We’re nearing the home stretch. Just five more weeks to play NFL DFS…in the regular season, that is.
With only one game in the books, Week 13 has already started with a bang. In a game that is now being dubbed “The Motown Miracle”, the Green Bay Packers pulled off an unfathomable win against the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football. Aaron Rodgers’ 61-yard Hail Mary to Richard Rodgers’ as time ran out capped an incredible comeback that saw the Packers outscore the Lions 27-3 over the final 20-plus minutes.
Now that we’ve all picked our hearts off the ground and reinserted them into our sternums, we can move on to bigger and better things: the 15-game Sunday-Monday slate that awaits us tomorrow.
As always, if you want to be able to afford the high-priced players, you’ll have to save salary elsewhere, so here are the top punt plays for Week 13 in the NFL.
Marcus Mariota, Titans ($10,900)
The Titans are 2-9 and well on their way to landing another top three pick in this year’s draft. This is a team still very much in flux; they’ve fired their head coach (Ken Whisenhunt) and seen last year’s second-round pick, Bishop Sankey, turn into a complete bust. Their rookie quarterback (QB) has looked pretty good though, and that’s an important building block for the franchise.
Marcus Mariota gets to face the Jaguars for the second time in three games, and he should be able to put up some big time stats. In their last meeting, the former Oregon Duck racked up 18.14 fantasy points on a 231-yard passing performance. He wasn’t able to throw any touchdowns, but he ran for one as part of his five-carry, 29-yard rushing total.
The Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most points to QBs over the past five weeks and no opposing QB has scored less than 20 FPs against them over their past six contests. The Jags defense has been far worse on the road as well, giving up an average of 83 more pass yards and 0.9 more passing TDs per game than they do at home. Mariota will also have a healthier Kendall Wright this week, as he’s playing in just his second game back after spraining his MCL in Week 8.
All signs point to a big week from the Titans’ young QB.
Shaun Draughn, 49ers ($7,800)
The Chicago Bears have been playing much better football of late, winning three of their last four, including a signature win over division rival Green Bay on Thanksgiving Day. One thing they haven’t done well, though, is contain running backs (RB).
On the season, the Bears are right smack dab in the middle of the league when it comes to stopping opposing RBs, allowing the 15th-most points to the position. However, over the past five weeks, they’ve given up the sixth-most points, which includes 100-yard games from Adrian Peterson, Ronnie Hillman and Eddie Lacy. 49ers RB Shaun Draughn isn’t a big name, but he has a chance to put up a solid stat line this week.
Draughn has carried the load for the 49ers since Carlos Hyde went down three games ago. In those three games, the fifth-year former UDFA out of North Carolina has averaged 14.3 fantasy points. He’s dominated the touches for the Niners too, as no other RB has received a single carry over the past two weeks. He’s also chipped in 17 catches for 113 yards in his three starts.
Shaun Draughn may not be a flashy name, but there are few RBs priced as low as he is that have this good of a matchup and are also a near guarantee to see at least 15 touches. Start him with confidence.
Devin Funchess, Panthers ($7,300)
It took quite a while for the rookie to show up to play, but Devin Funchess has finally looked like the receiver the Panthers expected him to be when they took him with the 41st overall pick in this past year’s draft.
If you didn’t watch Panthers games from start to finish, you wouldn’t have noticed Funchess much in the first half of the season. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver (WR) has exactly seven catches in his first seven games — an inauspicious start to his rookie campaign. Since then, however, he’s managed to turn things around, catching 11 balls for 195 yards and two touchdowns over his last four contests. He has a 17.73-yard per-catch average during that span and a 15.8-yard average on the season, which would rank him 13th in the league if he had enough total receptions to qualify.
Funchess’ average yards per reception is worth mentioning because the Panthers’ opponent this Sunday, the New Orleans Saints, allow 12.4 yards per completion, which is the second-worst mark in all of football. The Saints have also surrendered the most passing touchdowns per game and the second-most passing yards per game.
Funchess has one of the highest ceilings of any lower-priced WR this week, and is worth starting as a punt play in a game that boasts Vegas’ highest over/under (49.5) in Week 13.
Owen Daniels, Broncos ($5,600)
I’m not really sure why Daniels’ teammate Vernon Davis is priced at $300 more than the man two years his senior, but it just goes to show how little attention the 33-year-old vet is getting in the DFS world.
Daniels has always been a favorite of Gary Kubiak’s and his recent run of success is a testament to that. In his last four games, the tight end (TE) is averaging 12.1 fantasy points, hauling in 16 catches for 233 yards and a TD in that span. He’s also seemingly found a connection with new QB Brock Osweiler, with nine grabs on 11 targets in Osweiler’s two starts.
The Broncos face the Chargers on Sunday, a team that’s allowed the seventh-most points to TEs on the season and the second-most over the past three weeks. In that time they’ve been gashed by Julius Thomas (116 yards, TD) and a dismantled by the Bears’ duo of Martellus Bennett and Zach Miller (80 total yards, 2 TDs).
Daniels won’t likely be one of your leading scorers this week, but he’s got a higher floor than most TEs, and is a safe play if you’re punting the position.
Washington Redskins ($4,500)
Without Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys are a different team. They’ve been near the bottom of the league nearly all season long when it comes to squandering points to opposing defenses and special teams (D/ST), and that bodes well for the Washington Redskins, their opponent in Week 13.
The Cowboys will turn to Matt Cassel at QB again after Romo re-fractured his previously injured collarbone. Cassel has been abysmal at the helm, and the home team Redskins will take advantage of a Dallas squad that’s allowed the second-most points to D/STs this season. Teams facing the Cowboys have averaged 8.9 fantasy points, which is highlighted by a league-high five defensive touchdowns.
On the flip side, the Redskins are the 10th-overall D/ST in 2015 and the third-best unit overt the past five weeks. Look for the ‘Skins to come out full force with a chance to solidify their first-place standing in the NFC East.