As we head into the weekend, be sure to check out all the content rolling onto the Rotoworld Daily page. Here’s a list of articles looking at the FanDuel NFL Week 15 slate. I will be updating as new columns are added, so consider this section as the DFS Table of Contents.
FanDuel NFL Bargains by Renee Miller
QB/RB Grind Down by Stephen Young
NFL DFS Starting Points by Renee Miller
RotoGrinders NFL Primer by Stephen Keech
FanDuel NFL Stacks by Spencer Limbach
FanDuel NFL 6-Pack by Chris Prince
FantasyLabs NFL Pivots by Matthew Freedman
FanDuel NFL Fades by Renee Miller (coming soon)
WR/TE Grind Down by Josh Lewis (coming soon)
Rotoworld Rankings vs DFS Pricing by Rich Hribar (coming Saturday)
Now onto the FanDuel NFL Must Plays for week 15!
Just a reminder, this column includes only Sunday games (not including SNF this week), as that’s considered the main slate on FanDuel.
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Le’Veon Bell – RB – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $9,400)
Bell comes with an intimidating salary, but this week’s player pool holds enough value to comfortably squeeze him into your cash lineups. I’ll touch on those top bargain lifts throughout this article, but let’s discuss Le’Veon first.
Even though Pittsburgh checks in as three-point underdogs vs New England, Bell profiles as an essential DFS building block. His work in the passing game takes away the need for any game flow contingency (playing with the lead), unlike most running backs. Essentially, Bell comes prepackaged as a legitimate RB1 and WR1 all in one player. He could easily rush for 80+ yards and a score while grabbing seven or more receptions for 80+ receiving yards and a touchdown. There’s room for upside beyond that in the highest-scoring matchup of the week (53 over/under). I should probably mention that New England ranks dead last in DVOA against the run. That could certainly help Bell’s cause on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Thomas – WR – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $8,100)
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room here: New Orleans checks in as a 16 point home favorite. There’s a good possibility they’ll grab an early lead, favoring their rushing attack in the second half. Having said that, I still believe Michael Thomas can produce WR1 numbers. He’s easily Drew Brees’ favorite receiving option, facing a Jets team that allowed the following stat-lines to opposing top WRs over the past three weeks: Devin Funchess 7-108, Tyreek Hill 6-185-3, Demaryius Thomas 8-93-1. NYJ ranks 27th in DVOA against the pass and 30th in DVOA vs WR1 options. Expect Michael Thomas to enjoy the same success as those aforementioned receivers who toasted the Jets.
GOLD: Next wave to consider in terms of priority
Devin Funchess – WR – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $7,300)
The running game (namely Jonathan Stewart) took over last week, but I’m looking towards Carolina’s passing attack on Sunday. Devin Funchess stands alone as the Panthers top receiving option, given that Kelvin Benjamin has been traded and Greg Olsen is clearly less than 100%. His opponent, Green Bay, ranks 20th in DVOA against the pass and 31st in DVOA vs WR1’s. On top of that, Aaron Rodgers’ possible return increases the shootout potential (and fantasy upside) of both teams’ passing attacks.
Cam Newton – QB – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
Everything I mentioned in the previous write-up feeds into Cam Newton’s fantasy rationale. I’m hoping Cam’s ownership rate is suppressed following three-straight mediocre performances. We could see a back-and-forth offensive showcase between Newton and Rodgers (if he returns), while Cam’s rushing upside certainly doesn’t hurt either.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Marquise Goodwin – WR – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $6,600)
Goodwin was a featured write-up last week, and I’m going back to him without hesitation. He’s still underpriced considering the legitimate WR1 numbers with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. The new San Francisco QB has dubbed Goodwin his go-to receiver, peppering him with 20 targets for 14 receptions and 205 yards total over the past two weeks. This matchup looks ripe for the picking, as Tennessee ranks 23rd in DVOA against the pass.
Alex Collins – RB – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $6,600)
Alex Collins has been running like a man possessed over the past two weeks. He has racked up 195 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns through that timeframe (5.91 ypc), adding 69 receiving yards to boot. He’ll push for 20+ carries (and a pair of touchdowns?) again, given that Baltimore profiles as seven point favorites at Cleveland. While the Browns have been solid against the run this season, the game flow should help Collins keep his momentum. After all, Jamaal Williams (118 total yards, 2 TD) and Joe Mixon (165 total yards, TD) were able to torch Cleveland in recent weeks.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Jimmy Graham – TE – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
Jimmy Graham failed to record a single fantasy point last Sunday…not even a fraction. The matchup at Jacksonville was brutal, and I’m not making too big of a deal about it. If anything, that goose egg has kept his salary in check, and we can consider this a buy-low opportunity. This is an acceptable bounce-back spot for Graham, playing at home against the Rams in what appears to be the second-highest over/under (48) of the week. His quarterback, Russell Wilson, tends to play better at home, subsequently raising Jimmy’s floor/ceiling fantasy combination.
If you don’t have enough salary to make Graham mesh with the rest of your lineup, Vernon Davis ($5800) is a solid value filler while Jesse James ($5200) is a risk/reward bargain in a potential shootout vs New England.
Philadelphia Eagles Defense (FanDuel Price: $4,700)
Philadelphia’s defense has been excellent for fantasy purposes this season. Despite that, they check in with a fair salary (and strong matchup to boot). The Eagles represent 7.5 road favorites against a Giants team that has seemingly given up on the season. New York has averaged 13.3 points per game since Odell Beckham Jr was lost for the season, if that’s any indication of their offensive aptitude. Eli Manning’s turnover tendencies could be on display as well.
The Ravens ($5000) and Saints ($4600) are also on my radar as reasonably priced defenses to target.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Antonio Brown – WR – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $9,300)
Alternate lineup construction features upgrading WR Michael Thomas to Antonio Brown – obviously saving money at other positions to make this move (we’ll get into that shortly). As mentioned earlier, this highly anticipated New England-Pittsburgh matchup should have plenty of points. Brown is a “target monster” who should get plenty of chances to shine. You’ll likely want either Bell or Brown as a part of your cash game strategy.
Kenyan Drake – RB – Miami (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
In order to pay for Antonio Brown, you can roster RB Kenyan Drake to open cap space. Drake has been solid over the past two weeks with Damien Williams out, racking up 21.6 and 21.8 FP respectively. He’s facing a Bills defense that ranks 24th in DVOA against the run. Keep an eye on Williams’ status moving into the weekend, as his absence would promote Drake to another heavy workload.
Mark Ingram – RB – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
As mentioned earlier, New Orleans checks in as 16 point home favorites against the Jets. There’s certainly room for WR Michael Thomas and the Saints rushing attack to coexist nicely from a fantasy standpoint. Alvin Kamara is expected to play, but there’s a chance the Saints will be cautious following a concussion last week. If they build a sizable lead, Ingram could be the primary beneficiary with extra touches.
If Aaron Rodgers returns on Sunday, I’m giving Jordy Nelson a strong look. In case you forgot, Nelson was an every-week WR1 with Rodgers healthy, and we’re getting him at a discount … Davante Adams is still firmly in play, as his prospects don’t necessarily hurt in the event that Rodgers is under center. However, Green Bay’s targets were highly concentrated towards him with Brett Hundley at quarterback, so he’s the preferred receiver if Rodgers doesn’t end up playing.
Jimmy Garoppolo – QB – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $7,300)
I’m considering Jimmy Garoppolo for both cash games and tournaments this weekend. Even though the fantasy production hasn’t been great, Jimmy G has shown some promise through his first two starts with San Francisco. Facing Tennessee’s generous pass defense seems like the opportune time for a breakout.
The Kicker Conundrum
Chris Boswell ($4800) and Stephen Gostkowski ($5000) represent a pair of elite options in the highest over/under of this week. Either one of them makes for a solid lift through all formats. Otherwise, Robbie Gould ($4500) is minimum salary. San Francisco is moving the ball better with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, resulting in more field goal opportunities for Gould (15 & 17 FP respectively in the past two weeks).