Week 15 FanDuel Lineup Tips and Picks
With the real NFL playoffs quickly approaching, we have a new aspect we must consider when constructing our FanDuel rosters: teams resting players.
We’ll see this come into fruition this week with the Carolina Panthers, as it appears likely that they will be resting RB Jonathan Stewart despite a minor foot injury. TE Greg Olsen is dealing with a knee issue and seems fine to play, but how much playing time will he get?
Fortunately for us, it looks like Carolina may be the only team you have to consider this week. Regardless, keep your ears open when reading the news wire to see if there are any hints at limited playing time for veterans or key players on the top-seeded NFL teams. There is inherent when rostering these players given the uncertainty of their playing time, so that makes them somewhat risky for cash game purposes.
If you’re new to daily fantasy football or you just need a refresher, please read my NFL DFS strategy guide here: Draft Kings vs FanDuel vs Fantasy Score
In that article, you’ll find that there are certain value thresholds that we need from our players in order to win the two main types of contests in DFS: cash games (50/50s and head-to-heads) and tournaments (GPPs and leagues).
- For FanDuel cash games, we need our guys to reach 2x their salary (Example: If Andrew Luck is $10,000, he needs to score 20 points to reach value).
- For FanDuel tournaments, we need our guys to reach 3x their salary (In this same example, Andrew Luck needs to score 30 points to reach value).
Most of the plays below are for cash games. Tournament plays will have a *GPP ONLY* designation next to their name. Each week, we’ll review the previous week’s plays and track our success rate for both cash game plays and tournament plays. Our target goal for the season is to hit 60% of cash game plays and 30% of tournament plays. A “hit” is defined as reaching value.
- Cash game plays: 66/112 59%
- GPP plays: 6/24 25%
On to this week’s plays!
10. David Johnson
$6500 (ARI -3.5, 50.5)
Points needed to reach value: 13.0
With Andre Ellington still nursing a toe injury, it looks like David Johnson will get another game as the featured back. In his two games as a starter, Johnson has averaged 24 touches per game (3.5 receptions), for 243 yards and 1 TD. This week, Johnson faces the Eagles in a game where the Cardinals are projected to score 27 points. With that many projected opportunities to score, the Cardinals will give Johnson a few chances to tack on a TD to his gaudy yardage totals. Also, Johnson’s usage in the passing game makes him game script-independent, which is a great characteristic for cash game RBs.
9. Stefon Diggs
$5700 (MIN -5.5, 43) – *GPP ONLY*
Points needed to reach value: 17.1
You’ll need a strong stomach for this play. Stefon Diggs was a hot commodity earlier in the season, but has cooled off significantly in recent weeks. Have teams figured out how to stop him? I don’t think that’s the case, as he’s just had some really tough matchups – Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Desmond Trufant in the last 3 weeks. The inconsistency of the Vikings’ passing game limits Diggs to a GPP-only play, but he’s a WR that will certainly be under-owned. At his price tag, there are quite a few ways where he reaches 3x value.[the_ad id=”58919″]
8. Matt Ryan
$7200 (ATL +3, 49) – *GPP ONLY*
Points needed to reach value: 21.6
Talk about a cold streak – Matt Ryan has thrown for 2 TDs, 4 INTs, and just 241 yards/game in his last 3 contests. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars could be what the doctor ordered to get Ryan back on track. Jacksonville allows the third-most FanDuel points to opposing QBs and Vegas doesn’t believe Ryan’s cold streak will continue – the Falcons are projected to score 23 points on Sunday. His recent play makes him a risky start in cash games, but the matchup and the presence of Julio Jones give him the necessary upside for GPPs.
7. Richard Rodgers
$5500 (GB -3, 47)
Points needed to reach value: 11.0
Richard Rodgers has mostly been touchdown-dependent on reaching value this season, so why not start him versus an Oakland team that has allowed 11 TDs to TEs this season? You know the narrative by now, Oakland can’t defend the tight end (although they have improved and they’re not nearly as bad as New Orleans in this department). At just $5300, a couple catches for 40 yards and a TD does the trick – that seems very attainable given the matchup.
6. Alex Smith
$7000 (KC -7.5, 41)
Points needed to reach value: 14.0
Just when I thought Baltimore’s pass defense was improving, they go out and give up a 5 TD performance to Russell Wilson. So until there is some tangible evidence, continue to regard the Ravens as the top-5 fantasy QB matchup that they are. Alex Smith isn’t flashy, but he certainly has enough skill to take advantage of this matchup. In fact, Smith has only scored less than 14 FanDuel points in 3 of his 13 games this season. While his rushing ability doesn’t lead to massive totals, it allows him to tack on a couple of points per game with his legs, which raises his floor. It’s not sexy, but Alex Smith is a good foundation for your cash game lineups in week 15.
5. Tim Hightower
$6300 (NO -3, 51)
Points needed to reach value: 12.6[the_ad id=”58835″]On Sunday morning we learned that Tim Hightower would virtually replace Mark Ingram’s role in the Saints’ offense and this information held true when the game started. After totaling 28 carries, Hightower finished with 16 FanDuel points – a fantastic total for his $4500 salary. His salary is now in the mid-tier range, but that doesn’t mean the value is gone. Hightower will continue to play a vast majority of the offensive snaps, get goal-line work, and be a participant in the passing game. The home matchup with a 51 point total just cements his value.
4. Matthew Stafford
$7800 (DET +3, 51)
Points needed to reach value: 15.6
For the first time in a WHILE, the Saints held an opposing QB under 2x value last week versus Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. If you truly believe the Saints have improved their secondary, then by all means avoid Stafford this week. I’m not so confident – the Lions are projected to score 24 points and given the run/pass split in Detroit, very few of those points will come from the run game. Don’t second-guess the matchup after last week’s performance; the Saints still allow the most FanDuel points to opposing QBs by a wide margin.
3. T.J. Yates
$6000 (HOU +2.5, 45)
Points needed to reach value: 12.0
I’m not sure how it keeps happening, but T.J. Yates continues to get opportunities to start important games for the Houston Texans. He’s not a great QB, but his salary is only $6000 and he faces the Colts in week 15. In case you’re wondering, the Colts allow the fifth-most FanDuel points to opposing QBs. To reach cash game value, Yates needs just 200 yards and one TD, which, if we’re being honest, could be done by DeAndre Hopkins by himself.[the_ad id=”58835″]
2. Denard Robinson
$6300 (JAX -3, 49)
Points needed to reach value: 12.6
With T.J. Yeldon expect to miss this week’s game with a knee injury, Denard Robinson will step in and carry the load. In his 6 NFL games where he’s had 15-plus touches, Robinson has averaged 15.5 FanDuel points per game. The timing for his start couldn’t be better, as the Falcons allow 28 percent more FanDuel points to opposing RBs than league average. In addition to the matchup, the Jags are at home and projected to score 26 points. All of the stars are aligning for Robinson to have a huge game at a modest salary of just $6300.
1. Brandon Bolden
$5500 (NE -14, 46.5) – *GPP ONLY*
Points needed to reach value: 16.5
LeGarrette Blount injured his hip last game and was placed on IR this week, leaving the lead back duties to Brandon Bolden in week 15. The Patriots are 14-point favorites at home versus the Titans, who are surprisingly stout versus the run. However, Bolden’s salary and projected team total make him a favorable play if he sees 15-plus touches.
That’s no guarantee in this offense, so it limits him to a GPP-only play. But in a blowout contest, he legitimately has 3 TD upside and you can’t say that about many players.
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