DraftKings Plays - Week 15
The players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme.
A lot of situations come with caveats this week, and Sunday morning will be busy when Inactives are announced. James Starks ($3,000), Knile Davis ($3,000), and Harry Douglas ($4,200), to name a few, may see a significant bump in value – or it might be business as usual. Even more than in a usual week, be sure to have pivot plans in place and an open schedule before kickoff.
Cash Games Lineup
QB: Peyton Manning ($8,900) at San Diego Chargers (50.5)
Talk of Denver’s offense morphing into Ground-and-Pound is coming from everywhere but Broncos headquarters. In a high-over/under game in sunny San Diego, against a crumbling secondary, Peyton will get off the schneid. The Chargers haven’t been able to play keep-away for months and won’t start now with Ryan Mathews out.
RB: Le’Veon Bell (9,600) at Atlanta Falcons (55)
Since Week 9, when LeGarrette Blount walked off the team, Bell is averaging 8.3 targets-per-game. He’s essentially the only viable option in the Steelers backfield. Bell has gotten 26.7 handoffs and scored 39 points-per-game in his last three. Oh, and the Falcons defense surrenders the most points to running backs.
RB: Jeremy Hill ($4,300) at Cleveland Browns (44)
Hill’s affordable price, obvious talent, and newly-minted lead running back title, make him an easy choice for cash games. He should surpass 20 looks (handoffs plus targets), but he’ll pay off even with a few less than that. In the five weeks that he saw at least 17 looks, Hill is the PPR RB3 – with a 17.9 point-per-game average.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins ($6,100) at Indianapolis Colts (49)
We saw his floor last week (8.9 points), and while it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t a disaster. A realistic ceiling might not be his 44.8-point Week 13 detonation, but since Hopkins’ last five games with Ryan Fitzpatrick have averaged 8.8 targets, 6 catches, 121 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns – he’s very likely to meet value.
WR: Roddy White ($5,800) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (55)
Who knows if Julio Jones is going to be active, or what kind of condition he’ll be in? Either way, White’s a solid play. The game projects to be a shootout and Pittsburgh’s secondary stinks. Plus White will be at home, where he scores over 50-percent more fantasy points than on the road during the last two seasons.
WR: Marquess Wilson ($3,000) vs New Orleans Saints (54)
Investing in the rancid tire fire that is the Bears is an uncomfortable proposition, but as a minimum-salaried dart-throw, Wilson is too good to pass up. He’ll start now that Brandon Marshall is out, and has a favorable matchup in a high-over/under game. Hold your nose, cover your eyes, and just start him.
TE: Delanie Walker ($4,400) vs New York Jets (42)
When Jake Locker started the first three weeks, Walker averaged 8.3 targets, 5.7 catches, 77.7 yards, and 0.7 touchdowns. With a banged-up receiving corps, he’s seen over seven targets per game in the last three. He also has a plus matchup against a Jets defense that’s struggles to cover tight ends.
FLEX: Fred Jackson ($5,200) vs Green Bay Packers (50.5)
If the Bills manage to keep it close, it’ll be by controlling the clock against the 29th-ranked run defense (-31.1). Point, FJax. If Vegas is correct and the Packers turn it into a shootout, or open up a lead that forces Buffalo to throw, the game flow-immune Jackson – who saw 13 targets last week – still benefits.
DEF: Carolina Panthers ($2,600) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41.5)
The Panthers run defense has rebounded, albeit against suspect rushing attacks. The Bucs are about as suspect as it gets. Josh McCown will again be forced to air it out and turnovers will rain down mostly due to the 31st-ranked pass blocking (-54.7). Carolina may give up a few plays, but will still pay off this price tag.
Total Salary: $49,900
I will have plenty of exposure to Eli Manning ($6,500) this week, based on the fairly high projected team total for the Giants (roughly 27 points), his opponent, and how he skewered Washington the last time they played. I’m guessing I will not be alone in that opinion. Quarterback usage tends to be more spread out than at other positions, so I won’t fade him completely, but want to use a couple of other passers who will have lower ownership percentages.
Eli’s brother, for the reasons mentioned above, is on my radar for GPPs as well. Red zone-hog C.J. Anderson is a little banged up, and Manning’s passing game targets are getting healthier – but still carry the stigma of recent injury and disappointment. This has the feel of a “Peyton week,” and his still-high price tag should keep him from being overly popular.
On the (much) lower-end, we have Jake Locker ($5,400). The Titans can’t run against average defenses, let alone a top-graded (70.7) Jets outfit that allows the second-fewest yards-per-carry. Locker will need to throw early and often against the fifth-most generous fantasy quarterback defense. That pass-heavy approach will help to mitigate the negative effect of Tennessee’s own run-stopping ineptitude, and the resulting clock-draining drives by the Jets. There’s no obvious wideout to stack the moderately mobile Locker with – which is probably a good thing – but Walker makes for a budget-friendly pair.
I really wanted to use Matt Forte for the cash lineup. But there’s just enough uncertainty surrounding the Bears, and Bell is such a great option, that I’ll stick to (a lot of) GPPs with Forte. His upside remains tremendous, as he was far-and-away fantasy’s best back from Week 4 through Week 12 – when seeing 26.8 looks-per-game. He averaged a fantasy point for every look during that time. The Saints have had a snap-boosting effect on opponents of late, and with Marshall out it stands to reason Forte’s workload will get juiced. New Orleans is easy pickings for running backs, and Forte should explode.
You can’t help but love Latavius Murray this week. He ripped the Chiefs, who allow the most yards-per-carry in the league, for 112 yards on just four Week 12 carries. The Raiders finally woke up and gave him 23 carries, two targets, and an 81.8-percent snaps workload last week. His price would fit into a cash lineup swimmingly, if not for the risk that Oakland’s snap volume is washed out by game flow.
Yes, the Chiefs are allowing the third-most snaps per game over the last month (70.5), but that average was 60.8 prior to Week 11 – and their optimal game plan revolves around ball-control. The Raiders run 62.7 snaps per game on the road and, despite a couple of feisty recent efforts, are a garbage football team. Murray could easily pay off five-times value, but his floor puts him in the GPP running back pile.
Unfortunately for Donte Moncrief enthusiasts (aka, everyone), it looks like Reggie Wayne will play this week. No Wayne would have meant a drool-worthy opportunity for Moncrief – who saw 10 targets the last time the veteran was forced to sit out – but he’s still in play for GPPs. The rookie has seen four targets in each of the last three games, while the calcifying Hakeem Nicks’ snap percentage has mirrored his downward career arc. Moncrief will toy with A.J. Bouye, who’s the 93rd-best coverage cornerback since Week 9 (-6.6). Even with Wayne creeping around the secondary, Moncrief can take advantage of Houston’s outsized focus on their historical tormentor, T.Y. Hilton.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:
Jeremy Maclin vs Brandon Carr – Maclin’s been quiet relative to his first eight games, but is still seeing 8.8 targets per game over the last month. He beat the on the junky Carr for 80-yards on Thanksgiving, and will have no problem doing it again. Maclin is a bargain ($6,100) in this high-over/under game.
Eric Decker vs Coty Sensabaugh – The greatest trick The Bleeder ever pulled was making us think his teammates didn’t suck too. Blidi Wreh-Wilson is gone and now other cornerbacks will be exposed. Whether it’s Sensabaugh or the overrated Jason McCourty – Decker has a plus-matchup and will hoard targets with Percy Harvin hobbled.
Allen Hurns vs Matt Elam – Due to an injury apocalypse the Ravens keep sending out their 5-foot 10-inch Duraflame log to cover the slot. Since Week 5, the 6-foot-3 Hurns has run 80-percent of his routes from the slot. He has 16 targets in the last two games and the Jaguars won’t be running it. Even if Ladarius Webb (-8.0 coverage; 100th-best cornerback) slides into the slot, the matchup is still a plus.
Drew Brees (13.00) – It’s a good thing Sean Payton is a sore loser and threw a no-huddle tantrum for the last three drives of a blowout.
C.J. Anderson (23.80) – Week 13’s RB6, on zero catches and 2.8 yards per carry. That’s normal.
Joique Bell (30.30) – The key to profitable lineups this year is putting Bells in your backfield.
Randall Cobb (9.70) – Hey, at least he caught all four targets. Four measly targets. In a shootout.
Jarvis Landry (11.50) – His 2.5-yard aDOT shows why his PPR floor remains high.
Stedman Bailey (6.70) – Low snap volume and getting tackled at the 1-yard line made him more Dudman than Studman.
Kyle Rudolph (2.90) – Outscored by 32 tight ends, including Kevin Brock. Even Kevin Brock’s mom doesn’t know what team he plays for.
Jonathan Stewart (24.50) – I love it when a plan comes together.
Detroit Lions (13.00) – It’s surprising McCown kept it to just three turnovers, tbqh.
Total Points Scored – 135.40
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman