This week’s DFS slate presents us with the exact same Tennessee Titans scenario as Week 13 — one of the highest game totals on the entire slate, at 53. Derrick Henry is extremely expensive at $8,700 and will be the most popular running back on the slate in a juicy matchup. A Titans wide receiver is coming off a monster performance (this week, it's Corey Davis; last week, it was A.J. Brown) and projected at very high ownership.
Accordingly, let's play the leverage game here with superstar A.J. Brown. At $7,300, he is overpriced for his target expectation (just two games with more than eight targets), but he maintains a higher ceiling than any wide receiver not named Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill. Brown is averaging a whopping 7.8 yards after the catch per reception, which trails only Deebo Samuel among all wide receivers.
There is arguably no better matchup for opposing wide receivers than the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have allowed a wide receiver to surpass 100 yards in an eye-popping eight straight games.
Check out the following receiving lines surrendered by the Jaguars over this eight-game stretch:
Justin Jefferson: 9-121-1
Adam Thielen: 8-75-1
Jarvis Landry: 8-143-1
Diontae Johnson: 12-111-0
Chase Claypool: 4-59-1
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 4-149-1
Davante Adams: 8-66-1
Will Fuller V: 5-100-1
Brandin Cooks: 3-83-1
Keenan Allen: 10-125-0
Kenny Golladay: 4-105-0
Brandin Cooks: 8-161-1
Will Fuller: 4-58-1
The thought of fading Derrick Henry against the Jaguars in December is terrifying, but he will need over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns to really hurt you. Just as we saw last week, and in his previous matchup against the Jaguars this season, Henry craters your roster if he misses. Back in Week 2, he scored 8.4 DraftKings points in this exact same matchup. Against the Browns last week, he scored 6.9 points.
Of course, Henry has slate-breaking, 40-point potential every time he steps onto a football field. But we need to be willing to embrace risk to win a DFS tournament. The leverage here is straightforward — with the field chasing Corey Davis off his 182-yard game at an extremely cheap $5,700, we should pay up to be contrarian with A.J. Brown.
The Titans are implied for 30.3 points, which means the Vegas market is projecting them to score four touchdowns. Perhaps three or even all four of them come through the air rather via Henry and the ground. This creates 100-yard, multiple-touchdown upside for both Brown and Davis.
There is an argument to be made that both Brown and Davis could smash in this matchup. If you're going double-stack, be sure to also use Ryan Tannehill. You could even go full Titans onslaught with Tannehill, Brown and Henry.
There are several ways to play this game, and incorporating A.J. Brown into your stacks yields the best leverage for maximum upside. PFF’s wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart ranks Brown with the seventh-highest rated matchup this week.
Dolphins versus Chiefs is going to be an exciting chess match between Andy Reid and Brian Flores. Put yourself in Flores' shoes — what is the ideal offensive game plan to beat Patrick Mahomes with your rookie quarterback and stout defense? Run the football to keep Mahomes and Kansas City's offense off the field.
Dec 6, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) hands the ball to running back Myles Gaskin (37) during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Enter Myles Gaskin at $5,600, who could potentially be the only healthy running back on the Dolphins, depending on how their injury report shakes out leading up to Sunday. Gaskin handled a healthy 23 touches against the Bengals in Week 13, churning out a scoreless 141 yards despite seeing six carries from inside the 10-yard line — three of which were inside the 5-yard line. Gaskin was very unlucky to not score a touchdown last week, and we are getting a discount on him because of it.
Using PFF’s expected fantasy points tool, Gaskin's 21.5 expected fantasy points in Week 13 ranked third among all running backs, trailing only Dalvin Cook and James Robinson. Of course, expected fantasy points do not equal real fantasy points, but this gives you an idea of Gaskin’s upside.
In addition to his middling performance last week, Gaskin is likely to be low-owned because the field is afraid of playing running backs against the Chiefs for fear of getting game-scripted out after Mahomes tosses three first-half touchdowns. But we should also think about the alternative perspective. What if a talented Dolphins team is able to play this game close? Gaskin would be in for a potential smash in that universe.
Opposing offenses have had success running against the Chiefs, averaging a healthy 4.8 yards per carry (third-most) and 1.8 yards before contact per attempt (second).
Eagles cornerback Darius Slay has the unenviable task of shadowing the opposing team’s No. 1 wide receiver every single week. That finally caught up to him over the past two games, outings in which he has been dusted by Davante Adams (10-121-2) and D.K. Metcalf(10-177). Additionally, Slay is banged up with a knee injury — covering Thomas with a blown tire is risky business.
The Saints are likely to be playing from ahead in this game as a 6.5-point favorite, but I expect them to play aggressively even if they build an early lead because the Saints need a victory to stay ahead of the Packers for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
Michael Thomas is the entire Saints' passing offense right now. With Alvin Kamara’s receiving role shelved, Taysom Hill targets Thomas with reckless abandon. Check out Thomas’ target share and air-yard share over the past three weeks with Hill under center:
Week 13: 30% target share, 38% air-yard share
Week 12: 46% target share, 66% air-yard share
Week 11: 50% target share, 64% air-yard share
Over that stretch, Thomas has two games with nine catches and 100 receiving yards, though he has failed to score a touchdown despite leading the team with five red-zone targets (nobody else has more than two).
Thomas possesses a strong chance of cracking 100 yards with a touchdown this week. He is a high-floor, one-off piece who you can surround with riskier low-floor plays.
Captain Kirk Cousins has been soaring high in his past three games, racking up DraftKings point totals of 27.0, 30.2 and 26.4. All three of those scores would give you the requisite four-time salary multiplier for 200 total points at his $6,200 price.
Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Up next is a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a hefty 52.5-point total and climbing. Vegas is projecting scoring fireworks, with the Vikings likely be caught chasing points as 6.5-point underdogs. This would be the perfect game script for Cousins to cook up a 300-yard and three-touchdown performance.
The Buccaneers indisputably possess the NFL’s best run defense. Teams do not even try to run the ball against them — opposing offenses pass the football on 67% of plays, the second-highest rate in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes attempted 49 passes against the Bucs in Week 12. Jared Goff attempted 51 passes against the Bucs in Week 11. It will be fantasy points galore if Mike Zimmer and company set Cousins loose for 40-plus attempts in this spot.
What makes Cousins such a beautiful DFS play is the fact that his stacking partners are clear as day — Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. You already know that both of those wide receivers are awesome. They are essentially the entire Vikings' passing offense; the duo combined for a whopping 60% target share and 86% air-yard share last week. You can play Cousins with one of those pass-catchers and hope for a Tyreek Hill-type performance, or you could stack up both of them to capture the entire passing offense.
The bring-back options are less clear, but any of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brownand Rob Gronkowski are viable. You could even accept the fact that the Bucs have an extremely wide target distribution and play none of them. That is what I did when stacking up the Chiefs against the Bucs two weeks ago — I did not want to add an extra element of guesswork into my roster.
Playing Cousins with one or both of Jefferson and Thielen, while not correlating it with any Bucs, is likely to be an extremely unique roster construction that could rocket you all the way up to first place.