Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: Atlanta Falcons blowing out the San Francisco 49ers
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidate: New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Matt Ryan vs SF, $8,500
Matt Ryan has had a phenomenal season. He currently ranks second in passing yards and is tied for second in pass TDs. This week, he is at home against a 49ers defense that is tied for the 2nd most pass TDs allowed.
Philip Rivers vs OAK, $7,800
With Melvin Gordon injured and not expected to play this week, I expect Philip Rivers to throw early and often in this one. That added volume should mesh well with Rivers’ favorable matchup. He is at home this week against a Raiders defense giving up the 6th most passing yards per game.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Tyrod Taylor vs CLE, $7,600
Tyrod Taylor is at home this week against a Browns defense giving up the most pass TDs in the league. They have allowed 30 pass TDs, which is four more than any other team. Plus, Taylor offers rushing upside as well.
Alex Smith vs TEN, $6,800
Despite Kansas City’s dominance at home in their stadium, this should be a good competitive game this weekend. Alex Smith should throw plenty against a Titans defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game. Tennessee’s secondary is awful and they just allowed Trevor Siemian to throw for over 300 yards a week ago.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
David Johnson vs NO, $9,800
We all know by now David Johnson is having a legendary fantasy season. That should definitely continue this week as he gets a Saints defense that is tied for the 7th most rush TDs allowed and is also giving up the 4th most passing yards per game. John Brown didn’t see a target last week and Michael Floyd was just released from the team. The Cardinals are thin on playmakers right now which should help the dual-threat Johnson, who has seen at least seven targets in his past seven games.
Le’Veon Bell vs CIN, $9,400
Volume is key in fantasy football, especially at the RB position and there’s no better example of this than Le’Veon Bell. Bell was the only RB on the Steelers to touch the ball last week as he turned FORTY TWO touches into a legendary performance. The Steelers are still fighting to win the AFC North so don’t expect them to all of a sudden start resting Bell. This week, he gets a Bengals defense giving up the 8th most rushing yards per game.
LeSean McCoy vs CLE, $9,000
LeSean McCoy shouldn’t have any volume concerns this week as he will likely see over 20 touches against this terrible Browns defense. The Browns are giving up the 2nd most rushing yards per game and are tied for the 7th most rush TDs allowed. There’s always a chance McCoy gets vultured by Mike Gillislee, but still.
LeGarrette Blount vs DEN, $6,300
LeGarrette Blount is a phenomenal GPP play this week as I expect him to be extremely low owned. The Broncos can’t run the ball right now at all. Justin Forsett and Devontae Booker combined for 18 rushing yards last week. That’s it. The pressure to move the ball falls squarely on the shoulders of Trevor Siemian right now and that’s not a good thing when facing Bill Belichick. Game flow should be in Blount’s favor. Plus, the last time Tom Brady played in Denver, he was nearly killed by Von Miller and company in the AFC Championship Game. With Blount out due to injury, the Patriots went with a pass heavy game plan in that one just as they had numerous times before. Brady attempted 56 passes. For the first time in recent memory, it didn’t work. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels are the best and smartest Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator combo in the NFL. I have no doubt they remember that game and respect the Broncos pass rush greatly. Meanwhile, against the run, the Broncos are giving up the 4th most rushing yards per game and are tied for the 11th most rush TDs allowed. The Patriots are notorious for attacking their opponent’s weakness and this week will be no different. Blount has seen at least 18 carries in six of his last seven games. I expect him to get 25+ carries in this one. Blount leads the league with 14 rushing TDs so you know what will happen with a 25+ carry workload.
Devonta Freeman $7,700 and Tevin Coleman $6,500 vs SF
Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are firmly in play against a 49ers defense giving up the most rushing yards per game and the most rush TDs. This is especially true now that Julio Jones has been ruled out for the second straight week. The Falcons have done a good job rotating Freeman and Coleman in essentially a 50/50 split when Coleman has been healthy this year. I totally understand if you opt for RBs who control more touches in their own backfields, but just know both Freeman and Coleman have multi-TD upside this week.
Lamar Miller vs JAC, $7,200
Bill O’Brien is a smart guy. With the Texans locked into a battle for the AFC South crown and trying to get into the playoffs, O’Brien is going to call plays on offense that give his team the best chance to win. His QB is Brock Osweiler and the Jaguars are giving up the 4th FEWEST passing yards per game. Meanwhile, they are giving up the 10th most rushing yards per game and the 6th most rush TDs. The Texans strength on offense is running the ball which just so happens to mesh well with the Jaguars weakness on defense. Texans RBs combined for 38 carries last week against the Colts and the Texans got the W. I expect O’Brien to go right back to the well. Despite Alfred Blue being more involved than we would like, it really doesn’t matter when there is that much volume to go around. Expect Miller to see 20+ touches just like he did last week on his way to 122 total yards and a TD. I envision a similar stat line on Sunday.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Antonio Brown vs CIN, $8,500
Karma has been running rampant lately. Immediately after the Saints run up the score on their old “friend” Gregg Williams, Brees turns in one the worst two game stretches in his NFL career. Coincidence? I think not. Pete Carroll calls a fake punt in the 4th quarter against the Rams when the outcome had already been long decided and his punter ends up in the hospital being evaluated for a concussion. Coincidence? I THINK NOT! It’s now Adam Jones’ turn to deal with the wrath of a good healthy dose of karma. After calling Terrelle Pryor trash in the locker room at the end of last week’s game, the tables will be turned this week. The only question is whether Antonio Brown will jokingly call Jones trash after Week 15. Dudes about to get roasted.
Mike Evans vs DAL, $8,200
Here’s a quick look at what WRs have done against Dallas since Week 10:
Mike Evans leads the league in targets and will take advantage of a Cowboys secondary giving up the 5th most passing yards per game.
Sammy Watkins vs CLE, $6,100
Per my friend Matt Harmon with NFL.com, Sammy Watkins played on 94% of the Bills snaps last week and saw a 24% target share. He has worked his way back into being a full time player and is in position to take advantage of a Browns defense giving up the most pass TDs in the league.
Stefon Diggs vs IND, $6,300
After a missed game due to injury and a couple of down games in a row, I think Stefon Diggs is back in position to have a solid performance in this one. He is at home against a Colts defense giving up the 7th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 8th most pass TDs allowed.
Emmanuel Sanders $6,600 and Demaryius Thomas $6,700 vs NE
The Broncos can’t run the ball right now at all. Justin Forsett and Devontae Booker combined for 18 rushing yards last week. That means more targets for the two main options in the Broncos offense- Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Since Week 8, these two together have combined to see single digit targets only three times. That’s it. The matchup isn’t terrible either as the Patriots have been average against the pass this year. If choosing between the two, I think this could be a Thomas week as my guess is Malcolm Butler will be matched up with Emmanuel Sanders plenty in this one.
Taylor Gabriel vs SF, $5,800
With Julio Jones ruled out again for the second straight week, Taylor Gabriel is firmly in play once again against a 49ers defense that is tied for the 2nd most pass TDs allowed. Gabriel has seen at least 5 targets in each of his last five games and saw a 20% target share last week with Jones not on the field. Plus, he has scored 6 TDs in his last six games.
Dontrelle Inman vs OAK, $5,500
With Melvin Gordon injured and not expected to play this week, I expect Philip Rivers to throw early and often in this one. That added volume should benefit Dontrelle Inman. Travis Benjamin might as well be wearing the Deathly Hallows Cloak of Invisibility because he’s fallen off the face of the Earth lately. Meanwhile, Inman has seen at least 6 targets in six of his last seven games. He is at home this week against a Raiders defense giving up the 6th most passing yards per game.
Tyreek Hill vs TEN, $6,400
Expecting another return TD is just getting greedy but there’s no denying Tyreek Hill’s matchup this week is a phenomenal one. He is at home against a Titans defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game. Tennessee’s secondary is awful and they just allowed both Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas to reach 100 yards receiving a week ago.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Play
J.J. Nelson vs NO, $5,000
J.J. Nelson only touched the ball twice last week. Still, he scored two TDs. One on the ground and one through the air. With John Brown not seeing a target last week and Michael Floyd getting released from the team, I think it’s a safe bet Nelson sees more touches in this game against a Saints defense giving up the 4th most passing yards per game.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Travis Kelce vs TEN, $6,900
Travis Kelce’s high upside fantasy potential has FINALLY been unlocked. He has gone over 100 receiving yards in four straight games and now gets a Titans defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game.
Antonio Gates vs OAK, $5,300
With Melvin Gordon injured and not expected to play this week, I expect Philip Rivers to throw early and often in this one. That added volume should benefit Antonio Gates. Gates saw 9 targets last week and I expect him to see a similar number again this week against a Raiders defense giving up the 6th most passing yards per game.
Kyle Rudolph vs IND, $5,800
Kyle Rudolph has seen 30 targets over the least three week’s and now gets a home game against a Colts defense giving up the 7th most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 8th most pass TDs allowed.
Ladarius Green vs CIN, $5,600
Ladarius Green saw a 19.4% market share yesterday but played just 37% of the team's snaps. Usage when on the field continues to be insane.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) December 12, 2016
Ladarius Green only played on 37% of the plays last week with the Steelers going extremely run heavy in snowy weather. Despite that, he still saw 6 targets. I expect the Steelers to pass more on Sunday and that will benefit Green. With Pittsburgh lacking a reliable WR2, Green is being targeted extremely heavily when on the field.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar TE Play
Jermaine Gresham vs NO, $4,500
John Brown didn’t see a target last week and Michael Floyd was just released from the team. With the Cardinals skill players outside of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald proving to be unreliable this season, Jermaine Gresham is starting to get more involved in the offense. Per Pro Football Focus, Gresham ranks 5th among TEs in targets over the last three weeks. He has seen 23 targets over that stretch. Plus, he gets a matchup with a Saints defense giving up the 4th most passing yards per game.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Justin Tucker vs PHI, $5,200
Justin Tucker leads the league in made field goals and should receive multiple opportunities at home against a free falling Eagles team.
Matt Bryant vs SF, $5,100
Matt Bryant has made 27 field goals this season which is only four fewer than Justin Tucker. He should add to his total at home in a dome this week against a horrible 49ers team.
Chandler Catanzaro vs NO, $4,800
Chandler Catanzaro gets to play at home in a dome this week against a bad Saints defense. The Cardinals play tougher at home where they are 4-2-1 this season. Catanzaro should receive multiple field goal opportunities.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Buffalo Bills vs CLE, $5,100
The Bills are tied for the 6th most sacks this year and get to play at home this week against Robert Griffin III in what sounds like another bad weather game. What more needs to be said?
Baltimore Ravens vs PHI, $4,700
Block last weeks game against Tom Brady out of your head. The Patriots just operate on a different level than most teams/offenses. The Ravens are back at home this week against a struggling Carson Wentz. Plus, they’re averaging the 4th most FanDuel points per game at the position.
Houston Texans vs JAC, $5,000
The Texans get to face Blake Bortles at home. The Jaguars offense is banged up right now and Bortles is second in the league in interceptions.