The injury (and depth chart shuffle) continues late in the 2018 season. Which shift will create DFS value plays for Week 14?
- Kareem Hunt out, Spencer Ware in as Chiefs starter, solid home favorite against stingy Baltimore defense
- Matt Breida out, Jeff Wilson in for 49ers
- Greg Olsen out, Ian Thomas in for Panthers
- Dante Pettis as one of the last healthy wide receivers in San Francisco in recent weeks, home underdogs against Denver
- A.J. Green out, is Tyler Boyd a strong play as huge road underdogs against Chargers?
- Christian Kirk out, is it Larry Fitzgerald or bust for struggling Arizona passing game at home against Detroit?
- James Conner out as big road favorites at Oakland. If Conner is out will there be clarity for a strong DFS play?
James Brimacombe: I don’t mind going with Tyler Boyd here as he has been a strong play all year long and continues to be overlooked here in the second half of the season. The Bengals are in a downward spiral right now but Boyd remains the bright spot on the team as he has collected 97 targets on the season for 69/938/6 line and is coming off a 6/97/0 game with Jeff Driskel as the starter.
I think it is not the worst play to rely on Larry Fitzgerald this week as he is currently on his retirement tour and everything that could have gone wrong for Arizona has this season. With Fitzgerald, there are still some storylines to be written and maybe a strong finish to the season is in the cards for him. In the past six games he does have five touchdowns so playing him this week and just hoping for that touchdown reception could make a lot of sense. As far as looking for safe receptions and yards out of him I wouldn’t count on it and that is why I would prefer him as a GPP play over a cash play this week.
As far as plugging in a running back in Conner’s place I think the answer is no. I would rather go the route of using Ben Roethlisberger as my quarterback this week and knowing that I was going to get a slight bonus with him as he doesn’t have a star running back to potentially take touchdowns away from him.
- Kareem Hunt out, Spencer Ware in - Ware handled about 70% of the running back snaps and touches for Kansas City last week but wasn't able to add value to his touches the way Hunt was. If he couldn't get it done against Oakland in a game that combined for 73 points, I'm not rushing to roster him against Baltimore's league-best rush defense.
- Matt Breida out, Jeff Wilson in for 49ers - You can certainly do worse for $3,800 on DraftKings than a running back who caught eight passes on nine targets last week.
- Greg Olsen out, Ian Thomas in for Panthers - Thomas already had a four-game run as a starter this season and failed to eclipse 6.8 fantasy points in any of those starts. Olsen's absence benefits Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey most.
- Dante Pettis - Provided Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon continue to miss games, Pettis has to have your attention after combining for 50.4 PPR points in his last two games.
- A.J. Green out, is Tyler Boyd a strong play? - Meh. Boyd's ceiling is capped by Jeff Driskel making his first road start against a strong defense. T.Y. Hilton and Emmanuel Sanders are much better plays in Boyd's price range (DraftKings).
- Christian Kirk out, is it Larry Fitzgerald or bust? - The last thing Arizona's offense needed is to lose one of its few talented players. I'm not sure how many targets Kirk's absence opens up for Fitzgerald, but the veteran has an excellent matchup in the slot against Detroit cornerback Nevin Lawson this week regardless.
- James Conner potentially out as big road favorites at Oakland - If Conner is out, it would be hard to pass on Jaylen Samuels at $3,700 on DraftKings given his ability as a pass-catcher. In tournaments, it would present a similar game theory conundrum as rostering Spencer Ware did last week, though not quite to the same extreme.
I don't hate Ian Thomas at all, either. It was encouraging to see him draw five targets last week - and even more so to see him catch all five of them. I loved Thomas' athletic profile and field-ready blocking prowess as a prospect - he reminded me a lot of C.J. Fiedorowicz, and he still does. Cam Newton isn't hurting for weapons with Olsen out, but there are specific tasks that were laid out for Olsen and sit unattended now. Thomas isn't more than a DFS dart throw, but he checks the box at a tight end position that's been historically bad all season. And for whatever it's worth, the Browns have been one of fantasy's friendlier tight end matchups this year. One has registered either 67+ yards, a touchdown, or both in 4 of their last 6 games.
BJ VanderWoude: The 49ers have been an interesting team from a fantasy perspective because as bad as they are, they continue to provide solid fantasy production across the skill positions. Nick Mullens has been serviceable at quarterback and although his stats aren’t prolific, Breida, Kittle and now Pettis have all proven to be great value across the industry. Pettis is seeing a heavy volume of targets, 14 over his last two games, and has been able to turn that into nine catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns. This week he gets a Denver secondary that will be without top cornerback Chris Harris Jr, making him a great value play in week 14.
With Matt Breida most likely out for this week, Jeff Wilson Jr. steps in as his replacement. Wilson Jr. showed off his versatility last week, rushing 15 times for 61 yards while catching eight of nine targets for 73 yards. Wilson’s ability to play in the passing game gives him a big edge over the other options in his price range, and with the 49ers as underdogs, the game script should work in his favor as a receiver.
Tyler Boyd has proven his worth both with Green in the lineup and as a stud when Green has been sidelined. The increased attention has not reduced his ceiling, although the loss of Andy Dalton certainly made it much more difficult for him to have big games with Jeff Driskel throwing him the ball. With that said, Boyd has had 70+ yards in seven of his 12 games and stands to see a bigger part of a smaller pie (with respect to the Bengals passing volume), so firmly remains a #2B option with a high enough ceiling to be considered for GPPs.
Dan Hindery: Jeff Wilson is a fantastic play this weekend. He has ran hard and the 49ers offensive system is extremely running-back friendly. Plus, his pass-game impact may be flying under the radar a bit. Wilson caught 8-of-9 targets last week and was a standout pass catcher in college (70 career receptions).
The loss of Christian Kirk could help Larry Fitzgerald but it may also be a boost to David Johnson’s pass-game involvement. Shockingly, Johnson has just nine targets over the last three weeks. Detroit has been vulnerable through the air against opposing backs of late, allowing 6.5 receptions per game to opposing backs since Week 9. There is no reason Arizona shouldn’t force-feed targets to Johnson and his price has fallen enough to make him a strong upside play for tournaments.
Jaylen Samuels will be one of the top value plays on the slate, despite some risk he will have to split carries with Stevan Ridley. He is just too cheap and his pass-game involvement (nine targets over the last four games despite limited playing time) gives him a relatively strong floor.