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Daily Fantasy Football Strategy: Week 15 DraftKings Breakdown

Below is a breakdown of Sunday’s Week 14 NFL contests on DraftKings along with player rankings. Keep in mind that price has a huge impact on a player’s ranking. This doesn’t include Saturday’s game between the Jets and Cowboys, which is too bad because I love Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall this well, but I digress.

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For a look at more Thursday ownership percentages, Moxyball has you covered.

Quarterback

  1. Carson Palmer – $7,000 – Arizona Cardinals
  2. Matthew Stafford – $6,100 – Detroit Lions
  3. Russell Wilson – $7,000 – Seattle Seahawks
  4. Cam Newton – $7,800 – Carolina Panthers
  5. Blake Bortles – $6,100 – Atlanta Falcons
  6. Tom Brady – $7,800 – New England Patriots

I think that we have so many viable quarterback options this week that I wouldn’t worry too much about a cash vs. tournament approach here. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals have one of the highest implied team totals on the board this week at 27, and while Philadelphia is slightly above average against the pass according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, their offense pace has an impact on their defense as well. Their opponents are averaging almost 71 plays per game, the most in the league, which makes them a breeding ground for fantasy points. Rather than deciding which Cardinals wide receiver will score, just get your exposure through Palmer.

Even my 7-year old knows that the Saints pass defense is atrocious. They’re the worst unit in the league by any measure, including DVOA and aFPA (4for4.com’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points per average). The Lions defense is just a few steps behind New Orleans, meaning both teams will be passing for four quarters here. Also, because he’s so cheap relative to the other top options, you can make a case for fading Stafford in tournaments like the Millionaire Maker due to expected ownership.

We’re only a few weeks removed from a $5,600 Russell Wilson. That was fun. This offense has really changed with the losses of both Marshawn Lynch and Jimmy Graham, and Russ has started shouldering a bigger load. The load could be even bigger now that elite backup Thomas Rawls is done for the season. The matchup at home against the Browns sets up for less than ideal game flow in the second half, but I think any lead that Seattle establishes comes from the arm and/or legs of Wilson.

The same can be said for New England’s Tom Brady. A home game against Tennessee sets up for a double-digit win for Brady and company, but with an implied team total of 30.25 and a questionable running game at best, who’d be surprised if Brady throws for four scores in this one? G.O.A.T. Oh, and Julian Edelman might be back? You don’t say.

Running Back

  1. Adrian Peterson – $7,100 – Minnesota Vikings
  2. Denard Robinson – $4,600 – Jacksonville Jaguars
  3. David Johnson – $5,700 – Arizona Cardinals
  4. Charcandrick West – $4,800 – Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Tim Hightower – $3,900 – New Orleans Saints
  6. Lamar Miller – $6,300 – Miami Dolphins
  7. Brandon Bolden – $3,200 – New England Patriots
  8. DeAngelo Williams – $6,600 – Denver Broncos
  9. Devonta Freeman – $7,500 – Atlanta Falcons

I think Adrian Peterson is the nuts play running back this weekend. He checks all the boxes this week. He’s playing at home. His team is favored by nearly a touchdown while having a healthy 24.25 implied team total. His opponent, the Chicago Bears, are among the worst teams in the league at stopping opposing running backs, ranking 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric against the run. Lastly, Peterson’s price is favorable as well. He’s $600 less than he was when the season began.

Denard Robinson‘s viability is dependent on T.J. Yeldon‘s status for Week 15. As of Thursday night, it looks like Yeldon will miss at least a week or two with a combination of knee and ankle issues stemming from Week 14’s contest against the Colts. After he left the game last week Denard Robinson was in on 100% of the snaps for Jacksonville, carrying it 14 times for 75 yards and a score. We’ve seen this from ‘Shoelace’ before in limited work and he’s likely to dominate snaps and touches again this week against a bottom-third run defense in the Atlanta Falcons.

If I’m not using Carson Palmer at quarterback then I want David Johnson in my lineup. It appears that Andre Ellington will sit this one out again, but I’m not sure that even really matters. I think Johnson is an excellent talent, one that has true three down skills. Despite the rise in price, he’s still under-priced given the offense that he’s a part of and the matchup that he has this week. Again, because of pace, Philadelphia is allowing the fifth most schedule-adjusted fantasy points per game to running backs with full PPR scoring.

Charcandrick West is in play if his teammate, Spencer Ware, sits this one out. He was receiving 85%+ of the snaps and backfield touches prior to leaving the game early a few weeks ago. That allowed Ware to join the mix and muddy the waters but West has shown that he’s a capable back when Kansas City has leaned on him. It’s easier to move the ball in the air against Baltimore than it is to run, but as 7.5-point favorites you have to like West at $4,800.

Tim Hightower handled 29 touches last week. Twenty-nine! What the… If we weren’t sure that the Saints coaching staff hates C.J. Spiller, well, I think we’ve got a good handle on that now. They gave a guy that’s been out of the league for three years the ball six more times than they gave Mark Ingram the ball at any point this season. He’s unlikely to see that type of volume again, but at $3,900 he’ll easily return value with 18-2o touches.

The other backs that I have ranked are all more tournament plays than cash, in my opinion. I don’t know what to expect from Lamar Miller as far as usage is concerned. Same can be said for Brandon Bolden because Bill Belichick doesn’t care about your fantasy team. I know that both DeAngelo Williams and Devonta Freeman will have 90%+ of the running back snaps and touches for their respective teams, so they’re elite tournament plays with multi-touchdown upside.

Wide Receiver

  1. Calvin Johnson – $6,900 – Detroit Lions
  2. Antonio Brown – $8,700 – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Jeremy Maclin – $5,500 – Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Julio Jones – $8,500 – Atlanta Falcons
  5. Demaryius Thomas – $6,800 – Denver Broncos
  6. Jarvis Landry – $6,300 – Miami Dolphins
  7. DeAndre Hopkins – $8,500 – Houston Texans
  8. Michael Crabtree – $5,700 – Oakland Raiders
  9. Doug Baldwin – $5,800 – Seattle Seahawks
  10. Julian Edelman – $7,400 – New England Patriots

I love the ability to use a big-play wide receiver like Calvin Johnson for less than $7k. You can make the case for his teammate Golden Tate here too, but for cash games I like Calvin Johnson more. Based on his snap chart and size I imagine he’ll see a fair amount of Brandon Browner, who’s having a terrible season for the Saints.

Are you fading Antonio Brown in cash? I’m not. I know that Denver’s defense is legit, but there’s no safer bet for 12+ targets on the board, and Brown’s upside is as good as any wide receiver’s in the league.

The Chiefs are leaning on Jeremy Maclin right now, and it’s paying dividends. For a low volume passing offense like Kansas City’s, it’s impressive to see the amount of targets that Maclin has been getting over the past three weeks. Baltimore’s hemorrhaging big plays to the wide receiver position lately and they enter play ranked 30th against the pass according to DVOA.

Julio Jones‘ price has dropped because he’s produced some relatively disappoint fantasy scores of late, but he’s easy to fit in this week with all the other values on the board. Don’t fall victim to short-term recency bias here. Get yourself some Julio shares in tournaments.

I love this spot for Demaryius Thomas, so I was shocked to see his 2.7% ownership in the $25 FanDuel Bomb. Pittsburgh’s stout run defense funnels action to their opponent’s passing game, and Demaryius is still seeing nearly 11 targets per game with Brock Osweiler. Add to the fact that Denver is a slight underdog here and I like the way this one sets up for DT. He’s $2,300 less than he was in Week 1.

Oh, you think Doug Baldwin is a good play this week? Cool. So does everyone else, apparently. Despite his rise in price he’s still likely to be the highest owned player at the position this week. He’s cash game viable but he’s an easy fade in the Millionaire Maker.

Tight End

  1. Gary Barnidge – $5,000 – Cleveland Browns
  2. Rob Gronkowski – $7,700 – New England Patriots
  3. Jordan Reed – $5,900 – Washington Redskins
  4. Ben Watson – $4,800 – New Orleans Saints

Everything sets up well for Gary Barnidge this week. His performance with Johnny Maziel under center has continued to be strong, just as strong as it was during the glory days of Joshy Football. The Seahawks should force Cleveland into a pass-heavy game plan in this one, and Seattle is one of the worst teams at defending the tight end position according to their DVOA grade against the position.

What needs to be said about Gronk? He’s playing so he’s a great option.

Jordan Reed is an elite football player. The former Florida Gators’ running back is a mismatch for any defense because of his speed and size combination. He’s too fast for linebackers and too big for most defensive backs. Look for another 8-10 targets for Reed and he’s Kirk Cousins‘ first look when they’re in the red zone.

Defense

  1. Houston Texans – $2,500
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars – $2,400
  3. Seattle Seahawks – $4,200
  4. Kansas City Chiefs – $3,700

Like Brett usually says, fill out the rest of your roster and then go as cheap as you need to with your defense. I think the Texans are finally starting to see the edge rushing combo that they envisioned when they drafted Jadeveon Clowney first overall last season. They’re my favorite play, regardless of who’s playing quarterback for the Colts.

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