While most daily fantasy players are more familiar with the usual salary-cap structure, DraftKings also has tournaments in a pick’em style: There are no player salaries, and you simply select one player across the eight tiers.
This style of game allows you to quickly create lineups because you don’t have to spend time weighing cap costs against points. Just choose the best player. For FantasyLabs readers, our Models — powered by Sean Koerner’s No. 1 in-season rankings — are a massive edge in choosing the best players and making weekly profits in Tiers.
Here’s a breakdown of the DraftKings Tiers slate for Week 14 of the NFL season.
Note that DraftKings has changed Tiers this week and that each tier is comprised of the most fantasy-relevant players in a given game. Expect a plethora of quarterbacks with receivers, running backs and tight ends used as pivots for tournament lineups.
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Tier 1: Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-4.5), 51.5 Over/Under
Aaron Rodgers leads Tier 1 in floor, mean and ceiling projections, per our Models. The injury-plagued Falcons defense is giving up the second-most points to quarterbacks this season. Meanwhile, Matt Ryan will face a Packers defense that’s giving up the 11th-fewest points to passers and led by Pro Football Focus’ 13th-ranked corner, Jaire Alexander.
Aaron Jones is a potential leverage play with Rodgers commanding most of Tier 1’s ownership. Jones has hit double-digit carries in six consecutive games as well as being targeted at least four times in his past five outings. The Falcons have allowed the most receptions to running backs this season, which should only inflate Jones’ consistent receiving-game usage.
Tier 2: Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns (PK), 47.5 O/U
The easy play here is Cam Newton. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in every game but the Panthers’ season-opener, and after rushing just twice in back-to-back games, he’s carried the ball 14 times in his two previous matchups. Newton has hit 20 points in all but three games this season and our Models like him to do it again this week.
This game is pick’em as of writing (see live odds here), which sets up Nick Chubb to stay involved for Cleveland. He’s also shown game-breaking speed: Despite being 23rd in carries, he has the seventh-most runs of 20 or more yards. Chubb is a tournament-only pivot from Newton.
Tier 3: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5), 53 O/U
Patrick Mahomes is the obvious play when talking about Kansas City. He leads all fantasy players with 31 points per game and is averaging 3.4 passing touchdowns, which puts him on pace for 54.7 touchdowns — a coin-flip to set the single-season record. Add in 238 rushing yards and two scores, and he’s a no-brainer against any defense.
The only viable tournament-pivots are his receiving options. Last week, Travis Kelce outscored Mahomes with a 12-168-2 stat line against the Raiders. The Ravens are giving up the second-fewest yards and third-fewest touchdowns through the air, but attacking them with a tight end has been viable. They allow the 17th-most points to tight ends.
Tier 4: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-4.5), 50 O/U
Deshaun Watson has topped 25 attempts once in his past seven games and hasn’t hit 250 yards over that span. While this could be the product of a conservative game plan, it’s more likely the result of Houston allowing 15.9 points per game during that timeframe. Indianapolis scores 27.1 points per game and dropped 34 in the last matchup against Houston — a game in which Watson attempted 42 passes. Volume won’t be a problem for Watson this week.
If Watson is throwing a lot, expect DeAndre Hopkins to be catching a lot. His scoring has a .55 correlation with Watson’s, and Hopkins is dominating receiving work in Houston this season:
- 44%market share of Air Yards (2nd in the NFL)
- 31% target share (1st)
Hopkins’ volume makes him one of the best non-quarterbacks for cash or tournament games.
Tier 5: New Orleans Saints (-10) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 54.5 O/U
Drew Brees is putting together the best performance of his career. His 75.5% completion percentage is pacing to set the NFL record, but he hasn’t been any more conservative. Brees’ 9.7 average yards per attempt and 7.9% touchdown rate are also career highs. Brees has the highest floor in Tier 5 this week.
Alvin Kamara has given up his lucrative volume since the return of Mark Ingram this season:
- Kamara without Ingram (four games): 14 carries per game, 11.8 targets
- Kamara with Ingram (eight games): 13.1 carries, 4.6 targets
Even with less volume, Kamara’s scoring efficiency — 6.8% rushing touchdown rate and 4.8% target touchdown rate — give him a high weekly ceiling. Tampa Bay allows the highest scoring rate on the ground and the seventh-highest through the air (per our Matchups Tool), pushing Kamara to the highest ceiling projection in Tier 5.
Tier 6: New England Patriots (-7.5) at Miami Dolphins, 48 O/U
Despite the revolving door of skill-players for the Patriots, James White has consistently scored regardless of who was active.
The year – 2018. The James White – still very good no matter who is active for the Patriots pic.twitter.com/XWpJ9c5KwO
— Kyle Dvorchak (@ffkylethekid) December 6, 2018
White leads all backs with 336 air yards and 105 targets this season.
Sony Michel is a pivot off the Patriots passing gaming entirely and offers serious touchdown upside. His 30 red-zone carries are seventh in the league and his 11 carries inside the 5-yard line are fourth. Those have all come in just eight games. Michel’s share of the red-zone work makes him a sneaky tournament option.
Tier 7: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-3), 44.5 O/U
Low totals aren’t the typical recipe for success for quarterbacks, but Dak Prescott has historically been unaffected by low totals. His points per game (18.7) is slightly higher in games with totals lower than 46.5 points compared to his career average (18.1) according to our Trends Tool.
Dak is the safest play for cash games.
Since acquiring Golden Tate, Zach Ertz owns 24% of the Eagles targets. Tate is second with 18% and no Eagles receiver is has half as many fantasy points. Ertz also leads all tight ends with 120 targets this season. He’s the best non-quarterback option in this matchup.
Tier 8: Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Chicago Bears, 51.5 O/U
Mitchell Trubisky has the highest projection of any Tier 8 player with a large portion of that projection coming from his rushing ability. He ranks third among passers with 36.3 rushing yards per game and has added three scores on the ground. He’s also throwing touchdowns at a steep rate (6.2%), giving him multiple avenues to score.
Jared Goff owns the highest ceiling projection by virtue of playing on the best offense in the NFL. Of the numerous red-zone touches in this offense, Goff has 78 passing, good for second in the league, and an additional six on the ground. He’s been involved in 52.8% of the Rams red-zone touches this season. The Rams also have an implied team total of 27.75 points.
With Todd Gurley unavailable in Tier 8, Goff is the best way to get a piece of the Rams.
Pictured: Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports