Receiver plays are a week-to-week thought process in NFL DFS due to a variety of outside factors impacting receiver performance. One way to predict who will break out is by examining their secondary opponents for that individual game. Every week of the season, Sam Smith will take a look at advantageous matchups for receivers against vulnerable secondaries, whether it be schematic advantage or merely a weaker cornerback head up on a star receiver. Let’s get into some NFL Matchups and give out some Week 13 NFL DFS picks for your daily fantasy football lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
DraftKings + FanDuel NFL DFS Picks: WR-CB Matchups | Week 13
Justin Jefferson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
It is no longer hyperbole to place Justin Jefferson‘s 2020 on the shortlist of greatest rookie receiver seasons ever. Not counting receivers who have not yet had a bye in 2020, Jefferson is sixth at his position in yards, 12th in touchdowns, third in PFF receiving grade and Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR), and first in DVOA. And it is not like Jefferson has been a target monster to get to these elite metrics. He only has three 10-target games, and 27 receivers have more targets than he has. However, almost no one in football is creating more value with their opportunity. Only Davante Adams is averaging more yards per route run, and it’s a narrow margin — 2.96 to 2.91. Third place is Julio Jones, and he averages 2.62. So it’s Adams, Jefferson and everyone else. The fact that Jefferson is doing this while sharing targets with another elite receiver is further testament to how incredible a value he’s been in fantasy, and how he should remain so for the foreseeable future.
What’s also enticing about Jefferson the NFL DFS asset is that his price has stayed in mid-level WR1, high-end WR2 territory. This week he’s pushing upper-tier pricing, but he is still sub $7,000 on DraftKings, below 12 other receivers, including his teammate Adam Thielen. Jefferson is fourth among receivers in fantasy points per touch, so to be priced that far down looks like strong value this week.
Of course, the matchup with Jacksonville plays into that a bit. The Jets are the only reason the Jaguars are not dead last in pass DVOA, and Jacksonville sports the third-worst PFF grade for both pass coverage and pass rush. They also are slightly better against the run, which could alter Minnesota’s typically run-heavy gameplan. But again, even if the Vikings maintain their pattern of the fifth-run-heaviest team in the NFL, Jefferson has managed to be an elite fantasy producer with relatively limited volume. The Jaguars’ secondary has been a revolving door, so as long as their penalties do not offset Jefferson’s matchup advantage (Jaguars have committed the sixth-most pass interference penalties), the rookie should have ample opportunity. Though Awesemo views Jefferson’s value as just OK, he has the fourth-best value score among receivers priced $6,500 and up in Week 13.
Denzel Mims vs. Las Vegas Raiders
While it’s no one’s favorite task to tout Jets offensive players, Denzel Mims has separated himself a bit from the rest of the mediocre pack. In the last five games, seeing passes from both Joe Flacco and Sam Darnold, the rookie leads the Jets in yards and catches by a slight margin, and in targets by a wide margin. In fact, in that time he is top 10 among all qualified receivers in yards per reception at 16.7. Granted, he has been not particularly efficient with his targets, catching just over 50% and failing to score a touchdown, but Mims is seeing WR1 volume and doing so at WR4 pricing. At only $4,100 on DraftKings, Mims is only $200 more expensive than Breshad Perriman and $1,000 cheaper than Jamison Crowder.
Plus, this week Mims get the advantageous matchup of the Raiders, a team that has been a fantasy goldmine thanks to their typical shootout game scripts. Last week’s game against Atlanta was a wash since it was over by the third quarter, but they surrendered at least 300 yards passing and 26 points in three of five before that. Overall, the Raiders are a mediocre coverage unit “buoyed” by an even worse pass rush, and that has allowed opposing receivers to hammer them more weeks than not.
Though Las Vegas may offer some fantasy downside as a matchup against deep passing due to high penalty totals and decent safety play, Mims has not really factored much into the downfield game. He has only seen three catchable deep targets in his five games, converting them into 79 yards and no touchdowns. Rather, Mims has worked best in intermediate routes. Without much impact downfield, he still is the only Jets receiver with over 2 yards per route run, placing 25th among all receivers in that category. Those lapses in short and intermediate coverage are where the Raiders are exploitable, so Mims stylistically matches up well.
When it comes down to it, Mims is simply in too advantageous a circumstance to be priced in the $4,000s. He is a de facto ace receiver, albeit in a bad offense, and his trends indicate more usage going forward. As a result, his projected ownership has steadily climbed the last few days, but he is still figuring to be below the exorbitantly chalky plays. Awesemo views Mims as a top-five receiver value this week and easily the best value in his lower-middle price range.
Darnell Mooney vs. Detroit Lions
Editor’s Note: Mooney is listed as questionable Sunday, as is Allen Robinson.
With the Lions rolling out some top-shelf fantasy production to opposing players, Allen Robinson is garnering a lot of attention, and deservedly so. He is the lone consistent offensive player the Bears have, both from a real-life and fantasy perspective, and he appears to be immune to the abysmal quarterback play around him. As such, Awesemo is projecting Robinson to be the third-highest-scoring receiver in Week 13. His ownership, though, is projecting for the same ranking at his position. For that reason, I am a bit more inclined to look to a different Bears receiver who, while not quite as reliable as Robinson, is providing better value at lower ownership: Darnell Mooney.
Do not get me wrong; Robinson is a strong play among studs this week, and Awesemo rates him just a tick below Mooney in value metrics. But Mooney is projecting for a fraction of the ownership, and it is not outlandish to think Mooney could see as much opportunity as Robinson this week. Now, Mooney’s best game this season (69 yards and a touchdown, Week 8) is comparable to Robinson’s median performance. However, they have been neck-and-neck in targets more than a few times in 2020. If Mooney can convert just a few more of those targets into chunk yardage, he would more than pay off a near-min price tag.
The matchup with the Lions helps in projecting ample opportunities for a multitude of Bears receivers. The Lions currently have the league’s fifth-worst pass DVOA and are last in PFF coverage grade. Only one regular in the secondary, safety Duron Harmon, grades at or above average in coverage. And despite being exactly middle of the pack in pass attempts against, they have allowed the seventh-most yards passing and the ninth-most touchdowns. They just allowed Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks to both have strong fantasy games, so it is realistic to think both Mooney and Robinson have ceiling potential. Their defense can be a fantasy goldmine, assuming competent offense from the opponent.
Which brings us to the elephants in the room: Mitchell Trubisky will be starting for the Bears, and their play calling has been, at best, uninspired. The only teams rating worse by pass DVOA are teams you’d expect: Jets, Giants, Washington, Patriots, Broncos, Eagles. That level of ineptitude puts a ceiling on what we can expect from Bears receivers in theory. That said, Trubisky actually has a pretty good career line against the Lions: 67.5% completion, 7-to-2 touchdown-interception ratio, 7.9 yards per attempt, 106.0 rating. And this Lions defense is just about the worst version he has seen. So yes, the Bears offense is bad and Trubisky is a part of that, but as far as circumstances go, it is about as ideal as one could hope for when looking to roster Bears receivers.
Bottom line, Mooney is a top-40-targeted receiver this year and is priced in the $3,000s on DraftKings. Regardless of what’s happening with the guys throwing him the ball, Mooney’s volume is too solid for near-min tags to not be considered a good NFL DFS pick.
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