NFL

5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 15

In fantasy football, matchups are key to setting any lineup.

This series will take a look at a few matchups that can be exploited for success on the football field and for profit in DFS.

Colts Offense vs. Texans Defense

Following the Indianapolis Colts' Week 7 bye, Jonathan Taylor ($7,400) played fewer than 35% of offensive snaps in three straight games and averaged 10.0 touches per game. In the past three weeks, however, Taylor has played 48% of snaps or more and doubled his touches per game in that span while scoring 13.4, 21.0 and 29.5 FanDuel points.

The Colts finally seem to be willing to feed Taylor the rock, which makes sense considering their opponents in recent weeks -- the Packers, Texans and Raiders. All three of those teams rank bottom-nine versus the run, per our schedule-adjusted metrics, and are in the top four for most FanDuel points allowed to running backs this season.

This week, Taylor will face the Texans for the second time in three weeks. He burned them for 91 yards on 13 rushes (7.0 yards per carry) plus three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown in Week 13. Houston most recently allowed Chicago's David Montgomery to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries last week. Considering Houston’s porous run defense, Taylor’s recent usage, and the fact that Indianapolis is a 7.5-point favorite (per FanDuel Sportsbook), Taylor is a high-floor, high-ceiling play on Sunday.

Speaking of recent usage, T.Y. Hilton ($6,800) has come out of retirement to score 16.1, 21.0 and 23.1 FanDuel points in his past three games after failing to reach double-digit points in any of the first 11 weeks of the season. Hilton had his best game of the year against Houston earlier this month, when he caught eight of 11 targets for 110 yards and a score. In 17 career games versus Houston, Hilton averages 8.8 targets, 5.5 receptions, 96.9 receiving yards and 0.6 touchdowns while reaching 100 yards in eight of those 17 contests.

Hilton should have another strong performance this week, especially with the Texans down cornerback Bradley Roby. In the four games that Roby has missed or failed to finish this season, Houston has allowed fantasy explosions to Hilton (21.0 FanDuel points), Davante Adams (38.1), D.J. Chark (24.1) and Allen Robinson (22.8). Rookie Michael Pittman Jr. ($5,500) has led Indianapolis’ wide receivers in snaps in each of the past five weeks but has just nine receptions and 116 receiving yards in the past three contests combined as Hilton has emerged as Philip Rivers' primary target in that stretch.

Cardinals Offense vs. Eagles Defense

Before their Week 8 bye, the Arizona Cardinals faced the fifth-easiest schedule of opposing defenses, but they have faced the 11th-toughest schedule since then (per Sharp Football Stats). Arizona’s record before its bye was 5-2; its post-bye record is 2-4.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, this week offers a good opportunity for a second straight strong performance after Arizona beat the New York Giants 26-7 last week. The Cardinals will now face the Philadelphia Eagles, a team which has allowed 20-plus points in every game since its Week 9 bye and just surrendered 413 total yards to the Saints last week.

Eagles cornerback Darius Slay has been banged up in recent weeks, and opposing receivers have taken advantage. Philadelphia has allowed strong performances to D.K. Metcalf (22.7 FanDuel points), Davante Adams (29.1) and Michael Thomas (12.4) in the past three weeks. DeAndre Hopkins ($8,600) appears set for a big game, especially considering that he’s seen 24 combined targets in the past two weeks in tougher matchups against Jalen Ramsey and James Bradberry.

Quarterback Kyler Murray ($8,000) is a riskier play, as a shoulder injury has seemed to limit him in the past several weeks, but this matchup offers Murray the chance to score 20-plus FanDuel points for the first time since Week 11. The speedster carried the ball 13 times last week after rushing just five times in each of the previous three contests, and he will now face an Eagles defense that’s allowed the most rushing yards in the league to opposing quarterbacks.

Kenyan Drake ($6,600) earned 23 carries last week, his most of the season, albeit he benefited from Arizona’s positive game script in its first win by more than one score since Week 6. Drake managed just 80 rushing yards against the Giants and is tough to trust this week against Philadelphia’s stout defensive line.

49ers Offense vs. Cowboys Defense

The San Francisco 49ers have fallen back to earth this season after a myriad of injuries that the team just hasn’t been able to get over. After a dominating 33-6 win over New England in Week 7, the Niners haven’t scored 28-plus points since -- and have scored fewer than 20 points three times -- and are 1-5 in that span.

With that being said, San Francisco has faced a gauntlet of opposing defenses recently, including the Saints, Rams and Washington. This week, however, will provide the 49ers with perhaps their easiest matchup of the season against a Dallas Cowboys defense that ranks 27th in efficiency and dead last in points per game allowed. Dallas dominated last week against a hapless Bengals offense sans Joe Burrow but allowed 30-plus points in each of the previous three weeks to more apt opponents.

Rookie Brandon Aiyuk ($6,900) has seen perhaps the best usage in the league recently -- he’s played 87% or more offensive snaps in each of his past four games while recording double-digit targets, 90-plus receiving yards and a score in three of those contests. Last week, he set career highs in targets (16), receptions (10) and receiving yards (119) in a game that Deebo Samuel played just a single snap due to a hamstring injury. Aiyuk is in line to dominate again this week, as Samuel has been ruled out and Dallas has allowed the most touchdowns and fourth-most FanDuel points to opposing wide receivers this year.

Running back Raheem Mostert ($6,900) had a strong start to the season but has failed to record double-digit FanDuel points since Week 5. Despite an injury-riddled year, though, Mostert is averaging at least 5.0 yards per carry for a fifth straight season and should be able to take advantage of a Cowboys defense that has allowed the most 10-plus yards rushes in the league. If Mostert is out this week, Jeff Wilson ($5,800) would be an appealing play.

Ravens Offense vs. Jaguars Defense

Perhaps the largest mismatch of the week is the Baltimore Ravens' offense, which ranks in the top 10 in the majority of metrics, against the D of the Jacksonville Jaguars, which ranks in the bottom 10 in most metrics.

The Ravens have been underwhelming this season compared to their dominating 2019 campaign, but various injuries and COVID outbreaks have masked the true potential of this offense, which happened to be showcased on national television last Monday night against the Cleveland Browns. Lamar Jackson ($8,200) scored a season-high 34.9 FanDuel points last week and is set up for another monster game against the Jaguars, who are allowing the third-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks. Jackson had a lot of success running against Cleveland’s man-coverage last week and should be expected to do the same against Jacksonville, which runs man coverage a fairly high amount and has the fifth-lowest pressure rate in the league.

Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins ($5,900) has earned the most opportunities in Baltimore’s backfield this season and for good reason, as he ranks behind only Nick Chubb and Miles Sanders among running backs in yards per carry. Dobbins has scored a touchdown and double-digit FanDuel points in each of his past three games and will likely see plenty of work in what should be a one-sided ballgame considering Baltimore is 12.5-point favorites over Jacksonville.

Marquise Brown ($6,000) had a disappointing start to the season, but like Dobbins, has cashed in on touchdowns and scored double-digit FanDuel points in each of the past three weeks. He has 22 total targets in that span and has slate-breaking upside this week against a Jacksonville secondary that could be without its top four cornerbacks to start the season and will rely on inexperienced depth once again. The Jaguars give up the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to wideouts and have surrendered the eighth-highest rate of 10-plus yard completions allowed to receivers.

Jacksonville has played poorly against every skill position this season, and that includes tight end. It’s allowed the second-most touchdowns to tight ends, which is right up Mark Andrews' ($6,800) ally. Andrews has scored six touchdowns this season after scoring 10 a year ago, and he ranks in the top 20 in both red zone and end zone targets among all players this year. The only concern for each of these players is volume, as it wouldn't be a surprise for Baltimore to dominate early and rest its starters toward the end of the game.

Rams Offense vs. Jets Defense

The Los Angeles Rams have the pleasure of facing the winless New York Jets this week. Jared Goff ($7,800), Robert Woods ($7,400), and Cooper Kupp ($7,100), like the Ravens, have soft matchups but are in danger of getting game-scripted out of high-end fantasy production considering that the Rams are 17.5-point favorites against the Jets. Goff has thrown just two total touchdowns in the past three weeks and just six in the past six weeks -- that lack of scoring through the air hurts the upside for each of the aforementioned players.

While the passing attack hasn’t put a lot of points on the board recently and may not see great volume on Sunday, the opposite can be said for Los Angeles’ rushing attack. The Rams have scored four touchdowns on the ground in the past two weeks, with rookie running back Cam Akers ($6,700) being the main beneficiary. Akers played 63% of offensive of snaps in Week 13 before playing 79% last week -- his previous season-high was 33% in Week 1. Akers has 50 total carries and 243 total rushing yards in the past two weeks, each of which ranks second behind all players, for a total of 36.3 FanDuel points, which ranks sixth among all running backs.

Akers has clearly taken control of the backfield, and while the Jets' rush defense ranks in the top half of the league, sheer volume should allow Akers to dominate just as it has in his past two contests. A stack with Akers and the Los Angeles Rams D/ST ($5,000) is likely a chalky-but-strong play, as the Rams' defense ranks second in FanDuel points scored and the Jets' offense has allowed the most FanDuel points to opposing defenses this season.