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DRAFT NFL Strategy: Week 15

by Spencer Limbach
Updated On: December 12, 2018, 1:12 pm ET

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Best of luck and happy drafting!

 

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UNDERRATED PLAYERS

 

These players have a great chance to outperform their DRAFT projection.

 

Philip Rivers – QB – LA Chargers (DRAFT Projection: 17.4)

 

Rivers was listed in this section last week, but he failed to capitalize on a fantastic matchup vs Cincinnati. The Chargers’ signal caller had thrown at least two touchdowns in every game heading into Week 14, a streak that was snapped last Sunday. However, this is an excellent spot for Rivers to start a new one, playing in a Thursday night showdown in a high-scoring contest against a Kansas City team that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. The DRAFT projections have Rivers ranked as QB16, and I’m willing to elevate him closer to QB7 at the very least.

 

Leonard Fournette – RB – Jacksonville (DRAFT Projection: 13.3)

 

This 13.3 fantasy point projection has Fournette listed as RB14 on DRAFT this week. I’m moving him up to RB7 in my personal rankings, and here’s why: 1) Fournette disappointed last week, but he had posted three straight games of 100+ total yards and a score prior to that. That’s a good sign that he’s fully healthy and able to absorb a full workload. 2) The main culprit of last week’s sluggish outing was game flow. The Jaguars fell behind and lost 30-9 at Tennessee. Game flow should be more generous to Fournette this time around as the Jaguars are favored by a 7 point margin at home. 3) Washington has gotten toasted by opposing running backs lately. Take a look at their opponent rushing output from the last four games: L.Miller/A.Blue 28-136, E.Elliott 26-121-1, J.Adams/C.Clement/D.Sproles 29-134-1, S.Barkley/W.Gallman 28-208-1 … In other words, Fournette should have some room to run in this one.

 

Adam Thielen – WR – Minnesota (DRAFT Projection: 12.8)

 

Yes, the Vikings have looked lost on offense over the past two games, but this way too low of a projection for Thielen even after considering that fact. There’s a good chance Cousins, Thielen, and the Minnesota offense gets back on track when returning to U.S. Bank Stadium to face Miami. The firing of Vikings’ offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo isn’t exactly a detriment to Thielen’s fantasy potential either. This seems like an excellent bounce-back spot for Thielen and the Minnesota Vikings overall. I’m not afraid to put Thielen in the top tier behind guys like Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones. DRAFT has Theilen listed as WR16, and he’s certainly deserving of a much higher ranking.

 

Other underrated players:

QB Russell Wilson (17.4) is in a similar position to the aforementioned-likes of Philip Rivers. Wilson checks in as QB18 on DRAFT, but I’ve bumped him up to QB8 in my personal rankings. It’s the least I could do considering he’s facing a San Francisco team that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to opposing signal callers.

Remember when I mentioned that the whole Vikings team is in a nice bounce-back spot? That includes RB Dalvin Cook (13.1) while enjoying a home matchup against a Miami team that has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to running backs this season.

I’m expecting a high-scoring draw between Pittsburgh and New England this weekend. So are the odd makers in Vegas. We all know that Big Ben is much better at home, and WR Antonio Brown (14.7) could benefit from a pass-happy offense in a this potential shootout. I’m moving him into my top five receivers of the week.

 

OVERRATED PLAYERS

 

These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.

 

Lamar Jackson – QB – Baltimore (DRAFT Projection: 20.5)

Jackson’s generous 20.5 FP projection was the first thing that jumped off the screen at me when sitting down to analyze the DRAFT player pool. Sure, the matchup vs Tampa Bay looks really good, but does Jackson deserve to have a projection that makes him QB2 while rivaling Patrick Mahomes for the top overall spot. I don’t think so. Aside from that, we aren’t even sure what the Baltimore QB situation will look like on Sunday. Keep in mind that this article was written on Wednesday morning. At that point in time, it sounds like Jackson and Joe Flacco will split snaps on Sunday. If that’s the case, I’ll pass on both.

 

David Johnson – RB – Arizona (DRAFT Projection: 15.9)

 

Johnson had a glimmer of fantasy light at the middle of the season with Byron Leftwich taking over as offensive coordinator. That was short-lived, as Johnson has fallen back to his struggling ways while averaging 8.9 fantasy points over his past three games. The matchup looks good at Atlanta, but a discouraging game script combined with a poor offensive line and no clear way to get him the ball in space more than overrides any excitement one may feel about the promising draw.

 

Matt Breida – RB – San Francisco (DRAFT Projection: 13.9)

 

As of Wednesday, we aren’t even sure if Matt Breida will play this week. He has been banged up this entire season, and the 49ers may decide to give him another week to heal. After all, they have nothing to play for at this stage in the season. On top of that, Jeff Wilson Jr has proven himself more than capable to handle the running back responsibilities with Bredia sidelined. Putting all those factors together, I have a hard time thinking Breida sees respectable volume even if he does suit up on Sunday. We’ll undoubtedly be checking the injury report throughout the week, but I’ll be looking to avoid him while upgrading Jeff Wilson Jr if it sounds like Breida is doubtful.

 

Other overrated players:

 

The most injury-dependent pick of the week is RB Justin Jackson (14.8). He could either be underrated or overrated, depending if Melvin Gordon (questionable) ends up playing. There’s a good chance Jackson will have a steady role even if Gordon returns, as fellow RB Austin Ekeler is highly questionable after suffering a concussion. Jackson has a great chance of living up to this 14.8 FP projection if Gordon is out, but things get murkier if Melvin returns. Keep an eye on that developing situation.

 

GENERAL STRATEGY

 

Top 10 Overall. The list has been extended to 13 players for those not participating in slates that include Thursday or Saturday games. Some of these guys were mentioned earlier, but Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Michael Thomas, and Antonio Brown were all upgraded while David Johnson and Davante Adams dropped off the list.

  1. Todd Gurley – RB
  2. Saquon Barkley – RB  
  3. Ezekiel Elliott – RB
  4. Christian McCaffrey – RB
  5. Alvin Kamara – RB
  6. Joe Mixon – RB
  7. Keenan Allen – WR (Thursday)
  8. Leonard Fournette – RB
  9. Michael Thomas – WR
  10. Antonio Brown – WR
  11. Phillip Lindsay – RB (Saturday)
  12. Tyreek Hill – WR (Thursday)
  13. Julio Jones – WR

 

Quarterback Rankings. This list has also been extended to 13 players for those not participating in slates that include Thursday or Saturday games. Jared Goff, Philip Rivers, and Russell Wilson were upgraded while Lamar Jackson and Andrew Luck noticed substantial downgrades compared to the pre-draft rankings.

  1. Patrick Mahomes – Tier 1 (Thursday)
  2. Ben Roethlisberger – Tier 2
  3. Jared Goff – Tier 2
  4. Drew Brees – Tier 2
  5. Cam Newton – Tier 2
  6. Tom Brady – Tier 2
  7. Philip Rivers – Tier 2 (Thursday)
  8. Russell Wilson – Tier 3
  9. Deshaun Watson – Tier 3 (Saturday)
  10. Andrew Luck – Tier 3
  11. Dak Prescott – Tier 3
  12. Matt Ryan – Tier 3
  13. Carson Wentz – Tier 3
Spencer Limbach
Spencer Limbach is a multi-sport daily fantasy specialist for Rotoworld. He can be found on twitter @Spencer_JL.