DRAFT Daily Fantasy Helper: Week 15
With the fantasy playoffs moving into their second week, many have already been eliminated from contention. However, with the NFL season heating up, DRAFT provides weekly snake or auction leagues, allowing people to stay involved in the action. In these leagues people, pick their preferred individual players on a week-to-week basis. Here are a few of this week's notable plays.
Baker Mayfield - Despite the Cleveland Browns upsetting the Carolina Panthers, Baker Mayfield recorded a rather average stat-line of 238 passing yards and a single score. Often falling to the final rounds or going un-drafted early on this week, the rookie star should provide another use-able fantasy day against the Denver Broncos.
First of all, Mayfield's disappointing fantasy outing can be partially attributed to attempting a lowly 22 passes on a league-low 45 plays in Week 14. Prior to this contest, Mayfield averaged 35.3 pass attempts per game. While Mayfield only has two passing touchdowns the past two weeks, his passing yardage remains solid, with an average of 317.5 yards in that span.
This week, Mayfield and the Browns travel to Denver to take on a collapsing Broncos team that recently lost Chris Harris and Isaac Yiadom from its secondary. On the season, this Broncos secondary has allowed the sixth-most passing yards to opposing signal callers (3,707), including 332 passing yards to Nick Mullens last week.
This game comes in with a modest 45.5 over/under, but with the Browns pegged as three-point underdogs, negative game script should elevate Baker's pass attempts. Embracing the late-round quarterback approach, Mayfield allows drafters to load up at other positions.
Lamar Jackson - Recently receiving John Harbaugh's blessing, Lamar Jackson was named the Baltimore Ravens' starting quarterback, despite Joe Flacco being cleared to play. Going in the mid-to-late rounds of snake drafts, Jackson's weekly rushing floor keeps him in play at the quarterback position.
In four full games as the Ravens' starting quarterback, Jackson has averaged 22.25 pass attempts and 16.75 rushing attempts per game. With at least 16.5 fantasy points in each game in this span, the rookie has yet to show a ceiling game he is capable of. Needing one multi-rushing touchdown or 250-yard passing week, Jackson offers elite quarterback upside.
Playing at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this could be the week Jackson finally hits that ceiling. Tampa Bay currently ranks 27th in pass defense, according to our power rankings, and has allowed the 5th-most passing yards to opposing signal callers this season (3,708).
Currently favored by 7.5 points, with the fourth-highest implied team total (27.00), Jackson should again be able to exploit the Bucs' defense using his wheels. However, with the second-most yards per game, Tampa Bay has proven capable of moving the ball, creating a scenario for Jackson to attempt extra passes.
Regardless of game script, Jackson remains too cheap as a late-round dart-throw with his upside on the ground alone.
Joe Mixon - Despite a lost season, the Cincinnati Bengals promisingly showed a commitment to Joe Mixon in last week's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Going near the end of the first round, Mixon offers bell-cow upside at a slightly discounted cost.
Last week Mixon handled a massive 31 touches for the Bengals, with 6 targets in the passing game. The second-year pro parlayed this volume into 138 total yards and a score.
This week, Mixon and the Bengals land arguably the best running back matchup on the week against the Oakland Raiders. According to our metrics, the Raiders rank 30th in rush defense, and have also allowed the second-most rushing yards in the NFL (1,598).
A surprising 2.5-point home favorite, Mixon should get the ball early and often in this contest. For those with late first round picks, Mixon should lock down the top of the running back position.
Nick Chubb - Coming off the board in the second round, Nick Chubb offers the upside of a first round back. As consistent as they come, Chubb has scored in each of the past five games.
More importantly, Chubb has handed 90% of the running back touches in the Browns' last three games. This includes passing down work, where he now has target counts of three, three and six in that span.
Operating as the clear lead back, Chubb takes this volume to Denver. Noted above, the Broncos have recently struggled on the defensive side of the ball. They rank near the middle of the pack, according to our metrics, but they have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards to backs this season (1,418).
While the Browns remains three-point underdogs, Chubb has shown game script independence. In the second round of drafts, he remains a solid second round draft selection.
Jaylen Samuels - Despite a mediocre first outing as the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting running back, Jaylen Samuels could again see a majority of the running back work with James Conner still sidelined.
Importantly, Samuels saw a greater workload than teammate Stevan Ridley, who many thought could siphon work. Samuels out-snapped Ridley 48-8, while running a route or carrying the ball on 45 of these plays.
Facing the New England Patriots this week, this matchup doesn't immediately stand out. However, ranking in the bottom 10 in rushing defense, per our metrics, and having allowed the sixth-most receiving yards to running backs (710), New England provides a sneaky avenue to fantasy success.
With an over/under sitting at 52.0, this game projects to finish as the third-highest scoring on the week. Conveniently, the Steelers come is as 2.5-point underdogs, giving Samuels the opportunity to rack up catches in negative game script. For those waiting till the final rounds to approach running back, Samuels provides a solid floor with a potential ceiling in negative game script.
DeAndre Hopkins - With running backs dominating the first round of drafts, many elite wide receiver talents have been pushed into the late first to early second round. Coming off the board in this range, DeAndre Hopkins provides one of DRAFT's biggest values this weekend.
Hopkins remains one of the most targeted receivers in the NFL with 28 targets (10th) and 334 air yards (5th) in his past three games. Despite the massive volume, Hopkins only has 201 receiving yards and a single score in this time span, which should regress in the near future.
The Houston Texans face the New York Jets this week, who have allowed the third-most yards to receivers this season (2,460). In their last two games, the Jets have allowed Robert Foster and Taywan Taylor to eclipse 100 yards receiving.
Often coming with a second-round price tag, Hopkins pairs well with an elite running back at the top of the draft.
JuJu Smith-Schuster - Continuing to fall behind Antonio Brown in drafts, JuJu Smith-Schuster deserves to come off the board in the same range as his fall of fame teammate. Still a mid-round pick, Smith-Schuster provides a weekly edge for sharp drafters.
Smith-Schuster has not only seen an increase in targets this season, but his 38 targets in the Steelers' last 3 games lead both the team and the NFL in that span. On the season, JuJu ranks just behind Brown in targets (141-131) but ahead of him in air yards (1,190- 1,039).
Drawing a touch matchup against the Patriots, JuJu presents a fade matchup and bet on volume situation. Passing on 67% of their offensive plays, no other team passes more than the Steelers, creating an immense target floor for the main Steelers' pass catchers.
While others will fade due to the matchup, Smith-Schuster can be selected at a discount this week in the mid-rounds, providing a recipe for success in fantasy.
Tyler Lockett - With Doug Baldwin failing to practice after missing Week 14's game, Tyler Lockett looks like an immense value for the second-consecutive week as a late round dart-throw. While Baldwin could return, it looks like he would play at less than 100% health, allowing Lockett to see an uptick in usage.
Unlike Smith-Schuster, Lockett plays on the run-heaviest offense in football, but he remains the most targeted receiver on the team in the last three weeks (12). Playing with a hyper-efficient Russell Wilson, Lockett's 760 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns on a mere 58 targets are mind-boggling. If Baldwin sits out and targets condense, Lockett becomes an absolute must-play given this efficiency.
Further sweetening this situation, the Seattle Seahawks draw a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. This 49ers team ranks 26th in pass defense, according to our metrics, and has allowed a league-high 20 touchdowns to receivers this season.
Seemingly specializing in long touchdowns, Lockett often goes un-drafted in early leagues. Providing the requisite upside to take down first place in any given week, he needs to be considered in the final rounds in this spot against San Francisco.