It was probably a rough week for Thomas Rawls owners (myself included), especially after he rushed for over 40 yards on the opening drive, only to never return again. Sadly, that’s just the way it goes sometimes, but at least in daily fantasy sports we can dust off our knees and start again the following week without the season being crushed. Week 15 brings a few interesting scenarios with Odell Beckham Jr. in for a matchup against a tough Carolina secondary and Antonio Brown against Football Outsiders’ No. 1 ranked defense in pass DVOA. These guys are out of cash game consideration because they’re unnecessary risks for cash game teams. There’s actually a plethora of great options at all positions this week, so let’s get to some of my favorites!
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Russell Wilson ($8,800): The Seahawks have the highest implied team total on the week at 29.25 points. Their spread is higher than the Browns’ team total. With Thomas Rawls done for the season, this leaves their backfield situation quite muddy with Bryce Brown, Fred Jackson, and as I am writing this, they signed Christine Michael. With the lack of clarity in the backfield, I think it could equate to them relying on Russell Wilson a little bit more. He’s been cruising the last four weeks with 16 touchdowns and he hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 10. His touchdown passes are bound to regress eventually, but up against a Browns’ defense that ranks 30th in pass DVOA and 30th in 4for4’s schedule-adjusted average fantasy points allowed (aFPA), Wilson makes for a great floor play for your cash teams.
Carson Palmer ($8,700): Much like Wilson, Carson Palmer makes for another high floor, high ceiling option in Week 15. His worst FanDuel outing this year is 16.98 fantasy points and he ranks in fourth in efficiency, averaging .59 fantasy points per drop back, per PFF. We also have the added bonus of facing Chip Kelley’s quick-paced offense that typically results in opposing offenses seeing more offensive plays. The Eagles have given up the second-most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing QBs and rank 27th schedule-adjusted aFPA. For $8,700, Palmer will need to hit his average fantasy output to reach value, which shouldn’t be a problem this week.
Adrian Peterson ($8,600): Adrian Peterson is the highest priced running back on FanDuel this week, and rightfully so. The Bears rank 32nd in rush DVOA and 22nd in schedule-adjusted aFPA and have allowed at least 80 yards or a touchdown in the last five weeks. The Vikings are one of the most run-heavy teams, running on 49 percent of their plays and they’ve scored 59 percent of their touchdowns via the run, per 4for4. AP is third in the league with 11 rushes inside the five-yard line, but has only managed to turn those 11 carries into two touchdowns, I’d imagine those numbers regress at some point, and what better time than as a 5.5-point home favorite against the rival Chicago Bears?
David Johnson ($6,500): David Johnson seems severely underpriced for $6,500. The Cardinals are featured in one of the highest over/under games at 50.5 points, and they’re 3.5-point favorites. Johnson is basically a lock for 18-25 touches against an Eagles’ defense that ranks 28th in schedule-adjusted aFPA to opposing RBs and the Cardinals are projected for almost four touchdowns, with an implied team total of 27 points. It’s hard not to use a starting RB that’s as good as DJ, who is featured in an offense that averages 2.47 points per drive (second best), per RotoViz drive app and 67 percent of the Cardinals’ drives have made it to the red zone and resulted in a touchdown, DJ should have more than a few scoring opportunities in this game.
Julio Jones ($8,600): I don’t blame you for giving me a big ole’ eye roll for this call, but Julio Jones could be a in a great bounce back spot this weekend. He’s still elite and he’s still receiving insane volume. It’s his quarterback that is holding him back. Julio has earned 13 or more targets in five of the last seven games and he is basically hitting his floor every week, we just haven’t seen him hit the ceiling we were accustomed to seeing earlier in the year. The Jags rank 27th in pass DVOA and 21st in schedule-adjusted aFPA and his price has decreased $700 in the last three weeks. Jones has been priced $9,000 or more in 11 of the 13 weeks this season. Capitalizing on an elite player with a depressed salary is something I am always on the lookout for. Julio fits that criterion.
Golden Tate ($6,900): Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate have seen almost equal target share the last three weeks, with Johnson seeing 27 targets and Tate seeing 28 targets. Tate has certainly been the more productive of the two WRs with 23 receptions and three touchdowns in that same span. The matchup is golden (no pun intended) against a Saints secondary that ranks 32nd in pass DVOA and the Lions are one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league, throwing on 65 percent of their offensive plays and they’ve scored 86 percent of their touchdowns via the pass. Calvin is a fine play too, but I’d prefer the discounted Tate and opt for Julio among the top-tier WRs.
Antonio Gates ($5,800): With Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman battling injuries, Antonio Gates is one of the few reliable receiving options that Philip Rivers has to throw to. He has only been playing around 60 percent of the snaps the last two weeks, but he does have 17 targets that he turned into six receptions in each game. I imagine most people won’t be on Gates with how poor Rivers looked last week, but he was playing with the flu at Arrowhead stadium. They get to play in the comfort of their own home this week and the Dolphins’ defense is among the worst in the league, ranking 28th in adjusted DVOA. They’re a fairly neutral matchup for tight ends as they rank 15th in schedule-adjusted aFPA to TEs and 15th in pass DVOA against TEs specifically. Gates’ $5,800 price tag is exceptionally exploitable.
Ben Watson ($5,600): Ben Watson has one of the most favorable matchups on paper for TEs against the Lions. They rank 30th in pass DVOA against TEs and 30th in schedule-adjusted aFPA and Watson has become the second-most targeted pass-catcher on this Saints team. He also leads the Saints with 10 red zone targets. This game boasts the week’s highest over/under at 51 points and the Saints have an implied team total of 27 points. TJ Hernandez from Fantasy Insiders points out that over their last eight games, tight ends have accounted for half of the Saints’ red zone looks and with 28 targets in the last three weeks, this looks to be a favorable spot to target Watson.