The Patriots haven’t missed the playoffs since Tom Brady tore his ACL during the 2008 season. They’re hoping to avoid that fate in 2020. Sitting at 6-6, the Patriots have little margin for error and will have to bring their best in their game against the Rams. Los Angeles is tied for the NFC West lead with an 8-4 record and will be looking to use its elite defense to slow down the Patriots’ ragtag offense. NFL DFS owners should expect a defensive matchup, which makes our Week 14 FanDuel Single-game lineup a bit tough to build.
Because FanDuel doesn’t have defenses available in their Single-game format, we’ll have to pick the right offensive players in this one to get by. Some would argue that going Rams-heavy is the right move because of their solid offense, but with Stephon Gilmore likely to shut down one of the Rams’ WRs and Bill Belichick likely to force Jared Goff into some mistakes, we’re taking a balanced approach. We’re targeting the Patriots’ strength, their running game, and are going after a few Rams players to spread the wealth around on offense. We’re also spending $3K under budget because there are some good value plays on the slate who will earn us lineup differentiation and could pay off.
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FanDuel Single-Game Picks: Rams vs. Patriots
MVP (1.5x points): Cam Newton, Patriots ($16,000)
Some may scoff at the notion of playing Newton as the MVP because of his lack of passing success in recent weeks. He threw for just 69 yards in the Patriots’ win over the Chargers, after all. That said, Newton represents a solid MVP choice because he runs the ball so frequently and so well. Newton is averaging 9.6 rushing attempts, 39.5 rushing yards, and a rushing TD per game on the season. His 11 rushing TDs lead all QBs, and if the Patriots get down toward the red zone, you best believe it will be Newton getting the carries and having a chance to get into the end zone. His ceiling may be low given his passing issues (fewer than 100 passing yards in back-to-back games), but since so many people will want to fade him in this matchup despite his high floor, he’s a good choice at this spot.
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FLEX: Cooper Kupp, Rams ($13,000)
It seems likely that reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore will line up against Robert Woods in this game. Woods has been Jared Goff’s favorite receiver this year and has at least 11 targets in three consecutive games. So, despite Woods’ productivity, we’ll fade him in a tough matchup and go with Kupp. Though Kupp has been up-and-down this season, he has six games with double-digit FanDuel points and is averaging 8.8 targets per game. Kupp did have a 20-target game earlier in the year against Brian Flores’ Dolphins, so against Belichick’s defense, which operates similarly to that of the Dolphins, Kupp could get a lot of looks from Goff once again.
FLEX: Cam Akers, Rams ($12,500)
Akers is starting to come on late in his rookie season. He is now clearly the Rams lead back after toting the rock a career-high 21 times against the Cardinals. He has scored in three consecutive games and may have a chance to do so again if he can continue running with the strength he showed last week. The Patriots are middle-of-the-pack in FanDuel points allowed to RBs, so Akers should be able to take advantage of this defense, especially with the Rams needing to establish a ground game to open up play-action a bit more for Jared Goff.
FLEX: James White, Patriots ($9,000)
Before doing practically nothing in a blowout win over the Chargers where he wasn’t needed much, White had posted back-to-back games with double-digit FanDuel points. He had six catches for 64 yards against the Texans in Week 11 and scored twice on the ground against the Cardinals in Week 12. While his usage has been sporadic, the Patriots will probably need to use him more as a receiver in this game to get creative since the Rams are so good at stopping the run. Of the Patriots RBs, White has the best chance to go off because the game script here should benefit him. While we could spend up to get Damien Harris ($12K) instead of White, we’d rather fade Harris, who has high bust potential as a between-the-tackles runner against the league’s third-best run defense.
FLEX: Van Jefferson, Rams ($6,500)
In the Rams win over the Cardinals, Jefferson played a career-high 40 snaps for the Rams, 48 percent of their offensive totals, and looks like he’s en route to unseating Josh Reynolds as the Rams’ No. 3 receiver. Jefferson saw five targets, catching four for 27 yards last week. The numbers aren’t huge, but if the Patriots focus on taking away Woods and Kupp, Jefferson could find himself open more frequently. He caught his first career TD a few weeks ago, so he has proven that he can make plays in the red zone, so that should help his upside, too. Jefferson is worth a flier, as he won’t be highly owned but could be more productive than people think.