The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 15 WEEKEND UPDATE
December 17, 2016 | Doug Shain
The Huddle – Opening Statement
Welcome to the Hail Mary WEEKEND UPDATE where I look at our GPP plays for NFL Week 15. You can check out my First Look article to see what I was thinking on Tuesday night, but this is article represents my most up to date thoughts on the weekend slate. I’ll be using ownership data from the Fantasy Aces Thursday slate to help me determine public and HuLo plays. Public plays will be the players who were 10% owned or more on those slates unless otherwise noted. We have to keep in mind that these rankings have to be taken with a little grain of salt because ownership numbers can be down on non-Thursday players due to the high ownership of Thursday players as well as the fact that this is a 2QB site, so QB’s with incredible value are going to be very highly owned.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Colin Kaepernick (SF) @ ATL||Andrew Luck (IND) @ MIN||Carson Palmer (ARI) vs NO|
|Sam Bradford (MIN) vs IND||Andy Dalton (CIN) vs PIT||Marcus Mariota (TEN) @ KC|
|Joe Flacco (BAL) vs PHI||Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ CHI||Eli Manning (NYG) vs DET|
|Matt Ryan (ATL) vs SF||Tyrod Taylor (BUF) vs CLE||Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) @ CIN|
|Philip Rivers (SD) vs OAK||Tom Brady (NE) @ DEN|
|Derek Carr (OAK) vs SD||Dak Prescott (DAL) vs TB|
|Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs CAR||Cam Newton (CAR) @ WSH|
|Trevor Siemian (DEN) vs NE||Drew Brees (NO) @ ARI|
– The public got it way right at QB this weekend, for the most part. Cousins, Siemian, and Rivers are among my top 4 GPP QB’s for Week 15 (along with Carson Palmer). The ownership on Cousins is kind of out of control, so I’ve moved him down my personal list behind Rivers and Siemian, but he’s still a guy I want to target. I’m confident that I can differentiate my lineups elsewhere to make up for the chalkiness at QB. Siemian is attractive because he’s so inexpensive. He doesn’t need to have a 300-3 type of day to pay off his salary, but that’s also not out of the realm of possibility for him. He’s looked like a real QB the last few weeks, and I’m going to ride him more than one would think. I think Philip Rivers could be the highest scoring QB this weekend. I love stacking him with Dontrelle Inman. I’m really torn on Derek Carr. If he didn’t have the pinky issue I’d be all over him, but he just doesn’t look right at the moment and I don’t want to rest my hopes on him more than I have to. If he were completely healthy he’d be in my top 3 QB’s for the week for sure (for whatever that is worth). The high use of Kaepernick and Bradford on the Thursday slate probably has a lot more to do with the 2 QB nature of Fantasy Aces more than it does an actual desire to use those guys (although fellow TFF writer Ian Goldsmith loves him some Bradford this weekend. Hit him up on Twitter @ianrgold to ask him about why).
– I’m totally off the ATL passing game this weekend. Julio Jones is already ruled out and they really have no reason to pass. The Falcons are going to win this game and they can put up 30+ points with ease just by using Freeman and Coleman. I have no issue using them, but I just can’t touch Matt Ryan and risk a 200 yard, 1 TD week where he just feeds his RB in a 31-10 type of game.
– I’ve heard a few big name DFS players talking about Andrew Luck as a high floor guy this week. I don’t see it. His WR corps are decimated and he’s on the road, outdoors, against a really good Vikings’ secondary. I’m avoiding all Colts (aside from one potential upside play, read on) this weekend. Aaron Rodgers is normally a guy I’d target this weekend, but even if I didn’t have questions about his health I still can’t see myself being able to afford him with my desire to go all in at high end RB.
– I don’t get why Carson Palmer is sitting at 3% owned on the Thursday slate. He’ll probably end up higher than that on Sunday, but he’s got a long climb to be anywhere near chalk. That’s all good for me! I love using half-decent QB’s at home against the Saints. Carson Palmer fits that description perfectly. Unlike with Andrew Luck, I don’t care about the injuries with the Cardinals’ WRs. Palmer still has David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Jermaine Gresham, and Brittan Golden to throw to. This could be one of those weeks where stacking 3 or 4 players from the same team pays off. On the other side of the ball, I want no part of Drew Brees this weekend. I just can’t trust “Outside” Drew at this stage of his career. I’m also not really interested in Big Ben, Eli, Cam, or Tom Brady. None of them have plus matchups, and I think I can be much better off using Rivers, Palmer, or Cousins. I’ve soured a bit on Mariota this weekend with word that there might be some bad weather in KC. I don’t need that risk in my life right now.
My guys: Philip Rivers, Kirk Cousins, Trevor Siemian, Carson Palmer
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Shady McCoy (BUF) vs CLE||Jordan Howard (CHI) vs GB||Lamar Miller (HOU) vs JAX|
|Le'Veon Bell (PIT) @ CIN||Tevin Coleman (ATL) vs SF||Robert Kelley (WSH) vs CAR|
|David Johnson (ARI) vs NO||Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs TB||LeGarrette Blount (NE) @ DEN|
|Devonta Freeman (ATL) vs SF||Justin Forsett (DEN) vs NE|
|Latavius Murray (OAK) @ SD||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) @ BUF|
|Kenneth Farrow (SD) vs OAK||Spencer Ware (KC) vs TEN|
|Kenneth Dixon (BAL) vs PHI||Jeremy Hill (CIN) vs PIT|
|Carlos Hyde (SF) @ ATL|
|DeMarco Murray (TEN) @ KC|
|Jerrick McKinnon (MIN) vs IND|
– Last week I was all about saving some money at RB to pay up for big WR. This week I’m the exact opposite. I don’t know how in the world I’m going to talk myself out of using David Johnson and Shady McCoy. They have such incredible matchups that I just can’t see myself pulling them anywhere. On sites where you can use a Flex option, I’d have no issue taking a look at one of the two Falcons RBs since they are playing one of the worst rush defenses in NFL history (I think I prefer Freeman, although I’d use Coleman if he were a lot cheaper). Other high end RBs that I’d consider if I ever could talk myself into fading DJ or Shady are Elliott, Hyde, Bell, and Lamar Miller. Kenneth Farrow wasn’t as widely owned as I thought (Kenneth Dixon being cheaper on some sites put a damper on that), but he’s still pretty chalky. I’m still going to use him (or Dixon) in the Flex to offset the cost of using my big boy RBs. I actually prefer to use Dixon because I think he’s a better player and the breakout is so close to happening. I thank the sites that have him cheaper than Farrow so I can get the best of both worlds; save money and get the player I want.
– If I’m going to look at a mid-range RB this weekend then it’s going to be LeGarrette Blount. Denver has a ton of trouble stopping the run, and I could see Belichick feeding Blount 30 times to take advantage of that. This has all the makings of one of those 150 yard, 3 TD games for the NE bulldozer. One a site like FantasyDraft it could be very advantageous to use your Flex spot for both Farrow and Blount. I’ve already mentioned how I like Tevin Coleman against the 49ers. I’m pretty confident that there’s enough work there for both players to be viable plays.
– Isaiah Crowell is a sneaky play against a Bills’ rushing defense that just gave up 200+ yards to LeVeon Bell. I know that Crowell isn’t Bell, but he can break a long run and he’s actually an effective runner when there aren’t nine guys in the box against him. The aforementioned Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde are really underowned this weekend. Both make good contrarian plays if you’re going to fade the chalk. With all the talk about Adrian Peterson coming back, it’s easy to forget that Jerrick McKinnon is really good catching passes out of the backfield and the Colts are terrible on defense. Are the Vikings really going to give AP more than 10 touches this weekend? Spoiler alert: no they are not. Depending on how cheap you can get him, McKinnon is an interesting GPP flier in the Flex position.
My guys: David Johnson, LeSean McCoy, Kenneth Farrow, Kenneth Dixon, Tevin Coleman, Isaiah Crowell, Lamer Miller, Carlos Hyde, Jerrick McKinnon
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Tyrell Williams (SD) vs OAK||Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs CLE||Marqise Lee (JAX) @ HOU|
|Jamison Crowder (WSH) vs CAR||Stefon Diggs (MIN) vs IND||Jeremy Maclin (KC) vs TEN|
|Tyreek Hill (KC) vs TEN||Alshon Jeffery (CHI) vs GB||Adam Thielen (MIN) vs IND|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) vs NO||Amari Cooper (OAK) @ SD||Chester Rodgers (IND) @ MIN|
|J.J. Nelson (ARI) vs NO||Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ SD||Brittan Golden (ARI) vs NO|
|Taylor Gabriel (ATL) vs SF||Michael Thomas (NO) @ ARI||Jordy Nelson (GB) @ CHI|
|Dontrelle Inman (SD) vs OAK||Davante Adams (GB) @ CHI|
|Ty Montgomery (GB) @ CHI|
|Willie Snead (NO) @ ARI|
|Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs NE|
|Dez Bryant (DAL) vs TB|
|Pierre Garcon (WSH) vs CAR|
|Mike Evans (TB) @ DAL|
|Desean Jackson (WSH) vs CAR|
|Odell Beckham Jr (NYG) vs DET|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) @ CIN|
– Maybe I’m the only one but did anyone else realize that Alshon Jeffery is going to be activated this weekend? Is it possible that he comes on huge for the last three games this year? A four game suspension might be the best thing to have happened for Jeffery as it allowed him to heal up and come in fresh while everyone else in the league is worn down. The guy is playing for a contract and I could think up much crazier scenarios than Alshon Jeffery being a monster this weekend. The experts seem to be talking about him a bit, but I don’t see much else from the general public. I love this play.
– As you can probably surmise, most people are taking the same approach as I am this weekend and going HUGE at RB. This has led to the chalk at WR being the players that represent the best value, not the biggest names. The only WR I like from the Public list is Dontrelle Inman, and I’m going to have him everywhere. That’s not to say that I’m not going to keep looking for value at WR, it’s just that I think we can find it elsewhere and not have to follow the public.
– Of course, with the whole world zigging you have an opportunity to zag and go with monsters at WR and then find value at RB, fading DJ/Bell/Shady. My biggest issue with that is that I just don’t like the matchup for any of the top flight WRs. Mike Evans has the best matchup, but he’s on the road after disappointing two straight weeks as the chalk. I just don’t want to get sucked into that again this week and have my lineups suffer from it. I’m probably looking at things a little too emotionally, but I’m not so emotional that I can’t rationally justify my strategy. Besides Evans, what other top end WR has an attractive matchup? Brown, Dez, OBJ, Julio (out), and Jordy all have bad matchups, and I don’t want to pay up for that. And try to tell me how matchup-proof Antonio Brown is. He’s scored under 20 PPR points five time this year, twice in single digits. David Johnson has scored under 20 PPR points four times but his season low is 15.4 points, double that of Brown. If I’m going to spend up for a name then it’s going to be at RB.
– Don’t use any ATL WRs this weekend. They have no reason to pass the ball going up against the 49ers’ historically bad rushing defense. Don’t use Brandin Cooks against Patrick Peterson. ARI has given up big games the #2 WR for the past month and a half so your Saints target is going to be Michael Thomas or Willie Snead; I prefer Snead. Right now it looks like Amari Cooper is going to be matched up with Casey Heyward. That is not good. Use Michael Crabtree instead. We have the same issue with the DEN WR. I liked Emmanuel Sanders earlier in the week, but now it looks like he’s getting matched up with Butler. I’ll take my chances with Demaryius instead (and I do love me some Broncos passing game this weekend). If I’m using any Packers WR, it’s going to be Ty Montgomery. Mike McCarthy can’t be so dense as to not use him more out of the backfield with how well GB plays when he’s involved. He’s cheap enough to take that shot on (especially with Starks doubtful and C-Mike questionable).
– I’ll gladly fade Tyreek Hill in the hopes that Jeremy Maclin reclaims his #1 WR status on the Chiefs. He’s had 10 days to rest since his last game and the matchup is golden (assuming we don’t get any snow on Sunday). Other value plays that I’m looking to use to offset the cost of my top end RB are Adam Thielen, Marqise Lee, and either Brittan Golden or Chester Rodgers if their teams end up sitting their injured WRs. Of the two, I much prefer Golden. I’ll take Pierre Garcon all day out of any of the Redskins’ WRs. He’s been their best play all year and he should continue to do so in this stellar matchup.
My guys: Dontrelle Inman, Willie Snead, Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon, Adam Thielen, Ty Montgomery, Demaryius Thomas, Brittan Golden
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Ryan Griffin (HOU) vs JAX||Zach Ertz (PHI) @ BAL||Charles Clay (BUF) vs CLE|
|Travis Kelce (KC) vs TEN||Ladarius Green (PIT) @ CIN||Jermaine Gresham (ARI) vs NO|
|Greg Olsen (CAR) @ WSH||Cameron Brate (TB) @ DAL||Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs IND|
|Antonio Gates (SD) vs OAK||Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs PIT||A.J. Derby (DEN) vs NE|
|Delanie Walker (TEN) @ KC|
– Travis Kelce is playing like the best fantasy TE in football right now and there’s no way I’m going to tell you not to use him against a bad TEN pass defense. I don’t care how chalky he is, the right play is the right play. The only issue I have with Kelce is that he’s pretty pricey for a TE and it’s going to be hard to get him into a lineup with David Johnson and Shady McCoy. If you can find a way to make it happen, you just dominated three positions on your roster. Ryan Griffin is a shockingly surprising play with the injury to C.J. Fiedorowicz. I don’t get it. If I’m going to punt the TE position there are a plethora of players I’d use above Griffin (read on to find out to whom it is I am I’m referring….grammar, boom!).
– Ladarius Green has a great matchup this week against the Bengals. They haven’t been able to stop TE for the past half-decade. This is a great time to grab Green with confidence in him so low due to a bad outing last weekend. He should bust out for a big game this week. I’m hoping that the Week 14 debacle for the Titans’ passing game sits poorly with the general public because they are going to go right back to the hotness this weekend. KC has one of the most generous defenses in fantasy to opposing pass catchers and Delanie Walker is one of the best at his position. He’s the favorite target of Marcus Mariota and a big game could be coming this weekend. If you can get Tyler Eifert at under 8% owned this week, he might be another TE that I’d consider paying up for. He’s been really good since his return from injury and with A.J. Green out at least another week, he remains the de facto top target for Andy Dalton.
– My preferred play at TE this weekend is Charles Clay. He’s been getting targets all year but he finally broke out in Week 14. CLE is a sieve to opposing TE and it wouldn’t shock me to see Clay improve upon last week’s season-best performance. He’s incredibly inexpensive and will allow you to load up elsewhere. Kyle Rudolph doesn’t have the upside of Charles Clay, but he does have a sweet matchup and is pretty reliable for 4+ catches and a red zone target every week. Remember, Sam Bradford isn’t pushing the ball down the field, but he is throwing a ton and is highly accurate. This is a golden situation for his TE. I also see no reason to get off the Jermaine Gresham bandwagon. He hasn’t gotten into the end zone the last few weeks, but he has seen 5+ targets in five of his last six games. He’s still sitting at or near min-price so you don’t need much more than 10 FP to make him a worthwhile play. If you want to really take a shot then A.J. Derby intrigues me quite a bit. Derby is slowly becoming a factor in the suddenly potent Denver passing attack and, like Gresham, doesn’t need a monster game to make you happy you used him.
My guys: Charles Clay, Ladarius Green, Jermaine Gresham, Travis Kelce, Tyler Eifert, A.J. Derby
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Houston Texans vs JAX||Buffalo Bills vs CLE||Kansas City Chiefs vs TEN|
|Minnesota Vikings vs IND||Atlanta Falcons vs SF||New York Giants vs DET|
|Baltimore Ravens vs PHI||Arizona Cardinals vs NO|
|Denver Broncos vs NE|
– Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new team added to the “anyone against them” list: the Jacksonville Jaguars. They join the Cleveland Browns and LA Rams as three teams that you are to use a defense against regardless of how bad that defense is. All three are low scoring teams with hot garbage at the QB position and clueless coaching staffs (OK, we don’t know what the new staff in LA is going to look like and Hugh Jackson isn’t really all that bad, but give me this one). That’s a recipe for success for any defense. The Eagles are not a good road team. Baltimore will be looking to bounce back after a rough Week 14 in New England. The Vikings get one of my favorite overrated QB’s at home (Andrew Luck). I like MIN against most teams, but I’ll really love using them with a slight ownership discount due to the name brand QB they are facing. Trust me, Luck is a good QB to use a defense against.
– The Bills and Falcons both play pretty solid defense (or, at least Buffalo used to) so I have very little issue using either despite the chalky nature of said use. ATL destroyed the Rams in Week 14 and should have similar success against the 49ers in Week 15. Vic Beasley is a beast and you can count on #44 to get in the face of Colin Kaepernick plenty this weekend. I was shocked at how wide the gap in ownership was between Houston and ALT/BUF. If I’m playing the ownership game, and I always am, I’m going to lean towards the latter two teams and have no regrets.
– The Giants are starting to come into their own on defense and I’m very excited to use them against the Lions this weekend. Detroit is one of the biggest frauds in football and are going to get exposed in New Jersey by a ferocious Giants’ defense. Dallas is a legitimately good offense and New York stopped them cold. Add in Matthew Stafford’s dislocated finger, and this is a recipe for disaster for the NFC North leaders. New York is far and away my favorite GPP defense this weekend. Don’t underestimate the averageness of “Outside” Drew Brees. He’s terrible on grass without a dome over his head. I know that ARI isn’t completely outdoors, but this isn’t Dome Sweet Dome and Brees is a very vulnerable QB. I think it’s irresponsible if I don’t mention Denver, even against Tom Brady. I’m not using them, but I’ve done my civic duty.
My Guys: New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals (but really, I’m pretty much only using the Giants)
Best of luck this week! I hope you all kick some butt and make a ton of money. Make sure to check out all the great content at The Fake Football including the Cheat Sheets.You’ll find a ton of analysis, and data. It’s well worth the cost of subscription.
Your feedback is always welcome. You can find me on Twitter @bankster17. I’m around all the time for questions, advice, and comments. I answer every single person that sends me a Tweet.