Week 14 Daily Fantasy Football: Building the Optimal Lineup

The logic was good when we pieced together our daily fantasy football optimal lineup last week. Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks were at home, Dion Lewis was cheap and Julio Jones was way too cheap to bypass.

A lot of that backfired, however, as Brees was awful (three picks), Dion Lewis wasn’t involved enough and value picks like Carlos Hyde and Will Fuller didn’t pan out.

Had Brees been the money DFS performer he normally is at home (averaging over 28 fantasy points per game at the Superdome), we could have been in amazing shape. Our team defense (Buccaneers) got us 12 fantasy points, Jones topped 21, Cooks was fine with 14 and we nailed it with Travis Kelce and Golden Tate.

It took the most illogical circumstance (Brees cratering at home against the Lions) to ruin our optimal lineup. Such is life in daily fantasy football.

We won’t that thwart us, however, as last week was a down week in the NFL DFS scene, overall, and week 14 offers a lot of promise. Let’s see which studs and sleepers mix together to form our favorite NFL DFS lineup this week:

QB: Eli Manning – Giants ($5.5k)

Eli Manning laid an egg last week (13 fantasy points), but his chances look good to show up at home in a huge Sunday Night Football clash with the Cowboys.

Not only did Manning torched the ‘Boys back in week one (3 touchdowns), but he also tends to be far better (averaging over 20 fantasy points per game) on his own field.

This happens to be a massive game for the G-Men, too, while Dallas has been regressing mightily on defense. Over their last four contests, the Cowboys have fallen to 29th in the league against fantasy quarterbacks. If that trend continues, you won’t be sad to have rostered Manning as week 14 main slates draw to a close.

RB: Devonta Freeman – Falcons ($6.1k)

Freeman is among our favorite week 14 daily fantasy football value picks. He’s on the road, but he draws a very favorable matchup with a struggling Rams defense that has given up the second most fantasy points to running backs over the last four weeks. On top of that, he’s flat-out producing at high level right now, pitching in 21 and 26 fantasy points over his last two contests.

The Falcons need to win this week to keep pace with the Buccaneers in the NFC South, and odds are Devonta Freeman will have something to do with a big road win.

RB: David Johnson – Cardinals ($9.8k)

If this is the week David Johnson finally decides to stop being elite, then so be it. It’s just not likely, though, as the Cardinals have ridden him all year and he’s responded with insane production.

Johnson has safely topped 30+ fantasy points in three straight contests and hasn’t dipped below 15 fantasy points at any time in 2016. On top of that, Arizona has to keep winning as they take on a regressing Miami defense that has ranked just 24th against fantasy rushers over their last four games.

Paying up for David Johnson doesn’t feel great at first glance, but few players can do what he can do. If he can top 30 fantasy points again, he’ll be well worth the price.

WR: Odell Beckham Jr. – Giants ($8.5k)

Beckham looks like a ton of fun this week and profiles as our top elite fantasy receiver as he battles the Cowboys at home. Beckham was just OK (11 fantasy points) in week one versus the Cowboys, but he’s been amazing every since and comes into the week red hot (23 and 27 fantasy points in his last two games).

It’s always possible the Cowboys sell out to limit Beckham, but he’ll be on a massive stage on Sunday Night Football. Anytime that is the case, there is a chance we get fireworks. He’s an excellent stack with Manning and also has a positive matchup, with Dallas ranking just 28th against wide receivers over their last four games.

WR: Pierre Garcon – Redskins ($4.2k)

Garson is just a model of consistency, as he’s produced a solid 12 fantasy points per game all year. He can lay an egg like anyone else, but odds are he cracks at least 10 fantasy points for us in a very positive matchup against the Eagles.

This is a huge game for Washington, who tend to do their most damage through the air, and could need Garcon’s services with Philly trying to take deep threat DeSean Jackson out of the equation. Garcon floats a little below the radar compared to more popular plays like D-Jax and Jamison Crowder, and with star tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder) not 100%, we should see him enjoy a solid role (9 targets last week).

In addition, the Eagles have turned into a pretty sloppy defense through the air, and over the last four weeks they’re just the 29th best defense against fantasy receivers.

WR: Robby Anderson – Jets ($3k)

The Jets are awful and Anderson is far from an elite wide receiver, but he might be too good of a bargain to by pass this week. Why? Because he’ll be facing a 49ers team that might even be worse than his Jets and they happen to rank dead last against wide receivers on the year.

Everyone will be flocking to use Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa with this matchup, but Anderson is the one who drew an insane 12 targets last week. He and Bryce Petty have some chemistry from operating together as fellow third stringers, so there might be something there to exploit. On top of that, New York could be trailing in this one, so they may have to throw quite a bit.

TE: Jimmy Graham – Seahawks ($5.5k)

Paying up for tight end isn’t a necessity, but the elite tight ends have been weeded out this week due to big injures, while Travis Kelce already played on Thursday night.

That means if you don’t nail a sweet value play at tight end, you might be in serious trouble. That is one huge reason why Graham (who is actually a mild discount at this price) could pay off, especially since he’s facing a weak Packers defense.

Green Bay has been bad all year, and they’ve specifically had a tough time covering tight ends. The Packers rank just 27th against tight ends in 2016 and have even gotten worse lately, as they’re currently the second worst defense against the position of the last four weeks.

FLEX: Jeremy Hill – Bengals ($5.8k)

Hill is a roll of the dice and there’s no getting around it, but he actually could be one of the top NFL DFS plays this week for several reasons. Ownership might be the biggest one, as his price does not really match up with his recent production and his actual performance lately (1.6 yards per carry over his last two games) will leave many thinking twice about him.

A closer look at his last two games shows really tough matchups against a #1 ranked Ravens run defense, as well as a solid Philly run defense that ranks 11th against running backs over the last four weeks (8th on the year).

Everything could break Hill’s way in week 14, however, as his high level role remains intact (23 carries last week) and he goes up against a brutal Browns defense that has ranked 21st against running backs over their last four games and 31st against runners on the year.

Hill is usually good for at least 10+ fantasy points due to sheer volume and scoring potential, but this week he could be in for one of his coined three-score days. Banking on that is a reach, but the fantasy gods could certainly shine down on him positively this week.

DEF: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2.4k)

It’s going to be very difficult to go against the Bucs this week, as they’ve been red hot with 12+ fantasy points in three of their last four games and will also be at home.

Like the Falcons, Tampa Bay needs to keep winning to keep pace atop the NFC South and they’ll get a New Orleans offense that struggled last week and historically is not great on the road. That could easily change this week, but given how active and aggressive this Bucs defense has been, this is a risk worth taking.

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