New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos 1/24/16 Preview & Picks

  • At 3:05 pm, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will face-off with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. 

Tom Brady is one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all-time. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all-time. Tom Brady is in the running for 2015 league MVP. Peyton Manning is starting for the second consecutive week after taking the job back from Brock Osweiler. My Point? The Patriots will go as far as Brady takes them. The Broncos will go as far as their defense takes them.

While I don’t expect Julian Edelman or Brandon LaFell to beat those long, rangy Denver CBs over the top, Edelman has the potential to catch a ton of short, underneath passes. He’s definitely a WR1,  as Brady could easily target him 12+ times in such an important game. Something along the lines of 10 catches for 110 yards and a TD could be what you’re looking at in return of the high price tag. It would be a surprise to me if LaFell can muster up anything DFS relevant in his matchup against Harris Jr. (though battling an injury) and Talib.

Danny Amendola working the slot has a much better shot at putting up a big game than the Patriots official #2 wideout. Though he only caught two balls on three targets last week and has been limited in practice due to a knee injury all week, he provides the same kind of quick twitch inside ability as Edelman does, which is how you want to attack this stout defense.

Finally, the man you all want to hear about: Rob Grrrrronkowski. Gronk could have a MONSTER game here. With the ferocious pass-rushing ability that the Broncos possess, Bill Belichick will want to feature his star TE up the seam to take the pressure off Tom Brady. There is no better way to keep the linebackers at home than to force them to drop into coverage because the Gronk is just destroying you. Maybe he won’t have monster yardage, but I’m banking on two TDs on Sunday.

Steven Jackson definitely won’t be a DFS factor, so James White is the Pats back to own. His pass-caching ability on swings, screens and checkdowns will also be instrumental in slowing down Demarcus Ware, Von Miller and co. He should have his fair share of chances to make plays.

 

On the home team’s side, the Sheriff Peyton Manning will need to execute flawlessly to lead his Broncos to the Super Bowl contest. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will need to bust out some major YAC’s to spearhead this attack, while CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman churn out chunks on the ground.

Demaryius Thomas will face a big matchup with Patriots CB Logan Ryan. Ryan shut him down in Week 12, with three pass breakups and as Brock Osweiler went 1-of-8 for 36 yards when targeting Thomas. He is a big target and constant red-zone threat, but isn’t always the dominant factor you’re looking for.

Sanders most likely will be face-to-face with Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler on Sunday. The very same Butler that he beat deep in November when he piled up 113 yards. His work in tight and quickness allow him to get separation against a tight Patriots D, and he works hard to run after the catch and eat up yardage.

CJ Anderson and Hillman are always a toss up, but Anderson had his best game of the year against New England with 113 yards of his own and two TDs. The run game can be inconsistent, but the Broncos need it to be on point on Sunday.

Advice: Brady, Gronkowski, Sanders, Edelman, and Anderson should be the top performers. Of course that comes with a hefty price tag, so discounts like James White could be the key to your DFS victory.

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NFL Divisional Round Value Picks

Quarterback

There are no locks at quarterback in the Divisional Round with strong pass defenses and questionable starts.  The weak link in pass defense for the weekend is Pittsburgh.  They have one of the weakest pass defenses in the league, and have only made it this far with their explosive offense (mostly just the Big Ben and Antonio Brown connection).

However, there are question marks on the other side of the ball as well.  Peyton Manning has won back his starting job this game but if things go south for him, an early substitution could be made.  I personally have faith in the sheriff, he wants to leave the league on a high note and with this favorable matchup, he may be one of the best picks this week.  He comes at a bargain too as the cheapest quarterback for the week (Landry Jones and Brock Osweiller come cheaper if either of them end up starting).  However, there is the possibility Roethlisberger plays minimal minutes and in the hands of Jones, the Steelers don’t stand a chance.  If this ends up being a blowout early it could mean a lot of carries for Anderson and Hilman and Mannings numbers paying the price.

Although Roethlisberger was able to deconstruct this defense last time around in the regular season, his health is in question and it is not guaranteed he will even start.  We have seen the huge numbers Big Ben can put up against any defense, but I don’t think this will be his week.

The next chance for a shootout is Packers and Cardinals.  Vegas has this one rated as the highest scoring with an Over Under of 50, -7 point win the Cardinals favor.  An argument could be made either way on this one.  Aaron Rodgers has been here before and knows what he needs to do.  Plus the Packers looked great last weekend against the Redskins.  However, the Cardinals are not the Redskins, and we have not seen the Packer’s perform very well this year against a sound defense.

The playoff experience of Rodgers is exactly what Palmer is missing.  He has played one playoff game in his career (two if you count the quarter he played before leaving the game with a shoulder injury).  My take on it, experience is overrated, football is football.  If this were the Super Bowl then experience may take a role, but in this round, I think Palmer will continue to perform as he has all season—Very Well.

RunningBack

The other two matchups have the potential to go either way.  The top ranked matchup between Seattle and Carolina could be a high scoring shootout or a defensive battle, the only thing you can bet it won’t be is a blowout in either direction.  Marshawn Lynch is set to make his return this week (although that was the word last week as well).  With his questionable health and the matchup, I think you avoid Seattle running backs completely.  The same can be said about Jonathan Stewart,  although drastically different in running style, if Adrian Peterson can’t get any yardage against the Seahawks, I don’t expect anyone to.

Like I mentioned earlier, CJ Anderson should get plenty of carries.  I think he is the best pick of the weekend.  James White also should be a good value as well.  Tom Brady and the Patriots won’t make the same mistakes as the Texans last week.

Wide Receiver

The top picks at receiver should be Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders no matter who is playing at quarterback.  They will pay the price as well though if Denver gets ahead early and focuses on the running game.  Both of these receivers however have great synergy with both Manning and Osweiller and last time against the Steelers DT had 2 touchdowns while Sanders had well over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Cardinals receiver squad should be able to generate some good value this weekend as well.  In the playoffs it will be all Larry Fitzgerald who brings the experience that Palmer lacks.  In his 2008 playoff run he averaged 130 receiving yards per game in the 4 playoff games and had 7 receiving touchdowns.  That has to be on par with the most impressive individual postseason performance of all time.

 

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NFL Week 15 Recap

Cam Newton Continues to Win

The word on the street going into this week was that the Giants may be the team to stop the Panthers dominance, with Eli having a history of upsetting undefeated teams. It did not seem that way early on with Odell being so off his game, but they turned things around in the second half, putting the Panther’s undefeated season in Jeopardy.

The Panthers were able to winning the end though. Cam Newton showed he can win with any personnel, spreading the ball out to 4 different receivers (Ginn (2), Olsen, Funchess, and Brown) for receiving touchdowns. On top of those 5 passing touchdowns he racked up 340 passing yards and 100 rushing yards for his usual, massive fantasy value.

Redskins find their passing game

Kirk Cousins showed he meant business as Washington dominated the Bills. Cousins went 22 for 28 on passes for 319 passing yards, 4 passing touchdowns and a 13 yard rushing touchdown. Additionally, he ran one in himself. As far as receivers went, Cousins picked his favorites, connecting with Jordan Reed for 2 touchdown passes, DeSean Jackson for 153 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown, and Pierre Garcon for a receiving touchdown.

Bears can’t stop the pass

Teddy Bridgewater had an uncharacteristically good passing game throwing 17 for 20 with 4 passing touchdowns for 231 passing yards against Chicago. On top of that, he showed his athleticism with 17 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. After Peterson was limited early to an ankle injury, they were forced to rely on the passing game, which the Bears were not able stifle. Bridgewater connected with Diggs for 55 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns and with Jerick McKinnon for 76 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

Denver’s Defense can’t hold back the Steelers

Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger continue to dominate, even against what may be the best defense in the NFL. Big Ben threw for 380 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns while Brown caught 16 passes for 189 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Brown’s numbers was beat early on by the Broncos‘ Emmanuel Sanders catching 10 passes for 181 receiving yards and a touchdown, but the Steelers rally late in the game pushed Brown ahead.

Danny Woodhead single handedly beats the Dolphins

Well maybe he needed the rest of his team out there… but it seems like Woodhead can do it all as he scored 4 total touchdowns, 3 receiving and 1 rushing. He ended the day with a total of 38 fantasy points combining those touchdowns with receptions, receiving yards, and rushing yards.

Hard to find value at Running Back

Not much value could be found at running back this week. Those who did provide value did so by combining rushing stats with receiving stats. The Patriots‘ James White did so with only 1 rush for 6 yards but 7 receptions for 71 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown. Similarly, Devonta Freeman had 56 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown for decent value, but he added on top of that 7 receptions for 45 receiving yards.

The same could be said for Matt Forte as he rushed for only 47 yards but had 6 receptions for 57 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The Chiefs‘ Charcandrick West logged 76 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as well to be among the weekends leaders at running back. Rashad Jennings provided some fantasy value in a high scoring loss against the Panthers with 107 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

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