NFL Week 14 DFS comes to a close with a very interesting Showdown between the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. We don’t have a lot of history between these two as they’ve faced each other just once over the last six years. However, it still seems to be headlined by a coaching battle between Bill Belichick and Kliff Kingsbury. Given some of the struggles the Patriots have had against mobile quarterbacks this year, all eyes will be on Kyler Murray and how he handles the defensive scheming of the NFL’s mad genius. Of course, we cannot use coaches when building our DFS showdown lineups, so we’re going to have to break things down further and see which players we need to cash our tickets.
Now before we begin, please take a moment to understand what exactly you are getting yourself into by playing single-game Showdown Slates. We love to have some skin in the game, for sure, but these slates are, for all intents and purposes, a lottery ticket. Sure, there are times when the chalk hits and everyone shares in the prizes, but, more often than not, you need to hit on that random dart-throw that differentiates your lineup from that of the herd in order to claim the top prize. As a result, we encourage you to play responsibly and not over-invest. Stick to the GPP contests (single-entry preferred), don’t blow your whole bankroll, and understand that, unless you are a max-entry player, you should prioritize having fun.
OK. Lecture over. Let’s get to tonight’s action.
New England Patriots vs Arizona Cardinals
Spread: Patriots -1.5
Weather: cloudy with temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s. Wind blowing SSW at 6 mph
Notable NFL Injuries:
New England Patriots
- Damien Harris, RB – thigh (doubtful)
- Jakobi Meyers, WR – concussion (out)
- Trent Brown, LT – illness (questionable)
- Isaiah Wynn, RT – foot (out)
- Jalen Mills, CB – groin (out)
2022 DVOA Defensive Rankings
New England Patriots
- vs Pass: 3rd
- vs Run: 7th
- vs Pass: 25th
- vs Run: 10th
**Please note that players not listed below are not necessarily a complete fade and any player listed can certainly be used as the MVP/Captain. These are merely suggestions for players to use when setting Showdown lineups.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB New England Patriots
He’s the primary weapon of the Patriots and we expect Belichick to continue leaning on his top producer this season. The Cardinals run defense has been pretty solid, allowing just 110.8 rushing yards per game, but they have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns on the season and they do rank 30th in DVOA against running back pass-plays. Damien Harris is doubtful so that likely puts more of a focus on Stevenson as an every-down back in this one. Expect decent rushing totals, but look for him to pick up solid points through the passing game.
Kyler Murray, QB Arizona Cardinals
We’ve watched Josh Allen get the better of the Patriots with his rushing. Same with Lamar Jackson, Even Justin Fields gave them fits as he led the Bears to an improbable victory over them on Monday Night Football back in Week 7. If Murray and Kingsbury can maintain a strong and sensible gameplan that keeps the quarterback mobile in the backfield, the Patriots coverage is going to struggle. With Murray’s fantasy floor raised from the rushing yards, he should make for a solid Captain play if you can afford the salary.
Mac Jones, QB New England Patriots
If there were ever a time where we expect to see Belichick have Jones sling the rock a little more, it would be this game. The Arizona secondary has struggled throughout this season, allowing an average of 245.4 passing yards per game with a whopping 24 passing touchdowns allowed this season. Opposing quarterbacks have posted a 101.0 passer rating against Arizona which is second-highest in the league, so if we can get the mad genius to unleash him a little – maybe see what we saw on Thanksgiving against Minnesota – then you’ve got yourself a Captains play which could be low-owned.
Mid-Tier and DFS Value Picks
Hunter Henry, TE New England Patriots
This would have been a nice contrarian Captain play had the rest of the world not been tracking how bad the Cardinals do against the tight end, but alas, it’s probably more of a chalky salary-saver given what we know. Arizona ranks 30th in DVOA against the tight end, they allow an average of almost 70 receiving yards per game to them and the most fantasy points per game as well. Henry should see a decent target-share in this one as the Patriots routinely expose the poor linebacker coverage in the middle of the field.
James Conner, RB Arizona Cardinals
While the Patriots are preoccupied with shutting down Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals would be wise to keep Conner heavily involved in this one. The Patriots’ run defense has been outstanding this year, allowing just 111.2 rushing yards per game with only five rushing touchdowns allowed on the season, but this could be a spot where they struggle if they are caught up in their pass-coverage and possibly leaving a spy on Murray. Conner may not rip up huge chunks of yardage, but he should be productive if deployed properly.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR Arizona Cardinals
He’s the No. 1 target for Murray and will likely draw some heavy coverage from the Patriots secondary, but that doesn’t mean Arizona is going to avoid him. Hopkins is one of those guys who can thrive in almost any match-up so expect to see a continued focus on getting him free in the defensive secondary. Hopkins has averaged just over 10 targets per game since returning from his suspension so don’t expect Murray to suddenly stop looking his way.
Marquise Brown, WR Arizona Cardinals
If there is a vulnerability in the Patriots’ pass-coverage, it does seem to come against the No. 2 receiver. New England ranks 20th in DVOA against the opposition’s No. 2 wideout and they are allowing close to 50 receiving yards per game to them. Brown profiles more as a deep-threat, so expect to see the Cardinals take a few extra shots downfield when he’s sitting in one-on-one coverage.
DeVante Parker, WR New England Patriots
When he’s healthy, Parker typically serves as the X-receiver in this offense and should be matched-up with Marco Wilson, more often than not. That’s actually a pretty favorable match-up for the veteran wideout as he holds a significant size advantage and should out-muscle the coverage on contested catches. It all comes down to how much Belichick has Jones throwing. If the attack is balanced, Parker should see some decent targets.
Kendrick Bourne, WR New England Patriots
With Jakobi Meyers out, Bourne is likely to see an uptick in snaps during this game and those snaps will come from the slot where the Cardinals really struggle in coverage. They rank 24th in DVOA against the slot receiver and are allowing an average of 50.4 receiving yards per game to them. Bourne should get some work between the 20s but look for him to find some sneaky separation inside the red zone as well as inside the end zone. Could be a real nice, low-owned, sneaky play.
New England Patriots D/ST
We’d be remiss if we didn’t note the Patriots defense as a viable play in this match-up. Yes, they have struggled against mobile quarterbacks, but when you have someone like Belichick scheming against someone like Kingsbury, you have to give the advantage to New England. They have 19 takeaways on the season and they rank fourth in the league with 39 sacks. If you’re looking to save some salary and get a few cheap points, this could be the way.
A.J. Green, WR Arizona Cardinals
In three-receiver sets, the Cardinals move Brown into the slot so hey can get Green on the field as the Z-receiver. Again, the Patriots have had their struggles downfield at times, so Green should also command a few balls downfield. He’s done some decent work going up for contested catches at times, so if you’re building a lineup that fades Hopkins, Green could be an intriguing play.
Nelson Agholor, WR New England Patriots
With Byron Murphy out for the Cardinals, we should expect to see Agholor match-up against Trayvon Mullen which is probably more of an even match-up than anything. But Agholor is a deep-threat the Patriots like to find streaking down the sidelines, so if Jones sees some one-on-one coverage and not safety coming over to help out, we could see a few shots taken to Agholor downfield. If he can find his way into the end zone, he easily pays off his salary.
Greg Dortch, WR Arizona Cardinals
While he filled in nicely when Hopkins was suspended and Brown was injured, Dortch really doesn’t see a world of targets. However, they do like mixing him in as their slot receiver at times, so when he is matched up against Myles Bryant, Dorth should be able to utilize his speed to gain separation. If we can get a few looks his way inside the red zone, he could prove to be a decent contrarian play.
**Both kickers are very much in-play for this game. Nick Folk is probably the preferred choice, but veteran Matt Prater could be in for a busy night should the Patriots defense stall out Murray and the Arizona offense.
Dart-Throw DFS Bargains
Jonnu Smith, TE New England Patriots
While everyone is adding Henry to their lineups, be the contrarian player and get yourself some shares of Smith. He may only play half the snaps and see a limited target share, but if the Cardinals spend their time focusing on Henry, Belichick is going to mess with them, use more two-tight end sets and likely throw to Smith instead. You could also use both him and Henry in your lineup if you think the Patriots really push to expose that shortcoming in coverage.
Trey McBride, TE Arizona Cardinals
If you’re throwing a dart the other way, take a look at McBride who has seen his workload increase over the past few games. He’s got seven targets over his last two and while the Patriots may rank 11th in DVOA against the position, they are allowing them an average of 43 receiving yards per game. If even one of his targets can come inside the red zone, who knows…?
Related NFL Articles & Tools:
- NFL Week 14 Injury Report
- NFL Week 14 Projections
- NFL DFS Lineup Generator
- NFL DFS Compare Tool
- NFL Week 14 Position Coaches