FanDuel Market Watch: Week 14 (Fantasy Football)
Let’s take a look at some of the most significant player value fluctuations as Week 14 of the 2018 NFL season approaches.
Josh Allen (BUF): $7,400 vs. NYJ (+$600)
I hope you like summer re-runs, because this is the second consecutive week we’re talking about Allen’s substantial increase in value. Indeed, the rookie followed up a solid fantasy performance against the Jaguars with an even better one against the Dolphins, throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns, while adding an insane 135 rushing yards on nine carries. That was the best rushing performance by a quarterback since Colin Kaepernick ran for 151 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers in December of 2014.
Clearly, Allen is still prone to his fair share of mistakes. After all, he only has only completed 52.9 percent of his passes on the season and he tossed a pair of interceptions in Week 13. But it’s clear that his rushing upside makes him a much more attractive fantasy option than most of us expected he would be as a rookie. This week, he has a decidedly mediocre matchup against the Jets’ defense, and at $7,400 he’s not a value by any stretch of the imagination. Normally, I would caution you to avoid him, but I said the same thing last week and he produced in a big way. Proceed with caution, but if he keeps running like this, his floor makes him a valuable option.
Drew Brees (NO): $8,500 @ TB (-$500)
A legitimate MVP candidate, Brees had a rough outing in Week 13 against the Cowboys, only throwing for 127 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a stunning 13-10 loss. It was only the third time this season that the veteran has failed to record multiple touchdown passes in a game, and it was the second-lowest yardage total he’s produced in 2018. It was a forgettable evening for Brees and the entire offense, but let’s not overcorrect too much.
Let’s look at the facts. This is a player who has accumulated a 30:3 touchdown/interception ratio and a sparkling 123.2 quarterback rating. The bounceback is coming, and it’s very likely coming this weekend against a Buccaneers team that is allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per contest (22.1) to opposing quarterbacks. It’s a premium draw and at a $500 discount, you couldn’t ask for a better value, considering the enormity of Brees’ talent and the mouth-watering matchup. Don’t be discouraged by his down week. Brees and the New Orleans offense should start lighting up the scoreboard once again in Week 14.
Phillip Lindsay (DEN): $7,900 @ SF (+$900)
Lindsay has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2018. Currently, the rookie sits fourth in the league in rushing with 937 yards on the ground, in spite of missing over half of a Week 3 contest against the Ravens due to an ejection. Furthermore, his 6.1 yards per carry ranks first among qualified runners and his eight rushing touchdowns are fifth-most. Put simply, he hasn’t just been one of the top rookie tailbacks in the league, but one of the best backs, period.
In Week 13, he gashed the Bengals for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, good for a yards per tote average of 8.3. It was the third consecutive contest in which Lindsay has averaged over 7.2 YPC. That’s staggering. While the Bengals have provided the best matchup a running back could ask for in 2018, his Week 14 draw, the San Francisco 49ers are plenty appealing in their own right. The ‘9ers allow 22.5 FanDuel points per contest to opposing runners (14th most) and just allowed Seahawks runners Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to combine for 134 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Lindsay is in a great position this week.
The only concern here is that he’s been so fantastic, his value is climbing rapidly. The undrafted rookie is the ninth-most expensive runner on this slate, so you’re paying for his past production. Still, as electric as he’s been, he’s likely worth it, particularly in such a favorable situation. Saquon Barkley is getting all the rookie runner love, but Lindsay has been right there with him.
David Johnson (ARI): $7,000 vs. DET (-$500)
It’s been a weird season for Johnson, and he’s coming off a pair of disappointing games in each of which he’s failed to surpass 80 total yards, find the end zone, or snare more than two receptions. Meanwhile, rookie runner Chase Edmonds scored two touchdowns against the Packers in Week 13. It’s been a frustrating campaign for one of the best all-around backs in the NFL, as well as for anyone who invested significantly in him as a fantasy option.
As hard as it’s been to trust him, this could be the week where he gets back on track. The Lions have permitted 23.9 FanDuel points per contest to opposing runners (10th most) and 1,321 rushing yards to enemy runners (sixth most). While they’ve been better since the addition of Damon Harrison, they still represent a favorable matchup, and Todd Gurley just ran roughshod over them for 165 total yards and two scores.
Certainly, Gurley is in a much better situation than Johnson, but if DJ sees anything close to a featured workload this week (he’s seen 19-plus touches in eight of his last nine games), he should break off a big play or two and seems like a good bet to find pay dirt. Johnson is tied for the 13th-most expensive tailback option on the slate, in spite of a favorable matchup at home. This is a potential steal in the making.
Adam Humphries (TB): $6,500 vs. NO (+$500)
Humphries has displayed a remarkable connection with both Buccaneers quarterbacks in 2018, and has morphed into a quality fantasy option before our very eyes. In fact, over his last six contests, he’s secured 33 of 41 targets for 386 yards and five touchdowns. Those are big-time numbers and Humphries has clearly cemented himself as an integral part of one of the game’s most explosive offenses.
As such, people are starting to take notice and his value is climbing quickly. However, I still think he’s a reasonable value in Week 14. The Bucs are taking on a prolific New Orleans offense that is looking to rebound from a frustrating loss. I expect Tampa Bay to be trailing for most of the day and Winston should be throwing a ton. There is little doubt he will be looking for Humphries early and often against a secondary that surrenders the most FanDuel points per game (36.8) to opposing receivers. At WR24 cost, I still think he’s a quality start in such an appetizing draw.
Alshon Jeffery (PHI): $6,300 @ DAL (-$700)
Jeffery exploded out of the gate in his first four games back from injury, but since that time, his role in the Eagles offense has been minimal. The veteran has now been held under 50 receiving yards and out of the end zone in five straight games and has seen more than five targets only once during that same span. There are a lot of reasons as to why, but it’s clear that the team’s mid-season addition of Golden Tate is the main culprit.
After Tate’s first appearance as an Eagle against the Cowboys, he’s become a larger part of the gameplan with each passing game, and it’s hurting Jeffery in a big way. In fact, over the last three weeks, Tate has seen 23 targets, corralling 16 of them for 163 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Jeffery has only seen 13 looks, catching 10 of them for 103 scoreless yards. As such, Jeffery’s value is declining precipitously.
It likely won’t get much better in a Week 14 showdown with a Cowboys secondary that not only just shut down Drew Brees, but is only allowing 23.9 FanDuel points per contest (third fewest) to opposing receivers. Even at a sizable discount, it’s probably best to leave Jeffery on the sidelines, as he appears to have fallen behind Tate and, of course, Zach Ertz, in the Eagles’ passing game pecking order.
Anthony Firkser (TEN): $5,100 vs. JAX (+$500)
If you don’t recognize Firkser as a household name, that’s perfectly understandable, but the first-year tight end has quietly caught three or more passes in each of his last three contests. In fact, in Week 13, he found the end zone for the first time in his NFL career. As such, his value is on the rise as we enter the Week 14 slate.
However, it might be a bit premature to jump on the Firkser hype train, as the youngster played only 28% of the Titans’ offensive snaps last week, and has consistently seen the field less than Jonnu Smith and Luke Stocker. While his matchup is by no means a must-avoid in Week 14 (the Jags have surrendered seven touchdown receptions to the position in 2018), there are several other tight ends I’d rather take a flier on.
Rob Gronkowski (NE): $6,200 @ MIA (-$500)
Gronkowski is one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game, but 2018 just hasn’t been his year. The veteran has already missed three games due to injury, and his numbers are down pretty much across the board. The 58.9 receiving yards he’s averaging per game are his lowest since his rookie year, and he’s only found the end zone twice despite his remarkable propensity for scoring touchdowns. A lot of that has to do with changes in the Patriots’ offense and some struggles on the part of Tom Brady, but no matter how you look at it, Gronk is no longer the set-and-forget TE1 in fantasy football.
In Week 13, the Vikings held him to 26 scoreless yards on three catches, but he definitely has a better matchup this time around. Indeed, the Dolphins have allowed eight touchdown receptions to opposing tight ends in 2018 (tied for second most), so a famous Gronk spike could be on the docket. The veteran is only the seventh-most expensive tight end on the slate, so if you feel strongly about his potential, this could be a smart week to play him. In Week 12, he caught three passes for 57 yards and a score against the Jets, a clear sign that the old Gronk is still in there. While he comes with some risk, he could be an upside play this weekend.