As we approach the end of the season, it's easy to forget that NFL teams aren't the only ones scrambling to make up for early season losses.
If you bet on the NFL and took some bad beats early in the year, this column should help make up for past mistakes and turn you into a late season contender. Let's take a tour through some of the juiciest lines from Week 14.
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
Pick: Rams (-5.5)
Belichick finds a way. Belichick has always done a lot with a little. It's kind of his thing. But this year it's just ridiculous. This 2020 Patriots team is so bereft of talent, their skill level is comparable to an American Idol worst of compilation video. As the forgotten Randy Jackson may have once said: they're just not any good dawg.
Yet this team is 4-1 in the last five weeks. But evening great coaching has its limitations and you have to believe those limitations will be met this week when the Patriots take on the Rams in Los Angeles on Thursday night. The Rams are one of the more balanced teams in the NFL. They can run, pass, defend, and have a great coach of their own. Maybe Sean McVay will finally get revenge for Super Bowl LIII. Look for Aaron Donald to take over this game.
Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars
Pick: Titans (-7.5)
No one is taking this Jaguars team seriously. Every week they are predicted to get smoked by their opponent, and yet 3 out of the last 4 weeks they lost by 4 or fewer points and beat the point spread. But I just can't see that happening this week against the Titans.
The Titans will be seeing red after falling to a 31-7 deficit in the first half of last week's game. The Titans climbed back into the game showing what they are capable of but it was too little, too late. The Titans were defeated 41-35. I'm looking forward to seeing how this Titans team will respond. If I'm the Jaguars I'm thinking: "Is there anyone you would want to piss off less than Derrick Henry and AJ Brown?" The answer is a resounding no. Look for these Jaguars to get slapped up. My money's on the Titans.
Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
David Banks/Getty Images
Pick: Texans (-1)
I did a double take when I saw the line for this game, then quickly placed my bet before the line had a chance to change. What a bargain. Now I know the Texans have a depleted passing game- and running game- and defense- and they have an interim head coach. But they still have Deshaun Watson. When you say that out loud or type it to yourself in your living room next to an obscenely, loud, snoring dog it really begins to wash over you just how good Deshaun Watson is. Then it begins to wash over you how sad it is he's got no talent around him and this season will be lost to the sands of time. What was Bill O'Brien thinking?
Anyway, where was I? Oh right: Watson can dismantle this Bears team by himself because that's what Watson does. And Mitch Trubisky won't be able to keep up, because not being able to keep up is what Trubisky does. The Bears embarrassed themselves when they traded up to draft Trubisky over Watson, look for the Bears to embarrass themselves further this Sunday verse the Texans.
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pick: Bucs (-6.5)
Remember the "And 1 Basketball Live Tour?" If you missed it just envision a new age version of the Harlem Globe Trotters and you'd be envisioning exactly the right thing. Players nicknamed things like "The Main Event," "Spyda," and "Hotsauce" would travel around the country and dominate local talent with their brilliant ball skills and creative dunks. But pair that And 1 squad verse legitimate NBA players and the Street Hoop stars are quickly exposed.
That kind of reminds me of what this Vikings offense is this year. When they compete against the dregs of the league they have the ability to dice you up. But pair them verse a legitimate defense and they are exposed. Well expect exposing this week. This Vikings offense runs through Dalvin Cook, too bad this Bucs defense is the number one rushing defense in the league. If the Bucs defense can put the clamps on Dalvin Cook, I don't see Kirk Cousins keeping pace with Tom Brady and company. I see the Bucs rolling over the Vikings at home.
New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Jets (+13.5)
The Jets have gone from a dumpster fire to just a dumpster. The team is still no good. Adam Gase is still going to get fired. And Darnold is still going to be replaced. But at least Gregg Williams is gone. I'm looking for that release to fire up this Jets team SO MUCH that the Jets lose by less than two touchdowns.
Getty | TNS
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Pick: Packers (-7.5)
Aaron Rodgers is playing like an MVP candidate. He has Davante Adams and Aaron Jones back in the lineup which means only one thing: they're going to destroy the Lions. Look for the Packers to lay a smackdown upon their division "rival."
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers
Pick: Falcons (-2.5)
Here we have two teams who seem to have no concept of how to win. Both teams have looked brilliant in some moments and dreadful in others. And both teams have managed to lose games they should have won. So for me, it really comes down to which team is more mentally tough. And by that measure I'll give the slight edge to the Falcons.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
Pick: Saints (-7)
This will likely be Taysom Hill's last opportunity to showcase his talents as a quarterback for the season. Drew Brees aims to return in week 15 so you know Hill will be eager to make his case as a viable starting quarterback in the NFL. And he'll have a good opportunity to do just that. The Eagles allowed 437 yards last week against the Packers. Couple that with the fact that this Saints defense is the number one defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game and you really begin to see a path for the Saints to rout this defunct Eagles team. I like the Saints chances at pulling ahead by more than a touchdown.
Each Friday, FindBet will preview the week's DFS slate, highlighting players that are priced well on DFS sites, as well as some contrarian plays that can push your team to the top of the leader board.
Most NFL DFS games have you putting a team together with players from a certain slate of games. It could be just Sunday 1:00 PM games or it could be every game that is slated for the week. Once the last game that has eligible players is over, the final payouts are made according to how many fantasy points each team scored. Each player is worth a certain dollar amount, and you have a cap of $60,000 to build your team with. You have to have 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB, WR, or TE) and 1 DEF.
The general scoring rules include (6) points for each rushing and receiving touchdown, (4) points for each passing touchdown, (0.1) points for each rushing and receiving yard gained, (0.04) points for each passing yard, and also (0.5) points for each reception. There are other scoring opportunities for defenses. Let's take a look at players we like this week.
Players to Target:
Lamar Jackson (QB) - $8000
Jackson gets Cleveland this week, who has struggled to contain Top 10 QBS this year. Jackson hasn't had a great season, but this is a good matchup to take advantage of this week.
Jonathan Taylor (RB) - $7000
Taylor gets Vegas this week. The Colts have finally given him the "keys to the car" in the Indianapolis backfield. He's put back to back 15+ point fantasy performances together and is primed to make it a third against the Raiders.
Aaron Jones (RB) - $8700
Aaron Jones gets a Detroit defense that cannot stop the run. The Packers offense runs through Aaron Rodgers, but Jones seems to be in a really good position to have a good day on the ground.
Amari Cooper (WR) - $6800
Cooper has been a solid fantasy WR with Dalton back at QB. Dalton is peppering Cooper with targets and red zone opportunities when he is in the lineup. He should do well against a beatable Bengals defense.
Curtis Samuel (WR) - $5900
Samuel was activated from the COVID-19 list on Friday and should be good to go for Sunday's game against Denver. The Panthers will most likely be without DJ Moore, so Samuel is in line for more work.
Keenan Allen (WR) - $8500
The Chargers have a great match up this week against the Falcons in which we should see a bounce back performance from Justin Herbert's goose egg against the Patriots last week. Allen should have a nice bounce back week as well.
Hunter Henry (TE) - $5600
Henry is in the same boat as Allen. With a Herbert resurgence against an inferior defense, Henry should benefit as well.
JD McKissic (RB) - $5300
Turf toe will keep Antonio Gibson out of the lineup this week, so McKissic should get early down and passing work this week in his place. A great pick for the price and the expected volume.
Kansas City Chiefs (DEF) - $4200
Kansas City matches up against a Miami defense with an inconsistent rookie QB. I will take that match up all day (and twice on Sunday.)
FindBet Free Play for Week 14:
Here's a team you can put right into any of your contests, just remember to buy us a beer when you win big!
The Saints and Chiefs have clinched their spots in the postseason already, but most of the league is still in the hunt for a playoff berth.
The Steelers had a chance to punch their ticket against Washington on Monday night but were upset by the Football Team 23-17. That allowed the Browns, who are currently sitting in the top spot for the AFC Wild Card, to draw within two games in the AFC North. The Bills picked up an important win over the 49ers to keep a slim one game lead over the Dolphins in the AFC East. The Titans and Colts are in a tight race for the AFC South, both with an 8-4 record but Tennessee holds the tiebreaker.
In the NFC there are two teams running away with their divisions in the Packers and the Saints who both hold at least a three game advantage over their nearest competition. The NFC East and West, however, should go down to the wire as virtually every team in those divisions still have a chance to finish with a division title.
As we start to see more teams secure their postseason spots, others will continue to be eliminated from contention. Let's take a look at the power rankings for Week 14 based on what we've seen so far this season.
32. New York Jets (0-12, Last Week 32 +/- 0) - Gregg Williams called an all-out blitz against the Raiders which resulted in cornerback Lamar Jackson being left on an island with Henry Ruggs III and got beat for the game-winning TD with 5 seconds left. That's so Jets.
2020 Jets Mood Ft. Bill Parcells #Jets #TakeFlight https://t.co/JeXbX4p5eb— NYJ Matt (@NYJ Matt) 1607552081.0
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11, Last Week 31, +/- 0) - 11 game losing streak, and nearly caught a break as the Jets looked primed to get their first win of the season. But unfortunately for the Jags, the Jets lost in dramatic fashion keeping them one step ahead of Jacksonville in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1, Last Week 28, - 2) - Outside of a 72 yard strike to Tyler Boyd for their lone score, the Bengals were smothered by Miami in a bad loss in Week 13. Without Joe Mixon they only accounted for 40 rushing yards in the game.
29. Dallas Cowboys (3-9, Last Week 26, - 3) - Zeke turned in an OK performance, but the Cowboys were handled easily by the Ravens on Tuesday evening 34-17.
28. Chicago Bears (5-7, Last Week 29, + 1) - Somehow the Bears move up a spot this week following their sixth straight loss. It's only due to the four teams behind them are in such a mess. David Montgomery turned in his second consecutive strong performance with over 100 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. Mitch Trubisky looked slightly better than Mitchell Trubisky.
Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky understands the storylines about him, Mahomes, and Watson. Trubisky: "It's always… https://t.co/gxFWrEWlFK— Daniel Greenberg (@Daniel Greenberg) 1607552226.0
27. Denver Broncos (4-8, Last Week 27, +/- 0) - With Drew Lock, the Broncos looked like an NFL team again, but not a good one. 131 yards from Melvin Gordon in a losing effort was the lone bright spot.
26. Los Angeles Chargers (3-9, Last Week 24, - 2) - Officially eliminated from playoff contention with loss last week. Justin Herbert appeared to be human for the first time in his rookie campaign.
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1, Last Week 25, +/- 0) - Jalen Hurts has been announced as the starting quarterback for this week. Doug Pederson knows that his job is on the line, this move is going to determine a lot about the future of this franchise.
Fletcher Cox on liking Tweet that supports Carson Wentz starting for Eagles over Jalen Hurts: "Carson is my best f… https://t.co/Cbruk4Kt1u— Barstool Philly (@Barstool Philly) 1607560512.0
24. Detroit Lions (5-7, Last Week 30, + 6) - Interim coach, Darrell Bevell, got the W Week 13 v the Bears. Getting good performances from vets Matt Stafford (402 passing yards, 3 TDs) and Adrian Peterson (57 rushing yards, 2 TDs). With the win they draw even with Chicago T-3 NFC North.
23. Carolina Panthers (4-8, Last Week 23, +/- 0) - The Panthers are coming off a bye week and are hoping to get some players healthy for the home stretch in Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore.
22. Atlanta Falcons (4-8, Last Week 21, - 1) - With a loss in Week 13 the Falcons are all but mathematically eliminated from contention in a most disappointing 2020 season. Raheem Morris has made a case however to be retained as HC next season.
21. Houston Texans (4-8, Last Week 19, - 2) - Houston, like Atlanta, lost this past week and with that loss are virtually out of the running for a wildcard spot as the Titans and Colts have a significant lead for the top two spots in the division.
20. San Francisco 49ers (5-7, Last Week 20, +/- 0) - Lost Monday night to Buffalo, but didn't look bad in doing so. They're a much better team than their record indicates, and when healthy they're easily in the top 10.
19. New York Giants (5-7, Last Week 22, + 3) - The Giants have won four in a row and are positioning themselves to win the NFC East without Saquon Barkley.
Coach Judge is 'optimistic' about Daniel Jones, but his game status is still TBD 📰: https://t.co/noq6qBQdkd https://t.co/a6FNqC8h9C— New York Giants (@New York Giants) 1607560233.0
18. Arizona Cardinals (6-6, Last Week 11, - 7) - The third consecutive loss by the Cardinals see their playoff hopes slipping away. The 49ers' loss to Buffalo helped the Cards avoid falling into a tie for last place in the NFC West, but it's on Kyler Murray to get this team back on track with only four weeks to go.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (7-5, Last Week 18, + 1) - The Raiders got a last second win on a Derek Carr to Henry Ruggs connection to keep them in the Wild Card race in the AFC. Darren Waller has been spectacular again this year elevating himself to the level of Travis Kelce in the realm of fantasy tight ends.
16. New England Patriots (6-6, Last Week 16, +/- 0) - Winners of two straight and back in contention for a postseason spot. Winning boring is still winning.
"Let me get this goddamn smile out of the way because I'm going to joylessly destroy everyone for the next 30 years… https://t.co/OwjJVd4DEd— Super 70s Sports (@Super 70s Sports) 1607286909.0
15. Washington Football Team (5-7, Last Week 17, + 2) - The Football Team knocked off the previously undefeated Steelers on Monday night in one of the biggest surprises of the season! One thing is for sure. This Washington squad plays some great defense. I hope we can keep moving them up this list.
14. Baltimore Ravens (7-5, Last Week 15, + 1) - A much needed matchup against Dallas allowed the Ravens to get back on track with a win after a three game slide. Cleveland has done them no favors as they keep winning and creating more separation between the Ravens and a playoff spot.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5, Last Week 9, - 4) - Coming off a bye week, Tampa Bay benefitted from losses from Seattle, Arizona, Atlanta, and Carolina. We can't imagine a season where Tom Brady isn't in the playoffs, and the Bucs enjoy a soft schedule to end the year as they'll get the Falcons twice along with Detroit.12. Minnesota Vikings (6-6, Last Week 14, + 2) - A two game win streak calls for a two position jump in our rankings this week. Still in the hunt for a WC spot. Justin Jefferson became the second rookie Minnesota wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards.
11. Indianapolis Colts (8-4, Last Week 10, - 1) - The Colts picked up a division win over the Texans last week and gained valuable ground on Tennessee to draw even in record (8-4), but will need to pick up a win on them as the Titans hold the tiebreaker.
10. Los Angeles Rams (8-4, Last Week 13, + 3) - We spent the first half of the season wondering how good the Rams really were after a weak early season schedule. Now atop the best division in football, they should be questioning us.
9. Miami Dolphins (8-4, Last Week 12, + 3) - Whether it's Fitz or Tua, the Dolphins keep winning games and have closed the gap with Buffalo to the slimmest of margins. Maybe Tua should grow a beard to see if he can create some Fitz-Magic of his own.
Here's a look at Tua Tagovailoa from #Dolphins practice today. He's no longer wearing the tape/brace on his thumb. https://t.co/bNqls7oyur— Ruthie Polinsky (@Ruthie Polinsky) 1607541217.0
8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4, Last Week 5, - 3) - DK Metcalf stiff-arming the Giants' James Bradberry was a highlight play, but New York walked away with the win, and the lead in their division. Seattle lost the game and the division lead they entered Week 13 with. Another shaky performance from Russell Wilson, but the return of Chris Carson helped a struggling running game in his absence. Ultimately the Seahawks need to improve on defense if they have championship aspirations.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-4, Last Week 7, +/- 0) - Even with a loss and Indianapolis picking up a win to draw even in season record, the Titans still hold the tiebreaker advantage and maintain a small margin of error over the final four weeks of the season. Derrick Henry will be the key to how far Tennessee can go. Ryan Tannehill has played all-pro caliber football at times this season, and that's the guy they'll need if teams are able to put the clamps on Henry the way Cleveland did for most of the game in Week 13.
6. Cleveland Browns (9-3, Last Week 8, + 2) - Cleveland guaranteed their first winning season in over a decade with their win over Tennessee and also helped to silence some of their critics that have knocked their weaker schedule. They're currently holding the top WC spot in the AFC and have a favorable schedule to end the year before meeting Pittsburgh in Week 17.
The Dallas Cowboys are being replaced with the Cleveland Browns for a Primetime game... Only 2020. https://t.co/Tx7j1I10w9— NFL Memes (@NFL Memes) 1607568086.0
5. Buffalo Bills (9-3, Last Week 6, + 1) - Beat the 49ers on Monday to stay a game ahead of Miami and they lead the league in 3rd Down Conversions. The Bills will be a tough matchup for anyone in the playoffs.
4. Green Bay Packers (9-3, Last Week 4, +/- 0) - Aaron Rodgers tossed 3 TDs in an easy win over the Eagles on Sunday. Rodgers is now 5th in the NFL in passing yards (3,395) and first in passing TDs (36). Aaron Jones had a breakout game, his first since returning from injury a couple weeks back.
"Whoever catches Aaron's next [TD], keep the ball." It was destiny for @tae15adams to catch @AaronRodgers12's 400t… https://t.co/T2Wjc8GKpF— NFL (@NFL) 1607574600.0
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1, Last Week 1, - 2) - Washington handed the Steelers their first loss of the season, but the Steelers are still a legitimate threat to beat anyone. They have the pedigree to make a deep playoff run, getting James Conner healthy will be key in just how far they go.
2. New Orleans Saints (10-2, Last Week 3, + 1) - The Saints keep winning and have clinched a playoff berth riding a nine game win streak. Taysom Hill has been excellent during Drew Brees' absence, but the future hall-of-famer is close to making a return. New Orleans can now be conservative about bringing him back to make sure he's ready for playoffs.
Taysom Hill https://t.co/EEWC2vN9mK— ⚜️Mook☃️ (@⚜️Mook☃️) 1607279112.0
1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1, Last Week 2, + 1) - The Chiefs reassume the top spot in our rankings. Even though it's felt like they should've been here for a few weeks now, we simply couldn't disrespect the Steelers during an undefeated streak. Until further notice, the Chiefs are your Super Bowl favorites.
He was still in college. 🤯 https://t.co/J2xGEftbxZ— Arrowhead Pride (@Arrowhead Pride) 1607623260.0