Week 15 optimal DraftKings lineup: Bills-Browns double-up
Last week’s optimal DraftKings lineup was a hit. The Andy Dalton-Tyler Eifert stack paid off, as did our big bets on DeSean Jackson, Sammy Watkins and Lamar Miller. If you used last week’s roster — while replacing the injured Theo Riddick — you definitely cashed in.
We’re at it again in Week 15 with another optimal tournament DraftKings lineup for Sunday’s main slate. Let’s get to it.
QB: Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills ($5,700)
I don’t usually feel fantastic about taking quarterbacks without much throwing upside in GPPs, but quarterbacks playing against the Browns are my exception. Taylor is not going to get the 300-yard passing bonus, but he is facing a Browns defense that has given up the most passing touchdowns (30) to opposing quarterbacks. That’s twice as many passing scores as Buffalo’s defense has given up. Taylor’s legs also usually provide him with a nice floor, and he has scored on the ground in five of his pas seven games. Taylor usually safely hits 3x his value regardless of opponent; I’m banking on the matchup upgrade to boost him into the 4x-plus range.
RB1: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers ($9,800)
He’s not going to score nearly 55 DraftKings points again this week — well, probably not — but you never really need to explain yourself if you can fit Bell into the lineup. He’s exceedingly expensive this week, which might actually suppress his ownership a bit. That’s not to say he won’t be highly owned (he will), but perhaps not as high as he should be. Over the past six games, the Bengals have given up an average of 99.9 rushing yards per game. Bell is a virtual lock for 25 DraftKings points, and we saw his ceiling last week. He’s the stud of this lineup.
RB2: LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots ($5,000)
Blount costs just $5,000, and while he’s typically a better play on sites like FanDuel, I think people shy away from him on DraftKings too much — especially this week with his “scary” matchup against the Broncos, which isn’t scary at all. The Patriots will certainly use Blount to attempt to neutralize Denver’s pass rush that so often gives them troubles, and Denver has given up an average of over 100 rushing yards per game to opposing backfields this year.
Additionally, perhaps no running back — outside of Bell and David Johnson — is more likely to score multiple touchdowns on any given week than Blount, and the Patriots continue to feed him the rock. He has carried the ball about 18 times per game since Brady’s return in Week 5, and he has scored in all but two of those games. Blount was an early-week favorite of mine for all of these same reasons, and I’m still inclined to include him in some lineups.
WR1: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills ($5,900)
We’re stacking Taylor with Watkins in this volatile tournament lineup. Watkins caught his first touchdown of the year last week and is now fully healthy, evidenced by his season-high 94.2 percent snap rate in Week 14 — up from 68.1 percent and 45.5 percent in his first two games back from injury. Watkins will see his fair share of Joe Haden this weekend, but Haden isn’t as scary as he one was. In fact, according to our WR-CB Chart, Haden is targeted on 19 percent of his routes in coverage — most among Browns corners — and he has given up 0.33 fantasy points per route run against, which is below the league average and right in line with his Cleveland teammates this year.
WR2: Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,400)
We have Matthews projected to be the eighth-highest-scoring receiver on DraftKings this week, but he’s only the 27th-most-expensive option, at just $5,400. That’s one reason why our own Mike Tagliere named Matthews as one of the DFS locks of the week. Matthews is the only legitimate wideout on Philadelphia’s roster, and his target share speaks to this. On the year, Matthews has seen 39 percent of all targets directed toward Philadelphia wideouts. Since Week 8, he has caught nearly half (47 percent) of all passes secured by Eagles receivers. And he gets the Baltimore Ravens secondary this week, which was just exposed for who they really are on national television: An overrated unit that has given up the (tied for) most touchdowns to enemy wideouts this year.
WR3: Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns ($5,200)
We’re game-stacking the Buffalo-Cleveland game with this pick. Worst idea ever? Maybe. I felt pretty gross typing that. But absolutely nobody will be on Pryor this week after he had a self-described “garbage” game in Week 14. But he does have an individual WR-CB matchup against the burnable Ronald Darby, and it’s not like Pryor’s insane athleticism has vanished overnight.
TE: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,900)
Kelce is the most expensive tight end on the board, but he still cones in under $6,000. He’s the most likely of any tight end to go for over 100 yards; he has done it in four straight contests and in five of his past even. It seems like Kansas City has finally realized that Kelce is their best offensive weapon. However, Kelce hasn’t scored since Week 8. This does worry me a bit, but the touchdown potential is definitely still there. The Chiefs have just been scoring from much further out than we’re used to, thanks to Tyreek Hill. With so many of the other “good” tight ends off the main slate, Kelce sticks out as the cream of the crop.
Flex: Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens ($3,800)
Dixon was the sleeper that woke up far too late for season-long leagues, but we can still make use of him in DFS. He legitimately looks like Baltimore’s main tailback now. Dixon has 10-plus touches in three straight games, and he had nearly 20 last week against the Patriots. He played a season-high 60 percent of Baltimore’s snaps against New England in Week 14.
Some of that might be attributable to game script, since Baltimore was down and Dixon has become the primary receiving back, but his 11 rushing attempts far exceeded Terrance West’s two attempts. Dixon has a good matchup against an Eagles defense that has given up 354 rushing yards and five rushing scores to opposing backfields over the past four weeks. And he only costs $3,800. If he gets 15-plus touches again, he’s a great bet to exceed 4x value.
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals ($3,000)
Arizona’s entire team has been a hot mess this year, but their defense is still capable of putting up big numbers. They have three top-10 DraftKings finishes in their past four outings, and have eight top-10 finishes on the year, including three top-two finishes. They will give up a lot of points, but they have also generated at least one sack and at least one turnover in every game this year. Against the turnover-prone New Orleans Saints, I like this play in GPPs.