Welcome to Week 15, which features five games with Vegas totals over 50 points! That's a first this season. With what should be a ton of fantasy points to go around, and FanDuel pricing pretty interesting--especially in the mid-range, you'll have to be extra careful where you go for value this week. Here are my bargain picks at each position, along with how I plan to deploy them in my own lineups this week.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $2 Million Fantasy Football league for Week 15's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $200,000. Starts Sunday, December 14th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.
Derek Anderson ($5000): With Cam Newton recovering from multiple back fractures after a car accident, Derek Anderson will get his second start of the 2014 season. In Week 1, Anderson threw 34 times for 230 yards and 2 TD. He's appeared in three other games this season, throwing for TDs in two of them, while maintaining a zero interception rate. I find it nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which he doesn't get 12-15 fpts minimum. There's a reason he's not a starting QB in the NFL anymore, however. For his career, Anderson has a 53% completion percentage, and a not so stellar 55:57 TD:INT ratio. That said, Anderson gets the 9th best QB matchup with the Bucs, he's at home, and he has a healthy Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen to throw to.
Advice: After some tinkering, I'm finding that I like using Anderson a lot this week. The top QBs, Rodgers, Luck, even Manning, don't have great matchups. While I'm sure they all score 20-25+ fpts, that 2X value for 17% of your salary cap makes it hard to create a truly sound lineup. If Anderson scores 20-25 fpts for 8% of the cap, which I think is pretty much his top end, you open yourself up to a huge day from the WR/RB/TE you can now spend pretty freely on. Blake Bortles ($6400) is the next cheapest guy to consider after Anderson. He gets the Ravens secondary, but he's been fairly uninspiring lately, and I plan to rely heavily on the Ravens D this week. Johnny Manziel ($6700), too expensive for a bargain bin pick, will be the other cheap option people are on this week. You can read about Johnny Football in every single other DFS article this week, I'm sure.
Chris Ivory ($5200)/ Chris Johnson ($5300): The Titans have really closed the gap on the Falcons in the race to give up the most points to opposing RB. They're still #2, but their 14 rushing TD and 3 receiving TD allowed to opposing RB are just two behind Atlanta. They've actually allowed 325 yards more than the Falcons on the ground! Given the state of the Jets passing "attack", I expect yet another run heavy game plan in Tennessee. The workload has been split pretty evenly between the two backs. I think Ivory is the better player right now, but I know a lot of people will be interested in the CJ2K revenge factor here. I'll have some exposure to both guys, but not a ton because the one problem here is that the Jets haven't been scoring rushing TDs. Hopefully that changes this week.
Terrance West ($5200): Cincinnati doesn't want to be left out of this DvP conversation, as they've now allowed 14 rushing TDs too! They're in the discussion as the 4th most generous matchup for opposing RB. In Week 10, they allowed 3 rushing TDs to the Browns, including 94 yards and 1 to West. West and teammate Isaiah Crowell ($6500) have been seeing an even distribution of work in the Browns backfield. Last week Crowell had the TD, so his price swelled, but the yardage totals were equal. I don't play the impossible TD chasing game, so I view the two backs as fairly equal but for the $1300 price difference. West, please.
Advice: FanDuel has several players in a very fair price range of $6500-7700, including Justin Forsett, Joique Bell, Mark Ingram, Andre Williams, Isaiah Crowell, Jeremy Hill, Giovanni Bernard, and Latavius Murray. In some lineups, I like using one of my bargain RB with Le'Veon Bell or Matt Forte, but in others, I'm drawing two from the middle of the pack. Personally, I'll be avoiding the Arizona value RB situation.
Marquess Wilson ($4500): It has to be done. There's simply no one else with his talent and upside to spend so little on this week. Wilson was a favorite of many super smart dynasty and draft experts, including Evan Silva and Jon Moore, creator of the Phenom Index which Wilson rocked. He's actually grown an inch and packed on a few more pounds since his pre-draft analyses too. With Brandon Marshall gone, his targets are likely to increase, but I'm not completely sold on the production. Jay Cutler has been pretty inaccurate on deep passes (35.7% accuracy on passes greater than 20 yds per PFF), though he attempts them fairly often (56 att, 9th most). On the positive side, the Saints won't present too much opposition. PFF grades their pass coverage unit 2nd worst in the league (Saints also have the 4th fewest takeaways), and their front line shouldn't pressure Cutler as much as some of his recent opponents.
Marqise Lee ($5800)/ Allen Hurns ($5600): So you can have a "q" without a "u" after it. I like it. The Ravens have been a top 6 fantasy defense this year in fantasy, are 6th best overall and against the run per PFF. Yet they give up the most fantasy points to opposing WR. The Jags will have to throw to compete in this game, which Vegas has with a reasonably high total (45.5) and the biggest spread of the week (Ravens -13.5). Fantasy loves garbage time, and that's what we're betting on here. Lee has seen 5, 8, and 8 targets over the last three games, averaging 65 yds/game with 1 TD (his only) over that stretch. His average catch goes for 14.4 yds (per PFR). Hurns has 6 TD on the season, has seen 4, 8, and 10 targets over the past three weeks for 30 yds/game, with an average depth of 10.2 yards (PFR).
Advice: Wilson is just so cheap that he's occupying the WR3 slot in most of my lineups right now. I'm having a hard time choosing between Lee and Hurns, because I think only one will really exceed value. I'm leaning toward Lee. Again, I'm in favor of a strategy that allows me to pay up for some of the truly elite WR this week, like Antonio Brown, TY Hilton, Dez Bryant, and even Odell Beckham Jr. If you're still looking for more value, I like Derek Hagan again this week ($5200) if Kendall Wright is out again. Hagan had more fpts than most other WRs I used last week (Gordon, Stills, Landry, Hopkins, Matthews...).
Travis Kelce ($5400): Did I really refrain from writing up Kelce last week? I know I mentioned him, because I'm such a believer but probably didn't want to sound like a broken record. Well he had his first 9 target, 100+ yard game. Facing Oakland, with Jamaal Charles potentially limited, I would lean heavily on Kelce if I were Andy Reid. However, Andy Reid and I could not be more different--which I'm pretty happy about except when it comes to Kelce's involvement. The truth is Kelce averages almost 9 fpts/game, is still 3rd in efficiency (PPO, by PFF), and is a top 10 PPR TE on the season. I think he scores this week.
Jared Cook ($5200): Cook gets to face Arizona, who is allowing the most receiving yards to TE this season. They're slightly down in the fpts allowed ranks due to only 7 TDs being scored against them. If you're playing the Thursday slate, and want some exposure to this game, Cook is the only piece I'm recommending. He's averaging 7.1 fpts/game, but make no mistake, his production is very boom or bust. Last week he boomed, catching 4/5 targets for 2TDs. In a good matchup, I like Shaun Hill to look his way often again tonight.
Advice: Broken record again...if you can afford Gronk, buy him. If you love danger and don't care about money, buy Jimmy Graham. All signs point to Graham having a bounceback week, but many of our hearts probably can't make it through another DFS weekend having all our hopes ride on a Jimmy Graham MNF extravaganza. Doesn't mean it can't happen. I like Martellus Bennett a LOT this week. At $6200 I honestly think he's a bit more likely to benefit in terms of fpts with Marshall out.
Ravens ($doesn't matter, but 5300 if you must know): I noted the Ravens impressive defensive season rankings above. I try not to overthink defense when it's this easy. They're good, the Jaguars are not good...there's not a better option on the board. You could consider the Chiefs at home vs Oakland ($4900), the Rams ($5500) if you're playing Thursday, or the Seahawks at home to the 49ers ($5500) but beyond that, I'm out.