Yahoo NFL Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 15
Each week, this piece will go position-by-position on the main Yahoo daily fantasy football slate, looking at high-priced and value options who are viable in cash or GPP lineups. As injuries, matchups, and usage come into a clearer view late in the season, roster construction becomes much more critical to differentiating your lineup from the field.
Let's dive into the position-by-position analysis for Week 15.
Russell Wilson ($30) - Wilson is the ultimate tournament pivot play this week, as the masses will likely flock to Chris Carson with the Rashaad Penny injury news. As Carson draws big ownership, Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks passing game may be an afterthought.
Coming off a down game, Wilson receives a 14% price discount against a Carolina Panthers team that has given up 33 points per game over their last four, including 313 yards and two touchdowns to Matt Ryan in Carolina in Week 14. Our own projections predict Wilson will score the third most points at the position this week, leading to the fourth best point-per-dollar rate among quarterbacks thanks to the price drop.
Dalvin Cook ($36) - For just two dollars more than Carson ($34), you can roster one of the more dominant running backs this entire season in a matchup against a bottom-10 rush defense. Our projections believe Cook will outscore Carson by three points.
Among running backs with at least 100 carries this season, Cook has the fourth best Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry, and he continues to excel even with limitations. Battling an injury in Week 14, he still accounted for 20 touches and a score. In Week 15, the Minnesota Vikings will need Cook as much as he can play in a tough game at the Los Angeles Chargers with a 1.5-point spread.
As the Vikings seek to lock up a playoff spot, expect Minnesota to give Cook all he can handle, especially in the red zone, where he has the sixth most touches of all running backs this season.
Phillip Lindsay ($20) - As pointed out by our own Brandon Gdula, Lindsay leads Royce Freeman by more than a 2-1 share of rushing opportunities for the Denver Broncos in their last four games. As a matter of fact, Lindsay's 63% share of his team's rushing attempts is in the top 10 of all running backs over the last month as the Broncos continue to try to feature his diverse skill set.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been gashed on the ground all season long and now rank 29th against the run, per our metrics. Assuming the Broncos stick with Lindsay for more than 60% of the rush attempts and the predicted game script materializes, Lindsay has the opportunity to showcase his rushing and receiving abilities all over the field. Lindsay also is now receiving the most valuable carries as the he leads Freeman in red zone touches (10-7) over the past four weeks.
Chris Godwin ($33) - We are all just going to have to eat some chalk on this one, as it is essential to get exposure to the top receiver in an offense that has averaged more than 40 pass plays per game in their last five and just lost their other top receiver (Mike Evans), who leads the team in targets per game, air yards per game, share of air yards per game, and red zone targets per game.
A lot has been analyzed about how Godwin might avoid Darius Slay, assuming Godwin stays primarily in the slot, but the problems for the Detroit Lions run much deeper against opposing passing attacks. They now rank 23rd in passing defense by the numberFire's metrics and are 4.0-point underdogs at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who can't find a consistent producer in the run game.
The prescription for this game is going to be a lot more Jameis Winston throwing the ball (as long as Winston is healthy), and Godwin should reap the benefits.
A.J. Brown ($15) - Thank you, Yahoo for decreasing Brown's price by $2 after the best game of his career -- 31 Yahoo points on 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns. While a price decrease to a near-minimum $15 will likely send his ownership percentage soaring, I'm still willing to take the plunge against a Houston Texans pass defense that is hemorrhaging points to pass catchers.
The Texans now rank 25th versus the pass and just got torched by Drew Lock -- a rookie making his first road start. As discussed here last week, with Ryan Tannehill behind center, the Tennessee Titans have unlocked a next-level passing game by targeting Brown and peppering him with deep targets. Brown's target share and air yards share the last three weeks rank in the top 16 among all wide receivers.
George Kittle ($27) - The San Francisco 49ers have the highest implied total on the board Sunday as they host the Atlanta Falcons and their 28th-ranked pass defense on Sunday. While Kittle's numbers this year don't quite jump off the screen quite like his 88 receptions and 1,337 yards from last season, there are several indicators that show Kittle has displayed marked improvement from last year.
George Kittle in 2019 is the best tight end we've ever seen, and that includes Gronk.https://t.co/MosM8T2mtp
— PFF (@PFF) December 11, 2019
That's pretty definitive. Kittle's catch rate this season is 15% higher than last year, and he is second among tight ends in market share of air yards while sitting first in overall target share. The Falcons just allowed 14 Yahoo points to Ian Thomas and look to have no answer for someone of Kittle's pedigree.