Top Draftstreet Football Values for Week 15
Here we are, three weeks remaining in the season. Fortunately for those of you, and there are many out there, who have been eliminated from contention in standard leagues, you can now focus on winning some cold hard cash in daily leagues. Draftstreet continues to provide fantasy football players with an amazing outlet to get their fix throughout the season.
As has been the case each week this season, Pro Football Focus will provide you with the top Draftstreet values for Week 15. There are a few hit-and-miss propositions in areas that we would consider safe bets. Look at Jimmy Graham for a second. While he has been considered a must start each week this season, it’s hard to fathom that he will be able to live up to his price tag of $13,991 against a St. Louis Rams defense that ranks in the top five of the NFL against fantasy tight ends. This means that you have a strong opportunity to find value at that position elsewhere. Rinse, wash repeat. This can be said for every position heading into Week 15.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers ($12,972)
Kaepernick has been one of the most disappointing fantasy quarterbacks this season. Many had expectations that he would put up middle-tier QB1 numbers, but the third-year quarterback has been nothing more than an average backup in standard leagues through 14 weeks.
With that said, a lot of Kaepernick’s fantasy struggles had nothing to do with his performance on the field. He is averaging just 26 pass attempts per game, which ranks in the bottom three of the NFL among regular starting quarterbacks. Kaepernick does rank in the top seven of the NFL in yards per attempt and percentage of yards in the air. This coupled with the returns of Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham in the lineup leads me to believe he should start to put up fantasy numbers in the final three games of the season.
Overall, it’s important to note that Kaepernick has put up 16 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions since San Francisco’s Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Kaepernick and the 49ers will be taking on a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has yielded the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but has held running backs eighth-fewest points. This means that Kaepernick will be asked to put the ball up more than we have seen in the past. It also indicates that he should far surpass his No. 11 ranking in Draftstreet leagues for the week.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins ($11,035)
This is based on the strong possibility that Cousins is named the Redskins starting quarterback for their Week 15 matchup against an Atlanta Falcons defense that has yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. With the news that Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan may shut Robert Griffin III down for the season, Cousins becomes a viable option in daily leagues. Not only has the second-year quarterback played well in limited action in his short career, all the indications are there for him to have a solid fantasy performance.
We grade Atlanta out as the worst pass-rushing defense in the entire NFL, which means that Cousins should have all the time in the world to pick apart a secondary that includes two rookies at cornerback and a veteran in Asante Samuel who currently possesses a negative grade in pass coverage. Atlanta has also forced a total of 12 turnovers in 13 games, which indicates that you won’t see many negative plays from Cousins in this one. Again, this is based solely on the idea that Cousins will start this week. We will have a better understanding of Shanahan’s decision come Wednesday afternoon.
Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay Packers ($9,249)
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has indicated that they are preparing for Flynn to start again this week. Aaron Rodgers is set to meet with medical professionals on Wednesday, but didn’t seem too optimistic earlier in the week that he would be able to go in this one. Considering that Green Bay is taking on a Dallas Cowboys pass defense that is currently on pace to be among the worst in the history of the National Football League, Flynn may be a sexy pick. Let’s take a look at some of the most eye-opening performances against the Cowboys thus far this season.
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Does anyone honestly believe that even if Flynn goes instead of Rodgers, Dallas will be able to stop the likes of Jordy Nelson, James Jones and even Jarrett Boykin in the passing game? Flynn is currently the 33rd-most expensive quarterback in Draftstreet leagues this week. Even if he just puts up top-15 numbers, you will be getting a steal here. It will enable you to spend money at other positions that are more important in PPR formats.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers ($7,645)
Much like what we have seen with quarterbacks going up against the Cowboys defense this season, it appears that running backs are having themselves somewhat of a field day against that unit. They are currently allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, an average of 23.48 fantasy points per outing. In total, Dallas’ defense has given up 140-plus rushing yards in six of its last eight outings. With a makeshift defensive front that includes Nick Hayden and Drake Nevis, the Cowboys just don’t have the necessary personnel upfront to stop the running game.
When your best run-stuffing defensive lineman is right around the league average, it’s not really where you want to be as a unit. When the rest of those players you rely on to help against the run are among the worst in the league, then major problems occur. Starks obviously isn’t the primary running back in Green Bay this season, but he should see enough touches to put up solid RB2 numbers in this one, something that he hasn’t done since early November.
Considering that Starks is the 32nd-most expensive running back in Draftstreet leagues this week, the veteran will provide you with some bang for your buck.
Bryce Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,896)
I am looking at this along the lines of Philadelphia being able to utilize Brown later in the game with a comfy lead over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Chip Kelly might be getting to the point in the season, especially going up against a weak defense, that he can start to save LeSean McCoy for more important games down the road. Even if McCoy does see the 20-plus touches that he has consistently gotten over the course of the season, Brown should see enough carries to make a solid fantasy impact in Week 15.
We grade Minnesota out in the bottom six of the NFL against the run, which is another indication that Brown should be able to see the necessary touches to at least be a mid-tier FLEX option. At under five percent of your cap, the second-year player could be a real steal in this one.
Roy Helu Jr, RB, Washington Redskins ($4,667)
Notice a trend here? I am relying heavily on backup running back to make an impact in Week 15. Fortunately for those of you who would like to see Helu Jr. be one of those backups who goes off in daily leagues, he will be lining up against an Atlanta Falcons team that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. The interesting dynamic here is that Atlanta has yielded a ridiculous 4.6 yards per carry to opposing running backs in 2013.
While Alfred Morris should still get a bulk of the carries in this one, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Helu Jr. put up between 10 and 15 touches himself. If that’s the case, he is going to be, at the very least, a top-tier FLEX option. This is further magnified by the fact that the former Nebraska standout is averaging 6.7 yards per touch this season and has scored four touchdowns on just 55 attempts. He has also caught a surprising 26 passes on 34 targets.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings ($7,099)
Why not? This rookie has seen his total snap count increase from an average in the high teens during his first nine games to 37.3 per game over the course of his last four outings. In the process, the first-round pick has stepped up big time. He put up 141 yards and a score on just seven targets, including a ridiculous 79 yarder, against the Baltimore Ravens this past week.
Fortunately for those of us who kept an eye out on Patterson in daily leagues this season, Week 15 offers perfect timing to take a chance on the young receiver. He will be lining up against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that ranks dead last in the NFL against fantasy receivers and possesses a -26.8 grade in pass coverage here on Pro Football Focus. As the 35th-most expensive Draftstreet receiver this week, Patterson possesses solid mid-tier WR2 upside.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers ($6,826)
This has to be a joke, right? How is it possible that Crabtree, who appears to be near 100 percent, can be had for under seven percent of your total cap? San Francisco hasn’t necessarily eased the talented receiver back in the lineup after he missed the first 11 games of the season with a torn Achilles. He played 43 snaps in his first outing against the St. Louis Rams two weeks ago before seeing the field for 61 of San Francisco’s 69 offensive snaps against the Seattle Seahawks last week. While Crabtree did struggle against that vaunted Seahawks’ secondary, he will have a much easier go at it this week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank in the bottom half of the NFL against fantasy wide receivers and possess a -7.6 grade in pass coverage here on Pro Football Focus. Equally as important, Crabtree will likely be lining up against Johnthan Banks, who we give a -12.4 grade to in pass coverage. In fact, he ranks in the bottom seven of the NFL in that category. As the 39th-most expensive Draftstreet receiver this week, Crabtree is going to represent tremendous value.
Zach Miller, TE, Seattle Seahawks ($5,011)
Miller has consistently be seeing between 40 and 60 snaps per game for Seattle this season. While he might see the field less due to the emergence of rookie Luke Willson, it does appear that the veteran has a nice working relationship with Russell Wilson. While he only has 28 receptions on the season, Miller is catching 70 percent of the passes thrown in his direction and has only dropped one pass on the year. Miller now has the benefit of lining up against a New York Giants defense that is downright atrocious in coverage against tight ends.
They rank in the bottom eight of the NFL against fantasy tight ends and are allowing a whopping 121.2 rating against that position in 2013. While Draftstreet doesn’t necessarily believe Miller will make much of an impact, he will be a tremendous red zone target against a defense that lacks the necessary talent at linebacker to go up against tight ends.
Matthew Mulligan, TE, New England Patriots ($3,082)
With Rob Gronkowski shelved for the season due to a torn ACL, Mulligan will see the field simply because New England is running out of options at the tight end position. The fifth-year tight end has caught a total of 16 passes in 62 career games, but that’s something we simply need to look past. Tom Brady has a knack for finding his big-bodied tight ends in the end zone and Mulligan could easily find himself on the receiving end of a touchdown. In fact, one of the two passes he has caught this season went for six. It’s also important to note that the Patriots are going up against a Miami Dolphins defense that has yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. Mulligan is someone you pick up on the cheap as your No. 2 FLEX option.