Here are my favorite DraftKings tournament plays for Week 14, picking from the main slate that only includes games on Sunday afternoon. The focus here is on value more so than projected ownership, but it’s still a nice bonus if a player doesn’t figure to be a popular choice.
Derek Carr, OAK (at KC), $6,400 - Carr blew up for 417 yards and three touchdowns in the first meeting between these teams, breaking out of an ugly slump in which he posted three straight games with single-digit DraftKings points. He’s since been consistent but unspectacular, falling between 14.5 and 17.7 points in each of five games since that memorable shootout win over the Chiefs. While 400 yards is obviously too much to ask, Carr shouldn’t have much trouble reaching 250 yards and a pair of scores against a defense that was just torn to pieces by Josh McCown. The Chiefs will now try to bounce back without the help of top cornerback Marcus Peters, who was suspended for his unusual antics at the end of last week’s game. The Raiders, of course, likely will be missing Amari Cooper (leg), who caught 11 of 19 targets for 210 yards and two scores back in Week 7 against the Chiefs. Despite that performance, Cooper’s absence doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, as he’s otherwise been rendered completely ineffective this season, producing an embarrassing mark of 4.4 yards per target in his other 10 appearances. Carr has been successful the past few weeks connecting with Johnny Holton and Cordarrelle Patterson for big plays, giving the QB solid alternatives when Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook aren’t open.
Other options: Alex Smith, KC (vs. OAK), $6,500; Jameis Winston, TB (vs. DET), $5,900; Kirk Cousins, WAS (at LAC), $5,900; Dak Prescott, DAL (at NYG), $5,600; Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (at HOU), $5,500; DeShone Kizer, CLE (vs. GB), $4,900
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. IND), $7,200 - McCoy is mired in a bit of a slump from a fantasy perspective, with just one performance of 20-plus DraftKings points in his past five games. He did hit double digits the past three weeks, and the lack of production largely has been a product of matchups in which the Bills fell behind early and didn’t have many scoring opportunities. That shouldn’t be a problem this week in a home game against Indianapolis, a team that’s given up an above-average number of fantasy points to running backs despite surrendering just 3.9 yards per carry. The Colts’ struggles against the pass have led to plenty of scoring opportunities, with only four teams yielding more rushing TDs (10) to the position. Those struggles have also manifested more directly with the Colts allowing running backs to catch 57 of 74 targets (77 percent) for 622 yards (8.4 per target) and two scores. Only the 49ers and Titans have allowed more receiving yards to running backs, and no team has given up a higher mark (or even anything similar) per target.
Giovani Bernard, CIN (vs. CHI), $3,100 - Assuming Joe Mixon (concussion) is out, Bernard will be the top play so far this season in terms of expected points per dollar, projecting to return approximately 5x (15 DK points) on his near-minimum salary. He also has a good chance to be the highest owned player on any main slate this year, as his ascension to the lead role is no secret in the wake of Monday’s 15-touch, 96-yard performance in a 23-20 loss to the Steelers. While mostly used on passing downs the past two seasons, Bernard has plenty of experience handling a larger workload, having received double-digit carries in 32 of 67 games throughout his career (with a 4.1 YPC in those games). As the lead back for a team that’s favored by 6.5 points, Bernard shouldn’t have trouble reaching double-digit DK points even if he loses goal-line work to 220-pound rookie Brian Hill, the only other healthy running back on Cincy’s roster as of Friday morning. Hill doesn’t seem like a major threat to Bernard’s workload between the 20s, as the rookie fifth-round pick has yet to receive an NFL touch and is already on his second organization (released by the Falcons in October).
Other options: Todd Gurley, LAR (vs. PHI), $8,100; Lamar Miller, HOU (vs. SF), $5,800; Samaje Perine, WAS (at LAC), $5,600; Alfred Morris, DAL (at NYG), $5,500; C.J. Anderson, DEN (vs. NYJ), $3,900
Michael Crabtree, OAK (at KC), $6,700 - With Cooper (ankle) and Peters (suspension) presumably both absent, Crabtree figures to be peppered with targets while taking aim at a Kansas City pass defense that’s been terrible even with Peters on the field. This is probably the league’s worst group of cornerbacks once Peters is taken out of the equation, perhaps explaining why a washed-up Darrelle Revis was handed a significant role just 11 days after joining the team. Revis, among others, was obliterated by his former team last week, with the Jets’ Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse combining to catch 17 passes for 264 yards in a 38-31 win over the Chiefs. Cooper’s expected absence puts Crabtree in line for double-digit targets against what’s unexpectedly become the most burnable secondary in the NFL this side of Tampa Bay.
Jamison Crowder, WAS (at LAC), $5,900 - Crowder endured a disastrous stretch during last Thursday’s loss to the Cowboys when a muffed punt and dropped pass directly caused two turnovers in a span of less than two minutes in the first quarter. He did bounce back to catch five passes for 67 yards on seven targets, with the last two marks actually representing his lowest totals over the past five weeks — a stretch in which he’s averaged 6.4 catches for 95.8 yards on 9.8 targets. Crowder draws a tough matchup this weekend against the Chargers, but he at least figures to avoid top cornerback Casey Hawyard while primarily working from the slot. With the Chargers favored by six points, it won’t come as any surprise if Crowders ends up getting a dozen targets.
Sammy Watkins, LAR (vs. PHI), $5,600 - Robert Woods (shoulder) is set to miss a third straight game, while Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp have to deal with an excellent Philadelphia front seven and standout slot corner Patrick Robinson, respectively. Watkins has the comparative advantage this week, heading to battle against outside corners Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills. The duo actually has been pretty good, but the Rams’ highly efficient offense will need to find somewhere to take its shots. Watkins survived a nightmare matchup with Arizona’s Patrick Peterson last week, catching three of four targets for 38 yards and a touchdown while playing 100 percent of the offensive snaps. I’m expecting something similar to what Watkins did in the first game Woods missed — a 4-82-1 receiving line on nine targets in a Week 12 win over the Saints. Throw in the very real possibility of a completed deep ball and you get as good of a ceiling as one could hope for at this price.
Other options: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. SF), $8,500; A.J. Green, CIN (vs. CHI), $7,300; Adam Thielen, MIN (at CAR), $7,200; Dez Bryant, DAL (at NYG), $5,900; Stefon Diggs, MIN (at CAR), $5,800; Marqise Lee, JAX (vs. SEA), $5,500; Josh Gordon, CLE (vs. GB), $5,500; Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs. DAL), $5,300; Nelson Agholor, PHI (at LAR), $5,200; Marquise Goodwin, SF (at HOU), $5,100; Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. NYJ), $5,000; Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (vs. NYJ), $4,700; DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs. DET), $4,400; Dontrelle Inman, CHI (at CIN), $4,000; Kenny Golladay, DET (at TB), $3,900; Trent Taylor, SF (at HOU), $3,300
Stephen Anderson, HOU (vs. SF), $3,200 - With Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz both on injured reserve due to concussions, Anderson is the last man standing at tight end as the Texans prepare to face a 49ers defense that’s struggled to cover the position recently. Prior to last week’s game in which Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky attempted only 15 passes, San Francisco had given up at least three 12.9 PPR points to tight ends in six straight games, allowing an average of 17.2 in that stretch. Essentially an oversized slot receiver, Anderson took full advantage of Fiedorowicz’s unfortunate injury in last week’s 24-13 loss to the Titans, catching five of 12 targets for 79 yards and a touchdown while logging 84 percent of the snaps on offense. Will Fuller’s expected return isn’t a major concern in terms of target share, as the Texans also lost Bruce Ellington (hamstring) and Braxton Miller (concussion) to injuries last week. Anderson, Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins figure to account for the vast majority of Houston’s targets.
Other options: Travis Kelce, KC (vs. OAK), $7,400; Delanie Walker, TEN (at ARI), $5,700; Jimmy Graham, SEA (at JAX), $5,000; Jack Doyle, IND (at BUF), $4,900; Hunter Henry, LAC (vs. WAS), $4,600; Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ (at DEN), $3,600; Charles Clay, BUF (vs. IND), $3,100
Buffalo Bills (vs. IND), $3,100 - The Buffalo defense suffered through a hideous stretch in Weeks 9-11, totaling -5 DK points in matchups with the Jets, Saints and Chargers. The last two weeks looked a whole lot better, with a healthier Bills defense putting up 13 DK points while limiting the Patriots and Chiefs to 39 real-life points. You may or may not remember that this was viewed as a top defense as recently as Week 8, when the Bills shut down the Raiders and produced a seventh consecutive game with at least seven fantasy points. With Jacoby Brissett and his league-high 47 sacks coming to town, a McCoy-Bills stack is one of my favorite plays of the week. The Bills are also my top pick for those looking to stream a defense in season-long leagues.
Other options: Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CHI), $3,300; Arizona Cardinals (vs. TEN), $2,800; Minnesota Vikings (at CAR), $2,700; Cleveland Browns (vs. GB), $2,600