Bottom-Up Build

Full breakdown (of what this is, and what the thinking is behind these players) can (and should) be found in the Angles Pod

Correlated Bottom-Up Build
DK Salary Remaining :: $12.9k

Sam Darnold
Myles Gaskin
J.D. McKissic
Breshad Perriman
Darnell Mooney
Chad Hansen
James O’Shaughnessy
Antonio Brown
Eagles

Blue Chips???

It’s funny. Until I started building this week’s Player Grid, I actually didn’t realize what a “conventionally unattractive” slate this is. In researching this slate, I seemed to find “plenty enough” that I liked. In writing up this slate, things seemed to be coming together pretty well in my mind. And even in messing around with early lineups, I didn’t find myself having anything against this slate. But as I began to build my Player Pool, I thought, “Wait. Is that it?”

Part of my process throughout the week is to not look at ownership projections until around Friday, at the earliest. And typically, the first time I look at ownership projections is after I finish putting together my Player Pool for the Player Grid. At that point, I look at ownership projections in order to A) Get a sense of where my Player Pool stacks up against early expected ownership, and B) Make sure there are no players I’m completely overlooking (usually, if there’s a high-owned play who isn’t on my own list, I already know the reason why he’s not on my list, and I already expected him to be highly-owned; but it’s also important to keep in mind that high-owned players are almost always high-owned for a reason, and there is a positive correlation over time between “high-owned players” and “players who produce”; as such, I’m occasionally able to find a player I wouldn’t have expected to be highly-owned, which can force me to dig in deeper and to sometimes find more to like than I originally was thinking). But what I found when looking at ownership this week surprised me.

Firstly, I found that ownership appears likely to be spread out.

Secondly, I found that a lot of the guys who are standing out to me this week are not heavily on the public’s radar.

Let’s break down that first point first. Yes, there are 13 games this week. But the real reason ownership is expected to be somewhat spread out this week is the way those games set up. Five of these 13 games (similar to last week) feature a team with A) a high Vegas-implied team total, but B) a game environment that’s expected to be lopsided (thus lowering the chances of a truly high-scoring game, and lowering the chances of slate-breakers emerging). There are another six games(!) in which neither team is projected to crack even 25 points. The remaining two games have close spreads (Colts -3 vs the Raiders // Falcons now -2.5 vs the Chargers), but the Colts and Raiders spread around DFS production as much as any teams in football, and the Falcons are projected at only 26 and have quietly allowed only one of their last eight opponents(!) to top 24 points (and that team was the Broncos, who scored 27). Atlanta is now set to be without Julio Jones as well, which has really torpedoed their offense so far this year. From a standpoint of “what most of the DFS community conventionally looks for” (in terms of “signals for where good production might come from”), this week looks pretty thin. And from the more organic, open-minded, research-and-strategy-based approach from which we approach things (i.e., allowing Vegas lines to corroborate what we’re seeing, rather than allowing Vegas lines to dictate what we’re seeing // and understanding that good production can come from lower-total teams, while high-total teams aren’t guaranteed to be the best spots for DFS), there also isn’t much that stands out. In fact, I’m writing up all of this under the Blue Chips heading because, after going through everything, I don’t have a single player this week I’m comfortable listing as a Blue Chip play!

But what about that second point?

The second point, above, was this: I found that a lot of the guys who are standing out to me this week are not heavily on the public’s radar.

So let me mention a few final things before we dive into this week’s unexpectedly strange Player Grid:

There is no better setup, as a DFS player than this. Step 1 :: “Here are the guys I like this week, after diving deep into research and comparing everything on the slate.” Step 2 :: “Oh, wow. I’m likely to be working with a lot of lower-owned pieces and approaches this week.” It’s one thing to grab low-owned plays in an effort to be different. It’s another thing to grab low-owned plays that are the plays you like the most anyway! Weekends when almost all your pieces are going overlooked obviously lead to more “big misses” (if your players miss, you’re missing in ways that no one else is, which has potential to put you way behind the field). But of course, the flip side of this is that when your overlooked plays hit, you’re getting points no one else is getting, and you soar past the field. In other words: you might “cash less often” on weeks like this, but if you could take all the weekends like this and compare them to all other types of weekends, you’d find that you couldn’t care less about “cashing less often,” because the weekends when you do hit will be monsters.

With that said…

I’ve made it very clear over the years that the Player Grid is “not a list of all the best plays on the slate.” It is, instead, a list of the pool I’ll be fishing from myself. But more often than not (simply because good plays are good plays, which means most people, and most content providers, will find most of them), the Player Grid does include plenty of overlap with the consensus “best plays on the slate.”

Furthermore, I’ve made it very clear over the years that the Player Grid is best used as a way to compare your own thoughts to mine; but because of the nature of the dynamics here (you’re paying for content on this site // you read my research each week // you’ve seen me have DFS success), players on the Player Grid tend to be higher-owned by OWS members than by the field. That’s not a bad thing, of course! DFS is not about “players”; it’s about roster construction, strategy, etc. But if you are leaning on the Player Grid, you’ll always be leaning on demonstrably +EV players.

This week, however, I feel it’s important to emphasize that it appears I am off the beaten path a bit. Again: I love that this week! These are plays I have come across through my own research and convictions, and ownership appears likely to be spread out this week because others are having a hard time finding consensus convictions (i.e., nothing stands out as “clearly superior to other plays,” which is actually leading to a lot of higher-projected-ownership on players who appear to be landing in the public’s consciousness more from Name Value and Recency Bias than from fundamentally sound research). I’m absolutely certain that I would make more money than the field if we could play out this slate over and over again; but I’m also convinced I would “cash less often than the field,” simply by virtue of the fact that my rosters are likely to look very different from the field’s.

I encourage you to lean, first and foremost, on your own notes, your own thoughts, and your own findings from the NFL Edge, Miraglia’s Matchups, OWS Collective, the GPP Ceiling Tool, etc., and to use the Player Grid as a balance against those thoughts, rather than as a total tipping point. Furthermore, if you lean on elements from the Player Grid, I want to emphasize that you need to have convictions yourself on these plays. If you do, you could lose a chunk of your Week 14 investment and not sweat it at all. (“No worries. I positioned myself to ‘make the most money over time’ on this slate.”) But if you don’t have convictions, and this Player Pool bombs, you’ll instead have one of those Sunday evenings where you’re second-guessing everything. Know what you like this weekend. And realize that the field is really just guessing in Week 14; so if you find something you really like, you should bet on it with confidence (same as I’ll be doing with the pieces below).

My approach this week ::

I actually might swing over to mini-multi-entry this week, as I feel this slate gives me a tangible edge in that realm. There’s a $500-entry Milly Maker on DraftKings this week; and while I truly don’t love the idea of pouring a week’s worth of time, research, energy, and bankroll into such a top-heavy payout structure ($1m to first…$10k to 10th…$3k to 21st), I also have no doubt that I’d win this tourney at a higher rate than the field if we could play out this slate over and over again. I may build 13 rosters and take a shot at first place there.

With that :: let’s dive in.

“Light Blue” Chips
James Robinson

With recent touch counts of 26 // 25 // 25 // 19 // 27 // 24, the answers are already filled in for you on this one. Robinson has four or more catches in seven of his last 10 games and nine touchdowns on the season. He has shown no ability (as of yet) to post a slate-breaker at his now-elevated price, and his floor is lower than we would like in this price range as well (just a couple months ago, we could find Dalvin Cook priced in this area!), but we should also keep in mind that pricing gets progressively tighter as the season moves along; and given what pricing is offering us at present, Robinson is a role- and talent-driven Light Blue play. Note also: after nine total targets in three games with Jake Luton, Robinson has 12 targets in two games with Mike Glennon. As Scott Barrett would say: “running back targets are a quarterback stat.” It’s a solid spot for Robinson.

Myles Gaskin

With recent touch counts of 21 // 22 // 21 // 23, the answers are already filled in for you on this one. Gaskin has three or more catches in seven of eight games played this season; and while he has only two touchdowns, he has seven carries inside the five (where both his touchdowns have come), and through his first four games he was giving up inside-the-five work to Jordan Howard (nine carries inside the five; four touchdowns of his own). If we combined Gaskin’s inside-the-five carries and the inside-the-five carries that Howard stole directly from Gaskin through the first four games of the season, we would have 16 total carries (and six touchdowns) inside the five, which would rank fourth in the NFL (the touchdowns inside the five would also rank fourth), in spite of Gaskin (or Gaskin/Howard) playing only eight games on the season (i.e., this “player” has played only two-thirds of the season, but ranks fourth in both carries inside the five and touchdowns inside the five). The Dolphins are, of course, expected to fall behind vs the Chiefs; but they should lean toward the run for as long as they can in this matchup // Gaskin will continue to be involved in the pass game throughout // and touchdown opportunities will remain in his favor. This is a strong spot for an underpriced-for-his-role Gaskin.

Packers Pass (Alpha)

As explored in the writeup for this game, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams should have no trouble whatsoever in this spot. Both guys are about as certain as it’s possible to be in the NFL for “a really strong real-life game.” This vaults them easily into Light Blue territory. The only things that prevent them from true Blue Chip territory are A) the price tags (and the sort of score you’d optimally be hunting for with that amount of salary spent), B) the ease with which teams can also score on the ground vs the Lions (you need a lot of touchdowns at price tags like these), and C) the potential inability of the Lions to make this game as competitive as we would like (a shootout would certainly help these two to pay off their price tags). On a week without any true Blue Chip options, these guys are very firmly in play. However (with price considered), they’re likelier to end up as “rock-solid point-producers who keep you on a good enough salary-considered pace while locking in some easy points” than to become “had to have it” pieces. To put that another way: it will be surprising if you “had to have these guys in order to win” this week; and if you have them, you’ll likely need other players on your roster to provide you with your (price-considered) tourney-winning scores. But on a relatively thin week for locked-in points, each of these guys (as well as this pairing) are very much in play.

Build-Arounds

Vikings // Buccaneers

Maybe this will change as we get closer to the weekend, but the Vikings passing attack currently projects for low ownership in spite of all the elements that point to this being one of the more pass-heavy spots this offense has had all season. The Vikings have gone 10 consecutive games with at least one of Cook // Jefferson // Thielen scoring at least 24.5 points (DK scoring). In six of these 10 games(!), two of these players have scored at least 24.5 points. In eight of these 10 games, the top score from this group has been 29+. Meanwhile, the Bucs face the lowest situation-neutral rush play rate in the league (by far) and the second-lowest rush play rate overall, and have allowed barely 50 RB rushing yards per game. It’s massively likely that one of Jefferson/Thielen goes for 24.5+ this week (with a high probability of one of them going for 29+). There also won’t be that many players this week who score 24.5+. If I mini-multi-enter, I may have a Vikings pass catcher on all 13 of my rosters (and I may have both guys together on a few, likely anchored by Cousins at QB in these spots…or by Brady).

In nine of 12 games this season, Brady has outscored the opposing quarterback (DK scoring), with the exceptions being Drew Brees (in one of two), Patrick Mahomes, and “Sean McVay” (Jared Goff). People don’t want to roster Brady because they don’t know who to pair him with. I don’t “know” either; but as I’ve explored recently, I do know that Brady is working overtime to get Antonio Brown integrated into this offense. I said before their game against the Chiefs that I was tempted to play AB in spite of the awful spot, but that I would probably hope he disappointed in that spot so I could chase him at lower ownership A) after the Bucs’ bye, and B) against softer competition. As a bonus, AB laughably ended up highly-owned that week (as continues to happen with wideouts against the Chiefs, who have allowed the second fewest WR catches and the fewest WR yards in the league :: “Chiefs will score; auto-play wideouts against them!”), which increases the chances of him coming in at low ownership after his three-target dud. Keep in mind that NFL coaches and players aren’t fixated on box scores the way fantasy players are. Just because a guy saw three targets in his last game (after seeing 21 combined targets in his previous two games) doesn’t mean he’s suddenly out of the offense. It was just the way that game played out. The way this game plays out will likely be different. AB will be the most “guessworky” play I’ll have exposure to, but I like him as a bring-back opposite some Minny WR rosters, and I like him as a stacking partner with Brady on some “bet on Minny putting up points through the air, and then bet on Brady outscoring Cousins” rosters. I’d also be fine with Gronk, or the talent of Godwin, or the touchdown upside of Evans here; though simply due to the fact that I’ve been waiting for this week for about a month now (low-owned AB integrated into the offense off the bye in a softer matchup), I’ll likely isolate my exposure to AB. If I go single-entry this week (which, again, I’m now leaning away from), I won’t actually want AB on that roster, though I may feel compelled to have him simply because I’ve had this week circled for a while. If I’m mini-multi-entering, I absolutely will not have AB on every roster; but I’ll also, absolutely, have some level of exposure (likely on a quarter to a third of my builds).

Bonuses

Running Backs ::
Ezekiel Elliott

As explored here, the Cowboys would prefer to win on the ground with Dalton under center; they just haven’t had a chance to lean that direction as of yet. Zeke is not the workhorse he once was (Pollard has eight or more touches in six of his last eight games, and five or more touches in eight of eight; Zeke, meanwhile, has failed to top 23 touches in 10 consecutive games, and he’s failed to top even 20 touches in eight of 10 games), and this offensive line is not what it once was, and Zeke has looked “merely above-average” this year, and Zeke is set to be playing through a calf injury this week. But he also has a tremendous matchup in a game the Cowboys should control. A slate-breaker is unlikely, but so is a dud; and a rock-solid score is a high-probability event. He won’t be a “priority” for me, but he’s very much in the mix.

D’Andre Swift

We’re something like four-for-four or five-for-five this year in situations in which the field has been too scared to play a player because of reports that his workload is expected to be limited (the two that come to mind at the moment are CMC’s first game back from a long layoff and Ekeler’s first game back from a long layoff; thanks, Rapoport!), only for us to say, “Um…yeah. Not buying that one.” Reports earlier this week were that the Lions ‘might have a package of plays for Swift.’ Reports late in the week have Bevell saying Swift ‘might be ready to play.’ This all tracks very similarly to the CMC week and the Ekeler week, in which reports like this were leaked to susceptible members of the NFL press corps and the coaching staff played along in an effort to gain a small, competitive advantage. Maybe Swift will see only a package of plays this week. Maybe his concussion and illness have him out-of-sorts. But maybe, instead, he steps back into an 18 to 21 touch role in a pristine spot vs the Packers at low ownership. The upside is high enough that I’ll be taking the “risk” on a chunk of my tourney rosters this week.

Aaron Jones

As explored here, Jones has played nine healthy games this year, and he has seen exactly 18 to 20 touches in seven of them. He finished below that mark once and above that mark once. His “above that mark” game was 22 touches. That was the game in which he detonated Detroit for 236 total yards and three touchdowns. To frame that another way: the matchup provides great upside. But the role doesn’t actually change. This means Jones’ floor is still “price-considered disappointment.” His ceiling, of course, is slate-breaking. The Packers are one of the top offenses on this slate, and I’ll have exposure across my builds, including some exposure to Jones. But it’s also important to acknowledge the type of play Jones actually is :: a monster-upside, but still-low-floor (for the price) sort of option.

Austin Ekeler

As explored here, the Falcons have allowed the second fewest running back rushing yards in the NFL this season (behind only the Bucs; ahead of teams like the Saints, 49ers, and Steelers), and they’ve also bucked their half-decade trend of being a natural “RB pass funnel” matchup (this year, the Falcons rank 15th in running back targets faced and 18th in running back receiving yards allowed). With that said :: Ekeler has the explosive upside to hit in any spot, and he has nine or more targets in three consecutive healthy games with Herbert. On a week in which explosive upside is tough to find, the idea of “a bit of Ekeler exposure” will certainly circle my build(s).

J.D. McKissic

McKissic is certain to go higher-owned than he should for his likeliest ceiling (Peyton Barber is much likelier than McKissic to score any touchdowns here, making McKissic more “high floor, and hope for fluky outcomes for ceiling”). But there aren’t a ton of high-floor pieces floating around this week, which lends McKissic a level of value at his affordable price tag (DK only, with full-PPR scoring). If McKissic ends up around 20% owned (which seems likely), I’ll almost certainly be underweight on him myself; but we’re also talking about a cheap guy with 10+ targets(!) in three of five games with Alex Smith. It will be hard for him to “miss,” and fluky things could certainly happen to enable him to “hit.”

Passing Attacks ::
Titans // Jaguars Wideouts

As explored here, the Titans shouldn’t have any trouble when they take to the air against the Jags, and the Jags have potential to push this game forward through their own passing attack. This is not a high-confidence play, and I won’t have heavy exposure; but D.J. Chark and Collin Johnson are both interesting on the Jags, and either can be brought back with a Titans pass game piece (Corey Davis // A.J. Brown).

Texans // Bears Tributary

A long-shot play, and one I may not end up with any exposure to, but worth mentioning nonetheless. The idea here is to play Darnell Mooney and Chad Hansen together, and to do whatever you want on the rest of your roster. If Mooney (DNP all week; “personal”) fails to play this week, all the better; Miller + Hansen would be the move, with Miller’s targets more guaranteed. Again, this is a long-shot play; but the angle here is very interesting, and is worth reading up on in the Tributary writeup for this game.

Jets // Seahawks Tributary

It’s recommended that you read this game writeup, if you have not done so. Both teams should tilt toward the pass in the early going due to the matchups. The likeliest scenario here has the Seahawks eventually controlling this game to such an extent that none of their pass catchers will break the slate at their elevated price tags…but there is also a legitimate chance that Darnold plays “well” here (in quotes, because what we really mean is “well for his price tag”). It’s paywalled content, so I won’t cite the source or go into too many details; but one data analyst whom I respect mentioned in passing in a piece this week that his models give the Jets a 33% chance of keeping this game within seven points. We also explored in this game writeup that Darnold has gone 4x+ his Week 14 salary in eight of his last 24 games (33%). We also explored the reasons why we should expect 35+ pass attempts for Darnold in this one (as long as the Jets don’t generate so many quickly-failed drives that they just end up playing this entire game without the ball, of course), and we explored that in Darnold’s last seven games with 35+ attempts and Crowder at wide receiver, Crowder went for roughly 4x his Week 14 salary five times. In the two games in this situation in which Crowder didn’t go 4x+ (both last year), Robby Anderson went for seven catches and 100+ yards.

Breaking it all down :: especially with Mims out this week, it’s actually highly likely (assuming Crowder plays) that one of Crowder/Perriman scores (or at least approaches) 20+ DK points this week. (If Crowder misses, Berrios would become interesting in his place. Jeff Smith is also a fringe option in place of Mims.)

Furthermore, “17+ points” is not enough to get the job done at the price tags carried by Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf; but this is a bizarre enough week that a lot of rosters this week won’t have any wideouts who top 17 points (or will have only Davante Adams topping 17 points), which makes it worth noting that one of Metcalf/Lockett has topped 17 DK points in 10 of 12 games this season (with only the Giants and Rams holding them below those marks). The Jets face the second highest situation neutral pass play rate in the NFL and rank 32nd in DVOA against the pass and 31st in wide receiver success rate. It’s very likely that one of these guys posts a top 10 to top 15 raw score this weekend (simply because it’s very likely that one of these guys goes for 20+, and that may be enough for a top 15 raw score at wide receiver this weekend). Obviously, the upside on these guys is also high; and if the Jets’ passing attack does well, the chances of reaching upside are elevated.

With this in mind (and mixing in thoughts from above on the Vikings’ passing attack), I’ll be approaching a chunk of my rosters this week with two thoughts in mind:

  1. There actually may not be that many 20+ point wide receiver scores available this week (which makes it particularly difficult for our competition to get three such scores on a single roster).
  2. There is a strong chance that one of the Vikings’ two wideouts scores 24+ (with 30+ upside) // there is a strong chance that one of the Seahawks’ two wideouts scores 20+ (with 40+ upside) // there is a strong chance that one of the Jets’ two wideouts approaches 20+ (with viable paths to one of them pushing north of 25).

There are eight total combinations from this group of players (if taking one wideout per team), and I may very well play all eight, ensuring that one of my eight rosters captures the perfect combo from these three wide receiver groups. Now, the Vikings could fall completely flat, get stomped by the Bucs, and fail to produce a 20+ point wide receiver score; or the Seahawks could dominate the Jets so thoroughly that in spite of Seattle and New York both facing top-five situation-neutral pass play rates, no Seattle wideout tops 20 and all the Jets’ wideouts fail at their affordable price tags. But all things considered, those are fairly low-likelihood outcomes, which leaves me with around a 1 in 12 shot at ensuring at least one roster here with 65 to 85 wide receiver points…and given the way this week shapes up, that one roster would likely be pretty far ahead of the field. My goal in mini-multi-entry is to build my rosters together in such a way that I maximize the chances of one of my builds grabbing first place. This is certainly one way to do this in Week 14.

Note: I’ll also have a bit of Darnold exposure (probably on about 33% of my rosters) to position myself to take advantage of the lowest-projected-owned quarterback on the entire slate, at a bottom-barrel price tag, vs the defense that has allowed the most quarterback fantasy points in the NFL this year.

Tight Ends ::
Hunter Henry

The best way for the Chargers to move the ball in this one will be through Hunter Henry, who should return to his typical “seven to eight targets.” Henry has three touchdowns on the season and has gone for 48+ yards in five games. That may not sound like a lot (because…it isn’t a lot), but at tight end, it’s practically a bonanza. Henry is a sharp way to differentiate at tight end this week.

The Cheapies

Of course, paying down at tight end always has its merits in this day and age ::

  • Jordan Akins :: the Bears are tied with the Bengals for the highest opponent tight end target rate, giving Akins a clear path to four to six cheap looks
  • Dalton Schultz :: the Bengals are tied with the Bears for the highest opponent tight end target rate; the Cowboys’ passing volume should be expected to dip in this one, but Schultz still sets up well for four to seven cheap looks
  • Drew Sample :: Dallas ranks 28th in success rate allowed to tight ends, and Sample has 12 targets across the last two weeks with the Bengals throwing only 55 passes in sub-optimal matchups vs the Giants and Dolphins (this includes 10 targets on 48 Brandon Allen pass attempts). Another five or six looks is very much in the cards here, on a player no one will even think of.
  • Jags :: No one will think of the Jags’ cheap tight ends either, but James O’Shaughnessy and Tyler Eifert each have 10 targets from Mike Glennon over the last two weeks. The Titans rank 27th in success rate allowed to tight ends. Eifert is also questionable, which would be a boost to O’Shaughnessy if he misses.
DST ::
Buccaneers

Eighth in turnovers forced per drive // fifth in adjusted sack rate. The Vikings’ offense ranks 28th in turnovers per drive and 24th in adjusted sack rate. The Vikings have a good shot at scoring around 27 points here, but they should take some sacks and give the ball away a couple times along the way.

Seahawks

The Seahawks are still a middling to below-average defense, but their pass rush has improved with the addition of Carlos Dunlap and the return of Jamal Adams, and the Jets are always highly attackable.

Eagles

The Eagles rank second in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, and Taysom Hill is unlikely to break this game wide open with a monster day that leaves this cheap Eagles defense sinking your rosters. On FanDuel, I want the “defense I like the most,” as pricing is loose enough to get there. But on DraftKings, this $2200 price tag is attractive.

Saints

The Saints rank first in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, and Jalen Hurts is being put in a very tough position for his first NFL start. It will be difficult for the Saints’ defense to “fail,” and they have clear paths to upside as well.

A Few Others
  • Giants
  • Cowboys
  • Colts
  • Washington

If Building For Single-Entry // Three-Entry Max

This is my narrowest pool, which means it’s the pool likeliest to change a bit as I move deeper into builds. If it changes throughout Saturday night, I’ll add an update in this space.

If I were building for single-entry // three-entry Max, my tightened-up player pool would be:

QB ::

Aaron Rodgers || Kirk Cousins || Tom Brady || (Sam Darnold?)

RB ::

James Robinson || Myles Gaskin || Ezekiel Elliott || D’Andre Swift || Aaron Jones || J.D. McKissic

WR ::

Davante Adams || Justin Jefferson || Adam Thielen || Antonio Brown || Jamison Crowder || Breshad Perriman || DK Metcalf || Tyler Lockett

TE ::

Hunter Henry || Cheapies

DST ::

Bucs || Seahawks || Eagles || Saints

A Wrap ::

Remember to check out the Run To Daylight Pod to hang out with Tod, Hilow, and Lex, and me from 8 PM to 9 PM Eastern.

And remember to check back on the Player Grid on Sunday morning. (Probably eight or nine weeks out of the season, we add late-Saturday-night/early-Sunday-morning notes to the top!)

I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend!

-JM