I said in the offense vs. defense article that I don’t typically recommend playing a lot of players from the Thursday game in daily fantasy sports, but I feel like we should reconsider this week.
The sportsbooks have put a big over/under on this thing and there are some player matchups to take advantage of.
For those of you starting your playoffs this week, best of luck. I hope our projections and comments help you win a title.
Dez Bryant might have the sweetest matchup of all this week, and his $7,100 price at Draft Kings has me giddy. As Evan Silva pointed out at Rotoworld, the Bears have been absolutely torched by big wide receivers this season. Over the last five weeks, The Bears have allowed 55 catches, 913 yards and six TDs in four games to wide receivers.
Alshon Jeffery‘s matchup is pretty terrific too. The Cowboys allow 6.3 catches and 62.8 yards per game to WR2s, according to Football Outsiders. That ranks as the 10th-most yards allowed to WR2s. Dallas also allowed the 10th-most PPR fantasy points to WRs (39.4 per game) in the last five weeks.
I can’t recommend Brandon Marshall, Terrance Williams or any other wide receivers from this matchup.
Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray are top-5 backs each week. I don’t have to give you much incentive to start them on the daily fantasy sites if you can find a way to afford them. Typically you don’t want running backs playing opposite each other because if one rushes for 100 yards it probably means the other isn’t having a very good day. However, in this case I put together a Quarter Arcade lineup at Draft Kings with both backs in it. Neither one of them is written out of the game script if their team is dropping back to pass and both know how to find the end zone with regularity.
If you’re going to start only one, it should probably be Forte. We target Dallas because they’ve allowed at least 20 PPR points to a lead running back in each of their last four games and got beat up by LeSean McCoy for 159 yards last week in Dallas on Thanksgiving.
Over the last five weeks, the Bears (second-most fantasy points per game) and Cowboys (eighth-most) have been in tune with the holidays, giving generously to opposing quarterbacks. Using Football Outsiders’ Defense adjusted-Value Over Average, we find the Bears 24th and the Cowboys 22nd against the pass.
There is a good potential for a shootout here, meaning both Tony Romo and Jay Cutler should be considered. Romo probably has the better shot at a big number.
Jason Witten has the best matchup of the week on paper, facing a Bears defense which has been gashed this season. They gave up touchdowns to Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick in Week 10. Gave up three TDs to Rob Gronkowski and one to Tim Wright in Week 8. In Week 5 Greg Olsen scored twice on them. He’s a TE1 this week, but Witten hasn’t been a huge part of this offense this season. That makes him a risky boom/bust play.
Martellus Bennett is a key cog in the Chicago Bears offensive machine. Of course, a Cutler meltdown will render him useless, but Bennett’s upside is a lot better than most tight ends in the NFL. The Cowboys defense was toasted by tight ends through the first four weeks of the season and have given up a few big game since. You could argue they haven’t faced a tight end as good as Bennett since Jimmy Graham beat them for 8 catches, 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 4. Despite facing mostly middling competition for the last nine weeks, they still allow 8.6 targets (worst) and 66.5 yards (third-worst) to tight ends.
Dan Bailey has a decent matchup and, as I said earlier, this is supposed to be one of the highest scoring games of the week. If I was playing a Thursday game at FanDuel this week, Bailey would probably be my first choice at K.
Robbie Gould is likely to miss the game due to injury, so avoid Bears kickers.
Neither defense has a good matchup. If you wanted to argue with me that Cutler is going to throw three interceptions and lose a fumble, I would argue it’s unlikely but possible, making the Cowboys defense a deep sleeper.
Week 14 projections
Use the links at the bottom of the box below to flip between different positions. These projections are on a Google Doc and will be updated when I make changes.
Individual projections articles will post aftermatchup-based modifications are made this weekend.
Again, good luck this week, may all of your lineups slice up the competition this week: