Alex's Past Picks
Tony Pollard is facing an angry Eagles defense that just got humiliated by the San Francisco 49ers in Philadelphia. The Eagles are getting three key run defenders back for this game as well in Fletcher Cox, Zach Cunningham, and All-Pro Linebacker Shaq Leonard will be making his debut. Look for the Eagles to contain one of the least effective starting RBs in Tony Pollard.
While in years past this would be an automatic over both teams have found it difficult to attack downfield and as a result KC and BUF have had far more conservative offenses. NE and BUF mirror each other in a lot of ways and have been running the football more than ever and I expect that to be the case on Sunday night as James Cook and Isaiah Pacheco have both been effective and as a result, their roles in the offenses continue to grow. I believe we see both teams implement a balanced approach and we see a lot of long drives rather than explosive downfield passing.
The Bills have had one of the most balanced and conservative offenses since they parted ways with offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. Cook has averaged 16.5 rushing attempts and has been the focal point of Buffalo's offense despite difficult matchups against the Eagles and Jets. That won't be the case Sunday, as Cook and the Bills take on a sub-par Chiefs run defense. Kansas City's defense is 31st in EPA allowed per rush and 32nd in run stop win rate. I expected this number to open in the mid-50's, so this is one of my favorite props on the board for Week 14.
Moss has been an absolute workhorse anytime he has appeared without Jonathan Taylor this season. Moss is averaging close to 95% of the team's backfield touches without Taylor in the lineup, which borders on ridiculous. Moss will have the luxury of facing one of the worst run defenses in the league Sunday. The Bengals are 30th in defensive run grade and 26th in run stop win rate. Moss should receive all the work he can handle on Sunday, and the Colts are unlikely to be in a position where they abandon the run.
Hubbard is coming off a career-best game where he handled 74% of the team's carries, and he appears to be the new coaching staff's preferred option in the backfield. Hubbard has quietly had a good season, and despite playing in one of the league's least-effective offenses, he has delivered solid efficiency. Hubbard and Co. will face a middle-of-the-road Saints run defense that has been a fairly significant run funnel. Carolina wants to limit Bryce Young's drop-backs and should lean on Hubbard in what should be a low-scoring/competitive game environment.
Williams has enjoyed an excellent breakout campaign, and he has served as the engine of Sean McVay's offense, seemingly out of nowhere. Williams is averaging a robust 5.1 yards per carry and has scored 10 TDs in seven appearances, averaging 110 scrimmage yards per game. Williams is facing one of the toughest possible tests in a rested Ravens defense that is as healthy as it has been all season coming off a bye week. Baltimore ranks seventh in defensive run grade and checks in at 11th in EPA allowed per rush. Look for Baltimore to prioritize slowing down Williams on Sunday.
Nicolas Claxton gets a dream matchup tonight against the worst team in the NBA in the Washington Wizards. The Wizards play at the 2nd fastest pace in the league and are 2nd worst in Defense. Washington has been especially generous to opposing bigs as they surrender the most PPG (27.8) and RPG (17.19) to Centers this season. Claxton has played 29 mins per game over his last six appearances and if he gets that much playing time should pile up plenty of points and rebounds.
Love this spot for Tobias Harris facing a Hawks team that has just been extremely generous to opposing forwards this season. Atlanta is a very good offensive team that plays at a fast pace (similar to Indiana) however they play almost no defense and as a result create a lot of high scoring environments. Atlanta's D has really struggled since losing Jalen Johnson and Harris should get plenty of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet. The Sixers without James Harden have been leaning heavily on their big 3 of Embiid, Maxey, and Harris who have all performed well this season.
This is a tough spot for Najee who was unable to practice all week and was ultimately a GTD heading into TNF. He is expected to suit up but is likely operating at less than 100% facing New England's top rated run defense. The Pats are 1st in EPA allowed per rush and Najee is likely to cede touches to Jaylen Warren who has been the most effective RB for PIT. Look for Najee to take more of a backseat role against the Patriots tonight in what is a very difficult matchup.
It's been a somewhat disappointing season for Nikola Vucevic and the Bulls who find themselves 7-14 and are rumored to be shopping their entire roster including their trio of All-Stars. While it appears imminent the Bulls will eventually shake things up, in the meantime they get an excellent matchup against a Hornets squad that ranks dead last in Defense and play at the 11th fastest Pace. The Hornets have unsurprisingly been generous to opposing Centers. Chicago will be without their second leading scorer in Zach LaVine which should lead to some additional usage for Vucevic as well. Look for the big man to stuff the stat sheet tonight in what is a plus matchup.
This is a huge number and I typically avoid backing these large combo lines, however this checks all the boxes I look for and then some. For starters, Embiid is well rested having last played November 27th. He gets the best possible matchup against a Wizards frontcourt that allows the most PPG (26.9) and RPG (17.23) to opposing Centers. Washington is ranked 2nd in possessions per game, in addition to being 29th in Defensive Efficiency. Embiid has torched the Wizards as well, having recorded at least 40+ combined points in rebounds in six consecutive games.
This is a seriously low number for Middleton who should play between 25-30 minutes tonight and often is the primary distributor whenever Giannis or Lillard are off the court. I could see him getting a slight bump in playing time considering the importance of the game as well. Look for Middleton to pile up at least 8 combined rebounds and assists tonight.
Look for Travis Etienne to handle lead back duties tonight in what is a fantastic matchup against a Bengals defense that is 27th in EPA allowed per rush, defensive run grade, and 26th in Run Stop Win Rate. I don't think Etienne would be suiting up tonight if the injury was serious and he also had an extra day to get healthy. I think he has a big game on the ground.
This is a substantial number for Buddy Hield, especially in the event Tyrese Halburton is active tonight. I do anticipate Haliburton playing as this is a pivotal in-season tournament game. It is a gamble as Hield's usage would increase if Haliburton isn't able to suit up. Regardless Boston has one of the best perimeter defenses in the league and the combination of Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White will make life difficult on Hield.
Rashee Rice is coming off a career best game where he went for triple digit receiving yards, but more importantly finished with a career best 68% route participation, signaling that the Chiefs braintrust are finally on the cusp of giving the rookie a full time role in KC's high volume passing attack. Andy Reid spent the majority of his Week 13 press conference gushing about Rice and as long as he wasn't paying lip service and Rice matches his route participation, this is an automatic play for me at this number.