FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Early-Slate Helper: Week 15
The Week 15 NFL DFS early-slate on FanDuel has eight games, all kicking off at 1 p.m. EST. While most totals for these games hover between 40 and 49, we also have one sitting above 51 and another below 39.
The numberFire NFL DFS Matchup Heat Map will be referenced for all implied totals and spreads throughout this article, so be sure to check it out.
Let’s look at the best plays at every price point on the slate.
High Priced Studs
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants ($8,300)
While Saquon Barkley looks like a superhero, there is no doubt that's he's been significantly hindered since returning from his high-ankle sprain. Through the first two weeks of the season, Barkley was averaging an absurd 0.39 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry. After hastily returning from his Week 3 injury, Barkley has since averaged -0.18 Rushing NEP per carry.
The good news is that he thinks he's 100 percent back from the physical injury. While Barkley says there are mental hurdles, a monster performance against a Miami Dolphins defense that ranks last in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play would likely go a long way toward fixing those. He has the best possible matchup and has received at least 18 touches in every single game since his return. Roll with the stud this week and get rewarded.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks ($7,400)
With the loss of Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson is set up to see nearly every touch out of the backfield for a Seattle Seahawks offense that runs the third-most rushing plays per game. He's also facing a Carolina Panthers defense that seems to enjoy getting run all over, as they rank 32nd in schedule-adjusted run defense.
Most broken tackles:
1 Chris Carson, 69
2 Dalvin Cook, 62
3 Josh Jacobs, 59
4 Christian McCaffrey, 58
5 Nick Chubb, 56
— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) December 6, 2019
The Seahawks are favored by 6.5 points on the road, so Carson should be heavily utilized throughout the game. Our projections have him getting the most carries and rank him as the second-best fantasy point value per dollar running back on the slate.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($8,600)
With Will Fuller ending up as a late scratch due to a hamstring injury last week, DeAndre Hopkins saw 13 targets as the Houston Texans played from behind against the Denver Broncos. He could see that same game flow this week, as Houston hosts the red-hot Tennessee Titans. The Titans are averaging over 31 points per game since Ryan Tannehill took over, forcing opponents into more drop backs.
That would be ideal for Hopkins, as he'll be getting extra targets against the likes of Tye Smith and Logan Ryan due to Tennessee's injuries in the secondary. Our models agree, as we have him projected for the most targets, receptions, and fantasy points among receivers on this slate.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions ($7,900)
Not even David Blough can hold back Kenny Golladay. The stud receiver has hauled in 216 total yards and a two scores in Blough's two starts this season, which also happened to be against the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, two good defenses. Now Golladay is gifted a date with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has allowed the most yards and fantasy points to wide receivers on the season.
#Lions WR Kenny Golladay is leading the #NFL in touchdown receptions and has the highest yards per catch in the NFC. @kgxix + #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/qWM09RCUAG
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) December 11, 2019
With Marvin Jones done for the season, Golladay should dominate the team's deep looks and be the unquestioned focal point of the offense. This game has shootout potential with a 45.5-point total, so Golladay should be in consideration for cash and tournament lineups.
Mid-Priced Upside Plays
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos ($6,400)
The way you beat the Kansas City Chiefs is on the ground. While they are strong in the secondary, ranking fifth in schedule-adjusted pass defense, they check in 29th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play.
Phillip Lindsay has seen strong volume over the past four weeks, averaging 17.5 touches per game. Look for that trend to continue as the Denver Broncos will likely want to play ball control and avoid a shootout with the great Patrick Mahomes. Most DFS gamers will look to pay up at running back, making Lindsay a solid contrarian tournament option in a good matchup.
Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants ($6,300)
The real WR1 has emerged in the Big Apple, and his name is Darius Slayton. The speedster out of Auburn put on a show in primetime against the Philadelphia Eagles, hauling in 154 yards and two scores as Eli Manning's preferred target.
Darius Slayton's sensational rookie year continues as he turns a short gain into a 35-yard TD. Eli Manning's first TD pass since Week 2.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 10, 2019
Slayton has a real opportunity to cement himself as a stud against the Dolphins this week, as they rank last in schedule-adjusted pass defense. Look for the New York Giants to take some deep shots with their new alpha against this terrible secondary.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,700)
Philly is down to converted quarterbacks in the wide receiver room and are desperate for some playmakers. While they can bring in new receivers, Carson Wentz will undoubtedly feed his most trusted passing game weapon, Zach Ertz, in Week 15.
Ertz was on a roll without Alshon Jeffery, posting three straight games of at least 90 yards and 11 targets. Jeffery came back to steal his thunder in Week 13, but Alshon left Week 14 early and is done for the year. To no one's surprise, Ertz rolled up another 13 targets, 91 yards, and even found the end zone twice in that Monday win over the G-Men. Look for that version of Ertz to show up against Washington this week.
Bargain Bin Prospects
Greg Ward, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($4,900)
While Philadelphia's offense will likely run through their tight ends, Greg Ward should fill the slot role. The former Houston Cougars quarterback has played three games with the Eagles this season and has seen 19 targets. With Jeffery done for the year and Nelson Agholor still unable to practice as of Friday, Ward's role should continue against a Washington defense that ranks 26th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Ian Thomas, TE, Carolina Panthers ($5,300)
Dial up Ian Thomas again.
5-57-1 (10) last week.
4.1-41-0.38 (6.4) in his L8 games w/o Olsen.
SEA is No. 25 in TE aFPA. https://t.co/tddOuw2kt0 pic.twitter.com/0Ql1P4BdDg
— John Paulsen (@4for4_John) December 13, 2019
While Thomas' price jump from the tight end minimum up to $5,300 might scare off some, the matchup is actually even better than it was a week ago. Seattle has allowed the second-most receptions and yards to tight ends this season. The Panthers are also home underdogs, so Kyle Allen should drop back plenty in this game. After seeing 10 targets last week, Thomas could be one of Allen's new favorite pass-catchers.
Jonathan Taylor Smith is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Jonathan Taylor Smith also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jtsmittyyy. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.