Week 15 Matchups


Kickoff Thursday, Dec 16th 8:20pm Eastern

Chiefs (
28.5) at

Chargers (
25.5)

Over/Under 54.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Chiefs Run D
17th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
22nd DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
22nd DVOA/5th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
17th DVOA/26th Yards per pass
Chargers Run D
29th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
17th DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
10th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
1st DVOA/2nd Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Week 15 kicks off with what should be a fun one as the Chiefs visit the Chargers. The game has a 51 point total (highest of the week for anyone playing the full Thursday-Monday slate) with the visiting Chiefs favored by four. When these teams last met in Week 3, they played to a 30-24 score with the Chargers winning on the road, but of course, things have been more difficult for the Chiefs since then. Kansas City has scored more than 22 points just twice in their last seven games (yikes). The Chargers . . .

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Kickoff Saturday, Dec 18th 8:15pm Eastern

Patriots (
22.25) at

Colts (
23.75)

Over/Under 46.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Patriots Run D
10th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
31st DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
3rd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
32nd DVOA/31st Yards per pass
Colts Run D
15th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
21st DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
13th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
25th DVOA/20th Yards per pass

COVID UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND ON OWS

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86>>
  • Both teams enter this game, which has huge AFC playoff implications, off of their bye weeks and heading into a stretch of critical games.
  • Both teams have top 10 overall defenses by most metrics, with the weakest area for either team being the Colts pass defense.
  • These are two of the slowest-paced offenses in the league, and also two of the most run-heavy teams.
  • We have a general blueprint (from a familiar face for New England fans) of the game plan the Patriots may use on both sides of the ball.
  • Both teams are relatively healthy for this point in the season and should be able to play in their desired manners on both sides of the ball without huge adjustments forced by personnel issues.

How new england Will Try To Win ::

The Patriots are having a tremendous season and currently sit on top of the AFC. They are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last ten games with both losses coming in walk-off fashion to the Bucs and Cowboys. This success has been built on the strength of their defense, run game, coaching, and execution. Mac Jones has received a ton of credit for this season, and he has certainly been very, very good as a rookie and was a perfect fit for this team, so this is not meant to be a knock on him in any way, but the situation around him could hardly be any better. The Patriots are so well-coached and execute all of the little things so well that it eliminates much of the chaos that most rookie QBs have to deal with. The strength of his O-Line, defense, and running game also keep him in favorable game scripts at almost all times, as the Patriots have only trailed by more than one score at any point in two games this season (Week 3 against the Saints and Week 5 against the Texans). 

The Patriots are notorious for designing game plans that attack the weaknesses of their opponents and for finding ways to attack personnel or scheme deficiencies. The Colts are one of the stronger “pass funnel” defenses in the league, with a premier run defense and a secondary that has sprung leaks on multiple occasions throughout the season. While it is unlikely the Patriots take a completely pass focused approach (as they did in a similar matchup with Tampa Bay), we should certainly expect a much higher pass-rate in this game than their 52% situation-neutral pass rate they’ve shown over the course of the season, which ranks 31st out of the 32 NFL teams. Bill Belichick is also very well known for his record when he has extra preparation time like he has this week as the Patriots come off of their bye. The last time we saw the Patriots, they were running the ball on almost every play (literally) in a terrible weather game against the Bills. It would be classic Belichick to come out of the bye and totally flip that script by throwing at a 65-70% clip. The Colts are a zone-heavy team that mixes up their zones rather than sitting in the same couple of looks all game. This is actually a good thing for the Patriots as their personnel does not have a lot of high-end talent that is going to go out and win 1-on-1 matchups consistently. 

Ironically, I think that the game plan for this game for the Patriots will likely look very similar to what Tom Brady (New England’s former leader) and the Bucs did to the Colts a few weeks ago. The Bucs spread the Colts out and attacked them in the short areas of the field with their passing game while mixing in downhill runs with their physical lead RB Leonard Fournette. Something similar from the Patriots would make a lot of sense as the Colts run defense is built on speed and athleticism and the Patriots RBs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are very physical runners, so spreading them out with personnel and formation, and then running right at them would likely cause a lot of issues. In any sport, the best way to neutralize power is with speed, and the best way to neutralize speed is with power. The Colts defense is built on the speed of their linebackers, so getting them into “nickel” personnel packages and then punching them in the mouth with a downhill running scheme would, in theory, be the best way to use their strengths against them. Tom Brady spent almost 20 years building game plans with Belichick and is very involved in that aspect of the Bucs offense, so it is highly likely that the Patriots will see this matchup the same way the Bucs saw it. We should expect the Patriots to spread the field and find openings in the Colts zones in the short and intermediate areas while attacking them on the ground in a very particular way.

How indianapolis Will Try To Win ::

While the Patriots are a team that will make dramatic changes in their approach based on the opponent, the Colts are at the other end of the spectrum as a team that will try to impose their will through their clear offensive strength and engine in Jonathan Taylor. After receiving questionable early-season usage, Taylor has seen 29 opportunities (carries plus targets) per game over the last four games. That kind of workload is as good as there is in the league currently, and despite knowing it is coming, opponents have not been able to slow him down as he has averaged over five yards per carry in eight of his last 11 games. That being said, JT’s least productive game where he also saw the least volume, was against the Buccaneers who laid the blueprint for how to somewhat take him away.

With two weeks to prepare for this game, the Patriots will almost certainly force Wentz to beat them and bait him into any negative tendencies they have found. If you are up for it, I highly recommend reading this article where Frank Reich dives deep into the RPO (run-pass option) concepts used in the Colts offense and how they became uncharacteristically pass-heavy in that Bucs game due to the defenses they were seeing. I think it is likely that the Patriots will stack the box and send run blitzes at the Colts that force them to put the ball in Wentz’s hands and throw more. As discussed earlier, the Patriots overall philosophy is to take away the strengths of their opponents and force them to beat them in a different way than they want to. The Colts do not have high-end personnel in their passing game and Carson Wentz. The Patriots have PFF’s #2 graded coverage unit and are #2 in pass defense DVOA and #3 in yards per pass attempt allowed. The Patriots are going to use the predictable tendencies of the Colts to funnel their play-calling in a particular direction (towards the pass) and trust the strength of their secondary to hold down the undermanned Colts receiving corps.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

When I started researching to write this game up, I had a much different view of how this section would go than where I ultimately landed. Despite how run-heavy both teams have been this season, the dynamics of the coaching chess match that any Patriots game inevitably becomes will likely turn this game into something far different than most people are expecting. The Patriots are almost certain to turn up their passing volume significantly in a matchup like this, and at the very least, change the personnel and formations that they run from to expose the underlying weaknesses of the Colts defense. On the other side of the ball, the Patriots will dictate things by exploiting the flexible nature of the Colts play calls and concepts. In true Belichick fashion, this game will be played on the Patriots terms. While I would feel that way about this game in any week, the fact that this game is happening after their bye week only strengthens my resolve in how they will see this matchup and how they will prepare.

Both teams are well-coached and are good enough on both sides of the ball to adjust and move the ball down the field. Assuming the Patriots are able to force Wentz to throw more, it is entirely possible he has success against their man coverage (if stacking boxes and sending run blitzes, the Patriots will almost certainly have to play man coverage which is easier to read for a QB like Wentz, who struggles against complex defenses and can lock in on receivers and not go through progressions when he is asked to do too much). Likewise, JT has plenty of talent and is capable of breaking through the line for big plays against any defense. Basically, what I am saying is that everything laid out in the previous paragraph is the important part to consider from a game flow perspective, as the game is likely to be highly competitive but the pass rate and aggressiveness of both offenses will likely be much higher than we are used to seeing. The result of this will be more play volume and higher volatility than you would usually expect in a matchup of teams with such heavy run rates. 


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Saturday Slate DFS Breakdown::

Note: This was written before the Browns/Raiders game was moved to Monday leaving this a single game only slate. We’re leaving this here for the related thoughts explored. Xandamere’s Showdown thoughts are below.

Mjohnson86>>
QUARTERBACK::
  • On such a small slate we want to be especially careful to consider all possibilities and not rule anything out because of how fluky NFL games can be. That being said, Derek Carr and Case Keenum (or Baker Mayfield if he is cleared in time) are going to be a tough sell. The Raiders/Browns game has weather concerns and both offenses are looking like they will be severely undermanned, especially in their receiving corps. Likewise, both teams are far more likely to lean on their running games and operate in a manner that mutes play volume and scoring opportunities. 
  • Meanwhile, as noted in the Edge writeup for the NE/IND game, Mac Jones and Carson Wentz are very likely to have increased pass rates than we are used to seeing. To put it all together, Jones and Wentz are likely to both see higher volume *and* higher efficiency than the QBs in the CLE/LVR game. 
  • If Keenum starts, a lot of people will likely move towards him for the salary savings but there aren’t too many high-end salaries on the slate so saving the money really isn’t necessary to make lineups work. Sacrificing floor and ceiling just to save a few hundred bucks on a loosely priced slate is not a route I will be taking.
  • Derek Carr does have some downfield threats and the Browns have had a few games where they gave up big plays this year. If going to this game at QB, he is the route I would take.
  • QB is one of the bottleneck positions on a slate like this, and it is so easy for a player to become a “must” have in your lineup if they can separate themselves on a raw score or points-per-dollar basis. Ultimately, the questions around the LVR/CLE game and the way I am seeing NE/IND playing out will keep me off of QBs from the earlier game, as I see the likelihood of Carr or Keenum/Mayfield posting a separating score being much lower than their likely ownership, and thus not worth the risk in sacrificing certainty and projection. I will go with Jones and Wentz while finding ways to make unique lineups through my overall roster construction and approaches at other positions.
RUNNING BACK::
  • There are very interesting dynamics among the RBs on this slate, as two of the teams have split backfield tendencies and the other two have backs that they like to rely on but will likely be keyed on by their opponents. 
  • Jonathan Taylor is clearly the player most likely to “break the slate.” The matchup and game script may give reasons to fade Taylor, but there isn’t a lot of pressure in pricing for the slate so fading the player with hands down the highest ceiling is tough to justify in GPPs. 
  • Nick Chubb also has some slate-breaking upside and is not hard to find the salary for.
  • Players like Nyheim Hines and Jalen Richard (discussed more below) are far more viable on DraftKings than on FanDuel or Yahoo. 
  • Rhamondre Stevenson and D’Ernest Johnson are very intriguing to me. Both have shown tremendous talent and they fit their matchups very well. I expect Damien Harris to play but if he doesn’t then Stevenson would become a lock. I outlined the stats for running backs against the Raiders in the Edge writeup, and if Johnson assumes Kareem Hunt’s usual role he could easily be one. 
WIDE RECEIVERS + TIGHT ENDS::
  • Hunter Renfrow and Michael Pittman are the clear best options on this slate at wide receiver.
  • Patriots receivers (and tight ends) are likely to see increased pass volume due to the nature of the week’s matchup.
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones looked like he was establishing himself as the Browns alpha wide receiver last week coming out of their bye, and now Jarvis Landry is out.
  • Foster Moreau is the only tight end on the slate who is not sharing time.
  • David Njoku’s COVID status will be interesting to watch. If he is active, his talent in a featured pass-catching role would be really fun to see. If Njoku is not active, Harrison Bryant at minimum price becomes possibly the best value on the slate.
  • Mo Alie-Cox is priced at $2,400 on DraftKings (I didn’t even know that was possible). He is an insane athlete and the Colts are coming out of a bye week. He is the type of athlete/player that a couple of schemed looks coming out of the bye would make sense for. He also has two games with zero points in the last six weeks.
WAYS TO GET UNIQUE::
  • Carson Wentz + NE Defense – Playing a defense against your quarterback is generally a losing strategy in DFS, outside of Jameis Winston’s wild 2019 season. However, on short slates we must consider the variance and smaller player pools at respective positions. Given the way I think the NE/IND game is likely to play out and the nature of the two games involved, a game script that forces Wentz to pass a lot could (or may even be likely to) end with him as the highest scoring QB and the Patriots as the highest-scoring defense. Wentz has attempted over 40 passes only twice all season. In those two games, he has thrown four interceptions and taken five sacks while posting fantasy point totals of 20.3 and 26.3 points.
  • Pass Catching RBs – Nyheim Hines and Jalen Richard are both stone minimum price on DraftKings. An in-game injury to Jonathan Taylor or Josh Jacobs or a game script where their team falls behind would likely result in some rushing attempts and a healthy amount of targets for either Hines or Richard. It’s even possible that either of these backs could see more opportunities without an injury ahead of them. Hines has shown explosive upside in the past and Richard is healthy for the first time since Kenyan Drake went down for the season. The Raiders have been apprehensive about giving Jacobs a bell cow role and it would not be surprising for Richard to slide into the change of pace role Drake previously held. These are somewhat thin angles to consider on a normal slate but important to consider here.
  • Stacking RBs – Thinking through unique ways that a game can play out that wouldn’t be profitable to even consider on a full slate, but are very possible within the context of any specific game, is important to keep in mind on a small slate like this. Both the Browns and Patriots have multi-headed backfields that could gobble up the scoring for their teams. Playing multiple running backs from the same team feels unnatural for DFS players who play mostly on main slates, where that is very rarely an optimal approach, and those tendencies will usually carry over to smaller slates like this. Combining this thought with the previous point on pass-catching RBs, this strategy would also be viable with the Raiders and Colts backfields as it is entirely reasonable for the “stud” backs to get some yards and touchdowns early and the pass-catching backs to deliver value on late-game passing game usage.
  • 2-TE Builds – All of these teams have fairly spread out passing attacks, and there aren’t any high-end alpha-type receivers dominating targets (outside of Hunter Renfrow, who isn’t really a priority red zone target). Likewise, three of the four teams on the slate have multiple TEs that see the field a lot and are regularly involved in game plans. Assuming Darren Waller doesn’t play, no TE will be priced over $4,200 and the lack of dominant receivers increases the chances of all of the tight ends finding a way into the end zone. A unique construction that has multiple low-priced players scoring touchdowns would certainly be a potential “path to first”.
  • Multiple LVR players without Carr – Usually when playing multiple pass catchers from the same team, you almost always use the QB with them. However, given the context of the slate, I think you could play two or even three pass-catchers from the Raiders without using Carr. It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where Renfrow has a similar game to last week (13 receptions for 117 yards and one TD, on 14 targets). However, what if the TD goes to someone else? Zay Jones, Foster Moreau, and Bryan Edwards are all averaging over four targets per game since Darren Waller went out and are all $3,700 or less on DK. If Renfrow has a 20-25 point game without scoring a TD, his raw score will likely be necessary to win a tournament while increasing the chances that one or two of those other players gets in the end zone. At those prices, scoring a TD could make any of them a top points-per-dollar play on the slate. Both of those things could happen with Carr throwing for only 250 yards and one or two TDs, and having a couple of turnovers. As the highest-priced QB on the slate, there’s a good chance that fading a stat line like that would be +EV, while two or even three of his pass-catchers keep you on track for a winning score.

Overall, this was a really fun slate to dive into and research. There are a lot of unknowns and things could go many different ways on Saturday, which makes things really interesting from a GPP perspective. As always, the most important thing will be making sure your roster tells a story and finding ways to be unique without stretching the bounds of certainty and likelihood too far. Hopefully, these thoughts are helpful, and if not, I will look forward to hearing about how wrong I was in Discord on Saturday night!

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

MJohnson86 already wrote up the game in fantastic detail, but now that we’re down to just a single game on Saturday, I’m going to add some Showdown notes in bullet points:

  • Damien Harris being out makes Rhamondre Stevenson an incredible play at $8,200. He will also be one of the highest-owned plays on the slate, but for good reason. I agree with MJohnson on expecting the Patriots to pass at a higher rate than normal for them, but Rhamondre will still be heavily involved, especially if the game is close (or if the Pats pull off the upset).
    • Side note here that Nyheim Hines correlates well with Stevenson. Stevenson will get more work if the Patriots are playing from ahead, while Hines will see more work if the Colts are playing from behind. Like magic!
  • Jonathan Taylor is the highest floor, highest ceiling play on the slate. Duh. He’s also the most expensive. If you’re the Patriots, you’re going to gameplan to stop him and make the Colts beat your elite secondary (3rd in DVOA) with Carson Wentz. Whether or not the Patriots can be successful in doing so is one of the lynchpins of the slate. Personally, in large-field tournaments, Taylor is a play I would want to be underweight on, not because he isn’t a fantastic play but because he’s likely to push 75%+ ownership, and if he fails, he drags down a HUGE chunk of the field with him. 
  • I hate guessing at Patriots receiver usage, but I guess I have to here. When price is factored in, I prefer Meyers, then Agholor, then Henry, then Bourne, then Jonnu. 
    • On this note, I would not be concerned about the Patriots snap counts from last week against Buffalo. The Patriots had a very specific run-focused game plan, which meant they heavily utilized their best blocking pass-catchers (Jonnu Smith and N’Keal Harry). I would expect both to revert to their more normal roles in this one.
  • Brandon Bolden has an attractive pass-catching role for just $1,800 and fits best in lineups built around the Colts winning the game. Bolden is also questionable. If he misses, I don’t know who gets the RB2 role for the Patriots. JJ Taylor is on the Covid list, Harris is out, Jakob Johnson is a fullback. Maybe Ozigbo gets called up from the practice squad, or maybe Gunnar Olszewski sees some work? If Bolden misses, the RB2 situation has a lot of uncertainty, and embracing risk in tournaments could pay off (Bolden missing would also, of course, boost Stevenson’s role in the passing game significantly).
  • On the Colts side, Michael Pittman is the best pass-catching option. Duh. Beyond Pittman and Taylor, this offense gets really spread out. Zach Pascal is my favorite for his role and price, but all of T.Y. Hilton, Ashton Dulin, Dezmon Patmon (who?), and then Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and Kylen Granson at tight end will see the field. That’s a lot of dudes and it’s hard to rank these guys. Alie-Cox and Doyle would be my favorites after Pittman and Pascal: Doyle for his solid role, Alie-Cox for his freakish athleticism. But everyone on this offense outside of Taylor and Pittman is a high-risk option in this spread-out offense.
Some groups to consider
  • At most 1 kicker
  • At most 1 defense
  • Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
  • If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
  • Pair captain quarterbacks with at least 2 pass catchers (note here that in this Showdown I would be more likely than usual to captain a quarterback – especially Wentz – because there aren’t many dominant pass-catching options. It’s entirely feasible to see a pass-heavy game script in which one of the QBs is the highest overall scorer on the slate)
  • At most 2 Colts pass catchers not named Pittman 
  • At most 1 of Taylor and Hines (not a “must” rule, but they’re pretty significantly negatively correlated)
  • At most 2 of Bourne, Harry, Henry, and Jonnu
  • If Bolden is out, at most 1 of Ozigbo and Olszewski if you’re trying to go the “guess the RB2” route

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • Vegas total opened at 48 but has since fallen to 45.5
  • NE has won seven straight, scoring fewer than 24 pts just once during that stretch
  • They’ve allowed just once team to score 14+ pts in the past seven games (24 to LAC)
  • NE averages 26.9 ppg on the season (10th most)
  • IND averages 28.5 (third most)
  • IND has scored at least 23 pts in each of their last seven games
  • They’ve scored 30+ four times during that stretch, and 40+ twice
  • They’ve gone 5-2, allowing opponents to score 34 and 38 pts in each loss
  • Per numberFire, NE ranks third in adjusted seconds per play (28.3) and 25th in adjusted pass rate (53.2%)
  • IND ranks 31st in adjusted seconds per play (32.5) and 18th in adjusted pass rate (57.7%)

Mac Jones

  • Ranks sixth in PFF passing grade
  • His 7.5 YPA is tied for 10th, 7.7 ADoT is tied for 26th, and his 76.8% adjusted completion percentage ranks 10th
  • He’s averaging just 14.3 DK ppg
  • Scored 20+ pts just twice all season: 25.18 vs. NYJ // 24.5 vs. TEN
  • DK debuted in Week 1 at $4,400, has reached a high of $5,400 (most recently in Week 12)
  • IND ranks 19th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19.4)
  • Just four QBs have scored 20+ vs. IND: Ryan Tannehill 23.2 // Tannehill 23.48 // Russell Wilson 27.06 // Lamar Jackson 45.88
  • Two out of those four scores were achieved with fewer than 30 pass attempts
  • Jones is averaging 29.5 attempts per game

NE Passing Attack

  • Utilizing 21 personnel at the third highest rate (23%, league average is 7%)
  • Snap share: Jakobi Meyers 84.7% // Nelson Agholor 73.8% // Hunter Henry 66.5% // Jonnu Smith 50.2% // Kendrick Bourne 49.5% // N’Keal Harry 34.2%
  • Target share: Meyers 22.8% // Agholor 14% // Bourne 13.5% // Henry 12.7% // Smith 10.4% // Harry 2.5%
  • Among qualified WRs, Meyers ranks 20th in target share and 23rd in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
  • He’s yet to score 20 DK pts this season (ceiling of 18.4 vs. NO in Week 3)
  • Meyers is averaging 6.9 targets per game, with target counts in the last six weeks of: 7 // 9 // 4 // 4 // 6 // 8
  • His DK salary range has been $4,800 – $5,600
  • Bourne has scored 20 DK pts three times (all in home games): 21.6 vs. NO // 24.1 vs. CLE // 23.1 vs TEN
  • He’s yet to score 9 pts on the road
  • Bourne has seen at least four targets per game since Week 7, with a max of seven
  • Agholor leads the team in ADoT (14.5)
  • His best game came in Week 1 (18.2)
  • He’s only hit 15 pts once since then (Week 11)
  • Harry has seen two or fewer targets in every game
  • IND ranks 15th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (37)
  • Six WRs have scored 20+ pts vs. IND: Deebo Samuel 25 // Elijah Moore 27.4 // Tyler Lockett 29 // AJ Brown 34.5 // Marquise Brown 36.5 // Cooper Kupp 39.8
  • Only Lockett and Moore did so on fewer than 10 targets (5 & 8 respectively)
  • Among qualified TEs, Henry ranks 20th in target share, 11th in air yard market share, and 14th in WOPR
  • He’s sixth in red zone targets among all TEs
  • He’s averaging 9.7 DK ppg, with five double digit scores in 12 games
  • Among qualified TEs, Smith ranks 24th in target share and 25th in WOPR
  • He’s 14th in red zone targets among all TEs
  • He’s averaging just 5.16 DK ppg, with one double digit score
  • IND ranks 30th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (17.2)
  • Notable opposing TE scores: Geoff Swaim 12.3 // Ryan Griffin 12.8 // Dan Arnold 13.7 // Dawson Knox 14 // Mike Gesicki 16.7 // Rob Gronkowski 22.3 // Mark Andrews 44.7

NE RBs

  • Snap share: Damien Harris 39.2% // Rhamondre Stevenson 22.1%
  • Targets per game: Stevenson 1.7 // Harris 1.2
  • Touches per game: Harris 14.8 // Stevenson 12.4
  • Harris leads in TDs (9 to 3)
  • He’s averaging 13.4 DK ppg, with three 20+ scores (out of 12 games)
  • Among qualified RBs, Harris ranks 23rd in rush share and 10th in goal line share
  • His DK salary range this season has been $5,200 – $6,100
  • Harris has been limited by a hamstring injury during practices early in the week
  • Stevenson is averaging 9.61 DK ppg, with one 30+ score (out of nine games)
  • IND ranks fifth in DK ppg allowed to RBs (21.1)
  • Leonard Fournette’s 47.1 DK pts in Week 12 were the first 20+ score since Week 3

Carson Wentz

  • Ranks 19th in PFF passing grade
  • Highest TD% since his 2018 season (5.2%)
  • Tied for a career low INT% (1.2%)
  • 11.1 yards gained per completion is the highest since his 2017 Pro Bowl season
  • Salary range of $5,000 – $6,100
  • 17.5 DK ppg ranks 15th
  • NE ranks second in DK ppg allowed to QBs (14.1)
  • Only two QBs have scored 20+ vs. NE: Davis Mills 27.68 in Week 5 // Dak Prescott 31.8 in Week 6
  • Mills threw for 300+ yards, Prescott for 400+
  • Wentz managed 300 yards in Week 12 vs. TB and 400 in Week 5 @ BAL

IND Passing Attack

  • Snap share: Michael Pittman 88.8% // Zach Pascal 86.2% // Jack Doyle 62.3% // Mo Alie-Cox 51.5% // TY Hilton 37.6%
  • Target share: Pittman 23.3% // Pascal 14.8% // Doyle 9.4% // Cox 7.5% // Hilton 5.4%
  • Among qualified WRs, Pittman ranks 15th in target share, 20th in air yard market share, and 19th in WOPR
  • He’s averaging 15.02 DK ppg, with four 20+ scores (including one 30+ score) but none since Week 8
  • His salary debuted at $4,100 in Week 1, rose to a high of $6,300 in Week 10 (12.1 DK pts), and is now $5,600 in Week 15
  • Pascal hasn’t scored double digits since Week 2
  • His target counts in the last five weeks: 7 // 2 // 1 // 7 // 3
  • Hilton’s target counts in his last five games: 5 // 5 // 2 // 5 // 2
  • He’s yet to score 15 DK pts this year
  • NE ranks second in DK ppg allowed to WRs (29.6)
  • Only four opposing WRs have scored 15+ vs. NE: Jaylen Waddle 16.1 // Chris Conley 16.4 // Keenan Allen 19.7 // CeeDee Lamb 39.1
  • Doyle’s target counts in the last five weeks: 2 // 5 // 5 // 7 // 1
  • He’s averaging 6.92 DK ppg, with just two double digit scores (13.4 vs. LAR in Week 2 & 20.1 vs TB in Week 12)
  • Cox’s target counts in the last five weeks: 1 // 2 // 1 // 2 // 1
  • He’s averaging 6.29 DK ppg, with just two double digit scores (19.2 @ MIA in Week 3 & 11.5 @ SF in Week 6)
  • NE ranks first in DK ppg allowed to TEs (7.1)
  • Only two TEs have scored double digits vs. NE: Austin Hooper 12.5 in Week 10 // Dalton Schultz 12.9 in Week 6

Jonathan Taylor

  • Among qualified RBs, Taylor ranks fifth in rush share, fourth in goal line share, 14th in target share, 17th in WOPR, and sixth in RBOPR
  • His 25.7 DK ppg ranks second
  • He leads all RBs with 5.8 red zone touches per game
  • He’s averaging 3.3 targets per game
  • Nyheim Hines is averaging 3.6
  • Hines’s DK salary debuted at $5,000 in Week 1, but is now on a third consecutive week at $4,000
  • Taylor leads in touches, 21.3 to 6.4
  • His DK salary debuted at $8,000 in Week 1, dipped to as low as $6,300 in Week 4 (in which he cracked 20+ DK pts for the first time this season), and has since risen to a high of $9,200 last week ($9,000 in Week 15)
  • NE ranks 17th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (23.5)
  • Notable opposing RB scores: Alvin Kamara 20.8 // Dontrell Hilliard 22.3 // D’Ernest Johnson 22.7 // Austin Ekeler 24.4

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Cowboys (
27.5) at

Giants (
16)

Over/Under 43.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Cowboys Run D
5th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
7th DVOA/5th Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
3rd DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
10th DVOA/29th Yards per pass
Giants Run D
32nd DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
10th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
22nd DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
13th DVOA/10th Yards per pass

POSTED ON THURSDAY AT 8 PM EST

COVID UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND ON OWS

Game Overview ::

By hilow>>
  • The Cowboys stand as one of the league’s least impacted teams this week, as notable injuries/COVID news is restricted to Tony Pollard (foot), Cedrick Wilson (COVID), and Tyron Smith (ankle).
  • The Giants are not as lucky, as Kadarius Toney (COVID, IR), John Ross III (COVID), Adoree’ Jackson (COVID), Xavier McKinney (COVID), Oshane Ximines (COVID), and Saquon Barkley (ankle management) all have statuses in doubt this weekend. Daniel Jones has also been limited in every practice since straining his neck three weeks ago, and it is not yet known whether or not he will play here.
  • After getting through half of my write-ups for this week, I feel it necessary to highlight the fact that there are an immense number of injuries and COVID issues around the league this week so make sure to study the base information, which will give you the best chances of reacting in the most optimal way once it comes to crunch time later this week.

How dallas Will Try To Win ::

The Cowboys currently sit in the middle of the pack in overall pass rates this season, but the underlying metrics tell a more cohesive tale. Dallas holds a top-ten pass rate when trailing, balanced rush-pass rate when leading (50%), and top-ten situation-neutral pass rate this season. This data shows that the team has remained relatively pass-biased this season, altering their offensive game plan in a more reactionary manner as opposed to a game planning manner (basically, rush-pass rates are more heavily influenced by game flow than matchup). This is important information to keep in mind as we break down this team for the remainder of the season. To highlight this fact, Dak Prescott has 39 or more pass attempts in six of his previous eight starts, with the two “outliers” checking in at 31 and 32 attempts in large victories (43-3 against Atlanta in Week 10 and 44-20 against these Giants in Week 5). Dallas has also continued its uptempo ways, ranking second in overall pace of play and third in situation-neutral pace of play this year.

The ground game appears set for a “1A/1B” situation regardless of the game-day status of Tony Pollard after Corey Clement played a solid 36% of the offensive snaps in his absence in Week 14 (which is right in line with Pollard’s typical snap rate). It is very clear that the Cowboys are attempting to allow Ezekiel Elliott to heal up and stay fresh for the playoff push, managing his snaps and workload in the process on a weekly basis. If there were any doubt, it was removed with Clement’s snap rate last week. The matchup on the ground yields an absolutely elite 4.79 net-adjusted line yards metric and is one of the greater mismatches we’ll see all season. The Giants have allowed 26.4 fantasy points per game to the position, all while only ceding 10 total touchdowns to opposing backfields (the Giants actually rank near the top of league in red zone touchdown rate allowed this season). Expect Zeke to handle his standard-for-2021 16-18 running back opportunity workload, with either Pollard or Clement filling in for the rest of the ground work. Of note, the game script is highly unlikely to increase Zeke’s workload, and we should instead expect either Pollard or Clement to take on the additional backfield work should the Cowboys go up big here.

With all of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup now healthy, and Blake Jarwin on IR, we’ve seen increased 11-personnel rates from the Cowboys, with Amari and Gallup playing primarily on the perimeter and Lamb playing primarily from the slot. This has been a big boost to CeeDee’s team target market share, and he has received a look on 29.1% of Dak’s passes over the past two weeks. Even more impressive is the fact that he saw 10 targets last week on a modest 67% snap rate, which I expect to grow here. Expect a floor of 32ish pass attempts from Dak with a ceiling far exceeding 40 pass attempts, depending primarily on game flow. The Giants have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers while holding opposing tight ends to league-average marks. Keep an eye on Adoree’ Jackson’s status for this weekend as he is currently on the league’s COVID list. His absence would be a fairly significant boost to the perimeter wide receivers here, functioning as the Giants top-rated member of the secondary (the perimeter duo of Jackson and James Bradberry has allowed less than 50% of the passes thrown their way to be completed this season). While on the subject of James Bradberry, he has played an ultra-aggressive style this season, allowing seven touchdowns in his primary coverage but also responsible for three picks.

How new york Will Try To Win ::

The Giants rank ninth in the league in situation-neutral pass rate and ninth in overall pass rate, primarily due to the relative inability to run the ball behind the league’s 30th-ranked run-blocking offensive line. Quarterback Daniel Jones’ status is also not yet known for this weekend, as his participation has been limited in every practice since suffering his neck strain, as well as missing the last two contests. In his stead, Mike Glennon has pass attempts of 36 and 44 and I’d expect another pass-heavy approach against the Cowboys primarily due to necessity and likeliest game flow. It hasn’t been all roses for the Giants when forced to pass this season, who check into Week 15 with a 25th-ranked yards per completion value, 20th-ranked pass yards per game value, and have scored only 17.8 points per game (27th).

Saquon Barkley’s game day reps and level of practice participation continue to be monitored and managed due to his ankle, and he saw his lowest snap rate since returning in Week 11 last week, playing only 55% of the offensive snaps in a lopsided defeat against the Chargers. Expect a rather wide range of potential snaps for Barkley this week, but we can be fairly certain he won’t see more than 18-20 running back opportunities as the team continues to manage his load. Behind Barkley, expect Devontae Booker to fill the change of pace role, with a likeliest range of opportunities of 10-12. The matchup on the ground yields a paltry 4.02 net-adjusted line yards metric against an opponent allowing just 20.5 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.

With John Ross III and Kadarius Toney on the COVID list, expect Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton to start at wide receiver and play the majority of snaps here. Collin Johnson and Pharoh Cooper are likeliest to fill in as depth pieces for light packages, while Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph should continue operating in an 80/40 role as far as expected snap rates go. Daniel Jones currently holds the 27th-ranked intended air yards per pass attempt, while Mike Glennon is unranked (does not qualify) but holds a low 7.4 intended air yards per pass attempt value. Expect heavy pass volume built around the short-to-intermediate areas of the field against a Dallas defense allowing the third-highest yards per completion in the league, which is somewhat misleading based on the underlying metrics. The Cowboys have forced a league-average defensive aDOT (7.9), but have surrendered the most yards after catch in the league. So, while the Giants are ill-equipped to take advantage of the hyper aggression exhibited by this Dallas defense, we should expect the relative “strength” of the Giants pass offense to line up well with the deficiencies of the Cowboys defense. The sad part is all three of the Giants primary wide receivers rank in the bottom 20% in average yards after catch, amongst qualified receivers. A whole bunch of “meh” here.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

The Cowboys are likely to control the tempo, flow, and environment of this one, likely forcing the Giants into increased aerial aggression as the game moves on. Since we know the Cowboys are likely to start the game with a pass-heavy approach, and since we know the Giants are likely to follow suit as the game evolves, consider this game environment ripe for additional plays run from scrimmage. In the same vein, we can’t expect Zeke to see an increased workload based on what the Cowboys have shown us over the previous month of play (typically capped in the 18-20 opportunity range, regardless of game flow). As such, expect solid volume from each pass offense here.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Mike Glennon:

  • Brady, Herbert, Hurts, Darnold all threw for 300+ yds vs DAL in the opening month
  • Carr is the only one of the 9 QBs since to pass for 300 yds vs DAL, and Mahomes (260) & Taysom (264) are the only others of those 9 above just 250 yds
  • DAL has an INT in 11/13 games, with 20 total INT on season
  • DAL ranks 1st in def pass DVOA
  • Glennon starting: 187:0:1 // 191:2:1, rush TD
  • Glennon went for 196:1:2 vs DAL the first time when he came in for injured Daniel Jones

NYG WRs:

  • DAL has allowed the 7th most WR DK pts/g (38.5)
  • WRs with 70+ yds vs DAL: AB (121), Godwin (105) // Allen (108), Williams (91) // Moore (113) // Toney (189) // Bourne (75) // Thielen (78) // Patrick (85) // Hill (77) // Renfrow (134), Djax (102) // Deonte (96)
  • 9/13 scored at least one TD
  • DAL has allowed the 2nd lowest success rate, but the 10th highest yds/att to WRs
  • NYG WRs vs DAL: Toney (10:189) // Ross (1:13) // Shepard (DNP) // Slayton (DNP) // Golladay (DNP)
  • Toney’s 11 DK pts in W11 is the only Giants WR score of 10+ DK pts in the last six games, and Shepard’s 17.6 DK pts in W6 is the most a Giants WR has scored since that Toney game vs DAL in W5
  • Targets in Glennon starts: Golladay (5, 8) // Slayton (7, 3) // Shepard (–, 4)

Evan Engram:

  • Engram with Shepard: 3:24 // 3:15:1 // 1:8
  • Engram career yds vs DAL: 44 // 54 // 67:1 // 81:1 // 116:1 // 48 // 16 // 17 // 55
  • DAL has allowed 9 TEs of 30+ rec yds

Saquon Barkley:

  • RBs with 70+ yds vs DAL: Ekeler (115) // Hubbard (71) // Harris (108:1) // Cook (78) // Gordon (95:1), Williams (111) // Gallman (76) // CEH (76:1) // Jacobs (112:1)
  • Gordon & Jacobs are the only two with 20+ rush att vs DAL
  • DAL ranks 19th in def rush DVOA
  • DAL has allowed just 8 RB TDs
  • Saquon touches:yds since return: 12:56 // 18:53 // 20:74 // 19:95:1
  • DAL has allowed the 11th lowest success rate & 6th lowest yds/att on RB targets

Dak Prescott:

  • Dak 6-games pre-injury: 302.2 yds, 2.7 TD, 0.7 INT
  • Dak 6-games post-injury: 261.3 yds, 1.3 TD, 1 INT
  • Dak scored 25+ DK pts in 4/6 to start, with 21 & 8 in the others
  • Dak has scored 25+ DK pts in 2/6 since, with 3 of the other 4 under 13 DK pts
  • Dak first game vs NYG: 302:3:1
  • NYG rank 10th in def pass DVOA
  • 8 QB have passed for 250+ yds vs NYG

DAL WRs:

  • Gallup with Dak, McCarthy, & 1+ of Lamb/Cooper: 3:50 // 2:58 // 6:138:1 // 2:29 // 4:36 // 3:42 // 5:44 // 5:36:1 // 5:60
  • DAL WR tg high by game in 2021: 16 // 9 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 11 // 13 // 9 // 7 // 10 // 10 // 13 // 10
  • DAL WR yds high by game in 2021: 139 // 81 // 66 // 69 // 84 // 149 // 122 // 33 // 94 // 44 // 106 // 122 // 61
  • At least one DAL WR has finished with 100+ yds in just 5 games
  • DAL tg in last two with all playing: Lamb (13, 10) // Gallup (9, 9) // Cooper (2, 7)
  • Lamb has 80+ yds in 7/11 full games
  • Cooper has just two games of 70+ yds all season: 139 in W1 vs TB and 122 vs MIN with Cooper Rush at QB
  • WRs with 7+ tg vs NYG: Jeudy (72) // McLaurin (107:1), Humphries (44) // Ridley (61) // Harris (52) // Kupp (130:2) // Moore (73), Robby (14) // Hill (94:1) // Renfrow (49:1) // Evans (73:1) // Reagor (31) // Waddle (90), Wilson (26) // Palmer (66:1)
  • 17 WRs have 60+ yds vs NYG
  • 16 WR TDs allowed by NYG

Dalton Schultz:

  • Schultz targets: 6, 2, 7, 8, 8, 6, 7, 5, 2, 8, 7, 5, 3
  • That’s eight games with 6+ tg in 2021, and just three below 5 tg
  • Schultz has 40+ yds with Dak in 9/12 games: 45, 18, 80, 58, 79, 79, 54, 14, 53, 46, 43, 4
  • Schultz went for 6:79 in first NYG matchup
  • Top TEs vs NYG: Fant (6:62) // Thomas (5:45) // Pitts (2:35) // Johnson (2:20:1) // Schultz (6:79) // Higbee (5:36) // Kelce (4:27) // Waller (7:92) // Gronk (6:71) // Goedert (1:0) // Gesicki (7:46) // Cook (2:8:1)
  • The five TEs to score vs NYG (4/5 were backups at the time of scoring): Albert O, RSJ, Lee Smith, Juwan Johnson, Cook

DAL RBs:

  • Elliott went for 112 yds & 2 TDs in W5 vs NYG
  • Elliott since his 28.2 DK pts in W5: 18.9 // 11.3 // 12.6 // 21.8 // 12.8 // 16.9 // 6.7 // 9.0
  • Elliott touches/g pre & post-W5: 17 att, 2.2 tg // 12.5 att, 5.5 tg
  • Elliott scored 6 TDs in the first 5 weeks, and has scored just 3 TDs in the 8 weeks since
  • Pollard’s touches: 7, 16, 12, 10, 18, 13, 8, 6, 18, 9, 14, 11, –
  • Pollard’s total yds: 43, 140, 65, 67, 103, 63, 27, 43, 98, 70, 68, 74, –
  • Pollard has just 5 games of 10+ DK pts (26, 14.3, 15.8, 10.8, 15.4)
  • If Pollard plays, he’ll be playing through a painful foot injury
  • NYG are 27th in def rush DVOA
  • 15 RBs have 70+ yds vs NYG: Gordon (118) // McKissic (93), Gibson (73) // CPatt (102), Davis (70) // Kamara (120) // Zeke (112), Pollard (103) // Henderson (107) // Williams (110) // Drake (100), Jacobs (95) // Fournette (74) // Scott (72) // Ekeler (84)
  • Giants have allowed just 8 RB rush TDs & 2 RB rec TDs

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Titans (
21.25) at

Steelers (
22.25)

Over/Under 43.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Titans Run D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
10th DVOA/24th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
27th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
20th DVOA/29th Yards per pass
Steelers Run D
4th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
18th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
19th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
19th DVOA/13th Yards per pass

Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 8:30pm ET Dec 16th).

Game Overview ::

By papy324 >>
  • There isn’t a ton to love for DFS in this game 
  • The Titans’ backfield is a timeshare 
  • Dionte Johnson is finally priced appropriately 
  • Najee Harris leads the league in touches, but will cost a significant premium 

How tennessee Will Try To Win ::

The 9-4 Titans come into this game in firm control of their division. They hold a two-game lead with four to play, and a victory would make them the division winner in all but a total collapse scenario. The Titans are also in a three-way tie for the number one seed, giving them a huge incentive to win out. There might not be a team in the league that would benefit more from getting a week off, as the Titans are currently projected to get Derrick Henry back “around” Week 18. Earning a first-round bye would all but ensure King Henry is at full speed for the Titans drive to the Superbowl.

The Titans draw a Steelers’ defense that is falling apart at the seams, ranking an uncharacteristically bad 30th in DVOA against the run and an equally poor 22nd in DVOA against the pass. The Titans play slow in all situations and still want to run the ball even without Henry in the lineup. The Steelers were pasted by Dalvin Cook for 205 yards and by Joe Mixon for 165 yards in two of their past three games. There is no reason for the Titans to deviate from their preferred method of attack against a defense that hasn’t been able to stop anyone on the ground. Expect a slow-paced, balanced attack that leans ground-heavy.

How pittsburgh Will Try To Win ::

The 6-6-1 Steelers are in the basement of their division but are only half a game behind a pack of 7-6 AFC teams, all vying for the last two wild card spots. Ben Roethlisberger has publicly declared this is his last season, and the Pittsburgh faithful would love to send him off with a playoff run. Unfortunately, the Steelers are coming off a five-game stretch where they tied the lowly Lions and have only beaten the Ravens in an emotionally charged home game that they won by one point. Their defense has collapsed in their other three recent games, giving up 41/41/36 points against the Chargers, Bengals, and Vikings.

The Steelers run an up-tempo (11th situational neutral pace) short passing attack designed to hide the fact that Big Ben can’t throw the ball down the field like he could in his younger days. The Titans are middling against the pass (14th in DVOA) and the run (18th in DVOA), which shouldn’t tilt the Steelers away from their preferred method of attack. Expect Pittsburgh to come out throwing the ball short while continuing to feed Najee Harris touches on the ground and through the air.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This game has a low total of 41.5 because it’s difficult to project either team for a lot of points. The Steelers offense has looked one-dimensional all year as they try to operate behind one of the worst O-lines in football. The Titans’ defense has improved as the season has worn on, and they are likely to slow Pittsburgh down. The Titans’ offense hasn’t been the same since losing Derrick Henry and is also down stud WR A.J. Brown. The Steelers defense has been bad lately, but they are playing at home, and their season is on the line. Their defense still has talent, and it’s easy to see them getting up for this game against the wounded Titans. The most likely scenario is a grind-it-out affair that stays close throughout, with the winning team getting there in the 4th quarter.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Ben Roethlisberger:

  • Ben’s only two games of 20+ DK pts: 22.9 in 37-41 loss to LAC // 28.8 in 28-36 loss to MIN (both games on primetime)
  • Ben threw for more than 1 TD just once in first 7 games, but has averaged 2.2 TDs over the last 5 games with just one game under 2 TDs
  • 9/13 QBs vs TEN have scored 2+ TDs
  • Seven QBs have passed for 290+ yds vs TEN
  • Ben has thrown for 270+ yds just four times all season
  • TEN ranks 14th in def pass DVOA
  • TEN has the 5th most QB hurries per PFR
  • Ben has the fastest time to throw in the NFL

PIT Pass-Catchers:

  • Only ATL allowed more WR DK pts than TEN in 2020
  • TEN has allowed the 2nd most WR DK pts in 2021 (43.3)
  • Nine WRs vs TEN in 2021 have scored 20+ DK pts: Hopkins (26.3), Kirk (24) // Lockett (34.8), Swain (21) // Davis (24.1) // Diggs (23.9), Beasley (21.8) // Pittman (30.6) // Kupp (20.5) // Bourne (23.1)
  • TEN has allowed 16 WR TDs
  • TEN has allowed the 11th highest success rate to WRs on the most WR tg faced
  • Diontae has 49 tg more (130) than next closest (81, Claypool)
  • Diontae has 10 games of 10+ tg
  • Diontae has 7 games of 80+ yds; 3 of 100+ yds
  • Diontae had 3 TDs through Week 10; but was a dropped TD away from 4 TDs in last 4 weeks
  • Claypool has just three games of 15+ DK pts (18.6, 27, 17.5), and last week’s was the first time since W5
  • Claypool has just four games with 5+ rec
  • TEN has allowed the lowest success rate & yds/att to TEs
  • Only TEs over 40 yds vs TEN: Arnold (64) // Kelce (65) // Higbee (51) // Jonnu (49)
  • Only TEs to score vs TEN: Hollister, Sweeney, Doyle
  • Freiermuth has 4+ tg in 8 games
  • Freiermuth’s tg since W8: 7 // 6 // 9 // 7 // 4 // 4 // 3
  • Freiermuth leads PIT pass-catchers with 7 TDs (6 in last 7 games since Bye)

Najee Harris:

  • Top RB total yds vs TEN: Edmonds (106) // Carson (31) // Taylor (72), Hines (79) // Carter (34) // Robinson (147) // Singletary (43) // Williams (50) // Taylor (122) // Hendy (58) // Ingram (108) // Burkhead (40) // Harris (52), Bolden (54) // JRob (4)
  • TEN has allowed the 4th fewest RB rush yds, and 2nd fewest RB DK pts/g (19.5)
  • TEN has allowed just 8 RB rush TDs, 1 RB rec TD
  • Najee has 80+ rush yds in 5/13 games, and five games of under 50 rush yds
  • Najee has 1+ TD in 8/13 games
  • TEN has allowed the 9th lowest success rate on RB tg
  • TEN has allowed 40+ rec yds to 5 RBs
  • Najee has 8 games of 5+ tg
  • Najee has just 3 games of 40+ rec yds, and not since W6

Ryan Tannehill:

  • The total is set at just 41.5 points
  • Since 2020, the game scores of his 10 games of 20+ DK pts read: 46-25, 42-36, 35-41, 42-16, 41-38, 33-30, 30-24, 25-16, 27-3, 34-31
  • That’s 8/10 games in which TEN scored 30+ pts, and 6/10 games in which the combined total finished over 60
  • TEN offensive pts with Henry: 13 // 33 // 25 // 24 // 30 // 34 // 27 // 34
  • TEN offensive pts without Henry: 21 // 23 // 13 // 13 // 20
  • PIT has allowed the 11th most pts/g (24.77)
  • Teams to score more than that average vs PIT: LV, GB, CHI, LAC, CIN, MIN
  • Tannehill has passed for 300 yds in just 5 of his 30 starts since 2020
  • PIT has allowed 231.8 pass yds/g, with just four QBs over 275 yds

TEN WRs:

  • PIT has allowed the 13th lowest success rate to WRs
  • PIT has allowed 15 WR TDs
  • WRs with 70+ yds vs PIT: Ruggs (113:1) // Sutton (120:1), Patrick (89) // Keenan (112), Williams (97:1) // Higgins (114:1) // Jefferson (79:1), Osborn (83:1)
  • TEN WRs with 70+ yds: Brown (91, 133:1, 155:1) // Julio (128) // Westbrook (107) // Johnson (100)
  • Julio vs SEA in W2: 128 yds
  • Julio in six other games: 241 yds (40.2 yds/g)
  • Julio’s only games above 5 tg (6, 8, 6 in Weeks 1, 2, 14)

TEN RBs:

  • RBs with 80+ total yds vs PIT: Singletary (80) // Mixon (94) // Dillon (97), Jones (99) // Javonte (86) // Collins (98) // Montgomery (80) // Swift (135) // Ekeler (115) // Mixon (163) // Freeman (97) // Dalvin (222)
  • PIT allowed 0 RB TDs in first five games; RB TDs since: 1 // 1 // 0 // 2 // 4 // 2 // 1 // 2
  • 11 rush att was an individual TEN RB high in three games with Adrian Peterson
  • In the two games since cutting him::
  • Foreman: 19:109 // 13:47:1 /// Hilliard: 12:131:1 // 6:13 /// McNichols: DNP // 8:16

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Texans (
17) at

Jaguars (
23)

Over/Under 40.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Texans Run D
24th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
20th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D
18th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
6th DVOA/19th Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
11th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O
32nd DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
30th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O
31st DVOA/25th Yards per pass

Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 8:30 pm ET Dec 16th).

Game Overview ::

By papy324 >>
  • The Texans are in “see what we have” mode 
  • Brandin Cooks is underpriced for his role and matchup 
  • James Robinson has more upside than the field will realize 
  • Both defenses are attractively priced for a game with a total under 40 featuring two bad offenses 

How houston Will Try To Win ::

The 2-11 Texans limp into this game having regularly been blown out all season. Their playoff hopes vanished long ago, and they are playing for evaluations the rest of the season. The expectations weren’t high, but the best fans can do now is root for the number one pick. The Texans play slow (21st in situational neutral pace) but speed up in the second half (4th in pace) because they’re constantly losing. David Culley thinks he’s found something in Davis Mills and let him throw it 49 times after surprisingly naming him the starter over Tyrod Taylor. Culley might as well find out what he has with Mills since the season is lost and Tyrod isn’t the long-term answer.

This week the Texans draw a team struggling just as much. The Jaguars’ defense has been beatable through the air (31st in DVOA) and middling against the run (13th in DVOA). The Texans look like they want to see what Mills can do down the stretch, and while it’s not reasonable to predict another 49 pass attempts, there is good reason to think Mills will once again eclipse 40 in a game where the matchup should tilt the Texans towards the air. Expect the Texans to play balanced, leaning pass-heavy, with a willingness to go extremely pass-heavy if they fall behind.

How jacksonville Will Try To Win ::

The 2-11 Jaguars enter this game also “competing” for the top pick, as they try to make it two number one picks in a row. Are the Jaguars still moving to London and becoming the Red Coats? Is that still on? How will they try to win? That’s a harder question. The talentless Jags have scored 7/9/17/10/14/7/0 points in their last seven games and don’t seem to have an identity, looking like a different offense almost every week. They seem to favor playing slow (20th in situational neutral pace) but speed way up in the second half (3rd in pace) because they’re always chasing points.

This week they get a Texans defense that has been run over (28th in DVOA) but has held up well against the pass (8th in DVOA), presenting a run funnel defense. The Jags have been willing to throw or run with high volume seemingly out of nowhere, but this matchup should tilt them towards the ground. Expect the Jags to come out with a balanced offense that leans run and to stick with a conservative approach if the game remains close.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This game has one of the lowest totals you’ll see at 39 and pits two of the worst teams in the league against each other. This game features teams with negative point differentials north of 150. Both defenses are weak, and both offenses are equally weak, creating a setup of weakness on weakness for both sides of the ball. Bad offenses and are bad offenses for a reason, and playing a bad defense doesn’t make them good. The most likely game flow has both teams struggling to move the ball, and each finishing around 20-points, with the winner being determined by who makes fewer mistakes.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Trevor Lawrence:

  • HOU has allowed 250.8 pass yds/g and 20 TDs to 14 INT
  • Lawrence has thrown for 250 yds just three times, and not once in the seven games since the Bye
  • Lawrence has thrown just 2 TDs to 6 INT in that seven-game span
  • Lawrence’s most pass yds (332) & TDs (3) came in a Week 1 blowout loss to HOU, but he’s yet to throw more than 1 TD in a game since
  • Lawrence has seven games of 20+ rush yds
  • Josh Allen (41) is the only QB with more than 11 rush yds vs HOU

JAC WRs:

  • WRs with 70+ yds vs HOU: Chark (86:1), MJJ (77:1) // Moore (126) // Diggs (114), Sanders (74) // Hilton (80) // Kupp (115:1), Van (88) // Waddle (83) // Westbrook (107) // Pittman (77) // Lockett (142:1)
  • HOU has allowed six 20+ DK pt scores to WRs
  • HOU has allowed the 3rd highest success rate to WRs
  • MJJ yds since Chark injury: 24 // 25 // 100 // 35 // 21 // 35 // 52 // 11 // 70
  • Since Chark injury, MJJ has 8/10 games under 10 DK pts (13 & 26 in other two) 
  • Laviska has one game over 13 DK pts (17), and 10/13 games under 10 DK pts
  • Treadwell has led JAC in receiving over the last 3 weeks with 53, 62, 68 yds
  • Agnew (IR) is the last JAC WR to catch a TD, and it occurred in Week 8
  • JAC WRs vs HOU in W1: MJJ (5:77:1) // Chark (3:86:1) // Viska (7:50)

James Robinson:

  • Robinson’s rush att in full games: 5 // 11 // 15 // 18 // 18 // 17 // 12 // 12 // 17 // 8 // 6
  • Robinson total touches:yds in full games: 11:54 // 14:64 // 21:134 // 20:76 // 19:147 // 21:101 // 17:84:1 // 15:38:1 // 21:115 // 12:35 // 6:4
  • Robinson has seemingly drawn the ire of the Urban Meyer tank-his-job train, though his 6 carries were still all but 1 of the rush att JAC had in Week 14
  • 20 RBs in 13 games have topped 50 total yds vs HOU
  • 6 RBs have topped 90 total yds vs HOU
  • Total yds from last 4 backfields vs HOU: 166 // 150 // 218 // 171

Davis Mills:

  • HOU’s only two wins have come with Tyrod Taylor, and Mills starts have come with loss margins of 15, 40, 3, 28, 26, 16, 20
  • In 5 games of action vs CLE (0.5), CAR, BUF, IND, ARI, IND (0.5), Mills has TOTALED 33.06 DK pts with just one game of 200+ yds
  • In 3 games vs NE, LAR, SEA, Mills has scored 27.7, 24.4, 21 DK pts and thrown for 300+ yds in all three
  • Mills’s only three scores over 11 DK pts have come in 22-25 L to NE, 22-38 L to LAR (down 38-0), and 13-33 L to SEA
  • JAC has allowed 244 pass yds/g, with four 300-yd passers (2 more of 290+)
  • JAC ranks 31st in def pass DVOA
  • Seven QBs have scored multiple TDs vs JAC

HOU WRs:

  • WRs over 70 yds vs JAC: Cooks (132) // Sutton (159) // Green (112), Kirk (104) // Boyd (118), Chase (77) // Waddle (70:2) // Lockett (142) // Diggs (85) // Pittman (71) // Aiyuk (85:1) // Kupp (129:1)
  • JAC has allowed the 5th highest success rate & 6th highest yds/att to WRs
  • Cooks in 7 games with Mills: 4:28:1 (half) // 9:112 // 5:47 // 3:23 // 9:89 // 5:21 // 6:83:1 // 3:38 (half) // 8:101
  • 60+ yd games: Cooks (6) // Moore, Conley, Collins (1)
  • After three 20+ DK pt scores to open the year, Cooks has just two (20.3, 21.1) in the previous ten games
  • Cooks went for 5:132 in the opener vs JAC
  • Cooks’s 108 tg are trailed by Collins’s 40, after Collins received career-high 10 tg in W14

HOU RBs:

  • Rush att leader since trading Ingram (6g): Burkhead (55) // Johnson (29) // Freeman (14)
  • Ingram’s 14.5 DK pts in W1 on 26 rush att is the highest score from a HOU RB this year

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Cards (
30.5) at

Lions (
17.5)

Over/Under 48.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Cardinals Run D
27th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
15th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
19th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
7th DVOA/6th Yards per pass
Lions Run D
26th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
27th DVOA/17th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
28th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
29th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By HILOW >>
  • Linebacker Alex Anzelone, tight end TJ Hockenson, and running back D’Andre Swift started the week with a “DNP” after missing last week’s contest. Additional notable injuries include guard Jonah Jackson (back) and center Evan Brown (COVID), outside linebacker Julian Okwara (ankle), and four members of the secondary that are all on the COVID list.
  • The Cardinals are still waiting on Chase Edmonds to return from his ankle injury, James Conner did not participate in practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury, and DeAndre Hopkins will reportedly miss the remainder of the regular season with a leg injury.
  • The Lions have allowed almost 30 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields and also struggle with deep passing (deepest aDOT allowed and second-highest average yards per completion allowed).

How Arizona Will Try To Win ::

The Cardinals have upped their situation-neutral pass rates over the previous five weeks of play (past the mid-point of the season), checking in with an 11th-ranked 60% pass rate over that time. They are still playing with an elevated situation-neutral pace of play and also run one of the league’s fastest offenses in the first half of games (fifth-ranked 26.63 seconds per play in the first half), but we have to consider what has happened over the last month in order to get a clear picture of what to expect here. First off, Chase Edmonds suffered an ankle injury on his first touch in the Cardinals’ Week 9 game. Next, both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins sat out three weeks in a row with various injuries, returning after the Week 12 bye, and AJ Green also missed a few weeks as well. Lastly, tight end Zach Ertz began integrating into this offense further, upping his weekly snap rates to around the 80% mark. When we pair those findings with the same general offensive philosophy shown from Kliff Kingsbury (a horizontally-spread offense built around the power run game and layered receiver route trees – designed to attack multiple areas of the field), we’re left with an offense that has looked very similar to what we have seen over the previous two seasons but that has now shown an increased propensity to tailor the offensive game plan to the opponent. The most glaring reasons for these findings are due to a defense that has done a great job at limiting opponents (third in points allowed per drive, fourth in turnovers generated per drive, fifth in yards allowed per drive, and ninth in overall drive success rate allowed) and the offensive additions of James Conner, Zach Ertz, and rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore, allowing this team to be more dynamic and layered.

Questions abound with this run game this week, as Chase Edmonds still has two weeks before his 21-day practice window expires and James Conner emerged from their Week 14 game with an ankle injury that apparently required an MRI. Keep an eye on the respective statuses of these two this week as the matchup could not be better on the ground. The matchup yields a slightly below-average 4.26 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Lions defense allowing 29.7 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, including 22 total touchdowns. And since we know the Cardinals have been much more apt to lean on the run game in games they control this season, and since Kyler Murray has not been stealing rushing scores at the same rate this season, and since Nuk will miss this contest, we start to see a viable path to one of the more bankable fantasy outlets this week should one of these backs miss and one play. There’s obviously more reason for skepticism should they both play, so the respective health of Edmonds and Conner could have a large impact on this slate.

The last time either DeAndre Hopkins or AJ Green missed a contest (the two primary perimeter wide receivers in this offense), Antoine Wesley almost directly stepped into their snaps (a three-week stretch of 76-77% snap rates). Expect the same this week with Nuk now expected to miss the remainder of the regular season. That leaves Wesley and Green on the perimeter, Christian Kirk primarily in the slot, and Rondale Moore in his short area, gadget-style role. Zach Ertz has hovered around an 80% snap rate for five consecutive weeks and is typically used in a short-to-intermediate role with viable yards after catch upside. Overall, don’t expect the pass game design to change much in the absence of Nuk, instead keeping a more spread nature in both production and spacing. The final piece of note here is how poor the Lions have been this season at defending the deeper areas of the field, ceding the deepest average depth of target and second-most yards per completion. On top of that, four members of the secondary (including three regular starters), popped on the COVID list this week. This primarily benefits Christian Kirk as the only player to consistently be schemed deep area work, while AJ Green should be considered a secondary beneficiary.

How Detroit Will Try to win ::

Without sounding like a broken record with these Lions, we know how this team would like to try to win games (power run game and deep passing built off of it) and we know how this team has been forced to try to win games (a largely ineffective power run game with short-to-intermediate passing built off of it, due in large part to the shortcomings of their starting quarterback). We also know that the Lions will start games with a slow pace of play and hefty rush rate, but are forced into second-half aerial aggression through an increased pace of play and increased pass rates more often than not. While this is good news from a “target teams against the Lions” perspective, it should be noted that we can’t always take that line of thinking – more on this below. Furthermore, a massive chunk of “how Detroit will try to win” here depends on the game day statuses of D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and TJ Hockenson, who all failed to practice on Wednesday (injuries to Swift and Hockenson and COVID list for Williams).

The normal backfield split between lead back D’Andre Swift and backup Jamaal Williams was thrown out the window last week when Swift missed his second consecutive game and Williams hit the COVID list late in the week. In their absence, Godwin Igwebuike and Craig Reynolds split the backfield work almost down the middle. The talk of the week last week was “which Detroit running back could see increased usage,” and from what I saw on the field, their answer was Jermar Jefferson. Craig Reynolds came in and saw the first running back opportunity in the game and threw everything out the window. We’ll need to keep an eye on this backfield this week for a few different reasons (which we’ll cover below). The matchup on the ground yields a moderate 4.325 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Cardinals defense allowing just 22.2 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields on the backs of only five total touchdowns allowed to the position (second-fewest in the league behind only the Patriots).

Similar to the backfield, a lot of this passing game is changed via the status of TJ Hockenson. Rookie slot-man Amon-Ra St. Brown has grown into the primary option in Hockenson’s absence, seeing 12 targets in consecutive weeks. Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond man the perimeter in moderate-aDOT roles, while Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra split the snaps at tight end. The hyper-aggressive and back-to-front Cardinals defense has really put a clamp on opposing passing attacks this season, particularly against the lower efficiency teams, meaning all members of this offense are likely going to have to rely on volume for fantasy purposes.

Likeliest Game flow ::

It is highly likely the Cardinals are able to control this game from start to finish, primarily through their defense and emphasis on the run game. This should lead to the Lions increasing their pace of play and pass play rate in the second half, as we’ve grown accustomed to, but is less likely to influence the overall game environment as much as we’ve seen against other opponents this season. The Cardinals decrease their second-half pace of play and pass rates in games they control at comparable rates to the increase from the Lions, meaning neutral-to-negative impact to the game environment and total offensive plays run from scrimmage. That said, expect the Cardinals to force ample short-field opportunities through their defense, which should provide additional opportunities for points to be put up on the scoreboard. The clearest route for touchdowns to be scored for the Cardinals is on the ground, which could be influenced by available personnel. Expect the Lions to return aggression primarily through the short area pass game, effectively being forced to march the field (against a defense that has largely been effective in getting off the field).


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Alex88 >>

OVERVIEW

  • 47.5 Vegas total is the second highest in Week 15
  • ARI’s implied total of 30.5 is the highest
  • DET’s implied total of 17 is tied for second lowest
  • 13.5 pt spread is the widest
  • ARI is 4-3 in the last seven games, scoring fewer than 24 pts in all three losses
  • DET has allowed an average of 27.2 ppg (fifth most)
  • DET has scored 20+ pts just once in the past seven weeks
  • ARI ranks fourth in ppg allowed (19.5)
  • DET allows a 74.4% red zone TD% (second worst)
  • Per numberFire, ARI ranks fourth in adjusted seconds per play (28.5) and 13th in adjusted pass rate (60.3%)
  • DET ranks 23rd in adjusted seconds per play (30.5) and 31st in adjusted pass rate (50.6%)

Kyler Murray

  • Ranks first in PFF passing grade
  • 8.7 YPA ranks first and 8.6 ADoT ranks 10th
  • Career high completion percentage (71.6%), TD% (5.9%), and INT% (2.8%)
  • Career low in rushing yards per game (26.7)
  • Scored 4x his Week 15 salary ($7,900) twice this year, out of 10 games
  • 24.4 DK ppg ranks fourth
  • DET ranks 12th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (19)
  • Only one opposing QB has scored 30+ vs DET (Matthew Stafford’s 30.16 pts in Week 7)

ARI Passing Attack

  • Snap share: AJ Green 73.4% // Christian Kirk 71.6% // Zach Ertz 68.2% // DeAndre Hopkins 63.6% // Rondale Moore 46.8% // Antoine Wesley 27.8%
  • Target share: Kirk 16.7% // Ertz 16.4% // Green 15.7% // Hopkins 15% // Moore 14.8% // Wesley 2.6%
  • Remarkably, there have only been three times that any ARI offensive piece saw double digit targets (Moore had 11 in Week 11, and in Week 14 Hopkins had 12 while Green had 10
  • Among all qualified WRs, Hopkins ranks 21st in air yard market share (per Koalaty Stats)
  • He is now out for the remainder of the regular season
  • When he and Murray missed Weeks 9-11, Wesley’s snapped jumped from a high of 12 (he had 31 in Week 8 when Hopkins only lasted 15 snaps) to 54, 42, & 63 snaps
  • His only targets of the year came in Weeks 8-11: 3 // 3 // 1 // 4
  • Green saw a season high in targets last week, and produced his first 20+ score
  • On the season, he’s averaging 11.19 DK ppg
  • His DK salary began the year at $3,800, hit a high of $5,100, and is $4,900 in Week 15
  • Kirk has seen at least three targets in all but one game
  • His DK salary has been in a range of $4,500 – $5,700 ($5,300 in Week 15)
  • He’s averaging 11.86 DK ppg, with one 20+ score
  • Moore is seeing a remarkable low ADoT of 1.5
  • His DK salary debuted at a stone minimum $3,000, has been as high as $5,000, and is now $4,400 in Week 15
  • He’s averaging 8.39 DK ppg, with just one 20+ score
  • DET ranks 10th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (35.3)
  • Notable WR scores: Darnell Mooney 20.5 // Mooney 21.5 // Justin Jefferson 22.4 // Davante Adams 23.1 // Deebo Samuel 35.9 // Jefferson 38.6 // Cooper Kupp 40.6
  • Ertz is averaging 5.3 targets per game
  • As a Cardinal, he’s averaging 11.21 DK ppg (out of seven games)
  • He’s had two double digit scores: 16 vs. HOU in Week 7 // 28.8 @ SEA in Week 11
  • DET ranks 17th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (13.4)
  • Notable opposing TE scores: Tyler Conklin 12.6 // Dallas Goedert 13.2 // Robert Tonyan 14.2 // Cole Kmet 14.5 // Albert Okwuegbunam 15.1 // Mark Andrews 18.9

ARI RBs

  • As of Wednesday night, Chase Edmonds is expected to return from IR while James Conner underwent an MRI, has yet to practice, and is considered day-to-day
  • Edmonds leads in targets per game, 4.1 to 2.4
  • Conner leads in touches per game, 16 to 11.8
  • Edmonds has averaged 11.34 DK ppg (in nine games), with a high of 20.9 @ LAR in Week 4
  • His $5,100 DK salary is his third lowest mark of the season
  • Among all qualified RBs, Conner ranks 25th in rush share, 15th in goal line share, 25th in target share, 22nd in WOPR, and 22nd in RBOPR
  • His 17 DK ppg ranks 12th
  • DET ranks 29th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (29.9)
  • Nine different RBs have scored 20+ vs. DET: Najee Harris 20.3 // Javonte Williams 21.3 // Alexander Mattison 21.4 // Nick Chubb 25.4 // David Montgomery 25.6 // Melvin Gordon 26.1 // Joe Mixon 26.3 // Mattison 30.3 // Aaron Jones 41.5

Jared Goff

  • Ranks 28th in PFF passing grade
  • 6.4 YPA ranks tied for 31st and 6.8 ADoT ranks 36th
  • Lowest TD% (3.2%) since his rookie year
  • Lowest INT% (1.8%) since his first Pro Bowl selection in 2017
  • Career low in yards per catch (9.6)
  • DK salary range of $5,000 – $5,400
  • Averaging just 14.45 DK ppg
  • ARI ranks fourth in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.6)
  • Notable opposing QB scores: Matthew Stafford 20.3 // Jimmy G 23.34 // Stafford 23.48 // Kirk Cousins 25.26

DET Passing Attack

  • Snap share: TJ Hockenson 77.6% // Kalif Raymond 71.8% // Amon-Ra St. Brown 71.1% // Brock Wright 37.1% // Josh Reynolds 35.4%
  • Target share: Hockenson 17.9% // St. Brown 16.4% // Raymond 12.5% // Reynolds 7.1% // Wright 2.4%
  • St. Brown has led the team in targets for back-to-back weeks, with 12 each week
  • He scored 24.8 and 15.3 pts
  • His DK salary debuted at $3,000 in Week 1
  • Season high $5,200 in Week 15
  • Raymond has seen five or fewer targets in each of the past four weeks
  • On the season, he averages 10.55 DK pts
  • Reynolds has seen at least three targets in each game as a Lion
  • DK log: 0 // 16 // 10.9 // 8.2
  • ARI ranks 17th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (37.2)
  • Only four opposing WRs have scored 20+ vs. ARI: KJ Osborn 20.1 // Van Jefferson 21 // DPJ 29.1 // Cooper Kupp 34.3
  • Among qualified TEs, Hockenson ranks fifth in target share, fifth in air yard market share, and sixth in WOPR
  • His 12.1 DK ppg ranks seventh
  • He’s tentatively expected back in Week 15
  • Hockenson’s salary has dropped from a high of $5,800 in Week 4 to $5,200 in Week 15
  • Wright saw five targets filling in for Hockenson in Week 14
  • He caught three of them for 20 yards
  • ARI ranks fifth in DK ppg allowed to TEs (8.8)
  • George Kittle’s 24.1 pts in Week 9 are the only instance of a double digit score

DET RBs

  • Among qualified RBs, D’Andre Swift ranks 15th in rush share, 21st in goal line share, second in target share, third in WOPR, and fifth in RBOPR
  • His 17.8 DK ppg ranks 11th
  • HC Campbell is “hopeful” that he returns in Week 15, although he’s yet to practice
  • Swift’s $6,300 Week 15 DK salary is $1,000 lower than his season high
  • Jamaal Williams hasn’t scored 15+ DK pts since Week 1 (25 vs. SF)
  • His Week 15 salary is $100 short of a season high
  • ARI ranks 16th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (23.3)
  • Four RBs have scored 20+ vs. ARI: Aaron Jones 24 // James Robinson 25.4 // CMC 26.1 // David Montgomery 28.1

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Jets (
15.75) at

Dolphins (
26.25)

Over/Under 42.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Jets Run D
9th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
14th DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Jets Pass D
6th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
2nd DVOA/1st Yards per pass
Dolphins Run D
9th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O
21st DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
25th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O
25th DVOA/11th Yards per pass

COVID UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND ON OWS

Game Overview ::

By papy324>>
  • The Jets almost always allow at least one significant stat line.
  • Ty Johnson is underpriced for his role if Tevin Coleman sits.
  • Myles Gaskin is underpriced for his role if Malcolm Brown and Phillip Lindsay sit.
  • Devante Parker brings a nice floor/ceiling combination at his price.

How new york Will Try To Win ::

The 3-10 Jets come into this game worse than their record. How can you be worse than 3-10? Robert Saleh’s squad has a sorry negative 171 point differential on the year. The only other three teams in their realm of ineptitude are the Lions (-141), Texans (-179), and Jaguars (-160). Those teams all have worse records than the Jets. The Jets are fortunate to be 3-10.

Robert Saleh wants to win with mistake-free football on offense and strong defense. The problem with that formula is his team has a turnover-prone rookie QB, and they’re appalling on defense. This week they get a Dolphins defense that is middling against both the pass and the run but is defined by their style of play rather than their middle of the pack DVOA rankings. The Dolphins play man coverage and blitz at one of the highest rates in the league, and Zach Wilson isn’t the type of QB that is likely to do well against pressure. When these teams met in Week 11, Joe Flacco was under center. Flacco is much better equipped to deal with this type of defense than Wilson. The Jets coaching staff seemed willing to let Wilson throw the past two weeks, making it reasonable to expect them to try and let their young QB win this game.

How miami Will Try To Win ::

The 6-7 Dolphins enter this game off a late-season bye that every team covets late in the year. After starting 1-7, the Fish have ripped off five straight wins and are only one game behind a pack of AFC teams who are all battling for the final wildcard spot. No team has ever started 1-7 and made the playoffs (only three teams have started 1-5 before making the playoffs). Even with an extra game and expanded playoff field, it would be quite the feat for the Dolphins to reach the post-season.

The Dolphins playoff quest is aided this week by their opponent, who sports one the worst defenses in recent memory, managing to rank 32nd in DVOA against the pass, and 31st in DVOA against the run. The Jets allow offenses to choose how they want to move the ball so there is no reason for the Dolphins to deviate from their normal approach of a balanced pass-leaning offense that plays at a moderate speed (15th situational neutral pace). The Dolphins will look to roll over the sorry defense of the Jets while creating turnovers and eventually running out the clock up by multiple scores in the 4th quarter.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This game has a low total of 42 because the Jets are projected for their usual 17 points. The Jets have produced 17/17/21/18/9 points in their past five games, so their team total feels about right. The Dolphins should be able to have their way on offense, which will eventually force the Jets to cut bait and let Wilson throw around 40 times. That will lead to turnovers, and the Dolphins should be able to win this game going away in the fourth quarter. 


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Tua Tagovailoa:

  • Tua’s only two games over 20 DK pts (25.4, 28.5) came against defenses allowing 18.9 & 21.6 QB DK pts/g and ranked 31st & 29th in def pass DVOA
  • Jets are allowing 20.1 DK pts/g and are ranked 32nd in def pass DVOA
  • Jets allowed 3 QB TDs in the first 4 games
  • Jets have allowed 20 QB TDs in the last 9 games
  • Every QB has scored 2+ TDs vs NYJ since Week 4
  • Tua has 2+ TDs in 5/7 full games this year
  • Tua in first matchup with NYJ: 27/33 for 273 yds, 2 TD, INT

MIA WRs:

  • Jets have allowed the 7th fewest WR DK pts/g thanks to the 5th fewest WR TDs allowed (9) & 3rd fewest WR rec allowed (10.8 rec/g) on the 2nd fewest faced WR tg
  • WRs with 70+ yds vs NYJ: DJ Moore (80) // Patrick (98) // Higgins (97) // Diggs (162:1), Davis (105) // Hollins (72:1)
  • Waddle with Tua (4:61:1 // 10:70:2 // 7:83 // 4:29 // 8:65 // 9:137:1 // 9:90)
  • Parker with Tua (4:81 // 8:85 // 5:62)
  • Waddle finished with 8:65, rush TD in the first matchup with NYJ (no Parker)

Mike Gesicki:

  • Gesicki tg with Tua (full): 2, 9, 8, 4, 6, 3, 11
  • Gesicki tg without Parker: 7, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 3
  • Gesicki tg with Parker: 2, 6, 12, 6, 4, 11
  • Gesicki has 40+ yds in 10/13 games (other three he combined for 17 yds)
  • Gesicki has 80+ yds in three games
  • TEs with 40+ yds vs NYJ: Henry (42) // Pitts (119:1), Hurst (40:1) // Gesicki (50) // Goedert (105:2) // Vannett (44)
  • NYJ have allowed the 3rd highest success rate to TEs

MIA RBs:

  • NYJ have allowed 36.4 DK pts/g to RBs; next closest is 31.2 DK pts/g
  • The Jets have allowed the 3rd most RB rush yds, most RB rush TDs, 4th most RB rec, & 2nd most RB rec yds/g
  • Four RBs have had 60+ rec yds vs NYJ (two more of 40+) (four more of 30+)
  • Gaskin’s five games of 15+ DK pts: (5:25, 10:74:2) // (15:67, 4:10:1) // (20:34:1, 6:23) // (23:89, 3:7:1) // (16:49:2, 2:3)
  • Gaskin’s 23 att vs the NYJ were the most he’s had all year
  • Gaskin touches since W7: 19 // 16 // 26 // 16 // 27 // 18 // 17

Zach Wilson:

  • MIA has allowed 20 TDs to 11 INT in 13 games (8 INT in last 6 g)
  • Wilson has thrown just 6 TDs to 11 INT in 8 games
  • Wilson’s only game of 20 DK pts (W13) was still just 22 DK pts (thanks to a rush TD)
  • Wilson missed the first MIA matchup in which Flacco went for 291:2
  • Allen (3) & Brady (5) are the only QBs with more than 2 TDs vs MIA
  • Wilson will continue to be without top WRs Davis & Moore for the rest of season

NYJ WRs:

  • After Moore’s late stretch tearing it up was cut short by injury, Berrios led the Jets in receiving (52 yds) in the first game without both Davis & Moore
  • Tg in W13: Berrios (10) // Crowder (6) // Cole (6) // DJ Montgomery (6)
  • Top performing WR vs MIA: Agholor (5:72:1) // Diggs (4:60:1) // Renfrow (5:77:1) // Pittman (6:59) // Brown (7:124:2), Evans (6:113:2) // MJJ (7:100:1) // Gage (4:67:1) // Beasley (10:110) // Cooks (6:56) // Bateman (6:80) // E Moore (8:141:1) // DJ Moore (4:103) // Golladay (3:37)

NYJ RBs:

  • Total yds since Carter went down::
  • Coleman: 70 // 77 // –
  • Johnson: 42 // 15 // 57
  • Walter: 38 // 11 // –
  • Perine: – // – // 28
  • MIA has allowed 30+ rec yds to 6 RBs
  • MIA has allowed 60+ rush yds to 8 RBs (3 of 100+)
  • MIA allowed 9 RB TDs in first seven weeks, but has allowed none over the last six (those opponents: BUF, HOU, BAL, NYJ, CAR, NYG)
  • Carter has between 9-16 rush att in all nine games he’s played since W1
  • Carter’s only game of 20+ DK pts came with 14 tg from Mike White and 172 total yds

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 1:00pm Eastern

Panthers (
14.5) at

Bills (
28.5)

Over/Under 43.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Panthers Run D
18th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O
11th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D
26th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O
2nd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Bills Run D
3rd DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O
10th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D
9th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O
30th DVOA/8th Yards per pass

POSTED ON FRIDAY AT 8 AM EST

COVID UPDATES COMING THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND ON OWS

Game Overview ::

By hilow>>
  • The Panthers have seemingly avoided the COVID bug, with the only notable questionable player being cornerback AJ Bouye.
  • The Bills have also miraculously avoided the COVID bug for the most part, with only backup middle linebacker Tyrel Dodson currently on the list. Emmanuel Sanders is doubtful with a knee injury.
  • This Bills team is not the same team we attacked relentlessly last season, and they are typically more than content to simply wax games with their rushing attack instead of leaving too much to Josh Allen, which is an important aspect to consider against a Panthers team that the Bills defense should largely shut down.
  • Cam Newton simply does not carry the floor that the field still thinks he has on a weekly basis.

How carolina Will Try To Win ::

Carolina’s overall pass rate with Cam Newton as the starter sits at 61% (only a three-game sample), which is much higher than you’d think when looking at the underlying metrics. As in, Cam Newton has pass attempts of only 27, 23, and 21 in his three games as the starter, albeit backup PJ Walker came in for two of those games to add 10 and 12 pass attempts of his own. To that point, I was having a discussion with the other providers this past week about how Cam Newton doesn’t carry the weekly floor that the field seems to think he does, a possible area to leverage for the remainder of the season. Anywho, Cam is not the same passer he once was, deriving so much of his value from this rushing potential (rushing score in each of his four appearances for the Panthers this season). And these weren’t world-beater defenses that shut Cam down. He looked competent against Washington and proceeded to look less than capable (that’s putting it lightly) against Miami and Atlanta, two defenses that have been suspect in the secondary all season.

The ground game is now a veritable mess, with Chuba Hubbard having been out-snapped by Ameer Abdullah each of the past two games (the first of which Christian McCaffrey got injured and the second of which the backfield was Chuba and Abdullah’s the entirety of the game). There’s no saying, with any degree of confidence, which of these backs will lead the way moving forward, and they both also have to contend with the high red zone rushing utilization of Cameron Newton. The matchup on the ground yields a scary-low 3.90 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Buffalo defense that clamps down on “power runs up the gut,” but is susceptible to rushes off the edge (of which the Panthers don’t utilize heavily). Queue the Ralph Wiggum “I’m in danger” gif.

As alluded to above, this pass game is at the mercy of an inaccurate, poor-timing, and poor arm strength Cam Newton at this point in the season, and it now has to face the number one pass defense in the league. Queue the Ralph “I’m in danger” gif times two. Although we’re highly unlikely to need more analysis than that, here goes. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson are the only pass-catchers to play near every-down roles, with Brandon Zylstra now splitting snaps with an ineffective Terrace Marshall, Jr. and Ian Thomas sharing tight end duties with Tommy Tremble. DJ Moore has averaged nine targets per game across Cam’s three starts, good for a rock-solid floor of 14.4 fantasy points during that span. Robby Anderson (lolz to us for missing it) saw 12 targets last week and put up a respectable 21.4 fantasy points seemingly out of nowhere, but saw just four and six targets in the other two Cam Newton starts. The remaining pass-catchers have a combined one game with more than just three targets across the last three games (Zylstra, of all people, with five targets last week). Again, against the number one pass defense in the league, it might not matter, but we’ll explore some interesting dynamics below.

How buffalo Will Try To Win ::

Buffalo has been a different team this season, and a large part of the reason why is due to their top three-ranked defense. Their defense has allowed them to not have to throw the football as much this season, particularly in games they control throughout. Against a broken Panthers offense (in more ways than one), they are highly likely to be afforded the same opportunity here, meaning just enough pass volume to get the job done, and an increased emphasis on the run late in the game. Their offense ranks seventh in drive success rate, seventh in points per drive, and second in average starting field position (a nod to their defense more than anything), and they should eventually find success against the Panthers here.

The backfield remains tough to decipher prior to inactives being announced, but Zack Moss has been held as a healthy inactive in two of the previous three games, and Devin Singletary has snap rates of 68% and 82% in those games, with Matt Breida operating as the primary change of pace back. Even with the ballooned snap rates, Singletary is highly likely to require both a Moss inactive and an extremely positive game script in order to return a GPP-worthy score here, but that possibility is highly unlikely to be accounted for by the field. The ground matchup yields a slightly below average 4.24 net-adjusted line yards metric against a defense allowing just 20.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields.

The money-maker for this Bills team has continued to be the pass game, even in games they are able to control with their defense. Although it is still their money-maker, it is less likely to be our money-maker in games they control, as the typical decrease in volume is a significant hit to the range of outcomes of all pass-catchers. The likely absence of Emmanuel Sanders opens up a fairly large snap rate expectation for Gabriel Davis, who pairs a deep average depth of target with a high red zone role, a dangerous combination for a player likely to go largely overlooked by the field here. Expect Stefon Diggs and Davis to man the perimeter, with Cole Beasley and tight end Dawson Knox working primarily from the slot. We’ll cover more of what to expect from this pass offense in the DFS+ Interpretation below.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

Buffalo is highly likely to control this game with their defense, creating a situation where their offense can operate any which way they choose. As we’ve explored in this space earlier this season, the Bills are no longer a team that we can expect to sling the football late into large wins. Josh Allen has five games already this year with 30 or fewer pass attempts. As such, Allen is highly likely going to need the Panthers to keep pressure on in order to return GPP ceiling-worthy numbers (as in, he has as many games of 30 or fewer pass attempts as he does games over 300 pass yards this season). Now consider the fact that these two teams are number one and number two in the league in pass yards allowed per game, and we’re left with a game environment that is likeliest to underwhelm relative to expected ownership. Like, a Bills game has a game total of just 44.5 points for a reason, and this exploration should serve to highlight those reasons. That said, we do have a somewhat condensed Bills pass offense that could warrant consideration in specific game environments, which we’ll hit on below.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By LexMiraglia10 >>

Josh Allen:

  • CAR has held eight QBs under 200 pass yds, and the others have thrown for 258, 373, 206, 230
  • CAR ranks 6th in def pass DVOA and has allowed the 3rd fewest QB DK pts/g
  • Allen has thrown for 200+ yds in 11/13 games, with four of 300+
  • The two he fell short of 200+ yds: 35-0 W vs MIA, 10-14 L vs NE in big wind game
  • Just 5/13 QBs have multiple TDs vs CAR
  • Allen has ten games of 2+ TDs, six games of 3+ TDs
  • QB rushing vs CAR: Winston (19:1) // Dak (35) // Hurts (30:2) // Jones (28) // Heinicke (29)
  • Allen has 8 rush TDs in every previous season of his career (4 so far in 2021)
  • Allen has nine games in 2021 of 30+ rush yds (4 of 50+)

BUF WRs:

  • 60+ yd games: Diggs (10/13) // Beasley (5/13) // Sanders (4/13)
  • Beasley has three games of 80+ yds this season (11:98, 7:88:1, 10:110), games with 60 & 64 yds, and eight games with a combined 185 yds (23.1 yds/g)
  • Sanders hasn’t reached 15 DK pts since W5 and he caught 2 TDs both times he did
  • Sanders has maxed out at 5 rec this season, and has totaled 193 rec yds in the last 7g
  • Davis has caught a TD in back to back weeks, but has topped 50 yds just once all season (W10 vs NYJ)
  • 8+ tg games: Diggs (9/13) // Beasley (6/13) // Sanders (3/13)
  • Diggs has 10+ targets in 17/32 games with BUF and 8+ targets in 10 more (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7 in the only games below 8)
  • Diggs has 11 games of 100+ yds with BUF, and 3 more with 90+ yds
  • He only has two of the 11 this season
  • Diggs has just four 20+ pt DK scores this year (21.4, 23.9, 33.2, 20.4)
  • Diggs now has 25+ DK pts with BUF in 8 of 32 games, with just one so far in 13 g in 2021
  • CAR has allowed the 5th fewest WR DK pts/g (30.5)
  • McLaurin is the only WR since 2020 to reach 100 yds vs CAR without 7+ rec to get there (Evans, Keenan, Ridley, Julio, Tyreek, Cooks, Thielen, Waddle)
  • CAR’s only 20+ pt WRs allowed in 2021: Davis (5:97:2) // Cooks (9:112) // Thielen (11:126:1) // McLaurin (5:103:1) // Waddle (9:137:1)
  • 7+ rec games: Diggs (6/13) // Beasley (6/13) // Sanders (0/13)
  • 100-yd games: Diggs (2/13) // Beasley (1/13) // Sanders (0/13)

Dawson Knox:

  • CAR has allowed the 8th lowest success rate & 5th lowest yds/att to TEs
  • Notable TEs vs CAR: Schultz (6:58:1) // Goedert (2:28) // Conklin (3:71) // Engram (6:44) // Pitts (2:13) // Henry (2:19:1) // Ertz (4:46) // Gesicki (3:17) // Pitts (5:61)
  • TEs to score vs CAR: Jarwin, Schultz, Herndon, Henry, Hurst
  • Knox targets: 4, 3, 5, 8, 4, 3, 1, 10, 3, 6, 9
  • So 3/11 games with 8+ tg, 7/11 games with 4+ tg, and 10/11 games with 3+ tg
  • Knox has 8 TDs in 11 games
  • Knox has 40+ yds in 5/11 games

BUF RBs:

  • Season high in DK pts: Moss (18.1) // Singletary (17.1) // Breida (19)
  • Season high in touches: Moss (16) // Singletary (16) // Breida (11)
  • Moss/Singletary season-highs both came in first MIA blowout, Breida’s in NYJ blowout
  • Only RBs with 75+ yds vs CAR: Zeke (143:1) // Cook (143:1) // Stevenson (106), Bolden (81) // Gibson (95) // Davis (86)

CAR QBs:

  • Cam & Walker have both played the last two games, with Cam scoring twice to 3 INTs and Walker scoring once to 2 INT
  • Only QBs over just 200 yds vs BUF: Tua (205), Heinicke (212), Tanny (216), Mahomes (272), Brady (363)
  • BUF has allowed just 10 pass TDs to 16 INT
  • Brady’s 300+ yd game came with the benefit of OT, but also in BUF’s first game without Tre’Davious White
  • CAR is already playing 2 QBs and there’s also rumors of Darnold even playing again this season (so have fun with that)

CAR WRs:

  • BUF has allowed the fewest WR DK pts/g (26.7) by a wide margin (thought it shrunk significantly in first game without White vs TB WRs)
  • BUF has allowed just four WR TDs, and 121.8 WR yds/g
  • TB WRs in first game without White: Godwin (10:105), Evans (6:91:1), Perriman (1:58:1)
  • Moore has between 7-13 tg in every game
  • Moore’s first four games (DK pts): 15.4 // 21.9 // 23.5 // 34.9
  • Moore’s last nine games (DK pts): 8.8 // 11.9 // 13.3 // 9.9 // 7.6 // 6.4 // 16 // 17.3 // 14.4
  • Moore since Darnold was benched: 4:24 // 5:50:1 // 4:103 // 6:84
  • Robby since Darnold was benched: 4:37:1 // 5:30 // 1:15 // 7:84:1

CAR RBs:

  • Hubbard’s rush att as starter: 13 // 24 // 16 // 12 // 24 // 10
  • Hubbard’s targets as starter:  2 // 6 // 3 // 5 // 2 // 0
  • Hubbard’s yds as starter: 71 // 134 // 65 // 56 // 91 // 33
  • RBs with 10+ rush att vs BUF: Najee (16:45) // Gibson (12:31) // Henry (20:143:3) // Gaskin (12:36) // Hyde (21:67) // Carter (16:39:1) // Taylor (32:185:4) // T Jones (16:27) // Harris (10:111:1), Stevenson (24:78) // Fournette (19:113:1)

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 4:05pm Eastern

Bengals (
20.5) at

Broncos (
23.5)

Over/Under 44.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
14th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
29th DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
12th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
28th DVOA/15th Yards per pass
Broncos Run D
22nd DVOA/16th Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
4th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
4th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
7th DVOA/16th Yards per pass

Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 8:30pm ET Dec 16th).

Game Overview ::

By HILOW >>
  • Bengals corner Chidobe Awuzie and tackle Riley Reiff have already been ruled out for this weekend, while tackle Isaiah Prince, linebacker Logan Wilson, and backup center Trey Hill have yet to practice this week.
  • The Broncos are (currently) a little better off on the injury (and COVID) front, with only defensive end Dre’Mont Jones and inside linebacker Kenny Young yet to practice this week (as of Thursday).
  • 29th and 30th offenses in situation-neutral pace of play, 28th and 31st offenses in overall pace of play, and 26th and 31st offenses in pace of play when trailing by seven or more points – there are not going to be a ton of plays in this one.

How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::

The Bengals have evolved into a much more balanced offense as the season has progressed, ranking in the middle of the league in both situation-neutral and overall rush-pass rates. They are, however, one of the slowest offenses in the league, ranking 30th in situation-neutral pace of play, 31st in overall pace of play this season, and even 31st in pace of play when trailing by seven or more points. Even with the slow pace of play, a defense ranking sixth in drive success rate allowed has allowed this team to run near league-average total offensive plays per game, rushes per game, and pass attempts per game. For all intents and purposes, this surprisingly effective defense is a large part of the success the Bengals have enjoyed this season, as the offense is near league-average in most major metrics, including points per drive (11th), total yards of offense per game (16th), drive success rate (19th), and yards per drive (20th).

The emergence of Samaje Perine has allowed the Bengals to keep Joe Mixon’s snap rates within reason this season, typically landing in the 65-75% range. Think of Mixon and his weekly expected workload as a tick below truly elite but a tick above “2021 NFL lead back” status. His weekly rush attempts depend largely on game flow while his weekly pass game involvement has been hit or miss, at best (four to six targets in four games, with eight games of two targets or fewer). Expect a floor of 16-18 rush attempts with unknown pass game involvement and ceiling for 30+ carries in the right game environments. Perine should see a typically backup range of outcomes of eight to 12 running back opportunities in most game environments. The matchup on the ground yields a surprisingly robust 4.465 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Denver defense allowing just 21.7 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (only eight total touchdowns allowed to running backs this season).

As we’ve previously explored in this space, rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the only pass-catcher to play a near every-down role for this team, with slot man Tyler Boyd typically landing in the 75-85% snap rate range, perimeter wideout Tee Higgins typically landing in the 75-80% snap rate range, and tight end CJ Uzomah typically landing in the 65-85% snap rate range. Wide receivers Stanley Morgan and Mike Thomas are on hand as depth pieces, while blocking tight end Drew Sample typically soaks up 35-50% of the offensive snaps as well. The Broncos have surprisingly faced the third-deepest average depth of target against at 9.0, but have forced the league’s lowest completion rate against (58.41%) and are near league average in average yards after catch allowed. Expect a slight boost to the deeper aDOT wide receivers here, which are primarily Chase (13.1) and Higgins (12.1).

How Denver Will Try to win ::

While the Broncos are viewed as primarily a run-first offense, their overall rush-pass rates have been heavily influenced by game flow all season. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has seven games of 33 pass attempts or more and five games of 26 pass attempts or fewer, indicating an offense that would prefer to run the football in games they control, but one that is also not afraid to open things up when they need to. This has led to just-below-average overall pass rates (a tick below the Bengals) and wildly swinging pass attempts per game. The true identity of this team is based around an aggressive defense (10th most turnovers generated per drive, sixth-fewest time of possession allowed per drive, third-lowest time of possession allowed per drive, and eighth fewest yards allowed per drive) that aims to control games, allowing for increased rush rates when possible – not the other way around. As in, this isn’t a team that is built around the run first, rather a team that will utilize increased rush rates when their defense allows them to.

Melvin Gordon returned after a one-game absence last week to the same near-even split with Javonte Williams in both snap rate and usage. As such, expect each to require a game environment conducive to increased overall rush rates in order to return the requisite volume needed for ceiling games. What I mean by that is this: a standard range of outcomes as far as running back opportunities goes is 14-18 for both Williams and Gordon – they typically have needed the defense to provide a game environment where the offense can increase their rush rates in order to go over that range. The matchup on the ground is one of the more difficult these Broncos have seen this season, yielding a below-average 4.065 net-adjusted line yards metric. Considering Teddy Bridgewater targets his running backs at a below-average rate, and that already low target rate is split between two bodies, we should primarily view each of Gordon and Williams as “yardage and touchdown backs with a hint of added floor through the air.”

The Broncos pass game has devolved into a spread offense that utilizes 11- and 12-personnel at above-league-average rates. Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick operate as the primary perimeter weapons, while Jerry Jeudy operates primarily from the slot, and Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam typically split tight end snaps at a 75/45 clip. For all the talk surrounding Teddy Bridgewater and his conservative ways, he actually holds top 12 marks in both intended air yards per pass attempt and total completed air yards this season. This makes sense when examining his pass-catchers, the wide receivers of which all hold above-average depths of targets (Sutton: 15.1, Patrick: 10.8, Jeudy: 7.7, which is slightly above average for a slot weapon). The tight end duo of Noah Fant and Albert O are the only two below average aerial weapons in aDOT. The Bengals cede an 8.0 average depth of target on defense, exactly in line with Bridgewater’s mark. The absence of Chidobe Awuzie is a big deal for this offense, who has partnered with Eli Apple to allow a minuscule 45.1% completion rate in primary coverage against opposing perimeter wide receivers – more on this below

Likeliest Game flow ::

We’re likely to see an extremely slow-paced, slug-it-out start to this one, with the clearest path for that to open up coming through the Cincinnati pass game, primarily through deep passing. Since we know the Broncos have yielded deeper passing, and since we know the Broncos are willing and able to open their offense up to include increased pass rates, this single game flow gives this one the best chance of turning into a game with greater than league average offensive plays run from scrimmage. In every other game environment, we should expect a slow-paced game with increased rush rates from each side. This brings up an interesting point in that this game has a relatively hidden path to pass game relevance, yet the field is highly unlikely to view it as such. The best way to capture that hidden upside is through a correlated pairing of pass-catchers from each side, which is almost guaranteed to be low-owned this week. I would limit exposure in this case to Ja’Marr Chase or Tee Higgins from the Bengals, while quite literally any Bronco pass-catcher could be the one to see a bump in production, although it is likeliest to come through either Sutton or Patrick on the perimeter – whichever one is away from Eli Apple, as Mike Hilton is one of the better slot cover corners in the league this year. Per alignments, that is most likely to be Sutton.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • 7th highest total (44) 
  • DEN is favored by 2.5 after opening 5.5
  • DEN pts allowed at home last 4: (10, 13, 30, 10)
  • CIN lost 2 straight at home & now has to play in Denver at altitude (weather shouldn’t be an issue, 58 degrees)
  • CIN pts last 2: (22, 23) // Previous 6: (41, 32, 16, 31, 41, 34)

Joe Burrow:

  • Burrow broke his streak of four straight games w/o 2 pass TDs last week
  • 7 of last 10 games w/ 20+ DK pts
  • Burrow’s ($6.1k) season high price was $7.1k WK 9
  • DEN QB pts allowed at home: (Goff 12.6) // (Herbert 24.7) // (Hurts 19.6) // (Heinicke 13.8) // (Carr 24.5) // (Jackson 22.4) // (Wilson 4.6) 
  • DEN allows the 5th least DK pts/g to QBs (16.7)

CIN WRs:

  • Team tgt share: (Higgins 25%) // (Chase 24%) // (Boyd 19%)
  • Rec TD share: (Chase 33%) // (Higgins 23%) // (Boyd 8%) 
  • Tgts last 3: (Chase 8,8,3) // (Higgins 7,14,8) // (Boyd 5,7,2)
  • Ja’Marr Chase hasn’t broke 77 yds in six games
  • He scored 2 TDs on 5 rec last week
  • $7.1k is $500 cheaper than his WK 9 season high
  • Higgins has three straight with 100+ yds 
  • DK pts last 3: (19.4, 31.8, 26.4)
  • He’s a season high $6.5k
  • DEN allows the 6th highest yds/rec (11.1)
  • CIN ranks 3rd in yds/rec (11.3)
  • DEN allows the 8th least DK pts to WRs (33.0)

CIN TEs:

  • Uzomah tgts last 4: (6,6,3,3)
  • No games with 6 or more catches
  • He hasn’t scored since WK 7
  • WK 9 season high was $3.9k // $3.1k this week
  • DEN allows the 3rd least DK pts to TEs (8.4)

Joe Mixon:

  • Mixon last 2 (both losses by 20+): (18:58, 8.8 DK pts) // (19:54:1 TD, 10.4 DK pts)
  • Two games before those (both wins by 18+): (28:165:2 TDs, 35.3 DK pts) // (30:123:2 TDs, 27.3 DK pts) 
  • Mixon ($7.2k) is the 3rd highest priced RB for the 2nd straight week (Harris-$7.8k, Elliott-$7.3k)
  • Last week was Mixon’s 1st game not scoring a rush or rec TD since WK 3
  • His price has came down $900 from a season high $8.1k two weeks ago
  • Den allows the 7th least DK pts to RBs (21.7)

Teddy Bridgewater: 

  • Bridgewater ($5.5k) hasn’t had 20+ DK pts in 4 games
  • He scored 20+ in 4 of the first 9
  • Season high price of $5.7k (last week & WK 6)
  • Teddy at home: (15.2, 16.2, 9.0, 12.6, 25.3, 6.8, 11.8)
  • CIN allows the 15th most DK pts/g to QBs (19.4)

DEN WRs:

  • Tgts last 3 since bye: Jeudy (6,6,3) // Sutton (2,6,3) // Patrick (5,5,3)
  • Jeudy has yet to score in 7 games
  • Sutton ($4.6k) is the cheapest he’s been all season (previous low was $5.1k)
  • He hasn’t had more than 2 catches since WK 7
  • Sutton is the only DEN WR to have 100+ yds ( has done so twice, WK 5 & WK 2)
  • Patrick hasn’t had more than 4 catches since WK 5
  • CIN allows the 16th most DK pts to WRs (36.6)

DEN TEs:

  • Fant has 4 tgts in each of last 6
  • He has yet to break 100 rec yds & its been 30 games since he last did so (twice in 2019, his rookie season)
  • 2 games with 10 or more tgts but zero in last 8
  • Albert O. tgts last 6: (5,4,2,3,5,3)
  • He found the endzone last week & had a season high 15.1 DK pts
  • CIN allows the 10th most DK pts to TEs (14.3)

DEN RBs:

  • Gordon had 24 atts to Williams 15 atts last week
  • Williams has zero 20+ att games with Gordon active
  • Gordon has two 20+ att games (Williams has played every game)
  • Total TDs (Gordon has played one less game): Gordon (9) // Williams (6)
  • RZ rush atts: Gordon (37) // Williams (23)
  • Tgts: Williams (44) // Gordon (30)
  • CIN allows the most RB tgts/g (9.5), 2nd most RB rec (7.2), & 5th most RB rec yds (52) 
  • DEN ranks 11th in rush yds/g (123.1) & 3rd over their last 3 (123.1)
  • CIN allows the 4th least (93.1) & 3rd least over their last 3 (76.7)
  • DEN avgs .9 rush TDs/g // CIN allows .9
  • CIN allows 25.1 DK pts/g to RBs (11th most)

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 4:05pm Eastern

Falcons (
19.25) at

49ers (
28.25)

Over/Under 47.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Falcons Run D
23rd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
13th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
30th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
3rd DVOA/5th Yards per pass
49ers Run D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
4th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
5th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
17th DVOA/12th Yards per pass

Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 8:30pm ET Dec 16th).

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>
  • Atlanta continues to stay alive by winning games against weak competition (none of their wins has come against a team with a winning record).
  • San Francisco has won four of their last five games despite battling some injury issues along the way.
  • The 49ers have a chance to be fully healthy at their skill positions for the first time in several weeks.
  • All six of the Falcons wins have come away from home (five on the road and one in London).
  • The 49ers are likely to control the game and impose their run-heavy, slow-paced approach.

How atlanta Will Try To Win ::

In two of their last three games (both wins), the Falcons have had a 50% or higher run rate, which is up significantly from their 61% rate for the season. They have also adjusted roles in their backfield, with Cordarrelle Patterson taking over the lead back role but ceding most third down and passing situation work to Mike Davis. Unfortunately for the Falcons, this new recipe for success is unlikely to work in this matchup against the very stout 49ers run defense, which is ranked 3rd in DVOA and 7th by PFF’s grades. On the other hand, the 49ers pass defense is a middle to lower-tier unit that is missing multiple pieces, including their best cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. The problem for the Falcons is that they don’t have much talent to expose this situation with their replacement level or lower receiving corps.

Over the last half of the season, the Falcons are playing with the 23rd fastest situation-neutral pace in the league and, as mentioned before, have become more run-heavy. While the matchup won’t let them pound the run at the rate they have been, it is very likely that they will continue a methodical approach and hope their overachieving defense is able to hold up and make this a game in the 4th quarter. The Falcons spent last year and the start of this year as an aggressive passing team that sped their opponents up, but that is no longer the case. We should expect a balanced attack and a continued conservative pace. Kyle Pitts has struggled with extra defensive attention and facing top cornerbacks from opposing teams. It would not be surprising to see Pitts finally have a big game here as the 49ers are short-handed at cornerback with no one who can match Pitts physically and the likely tough sledding they will see in the running game.

How san francisco Will Try To Win ::

The 49ers are built to run with Kyle Shanahan’s elite scheme and their ability to stretch defenses horizontally and vertically. If Elijah Mitchell is cleared for this week, it will be the first time that he, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk have been active together in a game since Week 12 against the Vikings – a game in which they scored 34 points through three quarters before Deebo left with an injury. The 49ers have PFF’s #1 graded run-blocking offensive line facing off against a Falcons defense that is ranked 31st in rush defense DVOA and 27th in yards per carry allowed. This Falcons team is also one of the worst tackling teams in the league, ranking 24th in PFF grades as a tackling unit. This could prove to be a huge issue for them as the 49ers are an offense built around skill players who are elite with the ball in their hands:

  • Elijah Mitchell ranks 4th out of 65 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt.
  • Deebo Samuel ranks 1st out of 67 qualifying wide receivers in yards after contact per reception (he also averages 5.79 yards after contact on rushes)
  • George Kittle ranks 2nd out of 18 qualifying tight ends in yards after contact per attempt.

The game plan for the 49ers should be very straightforward here as they will play their normal style of ball – methodical with a ground-based approach while using creative play calling and schemes to attack the very “vanilla” Falcons defense in a variety of ways. We often measure “aggressiveness” by downfield passing and pass rate, which would make us feel like the 49ers are not going to be aggressive here due to their high run rate and low aDOT. However, while the 49ers will play their brand of football, they are definitely going to do it in an “aggressive” way that sets them up for some big plays.

Likeliest Game Flow :: 

This has all the makings of a slow-paced game with relatively low play volume and is unlikely to deliver huge splash plays out of the gate. The 49ers game last week against the Bengals is likely a good barometer of how this game could play out from a purely game flow, and pace perspective, with the main difference being the Falcons have a worse defense and less explosive offensive pieces to become more aggressive with if/when they fall behind.

The 49ers are likely to have a great deal of offensive success in this game as their elite skill position players will be able to move the chains consistently while also being capable of breaking free for a big play at any time. While their attack will likely not be vertical in nature, Shanahan will scheme ways for his playmakers to get the ball in space to break tackles and make people miss. This makes it highly likely that San Francisco takes control of this game early on and is able to control the pace and rhythm of the game by extending drives and keeping their defense fresh – which will, in turn, make it more difficult for the Falcons to start sustaining drives. The Falcons have played five games against teams ranked in the top 10 in offensive DVOA. In those five games, they have given up an average of 35.6 points per game.


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DFS+ Interpretation ::

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • 2nd highest total (46)
  • Total has dropped 1.5 pts
  • SF is favored by 9
  • ATL avgs 18.8 pts/g (7th fewest) // SF allows 23.2 (13th most)
  • SF avgs 25.3 pts/g (13th most) // ATL allows 27.2 pts/g (T-4th most)
  • SF pts last 5: (26, 23, 34, 30, 31)
  • ATL pts last 5: (29, 17, 14, 0, 3)
  • SF leads NFL in RZ scoring %: (72.97) 
  • ATL allows the 5th highest RZ scoring % (68.75)
  • Both teams are 6-7 ATS

Matt Ryan:

  • $5.3k is a season low price (also $5.3k last week)
  • Ryan has thrown only 2 TDs the last 5 games
  • SF allows 1.5 pass TDs/g (T-10th lowest)
  • In his last 5, he’s only passed for 200+ once
  • DK pts last 5: (11.9, 12.1, 11.2, 4.1, 2.7) 
  • He had at least 20 DK pts in 5 out of 8 to start the season
  • SF allows the 11th most DK pts/g to QBs (19.8)

ATL WRs: 

  • Russell Gage tgts last 6: (6,12,7,8,3,8)
  • Gage had 130 rec yds two weeks ago
  • He hasn’t had more than 67 in any other game
  • Snaps (of 68):Routes run (of 31) last week vs CAR: Gage (51:27) // Tajae Sharpe (51:27) // Olamide Zaccheaus (28:13)
  • Sharpe is $200 cheaper than Zaccheaus
  • Sharpe’s price has dropped $600 since WK 11
  • Zaccheaus’ price has dropped $900 since WK 11
  • SF allows the 12th most DK pts to WRs (37.6)

ATL TEs:

  • Pitts has seen at least 5 tgts in every game since WK 3 but only has one 10 tgt game on the season
  • He leads the team w/ 88 tgts
  • $5.5k matches his price last week 
  • It hasn’t been lower since WK 5 
  • He hasn’t scored since WK 5, his only TD on the season
  • 12 RZ tgts is tied w/ Patterson for the 2nd most (Calvin Ridley still has the most w/ 14)
  • SF allows the 4th least DK pts/g to TEs (8.6)

ATL RBs:

  • Cordarrele Patterson atts last 3: (16,13,16) // Mike Davis (11,4,5)
  • Patterson rush yds have went down each of the last 3: (108, 78, 58)
  • Davis’ have went up: (16, 32, 44)
  • Patterson has 12 RZ tgts (T-2nd behind Ridley)
  • He’s 2nd in team tgts (62) & avgs 5.2/g
  • SF allows 6.7 RB tgts/g (15th most) & 5.3 rec (14th most)
  • SF allows the 15th most DK pts to RBs (24.3)

Jimmy Garoppolo:

  • Jimmy barely fell short of 300 pass yds the last two games (296, 299)
  • ATL allows 225.3 pass yds/g (17th most)
  • Jimmy has zero 3 TD games this season
  • ATL allows 2.0/g (T-2nd most)
  • He’s thrown 2 TDs in 6 games & had a 2 rush TD game in another
  • Jimmy is priced the same as last week, tied for his season high ($5.8k)
  • ATL allows the 2nd most DK pts to QBs (21.6)

SF WRs: 

  • Tgts last 3: Deebo (1,DNP,4) // Aiyuk (10,6,6) // Jennings (5,1,3) // Sherfield (0,5,1)
  • Deebo hasn’t had more than 1 rec in his last 3 games
  • He had 90+ rec yds in 6 of the first 9
  • Deebo rush atts last 5: (8,DNP,6,8,5)
  • He’s priced as the 3rd highest WR (8.2k) (Kupp $9k, Adams $8.9k)
  • Aiyuk ($6.3) is $500 more than his previous season high last week
  • Jennings played 47 of 71 snaps and ran 36 routes of 49 last week
  • He seems to be taking over SFs 3rd WR spot
  • ATL allows the 6th most DK pts to WRs (39.2)

George Kittle:

  • Kittle last 2: (13:151:1TD, 15 tgts, 37.1 DK pts) // (9:181:2 TDs, 12 tgts, 42.6 DK pts)
  • 42.6 DK pts was highest on the slate WK 13 // 37.1 was tied for 3rd highest last WK
  • Kittle has 6 TDs in the last 6 games
  • ATL allows 12.5 DK pts to TEs (14th least)

SF RBs:

  • Eli Mitchell is Q w/ a concussion
  • Mitchell’s last 3 games: (22:66:1 TD, 3:18, 3, tgts) // (27:133:1 TD, 5:35, 6 tgts) // (27:91, 0 tgts)
  • Rushing last week w/o Mitchell: Wilson (13:56) // Hasty (0 atts) // Deebo (8:37:1 TD) // Kyle Juszczyk (0 atts)
  • SF rush atts // pass atts in an OT game last week vs CIN (but one that the 49ers led by 14 to start the 4th qtr): (23 rush atts // 41 pass atts)
  • CIN ranks 10th in rush DVOA, 18th in pass DVOA
  • ATL ranks 23rd in rush DVOA, 29th in pass DVOA
  • SF season avg: (29.1 rush atts // 30.7 pass atts)
  • Rec: Wilson (no tgts) // Hasty (3:10, 2 tgts) // Juszczyk (1:5, 2 tgts)
  • ATL allows the 9th most DK pts/g to RBs (25.9)

Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 4:25pm Eastern

Packers (
27.25) at

Ravens (
17.75)

Over/Under 45.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Packers Run D
32nd DVOA/29th Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O
2nd DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Packers Pass D
8th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O
16th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
Ravens Run D
7th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O
3rd DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D
11th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O
15th DVOA/21st Yards per pass

Covid Updates coming throughout the weekend on OWS (Posted at 9:00 AM ET Dec 17th).

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>

The status of Lamar Jackson will have a huge impact on the expectations for this game on both sides of the ball.The strength of each offense matches up with the weakness of each defense.Two slow paced teams are facing off in a critical game for both of their playoff chances and seeding purposes.

How green bay Will Try To Win ::

The Packers offense is scorching hot, averaging 37.3 points per game over the last . . .

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Kickoff Sunday, Dec 19th 8:20pm Eastern

Saints (
17) at

Bucs (
28.5)

Over/Under 45.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Saints Run D
21st DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
30th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
11th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
11th DVOA/28th Yards per pass
Buccaneers Run D
13th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
22nd DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
15th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
19th DVOA/7th Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Sunday Night Football brings us a super interesting contest as the Saints visit the Bucs. The game currently has a 45.5 point total, but the Bucs have a whopping 28.25 point total while the Saints are at just 17.25. In Taysom Hill’s career starts going back to last season, the Saints have scored 24, 31, 21, 24, 17, and 30 points, good for an average of 24.5 points per game, but the Bucs defense is better than most of the teams Taysom has dismantled. It’s an interesting spot though, as . . .

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Kickoff Monday, Dec 20th 5:00pm Eastern

Raiders (
22) at

Browns (
19)

Over/Under 41.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Raiders Run D
21st DVOA/18th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
8th DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
32nd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
11th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
30th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
6th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
15th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
16th DVOA/8th Yards per pass

NOTE: MJOHNSON86’S WRITEUP FOR MONDAY’S TWO GAME SLATE AND XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN THOUGHTS ARE BOTH BELOW

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86>>
  • The biggest storyline around this game is the COVID outbreak the Browns are dealing with on a short week.
  • As in past seasons, the Raiders are falling apart after a promising start to the season.
  • The Browns have three very difficult games to end the season and they sit in the middle of a crowded AFC playoff race.
  • Both teams have had significant offensive struggles recently.

How las vegas Will Try To Win ::

The Raiders were hot out of the gate this season, as in past seasons, scoring points at a high rate and winning games against some very good teams. Unfortunately for them, their season has been derailed by off-field distractions, personnel turnover, and their overall lack of talent catching up with them. After starting the season 5-2, the Raiders have gone 1-5 over their last six games while failing to score 20 points in all five of those losses. The Raiders just do not have much offensive talent left as their dynamic threats were the speed of Henry Ruggs and the athleticism and matchup issues that Darren Waller presented. Las Vegas has very severe personnel limitations at their skill positions at this point and doesn’t have the scheme, quarterback, or offensive line to overcome those deficiencies. The Raiders offensive line ranks 23rd in pass blocking and 31st in run blocking by PFF grades. Derek Carr can produce when the players around him are making plays and he has plenty of time, but he is not a talent elevator. 

Within the context of this game, Las Vegas is 3rd in the league in situation-neutral pass rate and faces a Cleveland defense that is very good against the run. While that pass rate is high, it must be noted that the nature of those passes has become more and more conservative as the season has gone on and the Raiders personnel has become more limited. Desean Jackson made a couple big plays in his first couple games with the Raiders but has been ineffective since Darren Waller was injured, Bryan Edwards has not developed as hoped, and Zay Jones is, well, Zay Jones. This leaves Derek Carr returning to his check-down tendencies and funneling most of his targets to Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau, and his running backs. The Browns have a very good defensive front against the run and also have PFF’s #6 graded pass rush led by Myles Garrett. They also employ a zone-heavy scheme that works to prevent deep passing and is best attacked at the underneath levels of the field. Based on all of these factors, it is clearly likely that Las Vegas will continue to throw at a high rate and focus on short-area concepts, and this matchup will actually encourage that type of approach. The Raiders may run the ball slightly more than normal in a cold weather game, and with the Browns having so many COVID issues, particularly on offense, the Raiders will likely be comfortable staying conservative. The Browns are also likely to be without a few defensive players, and at least a couple of starters, making it more likely the Raiders will at least be able to move the ball, even if those drives don’t turn into a lot of points.

How cleveland Will Try To Win ::

The Browns are averaging 13.5 points per game over their last four games while failing to score 20 points in six of their last eight games. They are now playing on a short week and will be without their Head Coach, Kevin Stefanski, and starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield, among many other players involved in a COVID outbreak the team is dealing with. Kareem Hunt will also miss this game due to an ankle injury sustained in Week 14. Frankly, it is hard to feel confident about any specific player being available by the time Saturday rolls around with the rate of positive cases the league, and specifically, the Browns, are dealing with. 

The identity of the Browns is their elite offensive line and running game. While they will be without Kareem Hunt, they still have Nick Chubb (who is fully healthy) and D’Ernest Johnson (who continues to look like a very talented back who would start on many teams in the league). Chubb and Johnson form a terrific one-two punch that the Browns will undoubtedly lean on in this spot. The other part of the offense that the Browns offense is built around is their heavy 12-personnel and tight end usage. The tendencies of the Browns personnel and approach seemingly fit perfectly in this matchup. During the Raiders current slide of five losses in six games, they have given up 19 offensive touchdowns, and an astonishing 14 of those 19 TDs were scored by running backs or tight ends. Case Keenum is one of the more serviceable backup QBs in the league and honestly isn’t much of a downgrade from Baker Mayfield, especially in a one week setting against a relatively weak defense. Unfortunately, the biggest issue for the Browns offense is that their usually top-tier offensive line is already without star offensive tackle Jack Conklin and now has two more elite offensive linemen (Jedrick Wills and Wyatt Teller) on the COVID list. The Browns scheme is so systematically built around the strength of their offensive line that those losses change the entire complex of the game. There are a lot of players and issues around who will be available, but the status of Wills and Teller are the ones we should be monitoring most closely in regards to how it would alter the outlook of the game as a whole.

Likeliest Game Flow ::

The game total on this game is a pitiful 38.5 points as of this writing (Wednesday morning). This number makes perfect sense given the recent offensive struggles of both teams and all of the uncertainty and personnel issues being experienced on both sides. There are also weather concerns as the forecast currently projects for around 15 mph winds and a 50% chance of rain during game time. While those numbers are not enough to always ruin a game, the game environment here is already so fragile that additional weather concerns become a bigger deal than normal. 

I believe the Browns are the team most likely to control the tempo and game flow as they are at home and their running game is by far the greatest offensive strength of either team. Despite their offensive line issues, they have a great scheme and talent in the backfield. While the Raiders set up well offensively from a philosophy standpoint, the nature of their attack and the fact that they are a warm-weather, dome team playing outdoors in the cold makes it unlikely they are efficient and/or explosive in this spot. While their dink and dunk passing may work against Cleveland’s zones to move the chains and sustain drives, they are unlikely to pull away or force Cleveland to take a more aggressive approach. This game is likely to be a low-scoring battle, with an outside chance of Cleveland’s running game dominating and pounding the Raiders in what could turn into a more lopsided affair. If Cleveland is able to take control in that manner, they would also be able to control the pace of the game and keep the clock running (Cleveland is 6th in run rate and 29th in pace of play). This would force the Raiders to be more aggressive and things could potentially get ugly if the Browns pass rush is able to pin their ears back and get after Derek Carr while he has to force passes into tight downfield windows of the Cleveland zones.

That’s a basic overview of this game’s outlook, with weather and COVID situations likely to alter some things before kickoff. Player availability for the Browns will play a huge factor in how this game plays out on Saturday.


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Monday Slate DFS Breakdown

MJOHNSON86>>
GENERAL OVERVIEW::
  • Weather – Both games will be played outdoors with temperatures in the 30’s. Winds will be fairly calm in Chicago, while Cleveland will have winds around 15 mph.
  • Injuries/COVID:
    • Raiders – Very little COVID issues. Jalen Richard is back active and off the COVID list after missing last week. Darren Waller is still out and they are also without their starting middle linebacker and left cornerback due to injury.
    • Browns – Still a lot of COVID issues but they have had some players return with the extra two days. 
      • QB’s: Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum could both still test out today and be cleared to play. Either of them being able to play would have a positive impact on the outlook for Cleveland’s offense. 
      • Skill players: Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper’s statuses will all have a big impact on usage for receivers in this game. 
      • Offensive Line: Their biggest return is all-pro guard Wyatt Teller. Cleveland’s interior offensive line is intact but they are missing several tackles, so watch for news about Jedrick Wills and/or James Hudson being activated today. 
      • Defense: Currently missing two starting defensive linemen and three safeties. Their status will have an impact on the Raiders passing game outlook.
    • Vikings – Alexander Mattison is on the COVID list and Adam Thielen is questionable with an ankle injury after not practicing all week. Starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland was cut for disciplinary reasons.
    • Bears – Biggest issue is Marquise Goodwin and Allen Robinson being out at wide receiver.
QUARTERBACK::
  • On such a small slate we want to be especially careful to consider all possibilities and not rule anything out because of how fluky NFL games can be. That being said, Derek Carr and whatever QB starts for Cleveland are going to be a tough sell. Both offenses are looking like they will be severely undermanned, especially in their receiving corps. Likewise, both teams are far more likely to lean on their running games and operate in a manner that mutes play volume and scoring opportunities. 
  • On the other hand, Minnesota has the highest implied team total on the slate and Chicago’s passing game has looked good as of late. Justin Fields and Kirk Cousins are a clear cut above the others. Cousins has a safer floor, but Fields has a better ceiling especially for his price.
  • Derek Carr does have some downfield threats and the Browns have had a few games where they gave up big plays this year. If going to that game at QB, he is the route I would take, but it feels kind of thin.
RUNNING BACK::
  • Dalvin Cook is clearly the elite running back play on the slate as he has the clearest role on the best projected offense. Alexander Mattison’s absence pretty much locks Cook into close to 25 touches, and if Adam Thielen also misses, that would raise Cook’s touchdown expectations as well.
  • Nick Chubb could have an absolutely monster game if their offensive line is close to full strength.
  • David Montgomery is locked into 18+ touches and is the cheapest of the starting running backs on the slate. 
  • Josh Jacobs should see volume but is the hardest of the starters to trust as his role is the most fragile and his team environment is the worst.
  • D’Ernest Johnson and Jalen Richard are the only “backup” type running backs that should be considered on this slate. They’d be too thin for a main slate, but on a two game slate they could be very relevant pieces if injuries or game script work in their favor.
WIDE RECEIVERS + TIGHT ENDS::
  • Justin Jefferson, Hunter Renfrow, and Darnell Mooney are clearly the top receivers on this slate. All three have very good floors and ceilings.
  • KJ Osborn, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Jakeem Grant are all low floor, high upside options. If using one of these players, your roster should likely be built primarily around that specific game as scenarios where they have big games likely means their team’s offense was having a lot of success.
  • If Austin Hooper is not activated, David Njoku is easily my favorite tight end on the slate. Njoku is extremely talented and Cleveland funnels targets to the tight end position.
  • Tyler Conklin is the highest priced tight end on the slate and his outlook is improved if Thielen misses.
  • Foster Moreau and Cole Kmet are reasonable options due to the position as a whole. I would only use Moreau if using Carr and would only consider Kmet if Cousins or Fields was the QB on the roster.
WAYS TO GET UNIQUE::
  • Heavy Game Stack – Most builds will have five players from one of these games and four from the other. Some will go a little heavier with a six to three ratio. If you fully lean into one game with a seven to two or eight to one ratio of players in your lineup, that will help you get unique. We don’t have to look far to see how this becomes viable, as last night’s Saints-Bucs game was a fantasy wasteland. It doesn’t feel as comfortable, especially when the games project fairly similarly, but if one game ends up 16-10 and the other is 31-27, it becomes pretty clear how a heavy game stack would become optimal. If going this direction, I would prefer to go very heavy on the MIN/CHI game.
  • 2-TE Builds – All four of the projected starting tight ends on the slate are priced at $4,200 or lower and have had games of 15+ points this season. They all also have improved outlooks based on injuries to primary short-area options on their teams – Njoku (Hooper), Conklin (Thielen), Kmet (Robinson), and Moreau (Waller). On a two or four game slate, the combination of salary relief and usable score is very valuable.This would be a unique construction with multiple low priced players scoring touchdowns and would certainly be a potential “path to first”. 

Multiple LVR players without Carr – Usually when playing multiple pass catchers from the same team, you almost always use the QB with them. However, given the context of the slate, I think you could play two or even three pass catchers from the Raiders without using Carr. It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where Renfrow has a similar game to last week (13 receptions for 117 yards and one TD, on 14 targets). However, what if the TD goes to someone else? Zay Jones, Foster Moreau, and Bryan Edwards are all averaging over four targets per game since Darren Waller went out and are all $3,700 or less on DK. If Renfrow has a 20-25 point game without scoring a TD, his raw score will likely be necessary to win a tournament while increasing the chances that one or two of those other players gets in the end zone. At those prices, scoring a TD could make any of them a top points-per-dollar play on the slate. Both of those things could happen with Carr throwing for only 250 yards and one or two TDs, and having a couple of turnovers. As the highest-priced QB on the slate, there’s a good chance that fading a stat line like that would be +EV, while two or even three of his pass catchers keep you on track for a winning score.

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

As MJohnson86 already wrote a thorough game writeup, I’ll just be adding some bullet-point thoughts for the Showdown slate here:

  • Well well, lucky me, I get to write up Cleveland, and the entire freaking team is on the COVID list. Unless we have specific information to indicate that someone might come off the COVID list before the game, I’m assuming everyone currently listed is out, but it would not surprise me if one or more guys made it back for the game so pay attention to the news today. 
  • It looks like Nick Mullens is going to be the Cleveland quarterback. Mullens is no world-beater, but he’s had competent performances before, and $9,600 is a very reasonable price for a quarterback in Showdown (especially with how much other COVID-driven value we have). He’s a reasonable play here.
  • We saw before when Kareem Hunt was out that the Browns won’t turn Nick Chubb into a full-on bell cow. He might see a smidge more work, but he’s probably still topping out around 20-ish touches with a couple of targets. At his price, you need a lot to go right: multiple touchdowns or really long runs, both of which Chubb is capable of. He’s a fine play, but at $10.8k, his floor is a bit on the scary side. Working in his favor is that we should expect the Browns to tilt a bit run-heavier here with their third-string QB. D’Ernest Johnson at $6,200 is a bit pricey for an RB2.
  • Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper are on the COVID list. Cleveland should roll out Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins as their primary perimeter wideouts and I think it’s probably Ja’Marcus Bradley as the WR3. DPJ is priced fairly, but Higgins and Bradley are very underpriced for their likely roles in this one. 
  • David Njoku might be the only Cleveland tight end left standing if Harrison Bryant also misses. Last week, Austin Hooper played 100% of the snaps with no Njoku or Bryant, and Njoku could be in line for a similar role. Even if Bryant plays, Njoku is probably in an 80%+ snap role. He’s a bit priced up from where we normally see him, but $5,600 for a talented, athletic tight end that is paired with a quarterback who has a history of heavily targeting his tight ends is a great play to me.
  • Las Vegas is in better shape. All the normal game writeup content applies here. The team is healthy except for Darren Waller, so we get another Foster Moreau spot (Moreau is “fine,” but overpriced for his most likely range of outcomes). 
  • Note that Josh Jacobs has been seeing a TON of passing game work lately with 31 targets in his last five games. This started even before Kenyan Drake got hurt. All of that delicious pass game work significantly raises his floor and ceiling.
Some groups to consider
  • At most 1 kicker
  • At most 1 defense
  • Pair captain pass catchers with their QBs (or consider boosting the QB if using a captain receiver if you don’t want 100% exposure to this pairing – discussed in further detail in the 2020 update to my Advanced Showdowns course)
  • If using an RB captain, apply a negative correlation to the opposing defense and kicker (you can see how to do so in my FantasyLabs tutorial video)
  • Pair captain quarterbacks with at least 2 pass catchers 
  • At most 2 of DPJ, Higgins, and Bradley
  • At most 1 of Chubb and Johnson (unless building 5-1 Cleveland onslaughts)
  • At most 1 of Jones, Edwards, and Jackson

By Dwprix >>

Overview:

  • CLE favored by 1.5 after opening 6.5
  • Total opened at 44 but has dropped to 39
  • 10 of 13 LV games have went over 40 pts
  • 7 of 13 CLE games have went over 40 pts
  • Both teams are 5-8 ATS
  • CLE is 5-2 at home // LV is 3-3 on the road
  • LV avgs 21.8 pts/g // CLE allows 22.2 pts/g
  • CLE avgs 21.4 pts/g // LV allows 27.7 pts/g
  • HC Kevin Stefanski is on the COVID list & needs two negative tests before Sat to be present
  • CLE has 14 players on the Covid list (as of Wed) including QB Baker Mayfield, WR Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper & starting OG Wyatt Teller who will all need two negative tests before Sat to play

Case Keenum: 

  • Keenum’s played one full game this season vs DEN: (21:22:199:1 TD, 12.7 DK pts)
  • CLE won 17-14
  • He’s the cheapest of the four QBs starting Sat ($4.8k)
  • Keenum has 6 career games w/ 20+ DK pts & 3 others above 30 
  • Other cheap QBs vs LV: Taylor Heinicke ($5.6k, 15.8 pts) // Daniel Jones ($5.6k, 9.1 pts) // Teddy Bridgewater ($5.7k, 25.3 pts) // Justin Fields ($5.2k, 8.84 pts) // Jacoby Brissett ($4.9k, 20.3 pts) // Big Ben ($5.9k 14.8 pts) 
  • LV allows the 11th most DK pts/g to QBs (19.8)

CLE WRs:

  • Jarvis Landry is likely out
  • Routes run last week (of 38): Donovan Peoples-Jones (37) // Landry (34) // Rashard Higgins (16) // Demetric Felton (6) // JoJo Natson (1)
  • Tgts last week (of 31): Landry (10) // Peoples-Jones (7) 
  • CLE has had 2 WRs reach 100+ yds: Landry WK 1  // Peoples-Jones WK 6 on 4 receptions
  • Peoples-Jones has 70+ yds in last 4 of 6
  • LV allows the 6th least DK pts/g to WRs (31.9)

CLE TEs:

  • David Njoku should return from the COVID list this week
  • Austin Hooper has been added to the Covid list & will likely be out
  • Njoku ($2.8k) is the cheapest he’s been all season
  • In 12 games, he has just 3 w/ 5 or more tgts
  • He has only 3 games above 10 DK pts
  • In one of those, he went for 30.9 pts (7:149:1 TD, 7 tgts) & Hooper played
  • LV allows the 2nd most DK pts/g to TEs (17.0)
  • Njoku to pay off: 3x-8.4 pts // 4x-11.2 // 5x-14.0

Nick Chubb:

  • Kareem Hunt left injured in last weeks game & is doubtful
  • Chubb w/o Hunt this season: WK 8 (16:61, 1:8, 7.9 pts) // WK 9 (14:137:2 TDs, 2:26, 33.3 pts) // WK 11 (22:130, 2:14:1 TD, 25.4 pts)
  • In ten games, Chubb has four w/ 20+ atts but only one in his last five
  • 6 rush TDs // 1 rec TD
  • $7.8k is $200 below his season high
  • He’s the 2nd most expensive RB this week (Taylor, $9.2k)
  • CLE avgs 143.5 rush yds/g (4th) but only 108.0 (19th) over their last three 
  • LV allows 125.3 (26th) & 102.7 (15th) over their last three

Derek Carr:

  • Carr is the highest priced of the four Sat QBs ($6.4k)
  • Carr w/ Gruden (WKs 1-6): (28.0, 27.2, 25.2, 15.4, 8.2, 24.5) 
  • w/o Gruden (WKs 7-14): (12.5, 12.4, 24.0, 10.6, 19.2, 13.3, 23.0)
  • Carr has zero 3 TD games 
  • Just 3 TDs over past 4 games
  • 300+ pass yds 1 time in the past 6 games // 5 times in first 7
  • LV ranks 2nd in pass yds/g (287.8) // 3rd over the last 3 (282.0)
  • CLE allows the 3rd least pass yds/g (215.0) // 4th over their last 3 (167.7)
  • CLE allows the 9th least DK pts/g to QBs (18.9)

LV WRs:

  • Hunter Renfrow is the highest priced WR Sat ($7.3k)
  • He’s $1400 more than the next closest, Michael Pittman ($5.9k)
  • Renfrow last 3: (13:117:1 TD, 14 tgts, 32.7 pts) // (9:102, 10 tgts, 22.2 pts) // (8:134, 9 tgts, 24.6 pts)
  • Only two other WRs have three games in a row w/ 100+ rec yds this season (Cooper Kupp & he has a chance to do it again this week & Tee Higgins who could make it four just like Renfrow)
  • Before the last 3 games, Renfrow’s season high was 77 yds
  • Darren Waller missed the last 2 & only played 21 snaps 3 games ago
  • Waller is Q this week & was a non-participant Wed
  • CLE allows the 7th least pass yds (215.0) & is T-4th least yds/rec (9.5)
  • Other LV WRs prices: DeSean Jackson ($3.7k) // Zay Jones ($3.6k) // Bryan Edwards ($3.5k)
  • Tgts last 3: Jackson (2, 1, 4) // Jones (7, 5, 7) // Edwards (3, 5, 1)
  • CLE allows the 9th least DK pts/g to WRs (33.7)

LV TEs:

  • Darren Waller was out last week & is Q this week
  • Foster Moreau is Q but was a limited participant Wednesday
  • Moreau played every snap last week (63) running a route on 44 of 51 pass plays
  • His price ($3.7k) dropped $300 from last week
  • CLE allows the 12th most DK pts/g to TEs (14.0)

LV RBs:

  • Josh Jacobs is the 3rd highest priced RB ($6.3k) behind Taylor ($9.2) & Chubb ($7.8k)
  • Jacobs in a blowout loss to KC last week: (9:24:1 fumble, 5:46, 6 tgts, 11.0 DK pts)
  • LV RBs have only rushed 25 times the last 2 weeks 
  • Jacobs has 22 of 25 atts
  • 1 game of 20+ atts: (WK 12 vs DAL, 19.2 pts)
  • CLE allows the 9th least DK pts to RBs (22.1)

Kickoff Monday, Dec 20th 8:15pm Eastern

Vikings (
26.75) at

Bears (
19.75)

Over/Under 46.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Vikings Run D
19th DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O
12th DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
26th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O
27th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Bears Run D
29th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
28th DVOA/26th Yards per carry
Bears Pass D
29th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
15th DVOA/20th Yards per pass

NOTE: MJOHNSON86'S WRITEUP FOR MONDAY'S TWO GAME SLATE IS BELOW

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Monday Night Football has the Vikings visiting the Bears for a 44.5 total game with the visitors favored by six. On a really wild week with Covid outbreaks everywhere, this is a game without a ton of Covid impact (at least as I write this on Sunday). Let’s explore.

Showdown Ownership Projections!

Ownership updates automatically

Minnesota

On the Vikings side, Alexander Mattison is one of the few players in this game on the COVID list. Mattison is unvaccinated and thus will miss . . .

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Kickoff Tuesday, Dec 21st 7:00pm Eastern

Hawks (
20) at

Rams (
27)

Over/Under 47.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Seahawks Run D
25th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
24th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
17th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
22nd DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Rams Run D
7th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
23rd DVOA/7th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
20th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
8th DVOA/24th Yards per pass

PLEASE READ: The original writeup from Thursday is written directly below.
To find the newest information in regards to Showdowns (Xandamere) and 2 Game Short Slate (Mjohnson), you can find it below the DFS Interpretation.

Game Overview ::

By mjohnson86 >>

Seattle is trying to claw their way back into the playoff race, while the Rams are knocking on the door of the division and conference leads.Both teams are dealing with some COVID issues that will affect the pecking order and touch distribution of their offenses.The Rams are a fast-paced, high-play volume team that is . . .

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Kickoff Tuesday, Dec 21st 7:00pm Eastern

WFT (
15.25) at

Eagles (
24.75)

Over/Under 40.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Commanders Run D
10th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O
1st DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Commanders Pass D
17th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O
6th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass
Eagles Run D
19th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Commanders Run O
29th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D
1st DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Commanders Pass O
27th DVOA/18th Yards per pass

PLEASE READ: The original writeup from Thursday is written directly below.
To find the newest information in regards to Showdowns (Xandamere) and 2 Game Short Slate (Mjohnson), you can find it below the DFS Interpretation.

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>

WAS posted on Thursday

Washington currently has 14 (!!!) players on the COVID list, most notably wide receiver Cam Sims, five members of the defensive line including three starters, and Kendall Fuller (who is without a doubt the highest-graded member of the secondary this season). Oh, and Terry McLaurin, JD McKissic, and Curtis Samuel didn . . .

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