A week after I vouched for Carson Wentz and he flopped against the Seahawks, he was one of the best fantasy passers at FanDuel. Last week I switched over to Derek Carr in a huge (and favorable) matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he face-planted.
That tells me Carr will be the top quarterback in NFL DFS contests in week 15.
In all seriousness, Carr didn’t meet expectations last week and he was part of a fantasy lineup that just didn’t deliver. There were still some solid picks that made the list, as Travis Kelce was one of the better tight end options, Josh Gordon scored a touchdown for the first time since 2013 and Harrison Butker was one of the best kicking options of the week.
While I didn’t strike gold everywhere, I’m back to see if I can’t deliver a beastly NFL DFS squad for week 15. Let’s see what studs and value plays could make a GPP winner as the 2017 NFL season slowly winds down:
QB: Tom Brady – New England Patriots ($8.8k)
Tom wasn’t so “terrific” on Monday and Aaron Rodgers might be back this week, so there’s a very good chance DFS gamers can get a determined Brady at low ownership going into week 15. I don’t like betting against the Pats in successive weeks, while everyone just saw the Steelers get torched by Joe Flacco of all people.
That has me believing Ryan Shazier’s absence is a pretty big deal and with Brady out for blood in a huge AFC clash, I think Brady and the Pats put on a show.
RB: Jay Ajayi – Philadelphia Eagles ($6.1k)
It’s anyone’s guess how the Eagles respond to the season-ending injury to Carson Wentz, but one has to imagine with Nick Foles taking over under center, they lean harder on their rushing attack. Philly certainly has the goods to beast out even more on the ground, but they’re already a top 3 unit on the ground and should continue to be if they work at it.
Ajayi can be a huge part of that and after rushing 15 times last week, I’m on board with him as an interesting GPP try at the running back position. Ajayi’s role could grow, while a matchup against the Giants (29th against running backs) can’t hurt. Ajayi’s workload isn’t too much of an issue, but if he can get 60+ total yards and a score he should pay off.
RB: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($6.9k)
A lot of the top shelf rushers have tough matchups or just feel too pricey, so I’m searching for two value RB options. Ajayi feels like a lock and the way the Green Bay Packers are “stopping” the run these days, I can’t help but roll with the versatile McCaffrey.
Jonathan Stewart is the guy who went off last week, but McCaffrey still has a huge role in the offense and is far more involved in the passing game. The Packers have allowed guys like Peyton Barber and Isaiah Crowell to drop 100+ yard rushing days on them recently, so you know they’re not a scary unit.
Against Green Bay’s terrible run defense, it wouldn’t be that shocking for McCaffrey to enjoy his best game yet as a pro.
WR: Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers ($9.3k)
Bill Belichick is notorious for taking away his opponent’s top weapon, but on the road in week 15, I think that’ll be Le’Veon Bell and not Antonio Brown. The beauty here is even if the Steelers don’t get Brown involved early, falling behind produces a game script where Brown could thrive.
Brown tends to get his no matter what and is on a roll right now with 12+ targets in each of his last four games. That’s mostly led to elite DFS production, with #84 putting up 20+ fantasy points each time out during that span. Brown is matchup proof and in this game at home, I think he’ll be quite busy.
If you’re worried about the Pats stuffing him, consider they’ve really only enjoyed mild success against him one time. Even in that game Brown caught 5 balls for 71 yards and a score. The other three games? Brown had at least 7 grabs and scored twice.
WR: Brandin Cooks – New England Patriots ($7.4k)
I need a guy that’s going to be on the receiving end of Brady’s rage this week and I don’t want to force in The Gronk with what looks like a less than ideal matchup. That has me on Cooks, as you get a burner who has developed strong chemistry with Brady and really just needs that one huge play to pan out.
I’m not sure Cooks can match Brown or anything, but he’s probably due for a blow-up game after being too quiet the last two weeks. It doesn’t hurt that the Steelers have slipped to 28th against wide receivers over the past four weeks.
WR: Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars ($5.7k)
I need some value at wide receiver and I love the price I’m getting with Westbrook, who has gotten better with each passing week. In week 14 Dede scored his first NFL touchdown and enjoyed his third straight contest with at least 8 targets.
Blake Bortles isn’t good, but he loves targeting Westbrook and still has a penchant for the deep ball. A big one is coming for Westbrook, but his volume makes that less of an issue. Only aiding his cause is a date with the Texans, who rank 25th against wide receivers in 2017.
TE: Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks ($6.7k)
Rob Gronkowski should be popular coming off of a suspension, but he’s a hefty $8.5k and his matchup by the numbers against Pittsburgh doesn’t pop off the page. Graham’s might, as he already scored against the Rams earlier this year and faces a Rams defense that has ranked just 28th against tight ends over the past four weeks.
Trey Burton scored twice last week and Eagles tight ends accounted for three scores on the day. This isn’t encouraging news for L.A.’s defense, while Graham and co. will be hosting a massive NFC East clash at home. After a down week (2 targets, catches), I’m hoping Graham will be low-owned and pay off in a big way in tourneys.
K: Robbie Gould – San Francisco 49ers
Maybe this is the week the Niners fire off a bunch of touchdowns. Still, through two weeks with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, this team is 2-0 and has allowed for Gould to try 9 field goals. That’s translated into big 14 and 17-point fantasy outings and with a middling matchup ahead of the Niners at home against the Titans, it’s hard not to grow infatuated with the upside here.
Tennessee has been far from an elite defense in 2017, allowing over 22 points per game (17th in the NFL). The Titans have also specifically struggled with points allowed to kickers, as they enter week 15 ranked 31st in kicker fantasy points given up on the season.
DEF: New Orleans Saints ($4.6k)
The Jacksonville Jaguars are an obscene $5.9k so I’m off of them completely this week. I think I’d like a little value in my team defense, too, so everything works out with the Saints coming in at a palatable $4.6k. Even better is the fact that starting Jets passer Josh McCown broke his hand, so New Orleans gets to face Bryce Petty.
Petty is not a threat and the Saints are at home in a game they can’t afford to slip up in. I fully expect the Saints to dominate in this one and I have to think their defense has something to do with it.