Packers vs. Lions: 5 things to watch and a prediction

Lions vs. Packers odds, prediction, betting trends for 'Monday Night Football'

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Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions: Prediction, Betting Odds, Preview For 2014 Week 17 Game

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Packers vs. Lions 2014: TV Channel, Start Time, Prediction, Betting Odds For NFC North Game

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Will the Green Bay Packers win OVER/UNDER 9 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Matt LaFleur’s first season as Green Bay’s head coach has to be considered a success. He led the team to a 13-3 record, which secured the NFC North title.

The Packers held off the Seahawks to a 28-23 home win in the first round of the playoffs, but were ousted by the Niners in a brutal 37-20 thumping (a game in which the Packers dugged themselves into an early 27-0 hole).

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Aaron Rodgers will be entering his 16th NFL season. He had another excellent year with a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio and over 4,000 passing yards. He finished as the 7th-best QB in the league according to PFF ratings.

At 36 years old, he is likely to have a few good years left. After all, Drew Brees and Tom Brady posted nice statistics in their late thirties.

Rodgers has been very durable throughout his career, but he’s not invincible either. Tim Boyle was the backup plan last year, and the team needed to upgrade the position while starting to think about the post-Rodgers era.

Still, drafting Jordan Love was the most questionable and talked-about pick in this year’s draft. People expected the Packers to go with a veteran backup QB. Rodgers has mentioned several times he wants to play in his forties; he can still offer a good five years of solid play in the frozen tundra.

Love has possesses great size, throws with velocity and he’s very mobile. The main knock on him is the decision-making and inconsistency.

As a sophomore, he threw 32 TD passes versus 6 interceptions. He regressed a lot last year by posting a mediocre 20:17 TD:INT mark. Granted, his surrounding cast was very weak and he had to go through a coaching change.

Love can throw from many different arm angles; he reminds people of Patrick Mahomes in this regard. He can throw a fastball or a soft touch pass.

Quick note: he almost quit football when he was 14 years old after his dad committed suicide. However, he knew his dad would want him to keep playing, so he did just that.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Aaron Jones is a top running back in this league. Along with Jamaal Williams, they form a lethal duo.

Including the playoffs, Jones ended up scoring 23 touchdowns in 18 games. His 19 regular season scores were the second most in Packers history. His numbers have increased in each of his first three years as a pro. He is also excellent as a pass catcher.

Despite playing in the shadow of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams still finished as the 17th-best RB based on PFF rankings. He does not seem like a lead back, but he’s a perfect change-of-pace guy. Much like Jones, he can do some damage as a receiver as well.

Williams has been a steady performer thus far in his career. He has rushed for 450-550 yards in each of his three seasons, while catching a minimum of 25 balls. He has 15 total TDs over this three-year span.

If you thought GM Brian Gutekunst made a strange move by drafting QB Jordan Love in the first round, he doubled down with another head scratcher in the 2nd round when he took A.J. Dillon.

Message to Mr. Gutekunst: Aaron Rodgers needed pass catchers, not a third running back! I really don’t get this pick either. I’m not saying Dillon won’t be good in the NFL; only time will tell. However, it clearly wasn’t a position of need for the Packers.

Dillon is a power back who rarely breaks off huge runs. He racked up big numbers in three seasons in Boston College. He’s unlikely to become a three-down starter, especially since he’s not a good pass catcher. He will likely be used sporadically as a rookie.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Davante Adams is one of the best at his position. He had a streak of three straight seasons with at least 10 TD receptions snapped last year, but he still caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games (he missed four games because of a toe injury).

Outside of Adams, all pass catchers appeared lost on the field. None of them developed a good chemistry with Rodgers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling was a huge disappointment last year. He showed promise as a rookie with over 500 receiving yards. Here’s a jaw-dropping statistic: after Week #7, MVS did not get more than 19 receiving yards in any meeting. That’s awful.

One of the guys benefiting from Valdes-Scantling’s poor play was Jake Kumerow. He got more playing time than expected, but still only caught 12 passes. He is closing in on 30 years of age and is limited as an athlete, so he’s not a long-term answer for sure.

Allen Lazard was also thrown into action far more than expected. He finished second in terms of receiving yards for Green Bay, but let’s face the reality: the undrafted guy remains more of a #3 or #4 WR for any team.

Geronimo Allison was another bust last year. His top performance over the last 12 games (including the playoffs) was a meager 33 receiving yards. He left for another NFC North team, the Detroit Lions.

In other words, the #2 role is wide open. The team hopes newly acquired Devin Funchess can step into that role. The former second rounder had his best season in 2017 with the Panthers with a 63-840-8 stat line. He signed with the Colts last year, but played just one game before breaking a collarbone. He will be 26 years old this season and provides an interesting prospect for the Packers.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

We’re not done talking about 2019 busts. Jimmy Graham was one of them. He clearly looks washed. He received the lowest grades of his 10-year career, and deservedly so. The Packers released him and he signed a few days later with the Bears (a horrible mind-boggling two-year, $16 million contract).

Marcedes Lewis received surprisingly good marks from PFF. If you look into the numbers, the good grade occurred mainly because of efficient run and pass blocking. He’s not much of a pass catcher and he will be 36 years old when the season begins.

Robert Tonyan will also be in the mix, but the guy that has the best chance to break out as a receiver in 2020 only caught three passes last year (all in the playoffs): Jace Sternberger. Taken in the third round of the 2019 draft, Sternberger was a threat at Texas A&M in college. He missed most of the regular season because of injuries, but the door is wide open with Graham’s departure.

We might also see third-round rookie Josiah Deguara. He has a great motor and plays extremely hard. He’s undersized as a tight end, though.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

The Packers had a pretty solid offensive line in 2019. All five starters managed to play at least 84% of the offensive snaps. And they all finished above-average according to PFF ratings!

The bad news, however, is the Bryan Bulaga left for the Chargers. Despite turning over 30 years old, he still played at a high level.

The Packers decided to replace him by signing Rick Wagner, formerly of the Lions. Wagner’s PFF grades from 2016 to 2018 were as follows: 74.0, 75.2 and 71.4. Last year, his play deteriorated a lot and he was tagged with a 59.0 grade. He finished as the #61 tackle among 81 guys.

I like the fact that the team is returning four out of five guys, but replacing Bulaga with Wagner has to be viewed as a downgrade.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Packers offense finished in the middle of the pack in points scored per game. Barring major injuries, I expect about the same production in 2020.

The QB and RB situations remain the same.

Adding Funchess is not a huge move, but it won’t hurt. The team clearly needs someone to step up opposite of Davante Adams. At tight end, losing Jimmy Graham means close to nothing since he was so ineffective. Sternberger might bring a nice contribution, but we can hardly expect him to be a game-breaker.

Finally, the OL will take a dip with the loss of Bulaga. I don’t believe Rick Wagner can do better than him.

All in all, I view the additions/departures as a slight negative for Green Bay, but having so many starters returning to the lineup for a second straight season is always a good thing in the NFL. For these reasons, I expect a similar output as 2019 from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Kenny Clark had a fantastic season! He is one of the best interior rushers in the NFL. He recorded six sacks for the second straight year, and PFF ranked him as the 13th-best interior linemen out of 114 qualifiers.

The same nice comments cannot be made about Dean Lowry. He had the worst season of his four-year career as a pro. He did not post a single sack and wasn’t great against the run either.

Reserve Tyler Lancaster is only there to provide some depth. He isn’t particularly good in any aspect of the game.

The team did not make any move regarding this position during the offseason.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

During the last offseason, the Packers acquired two Smiths: Za’Darius and Preston. They burst onto the scene and got 13.5 and 12 sacks, respectively.

Obviously, both received high marks for their pass rushing abilities, but Preston finished as an average linebacker overall because of mediocre run defense and poor coverage.

Kyler Fackrell was a huge disappointment in 2019. After racking up 10.5 sacks in 2018, he only got one in 2019! He signed a one-year deal with the Giants.

First-round pick Rashan Gary wasn’t necessarily impressive during his rookie season. He played 23% of the snaps, while obtaining two sacks but very pedestrian marks from PFF (an overall 55.8 grade, which is near the bottom among edge defenders).

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Green Bay lost its leader in tackles from the past three years, Blake Martinez. After starting 61 of the last 64 Packers games, Martinez decided to join the New York Giants. He had the second-most tackles in the league last year, but don’t be misled by that number. Martinez still finished slight below-average (52nd out of 89 LBs) because of poor play against the run.

The Packers also lost some depth at the position when B.J. Goodson left for Cleveland.

Green Bay picked up a linebacker from the Browns roster: Christian Kirksey. He was picked in the 3rd round of the 2014 before being involved in all 16 games from his first four seasons in the NFL. However, he has been plagued with injuries over the most recent two years; he played 7 games in 2018 and only 2 games in 2019.

He is also capable of racking up tackles, as shown by his 2016 and 2017 seasons where he obtained 146 and 138. His PFF grades during his first four seasons varied between 61.9 and 69.3. Just to give you a rough idea, a 65.0 rating would have been good for 29th place out of 89 LBs.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Jaire Alexander has done the job as the #1 corner. He has obtained 72.4 and 71.2 marks from PFF during his first two seasons, which is well-above average. He’s so-so defending the run, but his coverage skills are very good.

The number two corner, Kevin King had five interceptions last year after getting just one over his first two years as a pro. He did show some improvement after two rocky years. He finished 2019 as a middle-of-the-pack corner.

Tramon Williams played 74% of the snaps and had a surprisingly good season despite his age. He will be 37 when the 2020 season begins. He is currently a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Packers bring him back or not.

In summary, Alexander and King are both pretty young and could still be improving, but Tramon Williams provided quality play and it’s uncertain if someone else can pick up the slack.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage were the top two guys here.

Along with Za’Darius and Preston Smith, the Adrian Amos was another excellent signing by the Packers during the 2019 offseason. Amos had been a reliable guy in Chicago for four seasons, and he continued to excel in the frozen tundra.

After being selected as the #21 overall pick in the 2019 draft, Darnell Savage did show some flashes as a rookie last year. He finished as the #47 safety among 87 qualifiers, which is very satisfying for a rookie. He earned nice marks in coverage (77.4), but horrible ones against the run (37.7).

Will Redmond will be back as the number three safety. He’s not starter material for sure.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

Most of the starters are returning in 2020. That’s the good news.

The team lost their leader in tackles, Blake Martinez, as well as pass rusher Kyler Fackrell and CB Tramon Williams.

The only acquisition worth of note is Christian Kirksey. Him not having played very much during the last two seasons brings some question marks.

The Packers defense struggled against the run last year, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2020. Green Bay still finished 9th in points allowed, which was a very acceptable result.

Unfortunately, a decrease in effectiveness is expected and I predict this unit will end 2020 as a middle-of-pack defense (12th – 19th in points allowed).

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Green Bay Packers are expected to win 9 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results (excluding the simulated years where the Pack won exactly 9 games, since in those cases your bet would have tied):

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 9 WINS 51.4% bwin +115 +10.5%
UNDER 9 WINS 48.6% Heritage Sports +100 -2.8%
Tip: Bet OVER 9 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +10.5%
Rank: 25th-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -106

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Packers’ 16 regular season games:
HOME: -6 vs ATL, -10 vs CAR, -4.5 vs CHI, -6.5 vs DET, -11.5 vs JAX, -3 vs MIN, -2.5 vs PHI, -3.5 vs TEN.
ROAD: 0 @ CHI, -2 @ DET, 0 @ HOU, +2.5 @ IND, +3 @ MIN, +5.5 @ NO, +6.5 @ SF, +2.5 @ TB.

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

TOMORROW: I'll talk about the team whose ROI is the 24th-highest in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Did you like this write-up? If so, comment below! I'd like to know YOUR opinion on what to expect from the Packers' 2020 season!

Professor MJ
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Dear Vikings fan - I bring you the spoilers for your 2020 season.

Hello Vikings fans!
Disclaimer: A few years ago I made a lof of correct predictions (in fact the whole season) about the Vikings and last year i almost perfectly repeated it. So I have a (very small and unknown) reputation as someone who can predict the future if it regards the Vikings, so take this as a slightly humorous season prediction from me.
Since I can see into the future as obviously proven many times before and the Vikings fanbase is the best fanbase in the NFL (although I am a Steelers fangirl myself!) I bring to to you the results of the 2020 season of the Minnesota Vikings. After this post every other prediction will be obsolete and look rather dumb to my perfect recitation of the time now still called future.
Let us begin:
1 - vs. Green Bay Packers - Win - 1-0
You will open strong out of the gate with a 27-20 victory over the hated Packers and I will certainly be happy about this, too, as I hate the Packers as much as you, and I am not even a Vikings fan. The game will be won clearly but not super-dominant. But I bet (hehe, free money) you take that anyways.
2 - @ Indianapolis Colts - Win - 2-0
The Colts are weaker as expected, but this is a road game, so another 7-point win (17-10), but not utter domination as the Colts have still a solid body, but not the great head to use it properly.
3 - vs. Tennessee Titans - Win - 3-0
This game will be a bloodbath. The lead will change multiple times. In the End, the Titans will lose the game by fumbling a ball in the 4th quarter, that you turn into a field goal to put you up 22-20 to win your third game to start the season. You will have to pay a price for this one though as you will lose one of your starting corners to IR - sadly the view in my crytal bowl wasn't sharp enough to see which one. I mean I can see the future of the Vikings, but I'm not God.
4 - @Houston Texans - Loss - 3-1
Sadly every winning streak eventually ends, and I have bad news for you that this will be the game. The Vikings are known to have an absolute stinker sometimes where nobody knows why it happened and this will be such a game. You will score only 13 points yourself.
5 - @ Seattle Seahawks - Win - 4-1
Oh man, this game will be a nail biter as well. It's an interesting season for sure for you as there will be a lot of close games - but more to that later - anyways you come out with a VERY close victory and a walking-off touchdown in the last minute while a following Hail Mary from Russell Wilson will not connect. You probably didn't deserve this win and the media will continue to disrespect you, because while you are 4-1, your wins were not really impressive. And they actually have a point there, to be fair. But whatever, you will have a great season, so don't be mad at these punks, they don't know as much as I do (and now you do, too) - be the bigger man/woman and stay calm. They will eat their words.
6 - vs. Atlanta Falcons - Win - 5-1
Easy win, that will not be talked about really. It will also be your first blowout win of the season. I saw you posting 33 points vs their 17.
7 - Bye week - 5-1
I can say with 100% security, that your record will stay exactly the same here.
8 - @ Green Bay Packers - Loss - 5-2
I am sorry to disappoint you, but this game sadly will be a loss. And it will be a two-score one. Media will again fall in love with the Packers as they always do. Life will be bad after that loss until you realize that your schedule will be lighter in the coming weeks.
9 - vs. Detroit Lions - Win - 6-2
Yeah no shocker here that you will win by multiple scores. Actually I went to bed at some point here, so TECHNICALLY I haven't seen the end of this game, but I am pretty sure you can't blow a 4 score lead, so I assume this was a win.
10 - @Chicago Bears - Win - 7-2
Man this will be once again an ugly game where nobody seems to be able to score any points. The Bears will be stuck at 9 points at the end of the game and you will have 16. But a win is a win, even if the talkign heads doubt Cousins (again).
11 - vs. Dallas Cowboys - Win - 8-2
You will beat an overrated Cowboys team convincingly by two scores, but really it was one score until garbage time. This was a rather "normal" game without anything further to notice.
12 - vs. Carolina Panthers - Win - 9-2
Same thing as the week before. This is a pretty easy win for you guys. And NOW finally the media will talk about the Vikings "sneakily" being a really really good team and act like they don't know where this record suddenly came from.
13 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars - Loss - 9-3
Let me be really honest with you - I only checked into that game right before the end, because I thought this was an easy one. Turns out Jacksonville wins by 2 scores. WHAT THE HECK MATE. I don't know what on earth you did in that game. I might have to rewatch the live version of the game to see what happened.
14 - @Tampa Buccaneers - Win - 10-3
You will be the team 2020, that will beat all of these overrated hyped teams - like the Buccaneers in week 14, but the narrative will be how the other team lost it, not how you won that. Don't let that phaze you. There will be at least one person outside of the Vikings fanbase - me - that will appreciate what you have done.
15 - vs. Chicago Bears - Win - 11-3
Another relatively easy win for you guys. Nothing more to say. Not a walk in the park, but a clear win.
16 - @ New Orleans Saints - Loss - 11-4
Sorry, to being the bringer of bad news, but the Saints seem to be a bad matchup for you. I spare you the details here, but it's NOT gonna be because of a referee f**ing it up. So there's at least that. Even if it isn't much.
17 - @ Detroit Lions - Win - 12-4
A last dominant victory by 3 scores to close out the regular season. Congratulations.
That means, that you will have another good season ahead of you, Vikings. I hope you enjoyed reading this, although I apologize for the Spoilers, if you are one of the people that prefer to watch games.
In love to the Vikings fanbase, Taari of Germany, fairy of wisdom and water, bringer of truth and honesty and spirit guardian of the turtles
PS: This has also been a fanpost of me posted to the dailynorseman.com a few days ago.
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2020 NFL Draft Review - Analysis and Career Predictions for Each Team's Draft Class - NFC North

Every year after the draft, I write a way-too-long review of each team’s draft. The purpose of this draft review is to give predictions for the careers of each team’s drafted players. I’ve watched film of each player I’m commenting on. Draft grades are overly optimistic and unrealistic. Unlike the majority of post-draft coverage out there, I will pick busts. Keep in mind that 23.4% of all first-round picks bust.
Let me preface this by saying: predicting the career of an NFL draft pick is a ridiculous exercise. There is so much unknown that goes into whether a player succeeds or fails at the next level. I can make educated guesses based on team situation, supporting cast, and research about the prospect’s character and work ethic, but there’s a reason teams make so many mistakes every year. You simply don’t know for sure how a player will react to being a pro. Injuries are also a huge factor in the fate of a player and impossible to predict accurately. I still write this long prediction article for three reasons:
1 - No one else does it. 2 - It’s more interesting than draft grades. 3 - It’s fun to try to get things right.
Overview
Like NFL teams, I’m going to get things wrong. The greatest football mind in history drafted Ryan Mallett and Chad Jackson. I also like to argue against the consensus when my evaluations allow me to. That has gotten me in trouble with some unpopular predictions that turned out to be hilariously wrong. On the flip side, I don’t think anyone else predicted Lamar Jackson would be the best quarterback of his draft class. All of my picks are rooted in comprehensive film study and a mathematical understanding of what drafts typically produce (spoiler: draft grades are unrealistically generous).
Before we start, here are some of my general thoughts on the 2020 NFL Draft.
Quickly on the broadcast - they did a great job given the circumstances. The production quality was great and they did more actual analysis than usual. My main gripe with draft coverage every year is that they don’t show incredible highlights (they somehow didn’t show the Aaron Dobson catch in 2013). This year, they showed more footage of actual football and I appreciated that. The only two negatives for me were the constant tragic stories and Booger McFarland.
Oh, and if any poor soul bet on Justin Jefferson Under 21.5 draft position, ESPN should apologize to you. They showed him on the phone celebrating right before cutting to Goodell announcing the 21st pick - Jalen Reagor to the Eagles. Jefferson was of course on the phone with the Vikings, who took him at 22. Brutal beat.
As for the draft, remember this tweet about mock drafts being “wronger” than ever? Funny, this was probably the chalkiest first-round ever in the internet age. Nothing was truly shocking to me, including the Packers trading up for Jordan Love (more on that later). I had Damon Arnette in the first round in my first mock draft this draft season. I wrote an article lauding Jordyn Brooks as an undervalued commodity. Noah Ibinoghene going in the first was surprising, I suppose. But there was no Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 or Tyson Alualu at No. 10. It speaks to how the media and internet scouts might be catching up to, or God forbid actually influencing the teams.
So here is the first installment of my annual draft review. Each player will receive their career prediction in parentheses following their name. For example: Joe Burrow (5). Here's how the picks break down:
5 – All-Pro: Starter who has performed at an elite level at his position. 4 – Above-Average: Starter who has been among the best at his position. 3 – Solid: Starter or valuable back-up with significant positive production. 2 – Replacement Level: Below-average starter or back-up who made minor contributions. 1 – Bust: Player who didn’t amount to anything positive.
First up, the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers

Everyone is talking about the Packers, and rightfully so. They traded up for a quarterback and with a need at receiver, didn’t select any in arguably the best receiver class of all time. They are being widely mocked by football fans everywhere for bungling the draft and quite probably infuriating Aaron Rodgers. The Packers went to the NFC Championship game last year and Rodgers is 36 years old, so they are as win-now as it gets. So how can anyone defend them trading up for a quarterback? Very easily, actually.
If your stance is “I don’t believe Jordan Love will become a franchise quarterback” then you have every right to make fun of the pick. What I find humorous is how many people seem so sure Love will fail. Surely each person meme-ing and gif-ing on twitter has studied Love's film, right? Because to be clear - if Jordan Love develops into a franchise quarterback at any point for the Packers, then this pick will have been one of the best in the entire draft. It’s only fair to criticize the pick because of conviction about the player. It makes no sense to argue they don’t need a quarterback. There is nothing more valuable than a franchise quarterback, and again, Rodgers is 36.
So I don’t believe the Packers should be the laughingstock of the league for picking Love. It is fascinating that the overwhelming sentiment is that they screwed this up, which is funny considering how difficult and unpredictable the draft is. Jordan Love has tremendous potential, and the Packers took a shot that could result in 10+ years of being set at the most important position.
Having actually done the work on him, I begrudgingly have to agree with the negative feedback because I do not believe Jordan Love (2) will develop into a franchise quarterback. Love has Mahomes-ish arm talent and athleticism. He has a smooth delivery, good pocket awareness, and throws well on the move. The physical traits are there, as few human beings in the world can deliver missiles with a flick-of-the-wrist like Love. He also processes information quickly enough and shows flashes of progressing through reads quite well. It is reasonable for a team to watch his film and project that he can make NFL-level reads and decisions. When you mix that with his arm talent, all it takes is an interview that sells his intelligence (27 on the Wonderlic) and football character for a team to fall in love.
However, there is one glaring issue in his game that I just can’t get over - his ball placement. He too frequently misplaces easy throws - flats, bubbles, slants, stick routes - including a bad pick on a corner route against Wake Forest. He also ended that game with a pick, unable to place the ball over a linebacker. These missed placements re-occur frequently on his 2019 tape. His accuracy (think a pitcher’s control) isn’t poor, especially when his feet are right. But his placement (think a pitcher’s command) is substandard.
For what it’s worth, I had similar concerns with Patrick Mahomes’ inconsistent ball placement coming out. I just didn’t know he was a football savant. I don’t think Love is Mahomes but his traits-profile and style are similar. Any discussion about Love should include the disparity between his 2018 performance (64% comp. 9.4 YPA, 32/6 TD/INT) and 2019 performance (61.9% comp., 6.4 YPA, 20/17 TD/INT). Losing coaches and talent around him is the explanation, but the contrast is quite jarring. If I loved Love, I’d be happily defending this pick on all corners of the internet. I just don’t love Love. I wonder how fans would have reacted if this pick was Tua instead....
In the second round, the Packers passed on a myriad of talented receivers for a bruising two-down workhorse back. This pick is less defensible than taking a quarterback, but I try to understand what teams are thinking. Clearly, they believe A.J. Dillon can be an impact player. I had Dillon ranked 93rd overall, but I do recognize his skillset as valuable. He's a 97th percentile SPARQ athlete with home run speed (4.53 40) at 247 pounds. He has excellent vision and can be punishing in a four-minute offense. Fantasy players want Aaron Jones to play most snaps and get 25 touches a game, but it makes sense to keep him fresher, use him on passing downs, and sit the plodding Jamaal Williams on the bench.
This picks further fortifies a strong position group, an underrated strategy in the draft. The arguments against this pick are valid - positional value, lack of passing-game help, other Green Bay needs. However, it’s also fair to recognize A.J. Dillon (3) as an impact back. It wasn’t my favorite pick, but to me, the draft is more about player than position, and Dillon will be a solid pro. I’m also not fully on board with the vocal analytics folks who think running backs aren’t valuable at all.
In the third, the Packers again surprised by adding an H-back/tight end in Josiah Deguara (1) from Cincinnati. After investing a top-75 pick in Jace Sternberger last year, the Packers again looked towards the future. Deguara likely won’t do much in 2020, but this pick sets up their 12-personnel for the Jordan Love era. Deguara can block a bit and catches the ball well, but he wasn’t even in my top 200 players in a poor tight end class. Draft slot has me thinking a bit, but I’m going to pick him to be one of many non-factors in this draft.
The Packers did nothing to help Aaron Rodgers at wide receiver in a loaded receiver class. They also failed to improve a run defense that was shredded in the NFC Championship game by San Francisco. Instead, they chose to address their 2022 offense. I agree with the overall sentiment that this was a poor draft, but only because I predict Jordan Love will fail. If he lives up to his potential, then this draft class will go down as one of the best.

Minnesota Vikings

Manipulating the draft to make 16 picks was brilliant. There is so much uncertainty for the upcoming season so the Vikings opted to secure who they wanted rather than relying on the rat-race of remote undrafted free agency. Depending on when the season begins, adding veteran free agents and having try-outs may be more challenging this year. Minnesota made the smart move in adding 16 rookies that they can bring up to speed on their terms through potential virtual practices and meetings. Making 16 picks is also great work because of statistics. The vast majority of draft picks end up being worthless. Simply, the more you make, the better your chances of finding contributors.
I ranked Justin Jefferson (2) lower than most (9th-ranked receiver in this class), so I don’t view this pick as some outrageous value. I had Jefferson ranked as the 32nd-best player in this class, so I wouldn’t even call it a great pick. Jefferson has the traits of a very good pro receiver, but I fear he may be more Jordan Matthews than people realize. I consistently ranked Jalen Reagor over Jefferson, and knowing the Eagles did as well leads me to believe I may have been on to something.
Jefferson’s film was dominating at times, but scouting players is about projecting what translates rather than evaluating college performance. LSU put Jefferson in the slot and let him work the middle of the field on RPOs and embarrass less-athletic safeties, linebackers, and nickels on “be-better” routes like slot fades. He has good hands and athletic traits, but I don’t see his film translating into a dominant pro. His route-running needs work, reaching too much on breaks, and there’s little evidence of him beating press on the outside. 50% of all picks from 21-32 result in a replacement-level player or bust. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a guy I wasn’t super high on underperforms at the next level.
Jeff Gladney (3) was my third-ranked corner and 30th-ranked player overall. He’s feisty with quick feet and plays with tremendous competitiveness and physicality. I wrote “Jalen Ramsey” in my notes before looking up his measurables (5-10, 191). I obviously think he plays much bigger than his size. Or I need new glasses. I went back for a second look on Gladney and wasn’t nearly as impressed. He’s a little clumsy and not much of a technician. He has success just being a twitchy athlete and aggressive, which isn’t a great sign as he’ll lose that advantage in the NFL. He also dropped the ball before the end zone after a pick-six a la DeSean Jackson. Still, I believe he’ll be a solid starter and go to exactly two pro bowls.
Ezra Cleveland (3) was a steal. He’s glorious in pass protection and has unreal athleticism for his size. His ability to mirror is unmatched in this class. Cleveland’s biggest weakness is his lack of strength, but with the right strength program he can improve there. One of my favorite plays was watching him chase down and tackle a defender after an interception.
Cameron Dantzler (2) was my 8th-ranked corner. He ran a 4.64 at just 188 pounds and has messy hands, but I liked his film otherwise. He’s competitive and makes plays, including sacking both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa for some reason. He’s thin but doesn’t care. I just don’t know if he has the recovery speed to start and there were too many missed tackles on film.
James Lynch (3) was a legitimate steal in the fourth round. He dominated overmatched Big 12 tackles but has the type of strength and power that plays in the league. He can contribute at five-technique as he puts on more weight. He’s obviously not a 10-plus sack-a-year type at the pro level. Troy Dye (2) wore a club in the Pac-12 championship game and is physical. He’s just not that explosive and is more try-hard than traits-rich.
The Vikings deserve a lot of credit for this haul. It will be extremely interesting to go back and look at how many of their 16 picks are still there in two years.

Chicago Bears

The biggest Bears news of the weekend was the report that they won't pick up Mitch Trubisky's fifth-year option. Chicago made two franchise-defining moves that used up a ton of draft capital over a four-year span - trading up for Trubisky and trading for Khalil Mack. Mack came back down to earth after a ferocious first year in Chicago, but should be a force for a couple more seasons. Trubisky, on the other hand, has regressed and given the team very little confidence. He'll compete with the enigmatic Nick Foles, who is as bipolar as players get.
The NFL Draft is the most important roster-building day on the NFL calendar, but this Bears class is probably the least consequential of all 32 teams. If they nailed it, so what? They get a starting tight end, starting corner, rotational edge player, and rotational deep threat? And if they bombed it, so what? What matters is their quarterback competition and head coach performance.
I used to believe prospects were destined to fail or succeed. I thought how lucky the Steelers were for having players like Big Ben and Heath Miller "fall" to them every year. The reality is that some programs develop players better. The Bears are at a crossroads with Matt Nagy, who last season saw his offense regress and defense unable to overcome the loss of Vic Fangio. Point is, these draft picks may be walking into a lame-duck situation, which isn't good for anyone.
To further annoy Bears fans, I have to be honest that I was much lower on their first three selections than the consensus. I thought Cole Kmet (2) was the single most overrated prospect in the entire draft. My notes include the words "weak" and "soft." He showed poorly as a blocker against Virginia with no pop in his hands, struggled to get off second-level collisions, and lacked great balance - arguably the most important trait for any player. Kmet is big with good hands but I really don't see his game translating to anything more than an average player. There's a reason this tight end class was universally knocked as weak.
In the second they went with Jaylon Johnson (1), who I had as my 10th-ranked cornerback. Johnson gained some steam as a potential first-round pick, but I just didn't like his film. He pretty much lost Utah the game against USC, giving up an early TD because he lost his balance and getting flagged for a game-sealing defensive pass interference because he couldn't get his head around. His film showed poor balance, late reactions, missed tackles, and worst of all - questionable effort, especially against BYU. He has the feet and length to stay with receivers, but I want him in cover three and that's it. Late eyes and questionable balance are deal-breakers for defensive backs.
As for their other picks, I will give Darnell Mooney (3) a shot to be a deep threat. He can't block and is probably too weak to do anything right now, but his speed absolutely plays. All he did at Tulane was run slants and go routes so it will take some time. Trevis Gipson (2) jars the ball loose frequently but everything just looks too difficult versus Oklahoma State and Texas. Hustle sacks are great in terms of college performance but provide no confidence in terms of translatable traits.
A few years ago, I correctly predicted the Bears would be a surprise playoff team. You'll be shocked to read that this year I won't.

Detroit Lions

The Lions draft class makes it pretty obvious Matt Patricia is fighting for his job this year. Their first two picks are ready to challenge for rookie of the year from day one, they added a 22-year old edge-rusher and two guards who can play right away. Help is here and Matthew Stafford is healthy - Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn will not survive another bottom-10 finish.
Jeff Okudah (5) is an NFL shutdown corner right now. He has it all, including the necessary swagger. What will separate him at the next level is his physicality and aggressiveness. He can "motor" (align pressed and stay with his man without making contact with his hands) or shoot his inside hand at the line to throw off timing. With his traits and instincts, I expect him to be a top-five corner in the league in his rookie year.
D'Andre Swift (3) is as fun as it gets. My favorite note is that he makes the game look easy. Certain players are able to be so comfortable at the college level that it is evident on film how slow the game is moving for them. Swift does some things with the ball that prove that point, like spin out of tackles for loss and cross up safeties in the open field like Allen Iverson. He's also awesome in the passing game as a receiver and blocker. The Lions haven't found a foundation back since Barry Sanders and they are hoping D'Andre Swift can be just that.
I think he has that upside, but his film concerns me as well. Swift is more comfortable in space, taking advantage of huge holes and perimeter stuff that simply won't be there in the NFL. He's more Sony Michel than Nick Chubb, and didn't show much creativity or tackle-breaking inside. He'll have no issue being a complementary back, but runners who are comfortable in space often struggle to transition to the pro game where there is none. No outcome would surprise me but I think a Reggie Bush-like pro career is where he settles in.
I did not love Julian Okwara (2) on film. He looked good against frumpy tackles, but my notes read "yikes vs UGA." He was frequently driven back in that game, including by a wide receiver. His pass-rushing wins were with pure athleticism rather than translatable moves.
Jonah Jackson (3) was good in pass protection and showed ideal aggressiveness. I didn't see him get enough movement in the run game for me to be excited but he's a possible starter. Logan Stenberg (4) on the other hand was one of my LINK five favorite prospects in the entire draft. He has an ugly body and below-average athleticism but his film is fun to watch. He'll struggle with quickness sometimes but he's tough and strong and showed well against Georgia on film. He's a huge reason Benny Snell and Lynn Bowden had so much success. I project him as a quality starter.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the other divisions in the coming days.
Link for the article: https://www.rotoballer.com/2020-nfl-draft-review-and-team-grades-nfc-north/734932?src=cat_feat_9954
submitted by gpngc to NFL_Draft [link] [comments]

2020 Detroit Lions Season Predictions

First off, my early guess at the 2020 53-man roster. However, it's a pretty certain bet that Detroit will make an addition or two either prior to or during the preseason. They signed DT Mike Daniels last year post-draft, have traded for players like Eli Harold (2018) and Greg Robinson (2017), or adding players via waivers (OT Andrew Donnal, DB Dee Virgin, RB J.D. McKissic, DE Romeo Okwara). So expect that there's another move or two that would add a player to this list...But here we go (please keep in mind some slight changes with the new CBA...it's still a 53-man roster, with a now 12 person practice squad, but there are now 2 additional active players, up to 48 from 46, with 2 practice squad players elevated per week)

Depth Chart / 53-Man Roster

QB (2/53): Matthew Stafford / Chase Daniel RB (7/53): Kerryon Johnson / D'Andre Swift / Ty Johnson / Bo Scarbrough / FB Luke Sellers WR (12/53): Kenny Golladay / Marvin Jones Jr. / Danny Amendola / Marvin Hall / Quintez Cephus TE (16/53): T.J. Hockenson / Jesse James / Isaac Nauta / Hunter Bryant OL (25/53): Taylor Decker / Joe Dahl / Frank Ragnow / Jonah Jackson / Hal Vaitai / Tyrell Crosby / Beau Benzschawel / Kenny Wiggins / Logan Stenberg
DL (32/53): Trey Flowers / Da'Shawn Hand / Danny Shelton / Nick Williams / John Penisini / Romeo Okwara / Austin Bryant LB (39/53): Jamie Collins / Jarrad Davis / Christian Jones / Jahlani Tavai / Reggie Ragland / Julian Okwara CB (45/53): Desmond Trufant / Justin Coleman / Jeff Okudah / Amani Oruwariye / Jamal Agnew / Darryl Roberts S (50/53): Tracy Walker / Duron Harmon / Will Harris / Jayron Kearse / Jeremiah Dinson
ST (53/53): K Matt Prater / P Jack Fox / LS Don Muhlbach
Thus some likely practice squad candidates: WR Chris Lacy or WR Travis Fulgham, S Jalen Elliott or S Bobby Price, RB Wes Hills, QB David Blough, LB Christian Sam or LB Anthony Pittman or LB Jason Cabinda, G Josh Garnett, DT Kevin Strong, DL Jashon Cornell, DE Jonathan Wynn, and some others I'm sure they'll add from other cuts.

Season Predictions

Week 1, Sept. 13: vs. Chicago Bears - The concern here is if Nick Foles is able to find some of the magic that led him and Philly to the Super Bowl. If not, Detroit nearly beat the Bears without Stafford in both games, so fairly confident Detroit can pull this one out. Detroit 28, Chicago 17.
Week 2, Sept. 20: at Green Bay Packers - Despite nearly winning both games, only to lose on last second FG attempts in both games, this one will be tough. Aaron Rodgers will likely be out for blood to start the season. Green Bay 31, Detroit 23.
Week 3, Sept. 27: at Arizona Cardinals - The Lions have been bad in the back end of back-to-back road games. With the Cardinals adding key pieces to their offense like WR DeAndre Hopkins, OT Josh Jones, and a defensive piece in S Isaiah Simmons, they're going to be tougher than last year, a game that Patricia and Pasqualoni's play-calling blew. Arizona 27, Detroit 24.
Week 4, Oct. 4: vs. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees is back for another season at least, and the Saints are going to be a Super Bowl contender once again. Perhaps getting them at home gives them the best shot to pull off an upset, but hard to see it at this point. New Orleans 34, Detroit 20.
Week 6, Oct. 18: at Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars lost perhaps more starters than any other team, with DT Marcell Dareus, CB A.J. Bouye and plenty of others to trades, cuts, and free agency. While QB Gardner Minshew is around as the start, the Jags may be looking at a tank in 2020. Detroit 26, Jacksonville 17.
Week 7, Oct. 25: at Atlanta Falcons - If Detroit is going to win the back of end of consecutive road games, it'll be this one. The Falcons added some nice pieces (DE Dante Fowler, RB Todd Gurley, CB A.J. Terrell) but overall, this team has dropped off from the one who appeared in the Super Bowl not too long ago. Detroit 33, Atlanta 28.
Week 8, Nov. 1: vs. Indianapolis Colts - This is my hinge game for the season. If Detroit loses here, playoffs are a long-shot, pending a handful of upsets at the end of the season. However, QB Philip Rivers was not good in LAC last year, and I don't expect that to change. Detroit 23, Indianapolis 19.
Week 9, Nov. 8: at Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings also went through a bit of a re-shaping of their roster, with like half of their defense changing place. I think Detroit will have a good chance to split with the Vikings, but the road games is definitely not the one I'm predicting. Minnesota 26, Detroit 21.
Week 10, Nov. 15: vs. Washington Redskins - The Redskins were absolute brilliant this offseason. With needs at practically every position except edge rusher, their biggest add this year was....edge rusher. They'll need to hope that Chase Young can rack up 5 sacks per game, or else they really don't have a shot. Detroit 37, Washington 17.
Week 11, Nov. 22: at Carolina Panthers - Former Baylor HC Matt Rhule will attempt to rebuild a strong defense, which was the sole focus of their draft. However, the Panthers offense still has plenty of question marks, including what caliber Bridgewater we're getting. Detroit 17, Carolina 14.
Week 12, Nov. 26: vs. Houston Texans (Thanksgiving Day) - Former Patriot assistants clash on Thanksgiving, as Bill O'Brien made some odd moves over the last two seasons, including the aforementioned trade of Hopkins. Detroit finds a way to pull this one out. Detroit 30, Houston 27 (OT).
Week 13, Dec. 6: at Chicago Bears - The Bears at this point will either in the thick of contention with their defense leading the charge, or the offense will again have imploded and they'll be turning their attention to scouting QB's like Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, and Justin Fields. Detroit 27, Chicago 23.
Week 14, Dec. 13: vs. Green Bay Packers - The Lions get the Packers in Ford Field with a chance to split. Ultimately however, I still have concerns about Detroit's depth, especially on the DL and OL. The Packers have a bit better depth there, and I think that'll give them a shot to steal a game. Green Bay 22, Detroit 21.
Week 15, Dec. 20: at Tennessee Titans - Unless Detroit adds another starting caliber player on the interior DL, I am quite skeptical that Detroit will be able to pull out a win over a run heavy team like the Titans, with Derrick Henry leading the charge. Tennessee 20, Detroit 17.
Week 16, Dec. 27: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tom Brady comes to Detroit shortly after Christmas. Perhaps no team had a more exciting offseason than the Bucs, who brought in future Hall of Famers in Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Tampa Bay 33, Detroit 20.
Week 17, Jan. 3: vs. Minnesota Vikings - I'd be tempted to have the Vikings taking the week off, already having clinched a playoff spot, but with only 1 bye week now, that's less likely to happen, and the Vikings will want to ensure they get the better matchup. Minnesota 30, Detroit 26.
Final Record: 8-8, 3rd in the NFC North
Ultimately, I am not sure if this is enough to keep Patricia and Quinn. Should it befall like this, I would likely move on due to a late season collapse (I have it as a 4-game losing streak to knock them out of the playoffs). But perhaps it's just enough.

What Could Change This

Think it's also important to add a few points on what could vary the prediction in large ways...
1.) Injuries - whether to Detroit or to specifically NFC North opponents. A good example is Matt Stafford going down last season took Detroit from a pretty competitive .500 team to an absolute trainwreck. For example, should the Vikings lose Cousins or the Packers lose Rodgers, their likely shot at playoff contention vanishes. Chicago is probably the only team that wouldn't be massively impacted by a QB injury, but that speaks more so to their lack of certainty than it does to their depth.
2.) Adding another contributor or two. I specifically mention DL depth, as I think that's a big spot Detroit should look for another quality player. Even if it is an injury prone player like Mike Daniels or Marcell Dareus, it's probably worth the risk for a team who needs to win this season. Also be sure to watch
3.) Breakout performances - George Kittle went from a 40-catch, 500 yard, 2 TD rookie year to being an absolute monster in 2018 (88 catches, 1400 yards, 5 TD). Should Hockenson take a leap like that, think the offense could carry this team to more wins. Additionally, if guys like Jamie Collins can play like he did last year, or breakouts from younger guys like Tracy Walker or Da'Shawn Hand on defense, or even the rookies, you'd see some major improvements.
4.) Regression - The million dollar question is if the back injury slows Stafford at all, or if he comes back firing on all cylinders like he was. If he declines a bit, I think this team would then be closer to 6-10 or 7-9. Additionally, bringing in experienced players like Collins and Trufant is great, but if they start regressing then those are guys you were counting on now stepping back.
submitted by boanerges77 to detroitlions [link] [comments]

My way too early season record prediction

Hi y'all,
Last year I had us going 10-6 and had all my picks right but two; swapped a Win @ GB w/ a Loss vs. Philly. I wanted to predict again this year and happy to hear any thoughts.
Without further ado, I yet again have us going...10-6. (ugh)
Schedule:
9/13 vs. GB: L - 0-1
I hope I'm wrong about this one, and I definitely could be. However, I still don't have confidence in our O-line against the Smith rush, and A-Rodg could come out pissed. However, if Dalvin Cook comes out in his usual home opening form, we can take it.
9/20 @ Colts: W - 1-1
Phil Rivers never does well against us, however he does have a solid new O-Line in Indy. Still think Vikes are a better team.
9/27 vs. Titans: L 1-2
The score will probably be 20-17 and 500 yards could be rushed, but I think this game might be flukey and the titans could run away with it.
10/4 @ Houston: L 1-3
I know they don't have Hopkins any more but this team is good. I think the Vikings go in cocky but get stunned by Deshaun.
10/11 @ Seattle: L 1-4
Let's be real. We get screwed every year with this team. Real adversity hits after this L.
10/18 Atlanta: W 2-4
Matt Ryan is terrified of the Vikes. Dub.
11/2 @ GB: L 2-5
Just hedging my emotions here, really. No seriously. the refs fuck us every time we go to GB so why would that change next year? (I'll also add I think this is the first game where stadiums are open)
11/9 vs Detroit: W: 3-5
Young vikes start to gel and we start a run again the porous Lions.
11/16 @ Chicago W: 4-5
We can't possibly keep losing in Chicago. Finally revert to the mean this year.
11/22 Vs. Cowboys W: 5-5
This is gonna be a great game. A sick offense vs. a sick defense. I think the Vikes pull it out at home.
11/29 vs Carolina: W 6-5
Bring out the tissues. Teddy returns home, but Vikes are on a streak and the young squad is rolling.
12/06 vs Jacksonville: W 7-5
Jags looking at another terrible year.
12/13 @ Tampa Bay: W 8-5
I'm a big Belicheck fan. I believe Tom is gonna have a so-so year in Tampa. The offense is gonna be legit but their defense is still trash, Vikes win.
12/20 vs. Chicago: W 9-5
Vikes complete a 7 win streak to come back into the playoff picture.
12/25 vs. Saints: L 9-6
Saints will be out for blood. Close game but I'd bet we lose. (We'll return the favor in the playoffs)
1/3 @ Detroit: W 10-6
Hope I don't eat my words hear, but we should easily win this to get into the playoffs again
The packers games are gonna be huge this year, as well those early AFC playoff team games. The second stretch is pretty soft, though, so if we can skate 1-2 wins in the first half the season where I predict losses, we should be in good shape. Skol!
submitted by thisisnotdetroit to minnesotavikings [link] [comments]

4 Roud Mock (With some trades)

A big project here that has been underway for a bit, with some tweaking as needed.
I only made trades in the first round. Any trades you see are reflective of first round deals. There's usually a handful of them, so I tried to really push for trades, rather than a take a less realistic approach to it and be super conservative about. Additionally, I added a few 3rd round compensatory picks, based on the projections from over the cap.

FIRST ROUND

1.1 - Cincinnati Bengals - QB Joe Burrow (LSU). Don't need too much explanation here. Burrow is the best QB in this draft, perhaps even the best player, given how Chase Young was a bit quiet against Michigan & Clemson. Bringing him back to Ohio is too good.
1.2 - Washington Redskins - EDGE Chase Young (Ohio State). Another very easy pick, as Young has the potential to step into the NFL as a game changer from the first snap. Explosive, smart, and incredible hands, he has franchise changing potential.
1.3 - TRADE: Los Angeles Chargers - QB Tua Tagavailoa (Alabama). Miami could perhaps outbid the Chargers, but I don't see Miami wanting to give up too much of their stockpile for one player, especially given how many needs the Dolphins have. Thus, their #6 pick, a 3rd, and a 2021 1st round pick to Detroit for LAC to get a QB who could get them back to the playoffs immediately.
1.4 - New York Giants - OT Andrew Thomas (Georgia). This feels like such a good fit. Thomas is incredibly powerful, and fits the MO of the Giants well, building a powerful run game behind Saquon Barkley.
1.5 - Miami Dolphins - QB Justin Herbert (Oregon). According to reports, the Dolphins have done the most work on Herbert, and with the Chargers jumping up for Tua, the Dolphins choose to tap Herbert as their new starting QB, and hopefully fill out the rest of their needs with their massive stockpile of picks.
1.6 TRADE: Detroit Lions - DT Derrick Brown (Auburn). The Lions move back and still have their pick of Brown or Okudah, the two most popular names here. Ultimately, I went with Brown, as Brown can solve both their struggles stopping the run, and provide an interior pass rush.
1.7 Carolina Panthers - CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State). The Panthers are probably hoping to get Brown, as his explosiveness is unreal, but Okudah could be an excellent piece to Matt Rhule's new defense, with his lockdown coverage ability.
1.8 TRADE: New York Jets - OT Tristan Wirfs (Iowa). As the Cardinals debate OL vs. WR, the Jets ensure they land a top OT by offering them their 3rd round pick and a future 6th round pick. The Cardinals accept, and the Jets get Sam Darnold some much needed protection.
1.9 Jacksonville Jaguars - WR Jerry Jeudy (Alabama). A great spot for the Jaguars, as Jeudy is arguably the best player left on the board, and also fills a big need for an offensive playmaker. Whether Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew starts for the Jags next season, Jeudy will make their lives easier.
1.10 Cleveland Browns - OT Jedrick Wills (Alabama). With Cleveland a sure bet to take a tackle, the Jets hopped them to get their choice. The Browns still take Wills, who has the athleticism to play either side, but either way is a big upgrade for Cleveland, as they attempt to rebuild their offensive line.
1.11 TRADE: Arizona Cardinals - WR CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma). With their decision now made for them, the Cardinals take perhaps the biggest playmaker on the board. Lamb is an exceptional fit for Kingsbury's passing attack, and he should give them a replacement for Larry Fitzgerald, whenever he chooses to retire.
1.12 Las Vegas Raiders - LB/S Isaiah Simmons (Clemson). With a big need to improve the speed of their LB spot, the Raiders take Simmons, which also fits nicely with Mayhew's affinity for Clemson players. Simmons' versatility is perhaps the best among any player in this draft.
1.13 TRADE: Philadelphia Eagles - CB Kristian Fulton (LSU). With teams like Dallas, Jacksonville, and Miami ahead of them, the Eagles act promptly to get the cornerback of their choosing. Sending their 2nd round pick and a 2021 day three pick to Indy, the Eagles land an elite cover corner in Fulton.
1.14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina). With the top 3 quarterbacks gone, the Bucs opt to do the smart thing, and take the disruptive DT from South Carolina. If they retain Barrett, this could be quite the deadly pass rush next season.
1.15 Denver Broncos - WR Henry Ruggs III (Alabama). The Broncos could use some speed to compliment Courtland Sutton at WR. Pairing the two of them should give second-year QB Drew Lock a promising group of pass catchers, as he attempts to bring the Broncos back to the playoffs.
1.16 Atlanta Falcons - EDGE A.J. Epenesa (Iowa). Almost too good to be true for the Falcons, as they get the second best pass rusher at 16 without having to move up. Thankfully the board falls well to them, and Epenesa gives them a powerful pass rushing presence to boost their DL.
1.17 Dallas Cowboys - S Grant Delpit (LSU). This pick seems almost too trendy, but that's because it's just a fantastic fit. Delpit's stock dropped a bit due to some poor tackling, but his ability to make plays all around the field is still unmatched at the safety position. A great fit in Dallas.
1.18 Miami Dolphins (via PIT) - OT Mekhi Becton (Louisville). The next tackle off the board comes to Miami, as the Dolphins need to rebuild this unit in a massive way. And what better way than to add a massive pass protector like Becton, who can keep Herbert clean for years to come.
1.19 Las Vegas Raiders (via CHI) - WR Tee Higgins. Wouldn't it be nice to grab a QB here Bears fans? Instead, the Raiders add a weapon on the outside in Higgins, whose elite body control allows him to come down with some insane catches. He gives the Raiders the outside weapon they're searching for.
1.20 Jacksonville Jaguars (via LAR) - CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama). The Jaguars could use a corner to play across from Bouye, and Diggs has elite size, and the ability to be a stud for them.
1.21 TRADE: Indianapolis Colts - EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State). I'd love to see the Colts target Arik Armstead in free agency to improve their pass rush, but if they don't, grabbing a high potential pass rusher like YGM would be an excellent move, especially after trading back for more picks.
1.22 Buffalo Bills - WR Laviska Shenault (Colorado). Shenault can make plays in so many different ways. He'd give OC Brian Daboll and QB Josh Allen a major boost with his play making.
1.23 New England Patriots - EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson (LSU). The Patriots would be best not using this on a tight end, as they are slow developers in their first seasons. Instead, go sign Hunter Henry, and then draft a pass rusher like Chaisson to help your defense continue to disrupt opposing offenses.
1.24 New Orleans Saints - LB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma). The Saints could use some help in the middle of their defense, and Murray can make plays from sideline to sideline, a very well-rounded player.
1.25 Minnesota Vikings - CB C.J. Henderson (Florida). Death, taxes, Vikings drafting 1st round corners. Though this time, the need for one is very clear, given the potential exodus of corners they could have in free agency. Henderson has the ability to be a lockdown corner in Mike Zimmer's defense.
1.26 Miami Dolphins (via HOU) - RB D'Andre Swift (Georgia). Fans usually hate running backs in the first round, but the value of Swift here, compared to reaching on a pass rusher or guard here, is fantastic. He's a dynamic back, with play making ability both as a runner and as a pass catcher.
1.27 TRADE: Tennessee Titans - EDGE Curtis Weaver (Boise State) - The Titans hop ahead of the Ravens, landing the pass rushing OLB of their choice in Weaver. A strong pass rusher with plenty of moves, he and Harold Landry would form a scary good young duo in Tennessee.
1.28 Baltimore Ravens - WR Justin Jefferson (LSU) - Rather than reach for an edge rusher, the Ravens add Jefferson, whose electrifying season was a big part of why LSU are the national champions. He can help Lamar Jackson in a lot of ways, and is a pretty willing blocker in the run game.
1.29 TRADE: Seattle Seahawks - OT Lucas Niang (TCU) - Picking up a 2021 3rd round pick to swap with the Titans, the Seahawks use this pick to grab Niang, and give Russell Wilson some more protection, an upgrade over Ifedi in Seattle.
1.30 Green Bay Packers - WR Jalen Reagor (TCU) - Back to back Horned Frogs at the end of the first round, as the Packers add a big time weapon to their offense. Reagor's ability to take the top off of defenses would be a huge boost for Rodgers.
1.31 Kansas City Chiefs - RB Travis Etienne (Clemson) - Wanted to give the Chiefs some defensive help, but nothing stood out as a great fit. Instead, the Chiefs take the best player left on the board in Etienne, and continue to add elite weapons to an already dangerous offense.
1.32 TRADE: Carolina Panthers - QB Jordan Love (Utah State). The 49ers are low on picks in this draft, so a trade back to replenish their ammo would be great. And the Panthers land themselves Love, who can develop under Rhule and new Panthers OC Joe Brady, sending a 4th and a 7th round pick to the 49ers in return.

SECOND ROUND

2.1 Cincinnati Bengals - OT Josh Jones (Houston). Now that they have their franchise QB, they need to protect their franchise QB. With Jonah Williams added in last year, the Bengals add a long, athletic pass protector in Jones.
2.2 Indianapolis Colts (via WAS) - WR K.J. Hamler (Penn State). The Colts used their first pick to add defensive help, and now this pick turns into the speedy Hamler to help the offense.
2.3 Detroit Lions - CB A.J. Terrell (Clemson). After taking a DT in the first round, the Lions land a great fit in Terrell to give them some needed cornerback help.
2.4 New York Giants - EDGE Zack Baun (Wisconsin). Continuing to build the team from the inside out, the Giants add an excellent pass rusher in Baun, who has risen immensely since last season.
2.5 Los Angeles Chargers - OT Austin Jackson (USC). Like the Bengals, the Chargers need to find protection for their new signal caller, and this comes in the local product out of USC.
2.6 TRADE: San Francisco 49ers - CB Jeff Gladney (TCU). After moving out of the first round, the 49ers add extra picks and now select a cornerback to boost their outstanding defense.
2.7 Miami Dolphins - G Soloman Kindley (Georgia). Miami needs to take multiple offensive linemen in the first two days of the draft, and they so here with a strong interior guard in Kindley.
2.8 Arizona Cardinals - DT Raekwon Davis (Alabama). After adding CeeDee Lamb in the first, the Cardinals add a long, powerful DT to give a boost to their defense, rather than reach on OL here.
2.9 Cleveland Browns - S Xavier McKinney (Alabama). The Browns should have plenty of opportunities to fill their biggest needs with elite prospects, and they do exactly that by adding McKinney here.
2.10 Jacksonville Jaguars - RB Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin). The theme here is continuing to add weapons to this offense, and Taylor can be a big boost either in tangent with Fournette, or as a pass catcher out of the backfield.
2.11 Chicago Bears (via LVR) - G/C Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin). Back to back Badgers, as the Bears add some much needed help on the OL in Biadasz, who can easily slide to guard alongside Daniels.
2.12 Indianapolis Colts - QB Jacob Eason (Washington). The Colts may have waited a bit, but they do add a QB with immense potential in the strong armed-Eason. A season behind Brissett could do him wonders.
2.13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - OT Prince Tega Wanogho (Auburn). The Bucs find themselves a pass protector, and PTW may have the highest ceiling out of all these guys due to his immense athleticism.
2.14 Denver Broncos - OT Isaiah Wilson (Georgia). The Broncos too need to find some help at OT, and they get that with Wilson, another incredibly athletic SEC pass protector.
2.15 Atlanta Falcons - DT Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma). Didn't like a fit for any corners here, so the Falcons take Gallimore and provide a boost to their defensive line.
2.16 New York Jets - EDGE Terrell Lewis (Alabama). In need of pass rushers as well, the Jets take a chance on Lewis, who has immense potential, but has dealt with some injuries.
2.17 Pittsburgh Steelers - EDGE Julian Okwara (Notre Dame). The Steelers enter the draft, and they pick Notre Dame's top edge rusher, a crafty and surprisingly strong pass rusher.
2.18 Chicago Bears - TE Cole Kmet (Notre Dame). The first tight end off the board is Kmet, who will provide Trubisky another weapon in hopes that he can get things figured out.
2.19 Dallas Cowboys - DT Justin Madibuike (Texas A&M). The Cowboys first two picks gives them two impact defenders to help straighten out their defense.
2.20 Los Angeles Rams - OT Trey Adams (Washington). If the Rams want another run at the Super Bowl, heck, even the playoffs, they need to upgrade their OL, and they do that with the massive product out of Washington.
2.21 TRADE: Indianapolis Colts - TE Hunter Bryant (Washington) Picking this up from the Eagles, the Colts reunite Bryant and Eason, giving them a natural replacement for Ebron as a pass catching TE.
2.22 Buffalo Bills - EDGE Jabari Zuniga (Florida). The Bills add a pass rusher here, as Zuniga's excellent play earns him a spot in the second round.
2.23 Atlanta Falcons (via NE) - CB Jaylon Johnson (Utah) - The Falcons add a corner with the pick they received in the Sanu trade. Johnson was a major asset for the tough Utah defense.
2.24 Miami Dolphins (via NO) - EDGE Jonathan Greenard (Florida). Just two picks behind a fellow Gator's pass rusher, Greenard fits Flores scheme quite well, and provides some pass rush help.
2.25 Houston Texans - RB Cam Akers (Florida State). Akers may be the most underrated back in this draft, as he managed to put up excellent footage in Tallahassee, despite playing behind that garbage OL.
2.26 Minnesota Vikings - T/G Calvin Throckmorten (Oregon). The Vikings run came to end as the 49ers obliterated their OL. They address that with the RT out of Oregon.
2.27 Seattle Seahawks - EDGE Darrell Taylor (Tennessee). The Seahawks will likely re-sign Jadeveon Clowney as a powerful SDE, but adding an edge rusher who gets after the QB a bit more would be great.
2.28 Baltimore Ravens - ILB Troy Dye (Oregon). Filling the void left by C.J. Mosley, Dye steps into to a Ravens defense, and could be a bit component for them going forward.
2.29 Tennessee Titans - RB J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State). This would change if the Titans re-sign Derrick Henry, however, with a very good offensive line, the Titans could likely continue rushing success without Henry.
2.30 Green Bay Packers - DT Ross Blacklock (TCU). Perhaps one of my favorite "sleepers" of the draft, Blacklock has a fantastic blend of size and quickness to him.
2.31 Kansas City Chiefs - CB Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi St.). A big, physical corner, Dantzler should step in and contribute for the Chiefs fairly quickly, given their needs at corner.
2.32 Seattle Seahawks - WR Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona St.). A big play waiting to happen every time the ball heads his direction, Aiyuk would give Russell Wilson an electric weapon.

Third Round

3.1 Cincinnati Bengals - C Nick Harris (Washington) 3.2 Washington Redskins - WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan) 3.3 Detroit Lions - EDGE Bradlee Anae (Utah) 3.4 TRADE: Arizona Cardinals - G John Simpson (Clemson) - from trade w/ NYJ (via NYG). 3.5 Carolina Panthers - DT Rashard Lawrence (LSU)
3.6 Miami Dolphins - G Shane Lemiuex (Oregon) 3.7 TRADE: Detroit Lions - WR Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) - from trade w/ LAC. 3.8 Arizona Cardinals - OT Yasir Durant (Missouri) 3.9 Jacksonville Jaguars - S Ashtyn Davis (California) 3.10 Cleveland Browns - G Ben Bredeson (Michigan)
3.11 Indianapolis Colts - DL Marlon Davidson (Auburn) 3.12 Tampa Bay Bucs - CB Deommodore Lenoir (Oregon) 3.13 Denver Broncos - CB Lamar Jackson (Nebraska) 3.14 Atlanta Falcons - WR Bryan Edwards (South Carolina) 3.15 New York Jets - S Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota)
3.16 Las Vegas Raiders - CB/S Shyheim Carter (Alabama) 3.17 Las Vegas Raiders - LB Jacob Phillips (LSU) 3.18 Dallas Cowboys - WR Tyler Johnson (Minnesota) 3.19 Denver Broncos (via PIT) - OT Robert Hunt (UL-Lafayette) 3.20 Los Angeles Rams - DT Leki Fotu (Utah)
3.21 Philadelphia Eagles - S Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne) 3.22 Buffalo Bills - EDGE Anfernee Jennings (Alabama) 3.23 New England Patriots - QB Jake Fromm (Georgia) 3.24 New Orleans Saints - QB Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) 3.25 Minnesota Vikings - DL Nick Coe (Auburn)
3.26 Cleveland Browns (via HOU) - LB Malik Harrison (Ohio State) 3.27 Las Vegas Raiders (via SEA) - WR Devin Duvernay (Texas) 3.28 Baltimore Ravens - EDGE Khalid Kareem (Notre Dame) 3.29 Tennessee Titans - DT Jordan Elliott (Missouri) 3.30 Green Bay Packers - LB Jordan Mack (Virginia)
3.31 Kansas City Chiefs - LB Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech) 3.32 Denver Broncos (via SF) - OT Scott Franz (Kansas State)
Compensatory Picks (as predicted by OverTheCap) 3.33 New England Patriots - OT Ezra Cleveland (Boise State) 3.34 New York Giants - WR Gabriel Davis (UCF) 3.35 New England Patriots - TE Adam Trautman (Dayton) 3.36 Seattle Seahawks - S Hamsah Nasirildeen (Florida State) 3.37 Houston Texans - EDGE Josh Uche (Michigan) 3.38 Pittsburgh Steelers - TE Colby Parkinson (Stanford) 3.39 Philadelphia Eagles - CB Thomas Graham (Oregon)

Fourth Round

4.1 Cincinnati Bengals - WR Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty) 4.2 Washington Redskins - CB Amik Robertson (Louisiana Tech) 4.3 Detroit Lions - RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) 4.4 New York Giants - CB Damon Arnette (Ohio State) 4.5 Houston Texans (via MIA) - C/G Netane Muti (Fresno State)
4.6 Los Angeles Chargers - C Matt Hennessy (Temple) 4.7 TRADE: San Francisco 49ers - C Jake Hanson (Oregon) 4.8 Arizona Cardinals - RB Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma St.) 4.9 Cleveland Browns - OT Jack Driscoll (Auburn) 4.10 Jacksonville Jaguars - LB Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian St.)
4.11 Tampa Bay Bucs - RB Eno Benjamin (Arizona St.) 4.12 Denver Broncos - DT Raequan Williams (Michigan St.) 4.13 Atlanta Falcons - CB Darnay Holmes (UCLA) 4.14 New York Jets - EDGE Kenny Willekes (Michigan St.) 4.15 Las Vegas Raiders - QB Anthony Gordon (Washington St.)
4.16 Indianapolis Colts - RB Kylin Hill (Mississippi St.) 4.17 Dallas Cowboys - WR Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon St.) 4.18 Pittsburgh Steelers - OT Ben Bartch (St. John's) 4.19 New England Patriots (via CHI) - LB Logan Wilson (Wyoming) 4.20 Los Angeles Rams - WR Chase Claypool (Notre Dame)
4.21 Philadelphia Eagles - WR Denzel Mims (Baylor) 4.22 Buffalo Bills - WR Jauan Jennings (Tennessee) 4.23 Baltimore Ravens - RB A.J. Dillon (Boston College 4.24 New Orleans Saints - CB Bryce Hall (Virginia) 4.25 Houston Texans - TE Brycen Hopkins (Purdue)
4.26 Minnesota Vikings - WR Lynn Bowden (Kentucky) 4.27 Seattle Seahawks - G Logan Stenberg (Kentucky) 4.28 Baltimore Ravens - Cesar Ruiz (Michigan) 4.29 Pittsburgh Steelers (via TEN) - OT Justin Herron (Wake Forrest) 4.30 Green Bay Packers - OT Matt Peart (UCONN)
4.31 Kansas City Chiefs - CB Kindle Vildor (Georgia Southern) 4.32 Denver Broncos (via SF) - LB Cameron Brown (Penn State)
Anyways. That's my shot at one. Tell me why you hate it...
submitted by boanerges77 to NFL_Draft [link] [comments]

Week 14 Matchup Strategy Guide - Part 3

Part 3 of 3

Part 1 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-14-matchup-strategy-guide-part-1

Part 2 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-14-matchup-strategy-guide-part-2

GLOSSARY

DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) calculates a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculates how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
DVOA Pass/Run Defense Rank: Team’s NFL rank in DVOA pass or run defense so far this season. #1 means best DEF against the pass/run, #32 means worst DEF against the pass/run.
ATS = Against the spread
DVOA from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2019

Los Angeles Chargers (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars

Chargers ATS: 3-7-2 Jaguars ATS: 5-7-1
Projected Team Totals: Chargers 23 Jaguars 20

Chargers

Opp (JAX) Pass DVOA: #16
Opp (JAX) Run DVOA: #31
Injuries to Watch DEF (JAX): S Ronnie Harrison (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAC): None
Key WCB matchups: Mike Williams vs. A.J. Bouye (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Keenan Allen (25%) Hunter Henry (21%) Austin Ekeler (15%) Mike Williams (15%) Melvin Gordon (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Melvin Gordon (65%, 22, 3) Austin Ekeler (53%, 13, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Chargers continue to find new and more disappointing ways to lose games, and Philip Rivers (downgrade) has been more a part of the problem than a part of the solution. His job security is at an all time low as well, as reports have him in danger of losing his job to Tyrod Taylor if he continues to struggle to finish the season. The Jags have unsurprisingly struggled more against the pass since trading Jalen Ramsey away, ranking 16th by pass DVOA and giving up the 14th most FPPG to QBs on the season, so the matchup isn’t intimidating. But Rivers simply doesn’t have the ceiling to be an option in 1QB leagues (over 22 points just twice this year), and should be viewed as more of a low-upside but solid QB2 this week. There are likely better streaming options unless you are in a deeper or superflex league.
After struggling through a scoreless streak from week 4-10, and failing to go over 100 yards during that same stretch, Keenan Allen has been on a nice bounce-back the past two weeks. While Rivers hasn’t been great, it would be hard to argue that a switch to Tyrod Taylor would be anything but a downgrade for Allen considering his longstanding chemistry with Rivers. The matchup is encouraging, as it is likely Mike Williams (slight downgrade) who will draw the majority of A.J. Bouye’s shadow coverage. The Jags have given up the 13th fewest FPPG to WRs and have the 16th ranked pass DVOA. Allen can be returned to firm WR2 status and should be in all lineups, while Williams gets a slight downgrade due to Bouye’s presence. The #2 WR in this offense doesn’t get great volume, but makes a big catch at least one or twice every game. He’s more of a risk-reward WR3, but does feel due for a TD sometime soon. Owners will have a tough decision to make with him. Hunter Henry disappointed in Week 13, posting 2 catches for 10 yards. Still, his target share is among the best for TEs during his active weeks, and his talent gives him weekly upside. The Jags are just above league average against TEs (11 fewest FPPG allowed). Get Henry in your lineup as an elite TE1, albeit one with a lower floor than you’d like.
RB Breakdown
This Chargers backfield has started to settle in and provide consistent value to both Melvin Gordon (upgrade) and Austin Ekeler (upgrade). Obviously Gordon is a slightly more valuable asset in standard leagues, and Ekeler is a more valuable asset in PPR leagues. This week, they’ll face a Jags squad that has been quite vulnerable to the run - 31st ranked run DVOA and 9th most FPPG allowed to RBs. Both are in play as high-end RB2s, especially in their preferred format. Get these guys active as you head into playoffs.

Jaguars

Opp (LAC) Pass DVOA: #22
Opp (LAC) Run DVOA: #24
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAC): LB Nick Dzubnar (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (JAX): TE Seth DeValve (D)
Key WCB matchups: DJ Chark vs. Casey Hayward (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): D.J. Chark (22%) Leonard Fournette (20%) Chris Conley (17%) Dede Westbrook (14%) Seth DeValve (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Leonard Fournette (89%, 23, 11) Ryquell Armstead (11%, 0, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
It looks like the Jags may have acted in haste when they decided to replace Blake Bortles with a high-priced Nick Foles in the offseason. His struggles since returning from injury got him benched in favor of rookie Gardner Minshew (slight downgrade) in the second half last week, and the move looks permanent. Minshew was named the starter for the rest of the year, so Foles becomes an obvious drop in all formats, and the rookie is back in play as a potential QB1/2 down the stretch. This week, he’ll face off against the Chargers - LA has given up the 7th fewest FPPG to QBs but has a bottom-third pass DVOA ranking. It’s best to view Minshew as a high-end QB2 this week; he’s capable of a big game and established a solid floor during his half season of starts, but the Chargers tend to limit shootouts and are more vulnerable to RBs than QBs for fantasy purposes. Don’t be surprised if the Jags pound the run rather than look for a gunslinger performance from Minshew Mania.
Jacksonville’s stud receiver DJ Chark (auto-start) has been removed from the injury report heading into Week 14, so he looks ready to re engage his connection with Minshew. Chark has been a TD machine this year, and regularly makes big plays with his speed as well, and Minshew targeted him heavily during his first starting stretch. Chark will likely face Casey Hayward in coverage most of the day, but the stud CB has been vulnerable at times and last week got burned for two TDs. Consider Chark ** on the WR1/2 borderline, and make sure he’s in all lineups. **Dede Westbrook (downgrade standard) and Chris Conley (downgrade PPR) have been solid supporting receivers in this offense, but neither has been able to carve out consistent fantasy value. Westbrook is the preferred play, as his slot role can lead to higher percentage throws, whereas Conley is much more big-play dependent. The Chargers have given up just the 4th most FPPG to WRs, so it’s tough to trust either in fantasy playoffs this week. Westbrook is a borderline WR3, with a bump in PPR leagues, and Conley is just a dart-throw WR4.
RB Breakdown
Always at the top of the weekly leaderboard in snaps, touches, and targets, Leonard Fournette (upgrade) is the definition of a volume-based RB1. That’s not to say he isn’t a talented back, but rather that the volume is what gives him the floor to stay in the RB1 range regardless of game flow or opponent. The Chargers are more vulnerable to the run than the pass, and give up the 8th most FPPG to RBs, so get Fournette active for what could be a week-winning performance.
Score Prediction: Jaguars 20, Chargers 17

*Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots (-3) *

Chiefs ATS: 7-5-1 Patriots ATS: 7-5-0
Projected Team Totals: Chiefs 22.75 Patriots 25.75

Chiefs

Opp (NE) Pass DVOA: #2
Opp (NE) Run DVOA: #7
Injuries to Watch DEF (NE): S Patrick Chung (Q) DT Byron Cowart (Q) CB Jason McCourty (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (KC): RB Damien Williams (OUT) RB Darrel Williams (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: Sammy Watkins vs. Stephon Gillmore (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Tyreek Hill (26%) Travis Kelce (23%) Sammy Watkins (18%) LeSean McCoy (11%) Demarcus Robinson (15%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Darwin Thompson (36%, 11, 0) LeSean McCoy (36%, 8, 3) Darrel Williams (27%, 7, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The fireworks from likely MVP Lamar Jackson this season have served to overshadow almost all other QBs so far this year. While Patrick Mahomes (slight downgrade) hasn’t been as dominant as last year, and missed two and a half games to injury, he is still putting up big numbers when it’s required of him. Last week against the Raiders his defense and running game did the heavy lifting, leading to a disappointing final line. The Patriots will be a tough matchup - 2nd ranked pass DVOA and fewest FPPG to QBs - but he’s more likely to be called upon for a big game as the Patriots should be able to score points and potentially shut down the Chiefs run game. It was encouraging to see Deshaun Watson do serious damage to the Pats last week, and Mahomes should be given the benefit of the doubt as an auto-start QB1 in almost all leagues. He gets a slight matchup downgrade, but shouldn’t be benched unless owners have a top-3 elite QB1 alternative.
The Chiefs receivers were victim to game-script last week, as Tyreek Hill (auto-start) disappointed, and Sammy Watkins (downgrade) went catchless. Travis Kelce (auto-start) led the way with a solid 5-90-0 line, and should obviously continue to be plugged in as a top-3 TE1. Watkins has been a tough own this year, breaking out early and then fading hard before bottoming out last week. He’s likely to see a lot of Stephon Gillmore this weekend, and the Patriots give up the fewest FPPG to WRs, so Watkins can’t be viewed as more than a big-play dependent WR4 this week. Hill may not get Gillmore, but will likely see some creative defensive schemes from Bill Bellicheck to try and limit his production. While this strategy could work to force Mahomes into feeding Kelce and looking more at Watkins in 1 on 1 with Gillmore, Hill has too much talent and upside to be benched in any format. When Mahomes is throwing him the ball, Hill is an elite WR1 every week. No other Chiefs pass-catchers can be considered fantasy relevant at this point, especially in such a tough matchup.
RB Breakdown
If you thought this backfield was a mess early in the season, it was absolute chaos in Week 13. However, we have reached some unfortunate clarity, as both Darrel Williams (IR- out for season) and Damien Williams (likely out) have moved out of the way. That leaves LeSean McCoy and rookie **Darwin Thompson. Thompson led the backfield last week (11 touches), and should be heavily involved again this week. McCoy saw only 8 total touches. Both backs are in a tough spot against the Pats, who have given up the fewest FPPG to RBs this year. Consider McCoy a risky RB2/3, and Thompson an upside but risky RB3/flex option. Both backs should probably be avoided in this awful spot with limited information about their role, but with only the two fighting for snaps, both should be universally owned in all leagues. Thompson has some intriguing end of season upside considering his fresh legs and impressive pre-season showcase.

Patriots

Opp (KC) Pass DVOA: #6
Opp (KC) Run DVOA: #30
Injuries to Watch DEF (KC): CB Morris Claiborne (OUT) CB Rashad Fenton (OUT) DE Frank Clark (Q) S Jordan Lucas (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (NE): OT Marcus Cannon (Q) WR Julian Edelman (Q) C Ted Karras (Q) WR Mohamed Sanu (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Julian Edelman (26%) Mohamed Sanu (16%) James White (14%) Phillip Dorsett (12%) Jakobi Meyers (12%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: James White (78%, 22, 11) Sony Michel (17%, 10, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Patriots lack of trustworthy receiving weapons is finally beginning to cost this team in terms of wins and losses. There are other factors in play, but Tom Brady (volume upgrade) has slowed down through the middle of the season (until last week) and is definitely missing Rob Gronkowski (retirement) and Antonio Brown (retirement..?). This week, he’ll get a Chiefs defense that is much improved from last year, and now ranks as the #6 pass defense by DVOA. They give up the 12th most FPPG to QBs on the year, and their offense is capable of creating shootout conditions, so this isn’t exactly a shy-away matchup. Consider Brady on the QB1/2 borderline, and hope that Mahomes is able to be as successful as Watson last week in piercing the Pats defense, so that Brady is forced into a high-volume passing day.
So let’s talk about those “mediocre” pass-game options that seem to be the main weakness of this Pats squad. Julian Edelman (auto-start) has continued to be a consistent fantasy force this year, and is a no-doubt WR1 at this point (especially in PPR leagues). Mohamed Sanu (downgrade, injury) is questionable to play, and in his return last week played only a part-time role and went 3-14-0. If closer to 100% this week, he looks like the best #2 option the Pats have, but it’s tough to trust that will actually be the case. He’s no more than an upside WR4 this week, unless we get more clarity on his injury status (unlikely in Bellicheck’s world). Sanu’s limited snaps led to increased time for Phillip Dorsett (71% snaps) and Jakobi Meyers (70%), while N’Keal Harry (25%) took a backseat (Rotoworld). None of these three are appealing fantasy options, especially with Sanu possibly increasing his snaps. The Chiefs are much improved against the pass - 6th best pass DVOA and 3rd fewest FPPG to WRs - so only Edelman should be in lineups as owners enter fantasy playoffs.
RB Breakdown
Playing from behind most of last week’s game, the Pats turned to James White (upgrade) for a majority of the snaps. He predictably shined in the passing game, but some of it was due to prevent defense in the fourth quarter. Sony Michel (upgrade standard) took a backseat once again, and this highlights the risk of starting a player so game-script dependent. The Chiefs should have some success offensively, so White is the safe option, and in PPR leagues he’s the only option. Michel has some value in standard leagues, but is just so tough to trust.. The Chiefs have given up the most FPPG to RBs on the season, so both Michel and White can claim a matchup upgrade. Consider White a solid RB2 with an upgrade in PPR leagues, and Michel a risk-reward RB3/flex, with an obvious downgrade in PPR leagues. Rex Burkhead is not on the radar at this point.
Score Prediction: Chiefs 21, Patriots 17

Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Steelers ATS: 8-4-0 Cardinals ATS: 7-4-1
Projected Team Totals: Steelers 23 Cardinals 20.5

Steelers

Opp (ARI) Pass DVOA: #29
Opp (ARI) Run DVOA: #16
Injuries to Watch DEF (ARI): DL Jonathan Bullard (IR) S Jalen Thompson (Q) CB Kevin Peterson (Q) CB Byron Murphy (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (PIT): WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (OUT) RB James Conner (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: James Washington vs. Patrick Peterson (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Jaylen Samuels (19%) James Washington (16%) Diontae Johnson (15%) Juju Smith-Schuster (15%) Vance McDonald (14%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Jaylen Samuels (55%, 9, 2) Benny Snell (37%, 17, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Without their starting quarterback, running back, and star receiver, the Steelers are still in the playoff hunt. It’s truly impressive, and Mike Tomlin deserves a ton of credit for reworking the offense to his personal’s strengths. Devlin Hodges (upgrade) as looked decent through two games, and it appears the Steelers will ride with him the rest of the season. A glaring issue for those looking to use this passing game is the lack of volume. Hodges has attempted just 20 and 21 passes in two games, and that doesn’t look to be changing as the Steelers will attempt to limit his mistakes. He’s not an option even in the deepest of formats.
James Washington (downgrade) has crushed with Juju Smith-Schuster sidelined, but again, the glaring issue is volume. He’s been targeted just 11 times the last two games, turning the limited opportunities into 7-209-2. It’s a completely unsustainable pace, and he’s due a down week. There’s a chance that CB Patrick Peterson isn’t asked to shadow him, brightening his outlook, but no matter which way it’s looked at, volume and matchup are working against him. Consider him an upside WR3, he’s still the No. 1 passing option for the Steelers. Diontae Johnson and the other wideouts can be safely faded. Vance McDonald has disappointed over recent weeks, but now he finds himself in a dream matchup. He needs to be locked into all lineups - Arizona literally cannot guard the position - hemorrhaging 14.7 FPPG to tight ends.
RB Breakdown
With James Connor injured, the Steelers have turned to a RBBC featuring Jaylen Samuels (upgrade PPR) and Benny Snell Jr. (upgrade standard). The Cardinals have been much better against the run than the pass, but this isn’t a world beating defense and it’s likely the Steelers find the end zone via the ground. Snell makes for a good bet to find paydirt and should be considered a volume based RB2. Samuels is a riskier proposition, his volume has waned in recent weeks as Snell has become more involved. Still, he saw 55% of snaps last week, and should be considered a decent flex option in PPR formats. Just don’t start him over established options.

Cardinals

Opp (PIT) Pass DVOA: #4
Opp (PIT) Run DVOA: #5
Injuries to Watch DEF (PIT): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (ARI): OL A.Q. Shipley (Q) OL Max Garcia (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
**Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Christian Kirk (25%) Kenyan Drake (17%) Larry Fitzgerald (16%) Damiere Byrd (12%) Chase Edmonds (12%) Pharoh Cooper (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Kenyan Drake (80%, 15, 5) David Johnson (23%, 6, 2) Chase Edmonds (0%, 0, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Last week was the worst football this Cardinal team has played, outside of the first half of Week 1. Kyler Murray still managed to find his floor with a rushing touchdown. He’s been solid all year, and is deserving of a pass. Still, the matchup this week doesn’t get much better. PIT cedes just 14.7 FPPG to QBs and 21.1 FPPG to RBs. Consider Murray a low-end QB1, he’s been good enough against elite defenses (49ers) to be considered matchup proof. There is some concern with the offensive line, as they were completely destroyed by the Rams pass rush, and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt is no slouch.
Murray only completing 19 of 34 passes for 163 scoreless yards in the loss last week, so obviously the rest of the offense busted as well. Christian Kirk saw 7 targets, but only managed 23-yards. He’s due for a bounce back, but the matchup is working against him - the Steelers are near the top in a number of defensive metrics including DVOA (No. 4), interceptions (No. 2), and net yards allowed per pass attempt (No. 4) (Rotoworld). Larry Fitzgerald has a massive size advantage over slot CB Mike Hilton (Rotoworld), but it’s still an extremely tough matchup for the veteran wideout - Hilton is PFF’s No. 31 coverage corner. Consider both boom-or-bust WR3’s this week, it’s more likely that they bust in the tough matchup, but stranger things have happened. The auxiliary passing game options in this offense shouldn’t be considered, including tight end’s Maxx Williams and Charles Clay.
RB Breakdown
I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around David Johnson’s demotion. His fall from grace was swift, and I still think there’s something going on behind the scenes that Kliff Kingsbury isn’t letting the world in on (injury). Either way, he simply cannot be trusted in fantasy playoffs while Kenyan Drake (downgrade) continues to dominate snaps and touches. However, DJ received his highest snap count since the Drake trade, and it appears the backfield may be headed for a RBBC. Neither Drake nor DJ are good options in the tough matchup - PIT gives up just 14.7 FPPG to RBs - but Drake gets the edge due to volume, he’s a back-end RB2.
Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Steelers 20

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) at Oakland Raiders

Titans ATS: 6-5-1 Raiders ATS: 6-6-0
Projected Team Totals: Titans 25 Raiders 22.5

Titans

Opp (OAK) Pass DVOA: #28
Opp (OAK) Run DVOA: #26
Injuries to Watch DEF (OAK): LB Kyle Wilber (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (TEN): WR Adam Humphries (OUT) WR Tajae Sharpe (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): A.J. Brown (18%) Jonnu Smith (15%) Corey Davis (14%) Adam Humphries (12%) Anthony Firkser (12%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Derrick Henry (75%, 29, 3) Dion Lewis (18%, 1, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Somewhat surprisingly, Ryan Tannehill (upgrade) is quietly playing himself into being the Titans QB of the future, at least on a short-term basis. Since taking over as the starter in Week 7, the Titans are 5-1, and Tannehill himself has put up efficient and quality statistical performances. This week he gets a juicy matchup with a leaky Raiders secondary giving up the 4th most FPPG to QBs on the year. It’s also a positive that the Titans are on the road and only a 2.5 point favorite; a close game where the Raiders can put up points is the best case for a big Tannehill fantasy day. Consider him a solid QB1 this week, and plug him into your lineups unless you have an auto-start option ahead of him with a similarly good matchup.
The fact that we’re recommending Tannehill as a great option this week means there must be some value to squeeze out of the pass-catchers, right? A.J. Brown (upgrade) and Corey Davis (drop) form an extremely athletic WR duo, but neither has been able to fully break out this year. But of the two, Brown has become by the more appealing option. Davis has only two games over 7 points (.5 PPR) all year, and has all but disappeared over the past few weeks. Brown has been inconsistent as well, but showed his upside in Week 12 with his 4-135-1 line. The matchup is a plus this week - the Raiders give up the 14th most FPPG to WRs but have a bottom-tier pass DVOA. Considering the target distribution the past 6 weeks, Brown can be viewed as a risk-reward WR3, and Davis is a low-ceiling WR4. Normal slot WR Adam Humphries has been ruled out for Week 14 with an ankle injury, so Tajae Sharpe should see some extra run, but he’s not on the fantasy radar. At TE, Jonnu Smith (TE2 streamer) gets a boost with Humphries out, and Delanie Walker out for the year. The Raiders are vulnerable to TEs as well - giving up the 6th most FPPG to the position this season. Consider Smith an upside TE2 streamer, albeit a risky one considering his floor is a big fat goose-egg.

RB Breakdown

It’s time to stop calling Derrick Henry (upgrade, good) a “boom-bust” or “TD-dependent” fantasy option, even in PPR leagues. Yes, he can struggle when the Titans go pass-heavy, but that hasn’t happened much since Tannehill took over. Henry was once again dominant last week, and has pushed Dion Lewis to minimal usage. The Raiders give up the 11th most FPPG to RBs, and have been abysmal as a team the past two games. It looks like Henry could once again face neutral or positive game-script, so get him fired up as an RB1 this week. Lewis doesn’t need to be rostered.

Raiders

Opp (TEN) Pass DVOA: #24
Opp (TEN) Run DVOA: #4
Injuries to Watch DEF (TEN): LB Daren Bates (OUT) CB Adoree Jackson (OUT) CB LeShaun Sims (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (OAK): RB Josh Jacobs (Q, likely to play) OT Trent Brown (OUT) WR Hunter Renfrow (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Darren Waller (20%) Hunter Renfrow (17%) Tyrell Williams (16%) Jalen Richard (11%) Zay Jones (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Josh Jacobs (57%, 17, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Week 13 was rock bottom for Derek Carr (downgrade), and his pick-6 meant that he gave the Chiefs as many points as he gave the Raiders (one offensive TD). Carr had been having a nice bounce-back year through the first 12 weeks, and was leading the Raiders into a surprising potential playoff spot. He’s regressed significantly the past two weeks though, and the Raiders offense is suddenly a liability. The Titans aren’t stout against the pass - 24th ranked pass DVOA and 14th fewest FPPG to QBs - but Carr is not on the streaming radar. Leave him on the wire.
We hope you sold high on Tyrell Williams (downgrade PPR) while you could, because he’s likely sitting on waiver wires at this point in the season. He hasn’t scored since week 8, and has gone over 50 yards just three times this year. He’s still technically the “#1 WR”, but TE Darren Waller (upgrade) is getting a much higher target share on the season. The matchup isn’t imposing for Williams - bottom-third pass DVOA and 13th most FPPG to WRs - but he can’t be viewed as more than a TD-dependent WR3/4. Waller is an easy elite TE1, and the Titans giving up the 8th most FPPG to TEs gives owners an extra boost of confidence. No other Raiders pass-catcher is on the radar at this point.
RB Breakdown
News broke this week that Josh Jacobs (upgrade standard) may be playing through a fracture in his shoulder. While that is an impressive show of toughness, it may be a part of why he still cedes all passing down work to Jalen Richard, and loses a few carries to DeAndre Washington each week. Still, Jacobs has shown impressive strength, speed, and balance, and is the Raiders best hope for a home win to break their recent skid. Expect him to get the ball early and often assuming he’s not limited by the injury. The Titans are solid against the run - 4th best DVOA but 13th most FPPG to RBs - but the bigger key is that the Raiders just play better football this week. View him as a high-end RB2 in standard leagues, with a downgrade in PPR leagues. Monitor the injury reports, but if he’s out there he should likely be in all lineups. Richard and Washington are off the fantasy radar, unless Jacobs ends up missing the game.
Score Prediction: Titans 24, Raiders 20

Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams

Seahawks ATS: 7-5-0 Rams ATS: 8-4-0
Projected Team Totals: Seahawks 24.5 Rams 22

Seahawks

Opp (LAR) Pass DVOA: #12
Opp (LAR) Run DVOA: #3
Injuries to Watch DEF (LAR): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (SEA): FB Nick Bellore (D) TE Luke Wilson (D)
Key WCB matchups: Tyler Lockett vs. Jalen Ramsey (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): D.K. Metcalf (24%) Tyler Lockett (22%) David Moore (10%) Chris Carson (9%) Josh Gordon (6%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Chris Carson (52%, 24, 2) Rashaad Penny (47%, 19, 5)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Don’t bet against Russell Wilson (downgrade) and the Seahawks at home. You will lose. A week 17 showdown with the 49ers for the NFC West looms in the distance, get it circled on your calendar, it’s must watch TV. On tap is a matchup against a defense that just shut down the probable rookie of the year at home. Russell is a must-start regardless of matchup, but keep expectations tempered - the Rams defense gives up 17 FPPG to QBs and 20.6 to WRs.
Tyler Lockett (downgrade) was goose egged last week, and now has three disappointing outings in a row since going supernova against TB. Things aren’t getting easier, as he’ll face shadow coverage from stud CB Jalen Ramsey. You likely are starting Lockett regardless of matchup, but again, temper expectations. He’s more of a back-end WR2 this week. D.K. Metcalf has played an every down role along with Lockett, and continues to thrive. With Lockett shadowed, Metcalf may be the recipient of a few extra opportunities, he’s an upside WR3. Josh Gordon simply isn’t playing enough to warrant fantasy consideration (38% snap rate). Jacob Hollister has taken over as the full time TE for this potent SEA offense. Only Metcalf saw more targets last week, Hollister is an every-week TE1. Fire him up, but be aware the matchup isn’t great - LAR cedes just 7.3 FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
Many thought that Chris Carson (downgrade volume) might be relegated to a backup role due to his fumbling issues, but both he and Rashaad Penny (downgrade matchup) received monster touches last week. It’s unlikely that SEA is able to run 39 times again, so it’ll be interesting to see how the touches are divided in this RBBC. Penny deserves flex consideration, and has looked solid the last few weeks. Carson continues to thrive and find the endzone, but with Penny in the picture, he’s no longer a sure-fire RB1. The matchup isn’t good this week, as the Rams boasts a top-3 Run DVOA and only give up 18 FPPG to RBs.

Rams

Opp (SEA) Pass DVOA: #13
Opp (SEA) Run DVOA: #18
Injuries to Watch DEF (SEA): CB Neiko Thorpe (OUT) LB Mychal Kendricks (D) DE Ziggy Ansah (Q) DE Jadeveon Clowny (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (LAR): T Rob Havenstein (D) TE Gerald Everett (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Robert Woods (26%) Cooper Kupp (19%) Josh Reynolds (15%) Gerald Everett (14%) Tyler Higbee (12%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Todd Gurley (68%, 20, 1) Malcolm Brown (23%, 6, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Rams turned back the clock in a blowout win against ARI, looking like the 2018 super bowl contender they once were. Jared Goff (upgrade) put together his second best outing of the season, throwing for 424-yards and two touchdowns. On tap is a fantasy friendly SEA team that will possibly be missing their top pass rushers in DE Ziggy Ansah and DE Jadeveon Clowny. If either or both were to sit, it improves Goff’s outlook considerably. He has been abysmal under pressure. SEA cedes 18.1 FPPG to QBs and 21.6 to WRs.
It was Robert Woods (upgrade) who saw massive targets last week (18), not Cooper Kupp (upgrade). This will likely even out moving forward, and both can be considered WR2’s in the good matchup. Brandin Cooks has remained a big play away from breaking out, but due to that and his low target’s, he’s hard to trust as more than a feast-or-famine WR4. Fade him if you can. Only ARI and TB allow more points to the tight end than SEA, so with Gerald Everett sideline, Tyler Higbee can be considered a true TE1. Consider streaming him if you are weak at the position - SEA cedes 9.7 FPPG to TEs.
RB Breakdown
Todd Gurley was back to receiving the lion's share of touches after barely seeing any against BAL on MNF. Chalk the BAL game up to anomaly as the Rams were forced to abandon the ground game in a failed comeback bid. As long as Gurley is seeing the volume, he’s a back-end RB1. SEA gives up 17 FPPG to the position, get him active.
Score Prediction: Rams 24, Seahawks 21

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5)

Giants ATS: 4-8-0 Eagles ATS: 4-8-0
Projected Team Totals: Giants 19.25 Eagles 27.75

Giants

Opp (PHI) Pass DVOA: #15
Opp (PHI) Run DVOA: #8
Injuries to Watch DEF (PHI): LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (OUT) DE Derek Barnett (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (NYG): QB Daniel Jones (OUT) TE Rhett Ellison (OUT) TE Evan Engram (OUT)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Sterling Shepard (22%) Darius Slayton (21%) Golden Tate (20%) Evan Engram (18%) Saquon Barkley (17%) Kaden Smith (13%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Saquon Barkley (96%, 22, 7)
QB/WTE Breakdown
On the verge of getting all of his offensive weapons back, in a cruel comedic twist, Daniel Jones is now injured and will sit for MNF. Enter Eli Manning. He’s on the verge of retiring, so it’s likely this is the last, or one of the last times we see Manning play. He’s not an option, even in a great matchup. We simply don’t know which Eli will show up, although his teammates have mentioned that he’s been crushing in practice (what else are they supposed to say?).
Evan Engram has been ruled out along with fellow tight end Rhett Ellison, leaving Golden Tate (upgrade), Sterling Shepard (upgrade) and Darius Slayton as the main targets. Shepard and Manning have a connection going back a few years, so he’s likely going to be the main target - consider him an upside WR3. Tate will man the slot and likely be the beneficiary of Engram’s absence. Still there are a lot of mouths to feed, so he’s more of a low-end WR3 with an upgrade in PPR. Rookie Slayton has filled in admirably with the injuries to the receiving corps, but with everyone healthy, he’s a feast-or-famine WR4. The matchup is exploitable, look at what DeVante Parker did to PHI secondary last week - they cede 27.4 FPPG to WRs. That being said, the Philly secondary was dealing with a myriad of injuries in the early going, so this isn’t the smash spot it once was. Kaden Smith will play an every down role with Engram and Ellison out, but with everyone healthy demanding targets, he’s just a middling TE2.
RB Breakdown
Saquon Barkley’s (downgrade) campaign of disappointment continued last week in a blowout home loss to the Packers. Although he put up one of his better performances in 2019, rushing for 83-scoreless yards, it’s still not what we’ve come to expect of the beast running back. On tap is another difficult matchup, PHI boasts a top-10 Run DVOA, and gives up just 15.9 FPPG to RBs. You aren’t sitting Barkley, but don’t expect a world beating performance. We can hope with Manning under center that he’s utilized more in the passing game.

Eagles

Opp (NYG) Pass DVOA: #30
Opp (NYG) Run DVOA: #11
Injuries to Watch DEF (NYG): CB Corey Ballentine (OUT)
Injuries to Watch OFF (PHI): RB Jordan Howard (Q) WR Nelson Agholor (GTD)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Alshon Jeffery (28%) Zach Ertz (24%) Nelson Agholor (18%) Dallas Goedert (16%) Miles Sanders (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Miles Sanders (87%, 22, 5) Jay Ajayi (13%, 2, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Giants secondary is a great get right spot for Carson Wentz, who hasn’t performed at the same level since his season ending knee injury during the 2018 season. Consider him a rock solid QB1 - the Giants cede 21.2 FPPG to QBs and 28.4 to WRs.
Outside of Alshon Jeffery (upgrade), the auxiliary wideouts for PHI can’t be considered, even in the great matchup. Jeffery himself is coming off his best performance of the season against MIA, but he’s largely been touchdown dependent, only clearing 100-yards once. He’s a good bet to find the end zone again against a hapless NYG team, so consider him an upside WR3. Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz have been the main targets in the passing game, and both can be considered TE1’s in the great matchup. Ertz is still dealing with a nagging hammy, but he still managed to post a 75% snap rate last week (Rotoworld). He’s due a big week, so fire him up - but be aware that NYG cedes just 5.5 FPPG to TEs. Ultimately, that stat may be irrelevant as the Giants haven’t faced a pair like Goedert and Ertz.
RB Breakdown
It’s expected that Jordan Howard sits again this week, leaving rookie Miles Sanders (upgrade volume) and recently signed veteran Jay Ajayi to carry the load. Sanders has vaulted himself into the back-end RB1 conversation when handling the lion's share of the work. He’s looked great in both the running and passing game, and should be locked into most lineups - NYG cedes 17.9 FPPG to RBs. Ajayi can be left on the wire.
Score Prediction: Eagles 30, Giants 20
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Week 14 Matchup Strategy Guide - Part 1

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-14-matchup-strategy-guide-part-2

Part 3 Right Here: https://dfaroto.com/nfl/week-14-matchup-strategy-guide-part-3**

GLOSSARY

DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) calculates a team's success based on the down-and-distance of each play during the season, then calculates how much more or less successful each team is compared to the league average.
DVOA Pass/Run Defense Rank: Team’s NFL rank in DVOA pass or run defense so far this season. #1 means best DEF against the pass/run, #32 means worst DEF against the pass/run.
ATS = Against the spread
DVOA from https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2019

Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Chicago Bears

Cowboys ATS: 7-5-0 Bears ATS: 3-9-0
Projected Team Totals: Cowboys 22.75 Bears 19.75

Cowboys

Opp (CHI) Pass DVOA: #8
Opp (CHI) Run DVOA: #12
Injuries to Watch DEF (CHI): CB Prince Amukamara (D) LB Danny Trevathan (D)
Injuries to Watch OFF (DAL): RB Tony Pollard (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Amari Cooper (20%) Michael Gallup (20%) Randall Cobb (16%) Jason Witten (16%) Ezekiel Elliot (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Ezekiel Elliott (88%, 19, 10) Tony Pollard (14%, 3, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Dallas was thoroughly embarrassed at home on Turkey day by an increasingly playoff bound BUF squad. That feels odd to say because before last year, BUF had gone 17 years without making the playoffs, the longest drought in professional sports. I digress, Dak Prescott played decently well against a tough BUF secondary, but ultimately turnovers and missed field goals killed DAL is the end. DAL draws another tough matchup, but the CHI defense isn’t as ferocious as it once was earlier in the season. It appears that similar to last year with JAX, it’s difficult to give your all on defense when it’s known that your offense can’t move the ball. Either way, Dak should be treated as a low-end QB1 - CHI is only giving up 14.3 FPPG to QBs and 17.5 to WRs.
Amari Cooper (downgrade) is now riding a stretch of 3 disappointing performances in a row, having yet to find the endzone or clear 100-yards receiving since Week 10. A glaring concern is his target share, he’s not drawing the lion’s share à la Michael Thomas or Davante Adams. Instead, Randall Cobb and Michael Gallup are eating into his targets, with Gallup seeing the exact same percentage as Cooper over the last six weeks. Add to the mix that Cooper has been awful away from the friendly confines of the house that Jerry built (Rotoworld), and we have the recipe for another disappointing outing. Don’t bench Coop, but don’t expect a world beating performance either. He’s more a WR2 this week, with Cobb and Gallup being relegated to WR3 status. Jason Witten has continued to turn back the clock this year, but he’s really not an option outside of deeper leagues - consider him a touchdown dependent TE2.
RB Breakdown
For reasons unknown, Jason Garrett’s game plan last week involved mostly passing against one of the best secondaries in the league, instead of running the ball against one of the worst rush defenses. Ezekiel Elliot (downgrade) still gobbled up 71-yards on the ground on only 12 carries, while putting up an additional 66-yards on 7 catches. Zeke is a matchup proof RB1, but again draws a matchup that projects tough sledding - CHI only gives up 18.1 FPPG to RBs. Tony Pollard needs to be rostered for fantasy playoffs, whether you own Zeke or not.

Bears

Opp (DAL) Pass DVOA: #23
Opp (DAL) Run DVOA: #17
Injuries to Watch DEF (DAL): S Jeff Heath (Q) LB Leighton Vander Esch (D) DT Antwaun Woods (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (CHI): WR Taylor Gabriel (D) TE Ben Braunecker (D) OT Bobby Massie (D)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Allen Robinson (24%) Anthony Miller (19%) Taylor Gabriel (19%) Tarik Cohen (15%) David Montgomery (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: David Montgomery (62%, 18, 2) Tarik Cohen (55%, 7, 4)
QB/WTE Breakdown
In the second matchup on Turkey day, Mitchell Trubisky (downgrade) had one of his best outings of the season against an ailing DET team, throwing for 338-yards and three touchdowns with only one interception. It’s likely not a performance that can be replicated, and he’s not a trustworthy option for any format, outside of extremely deep 2QB leagues.
Surprisingly, it was not Allen Robinson that led the Bears in receiving last week, but Anthony Miller, who has taken full advantage of Taylor Gabriel’s absence. Don’t go chasing waterfalls, as Trubisky has only cleared 250-yards passing in four games this year. This offense has only been able to support one receiver, and DAL has been particularly stingy against the pass, even with a bottom-10 Pass DVOA - only giving up 18.5 FPPG to WRs. Miller has earned himself every week WR4 treatment, but outside of deeper formats, he seems like a wish, especially with the fantasy season on the line. Allen Robinson is matchup proof and belongs in all lineups, but temper expectations this week, he’s more a WR2 in the tough matchup. Don’t consider using J.P Holtz or Bradley Sowell as a TE streamer, just don’t.
RB Breakdown
If you drafted David Montgomery (upgrade) in the first five rounds, you didn’t get the season you were hoping for. That can be partially attributed to CHI not living up to expectations as a team, but also to Matt Nagy’s insistence on using a RBBC with Mike Davis, or deciding to pass instead of using one of their best offensive weapons. Either way, Dmont is the RB20 in .5 PPR formats, which while is still a bust, is something to build on for next year. It’s very possible he becomes a post-hype sleeper, and I’ll personally be looking to draft him at a discounted rate next year. DAL gives up 18.1 FPPG to RBs, and it’s likely that CHI has positive or neutral game-script at home, so Montgomery should see plenty of work. Get him fired up as a solid RB2. The human joystick, Tarik Cohen, simply isn’t seeing the volume to be trusted. He’s better suited to PPR formats, but he’s just a big play dependent RB3 in all formats and should be left on the bench.
Score Prediction: Bears 17, Cowboys 13

Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at Buffalo Bills

Ravens ATS: 6-6-0 Bills ATS: 8-3-1
Projected Team Totals: Ravens 24.5 Bills 19

Ravens

Opp (BUF) Pass DVOA: #5
Opp (BUF) Run DVOA: #22
Injuries to Watch DEF (BUF): None
Injuries to Watch OFF (BAL): TE Nick Boyle (Q) WR Seth Roberts (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Marquise Brown vs. Tre’Davious White (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Mark Andrews (20%) Marquise Brown (18%) Nick Boyle (13%) Willie Snead (11%) Hayden Hurst (9%) Mark Ingram (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Mark Ingram (55%, 17, 2) Gus Edwards (38%, 7, 1) Justice Hill (6%, 1, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
It’s clear now, the Baltimore Ravens are the best team in the NFL. With victories over the Seahawks, Patriots, and 49ers, there is nothing left to prove. SF was able to give them their closest game of the season, but even the best defensive line in the game couldn’t stop Lamar Jackson (upgrade) from converting short yardage situations. Jackson needs just 63-yards rushing to break Michael Vick’s record of most rushing yards in a season by a quarterback - going against a bottom-10 Run DVOA in BUF seems like just the place to do it. BUF cedes just 13.1 FPPG to QBs and just 17.5 FPPG to WRs - but Lamar is immune to things we mere mortals would consider imposing - fire him up as THE QB1.
No receiver or tight end saw more than six targets last week, and Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst finished tied for the most receptions, with just three. Outside of Andrews, it’s extremely difficult to predict where the volume is going week-to-week, so it’s likely best not to start a BAL wideout - especially going against one of the best secondaries in the league. Marquise Brown (downgrade) is the only WR worth consideration in this offense, and he draws a difficult matchup against CB Tre’Davious White, who has won most of his shadow dates this season (Rotoworld). Consider Brown a boom-or-bust WR3, and I’d really only consider playing him if you have no other option, or you are playing a team in fantasy playoffs with a high projected point total and need the boom week over consistency.
RB Breakdown
The RB9 on the season in .5 PPR, Mark Ingram (upgrade) has been an absolute steal at his ADP. Although he’s not seeing huge volume, and he has been vultured by Lamar Jackson on a regular basis at the goal line. Although, this offense is generating enough points for Ingram and Jackson to co-exist. Ingram has 12 touchdowns on the year, 9 rushing and 3 receiving, and there’s no reason to see him slowing down in the explosive BAL offense. On tap is a matchup with a bottom-10 Run DVOA - BUF is ceding 18.3 FPPG to RBs - get Ingram active as an RB1. Gus Edwards is Ingram’s true handcuff, not rookie Justice Hill, and he should be rostered by Ingram owners for fantasy playoffs.

Bills

Opp (BAL) Pass DVOA: #3
Opp (BAL) Run DVOA: #25
Injuries to Watch DEF (BAL): S Earl Thomas (P) CB Jimmy Smith (P) CB Marlon Humphrey (P) ILB Patrick Onwuasor (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (BUF): OT Ty Nsekhe (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): John Brown (27%) Cole Beasley (20%) Devin Singletary (13%) Isaiah McKenzie (13%) Dawson Knox (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Devin Singletary (78%, 17, 4) Frank Gore (22%, 10, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
BUF vs. BAL is the matchup of two QBs who were told that they could never play the position at the highest level. So far, both Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen have exceeded expectations in the NFL. Although BAL now boasts a top-3 secondary - and only gives up 13.1 FPPG to QBs, and 20.8 FPPG to WRs - Allen’s willingness to get it done with his legs warrants every week QB1 treatment. I’d temper expectations a bit, but unless you have a top-5 QB option, it’s likely best to roll with Allen at home this week.
Smokey John Brown (downgrade) has been an absolute stud this season and is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, something that hasn’t been done for BUF since Sammy Watkins in 2015 (pro-football-reference). Brown gets a downgrade this week facing off against a trio of stud Cornerbacks - Marcus Peters is PFF’s No. 5 CB, Marlon Humphrey is No. 30, and Jimmy Smith is No. 40 - Brown is more a WR2 in the tough matchup. Cole Beasley (downgrade) has exploded the last few weeks, but it’s the same story as Brown, going against stud CB Humphrey in the slot projects as a floor week for Beasley. He should be considered a low-end WR3 that is better suited for PPR formats. Dawson Knox has had some exciting moments in his rookie season, but can’t be relied upon on a weekly basis. Leave him on the wire.
RB Breakdown
The Devin Singletary breakout has been full steam ahead since Week 9 against WAS, and the rookie has received more than 15 touches in every game except for one since then. Frank Gore will continue to be a thorn in his side, but Singletary can be safely treated as a weekly flex option. Unfortunately, against BAL is tough sledding - they only cede 17 FPPG to RBs. Plus, it’s likely that BUF faces negative game-script and is forced to abandon the run. Singletary has shown passing game chops, so he’s decently matchup proof, just temper expectations in the tough matchup.
Score Prediction: Ravens 27, Bills 17

Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (-13)

Redskins ATS: 5-7-0 Packers ATS: 8-4-0
Projected Team Totals: Redskins 14.5 Packers 27.5

Redskins

Opp (GB) Pass DVOA: #18
Opp (GB) Run DVOA: #28
Injuries to Watch DEF (GB): CB Tramon Williams (P) CB Kevin King (Q) CB Tony Brown (Q) DT Tyler Lancaster (Q) ILB Blake Martinez (Q) S Will Redmond (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (WAS): WR Trey Quinn (D) WR Paul Richardson (Q) G Brandon Scherff (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Terry McLaurin (24%) Kelvin Harmon (15%) Paul Richardson (15%) Jeremy Sprinkle (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Derrius Guice (30%, 12, 3) Adrian Peterson (36%, 13, 1) Chris Thompson (36%, 4, 2)
QB/WTE Breakdown
Washington has now found its way into the win column three times this season, including back-to-back wins against DET and somehow CAR. Regardless, Dwayne Haskins is not a fantasy option.
The decline of Terry McLaurin (downgrade) has been scary fast, as he hasn’t cleared 75-yards receiving in six consecutive games, and has six or fewer targets in five of his six last games (Rotoworld). This passing game is one to steer clear of for fantasy playoffs. Don’t do it.
RB Breakdown
Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice (upgrade) continue to split carries, and between the two, Guice has more upside. Unfortunately, with the RBBC and Chris Thompson being healthy, there may not be enough volume to count on. Guice has received just 11 and 12 touches since coming back from injury, and although he’s made the most of them, as long as all three running backs are in the mix, it will be hard to rely on any of them. This week presents a great opportunity - GB cedes 22.1 FPPG to RBs - but even with the great matchup, it’s likely that WAS faces a negative game-script and is forced to abandon the run, limiting the ceiling of Guice. Consider Guice a back-end RB2 with upside, Peterson a middling RB3, and Thompson a waiver-wire change of pace back.

Packers

Opp (WAS) Pass DVOA: #20
Opp (WAS) Run DVOA: #19
Injuries to Watch DEF (WAS): LB Ryan Anderson (Q) LB Montez Sweat (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (GB): OT Bryan Bulaga (Q) TE Jimmy Graham (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Davante Adams (32%) Jamaal Williams (13%) Allen Lazard (12%) Aaron Jones (11%) Jimmy Graham (9%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Aaron Jones (58%, 15, 6) Jamaal Williams (42%, 14, 4)
QB/WTE Breakdown
In a game bogged down by snowy conditions, Aaron Rodgers (upgrade) turned in an impressive performance against the sub-par New York Giants defense. This week, he’ll return home to face the Redskins, who are slightly below average in both DVOA (20th) and FPPG allowed to QBs (20th). This profiles as a plus matchup that Rodgers should be able to take advantage of, and it also bodes well for him that his entire arsenal of weapons is (likely) healthy heading into the weekend. View Rodgers as a solid QB1, but his ceiling has been lowered slightly this year due to the effectiveness of the run game in the red zone. The biggest concern with starting Rodgers against the Redskins is that they take a big lead and he isn’t needed much for the win. But he should be able to rack up a solid stat line regardless.
Davante Adams (auto-start) was able to cash in last week as well, hitting on two scores despite not getting over 100 receiving yards. Adams is a must start in any league and any format, and the matchup against the Redskins (17th against WRs) doesn’t do anything to move the needle. Expect a solid, potentially blow-up type performance out of Adams this week if the Redskins are able to at all keep pace offensively. Allen Lazard (volume downgrade), has a big day of his own on Sunday, going for 103 yards and a TD, despite only catching 3 passes. The volume is an indicator that this type of production shouldn’t be expected again this week, and while Washington is vulnerable to the pass, they aren’t enough of a sieve to make Lazard a trustworthy streamer. He’s a dart-throw WR4 in hopes of a long TD, and would be a very risky fantasy playoff dice roll. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison continue to be non-factors, so leave them on waivers in all leagues. Jimmy Graham isn’t operating at 100%, and hasn’t had a usable stat line in weeks, do not even consider him this week.
RB Breakdown
The up and down season from Aaron Jones (upgrade) continues to confound all potential logic. Even in positive game-script and seemingly run-heavy weather conditions, Jones was unable to put anything of note together on his 15 touches. Jamaal Williams (upgrade PPR) didn’t do much more with his 14 touches, but at least salvaged his day with a decent receiving line. The Redskins are not a stout rush defense - 19th run DVOA and 12th most FPPG to RBs - and the position as home favorites make both Packers’ RBs attractive targets. Jones is the superior play due to his game breaking ability and role as the goal-line back, but Williams is an intriguing flex in PPR leagues. Treat Jones as a borderline RB1, just be aware he isn’t very trustworthy at this point. This feels like a spot he would drop 100+ and 1-2 TDs, but we just never know.
Score Prediction: Packers 28, Redskins 14

Denver Broncos at Houston Texans (-9.5)

Broncos ATS: 7-5-0 Texans ATS: 6-6-0
Projected Team Totals: Broncos 16 Texans 25.5

Broncos

Opp (HOU) Pass DVOA: #25
Opp (HOU) Run DVOA: #15
Injuries to Watch DEF (HOU): CB Gareon Conley (Q) CB Bradley Roby (Q) LB Brennan Scarlett (Q) DE Carlos Watkins (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (DEN): OG Ron Leary (Q) RB Royce Freeman (Q) OL Connor McGovern (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Courtland Sutton (24%) Noah Fant (21%) Tim Patrick (14%) Jeff Heuerman (10%) Phillip Lindsay (9%) Royce Freeman (7%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Phillip Lindsay (44%, 20, 3) Royce Freeman (56%, 9, 4)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Broncos turned to rookie Drew Lock (downgrade) last week, and while his individual stats weren’t impressive, he was able to pull out a surprising win against the reeling Chargers. Lock is not on anyone’s fantasy radar at this point, least of all managers that were able to get into fantasy playoffs, so we will instead focus on how he impacts the pass-catchers in this offense.
Lock’s top target was no surprise, as Courtland Sutton (volume upgrade) continues to dominate targets in Denver. Sutton’s success was somewhat of a surprise, as he was able to account for over half of Lock’s yardage, and both of his TDs. Sutton has earned auto-start status at this point, and a matchup with the Texans helps to ease concerns around his QB play. Keep him in all lineups and hope that Lock improves heading into his second start so that the Texans aren’t able to simply double or triple cover Sutton to shut down the entire offense. Consider him a solid WR2 at this point. No other pass catcher in this offense is trustworthy in fantasy, especially with Lock at the helm, so avoid any of the names that aren’t Sutton. Noah Fant and Tim Patrick are interesting dynasty stashes, but shouldn’t be anywhere near fantasy lineups this week.
RB Breakdown
Second year RBs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman continue to see an almost exact 50-50% snap split, but Lindsay has consistently seen more carries over the last 6-8 weeks. That was the case again last week as he out-touched Freeman 20-9. That has rendered Freeman completely unusable in fantasy, while Lindsay has been unable to backup his breakout rookie year. Lindsay gets the necessary volume to be in the RB2 range, but the struggles at QB, on the O-Line, and at creating scoring chances overall, have held him back significantly. Consider him a decent RB2 this week with a plus matchup - the Texans have given up the 4th most FPPG to RBs. If you are at all shallow at RB, or start 3 every week, Lindsay should likely be in your lineup.

Texans

Opp (DEN) Pass DVOA: #17
Opp (DEN) Run DVOA: #10
Injuries to Watch DEF (DEN): LB Von Miller (Q) LB Malik Reed (Q) S Will Parks (Q) LB Jeremiah Attaochu (Q) LB Alexander Johnson (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (HOU): WR Will Fuller (Q)
Key WCB matchups: DeAndre Hopkins vs. Chris Harris Jr. (Rotoworld)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): DeAndre Hopkins (34%) Will Fuller (23%) Kenny Stills (14%) Duke Johnson (12%) Darren Fells (11%) Jordan Akins (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Duke Johnson (68%, 14, 6) Carlos Hyde (38%, 11, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Texans became the second team to expose some of the weaknesses of the Patriots during their SNF win. Deshaun Watson (auto-start) was impressive again even facing a tough matchup, and should be in all lineups again this week. The Broncos give up the 5th fewest FPPG to QBs on the season, but have the 17th ranked pass defense by DVOA. Watson is a set and forget. Stud WR DeAndre Hopkins will likely face shadow coverage from the impressive Chris Harris Jr., but it’s virtually impossible to bench Nuk in any situation, even in a tough matchup like this one.
The bigger question is what to do with the Texans’ secondary receiving options. Will Fuller (upgrade) will likely be the beneficiary of Harris’ coverage on Nuk, as he will instead draw Isaac Yiadom. The Broncos have been stout against the pass this season, but over the past 4 weeks they are allowing the 11th most FPPG to WRs. Fuller is a risky play this week, as we’ve seen his floor is a goose-egg. He does has blow-up potential in a plus individual matchup. Consider him a risk-reward WR3 that has a solid shot at paying off. Kenny Stills (downgrade) did well last week against the Patriots, and is in play as a low-end WR3 as well, but temper expectations as the Broncos are allowing the fewest FPPG to slot-wideouts this year. He would be a dice-roll in the first week of fantasy playoffs and might be too risky of a play.Darren Fells just continues to produce at the TE position, snagging another TD last week. The Broncos are middle of the pack at defending the position, and Fells lack of volume is concerning, so he’s no more than a TD-dependent TE2.
RB Breakdown
The Texans run-game struggled against the Patriots, but pass-catching back Duke Johnson was able to create some big plays through the air. He cashed in a TD on a perfect option route in the first quarter. This week should be somewhat easier on the ground, and the game-script is projected to be favorable with the Texans as huge home favorites. That would make Carlos Hyde (upgrade standard) a more attractive play, although he is tough to trust in lineups due to his low floor and dependency on rushing TDs. Consider Hyde a mid-tier RB2 in standard leagues with a slight downgrade in PPR leagues. Johnson is an intriguing flex in PPR leagues, but a tough sell in standard leagues as his weekly touch total cannot be trusted. Ultimately both are risky, but we like Hyde slightly more this week for matchup and game-flow reasons.
Score Prediction: Texans 27, Broncos 13

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-3)

49ers ATS: 7-4-1 Saints ATS: 8-4-0
Projected Team Totals: 49ers 20.5 Saints 23.5

49ers

Opp (NO) Pass DVOA: #9
Opp (NO) Run DVOA: #6
Injuries to Watch DEF (NO): LB Kiki Alonso (D) LB A.J. Klein (D)
Injuries to Watch OFF (SF): WR Dante Pettis (D) TE George Kittle (Q) OT Joe Staley (Q)
Key WCB matchups: Emmanuel Sanders vs. Marshon Lattimore, Deebo Samuel vs. Eli Apple (not full projected shadow matchups, ESPN)
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): George Kittle (25%) Deebo Samuel (19%) Emmanuel Sanders (16%) Ross Dwelley (12%) Kendrick Bourne (11%) Tevin Coleman (10%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Raheem Mostert (74%, 21, 2) Tevin Coleman (18%, 6, 1)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Niners came up just short against the Ravens last week, and will get no reprieve heading into Week 14’s massive matchup against the Saints. SF will be operating on a short week, but are almost entirely back to full health offensively, so that isn’t much of a concern. Jimmy Garappolo (downgrade) didn’t produce much in terms of fantasy value last week, as it was the running game and the defense that kept the Niners in the game. The Saints are tough against the pass - 9th best DVOA on the season - but have been somewhat vulnerable to QBs (10th most FPPG allowed). It would be unwise to trust Jimmy G for as more than a mid-tier QB2, but the Saints have one of the few offenses that could force the Niners into a rare shootout. Still, he’s not a recommended start this week.
With Garoppolo struggling last week, no one was able to stand out in the passing game, although that was due in part to the rainy conditions and stout secondary of the Ravens. George Kittle (auto-start) remains the top target in this offense, and he remains an elite TE1 whenever healthy as he’s capable of a big week at any time. Deebo Samuel did snag a TD on a 4th down conversion in the first half, and his recent run of productive games has him firmly on the WR3 radar. It appears that Emmanuel Sanders (downgrade) is more likely to see Marshon Lattimore in shadow coverage, but Lattimore typically doesn’t travel to the slot, so that won’t be a full shadow matchup. Samuel should see a lot of Eli Apple, and while neither player has been dominant, Lattimore has shown flashes again this year of true shut down ability. Downgrade Sanders slightly into WR3/4 territory, but keep Samuel in the WR3 range. Both are risky starts for fantasy playoffs, but Deebo seems like the safer bet with a bit more upside at this point.
RB Breakdown
The Niners backfield production continues to elude most owners lineups, as last week it was Raheem Mostert who broke out for a big day. Mostert needs to be taken seriously as a fantasy option for the first week of the playoffs. He turned 21 touches into more than 150 total yards last week, and his 74% snap share dwarfed that of “starter” Tevin Coleman (volume downgrade). At this point, it’s impossible to predict what we will see this week. Plus, the Saints allow the 4th fewest FPPG to RBs on the season, so it’s a tough matchup on-paper. Mostert has probably earned low-mid RB2 status heading into the difficult matchup, whereas Coleman simply cannot be trusted in lineups in a must-win week. Matt Breida returned to full practice this week, so his likely return muddies the waters even further. It would likely be best to avoid the situation entirely in a tough matchup and a three-way timeshare, but Mostert is the favorite for fantasy value this week. It’s just tough to trust it.

Saints

Opp (SF) Pass DVOA: #1
Opp (SF) Run DVOA: #14
Injuries to Watch DEF (SF): S Jaquiski Tartt (D) DT Jullian Taylor (D) DE Dee Ford (Q) DT D.J. Jones (Q) CB Richard Sherman (Q)
Injuries to Watch OFF (NO): OG Andrus Peat (D) OT Terron Armstead (Q) RB Zach Line (Q)
Key WCB matchups: None
Relevant Target Share %’s (Last 6 Weeks): Michael Thomas (28%) Alvin Kamara (25%) Jared Cook (17%) Latavius Murray (9%) Ted Ginn (8%)
RB Snap %/Touches/Targets Week 13: Alvin Kamara (82%, 15, 8) Latavius Murray (26%, 4, 0)
QB/WTE Breakdown
The Saints disappointed slightly against the Falcons, and Drew Brees (downgrade) threw for only 184 yards and 1 TD despite leading them to a 26-18 win. The matchup against the Niners is going to be much more challenging. They have the top ranked pass defense by DVOA and have given up the second fewest FPPG to QBs on the season. Brees deserves to be downgraded into the high-end QB2 range, and owners would do well to heavily consider an alternative option as they head into playoffs.
Currently threatening the NFL single season reception record, Michael Thomas (auto-start) is simply an unstoppable force. Keep him locked in as a high-end WR1, even in the tough matchup, as he can rack up points in so many ways and will be leaned on heavily if the Saints are to get a crucial home victory here. Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith, however, should be avoided at all costs. Jared Cook is on a nice stretch of play the past few weeks, but the Niners are tough against TEs as well - fewest FPPG to the position. Cook should be viewed as more of a low-end TE1 this week, but is tough to bench with how well he’s playing and the lack of depth at the position. He likely needs to be in your playoff lineup, as he has been seeing a lot of high-quality/high-value targets of late.
RB Breakdown
It was another “floor” type week for Alvin Kamara (auto-start) last week, as he was under 100 total yards with no TDs for the fifth time this year. He has put together a decent year, but his fantasy lines have been below-average by his standards. Obviously., he needs to be in lineups again this week, even in a tough matchup, as he is capable of blowing up in any game and will score double digits even in his down weeks. Latavius Murray (downgrade) is much less attractive considering his recent lack of volume and the fact the 49ers are so stout defensively. He’s no more than a TD-dependent RB3/flex in standard leagues, and is unplayable in PPR leagues.
Score Prediction: Niners 21, Saints 17
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From the first whistle to the last we break down the odds for this division clash and give you our best bets and predictions. DETROIT LIONS AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3.5, 45.5 @ BETAMERICA ) QUICK HITTER Lions vs. Packers: Pick & Prediction. Fast starts have been the name of the game for the Packers since Week 1 against the Chicago Bears and getting off to another one could see them hit a trifecta The Green Bay Packers have a chance to start 3-0 against the NFC North for the first time since the 2012 season when the Detroit Lions arrive at Lambeau Field for Monday night’s showdown. Here are five things to watch and a prediction for Week 6: The Green Bay Packers (12-3) visit the Detroit Lions (3-11-1) Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff at Ford Field (on FOX). We analyze the Packers-Lions odds and sports betting lines, while providing betting tips and advice on this Week 17 NFL matchup. Packers at Lions: Week 17 preview, betting trends and notes Betting Preview for the Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions NFL Regular Season Week 17 Game on December 29, 2019. Where: Ford Field, Detroit. When: Sunday, December 29, 2019, 1:00 PM ET. Line: Green Bay Packers (-12.5) vs. Detroit Lions (+12.5) – view all 2019 NFL lines. TV Broadcast: FOX. Betting on the Green Bay Packers (12-3)

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