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Mike Krueger | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

DFS Lineup Review - Week 14

The amount of value available at the running back and wide receiver position allowed for multiple avenues of roster construction this week. The most popular being two expensive RBs and one cheap RB which allowed you to pay up for a couple high-priced pass catchers. Paying down at RB at two spots and jamming in three stud receivers was also an option. Both paths were able to be profitable as long as you made the right player choices.

Here’s a look at my cash game Lineup for Fanduel in Week 14.


We had a few more options available at quarterback this week, but just like last week, this position was a relatively easy call for me. Ben Roethlisberger ($8600), Aaron Rodgers ($8100), Deshaun Watson ($7800) and Jameis Winston ($7600) were all in consideration but Winston was always going to be my guy as long as the weather wasnít an issue. Early in the week, rain and wind were forecasted for Sunday in Tampa but we got word early Sunday morning that the weather would vacate the area before gametime.

The Saints defense has been improving over the last few weeks but the pass-happy Tampa offense playing at home was more than enough to justify Winston at his reasonable price tag. Winston struggled with accuracy, completing 18 of 38 attempts but managed a couple short TDs to Cameron Brate and added 47 yards on the ground, good enough to be the 10th ranked fantasy QB on the slate. Quarterback ownership was spread out with Watson (25.6%), Winston (15.0%), Rodgers (13.8%), and Roethlisberger (13.5%) being the most popular in this $10 double up.

Running Back

I wanted to try and jam in as many high-priced running backs as I can, given their high touch and projection total. My initial build of week contained all three of Christian McCaffrey ($9100), Saquon Barkley ($8900) and Ezekiel Elliott ($8800) and even though we had enough value at wide receiver to make it work, I couldnít get comfortable having two cheap wide receivers in my lineup. In the end, I dropped my least favorite RB stud (Barkley) and rolled with Zeke and McCaffrey that latter of which continues to play an insane amount of snaps while seeing his goaline role increase. McCaffrey has now finished as a top five fantasy running back in each of the last three weeks.

We had three value options at the position with Jeff Wilson ($5600), Jaylen Samuels ($4600) and Justin Jackson ($4500) and all expected to see increased roles due to injured starters. Jackson thrived in his complementary role last week (8-63-1; 1-19) and got a value bump thanks to some coach speak from HC Anthony Lynn referencing Austin Ekelerís shaky durability. However, the game environment for Samuels (PIT -10, T: 51.0) and a Sunday morning blurb from Ian Rapoport suggesting Samuels would see the bulk of the carries was enough to lock in his cheap cost and pay up at another receiver spot. While I projected Wilson might see a few more touches than Samuels, I didnít like Wilsonís TD expectation and was more comfortable taking a chance on the Steelers offense against a porous Raiders defense. Ownership seemed to agree as Samuels (78.2%) was the favorite cheap RB play over Jackson (14.7%) and Wilson (13.5%).

Wide Receiver

Paying down at one of the running back spots allowed me to afford two studs at the receiver position. The problem was, we had so many high-priced wide receivers in good spots it was difficult to narrow down the pool. Davante Adams ($8700), Julio Jones ($8400), DeAndre Hopkins ($8600), Keenan Allen ($7900) and Michael Thomas ($8300) were all viable options and I included JuJu Smith-Schuster ($7500) in that group who came at slight discount but had just as much upside and a higher catch percentage than Antonio Brown ($8800).

I had some concerns about Julioís foot given he only practiced on Friday and didnít want to risk re-injury or him playing limited snaps. I also thought Allenís upside was capped given the Chargers were projected to win this game easily and could be pounding the ball on the ground for much of the 4th quarter. That left me with waffling between Adams and Hopkins. I thought the Colts would keep this game close which should keep Watson and the Texans throwing through the entire game and therefore keep Hopkinsí ceiling in play. Results showed that Adams was the better choice and I was grateful to the fantasy gods for Hopkins short TD late in the game.

Chris Godwin ($5600) was too cheap for his talent and role in the offense and in a decent game environment making him the first player I locked into my lineup at the wide receiver position. I projected Courtland Sutton ($5600) to see a few extra targets but heís largely been a disappointment this season making him a riskier play than Godwin at the same price. Odell Beckham Jr. being ruled on Saturday opened up Sterling Shepard ($5200) for consideration but I still favored Godwin on talent and it was easy to see how the Giants offense could sputter in on the road without one of their top weapons facing an above-average Redskins defense.

Tight End

Iím always looking to pay down at tight end and while Travis Kelce ($8000) and Eric Ebron ($6400) were obviously good plays, I felt more comfortable paying for Hopkins and JuJu over Kelce at a similar price. Scrapping the bottom of the barrel, we find Ian Thomas ($4900) who was taking over for the injured Greg Olsen and figured to see five or six targets in a game I thought has some shootout potential. I definitely was on an island with Thomas who was only 0.6 percent owned and ran hot with him seeing 11 targets for 9-77 line. My favorite cheap play of the week was Vance McDonald ($5500) against a Raiders defense that susceptible to tight ends but I couldnít find the salary in my roster construction to make him fit.


Ezekiel Elliott ($8800) was my favorite running back play on the week and my favorite of the Zeke-Barkley-McCaffrey trio. While his 12 receptions were easily a season high, his usage in the passing game has soared this season Ė he now ranks 5th among RBs with 65 receptions. This is why prioritizing these high volume, pass-receiving running backs is such a key, even on half-point PPR sites like Fanduel. Often, itís the optimal way to go from a cash game lineup construction perspective.


The Browns ($3200) and Packers ($3500) were my two favorite cheap plays at defense this week but I didnít have the salary to fit Green Bay... or the Giants ($3500) who I didnít give enough consideration to, but were in a great spot facing the Redskins, decimated by injuries and trotting out Mark Sanchez at the quarterback position. The G-Men were the most popular in this double up at 37.1 percent owned.


I felt comfortable with my lineup construction path of paying down at one running back spot, and was rewarded for taking a stand on JuJu who I felt was just as good a play as the higher-priced receivers. I was fortunate to gain an advantage on the field with my cheap tight end play which mitigated the underperformance of Hopkins relative to the other wide receiver and tight end plays in his price range (Keenan, Kelce, Adams). Not playing Barkley could have bit me in the butt had Zeke not posted a monster game in the afternoon (without a TD) but thankfully the Eagles-Cowboys put on a 4th quarter and overtime show that landed me easily above the cash line.

On to Week 15…