The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 14 WEEKEND UPDATE December 12, 2015  |  Doug Shain



The Huddle – Opening Statement

Welcome to the Hail Mary Week 14 WEEKEND UPDATE. All new thoughts will be in bolded italics.

Wow, we’re already at Week 14. How fast the time flies. It feels like just yesterday that we were doing a Week 1 Hail Mary. As I’ve done at each quarter pole of the season I’m going to throw you a KWL chart about what we know, what we want to know, and what we’ve learned this year so far.


What I know What I want to know What I’ve learned
I feel really comfortable right now playing Cam Newton in a cash game (too bad this isn’t a cash game article). Will I ever need to pay up for QB again? You can stay within 20% of min price at QB and get a top 7 guy every week.
Paying up for a stud RB will not work against a top defense. You’re much better off saving money and finding a guy like Shaun Draughn or Isiah Crowell when they are playing a terrible run defense. Who is the next backup that’s going to break out and how can I get ahead of the game on that one? Find RBs that catch passes. They are a huge boost to that player’s floor.
You’re usually not going to go wrong by paying up for a stud WR. Even if they don’t hit 3x or 5x value, very rarely are they are going to be so bad that they kill your team. Can DeVante Parker and Dorial Green Beckham step up and be late season studs? I’m VERY interested in see how the end of the year plays out for these two. Matchups really, really matter. The new thing I’m looking at is not Team vs WR stats but more CB vs WR stats. Even solid defenses are exploitable (slot WR vs Carolina).
When Gronk is out, it’s a total free for all at TE. Can Gary Barnidge survive without Josh McCown throwing to him? Delanie Walker and Julius Thomas prove that talent will win out at the TE position.
You can almost never go wrong playing the Eagles Defense. Was last week a blip or is Houston not actually back as a top defense? You’re not always safe playing defenses against SF, JAX, and TEN just because they are bad offenses. Bad offenses > bad defenses.
Even if you have a group of players you like it’s pretty meaningless if you don’t pick the right guys from those groups to construct a lineup. Will I ever be allowed to play DFS again? Yes, I’m still really sore about this and it’s going to ruin my offseason, so I’m going to throw digs out as often as I can. Chip Kelly has no idea what he’s doing with his RB (though that won’t stop me from trying to figure it out again this week…read below).


To take a look at a list of “musts” when building my GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. For an explanation of what those plays mean, click here. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Tom Brady – NE Blake Bortles – JAX Johnny Manziel – CLE
Drew Brees – NO Russell Wilson – SEA Brock Osweiler – DEN
Cam Newton – CAR Jameis Winston – TB Matthew Stafford – DET
Ben Roethlisberger – PIT Tyrod Taylor – BUF Blaine Gabbert – SF
Aaron Rodgers – GB Eli Manning – NYG Philip Rivers – SD
Marcus Mariota – TEN Andy Dalton – CIN Ryan Tannehill – MIA
Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ Alex Smith – KC


– For the 2nd week in a row I’m going to advocate that you stay away from high priced quarterbacks and find your stud from a high upside group of cheaper options. Cam and Brady are fine, but I think you can find similar stats for a lot cheaper. If I was going to play any high priced QB this week it’s going to be Big Ben, but even there I’m going to stay away.

– So, if I’m staying away from the high priced QB where am I going to go? Some of the safer options I’m looking at this week are Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Blake Bortles, Russell Wilson, and Jameis Winston. Even a guy like Alex Smith has a solid enough matchup that he’s a safe play. I’d pair any of these guys up with one of their top WR (Eli/OBJ; Dalton/Green; Fitz/Marshall; Bortles/ARob; Wilson/Baldwin; Winston/Evans; Smith/Maclin) and feel like I’ll have a really solid base score for my GPP. All should be popular plays, but not so out of control because the general public is going to still flock to the Brady’s and Rodgerses of the world.

– Andy Dalton doesn’t seem to be talked about enough considering how great he’s been this year (and, quite frankly, in his entire career). He’s a 2 TD per game machine and has a great matchup this weekend. If Thursday ownership percentages are any indication you should be able to get him at a fairly reasonable ownership percentage as well.

– If I’m shooting the moon this week then I’m looking squarely at two plays that will either win me a GPP or flush my entry down the toilet. Those guys are Johnny Manziel and Blaine Gabbert. They are facing each other this week and there’s a chance that this game will be the equivalent of last week’s Jax/Ten game where two teams that are out of it just go buck nutty. Both defenses are terrible against the pass and both QB’s have a lot to play for to prove to their teams that they are answer for 2016. I’m probably a little too excited about this game, but I just have that feeling that you won’t regret making a couple of secondary lineups with these two in it. I am all aboard the Gabbert-train this week. I must be losing my mind.

My guys: Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Blake Bortles, Blaine Gabbert, Johnny Manziel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Todd Gurley – STL Charcandrick West – KC Lamar Miller – MIA
Adrian Peterson – MIN Jonathan Stewart – CAR Ronnie Hillman – DEN
Thomas Rawls – SEA Javorius Allen – BAL Bilal Powell – NYJ
DeAngelo Williams – PIT Ameer Abdullah – DET Jeremy Hill – CIN
Matt Forte – CHI Tim Hightower – NO Ryan Mathews – PHI
Devonta Freeman – ATL Frank Gore – IND James White – NE
Doug Martin – TB Shaun Draughn – SF TJ Yeldon – JAX
LeSean McCoy – BUF James Starks – GB Chris Polk – HOU
David Johnson – ARI Isaiah Crowell – CLE


– For the first time in a long time there is abundance of RB that have pretty settled situations as the #1 guy on their teams. Not all of them have great matchups, but that stability is going to make them very popular plays with the public. I’m fading the biggest names from the list (Gurley, AP, DWill, Rawls). Whether it’s offensive line issues, game flow issues, or cost issues I just don’t see a ton of value in these guys. Gurley has a chance to break out with his new offensive coordinator, but that O-line is just so bad and there’s no threat of the pass at all.

– The big names that I will be rolling out this week are kind of the 2nd tier of big names like Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy, Doug Martin, and David Johnson. The one thing they all have in common is that they all have plus matchups this week. The only exception to that is David Johnson against Minnesota, but he’s been so solid every time he’s had a chance that it’s hard to pass on him at his price right now.

– The best plays this week come at the next tier down. These are guys who might not have the same talent as Gurley and AP, but they have opportunity, a good matchup, and come cheap. I’m looking at West, Gore, Draughn, and Lamar Miller from this group. They are all pretty much the bell cow for their team and none of them should cost you a lot relative to their expected touches.

– Mark Ingram is out for the year and someone has to run the ball for the Saints. I don’t think it’s going to be CJ Spiller as they don’t seem to like him much in New Orleans. Tim Hightower should be getting the bulk of the carries in this one. He’s not high on my list, but carries are carries.

– Hillman is the starter this week and should have himself a nice game. I don’t love him (and he’s not one of “my guys”), but he won’t kill your team either.

– If you’re looking for pure upside then Ryan Mathews is the play this week. Philly has a neutral matchup but Chip Kelly is going to feed Mathews if he’s able to suit up. He’s the best fit for this offense and Kelly will want to prove he can make his offense work. I have no faith in DeMarco Murry and Darren Sproles will only be in there on passing downs. This is kind of a boom or bust play, but the potential boom could be large.

– Some other lower end upside plays I’m looking at are Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, and Ronnie Hillman (especially if C.J. Anderson is active but iffy). At this point I won’t touch the RB situations in HOU, GB, NE, or CIN. There are just too many questions and not high enough floors if I’m wrong. Even if I’m wrong about Mathews and Crowell, they should get enough work to at least make 1X value. If you’re wrong on James White you could see 2 touches for 2 points. That won’t work.

My guys: Charcandrick West, Shaun Draughn, Ryan Mathews, Isaiah Crowell, LeSean McCoy, Doug Martin, Lamar Miller, Matt Forte, Frank Gore


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Allen Robinson – JAX Danny Amendola – NE Travis Benjamin – CLE
Antonio Brown – PIT Brandon Marshall – NYJ Allen Hurns – JAX
DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Brandin Cooks – NO Demaryius Thomas – DEN
Calvin Johnson – DET Alshon Jeffery – CHI Dez Bryant – DAL
Odell Beckham – NYG DeVante Parker – MIA Jarvis Landry – MIA
A.J. Green – CIN Jordan Matthews – PHI Vincent Jackson – TB
Sammy Watkins – BUF Doug Baldwin – SEA TY Hilton – IND
Julio Jones – ATL Jeremy Maclin – KC Kamar Aiken – BAL
Mike Evans – TB DeSean Jackson – WSH
Dorial Green-Beckham – TEN
Anquan Boldin – SF


– There is not a single Public Play that I’ll shy away from this week. I will be going very cheap at QB/RB/TE/DEF to try to load up at WR for the most part. What’s nuts is that there are a ton of great plays at the cheap end for WR too if you do decide to pay up at the other positions. If I was forced to choose (and I guess I kind of am), I’d look first at Odell and Antonio Brown and then move down from there to A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson. My only concern with this entire group is potentially high ownership.

– This might be your only chance to roster Julio Jones at less than 3% ownership. The whole world is off of him and I think you should be on him. He’s rocketing up my board in a GPP because of just how bad his matchup is perceived to be. Yes, Josh Norman is great. Yes, I think Julio will struggle against Norman. Here’s the big but though, Josh Norman doesn’t cover the slot. Julio runs A LOT of routes from the slot. Carolina can’t cover the slot at all. Julio could, not should, but could have a big game. I’d rather risk my GPP on him having a big game rather than a guy like Kamar Aiken.

– Some less expensive plays that still might be ownership issues include Brandon Marshall, DeVante Parker, and Doug Baldwin. All have a ton to like and are pretty sexy picks for a GPP. If I wanted similar upside but lower ownership I’d look at players like Jordan Matthews, Allen Hurns, Travis Benjamin, Jarvis Landry, Vincent Jackson, and Dorial Green-Beckham. All have their risks but the upside is definitely there considering their matchups. They are all really inexpensive as well.

– The “concussion” issues with Cooks are going to scare a lot of people off. Here’s the thing, he didn’t have a concussion. He’s fine and he should have a good game against a weak TB secondary.

– I love DeVante Parker. So does everyone else. You’re better off using Jarvis Landry.

– In theory you really can’t go wrong at WR this week (I mean, you can if the guy you picked doesn’t hit, but a bad result doesn’t mean you made a bad pick). I’m not sure if that makes it more or less fun to pick your team. I do know that if I was allowed to make teams (stupid Nevada), I’d have to make a lot to fit in all the plays I like this week. The key is putting together the right combination of WR.

My guys: Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Travis Benjamin, Allen Hurns, Vincent Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brandin Cooks, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Dorial Green-Beckham, Doug Baldwin, Sammy Watkins


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Greg Olsen – CAR Benjamin Watson – NO Charles Clay – BUF
Delanie Walker – TEN Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TB Kyle Rudolph – MIN
Julius Thomas – JAX Antonio Gates – SD Eric Ebron – DET
Scott Chandler – NE Travis Kelce – KC Will Tye – NYG
  Maxx Williams – BAL
  Ryan Griffin – HOU


– When the Gronk is not playing, the TE position is wide open. Of course you could just go the Scott Chandler route and hope he crushes value again, although with an increased price. You could also go chalk and pay up for Greg Olsen.  So, about that Gronk thing…he might actually play this week. I’m staying FAR away from that scenario altogether.

– I’m more inclined to save a little bit of cap space and play some big names that are considerably less expensive than Olsen. I’m looking at Thomas, Walker, and Kelce as some of my top plays at the position.

– If you want to go really cheap then I’m going to roll out Seferian-Jenkins or Will Tye. Tye in particular is of interest to me as he’s become a big play threat up the seam for Eli. Over his last three games he’s averaging a line of 5-67. On a PPR site that blows away value and makes him a great play against a weak Miami secondary.

– Both Griffin and Williams should get a fair amount of opportunity relative to their prices. I wouldn’t play either in a cash game, but both are great punt plays in a GPP if you’re not interested in going the Will Tye route.

My guys: Will Tye, Ben Watson, Travis Kelce, Julius Thomas, Maxx Williams, Greg Olsen


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Philadelphia Eagles Cincinnati Bengals Saint Louis Rams
Kansas City Chiefs Green Bay Packers Jacksonville Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks New York Jets San Francisco 49ers
Denver Broncos Detroit Lions
Carolina Panthers


– There are lots of solid matchups this week for defenses. I’m mostly inclined to stick with safe teams like KC, Denver, Carolina, and Seattle. Of course Philly is always in play and they are a personal favorite of mine. Their price is great and they have so much upside because of their special teams and ability to get to the QB.

– Re: Seattle defense – Jimmy Clausen may be starting for the Ravens. That’s all you need to know.

– The Bengals have been playing really well as of late, but Pittsburgh is a tough matchup and I’m going to probably stay away from this one. The Jets against the Titans are very intriguing. A lot of people are going to shy away because of how well Mariota looked last week, but that was Jacksonville and this is the Jets. Even if Revis doesn’t play they have 3 turnover upside.

– Speaking of Jacksonville, I know they got lit up last week by the Titans, but we have no idea what’s going on with this Indy offense. Luck has an outside shot to play this week, but if he doesn’t we have don’t how effective Matt Hasselbeck is going to be with his injuries. Shoot, I’ll put it in writing…I’m calling a Jacksonville win this week.

– I’m extremely intrigued by the Cleveland-SF matchup. This game will go one of two ways – either it’s going to be a shootout or it’s going to be a mess. I lean towards shootout (in the same vein as Jax-TEN last week), but if it’s a mess then the 49ers D becomes a very interesting punt play.

– See Seattle’s comment? Replace Seattle with Detroit and Clausen with Keenum.

My guys: Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars

Check out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the DraftKings section, but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites.

Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

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