Psssst. ... Don't tell DraftKings, but McCown might be better than they realize. Sure, FanDuel is onto him, but seriously, given his play up to this point in the season -- and more importantly, his opponent this week, I'm going to be using him to leverage higher-priced talent at other positions. In case you haven't been following along at home, McCown ($5100 on DraftKings; $7700 on FanDuel) has racked up six games with multiple touchdown passes this season. He's also run for three more touchdowns. Adding to my interest, he's at home this week against a Chiefs defense that continues to struggle when it comes to stopping the opposition's passing attack. As NFL.com noted this week, Kansas City is bottom-12 in terms of average fantasy points per game allowed to the position and they've allowed the seventh-most pass yards this season. They tied for second-worst in the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. In addition, the Chiefs have come up short in the sack department, ranking 25th in the league (with just 21 this season). I'll go ahead and note that last week's opponent, the Panthers, was a much tougher matchup and McCown still threw for 307 yards, rushed for 28 yards and tossed three touchdowns (with no interceptions). McCown's top target, Robby Anderson, has a touchdown in five straight games. With Anderson ($5700 on DraftKings; $7200 on FanDuel) also reasonably priced, I'll definitely have some lineups with this stack.
Amazing the difference a matchup makes. ... Howard was the "Out" in this column last week (and yes, that went well for me) going up against a brutal Eagles run defense. It's less brutal this week. In fact, the 49er4s are the opposite of brutal. When it comes to opposing running backs, they're downright generous. So coming off an embarrassing, career-low game of 6 yards rushing, it's worth noting Howard consistently follows poor efforts with good ones, and the Bears coaching staff usually gets more focused on basics after bad games, like last week's disaster. So expect decent volume. Of course, Howard had at least 15 carries in each of his previous eight games. That numbers seems likely to be the low end of the range in this one. Because, in case you missed it the first time, the 49ers aren't good at stopping the running backs. In fact, no NFL defense has allowed more fantasy points by opposing running backs this season. Only two have given up more touchdowns to running backs than the 14 San Francisco has yielded. As ESPN's Matthew Berry pointed out, so far this season, there have been only two instances when a team has failed to get at least 20 running back fantasy points against the 49ers: Seattle in Week 2 and Seattle in Week 12 (which isn't surprising since the Seattle rushing attack might be the only thing worse than San Francisco's run defense). Given the circumstances, Howard's price ($6000 on DraftKings; $7500 on FanDuel) is better than I would have expected.
I know. It's been hit or miss with Henry this season. As ESPN.com's Scott Kacsmar noted, Henry has as many games with fewer than 12 yards (four) as he has games with at least 73 yards. So predicting the hits can be tricky. Not so much this week, though. Coming off a five-catch (on five targets), 76-yard, one-touchdown Thanksgiving Day effort in Dallas, the second-year tight end heads into Week 13 well-positioned for another big game. For starters, as Berry pointed out this week, with a 93-33 snap advantage over Antonio Gates in the past two weeks, the Chargers finally have realized Henry is by far their best tight end. In addition, his quarterback, Philip Rivers, is the sixth-best quarterback in fantasy over the past three weeks. Oh. ... And he's going up against the Browns, who rank 32nd in the NFL against tight ends. Cleveland has allowed opposing tight ends to score double-digit fantasy points in 10 of 11 games this season -- including eight straight. They allowed the most receptions and second-most receiving touchdowns to the position. As NFL.com pointed out, the last three tight ends to face the Browns since their bye have been Eric Ebron, Marcedes Lewis and Tyler Kroft. All of them have scored. Beyond that, the Browns have allowed multiple touchdown passes in eight of 11 games this season. So yeah. This is what we call a "favorable matchup." Yet still, the price ($4700 on DraftKings; $5400 on FanDuel) is right. Gimme some.
Don't get me wrong. I love Jones. Although I didn't include him in this column last week, I had him in multiple lineups as he delivered the third 250-yard performance of his career (253 yards to be exact, on 12 catches with a pair of touchdowns) against the Buccaneers, who according to their coach Dirk Koetter, tried 14 different coverages to stop him. But as Profootballtalk.com notes, the Vikings have something the Bucs don’t: Cornerback Xavier Rhodes. During two prior meetings, Rhodes had done a nice job keeping Jones from taking over the game. As D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reminded readers this week, Rhodes held Jones to two catches for 27 yards while covering him only part of the time during a 2014 game. In 2015, Jones had another two catches for 18 yards when covered by Rhodes, again only part of the time (on 24 of his 32 routes). This time around, Rhodes could be seeing Jones most of the time. ESPN's Mike Clay reminded readers this week that Rhodes has already shadowed Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Marvin Jones (twice), Davante Adams and Josh Doctson this season. Rhodes happens to be coming off a rare rough outing on Thanksgiving (giving up a pair of touchdown catches to Jones), but he's been terrific overall this season, allowing 0.26 fantasy points per coverage snap. As Profootballfocus.com's Jeff Ratcliffe notes, prior to last week, Rhodes hadn't allowed a touchdown catch since Week 16 of last season. Also, as Kacsmar pointed out, when Jones had 300 yards against Carolina last year, he followed that up with 29 yards in Denver. So putting all the pieces together -- and more importantly, factoring in the price ($7700 on DraftKings; $8600 on FanDuel) -- I'll be paying up for wide receivers not named Jones this week (DeAndre Hopkins, Adam Thielen, Keenan Allen and Brandin Cooks [all of them cheaper than Jones on FanDuel and all but Allen cheaper on DraftKings] leap right to mind).