Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 14 DFS Cheat Sheet: 5 recommended plays for all contests

2M7NY7T San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) reacts after catching a TD pass during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan.8, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

TE George Kittle (85.7 PFF receiving grade), San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks: Kittle has a winnable matchup against Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner (61.0 PFF coverage grade).

RB Tyjae Spears (73.6 PFF offense grade), Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins: Miami’s injury-riddled defense will have difficulty slowing Spears.

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) lineups require smart matchups analysis and rostership leverage opportunities to succeed. The analysis below details five fantasy assets capable of gaining significant leverage on the field. 

WR:CB Matchup Chart

TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks – $6,600 on FanDuel

San Francisco tight end George Kittle (85.7 PFF receiving grade) is a highly volatile, elite TE1 option for both FanDuel cash games and GPP tournament. His recent Week 12 TE25 finish against Seattle should suppress his rostership rate. Kittle’s $6,600 FanDuel salary is $1,400 short of the positional maximum allowing for easy, multi-positional usage. 

The game’s 46.5-point FanDuel over/under ties for Week 14’s third-highest. FanDuel implies San Francisco to score 28.5 points. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives San Francisco a -20.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating. Seattle’s defense blitzes at the league’s 15th-highest rate (31.6%) and ranks No. 11 in quarterback pressure rate (36.2%). Among five San Francisco pass catchers with at least 10 targets on blitzed dropbacks, Kittle’s 31 targets rank No. 1 and his 22.0% target rate ranks No. 2. Among five San Francisco pass catchers with at least 10 targets on pressured dropbacks, Kittle’s 21 targets rank No. 2 and his 15.9% target rate ranks No. 3. 

Kittle remains an elite pass catcher in his age-30 season, ranking No. 4 in half-PPR points scored (128.7) among NFL tight ends. He is one of just 10 NFL tight ends to earn at least 10 splash zone targets and one of just 11 tight ends to earn at least 50 first-read targets. The term “splash zone” denotes the area of the field found between the painted numbers, at least 10 yards downfield. Targets thrown in this region yield more fantasy points than those thrown at an equivalent depth along the sidelines.

Kittle’s splash zone receiving data among qualifying NFL tight ends:
NFL TE Splash Zone Receiving George Kittle
PFF Receiving Grade 92.1 (No. 4)
YPRR 15.21 (No. 2)
Catch Rate 78.6% (No. 2)
Yards Per Reception 19.4 (No. 5)
Explosive Pass Plays 7 (T-No. 3)

Seattle’s splash zone coverage ranks No. 21 in success rate (58.5%) and No. 22 in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play (0.605). 

Kittle’s first-read-target receiving data among qualifying NFL tight ends:
NFL TE Receiving George Kittle
PFF Receiving Grade 90.3 (No. 1)
Target % – YPRR 23.6 (No. 5) – 2.83 (No. 1)
aDot 9.2 (No. 2)
Yards Per Reception 15.7 (No. 1)
Yards After Catch Per Reception 7.4 (No. 1)
Missed Tackles Forced 8 (No. 2)
Explosive Pass Plays 14 (No. 1)

Seattle linebacker Jordyn Brooks’ (64.7 PFF coverage grade) Week 13 ankle injury is expected to sideline him for at least one week and safety Jamal Adams (60.3 PFF coverage grade) continues to play through a balky knee. Veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner (61.0 PFF coverage grade) remains a capable run defender but struggles to keep pace with talented tight ends. Among 65 NFL linebackers with at least 30 tight end-coverage snaps, Wagner ranks outside the top 45 in catch rate allowed (84.2%), yards allowed per coverage snap (2.36) and explosive pass plays allowed rate (7.1%). 

Kittle is a highly volatile, elite TE1 against Seattle.

RB Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins – $5,800 on FanDuel

Tennessee RB Tyjae Spears (73.6 PFF offense grade) is a differentiator option for cash game lineups and a chalky GPP tournament option for Week 14. Miami’s run defense and running back-coverage units are among the league’s worst and a recent injury spate threatens a league-worst performance level. 

Spears’ $5,800 FanDuel salary is $4,700 short of the positional maximum. 

Tennessee is a 13.5-point road underdog, ensuring a high-volume outing for Spears in his pass-catching role. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Tennessee a -33.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, further increasing Spears’ target-earning potential via dump-off passes.

Miami's defensive performance against opposing running backs among NFL teams:
NFL Defense vs. RBs Miami Dolphins
PFF Run-Defense Grade vs. RBs 71.1 (No. 6)
Success % Allowed 40.5% (No. 22)
EPA Allowed Per Play -0.055 (No. 21)
Average Depth Of Tackle 4.12 (No. 21)
PFF Coverage Grade vs. RBs 83.4 (No. 13)
Success % Allowed 46.0% (No. 17)
Catch % Allowed  80.0% (No. 12)
Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap 6.38 (T-No. 26)
Explosive Pass Plays Allowed % 12.0% (No. 28)

Miami recently lost edge rusher Jaelan Phillips (79.3 PFF defense grade) to a Week 12, season-ending Achilles tendon rupture. Linebacker Jerome Baker (63.9 PFF defense grade) was forced from play in Week 13 due to a knee injury. Safety Jevon Holland (91.2 PFF defense grade) improbably suffered injuries to both knees in Week 12. He was unable to play in Week 13 and failed to practice in Week 14’s Thursday practice, nor was Baker. Baker and Phillips rank top three in running back run-defense tackles among Miami defenders and Holland’s 77.1 PFF run-defense grade against running back rushing attempts ranks No. 3 on the team.

Spears’ 66 rushing attempts account for 25.0% of Tennessee’s backfield rushing attempts. No. 1 running back Derrick Henry (90.8 PFF offense grade) escaped Week 13 without a concussion but could still be dealing with a head/neck injury. 

Among 63 NFL running backs with at least 40 rushing attempts, Spears ranks No. 8 in yards after contact per rushing attempt (3.4), ranks No. 7 in yards per rushing attempt (5.0) and ties for No. 2 in missed tackles forced per rushing attempt (0.32). Among 51 NFL running backs with at least 100 receiving snaps, Spears likewise ranks No. 2 in missed tackles forced (19), No. 11 in target rate (21.5%) and is one of just 12 NFL running backs to earn at least 15 first-read targets. 

Spears crucially has access to Tennessee’s green zone role, logging 20 total green zone snaps to Henry’s 22. Miami’s 57.0% touchdown conversion rate allowed on rushing attempts inside its five-yard line rank is the league’s second-highest rate.

Spears possesses RB1 upside in Week 14.

WR Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers – $7,600 on FanDuel

New Orleans wide receiver Chris Olave (82.7 PFF receiving grade) is an elite WR1 for all FanDuel contests against Carolina’s big-play-friendly pass defense. His affordable $7,600 coupled with his Thursday “illness” injury designation make for convenient roster construction with a likely suppressed rostership rate. 

Carolina’s coverage unit routinely allows explosive gains via splash zone targets. Olave’s 15 splash zone targets rank No. 1 among New Orleans pass catchers, and his 21.9-yard average depth of splash zone target ranks No. 3 among 25 NFL wide receivers with at least 15 splash zone targets

Among NFL teams in splash zone coverage, Carolina ties for No. 24 in yards allowed per coverage snap (12.78), ranks No. 27 in explosive pass plays allowed rate (43.2%) and ranks No. 31 in both catch rate allowed (67.6%) and EPA allowed per play (1.029). 

Carolina’s No. 1 cornerback Jaycee Horn (89.9 PFF coverage grade) returned from his Week 1 hamstring strain last week but was limited to a part-time role as the coaching staff smartly eases him in. He registered consecutive “Limited Participant” practice designations to begin the week, affirming the ramp-up period has yet to conclude.

New Orleans’ No. 2 wide receiver Michael Thomas (67.8 PFF receiving grade, knee injury) is on injured reserve, No. 3 wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (68.6 PFF receiving grade) remains sidelined by a quadriceps strain and tight end Taysom Hill (74.4 PFF offense grade) missed Week 14’s first to practices with foot and left-hand injury designations.  Among New Orleans pass catchers expected to play in Week 14, Olave’s 96 first-read targets lead by a 70-target margin. The pass-catching corps’ decimated state only increases Olave’s double-digit target-earning odds.  

Olave is an elite WR1 for all FanDuel contests.

RB Keaton Mitchell, Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Rams – $5,900 on FanDuel

Baltimore’s electric rookie running back Keaton Mitchell (92.6 PFF offense grade) should be used as an RB2 differentiator play in FanDuel cash games and GPP tournaments. Baltimore returns from a Week 13 bye and talented rookies frequently receive a notably increased role following its annual week off. Mitchell’s sterling dual-threat efficiency and potential post-bye usage increase offer FanDuel users a one-week opportunity to leverage the unknown against the field. Los Angeles’ running back-defense unit quietly profiles as a winnable matchup for Mitchell’s unique talents.

FanDuel implies Baltimore to score 24.0 points as 7.5-point home favorites. Both numbers bode positively for Baltimore running backs. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Baltimore a 4.0% run-blocking matchup advantage rating. 

Among 76 NFL running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts, Mitchell ranks No. 2 in yards per rushing attempt (9.3) and No. 1 in missed tackles forced per rushing attempt (0.45), yards after contact per rushing attempt (7.5), first-downs-gained and touchdowns-scored rate (41.4%) and explosive run play rate (24.1%). 

Among 82 NFL running backs with at least 25 receiving snaps and six targets, Mitchell ranks top four in yards per route run (2.26, YPRR), yards per reception (11.7) and yards after the catch per reception (13.7).

Los Angeles ranks No. 21 in success rate allowed via running back rushing (39.9%) among NFL teams and ranks No. 19 in average depth of tackle (4.10) and No. 15 in EPA allowed per run play (-0.084). The unit boasts elite yardage-related running back coverage marks but is entirely too reliant on quick post-catch tackling in doing so. Los Angeles allows an 86.7% catch rate to the position, the NFL’s fifth-highest such rate. Mitchell’s open-field, post-catch navigation skills are pair perfectly with this defensive weakness.

FanDuel users should employ Mitchell as an RB2 FanDuel differentiator.

WR Dontayvion Wicks, Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – $5,100 on FanDuel

Green Bay’s rookie wide receiver Dontayvion Wicks (73.0 PFF receiving grade) makes the DFS cheat sheet for the second consecutive week, profiling as an exceptionally efficient pass catcher against New York’s big-play-friendly defense. Wicks’ easily affordable $5,100 FanDuel allows for convenient usage, though his fill-in No. 3 wide receiver role is naturally volatile. 

Green Bay No. 1 wide receiver Christian Watson (70.6 PFF receiving grade) strained his right-leg hamstring for the fourth time in two seasons last week. He is highly unlikely to play in Week 14. 

FanDuel implies Green Bay to score 21.75 points as 6.5-point road favorites. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Green Bay a Week 14-best 47% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating. As detailed in Week 14’s QB Matchups, Streamer of the Week, Rankings and More, quarterback Jordan Love  (76.8 PFF passing grade) should have little issue keeping his four-week hot streak alive; “Among 34 NFL quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks during that span, Love ranks No. 12 in adjusted completion rate (76.5%), No. 11 in yards per passing attempt (7.7), No. 10 in both past-the-sticks throwing rate (40.5%) and turnover-worthy play rate (1.8%) and No. 2 in big-time-throw rate (8.5%).“

Wicks leads all Green Bay wide receivers in the three major per-route efficiency categories, averaging 1.98 YPRR, 19.00 YPRR on splash zone targets and 2.28 YPRR on first-read targets. 

Wicks primarily functions as an intermediate receiving weapon with a lethal part-time deep-threat role. Among 83 NFL wide receivers with at least 180 receiving snaps and 35 targets, Wicks’ 47.8% explosive pass plays rate ranks No. 7. 

New York’s bottom-barrel offense is unable to meaningfully participate in pass-heavy game scripts but New York’s pass defense frequently fails to prevent explosive pass plays, making them a contrarian DFS target. Their 46.5% explosive pass plays allowed rate on splash zone targets is the NFL’s fourth-highest rate, boding well for Wicks’ Week 14 potential.

Wicks is a volatile, high-upside FanDuel flex option. 


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