It’s crunch time in the NFL as teams battle for a place in the coveted playoffs. Not only that, but there are also some internal battles that have been simmering over the last couple of weeks – the Green Bay Packers’ receiver corps and the Baltimore Ravens running back committee just to name a couple.
Last week’s picks Tarik Cohen, Phillip Lindsay, Aaron Jones, Robert Woods, Jalen Richard, and Curtis Samuel all had decent weeks for fantasy owners and I hope you were able to put at least a couple of them in your DraftKings/FanDuel lineups as they would have helped in your quest to get into the all-important ‘green zone’.
So, back to the drawing board – take a look through my must-start players in DFS for week 14, why they will do well and I’ll also throw you some GPP ‘Bargain Bin’ dart throw plays to top it all off.
QB – Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – vs Atlanta Falcons – DraftKings: $6,000
Talking of internal battles, Mike McCarthy has now been relieved from his position as Head Coach of the Packers. This could be the fire that needed stoking for Aaron Rodgers to finally get going this season after having a disappointing campaign to his usual standards.
This week I’m viewing as a ‘prove it week’ for Rodgers and Co, and there aren’t many better defenses to do this against than a poor, injury-decimated Falcons secondary. Atlanta bleeds the 2nd most fantasy points to QB’s after giving up 25 touchdowns and just over 3,200 yards to QB’s on the season.
I’m predicting a Rodgers lead blow out for the Packers this week as they now look to set a precedent for next season.
RB – Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints –@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DraftKings: $8,100
It’s been an unusual ‘quiet’ time for one of the leagues most explosive talents. But even though it seems as if Kamara hasn’t produced much over the last couple of weeks, he’s only scored less than 15 PPR points once since the Saints’ Week 6 bye.
The only reason why he hasn’t found himself near the top of the weekly leaderboards the last few weeks is because he hasn’t found the endzone since Week 11. I expect that to change this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who give up the 2nd most rushing and receiving TD’s to running backs on the season; 13 and 5 respectively.
The last time the Saints faced the Bucs in Week 1, Kamara had 3 total touchdowns with 141 scrimmage yards – look for those kinds of stats to be repeated this week at Raymond James Stadium
WR – Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – @ Green Bay Packers – DraftKings: $7,900
Julio Jones has only scored 3 touchdowns this season. In fact, he’s only scored 12 TD’s in 42 games, yet he has finished as a top 5 receiver each of those years and currently sits at WR7 this season.
It’s the pure volume that makes Julio a startable option week in, week out for fantasy owners. That’s why I want him in my DFS lineups this week. The Packers secondary find themselves flirting with the top 10 of yards given away to wide receivers and have leaked 16 TD’s on the season to the position – joint 4th most.
Calvin Ridley will likely draw the coverage out wide from stand out rookie Jaire Alexander, meaning Jones will have undrafted free agent rookie Tony Brown shadowing him. I expect Julio to be north of 100 yards on the day and has a good opportunity to find the pay dirt if this game develops into a shootout with Green Bay looking to right some wrongs from this season.
TE – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots – @ Miami Dolphins – DraftKings: $4,800
Not many players have disappointed as much as Gronk has this season. Don’t forget that he has been dealing with multiple injuries since his monster 23 point game in Week 1.
But, for the first time since then, Gronk now finds himself off the mid-week injury report and is seemingly back to being the freak of nature we all know and love. He got back in his grove in Week 12 against the Jets where he recorded his first TD since that Week 1 performance but saw regression last week against a stout Vikings defense that has only given away 3 TDs to tight ends on the season.
Miami is a different kettle of fish though, as tight ends have scored 8 TDs so far this season, 2nd most in the league. Tie that with a 49 yards given up per game average, it’s looking nicely set up for Gronk to be able to do Gronk things once again this week. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict a multi-touchdown performance from the future hall of famer.
Bargain Bin Dart Throws
QB – Case Keenum, Denver Broncos – @ San Francisco 49ers – DraftKings: $5,200
I’m going back to the well in picking Case Keenum again this week. He did disappoint last week, but that was mainly down to the success of the running game and game script not going in his favor.
This week he has another chance to prove his worth to the Broncos who have struggled to find a consistent performer since Peyton Manning retired in 2016. Despite losing star wideout Emmanuel Sanders for the remainder of the season to a torn Achilles, Keenum will have two very hungry, young potential superstars in Courtland Sutton and Daesean Hamilton, both of which will want to show off their talents.
The 2-10 49ers have struggled all season defending the pass and have only recorded 2 INTs on the season. Case Keenum’s floor is about as safe as it gets this week and could be a great place to save some money to invest in the other positions.
RB – LeGarrette Blount, Detroit Lions – @ Arizona Cardinals – DraftKings: $3,900
Opportunity knocks once again for Blount as Kerryon Johnson has been ruled for the third week running. In his first opportunity as the feature back in Week 12 against Chicago, he managed to chalk up 2 rushing touchdowns from 93 scrimmage yards. Last week the Rams were able to dictate the game flow and it turned out to be a blow out with Blount not seeing many opportunities to score.
It was positive to see that he is still the out and out workhorse for Detroit though with Johnson missing time, so 60 yards seems to be Blount’s floor. Arizona is a team that can be exploited in the run game, more so than in the passing game – so I expect Blount to be the biggest fantasy contributor for the Lions this week. I’m projecting 20 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown.
WR – Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers –vs New Orleans Saints –DraftKings: $4,900
DeSean Jackson misses once again this week and Mike Evans will see the Saints’ best corner, Marshon Lattimore, meaning Godwin will likely be zone covered by a mix of the under-performing pair of Eli Apple or P.J Williams.
The Saints give up the most yards (2,519) and the most DK fantasy points (46.5 per game) this season and with the emergence of PPR machine Adam Humphries, Godwin may well be the guy who finds himself with the most time and space in the New Orleans secondary.
TE – Evan Engram, New York Giants – @ Washington Redskins – DraftKings: $3,700
After already writing about Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, and Case Keenum, this feels like I should rename this piece a ‘Redemption Candidate’ article. There’s no denying Engram has been poor this season and has left all of his redraft owners unhappy with lackluster numbers throughout the season.
But this week, the now healthy Engram will get some looks thanks in part to Odell Beckham being ruled out for this matchup. One of the two touchdowns he has had this year came in this very matchup in Week 8 and despite the Redskins being fairly stout against opposing tight ends, they have given up plenty of production to slot receivers – a role I see Engram filling this week. It’s a dart throw – but could wind up being one of Engrams success stories from a miserable 2018 campaign in general.
by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller