Even in a horrible down week, Christian McCaffrey still scored 13.7 points on FanDuel last week. Players such as McCaffrey are so expensive because of that floor, along with the ceiling we know they are capable of. Affording all those best plays on FanDuel’s Week 14 DFS slate won’t be easy, and the best way to jam them in is by identifying “lineup makers.” These cheap DFS options give us the lineup flexibility necessary to afford the best plays on the slate. Here are some lineup makers this week based on advanced stats, metrics and analytic player profiles.
Patrick Laird, RB: $5500
Kalen Ballage averaged a brutal 1.8 yards per carry, 2.2 yards per touch and dropped four passes on his 24 targets. Yet the Dolphins still elected to feature him as their workhorse back. Not that players being injured is ever good, but Ballage’s Achilles injury finally opens the door for anyone else in that backfield.
The one that should get the first crack is Patrick Laird. Dubbed “Our Laird and Savior” by some in the community, the undrafted running back out of California is a pass-catching savant in college, hauling in 96 balls in his final two seasons with a 14.9 percent (94th-percentile among qualified running backs) College Target Share. He also ran for 2,088 yards and scored 18 touchdowns in those two years, showing he has an all-purpose skillset.
Check out Patrick Laird on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Laird will see a Jets defense that is strong against the run but has allowed the third-most receptions to running backs. He’s not exactly a cash game-viable play, but he’ll be able to flash his best attributes and has solid touchdown equity in a surprisingly potent Dolphins offense.
Alexander Mattison, RB: $5100
If Dalvin Cook were to miss Sunday’s game with his shoulder issue, Alexander Mattison would receive the lock button. Looking at his advanced stats, metrics and analytics profile, he would slide directly into Cook’s high-volume role.
Mattison doesn’t have incredible top-end speed, so he wouldn’t rip off the massive gains that Cook makes his bacon on. He still has a 123.0 (75th-percentile) Burst Score and excellent size for breaking tackles. He also has sneaky pass-catching upside, posting a 7.8 percent (56th-percentile) College Target Share at Boise State. If Cook misses time, Mattison will be the chalk.
Tyrell Williams, WR: $5700
After catching a touchdown in each of his first five games, Tyrell Williams has cooled off considerably. He averaged six targets per game over that span but has only hit six targets in one game since then. Williams should get a discount, with those games featuring Casey Hayward, Darius Slay and other tough secondaries.
Luckily, he has a great matchup with a Titans secondary sans Malcolm Butler. Tye Smith will be in his place on the outside. He’s a former fifth-round pick out of Towson that the Titans dusted off last week. Smith has an 88.3 (31st-percentile) Speed Score, meaning “The Gazelle” will burn right by him with his 104.1 (81st-percentile) Speed Score. Take advantage of this speed mismatch.
John Ross, WR: $5500
Speaking of a speed mismatch, John Ross finally makes his return from IR. He flashed slate-breaking ability with two games over 100 yards and a score in the first two weeks. With Andy Dalton back under center, Ross can easily break the slate again.
He’s a riskier option, but the Browns allowed the second-highest explosive pass rate last week against the Steelers, per Sharp Football. One explosive play from Ross is all it takes.
Parris Campbell, WR: $4800
Parris Campbell was finally getting involved in the offense prior to his hand injury, hauling in all five of his targets for 53 yards in Week 9. After logging full practices all week, the Colts will be getting their dynamic rookie back when they desperately need him.
Campbell couldn’t be coming into a better matchup, with the Buccaneers having allowed the most yards and receptions to wide receivers on the season. He was also the primary slot receiver earlier this season, meaning he’ll likely reclaim that role. That would match Campbell up with M.J. Stewart, a second-year cornerback out of North Carolina. Stewart ran a 4.54 at the Combine, meaning Campbell’s 4.31 speed creates a matchup challenge. Expect the Colts coaches to get their rookie involved early and often in this dream spot.
Vance McDonald, TE: $5800
The Cardinals have allowed the most yards and touchdowns to tight ends by a wide margin. And when Tyler Higbee drops a career game on them, we know we need to jam in anyone facing them. Vance McDonald has largely been a disappointment this season, but a career game would go a long way. He hasn’t exceeded 40 yards this season, so he’s far from a safe play. We still shouldn’t fade someone seeing a 90 percent Snap Share in the best possible matchup.
O.J. Howard, TE: $5400
O.J. Howard is another disappointing tight end that seems to take one step forward and two steps back every week. He crushed the Cardinals in Week 10 and was subsequently benched in Week 11 for a horrible dropped ball.
His Snap Share crept back up to 81.2-percent last week, indicating he’s back in the good graces of the short-tempered Bruce Arians. Howard also caught five of his six targets for 61 yards, showing Jameis Winston still doesn’t mind looking his way.
With 97th-percentile speed and agility, Howard has the athleticism that can turn a few targets into a massive fantasy day. He makes for a great and affordable contrarian TE play.