- Five facts that will help you build your DFS lineups in Week 14.
In the popular board game Monopoly, the object is to get full control of as much property on the board as you can while driving your opponents into bankruptcy. DFS is kind of like Monopoly in that you want to have as much ownership of high-scoring players as possible in order to outscore your opponents and “cash” in a given contest.
One of the best ways to monopolize fantasy production in DFS is to roster players that monopolize a large share of their offense’s production. Monopoly is defined as “exclusive possession or control of the supply of a commodity,” and in DFS, that commodity is production, which is borne out of opportunity.
This week, we have a quarterback in a great matchup that has been monopolizing his team’s offensive production, a dirt-cheap running back set to monopolize his team’s backfield opportunities, two pass-catchers out west who would be hard-pressed to do anything but monopolize their team’s targets given the injuries around them, and one more who can’t help but monopolize his team’s targets due to being an absolute monster.
Here are five facts to help you avoid bankruptcy and rake in some cash that will go a lot farther than Monopoly money.
1. Since Week 4, Alex Smith has accounted for 82.2% of the Kansas City Chiefs total yards and all 17 of their touchdowns
Part of Russell Wilson’s MVP case is built upon passing or rushing for an astonishing 82.2% of Seattle’s offensive yardage and 29 of its 30 touchdowns. The inconsistency of the Chiefs offense has been well-documented—head coach Andy Reid even turned play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy last week—but Smith has, statistically speaking, at least, turned into Wilson over the season’s past 10 weeks. Of Kansas City’s 3,335 offensive yards gained after Week 3, Smith passed for 2,465 and rushed for 277 more. Wilson averages 307.3 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game. Smith averages 304.7 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game.
Of course, you do not get points for MVP cases in DFS (though you do get points from me if you listen to the DFS MVP podcast). This is all relevant because this week Wilson takes his show on the road to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars, a team that has allowed just 8.2 schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, fewest in the NFL. Smith, on the other hand, welcomes to town the Oakland Raiders, who have had more defensive coordinators (two) than interceptions (one) this season and allow 19.0 schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the eighth-highest mark in the league.
2. Giovani Bernard played every snap once Joe MIxon went down with a concussion on Monday Night Football
Touches are more strongly correlated to a running back’s fantasy production than any other statistic, which makes an inexpensive back slated to see a heavy workload one of the most valuable assets in DFS. Enter Bernard, who is set to step in for Mixon and carry the load against the Chicago Bears. From the time new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor took over through Week 12, Mixon averaged 17.2 touches per game. Under Lazor, Cincinnati running backs collectively average 24.3 touches per game. Given that the Bengals do not have another running back on the roster that has handled even one carry this season (Jeremy Hill is on IR, and Brian Hill was limited to special teams even after Mixon went down last week), Bernard’s usage floor and ceiling are likely to be higher than Mixon’s. At a salary close to the minimum price, Bernard is this week’s best dollar-for-dollar play, regardless of position. It doesn’t hurt that he also checks a couple of other boxes that are key for a running back in DFS, including playing for a team favored at home, and being an able receiver out of the backfield.
3. DeAndre Hopkins is averaging 12.6 targets per game in Tom Savage’s last five starts
It’s becoming clearer and clearer that in 2016, Hopkins had a Brock Osweiler problem, not a quarterback problem. We’ve seen Hopkins flourish with journeymen like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Hoyer under center, and Tom Savage is now the latest example. Since Savage took back over for Deshaun Watson in Week 9, Hopkins has averaged 6.5 catches, 95.6 yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game, good enough to rank as the No. 5 wide receiver in terms of points per game on both DraftKings (22.9) and FanDuel (18.0) over that span. This week, Hopkins will face a 49ers defense that has allowed 9.1 yards per target to wide receivers over the past five weeks.
4. Josh Gordon drew 11 targets and accounted for 48% of the Cleveland Browns air yards last week
For context, 11 targets per game would rank third in the league, and a 48% air-yard share would rank first. Despite not playing since 2014, it was clear Gordon’s talent won out last week. The only player to post more receiving yards against the Los Angeles Chargers than Gordon’s 85 last week was Odell Beckham with 97 in Week 5. It seemingly also did not take long for Gordon to win over quarterback DeShone Kizer. After Kizer targeted Corey Coleman a combined 19 times in Weeks 11 and 12, Coleman was effectively reduced to an observer, failing to draw a target despite playing 81% of the snaps—and despite Gordon being locked up in coverage with Casey Heyward, one of the league’s premier cornerbacks. This week, Gordon will face the Green Bay Packers, who allow the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points in the league to opposing wide receivers and could be down their top two cornerbacks if Davon House (shoulder) joins Kevin King (IR, shoulder) on the sideline.
5. Stephen Anderson drew 12 targets last week, the most of any tight end
Anderson, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound pass-catcher who has 80th percentile or better marks in speed, agility, and catch radius, per Player Profiler, will be the Texans starting tight end this week against the San Francisco 49ers. Like Hopkins, Anderson figures to be busy. The team not only lost tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) to IR last week, but also starting slot receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring). Another full-time player, wide receiver Braxton Miller (concussion), is also unlikely to play. Even if Will Fuller (ribs) returns, there will be targets to go around for a team that averages 39.6 pass attempts per game over Tom Savage’s last five starts. The 49ers were once formidable against the tight end thanks to the coverage of safety Jaquiski Tartt, but have allowed four touchdowns to the position in four games since Tartt was lost for the season in Week 9. That bodes well for Anderson, who drew not one, not two, not three, but four targets inside the 10-yard line last week, converting one for a touchdown.