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Daily: Week 14 Walkthrough
Targeting Players on Playoff Contending Teams

The final few weeks of the regular season present new opportunities and pitfalls that all DFS owners need to be aware of as we close out the final quarter of the 2015 NFL regular season.

Teams like the Panthers, who have already clinched a playoff berth and a first round bye, will likely manage their injuries and limit players in hopes of getting healthy for a Super Bowl run, while eliminated teams like the 49ers, Browns, and Ravens will likely give otherwise unknown players opportunities to play with the goal of reviewing their roster for next year.

Playoff contending teams fighting for one of the final tickets to the postseason will remove all of the stops and will do anything to keep their seasons alive, including extending workloads for running backs and leaning on star skill position players.

When building DFS rosters in weeks 15, 16, and especially week 17, it is important to think of the overall outlook of a player’s respective team when deciding where to allocate your salary dollars.

There is no doubt that Cam Newton is a solid play this week against the Giants and Week 16 against the Falcons, but there is the threat of him not playing a full game if the Panthers build a big lead, especially if they fail on their bid for an undefeated season.

Conversely, Calvin Johnson has a few good match ups down the stretch, against the Saints on the road and the 49ers at home, but you must considering the chance of him not playing much if his nagging knee and ankle injuries continue. The Lions have very little to play for, and it would not be surprising to see Megatron limited even if he starts in those games.

My goal with my final three regular season games is to target players who are playing on playoff contenting teams with high-scoring offenses, while mixing in a few cheap injury replacement players to round out my squad.

The logic here is to maximize players who will see heavy workloads and targets, while fading expensive players on teams out of contention who may see their roles diminished. There will no doubt be players who deliver top tier performances on out of contention teams like the Lions, Saints, or Bears, but I would rather mitigate that risk by focusing on teams in contention with everything on the line.

For my lineup review from last week, I want to dissect a losing roster from a $3 multiplier cash game on DraftKings. This is an example of a team with solid production from all players, but one that did not cash because of a late minute push by Odell Beckham Jr. on Monday Night Football.

Week 14 DraftKings Lineup

Quarterback: Tyrod Taylor
DraftKings Points: 19.02
Grade: B-

Taylor entered the game against the Eagles with back-to-back 27-plus point games against the Chiefs and Texans - two impressive defenses who have been playing well. At only $5400, Taylor appeared to be a nice value play against an Eagles team that doesn’t have a great defense, and in game in which I thought both teams would move the ball and score.

I decided to use a Bills stack based on this logic, and all three of the players I picked gave me solid production for a cash game. But Taylor failing to get the 20-25 points I anticipated was somewhat of a disappointment, especially considering Mike Gillislee vultured a rushing touchdown from Taylor and McCoy in the second half.

Running Backs: LeSean McCoy & Doug Martin
Combined DraftKings Points: 30.4
Grade: C+

Like many DFS players, I bought into the revenge game for McCoy as he played against Chip Kelly for the first time since the trade that brought him to Buffalo last season. Rex Ryan is the type of coach to stick it to other players and coaches, so it seemed like a logical play to start a disgruntled McCoy against his old team. McCoy had a nice game with 110 total yards and four receptions, but missing out on Gillislee’s rushing touchdown killed my chances of cashing, as I ended up missing the top 25 in the contest by only 6 points.

Doug Martin against the Saints at home had the makings of a huge game, considering the Saints have been terrible defensively this season and Martin has scored double digit fantasy points in four straight games. The muscle hamster did not disappoint with 81 yards and a touchdown. However, I would have liked to have seen more than the 11 carries he received.

Wide Receivers: Antonio Brown, Sammy Watkins & Tyler Lockett
Combined DraftKings Points: 66.3
Grade: B+

My wide receiving corps came through for me once again this week, as Waktins, Brown and Lockett achieved my goal of a 20-point average from the position. But it didn’t turn out quite like I anticipated, and my most expensive player Brown, gave me the least amount of production despite having a choice match up against an injury depleted Bengals team.

The injury to Andy Dalton and the subsequent pick-six by the Steelers defense against AJ McCarron killed the chance of Brown having a big performance, as Pittsburgh ran away with the game. It also did not help that DeAngelo Williams scored two rushing touchdowns and Big Ben failed to throw a TD for the first time in five games.

The home run play of Tyler Lockett against the hapless Ravens saved my butt this week, as the speedster rookie from Kansas State posted 104 yards and two touchdowns. With an ownership percentage of less than 2%, I was a bit surprised that more owners did not invest in Lockett considering the Ravens had been horrid against the pass. Keep that in mind this week with the Chiefs and Jeremy Maclin.

Tight End: Julius Thomas
DraftKings Points: 16.4
Grade: A

With a touchdown now in each of his last four games and a salary of only $4500, Julius Thomas continues to be one of the best tight end values on DraftKings and someone who has paid great dividends for me over the past month.

Thomas is a red zone beast and Blake Bortles appears to have found a chemistry with his new tight end. I would be shocked to see that streak end this week with the Falcons coming to town, the same team that just gave up 38 points to the Panthers.

If you take one bit of advice from this column this week, be sure to play Thomas against Atlanta.

Flex: Jarvis Landry
DraftKings Points: 20.9
Grade: A

I try to target high-volume wide receivers for my flex position, and with a decent chunk of my salary cap remaining I decided to pull the trigger on Landry. The thought here was I figured Landry would bounce back from his two catch stinker against the Ravens and get tons of work in a game against his former LSU teammate OBJ.

Both guesses turned out to be correct as Landry caught 11 balls for 99 yards. However, he did fail to reach the end zone and made a costly penalty in the fourth quarter. Overall, 20.9 points from your flex deserves an A.

Defense: Chiefs
DraftKings Points 14
Grade: A

I was really hoping for a defensive touchdown from the Chiefs in what had the makings of an ugly, muddy day at Arrowhead. Although KC did not give me that TD, they did sack Philip Rivers five times and posted an interception, while holding the Chargers to only three points.


I would give myself an overall grade of a B for this lineup, considering the fact that I posted double digits from all nine positions, including 30 points from my home run pick Tyler Lockett. But the truth is this lineup was an F because I missed cashing by six points, and there are no payouts for close calls.