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Week 14 DFS Strategy: Deciphering the New Starting Running Landscape

Week 14 DFS Strategy
Ben Roethlisberger Photo Credit : Keith Allison

Last week, my DFS strategy was to get 170 points on Draft Kings. I was close with over 154 points, but a combination of the Packers defense not showing up and new starter Gus Edwards under-performing left me short in getting a win. My Week 14 DFS Strategy will try to capitalize on the other new starting running backs.

It seems like this happens every year. A few running backs go down just before the playoffs and the waiver wire gets as hot as lava.

The first domino was Alex Collins’ injury in Baltimore. Gus Edwards burst out of the gates with back-to-back 100-yard days. Next was Kareem Hunt’s suspension, opening the door for Spencer Ware to regain the starting job in Kansas City. Throughout that time, Josh Adams has taken a stranglehold on the Eagles starting running back job.

Now this week, we have James Conner and Matt Breida both going down with injuries. Jaylen Samuels and Jeff Wilson take over the lead back roles and were the most picked up guys heading into the playoffs.

The beauty of DFS strategy is you do not have to worry about waiver order. You can put up to three of these new starting backs on your team if you want. The problem is deciphering which guys or guys to use.

All of the prices are from Draft Kings and the DFS strategy is geared toward the afternoon slate that has 13 games. All information is up to date as of December 5th.

Week 14 DFS Strategy

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, $6,800

Let’s not get cute here. While it is Big Ben’s second highest price of the season, the Steelers will be coming out firing after letting go of that game Sunday night. With James Conner out, I expect the Steelers to sling it even more against one of the worst pass defenses in the league.

Other Quarterbacks I Like: Jameis Winston, $6,200; Andrew Luck, $5,900; and Josh Rosen, $4,700

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers, $9,300

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,700

I do not care the cost; McCaffrey needs to be on your Draft Kings team in smaller contests. He has at least 32 Fantasy Points in four of the five weeks and is averaging 34.7 points per game over that stretch. He has caught 20 of 21 targets over the past two games and has almost 25 RECEIVING Fantasy Points in both contests.

Of all of the new starting running backs, I am going with Samuels. Jeff Wilson and Spencer Ware have tough matchups, and I’m worried that Edwards will be limited. Samuels is not TE-eligible on Draft Kings, so you don’t have to worry about that brewing controversy. Nevertheless, I think the Steelers will be throwing and scoring a lot against the hapless Raiders’ defense, and someone has to fill in for Conner who has gotten the second most carries inside the 5-yard line in the league.

Other Running Backs I Like: Saquon Barkley, $8,900; Aaron Jones, $7,200; David Johnson, $6,500; Spencer Ware, $5,200; and Gus Edwards, $4,500

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs, $8,000

Tre’quan Smith, New Orleans Saints, $4,500

Zay Jones, Buffalo Bills, $4,200

Hill is a strong contrarian play as he is going against the top pass defense in the league and is coming off his lowest Fantasy output of the season. I think last week was fluky though. There were four other deep balls that were close, including one blatant drop by Hill. Now you’re getting a guy that had 82.2 Fantasy Points over the previous two weeks at his second lowest price point in over a month.

Speaking of buying low, Smith put a big ‘ol goose egg against Dallas last week with only a single target. I’m chalking that up to an elite defensive performance and Smith still working back from an injury. Now that he is 100%, I am willing to bet his output is closer to the 10-catch, 157-yard performance against the Eagles than the Thursday night dud against the Cowboys.

Over the last five weeks, if Zay Jones is not playing a Top-5 defensive secondary he is averaging almost 20 Fantasy Points per game. He is getting the Jets where he had eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown four weeks ago. With Kelvin Benjamin officially released, I think Josh Allen looks Jones’ way often. There is a solid floor of 10 points with a very low price.

Other Wide Receivers I Like: Michael Thomas, $8,600; Julian Edelman, $7,100; Adam Humphries, $4,900; Courtland Sutton, $4,500; and Demaryius Thomas, $4,100

(As I am writing this, Emmanuel Sanders is being helped off the practice field so I would slide Sutton into your lineup if he’s out.)

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, $3,800

This is more of a gut play to coincide with my love for the Steelers’ offense this week. Oakland is allowing the most Fantasy Points per game to opposing tight ends.

Other Tight Ends I Like: Zach Ertz, $6,400; Austin Hooper, $4,300; and Cameron Brate, $3,500

FLEX

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $7,500

In games started by Jameis Winston, Mike Evans is averaging 23 Fantasy Points per game. In other games this year, he is averaging just over 17 Fantasy Points per game. With a juicy, high-scoring matchup with the Saints, I like Evans to get in the end zone. He is quietly having a phenomenal season, on pace for 88 catches, almost 1,500 yards and seven touchdowns.

Defense/Special Teams

Baltimore Ravens, $2,200

Even though it is a tough matchup with the Chiefs, I still like Baltimore this week. Kansas City is just middle of the road in giving the ball away and Mahomes will take a sack or two as he looks for a big play.

Other Defenses I Like: Buffalo Bills, $3,200; New York Giants, $2,500; and New York Jets, $2,400


Hopefully this DFS strategy can help us all win some money!

Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
Michael Tomlin
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