In this article, I’ll be using various FantasyLabs tools and other industry metrics to break down the slate.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Patrick Mahomes is the top option on this Saturday’s two-game slate. He’s somewhat cooled off from his mid-season stretch, where he had at least 30 DraftKings points in five of six games from Week 5-11. He’s averaged 26.17 DraftKings points per game in the six games since, with a 35.74-point performance against Houston in Week 15.
The matchup is easy for Mahomes, as the Raiders have allowed the seventh-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks on the year. The matchup is clearly easy, but surprisingly, the other three defenses playing on Saturday have given up more DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks than Las Vegas.
Kansas City still has a lot of incentive to play for here, as they want to try to get home field advantage for the AFC playoffs. Mahomes also needs 429 yards passing to set the all-time record for passing yardage. It’s unlikely he gets it here, but if the game turns into a shootout, it’ll certainly be on Kansas City’s mind.
Mahomes is expensive, but he has a near five-point higher median projection and six-point higher ceiling projection than the next closest quarterback.
Mahomes may be the top dog, but Trevor Lawrence actually grades out as the top quarterback in our Pro Models for this weekend. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus and is tied for the top spot in Points/Salary.
He wasn’t needed much in last week’s drubbing of the Houston Texans, as he attempted merely 21 passes for 152 yards. It was his worst fantasy performance of the season, totaling merely 5.48 DraftKings points. He was solid in a difficult performance in the rain two weeks ago in New York, and he exploded in Weeks 14-15 against Tennessee and Dallas for 36.42 and 31.82 DraftKings points.
The Titans are an absolute pass funnel, facing a league-high 39.8 pass attempts per game and allowing the third-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks. He had season-highs in passing yardage and DraftKings points when these teams met in Week 14.
This game does have nearly a two-touchdown lower total, which is worth noting with just two games on the slate.
Jarrett Stidham exploded onto the scene last week, completing 67.6% of his passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns while going toe-to-toe with one of the top defenses in the league. He was absolutely chucking it and wasn’t afraid of the moment. His 10.7 yards per pass attempt led all quarterbacks in Week 17. He also attempted 23.5% of his passes 20 or more yards downfield, which was the highest rate in the league. The Chiefs have allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks, and Stidham has some talented pass-catchers. He is a good bet to pay off his price tag at a cheap salary.
Josh Dobbs rounds out the quarterback position on Saturday. He made his first career start on Thursday, completing 51.3% of his passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. The Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks, and with Dobbs likely going unowned in just a two-game slate, he could be an appealing tournament target.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
Derrick Henry didn’t play last week in a meaningless game against Dallas. He’s rushed for 100+ yards in three straight games and has 100+ scrimmage yards in eleven of his last thirteen games. As long as the game is within reach, he has a rock-solid workload of about 20 carries and a handful of targets.
He ran well against this same Jaguars’ defense in Week 14, carrying the ball 17 times for 121 yards and a touchdown. and catching three of five targets for 34 yards. He did lose two fumbles in that game, which proved to be costly for Tennessee.
The matchup is middling, as the Jags are allowing merely 3.98 yards per carry to opposing backs. They have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns to opposing RBs, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. Henry is second in Points/Salary and third in Projected Plus/Minus at the RB position and looks like a strong bet to be the focal point of Tennessee’s offensive attack once again.
Travis Etienne Jr. is by far the top back in our Pro Models for this weekend. He laps the position in Points/Salary and Projected Plus/Minus. He did a lot of damage on limited touches last week against Houston. He carried the ball nine times for 108 yards and a touchdown and caught three balls for 32 yards. His 26.0 DraftKings points were his third-highest mark of the season, despite being his second-lowest touch count since Week 7.
Etienne couldn’t do much when these teams matched up in Week 14, carrying the ball 17 times for just 32 yards. Tennessee boasts one of the best run defenses in the league, so it’s hard to expect Etienne to be very efficient. They’re allowing just 3.42 yards per carry to opposing backs and the fifth-fewest DraftKings points per game.
He’s an explosive back who can bust big plays, but he comes with the toughest matchup of the weekend.
Josh Jacobs is banged up heading to this weekend, as he’s dealing with hip, oblique, and personal reasons that kept him out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Jacobs posted 193 total yards and a touchdown when these teams last met, and he has a comfortable in the rushing yardage race. Las Vegas may try to increase his lead to secure the crown for him if he is able to go.
Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco get a tasty matchup with Las Vegas, as they’ve allowed the fifth-most yards per carry to opposing backs over the past five weeks at 5.15 yards. Pacheco seems to take the bulk of the early-down work, but McKinnon sees usage in the passing game and has become a solid target around the goal line. Pacheco ran in a score last week, while McKinnon caught two touchdowns.
McKinnon has caught a touchdown in five straight games, totaling seven receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in that span.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
Davante Adams is clearly the top receiver on Saturday and is coming off of a great performance in Jarrett Stidham’s first start. Adams caught seven of eleven targets for 153 yards and two touchdowns. His 37.3 DraftKings points marked his third-highest-scoring game of the year and his seventh time topping 30 DraftKings points.
Adams ravaged Kansas City on limited usage the last time these teams played. He saw seven targets, catching three balls for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas City has struggled to defend opposing top options all year, giving up the second-most DraftKings points to opposing WR1s.
We know Stidham isn’t afraid to chuck it, and without much to play for here, Las Vegas will likely keep their foot on the pedal to try and screw up the postseason conditions for their division rival. Stidham will likely look Adams’ way a ton on Saturday like he did last week.
Adams laps the position in ceiling projection, as he has a ceiling this weekend that can really separate from the rest of the position.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is coming off of a tough performance against Denver, catching two of three targets for 21 yards. He ran a route on just 71.1% of dropbacks, which was his lowest rate in a game since returning from his concussion in Week 12. Hopefully, we can get Smith-Schuster back to his Week 14-15 usage, where he saw eleven and ten targets and totaled 40.2 DraftKings points.
The Raiders are the perfect matchup for him, as they’ve allowed the fourth-most yards per target to opposing slot receivers at 10.4 yards. They’ve also allowed a league-high touchdown rate to slot receivers at 8.5%. He leads the position in Projected Plus/Minus and Points/Salary.
Davante Adams may have the highest ceiling, but Christian Kirk has flashed some big games at times this year. He’s posted 20.7, 25.8, 21.6, and 34.5 DraftKings points in different spots this season. The Titans’ pass defense has struggled, but the slot is where they’ve held up the most. Tennessee is allowing merely 11.6 yards per catch and a 3.4% touchdown rate to slot receivers. He caught five balls for 45 yards when these teams matched up last.
Zay Jones has established himself in this offense as of late, and he had a great performance when these teams played a few weeks ago. He caught eight of twelve targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also runs the majority of his routes on the outside, which is where Tennessee is the weakest on defense. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to outside receivers.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been quiet for Kansas City, but he led the team in routes run per dropback last week at 86.7%. He saw seven targets, catching two balls for 28 yards. One of MVS’ best games of the season came when these teams played in Week 5, where he caught six of eight targets for 90 yards.
Treylon Burks actually performed well with Josh Dobbs under center, catching four of eight targets for 66 yards. He also added a 20-yard run, giving himself a solid box score. As long as Malik Willis isn’t under center, Burks tends to play well. He missed the Week 14 matchup and is faced with a fairly tough matchup. Jacksonville ranks in the bottom six in catch rate allowed and yards per target to boundary receivers while allowing the third-highest touchdown rate, which can bode well for Burks.
If Jarrett Stidham reverts back to a poor QB and looks to his check downs, Hunter Renfrow may not be a bad target. He caught three of four targets for 19 yards last week, and the Chiefs allow the tenth-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers. Stidham showed a tendency to lean on Adams when in trouble, so that may continue and leave Renfrow with limited volume in a low aDOT role.
NFL DFS Tight End Picks
Tight end is a barren position on most weeks, so you’d think a two-game slate would leave us with a bunch of scrubs. However, tight end is one of the strongest positions on the slate, with Travis Kelce leading the way. We haven’t seen many ultra-ceiling performances out of Kelce this year, with just two games topping 30 DraftKings points.
However, he’s consistently posting valuable scores, with 20+ DraftKings points in nine games on the season. His second-best performance came against these Raiders back in Week 5. Kelce caught seven balls for merely 25 yards. Oh, yeah, I forgot to add that he found the endzone four times in that contest.
Kelce’s performance has dipped slightly, but we can still expect him to be efficient on around eight to 10 targets, with multi-touchdown upside. Kansas City has to keep its foot on the gas pedal, as they want to secure a home-field advantage in the AFC. If this game stays close, Mahomes will likely lean on his top target.
Kelce leads the position in Projected Plus/Minus and Points/Salary.
Evan Engram wasn’t needed much last week, as Jacksonville barely threw the ball against Houston. He’s carved out a huge role in this offense, with 33 targets in Weeks 14-16. He totaled 77.7 DraftKings points in that same span, which is a feat that few can match.
In that span is a 42.2-point performance against Tennessee, who he happens to match up with again this week. He caught 11 of 15 targets for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Those are alpha-WR1 numbers, ladies and gentlemen. The Titans have allowed the fourth-most catches per game and seventh-highest yards per target to opposing tight ends.
Darren Waller has quietly had a solid return to action. He’s posted 13.8, 9.8, and 16.2 DraftKings points in his three games since returning from injury. He’s benefitted from finding the end zone twice, but we can’t forget that we were happily drafting him early in season-long before the year and paying mid-$5,000 price tags for him in DFS. The Chiefs have allowed the fifth-highest touchdown rate to opposing tight ends in the league.
The Titans’ tight end room is ugly, as Austin Hooper continues to out-snap Chigoziem Okonkwo, but Okonkwo outproduces his teammate. Burks’ return to the lineup has clearly affected Okonkwo’s usage, as he’s run a route on 39.3% and 19.0% of dropbacks since Burks returned. He ran a route on at least 55% of dropbacks in all three games with Burks out. Both of these guys had solid days when they last played Jacksonville and are decent cheap options if you want to get off the board at tight end.