Exclamation Point! - Yahoo DFS: Week 14

A dive into some of the top cash and tournament picks for Yahoo DFS.

Welcome to the Exclamation Point!, an analysis of stand-out cash and GPP options for consideration on Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports. Yahoo presents a variety of options to suit the fancy of any DFS player out there, and we are looking to arm you with the information needed to build winning lineups no matter what type of player you are. This article will point out some solid plays at varying salary tiers per position to allow you plenty of flexibility in your lineup construction process. 

QUARTERBACK

Kirk Cousins - $33 (GPP / CASH)

Kirk Cousins has quietly been having a monster season as he ranks third in total passing yards (3,811) and fifth in total fantasy points (241.34). Cousins actually ranks first in fantasy points scored over the past three weeks with a couple of monster games under his belt during that span, including a very happy Thanksgiving with 449 yards and three touchdowns against Dallas. Cousins has had six outings with 300 or more passing yards and two outings with 440 or more passing yards this season. When Cousins has a good matchup on paper, he has been consistently crushing it. This week, albeit he does face an Eagles offense ranked highly against the pass according to DVOA, their variance of DVOA performances is ranked 30th in the league—basically meaning this defense has been highly inconsistent.  Lately however, the Eagles have been consistently bad against opposing quarterbacks, allowing 22 or more fantasy points to the position in five of their last six games—including back to back 300+ passing yard and multi-touchdown outings. The Eagles have been particularly susceptible to the big plays, allowing more passes of 20+ yards (47) than any other team. This matches up perfectly for Cousins, as he completed the third most passes of 20+ yards (52).  Vegas likes the matchup for the Redskins also, as this game opened with an even spread that has since shifted two points in the Redskins’ favor (as of Thursday night). While there are a number of good options near this price tier, lock in some exposure to Cousins in all formats, particularly GPP’s.  

colin kaepernick - $33 (GPP)

Colin Kaepernick will assume his usual spot as a viable GPP target this week, despite being benched mid-way through his Week 13 outing last week in Chicago. There is no doubting that Kaepernick looked horrible last week, but in all fairness, what quarterback would look great in that weather—especially one who has extremely little experience playing in those conditions. In the four games leading up to last week, Kaepernick ranked as the 2nd highest scoring fantasy quarterback with the same yards per pass attempts as Aaron Rodgers during that span. He has looked much better when playing in decent conditions, and his rushing upside remains ever present, as shown two weeks ago, when he amassed 113 rushing yards against Miami. This week, Kaepernick faces a Jets secondary that was shredded by Andrew Luck. The Jets have notably been very tough against the run, but they did allow Andrew Luck to rush for his usual 20+ yards on them last week. The matchup does not come without risk, but Kaepernick has very clear upside in addition to what should be a depressed ownership level due partly to his bad performance last week and his price being elevated over some other very solid options. Roster him in GPP’s, but fade for cash games as there are much safer options available.

Andrew Luck - $31 (CASH / GPP)

Andrew Luck has been on fire as of late, particularly in his last outing on Monday night against the Jets where he threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in just over three quarters of action before the starters were benched. While a blowout of that magnitude may not be expected this week against a much better Houston secondary allowing the 5th least fantasy points per week to quarterbacks, Luck has been playing too well to overlook at this salary. Houston actually has been playing at a much lower level as of late, allowing multiple passing touchdowns each of their last four games after allowing only one multi-touchdown game in their first eight contests. For a quarterback like Luck, who has thrown for multiple touchdowns in six of his last eight games with four 320+ passing yard performances this season and 20+ yard rushing upside, this low salary that was locked in before Monday night puts him in immediate consideration regardless of the matchup. Luck is a solid target in all formats, topping our Footballguys Interactive Value Chart in H-Value this week—however, with multiple other solid options in play at low salary levels, look for some diversification before going all in on Luck against a decent Houston defense.

jameis winston - $31 (cash / GPP)

Jameis Winston has been playing much more consistently in the second half of this season as opposed to his first four games. After throwing eight interceptions and eight touchdowns through his first four games, Winston has now amassed 15 passing touchdowns to only four receptions over his last eight games. Winston’s yards per pass attempt have increased by 2.2 yards in his last four weeks, and his primary target in Mike Evans has been throttling defenses as Winston force feeds him almost every game. The matchup here with the Saints is self-explanatory, as they notably have one of the worst secondary’s in the league. The Saints defensive line however has played very well as of late, allowing only 79 rushing yards per game and 3.4 yards per attempt in their last six games. If Tampa Bay struggles to establish their ground game, Winston will be forced to shoulder the load through the air. We have seen Winston attempt over 50 passes in two of his last three games, and he has already thrown for three or more touchdowns on four occasions this season. With the Saints secondary having allowed multiple passing touchdowns in eight of their 12 games, Winston will be looking at a tall ceiling on Sunday. Winston should be a popular play with his price and matchup, and he is a viable option to target in all formats.

RUNNING BACK

With the top three elite running back options (David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott) all priced equally at $40 this week, we are choosing to highlight a few of the lower priced plays as value options to help fill out your rosters. David Johnson is one of the most matchup-proof backs in the league with more upside than any other option—so if choosing among those, know that Johnson should be the highest owned and safest of the three.

matt forte - $28 (CASH / GPP)

Matt Forte is in a great spot this week against the 49-ers atrocious run defense, ranked at the very bottom of the league in multiple categories against the run. We Jordan Howard rack up 117 rushing yards and three touchdowns against the 49-ers last week as the Bears took a very run-heavy approach. In each of the Jets’ three wins this season, they have had Forte heavily involved to the tune of 30+ touches. A similar run-heavy approach should be expected here in this matchup, especially with rookie quarterback Bryce Petty at the helm. Forte is priced below the elite options, but has a matchup that warrants consideration in all formats.

jeremy hill - $27 (CASH)

Jeremy Hill is another running back in this upper $20 price range in a very good spot this week, facing a Browns defense that ranks just ahead of the 49-ers as one of the worst run defenses in the league. While his price has risen, Hill still looks to be a good bet for solid volume this week in a game that should sport a run-heavy script with the Bengals expected to be leading here. In addition to the spread, the weather could have a positive impact on the run game with the chance of some precipitation and high winds to deal with at game time. One concern with Hill here is a potential loss of volume to Rex Burkhead, who garnered 12 touches to Hill’s 25 last week. Hill got banged up early in the game last week, which was the primary cause of Burkhead’s expanded workload. Despite being banged up however, Hill still touched the ball 25 times against a good rushing defense. This week, Hill’s matchup is almost as good as it can get—look for him to bounce back and have a very solid chance at finding the end zone with around 20 total touches of volume, making Hill an excellent target in all formats—particularly cash games.  

Thomas Rawls - $24 (Cash / GPP)

Thomas Rawls had the break-out game that the fantasy community was looking for last week as he rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns, averaging over seven yards per carry. After a slow start, the Seahawks are now averaging 173 rushing yards per game over their last three games. Despite what their rankings and fantasy points allowed per game says, the Packers have been quite vulnerable to volume running backs this season. They have faced five running back that have received more than 15 carries, each of which managed to score over 14 fantasy points with either at least one touchdown or over 150 yards (in Ezekiel Elliott’s case). If the Packers defense was not banged up enough (nine defensive players on the injury report as of Thursday), they will now be without their top linebacker in Nick Perry, who led the team in sacks and was a key run-stopper. Thomas Rawls should be expected to receive his share of touches here, making him a very nice target in all formats at a salary below a few of the other solid options at the running back position.

Ryan Mathews - $15 (GPP / Cash)

Ryan Mathews is expected to return this week from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since Week 11. In the game before Mathews sustained this injury, he went off for 139 total yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles fed him a vast majority of the touches. In his absence, the Eagles rushing attack has been abysmal with only 134 total rushing yards across the last two games. Mathews will be returning to a premium matchup against a struggling Redskins defense that allowed the 2nd most rushing touchdowns and 4th most fantasy points to running backs this season. While this is far from a safe play due to the inconsistency associated with the Eagles backfield, Mathews has a good deal of upside should he resume starting duties. His ownership should be low as well, making him great target for some GPP exposure at this near-minimum salary.

WIDE RECEIVER

odell beckham jr - $36 (cash / GPP)

Odell Beckham Jr Jr. has been a target monster this season, ranking third overall with 10.4 targets per game. He has been targeted 10 or more times in 10 games this season while amassing a season-high 16 targets last week for 10 receptions and 100 yards. Beckham had a season-high four red zone looks last week also as he leads the team with 17 total. Beckham has scored 15 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, with a couple of 20+ point outings and five total touchdowns across that span. Beckham matches up against a Cowboys secondary allowing the 2nd most receptions (185) to wide receivers this season, ranked 27th in the league against the pass using DVOA. While the Cowboys slow pace of play could be a drawback for Beckham, the Giants are expected to be playing from behind, meaning Beckham should see his fair share of targets yet again. Beckham’s elite talent and volume combined with this favorable matchup put him in focus for cash games. With most of the ownership should be on Mike Evans and Antonio Brown (both of whom are solid options also), Beckham will also an option to gain a slight edge over the field in GPP’s.

doug baldwin - $27 (cash / gpp)

Doug Baldwin has been rock solid for the Seahawks as of last, hauling in at least six receptions in four of his past five games while putting up a 3-touchdown outing and a 100+ yard game across that span. The Seahawks offense was firing on all cylinders against a weak Panthers secondary last week, and the same should be expected here as they face a Packers secondary ranked even worse. The Packers are allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game and the 2nd most touchdowns (18) to wide receivers. Baldwin should be lining up against slot cornerback Micah Hyde, who is ranked as one of the worst cornerbacks in the league according to Pro Football Focus.  Baldwin’s matchup and usage puts him at a high enough floor to consider paying this salary for cash game formats this week.

Deandre Hopkins - $18 (gpp)

DeAndre Hopkins has been a massive disappointment this season, only exceeding 80 yards in one game while going over five receptions in two outings. He has been held back primarily by the extremely poor quarterback play of Brock Osweiler, one of the least efficient and most mistake-prone quarterbacks in the league. However, while there is risk that Hopkins could put up another stinker, there is also reason to believe he should have some nice upside this week in a plus matchup against a Colts secondary ranked 29th against the pass using DVOA. Hopkins achieved his season-high in receptions earlier this season against the Colts, hauling in nine receptions for 71 yards. He should be covered by Vontae Davis this week, who is nowhere near his former status as an elite cornerback. Davis has been beaten time and time again this season, highlighted in Week 12 by Antonio Brown having his way with Davis to the tune of three touchdowns. Hopkins is a risk reward option at an affordable salary level, putting him in play for GPP formats.

desean jackson - $17 (GPP)

DeSean Jackson has been a boom or bust deep threat for his entire career, and he is starting to really develop some chemistry with the long balls in this Redskins offense as of late. Jackson’s only reception last week happened to be a 59-yard deep ball, while one of his four grabs in Week 12 was a 67-yard touchdown. This week Jackson will return to Philadelphia, which will always be a narrative game unless he ends up landing back there next season. The Eagles secondary has been burned by long balls all season, allowing 47 passes to go for 20 or more yards—the highest mark in the league.  While their pass defense overall is ranked well, the Eagles have given up the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Jackson has a favorable matchup against Leodis McKelvin this week, and while he is and always will be a boom or bust option, he stacks up to have a good shot at hitting GPP value at an affordable salary.  

robby anderson - $10 (gpp / cash)

While there is not much of as sample to conduct analysis on here, Robby Anderson sure did look to be a favorite target of Bryce Petty’s last week. Anderson was force fed the ball during Petty’s time under center in that game, and he actually has accounted for 31% of the team’s targets with Petty as the starter. Petty and Anderson have both played together taking second team snaps this season, so it is not crazy to think that there is something to this connection from last week’s game. While Anderson is certainly not an option safe enough for mass cash game exposure, at minimum price, he is a guy who should definitely be on your radar in GPP formats.

TIGHT END

tyler eifert - $23 (GPP / CASH)

Tyler Eifert has managed to find the end zone in back to back games, despite only being targeted twice last week against the Eagles. Eifert has now scored in half of his games since returning from injury this season. With no A.J. Green to contend with, Eifert is the clear favorite for targets in this offense. His scores in the last two weeks have been very impressive considering the fact that the Eagles have allowed the 2nd least fantasy points per game to tight ends, while the Ravens have allowed the 4th least—with both defenses ranking in the top five against the pass using DVOA. Eifert now rolls into a polar opposite matchup, facing the league’s worst ranked defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game and touchdowns (nine) to the tight ends. With his touchdown upside and high floor from this matchup, Eifert should be targeted in all formats, but especially GPP’s.

Zach Ertz - $15 (CASH)

Zach Ertz has been seeing some very encouraging usage in recent weeks, contributing to why he stacks up to be an excellent value this week. Ertz is the third highest scoring fantasy tight end over the last five weeks with at least six targets in each game. Ertz was targeted a season high 15 times last week and how has a touchdown and 11+ targets in two of his last three games. The Redskins defense has been playing very poorly as of late, and has allowed top level tight end production all season as they have allowed the most receptions (80) and the 8th most fantasy points to tight ends. Ertz had a rough outing against the Redskins earlier in the season, but right now, that defense looks nothing like what it did back in Week 6. While Jordan Matthews is expected to return, Ertz still should see plenty of targets in a game that looks to be competitive. His salary is low enough for consideration in all formats, but particularly cash games due to the lack of significant red zone usage we have seen until just recently.

DEFENSE

cincinnati bengals - $16 (CASH / GPP)

The Bengals defense will be one of the most popular cash game options on this slate as they square off against the Browns. Cleveland has been a popular offense to target with defenses this season, and rightfully so as they rank near the bottom of the league in all offensive categories while turning the ball over 20 times (T-6th most) and giving up a league-high 45 sacks. The Bengals defense has been playing consistently well as of late, scoring at least five fantasy points in each of their last four games while allowing less than 20 points per game in their last three outings. They have been forcing turnovers at a very consistent rate also, ranking T-2nd in the league with 14 interception as they have forced at least one pick in each of their last six games with three last week against the Eagles and two interceptions in their last meeting with the Browns. The floor is solid and ceiling is always high against the Browns, making the Bengals a very attractive target in all formats at this medium salary.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS - $11 (CASH)

The Jaguars defense looks to have a solid matchup with the Vikings this week. Despite some poor performances and lack of turnovers forced this season, the Jaguars defense still rank as the 11th overall defense using DVOA, and 10th against the pass. They have talent on that side of the ball, they just have lacked the explosive plays to warrant solid scoring for fantasy purposes. This week, the matchup bodes well as the Jaguars face a Minnesota offense ranked 31st in the league with only 296.8 yards per game. The rushing attack for the Vikings is non-existent as they rank dead last in that category with only 3.0 yards per carry and 72.4 rushing yards per game. This weak rushing attack sets up well for a Jaguars defense that is stronger against the pass. If the Vikings fail to move the ball through the air, the Jaguars could keep the score very low in this game---especially considering the extremely low Vegas point total of sub-40 points. At near the minimum salary, it will not take much for the Jaguars to pay off their salary, making them an excellent cash game punt option. They do not have a ton of upside, so look for more of a playmaking defense to get exposure to for tournament formats.


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