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NFL Week 14 Fantasy WR Breakdown: It’s Still Courtland Sutton SZN

Dec 09, 2018 6:08 AM EST
Credit:

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14).

  • Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton stands out in the FantasyLabs NFL DFS Models as great play for Week 14.
  • In this piece, I'll highlight a few key situations to target this week, but check out the full piece on FantasyLabs for more.

Read the full version of this piece on FantasyLabs.

We are in the final month of the year, and the 2018 NFL season is still on pace for a record-breaking campaign with an average of 23.9 points per game per team entering Thursday. The action continues with a 13-game main slate that kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

In this positional breakdown, I’m looking at four wide receivers at the top of the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.

If you want more information on the rest of this week’s wide receivers, subscribe to FantasyLabs, where you can access the large suite of analytical DFS tools I use to research every player.

After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Stay ahead of your competition with our industry-leading DFS-focused news feed.

For updates on Vegas spreads and over/unders, check out The Action Network Live Odds page.


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Model Wide Receivers

Two AFC West receivers are standing out in the FantasyLabs Pro Models this week.

  • Keenan Allen: $7,400 DraftKings; $7,900 FanDuel
  • Courtland Sutton: $4,500 DraftKings; $5,600 FanDuel

Keenan Allen: Los Angeles Chargers (-15) vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 48.5 Over/Under

UPDATE (12/8): Running back Melvin Gordon (knee) is out.

I’m not an Allen truther, but since returning from his Week 8 bye, he’s been outstanding, averaging 98 yards and 0.8 touchdowns receiving on 11.4 targets and 8.4 receptions per game.

He’s even chipped in a two-point conversion and 29 yards on three carries. Over the past five weeks, Allen is the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver with 25.2 DraftKings points per game.

Unsurprisingly, he leads all receivers on the slate with his projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and FanDuel.

I’m still a little hesitant about Allen. He leads the team with 113 targets, 83 receptions, 996 yards receiving and 958 air yards, but he’s not getting the type of opportunities he got last season.

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13).

In 2017, Allen averaged 9.9 targets and 1.5 red-zone targets per game. This season, it’s 9.4 and 1.0. Last season, he had a 9.3-yard average depth of target (aDOT). This season, his aDOT has slipped to 8.5.

Allen’s primary problem is that he’s more of a technician and less of an athlete — and that’s why he’s run 53.4% of his routes from the slot in 2018 — but he’s paired with a quarterback in Philip Rivers who is comfortable throwing the ball downfield and letting his pass-catchers make plays.

With wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams, Rivers has two playmakers who can win on deep balls. A direct comparison between Allen and the Williamses is instructive.

  • Allen (2018): 230.1 DraftKings points, 113 targets, 83 receptions, 996 receiving yards, 958 air yards, seven end-zone targets, five touchdowns
  • Combined Williamses (2018): 237.5 DraftKings points, 86 targets, 56 receptions, 1,004 receiving yards, 1,284 air yards, 12 end-zone targets, 12 touchdowns

That’s just unfair.

Courtland Sutton: Denver Broncos (-3.5) at San Francisco 49ers, 45 O/U

UPDATE (12/8): Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) is out after suffering a midweek injury.

The thesis for investing in Sutton is simple: Demaryius Thomas is now with the Texans, Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) suffered a season-ending injury in the middle of the week and the Broncos are facing the 49ers. As a result, Sutton is likely to have a large target share at a low salary in a great matchup.

For people looking to pay down at the position while still rostering a player with multi-touchdown upside, Sutton is the guy. Since Thomas was traded to the Texans, Sutton’s per-game usage and production have certainly increased.

  • With Thomas (Weeks 1-8, eight games): 7.7 DraftKings points, +1.59 Plus/Minus, 4.6 targets, 2.1 receptions, 40.5 yards, 0.25 touchdowns
  • Without Thomas (Weeks 9-13, four games): 10.1 DraftKings points, +2.01 Plus/Minus, 5.5 targets, 2.8 receptions, 58.5 yards, 0.25 touchdowns

And now with Sanders out, Sutton should be treated as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14).

And the matchup for Sutton is great: The 49ers are dead last in the league with a PFF coverage grade of 39.0. They have allowed a league-high 19 touchdowns receiving to wide receivers.

Even with cornerback Richard Sherman — who is cementing his Hall-of-Fame case with an epic age-30 shutdown campaign just one year after rupturing his Achilles — the 49ers are unspeakably bad in pass defense. And even Sherman has struggled recently: Over the past two weeks, he’s allowed a 7-152-1 receiving line on seven targets.

With Sherman playing almost exclusively at left corner, opposing quarterbacks have wisely avoided his coverage and instead pivoted to his teammates, who are imminently exploitable.

  • Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and K’Waun Williams have allowed a 63% completion rate.
  • Safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, Antone Exum, D.J. Reed and Tyvis Powell have allowed a 72.5% completion rate.
  • Linebackers Fred Warner, Malcolm Smith and Elijah Lee have allowed a 72.8% completion rate.

Finish reading the rest of this piece on FantasyLabs.

Positional Breakdowns & News

Be sure to read the other Week 14 positional breakdowns.

• Quarterbacks
Running Backs
• Tight Ends

For more in-depth NFL analysis information, check out The Action Network.



Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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