NFL DFS: FanDuel Week 15 Tournament Plays
In daily fantasy football, it is essential to find value for your lineups. If we want to be able to afford the top dollar names like Matt Ryan and Antonio Brown, we’ll inevitably need to balance our lineup with less expensive players who provide upside.
There are certain value thresholds that we need from these players in order to cash in, and more importantly, win tournaments and larger leagues.
For FanDuel tournaments, we need our guys to reach 3X their salary (for example, Seth Roberts is $4,600 this week and would need to score 13.8 FanDuel points to justify his usage).
If these high-upside plays are also low-owned, we now have an elite GPP tournament play. Each week, we’ll look at who the most popular plays will be and how we can pivot away from them without losing upside.
Here are the top tournament plays for Week 15.
These three quarterbacks have high team totals:
$8500 | ATL -13.5, 51.5
The Atlanta Falcons are implied to score the most points this weekend according to Vegas, as their 32.5-point team total is four full points higher than the next closest team. With the spread already moving two points in their favor, the Falcons are now 13.5-point home favorites against the 49ers on Sunday. San Francisco, who has allowed the third-most FanDuel points to opposing quarterbacks this season, will be traveling across the country for this contest after an overtime game in Week 14 against the Jets.
Ryan won’t come cheap this week — he’s tied with Aaron Rodgers as the most expensive quarterback of the weekend on FanDuel. But given the matchup and Vegas projections, he has the highest ceiling of any passer in Week 15. Just check the status of Julio Jones this weekend to determine which receiver to stack with Ryan in tournaments.
$7600 | ARI -2.5, 50.5
If you’re going to roster Carson Palmer in 2016, you better make sure he’s playing at home where he’s been significantly better. On the road, he’s averaged 1.5 less yards-per-attempt, has thrown seven more interceptions despite playing in two fewer games, and his completion percentage is four points lower. This week, the Cardinals have a top-five team total (26.5) in a home matchup with the Saints that has one of the highest game totals on the board (50.5). With so many divisional matchups and cold weather this weekend, it’s ideal to target a quarterback in a dome against a team traveling to another time zone. Palmer isn’t the safest play, but he has enough upside this week to be considered a high-end tournament option.
$7500 | WAS -6.5, 50.5
Right after Matt Ryan and the Cardinals, Kirk Cousins’ Redskins have the second highest team total in Week 15 at 28.5 points. There’s a good chance Cousins plays a part in all of Washington’s scoring this week, as his opponent, the Carolina Panthers, has allowed the seventh-most FanDuel points to quarterbacks this season. On the flip side, just seven teams are allowing less FanDuel points to running backs — so if the Redskins are going to approach their implied team total, it’s likely to be on the shoulders of Cousins. Sharp bettors are on the Skins this weekend, as the spread has already moved 2.5 points in Washington’s favor since the line opened. He doesn’t play until Monday night, but a Cousins’ stack will be a profitable way to sweat the last game of the week.
Three running backs who are great plays for different reasons:
$6700 | KC -5.5, 42.5
Despite averaging 18.4 touches per game over the last five weeks as the lead back in Kansas City’s offense, Spencer Ware has scored just two total touchdowns without surpassing 70 rushing yards in any game during that stretch. As a result, his salary has plummeted $900 this week to a very affordable price of $6700. With this type of workload, it’s only a matter of time before Ware, a talented running back, has a huge game. Being sandwiched around tons of popular plays (Latavius Murray $6800, Carlos Hyde $7000, Jordan Howard and Jeremy Hill $6600, and Tevin Coleman at $6500), Ware will go under-owned in tournaments this weekend without a doubt. A running back as a near-touchdown home favorite who will get 15-plus touches with goal line and passing game work at reduced ownership? Sign me up.
$5100 | BAL -5.5, 40.5
FanDuel pricing was released before Kenneth Dixon’s breakout performance on Monday Night Football last week, so his salary doesn’t reflect his role in this offense. He handled 13 more touches than Terrance West while piling up 81 total yards and a touchdown versus New England. He was the only running back to receive a red zone opportunity against the Patriots (three in total), so there’s an excellent chance that Dixon is a three-down starter with goal line looks moving forward while West plays a relief role. At $5100, Dixon will certainly be highly-owned, but that doesn’t mean you have to fade him. In tournaments, you can play a couple of the chalk guys, especially if they’re mispriced or in great situations, as long as you differentiate the rest of your lineup. So if you decide to roster Dixon, pair him with a low-owned RB like Ware or pivot away from one or two of the most popular plays at other positions.
$6500 | ATL -13.5, 51.5
As mentioned above, the Falcons are expected to score the most points this weekend by a wide margin. Given the success of the the Falcons’ running game this season, both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman could have huge games this Sunday against the 49ers. San Francisco has allowed the most FanDuel points to opposing running backs this season, nearly 30.2 points per game. So even if Freeman scores 10.7 points and the 49ers allow their season average, Coleman will reach tournament value at his $6500 salary. If this game turns into a blowout, similar to the Falcons’ game last week against the Rams, Coleman will get extra run in the second half while Freeman is rested. Because of the speed at which their offense plays and the lack of talent on their defense, the 49ers are allowing a whopping 34 touches per game to running backs. With his home run hitting ability and improved play in the passing game, Coleman will get enough opportunity to hit his upside in this matchup.
Two underpriced receivers:
$5800 | TEN +5.5, 42.5
After a bye in Week 13, the Tennessee Titans matched up with the Denver Broncos last Sunday in an impossible matchup for the passing game. As a result, Rishard Matthews scored just 3.1 FanDuel points over the last two weeks and has seen his salary drop to $5800 in Week 15. Prior to his bye, Matthews scored 13-plus FanDuel points in four straight weeks as a major focus of the Tennessee passing game. This week, Matthews will have a chance to continue his success against a Kansas City defense that has allowed the second-most FanDuel points to wide receivers this season. No other receiver will get enough volume to capitalize on the matchup, so Matthews is the easy play here. For $5800, it’s hard to find a better volume/matchup intersection.
$5000 | ARI -2.5, 50.5
With John Brown ailing and Michael Floyd recently released after a DUI, J.J. Nelson will be the de facto number two wide receiver in the Cardinals’ offense for the rest of the season. We’ve seen Nelson’s explosiveness — he touched the ball two times for 64 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss to Miami. Nelson is just $5000 this week on FanDuel, so he can hit tournament value in just one or two plays. With the Cardinals playing at home in a game with a high total, all of their key offensive players are in play for tournaments in Week 15. For all of the reasons mentioned in Carson Palmer’s section above, you should be targeting one or two of their pass catchers to pair with him — Larry Fitzgerald has a much safer floor and will certainly see more volume, but Nelson’s boom-bust potential makes him an ideal receiver to stack in tournaments.
Two tight ends under $5000:
$4900 | WAS -6.5, 50.5
After missing Week 13 with a Grade 3 shoulder injury, Jordan Reed attempted to tough it out last weekend but managed to only play 10 snaps. The pain management and range of motion are huge issues with this injury, so until Reed is fully healed, it’s unlikely we see him play a full complement of snaps. With that said, Vernon Davis will now be the main receiving tight end after his career resurgence in Washington this season. He’s only $4900 this week and will get to face the Carolina Panthers, who have allowed the second-most FanDuel points to opposing tight ends this season. With a lowly $4900 salary, we need Davis to score 14.7 FanDuel points to hit 3X value, a feat he’s already accomplished three times this season. While everyone else looks to stack Cousins with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, or Jamison Crowder, you can distance yourself from the crowd by pairing him with VD.
$4500 | NYG -4, 41
Since taking over as the starter in Week 9, Will Tye has played at least 46 snaps in each of the Giants’ last six games. His production hasn’t been there of late, as he’s totaled just six receptions over the last three games, but he’s in line for a breakout game in Week 15. He’ll get to face the Detroit Lions — only three other teams have allowed more FanDuel points to tight ends this season. It’s not often you can find a tight end who’s playing a majority of the snaps on offense against a bottom-five positional defense at minimum price, but here we are with Will Tye. He certainly won’t be highly owned with his recent game logs, so a 3X performance will help you climb the leaderboards even faster.
Brian has been playing fantasy football for 16 years and commissioned his first fantasy league at age 12. When he’s not writing about sports, you can find him playing every daily fantasy sport and participating in high stakes fantasy football contests. Brian won more than 1,000 NFL contests on FanDuel last season and has won multiple league championships in the Footballguys Player Championship contest. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Brian usually spends his winters agonizing over Terrapins basketball. When the weather is warmer, Brian is known for his receiving prowess in flag football leagues on the National Mall in Washington, DC.