This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.
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In theory, we have three high-powered offenses with a fourth possible if Deshaun Watson gets on track. However, there's a huge winter storm projected to hit Buffalo on Friday night and stay in the area throughout the weekend. Staying updated on how much the weather will affect the offenses in that game could end up being a significant factor in building lineups for this slate.
There's no such risk in Minnesota, where the Vikings play in a dome. The Colts are a slightly above-average defense as measured by DVOA, but not to the point where we should ignore the Vikings' offensive pieces. The Colts are led by Jonathan Taylor but also have some interesting values in an unimposing matchup against a subpar Vikings defense.
The Ravens-Browns game shouldn't go unnoticed, though it lacks the promise that it could have if Lamar Jackson played, or if Watson didn't look as out of sync as he does. Again, there are players from this game that are worth considering, but as a whole it doesn't measure up to the potential offensive environment of the Colts-Vikings matchup.
It's no surprise that Josh Allen ($8,300) is the highest-priced quarterback on the slate. After posting more than 30 DK points in five of the first six games this season, he's done so only once in his last seven games. He remains valuable because he's proven he's capable of a ceiling performance, and on such a short slate he could be the "have to have him" player. The Dolphins have given up the second-most rushing yards to quarterbacks this season, a factor that weighs in favor of Allen. Two things will ultimately dictate my interest in Allen: his expected roster rate — the lower it is, the more I would want to play him in tournaments — and the severity of the weather forecast.
Tua Tagovailoa ($6,600) has slumped in a far worse way than Allen in his last three games. He'll now go into a hostile environment against a good defense and likely in adverse weather conditions. This isn't the spot to expect him to bounce back.
Deshaun Watson ($6,300) remains reasonably priced and isn't likely to be popular, a nice combination for tournaments. The Ravens have been extremely stout against quarterbacks, which detracts from Watson's appeal. As a favorite in a low-total game, the Browns are also projected to stick to their preferred method of moving the ball on the ground. The Ravens showed a desire to establish the run with Tyler Huntley ($5,300) under center against the Steelers in Week 14. He is capable of being relevant for fantasy purposes due to his rushing ability, but he has led the team to only 26 points across essentially six quarters since taking over as the starter. Unless that changes, he lacks ceiling.
Kirk Cousins ($6,000) checks the boxes for a cash-game play, also with some potential for tournaments. He's been particularly volatile in recent weeks, posting disastrous games of 3.2 and 11.82 DK points but also turning in a 28-point performance. The matchup suggests he's a relatively safe bet for returning 3X his salary, but probably not a tournament-winning type score.
Finally, the last time we saw Matt Ryan ($5,000) he was humiliating himself on Sunday Night Football. He's scored 13.12 or fewer points in four of his last five games. However, I wouldn't rule out a decent performance (20 DK points) due to the matchup, as the Vikings rank 25th in pass defense DVOA and have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. In large-field tournaments I wouldn't hesitate to play Ryan.
From a price perspective, Nick Chubb ($7,400), Jonathan Taylor ($7,200) and Dalvin Cook ($6,900) make up the top tier at the position. Taylor is the centerpiece of the Colts' offense and has the capability of taking over the slate. He'd be my top back to prioritize. Cook is intriguing from both a matchup and game theory perspective. He's had a disappointing season but has still topped 26 DK points three times. That matches Chubb and surpasses Taylor, and the Colts have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs in PPR scoring.
We then see a steep drop to Devin Singletary ($5,500), Jeff Wilson ($5,400), Raheem Mostert ($5,300), J.K. Dobbins ($5,200) and Gus Edwards ($5,000). The running back hierarchy has been volatile between Singletary and James Cook in recent weeks, and if weather allows we know Buffalo will run its offense through the air. Singletary is an uncomfortable play as a result. Wilson could potentially sit, but even if the touches condense to Mostert it's hard to get too excited. Mostert has reached 20 touches only once this season and Miami leans heavily on the pass. Dobbins and Edwards are interesting. Dobbins led the backfield in his return but not by a significant margin. At his price, he's likely to be rostered at a high rate. The Browns are also a very vulnerable defense to skilled running backs, so Dobbins does check a lot of boxes. Don't dismiss Edwards, however. He still got 13 touches in Week 14, including two inside the red zone. Baltimore is closer to a "whoever gets the touchdown" backfield than it may be publicly perceived.
As is typical, there's not a lot of value at RB. James Cook ($4,800) is the obvious choice, but as was noted his role is inconsistent. Salvon Ahmed ($4,000) appears to have leaped over Myles Gaskin on the depth chart, so if Wilson is sidelined, Ahmed could be a punt play with some fairly obvious risk.
The tiers are slightly less defined at wide receiver, but are still present. Justin Jefferson ($9,100), Tyreek Hill ($9,000) and Stefon Diggs ($8,100) are the top tier. Even as his price continues to rise, Jefferson stands out. He has topped 30 DK points six times this season and three times in his last five games. With a reasonable matchup and no weather concerns, he stands out. It goes without saying that both Diggs and Hill are capable of putting up excellent scores, though Diggs' ceiling has predictably fallen in line with Allen's. Hill has a tough matchup and potential weather concerns.
Skipping over Jaylen Waddle ($7,000) — who follows a similar path of analysis to Hill — the middle tier of wide receivers is made up of Amari Cooper ($6,100), Michael Pittman ($5,800), Adam Thielen ($5,200), Donovan Peoples-Jones ($5,100) and Gabe Davis ($5,000). That's a wide range of prices, but Cooper merits some additional discussion. Cooper participated in 42 routes in Week 14, so a good indication he is healthy. He hasn't produced with Watson as his quarterback, but he has 16 total targets in the two games. It's also a tough matchup against Baltimore, factors which will keep his roster rate depressed. The most likely outcome is there isn't a notable performance, but there's potential tournament-winning upside in the combo of Watson and Cooper. Peoples-Jones is a boom-bust option, but his price has risen enough (he was $4,300 in Week 10) that he'll have to deliver at least 15 DK points to be worth it. The Ravens' defense and game total suggests this may not be the best spot for him. Pittman has moved in the opposite direction, as his price has dipped $1,000 since Week 10. He's viable in a game stack based on the premise that Cousins, Jefferson and company will put up points, but lacks upside based on his yardage and touchdown output. Davis is a boom-bust option. Based on the projected weather issues, this doesn't seem like a boom game. For those entering multiple lineups, he'll be worth getting some exposure to.
My two favorite value options at the position are Alec Pierce ($3,900) and Demarcus Robinson ($4,000). The preference likely has to do with contest type. Robinson has had a consistent, yet unexciting role. Pierce is the tournament option, and a Cousins-Jefferson-Pierce stack has a ton of upside for $19,000.
Mark Andrews ($5,700) is another player who has seen a steep drop in price, and it's been deserved. He falls into the category of "he could always go off" based on track record, but he hasn't produced lately and is in a tough matchup. T.J. Hockenson ($5,000) has had at least eight targets in four of his six games since joining the Vikings, but he's topped 15 DK points only twice. David Njoku ($4,200) has been one of the few consistent productive options with Watson under center. The Ravens are an average matchup for tight ends, and he is the best per-dollar player at the position. Dawson Knox ($3,900) pops off big performances every few weeks, but his price point as compared to Njoku makes him a tough sell from a projection standpoint.
Minnesota ($3,300) is the highest-priced defense and is a comfortable play. The ideal scenario is that Minnesota jumps out to a lead then Matt Ryan has to throw. We saw how that turned out on Sunday Night Football in Week 13. There's a case to be made for both the Browns ($3,100) and Ravens ($3,000) based on the quarterback play and potential for sacks and interceptions.