DFS Player Pool: Week 15
With just a few weeks remaining of the regular season, there are some new considerations to begin to account for. This is the time for teams out of contention to showcase rookies and younger players to establish future potential. Banged-up veterans will gain additional bench time to maximize healthy opportunities for the next season. And even successful teams will begin to consider resting starters where they can. With the final 13-game main slate of the regular season here, Week 15 should still be mostly safe from most of those concerns, but the NFL is an unpredictable league. There is a good amount of value popping up at several positions, so continue to check for injury updates up until lock. For now, let’s move on to the DFS Player Pool.
DFS Player Pool: Week 15
Ryan Tannehill ($6,500) vs. HOU
Is this real? How did we get here? Ryan Tannehill, yes THAT Ryan Tannehill, has clawed his way to the top of the DFS player pool’s QB list. It feels wrong, but he has been incredible for Tennessee and DFS players alike since Week 7. While this is a safe play, the upside might be capped a bit in terms of ROI, but that is entirely due to DraftKings finally pricing him up. Tannehill had been averaging 24.3 points per game since Week 7 and has been scoring on the ground and through the air. In that whole time, he had never been priced higher than $5,800 after starting off at $4,800 and climbing steadily. Even with a new season-high price, Tannehill has a solid matchup ahead of him.
All season opposing QBs have found consistent success against the Texans defense. The Texans allow the 3rd most points per game to QBs and average a top 10 QB finish. In 7 of their last 9 games, they have allowed 3 or more passing TDs. Both teams will be pushing hard for the win here, with a division title perhaps on the line. With the current standings, whichever AFC South team misses out on the division has a good chance to get squeezed out of the playoff picture. Expect Tannehill to again be a top QB by the end of the week in a game with solid shootout potential.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,100) vs. ATL
What a change a few weeks can make. After a rough start to the season that elicited very real fears about his recovery from a torn ACL. Garoppolo has looked more like the potential franchise QB San Francisco believed him to be. In 3 of his last 4 games, Garoppolo has comfortably cleared 3X on his salary. The only bad game in the mix was the Week 13 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens, who look like the class of the league. Baltimore has only had one opposing QB finish better than QB15 all season, and that was a healthy Patrick Mahomes back in Week 3. Garoppolo’s Week 15 opponent will not present that type of challenge for the 49ers.
Atlanta is still a very pass friendly defense. Ranking in the top 10 in several categories, including opposing passer rating, adjusted yards per attempt, passing yards, passing TDs, and completion percentage, amongst others. San Francisco’s offense is trending up, scoring with George Kittle getting healthier each week, Raheem Mostert stepping forward as the top RB, and the duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel
Kyler Murray ($5,600) vs. CLE
While Murray hasn’t been the rookie sensation many hoped, he has been effective. Priced as the QB20, Murray averages more points per game than 11 other higher-priced options this week. His recent schedule has done him no favors, as he has had a matchup against the 8th, 9th, and 10th best defenses in terms of QB points allowed per game. He actually performed very well in his two games against San Francisco, but Cleveland is the softest defense he’s seen since Week 10 (TB).
The Browns will be without starting DE Olivier Vernon again, which will hurt on the road in Arizona. Defensively, the Browns allow a 100.8 QB rating on the road and have only 3 INTs away from Ohio. Murray will have low ownership with more attractive matchups available, and plenty of value to be found at other positions. Murray and the Cardinals are capable of pushing the pace in any given week, and there is shootout potential here.
Christian McCaffrey ($10,000) vs. SEA
For new readers, CMC does get his own section in the DFS player pool. He has been such an outlier this season it merits special consideration. Though, this section might not last for long if his production continues on its current trend. CMC has actually been held scoreless on 3 of his last 4, which has capped his ceiling, especially the last two weeks. Week 14 was looking particularly bleak, as much of CMC’s production came in garbage time. Almost half of his scoring on the day (6 catches and 52 total yards) came in the 4th quarter, which started with Carolina down by 20.
With his price dropping again, he still maintains an incredible ceiling, and his floor remains safe. His fewest targets in the last 4 weeks are 9, and the change in coaches has not affected him. There is a good bit of value in the main slate this week, so there is no need to fade CMC. While not a recommended play, he remains in consideration.
Leonard Fournette ($7,600) @ OAK
Lost in the hype of CMC and Dalvin Cook’s seasons, is the fact that Fournette has established many new career highs. He has matched his highest games played total, and is one touch shy of setting a new mark there as well. Fournette’s one-yard shy of tying his career-high, with 35 fewer carries than in his rookie year when he set his mark, and has blown away totals in receiving yards, targets, and receptions. The only major category he has lagged behind is the most fickle of fantasy stats, the touchdown. In 303 touches, Fournette has only managed to score 3 times, all on the ground. Once in Week 5 and twice in Week 12. The regression is well beyond due, and despite the fact that chasing TDs is a fool’s errand, it bolsters the case for Fournette’s usage.
Oakland is a solid bet to help Fournette unlock that TD potential. On the season the Raiders have allowed 15 total TDs to RBs, tied for fourth-most. Included in that total are the league-leading 6 receiving TDs to RBs. Already a solid matchup, the Raiders could be even worse off with both starting safeties, Lamarcus Joyner and Erik Harris, limited in practice all week. Fournette’s workload and matchup make him an attractive play, even with an elevated price tag. The best part of Fournette for DFS will likely be his ownership, which should be considerably lower than other top options, including the next RB in the DFS player pool.
Chris Carson ($7,500) @ CAR
After a rough Week 14 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle is looking to bounce back and maintain their playoff positioning. Poor game script hurt the Seahawks but that shouldn’t be an issue this week against the Carolina Panthers. Carolina has been one of the worst rush defenses in the league the last few weeks. In both Weeks 13 and 14, they allowed two opposing RBs to score a rushing TD (Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson in Week 13, Devonta Freeman and Brian Hill in Week 14). At the same time, those 4 backs averaged 93.5 rushing yards EACH. On the season Carolina is allowing 139.2 yards per game and are tied for the league-worst yards per carry mark of 5.3. Carson will not be splitting carries with Rashaad Penny, due to his recent ACL injury, and is in a great spot to return excellent value.
Todd Gurley ($6,000) @ DAL
The general public has now caught onto something attentive DFS players have been on for a couple of weeks: Gurley looks like he’s back, sort of. He isn’t exactly the RB1 like he was the last two years, but in 3 of his last 4, he’s had at least 20 touches. The lone exception was a blowout against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 12, and even then he logged a season-high 96% snap rate. Prior to Week 11, which is still his most touches this season, he hadn’t had a single game with more than 19. He has become a focal part of the offense again; he’s a feature, not a bug.
His timing, and that of coach Sean McVay, is fortuitous for DFS players as Dallas is a nice matchup. On the season, the Cowboys have held RBs to about league average results. They are tied for 15th in fewest points allowed to RBs, but, Dallas has been struggling of late against the run. In their current three-game losing streak, Dallas hasn’t held a single team under 100 yards rushing. That run includes one very good rushing team, the Buffalo Bills (5th in rushing offense), but also two very bad teams, the New England Patriots (23rd) and Chicago Bears (29th). Dallas is also likely without LB Leighton Vander Esch and could be down Sean Lee as well. This should make hitting value easy for Gurley, who has only been cheaper than $6,000 one time this season.
Phillip Lindsay ($5,600) @ KC
All season the Kansas City Chiefs have been a run funnel defense. Attacking them on the ground has the dual benefit of attacking their main defensive weakness and keeping the ball out of the hands of Patrick Mahomes. Lindsay is still in a timeshare with Royce Freeman, but he has been dominating touches in the Denver backfield. In the last two games with new starting QB Drew Lock, Lindsay has 38 touches to Freeman’s 19. The targets have stayed close too, with Lindsay having 5 and Freeman 6, so there hasn’t been a clear division of that workload either. Even earlier this shift was happening, as Lindsay has been more involved than Freeman since the Broncos came out of their Week 10 bye.
Denver is uniquely positioned to evaluate QB Drew Lock, meaning there isn’t a big incentive for Denver to shut down their players. Lindsay will get a full run of touches here, and if he can get close to 20 total, given his price he can return solid value.
Raheem Mostert ($5,200) vs. ATL
DFS players should wise up and follow Kyle Shanahan’s lead. Mostert has bullied his way to lead back status for the 49ers, and now he is one of the best values of the week. Other San Francisco offensive players ceilings are capped by the run-heavy nature of the offense and the inconsistency of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. That isn’t a concern for Mostert. Since his breakthrough against Baltimore in Week 13, Mostert has been by far the best RB for the 49ers. He has rushed for 215 yards while adding another 48 through the air. That production came against the 2nd and 6th best fantasy defenses against RBs. His price has climbed quickly, but not enough.
Atlanta will be the worst defense he has seen significant work against since Cincinnati in Week 2, when he totaled 24.1 points. The Falcons’ 23.6 points allowed per game by opposing RBs will be split a bit, but Mostert is in line to gain most of that production. He has out-snapped and out-touched every other RB on the roster by a 33 to 19 margin the last two weeks. If that dominance continues, Mostert will be a huge value this week for the DFS player pool.
Chris Godwin ($7,700) @ DET
There is no mystery anymore in Tampa about who is the WR1. With Mike Evans done for the season, Godwin is in line to be the top dog. There are some questions about his role to answer, similar to Tyler Boyd without A.J. Green last season, or Juju Smith-Schuster at the start of this one. Godwin has more than lived up to the crazy preseason hype he generated. Now, he can be fully unleashed as Jameis Winston’s top target.
No other WR on the main slate has a higher average scoring output than Godwin and only Michael Thomas has a better yards per game average. The hype for some of the other pieces of this offense will build but do not overthink this. Godwin is a very safe bet to hit close to 3X and has the skills and opponent to go well beyond that.
Jarvis Landry ($6,700) @ ARI
The type of production that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin put up this year was what many Cleveland fans were expecting of their WR duo, Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. What Landry has been able to do this year has been mostly safe, and occasionally spectacular. His 15.8 ppg average has produced one 6X week, two 5X weeks, and one 3x week this season. Landry hasn’t been held to single digits since Week 6, and now will face off against the 2nd most WR friendly fantasy defense.
While OBJ will likely draw the majority of Patrick Peterson’s attention, Landry will be facing Kevin Peterson, who replaces the recently released Tramaine Brock. Arizona also just released Terrell Suggs, who was still the second on the team in sacks and tackles for a loss. The Cardinals are bad enough defensively, these moves at this point of the season could make them, even more, fantasy-friendly.
DeVante Parker ($6,400) @ NYG
Better late than never, right? After years of teasing, Parker’s breakout has seemed to arrive. Before last week’s early exit due to a concussion, Parker had been a very steady performer. Starting in Week 4, Parker had either scored a TD or had at least 59 yards in every game. From Weeks 10-13, he saw double-digit targets and scored an average of 22.1 points per game. That just happens to be the timeframe post Preston Williams’ ACL injury.
Parker has more yards, air yards, and yards after the catch than the rest of the Miami WRs combined in that time. He’s been a WR1, not just by default but by performance too. Assuming he plays (be SURE to check Sunday before the early lock), he gets a fantastic matchup against a secondary allowing the 3rd most points per game. A secondary who will also be down a starter after the mid-week release of Janoris Jenkins. Parker should cruise to an excellent return from injury this week.
Michael Gallup ($5,700) vs. LAR
Dallas is bad, but that might be good for fantasy purposes. This game opened with the main slate’s third-highest game total at 47, and has moved up to 48.5. The expectation here is for both teams to be able to move the ball, and a shootout could easily develop here. Gallup has been excellent in his second season and compares very favorably with teammate Amari Cooper in several categories. Gallup actually averages more targets and yards per game than Cooper (8.36/82.3 for Gallup, 7.69/81.1 for Cooper). Where Cooper has gained his PPR separation is in his reception totals and TDs.
Still, Gallup has shown that he is a preferred option of Dak Prescott and is capable of returning WR1 value. Like Jarvis Landry, he should benefit from the attention his more established teammate should draw from the opposing top CB. Cooper will have to contend with Jalen Ramsey allowing Gallup a chance to close the scoring gap between him and Cooper.
Darius Slayton ($4,700) vs. MIA
In what was supposed to be Sterling Shepard’s year, Slayton has stepped in and taken over as the most dangerous WR on the Giants. Slayton roasted the Philadelphia secondary to the tune of a 5/154/2 final line. Good for an almost 7X day (6.94 to be more exact). The crazy thing about his Week 14 result, is that it isn’t even his best game this season, at least in terms of ROI and DK scoring. Back in Week 10, Slayton went off for a 10/121/2 game and a 9X ROI. So the ceiling for him is incredibly high.
The value is incredible here, as all that scoring went down Monday night, not allowing DraftKings to adjust their pricing for this week. He is the team’s leading receiver in every major category: yards, targets, yards per reception, and TDs. Trying to stop him will be the 8th most WR friendly defense overall and 8th worst specifically against wide right WRs, like Slayton. A bad team shootout could happen here, with both defenses just awful at most of what they try to do, so Slayton could again see a crazy ROI.
Breshad Perriman ($4,500) @ DET
The injury to Mike Evans benefits more than just Chris Godwin. Perriman scored double digits two weeks in a row now and is primed to take on the WR2 role for Tampa. The Lions allow the 9th most points per game to all WRs and to right WRs, where Perriman set to line up.
He found the end zone last week against Indianapolis on a red-zone target in the 4th quarter of a one-score game. That TD would go on to be the winning score of the game, but he has another target just outside of the red zone that lead to another score. Darius Leonard’s pick-six was intended for Perriman from the Colts’ 23-yard line. Jameis was looking for Perriman near the red zone and found him once for a score. He will not replace Evans, but for half the price, he doesn’t need to.
The big three are again flexing their muscles, and the position has become a bit top-heavy. All three of Travis Kelce ($6,500), George Kittle ($6,200), and Zach Ertz ($6,000) are excellent plays. But paying down this week at TE is still the way to go for tournament plays. Here are the TE plays in the DFS player pool in order of price.
Austin Hooper ($5,000) vs. SF
Do not let the matchup remove Hooper from potential lineups. Yes, San Francisco has been excellent this season, but they will be missing 3 starters from their defensive secondary, including Richard Sherman, S Jaquiski Tartt, and K’Wuan Williams. Also already ruled out are starting defensive end, Dee Ford, starting DT D.J. Jones, and rotational DT Julian Taylor. The Niners will travel cross country short six important defensive players. Hooper is one week removed from his return from injury and with teammate Calvin Ridley on IR, Hooper figures to be a major part of the passing offense. His four-game TD streak was broken last week, but he is a good bet to start a new one as he still leads the team in red-zone targets (11).
Tyler Higbee ($3,900) @ DAL
Higbee is as hot a TE as there is in the league right now. Back to back 100-yard games have put him firmly on the DFS radar. Against Dallas, who allows the 11th most points per game to TEs, Higbee is so cheap he warrants another spot in lineups. The Rams have found a nice rhythm on offense, feeding Gurley carries and Higbee and Robert Woods targets. Look for that to continue in Dallas.
Ian Thomas ($3,100) vs. SEA
Another week without Greg Olsen means preseason sleeper Ian Thomas gets another day in the sun. Last week, Thomas went 5/57/1 on 10 targets in his best game of the season. For all the shortcomings Kyle Allen has as a QB, he still is feeding his TEs targets. The Olsen/Thomas combo are 3rd on the team in targets, behind CMC and D.J. Moore. That should come in to play this week as Seattle only trails the Arizona Cardinals in points allowed to TEs. Seattle has allowed 6 top-10 TE finishes this season, including to Tyler Higbee last week. Interim head coach Perry Fewell would be wise to mimic the success LA had in getting the TE involved in the passing game. And DFS players would also be advised to return to the Thomas well, and hope for another solid ROI against the Seahawks.