Week 15 DFS Cheat Sheet: FanDuel and DraftKings (UPDATED)
December 18, 2016 | Ian Goldsmith
Welcome to Week 15 of the 2016 The Fake Football FanDuel and DraftKings DFS Cheat Sheet!
With the help of our resident DFS Gurus Ian Goldsmith and Chet Gresham, we have put together a comprehensive NFL DFS Cheat Sheet with matchup stats, analysis, picks, sample lineups and lineup configuration advice. We have picks for FanDuel and Draftkings, and with their differing settings, the picks, stats and analysis will help you on even more sites than just those two. And with a week between games we will update our picks and analysis as the week progresses. You will receive your Cheat Sheet on Wednesday, in time for the Thursday night games and then we will update the sheet on Sunday Mornings to make sure you don’t miss any breaking news.
And even though we will have more info, more stats, more picks and just more everything in our NFL sheets, we will not be raising the price. Each sheet will remain $1.99 each just like our baseball and basketball sheets. And as a subscriber you will receive an email as soon as the new Cheat Sheet is posted on Wednesday of each week and then an update on Sunday mornings.
PLUS! Ian Goldsmith’s DFS Optimizer will be added to the sheets this season! It will go LIVE every Friday!
Check out our a sheet from last season to see what you get.
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Injury Update (Sunday):
Adrian Peterson will get the start against the Colts. There are too many red flags about his return for me to have any real faith in him. Throw him in a GPP.
Ty Montgomery is expected to start. I like him in a matchup where he could see a lot of work.
Aaron Rodgers will start, but will also be watched closely in the frigid temperatures. If he has any kind of set back, he will be pulled.
A.J. Green won’t play.
Eric Ebron, Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Dez Bryant, Matt Asiata, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree will all play.
Philly at Baltimore: Showers, mainly before 4pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Temperature falling to around 43 by 5pm. Windy, with a southwest wind 14 to 19 mph becoming northwest 21 to 26 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
This forecast is not great for much of anything, but the run game should remain okay and the Ravens defense could see some more free points.
Cleveland at Buffalo: A chance of snow, mainly before 11am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 19 by 5pm. Blustery, with a west wind 15 to 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
The wind is the main concern here. It’s not out of control, but could hamper Tyrod a bit, though he should be able to run plenty.
Green Bay at Chicago: Sunny and cold, with a temperature falling to around 1 by 5pm. Wind chill values as low as -18. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 15 to 20 mph decreasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
The winds and bitter cold are the concerns here. They should still be able to pass, but the gears aren’t going to be oiled up.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: Scattered flurries before 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph.
It will be cold and a little breezy, but for the most part this game should be all systems go for your fantasy players.
Tennessee at Kansas City: Sunny and cold, with a high near 12. Wind chill values between -1 and -11. North northwest wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.
Bitterly cold, but no wind. It really will depend on how well players manage the cold, but expect a slight slow down in overall production.
Detroit at NY Giants: Rain between 1pm and 4pm, then a chance of showers after 4pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog before 10am. Temperature rising to near 53 by 11am, then falling to around 40 during the remainder of the day. Southwest wind 16 to 18 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Looks like each drive may have a different set of weather. But if the rain and wind get going together, that is not a happy grouping for fantasy.
New England at Denver: Sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -7. South southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
It will be chilly, but compared to many games, this one is close to perfect.
Julio Jones is out against the 49ers this week, which should elevate Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel’s targets. Both make for good starts this week as well as Tevin Coleman, who could see an increase in work as well.
Theo Riddick is out and Zach Zenner is questionable. Zenner still needs to pass concussion protocol, so Dwayne Washington is currently set up for a big workload against the Giants, who are a tough defense, but not a shutdown defense. Washington will likely need to get into the end zone to bring back top value, but he should get his chances.
Bilal Powell should be the lead back for the Jets Saturday night and if Matt Forte were to be active, he would take a secondary role according to beat writers. Hopefully they just sit Forte so we don’t have to worry about it.
Kelvin Benjamin will play against Washington, but his health is less than 100 percent and Josh Norman will shadow him. I rather not play him if you can help it. Ted Ginn has more upside.
Cam Newton was limited this week with a bum shoulder, but was able to get a full practice in on Saturday. His accuracy has been even worse than usual recently, so the shoulder could be a factor. He still has upside due to his rushing ability, but he’s outside my Top-12 quarterbacks this week.
Adrian Peterson has been activated from injured reserve and will play against Indianapolis. The Vikings offensive line is not healthy or good at the moment and the Vikings have become a shotgun offense during Peterson’s absence. He of course has touchdown ability, especially in a good matchup, but his overall upside is still pretty low after showing nothing before his injury.
Melvin Gordon is out and Kenneth Farrow will start in his place. Farrow was thrust into the starting position early last week and ended up missing a block that got Philip Rivers strip sacked, so there is some worry that Ronnie Hillman could see more work on passing downs, but coach Mike McCoy gave Farrow some praise this week and seems to be backing him as the main back in this game. He’ll face a weak run defense in Oakland and has enough upside for his price in DFS and should be a safe play in most redraft leagues.
Ryan Griffin will get the start at tight end with C.J. Fiedorowicz out with a concussion. Unfortunately he faces a tough Jaguars pass defense, but Brock Osweiler loves throwing to his tight ends and should elevate him enough to be useful this week.
Jermaine Gresham is listed as questionable, but looks like he’ll be a go in a decent matchup with the Saints. Gresham has seen more work of late with John Brown’s illness and Michael Floyd hitting the skids.
Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are listed as questionable, but it appears both should play their normal roles. Both must be started in redraft, but are a little trickier in DFS.
Mark Ingram says he feels better this week than in the previous two concerning his toe and he is not on the injury report. He should be all systems go and a must start in most redraft leagues, but does get a tough matchup.
Michael Thomas is also off the injury report and will start in Arizona. Much will depend on if Patrick Peterson shadows Brandin Cooks and lets Thomas go or vice-versa, but if he’s healthy, you have to start Thomas.
A.J. Green will go through warm-ups to see where he is, but he is also listed as doubtful and would likely be on a strict snap count if he were to miraculously play. Give Tyler Eifert the most upside for the Bengals this week.
Ty Montgomery should get the start at running back for the Packers this week in Chicago, where it is going to be bitterly cold. Expect both running games to be used often.
Jordan Reed seems to be getting better and is showing more flexibility in practice. He also gets an extra day due to the Monday night game, so I’m going ahead and slotting Reed into all my lineups.
Marquess Wilson broke his foot and Eddie Royal is out, which makes Alshon Jeffery and Cameron Meredith the top two targets most likely. The weather is worrisome though and Jeffery’s four-week absence is also troubling. The matchup is good, but Jordan Howard is my favorite Bears play this week.
Darren Sproles is out with a concussion and Doug Pederson said Kenjon Barner and Byron Marshall would fill the “Sproles Role,” which makes both fairly useless in fantasy. Ryan Mathews will be the mainstay in the backfield, but does get a tough matchup in Baltimore.
Donte Moncrief won’t play due to a hamstring injury, so T.Y. Hilton will dominate the wide receiver targets as usual. He faces a tough Vikings defense, but his extra targets still make him a top start.
Chris Ivory has been taken off the injury report and will play, but T.J. Yeldon looks to have won the lead role. The Texans are still a tough matchup though and Ivory’s return makes both hard sells this week.
Sample FanDuel Lineups
FanDuel Lineup Configurations
Yeah, I know. Sam Bradford doesn’t really scream cash play. I get it. However, there are a couple of things working in his favor this week. For one, the matchup is excellent. Though the Colts have played well the past two weeks defensively, they did so against Brock Osweiler and Bryce Petty, neither of which are models of NFL QB play. Before they got those scrubs, they allowed opposing QBs to pass for at least 2 scores in eight straight weeks. This is not a good defensive team, folks. Secondly, the price is excellent. He only needs about 13-14 points to hit value. That’s 225 yards a one TD. The low price is very important this week for another reason: David Johnson and LeSean McCoy are both locks for me in cash games and they are expensive…very expensive. They cost a combined $18,800, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room elsewhere. You’ll have to save $$ somewhere, so Bradford is a good place to do it. Alex Smith, who also has an excellent matchup, is only $100 more. DJ and McCoy get to face New Orleans and Cleveland, respectively, both of whom are bottom three defenses against the RB position.
Because I’ve paid up so heavily at RB, I needed to go cheaper at the WR position. Thielen has been outstanding the past few weeks, scoring at least 8.8 FP in the past six games (and double digits in four of those). Snead normally wouldn’t be a cash play for me, but the price is right and the Cardinals have been beaten regularly by opposing slot receivers. Even if Michael Thomas returns, Snead should be a solid part of the Saints’ attack. I did pay up a bit for Hilton. While Minnesota is a very tough defense against receivers, they are a bit more susceptible with Harrison Smith out (a big loss to their defense). With Moncrief looking iffy for Sunday, Hilton should see his usual 10+ targets.
In that same game, I’m targeting Kyle Rudolph at TE. Though they’ve been a bit better recently, the Colts are still a bottom-10 defense against the TE position for the season. Again, since I paid up big for DJ/McCoy, I needed to save some cash somewhere and The Reindeer fits the bill (I’m 99.9% sure that’s not his actual nickname, but I’m rolling with it). OK, maybe I’m a little too heavily invested in this game….Kai Forbath makes an appearance as the kicker here as well. Hey, what can you do. The Vikings should be able to move the ball against the Colts and sputter enough in the red zone to make Forbath a solid play. At D, I’m rolling with Buffalo. I see no reason to veer away from them or the Texans this week.
OK, there are some similar names here (DJ/McCoy/Snead/Forbath/Bills), so I’ll not get into them again here other than to say I think they have potential in both cash and GPP lineups. At QB, I’m using the underpriced Kirk Cousins who gets a terrific matchup against the Panthers. While they’ve been better of late, they are still only middle of the pack against QBs in the past five weeks. Cousins slings it, and I don’t think the Panthers have what it takes to stop him during an away game without their best defender still out with a concussion (let’s be honest here…even if Kuechly is cleared to play, the Panthers should not rush him back when they have almost no shot at the playoffs…safety first).
Rishard Matthews gets to face a terrible Chiefs secondary. KC makes huge plays, that’s true, but they give them up as well. If Amari Cooper didn’t have a momentary lapse of reason last Thursday, KC might still be in second place instead of supplanting the Raiders (I’m saying this as a KC fan). KC should have no trouble shutting down Delanie Walker, so Matthews and the other receivers should see a ton of looks. If you are thinking about Walker, then do so in a GPP setting only. The most points KC has given up all season to a TE is 7.5 FP in standard leagues, and 8.9 FP in PPR. Jordy Nelson did not play well against the Bears last time out, but he and AROD have been on the same page of late. I won’t be using him in cash games, but a very happy to use him in the 0 degree weather this week in GPPs. Finally, Charles Clay is one of my favorite plays of the week when salary is taken into account. The guy gets a Browns’ team that does not know how to defense TEs at all. He’s been all over the place this season, so he won’t find a place on my cash teams, but his upside this week is big.
In the first cash lineup I used TY Hilton. At this point, I think he’s a bit too risky for cash lineups. If you use a lineup similar to that, I’d pivot over to Larry Fitzgerald who gets a dream matchup against the Saints. Fitz has 10+ catches in three of his past six and is a a safer play than Hilton. I still like everyone else on that lineup, and I don’t mind using Hilton in GPPs as he is the clear #1 on Indy, especially with Moncrief out today.
In the updated cash lineup (Sunday only), I’ve gone a different way with a few players. At QB, while I am afraid that Atlanta’s success running the ball will limit Matt Ryan’s upside, he should still have a high enough floor to make himself viable in cash games. Hell, 200/2TD is already 16 FP, which is already nearly 2X. He should do better than that against San Fran’s awful defense. Ty Montgomery is starting at RB for the Packers with Starks out. Woo! While I really love the DJ/McCoy stack, I wanted to use him here to show a different way to go. At only $5,000, he opens up a lot of options. If his coach isn’t a moron (debatable), then he should easily be able to hit value. The aforementioned Fitz is here as are Thielen, Rudolph, and Forbath. Reports suggest Odell Beckham won’t be covered the entire game by Darius Slay. If that’s the case, then I love OBJ this week against Detroit. He hasn’t had a massive game in a while, but he’s hit 15 FP in five of his past six.
In the GPP lineup, I love Ladarius Green. He disappointed last week with Bell’s transcendent game, but this week he gets a Cincy defense that is giving up tons of points to the TE position. He’s due for a bounce back. I don’t love Trevor Siemian (my coworker Doug does), but the matchup is decent at home against New England. He has scored at least 16 FP in four straight and has hit 300+ yards in his past two. For his price, he’s a no brainer to me. I love Inman at this price. I don’t love Gabriel as much, but all it takes is one big play for him to pay his salary. Jones is out for Atlanta, so he should be targeted relatively frequently.
Sample DraftKings Lineups
DraftKings Lineup Configurations
Again, I won’t rehash players already talked about. If you don’t see a player talked about here, look up at the FanDuel blurbs above. Tyrod Taylor gets an excellent matchup this week. He’s actually a cash only play for me this week as I think his upside is going to be curtailed by the fact the Buffalo run game should steamroll the Browns. There is a reason I like McCoy this week. It’s pretty hard to justify both McCoy and David Johnson in cash lineups on DraftKings this week. DJ is over 20% of salary, which takes away a lot of roster maneuverability. I’ve gone with two other mid-priced RBs in Latavius Murray, who has been on quite a roll, and Carlos Hyde, who gets perhaps his juiciest matchup of the season against the Falcons’ run “defense”. Hell, even Todd Gurley managed a solid game last week against Atlanta, and he’s stuck in the mire that is the Rams.
Pierre Garcon has been very consistent this season, scoring double digits in 8 of 12 games this season. Like I said with Cousins above, the Panthers are very beatable through the air. At less than $5K, I’m very happy to use him. I don’t love OBJ this week, but I had $8K left and there weren’t many other players I liked more, so he fit in. He’ll get matched up with Darius Slay, which isn’t ideal, but the Giants do an excellent job of moving him around the field so he doesn’t get stuck with the opposing team’s top cover corner. At TE, you’ll have a tough time convincing me to use someone other than Jermaine Gresham, who is a rock-bottom $2,500. Why would you look elsewhere? The Arizona passing game has been basically DJ and Gresham the past few weeks, which is not hyperbole. In the past five weeks, his lowest score is 7.8 FP, more than 3X value. He’s hit double digits in three of his past five games and gets a Saints’ D that is just middle of the road against the TE position.
I don’t think there will be a lot of people using Derek Carr this week given last week’s performance. However, he’ll be playing in sunny San Diego instead of 20 degree weather in Kansas City. The Chargers do not offer the same kind of imposing defense that KC does, either. Carr torched SD earlier this season and should do so again. I see no reason he won’t easily hit and exceed 3X value this week given the matchup and his price of $6,300. The only other player here that I haven’t touched on is Kenneth Farrow, who filled in nicely last week after Melvin Gordon went down (taking down a lot of playoff teams in the process). However, he’s a GPP only play for me as there has been some talk of Ronnie Hillman getting some expanded looks as he’s a much better pass blocker. We’ll see. I’m happy to take a risk on Farrow in tournaments, but he’s not the sure thing that some think he is.
The only person here that isn’t covered above is Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders should be used early and often against New England as Siemian looks to get into rhythm in the short passing game. With 30+ in two of his past three, so the upside is clearly there. The game against Jacksonville is a bit of an outlier as Paxton Lynch was under center, not Siemian. I didn’t realize earlier in the week, but the Giants are uber cheap on DraftKings. I don’t know why, but I do know that I love the matchup against an injured Stafford. I’m rolling with them all day.
Hey folks, Ian here. There are a ton of websites out there that offer their own version of DFS optimizers. Most of them are really well done. Of course, most of them cost an arm and a leg too. The thing is, for all the good an optimizer does, at the end of the day it still only gives you a starting point on which to base your lineup. You need to still come up with projections. I’m not a programmer, but I use Excel extensively in my day job as an economist. So, I thought I’d try and figure out a way to create a basic optimizer and share it with you all. It’s not fancy. This doesn’t have some kind of eye-candy GUI. However, it works. And, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.
As for projections, I’m a big believer in the wisdom of crowds. This basic optimizer uses a mixture of projections from a number of different sites. If you want to do this yourself in the future and don’t want to do any kind of tedious regression analysis, I’d recommend using the FantasyPros Consensus Projections as a starting point. After getting averages of what many different experts think will happen on Sunday, you can then make tweaks of your own. To make this, I watched a lot of Youtube videos and used much of my previous Excel knowledge, much I learned through my local library (Libraries are awesome!). That is to say, this is relatively easy to make on your own given a little patience.
To use this optimizer, you’ll need Excel 2010 or later. If you have that, then click on one of the two links below (or both!), depending on which site you are playing. There are instructions on the first sheet. Thanks, and have fun!!
NOTE: Remember, these lineups are just a first run through the optimizer with adjusted consensus stats from several places online. You can always remove players you don’t want to include.
A very simple, but good start to DFS research is to look at the over/unders and odds. Obviously you want your players in games where Vegas believes the game will be high scoring and on winning teams, while your defenses should come from games they believe will be low scoring. Note: This week’s odds will be up shortly.
Sortable Matchup Machine Quarterbacks (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Quarterback for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Running Backs (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each running back for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Wide Receivers (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Wide Receiver for the week.
|DEP||Wide Receivers||Tm||Opp||DK||FD||Rec/G||ReYd/G||ReYd/Tar||TD/G||T/G||Com. %||FPPG||FO|
Sortable Matchup Machine Tight Ends (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Tight End for the week.
Sortable Matchup Machine Defenses (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Defense for the week.
Defense Opp DK FD Off Points Sack Int Fum Rec DefTD RetTD FPPG
New England Patriots HOU $4,000 $5,100 17 2 1 0.5 0.1 0.1 8.4
Atlanta Falcons SEA $2,600 $4,300 22 2.6 0.8 0.4 0 0 6.2
Pittsburgh Steelers @KC $2,900 $4,500 22 2 0.5 0.6 0.1 0 4.8
Dallas Cowboys GB $2,700 $4,500 27 2.2 0.5 0.6 0.1 0.1 4.4
Kansas City Chiefs PIT $3,400 $4,800 24 1.3 0.9 0.2 0.1 0 3.9
Green Bay Packers @DAL $2,800 $4,300 26 1.8 0.4 0.6 0 0 3.2
Seattle Seahawks @ATL $3,000 $4,700 32 2.3 0.4 0.3 0.1 0 2.6
Houston Texans @NE $2,300 $4,200 27 1.5 0.1 0.6 0 0 2.5
Sortable Matchup Machine Kickers (2016 Stats)
Here you will find the matchup stats for each Kicker for the week.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS WR/TE/RB MATCHUP CHART
You can find this chart HERE, but we wanted to make it sortable for you. It breaks down the rankings for defenses against WR1, WR2, “Other” WR, TE and RB against the pass.
|Rk||TM||Rk vs. #1 WR||Pa/G||Yd/G||Rk vs. #2 WR||Pa/G||Yd/G||Rk vs. Other WR||Pa/G||Yd/G||Rk vs. TE||Pa/G||Yd/G||Rk vs. RB||Pa/G||Yd/G|