DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 15
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The Week 15 main slate is only 11 games, and sadly very few offer much excitement. No team is implied to score 28 or more points, while only one game has an over/under that exceeds 48 points. It's not pretty, but there are still plenty of ways to make it work in DFS. Tournaments are particularly interesting this week, given how creative lineups can become when there aren't many high-scoring games to invest in.
Kirk Cousins ($6,200): Coming off back-to-back duds on the road, Kirk Cousins is bound to go under-owned as the fourth-highest quarterback based on salary. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was fired earlier in the week, but the visiting Miami Dolphins present a great opportunity for the Minnesota Vikings to get back on track as seven-point home favorites. Minnesota also carries the fourth-highest implied team total on the main slate. Prior to the debacles of the last two weeks, Cousins was on track to surpass 4,700 yards and 30 touchdowns while completing more than 71 percent of his passes. Meanwhile, Miami has the fifth-worst pass defense based on our schedule-adjusted metrics. The Dolphins have seen a total of five quarterbacks exceed 300 passing yards against them, which includes two of the last three games. Cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) hasn't been ruled out but seems likely to miss a second consecutive game. Play Cousins before the haters realize he's actually really good at football.
Tom Brady($5,900): Playing on the road against a mid-tier pass defense, Tom Brady remains priced under $6,000 for the third consecutive week. Brady is coming off his second-best performance of the season and has surpassed 280 yards in five of his last six games. However, Brady hasn't been lighting it up in fantasy because he's only thrown for multiple touchdowns twice during that span. The New England Patriots are slight road favorites and carry the highest implied total on the main slate, although it's a mere 27.25 points. Brady has seen the Pittsburgh Steelers three times over two years and has averaged more than 300 yards per game. While Brady has struggled to hit his ceiling this season, he may not even have to outright smash in order to be the top quarterback on this diminished slate.
Nick Mullens ($4,800): The San Francisco 49ers carry the seventh-lowest implied total on the main slate and are 3.5-point home underdogs, yet that's only a full touchdown behind the leader. Mullens just faced the Seattle Seahawks on the road a few weeks ago and lost 43-16, but he completed 30 for 48 passes for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mullens isn't without plenty of risk, though, as he's been intercepted six times over his last four starts. Additionally, Seattle is 12th in pass defense by our metrics. Mullens is cheap for a reason, but he'll allow you a ton of roster flexibility.
Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000):The Dallas Cowboys are slight road underdogs but will play indoors at the Indianapolis Colts, who have the eighth-best run defense by our metrics. In fact, no opposing running back has exceeded 100 yards when facing the Colts thus far, although it's important to note that Indianapolis has enjoyed a number of soft opponents. Elliot has broken the century mark four times over his last five games while adding an average of 55 receiving yards during that span. It's no surprise to see Elliott atop our of running back projections, and he comes with a $400 savings to Saquon Barkley, the only other truly elite running back on the main slate. Elliott should be the priority, especially in cash games.
Leonard Fournette ($7,500): Even though Leonard Fournette hasn't shown much of a ceiling in his seven games, he's in the perfect spot to smash this week at home as a massive 7.5-point home favorite against Washington. Since Week 9, Washington has seen 8 different running backs exceed 60 yards of offense against them in only 6 contests. According to Sharp Football Stats, Washington is 17th in rushing success rate during that time and 24th in explosive rushing. Down to their fourth option at quarterback and fresh off giving up 170 rushing yards on only 14 carries at home to the aforementioned Barkley, Washington hardly resembles a professional franchise at this point. Look for Fournette to hit 100 rushing yards for the first time all year.
Joe Mixon ($6,100): Only on this slate could the fourth-place Cincinnati Bengals, with Jeff Driskel at the helm, be favorites and have the eighth-highest implied total. That's because the Bengals draw the Oakland Raiders, who have the third-worst run defense by our metrics. As for Joe Mixon, he's averaging 94 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards over the last three weeks. Mixon has only scored once during that time, but it's hard to quibble with this price tag. From Weeks 8 to 12, the Raiders saw 6 different running backs exceed 78 rushing yards against them across 5 games. Mixon is clearly one of the best values on the main slate and should be highly owned in all formats.
Julian Edelman ($7,200): If the Steelers don't change how they defend slot receivers, Julian Edelman is going to feast. Not only is Edelman among the league leaders in targets from inside the 10-yard line, the opposing Steelers have shown no issues asking their linebackers to cover slot receivers. Advantage Edelman. And even if Pittsburgh has wised up, Edelman has been doing perfectly fine as of late. Over his last six games, he's averaging 9.5 targets, 6.7 receptions, and nearly 80 yards per game. During that span, Edelman has been credited with two passes and six carries, creating an even safer floor thanks to the occasional bonus opportunity. Even though Edelman is in a good spot to rack up a lot of points, the similarly priced Amari Cooper ($7,500) is likely to draw away a lot of ownership.
Larry Fitzgerald ($4,700): The top receiver for a team that's only implied to score 17.5 points as nine-point road underdogs is rarely an appealing option in DFS, but the ugliness of his slate absolutely puts Larry Fitzgerald into the conversation for cash games. The Atlanta Falcons have the worst pass defense by our scheduled-adjusted metrics, and are particularly venerable to slot receivers. Another interesting play in the Arizona Cardinals' passing attack is undrafted rookie Trent Sherfield ($3,400). With Christian Kirk (foot) done for the year, Sherfield is suddenly playing the second-most snaps at wideout and caught five of seven targets for 77 yards a week ago. The inept Arizona offense is easily dead last in time of possession but should be forced into passing quite a bit.
Michael Gallup ($3,600): Last week, I suggested playing Amari Cooper in tournaments, and that worked out is a very massive way. It's fine to play Cooper again, but his ownership will be significantly higher. However, a much cheaper option to look at happens to also be on the Cowboys. In fact, since Cooper was traded to Dallas back in Week 9, rookie Michael Gallup leads the team with 531 air yards, a figure that's good for 14th among wide receivers. Yet Gallup has only been able to convert 40 of those air yards into actual receiving yards in the box score. It's even more frustrating to see Dak Prescott repeatedly miss Gallup for big gains downfield. Thankfully, we have things like air yards, which highlight just how much opportunity a player that has yet to breakout is really seeing. It's a matter of time before Prescott starts to hit Gallup for some big gains.
Jared Cook ($5,600): In addition to having the 10th-worst pass defense by our metrics, the Bengals are one of the more generous teams when it comes to defending the tight end position. That's exactly what Jared Cook needs to keep rolling after two games in which he caught 7 passes and reached at least 100 yards. Interestingly, Cook played on at least 80 percent of Oakland's offense snaps up until their Week 7 bye. However, that rate plummeted during a four-game span from Weeks 9-12 to the point where Cook was only on the field approximately half the time. Now that he's playing well and once again seeing plenty of snaps, Cook is on the short list of tight ends worth paying up for on the main slate.
Anthony Firkser ($2,900): You know it's Week 15 when a second-year undrafted tight end from Harvard is worth considering in DFS. That's because the Tennessee Titans have placed their top-two tight ends on IR. On PlayerProfiler, Anthony Firkser doesn't standout athletically aside from a 77th-percentile Agility Score. However, he owns a 93rd-percentile College Dominator Rating, 88th-percentile Breakout Age, and an impressive 81st-percentile collegiate yards per reception. Despite seeing a limited number of snaps, which are bound to go way up starting this week, Firkser has actually been involved as of late, with three or more targets in four consecutive games.
Baltimore D/ST ($3,000): Our schedule-adjusted metrics place the Baltimore Ravens first in pass defense and fourth in rush defense. That's quite a challenge for the incoming Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jameis Winston, who's 11th in interceptable passes -- despite playing in only eight games -- based on the game charting done by PlayerProfiler. Winston has taken better care of the football lately but is starting to run more often while being sacked eight times over the last two weeks. At this price, Baltimore at home looks like one of the safer options to consider.
Detroit D/ST ($2,500): The Detroit Lions are a cheap defensive unit that is going to be overlooked this week. They've only allowed opposing quarterbacks to run for a 62 yards on 34 attempts all year -- and they've faced plenty of mobile quarterbacks: Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Mitchell Trubisky and Cam Newton. This is worst case scenario for rookie Josh Allen, who's still yet to prove anything as a passer. In fact, just how bad he's been at throwing the ball is quite is terrifying. Detroit plays a ton of zone defense and isn't going to make things easy for Allen, who only has five passing touchdowns in nine games while taking a whopping 26 sacks to go along with 9 interceptions for a mere 6.3 yards per attempt.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.