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NFL DFS Week 14 Picks: Bargain Buys and Spend-Up Studs

Sports Illustrated 12/9/2022 Jennifer Piacenti

Solid DFS picks at three different price levels, including a mid-tier wide receiver that offers great value.

If you’re looking to get in on the DFS main slate for Sunday, here are some players to target at each salary level. With six teams on bye, there will be less diversity in lineups, so don’t be afraid to make a few dart throws. I have included one mid-tier WR below that I think will be under-utilized this week.

The highest game total of the week is for the Vikings-Lions game, and you will see many players from that game featured here as they also happen to present a lot of value. The second-highest game total of the week is the Dolphins-Chargers matchup. I didn’t single out any of those players here because I felt the salary value wasn’t quite strong enough. However, Tyreek Hill and Austin Ekeler are always good spend-up options, and Raheem Mostert could be worth a value play as well.

Let’s jump in.

NFL DFS Top-Tier Plays

Quarterback

Jalen Hurts, EaglesHurts has earned more DFS points than any other QB this year and this week he’s facing the Giants, who are down multiple defensive players including CB Adoree Jackson. Not only that, but the Giants have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards this year, while Hurts has rushed for the third-most among QBs (609).

Running Back

Saquon Barkley, Giants

The Eagles have been more generous vs. the run as of late, and Barkley is also a threat in the passing game. The Giants will have to use their best weapon, and Barkley should have plenty of volume to log a good day even vs. a strong Eagles defense. The Eagles have allowed an average of one rushing TD per game across the last four.

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Wide Receiver

Justin Jefferson, VikingsJustin Jefferson is going to go off vs. a Lions defense that is allowing an average of 41 DFS points per game to opposing wideouts. It’s going to be hard to not have Jefferson in your lineups for cash games. He’s averaging 106 yards per game (second in the NFL) with a 39.3% share of the team’s targeted air yards (third).

Tight End

T.J. Hockenson, LionsHockenson should also be in play, and he’s not the most pricey option, either, even though he appears in this top-tier section. The Lions are allowing the fifth-most DFS points to tight ends this year, and Hockenson is tied with Travis Kelce for the most targets at the position (31) across the last eight weeks. Plus, it’s a revenge game narrative! Last week our revenge game narrative paid off big-time with A.J. Brown.

NFL DFS Mid-Tier Plays

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins, VikingsKirk Cousins is a value this week vs. a Detroit defense that has allowed an average of 25.2 DFS points to opposing QBs this year. That’s the most allowed to the position. Of course, many of those points come from QBs also being able to attack on the ground, which isn’t Cousins’s game, but neither Justin Fields nor Daniel Jones (both of whom had big days on the ground vs. Detroit) have a weapon anything like Justin Jefferson. The Lions have allowed 252 passing yards per game and 19 passing touchdowns this year.

Running Back

Tony Pollard, CowboysPollard vs. the Houston run defense? Yes, please. Though Houston has actually been better of late–even limiting Nick Chubb to only 80 yards in Week 13–the Texans still have allowed the most rushing yards this year and an average of 30 DFS points per game to opposing running backs. They are also allowing 5.12 yards per carry (31st) and they have allowed a league-leading 14 rushing TDs. Pollard has not seen fewer than 12 carries since Week 6, and he’s averaging a league-best 5.72 yards per carry among RBs with more than 100 attempts.

Wide Receiver

Christian Kirk, Jaguars Kirk’s matchup this week is ideal vs. a Titans defense that has allowed the most touchdowns and the second-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts. Kirk’s 99 targets this year rank 11th in the NFL.

Carolina’s DJ Moore has seen his season revived since Sam Darnold regained the starting QB job. Jim Dedmon/IUSA Today Sports © Provided by Sports Illustrated Carolina’s DJ Moore has seen his season revived since Sam Darnold regained the starting QB job. Jim Dedmon/IUSA Today Sports

DJ Moore, Panthers Sam Darnold is back, and so is D.J. Moore! One thing Darnold understands that Baker Mayfield doesn’t is it’s smart to get the ball to the best player. On the surface, this may not look like a good matchup, but that is exactly why it is a mid-tier sneaky play. Moore leads the NFL with a massive 40.5% share of the team’s targeted air yards, and, the Seahawks have allowed 38.8 points to opposing wideouts, including a 72% catch rate and 9.05 yards per target, across the past three games.

Tight End

Greg Dulcich, Broncos Dulcich is Russell Wilson’s new favorite target, and that’s the only thing this play is about. Dulcich has the fifth-most receiving yards at the position since making his debut in Week 5, but I’m more likely to spend down this week at the position.

NFL DFS Bargain-Tier Plays

Quarterback

Jared Goff, LionsThe highest game total of the week and the team that has allowed the most passing yards to opposing QBs? Sign me up for this bargain salary! Here’s an interesting stat: Only two quarterbacks have 120-plus pass attempts and zero INTs over the past four weeks: Goff and Kenny Pickett. Add to that Goff’s weapons all being healthy (Amon-Ra St. Brown is a top-tier play I like, too), and the QB4 from last week’s slate can easily end up Top 5 again.

Running Back

D’Andre Swift, LionsLet’s finish this Lions stack. Swift is back, baby. Swift carried the ball 14 times last week for 62 yards and a touchdown, and he caught four passes for another 49 through the air. This week he’s got a Vikings defense that has allowed the most receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns and an 88% catch rate to opposing running backs across the past four contests.

DeeJay Dallas/Travis Homer, SeahawksIf we hear that Kenneth Walker III is out for this one, then you can plug in Dallas or Homer as a dart throw. If Walker plays, throw your dart at Boston Scott or Kenneth Gainwell vs. the Giants instead.

Wide Receiver

DJ Chark, LionsDid I say we finished the Lions stack? Not so fast! I know, I know. If the Lions bust on Sunday, this is going to look silly. But, Chark could be the steal of the day. In Week 13, Chark played only two fewer snaps than St. Brown, but he ran two more routes and he ended the day with five catches for 98 yards. He’s the true WR2 in this offense and he’s the field-stretcher that can take the cover off a defense–and this defense is certainly able to be exploited. The Vikings just gave up 369 yards to Mike White’s receivers last Sunday.

Tight End

Evan Engram, Jaguars Engram continues to see volume in this Jacksonville offense, and it’s another good matchup for Travor Lawrence (assuming he’s healthy enough to play) vs. the Titans. Lawrence targeted Engram seven times last week for five catches, 30 yards and a score vs. Detroit’s similarly generous secondary (see T.J. Hockenson, above). Among tight ends, Engram has run the fifth-most routes while playing the sixth-most snaps. If he’s on the field a lot, he has a shot, right? If you’re spending down, Engram is a good option.

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