The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 15 FIRST LOOK
December 13, 2016 | Doug Shain
The Huddle – Opening Statement
Welcome to the FIRST LOOK at the GPP plays for NFL Week 15. If you want to know more about my article and what it’s all about, please click here.
Because of the large number of players on these lists, please understand when I don’t write a blurb about each and every one of them. If you want to know more about a player that I glossed over, or why they are placed into the list I have them in, please feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@bankster17). I respond to everyone who writes to me so you can feel confident that your question will get answered. Enjoy the read for now and make sure to come back this weekend to see who we should be locking into our GPP lineups.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ CHI||Joe Flacco (BAL) vs PHI||Matt Barkley (CHI) vs GB|
|Tyrod Taylor (BUF) vs CLE||Sam Bradford (MIN) vs IND||Marcus Mariota (TEN) @ KC|
|Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) @ CIN||Andy Dalton (CIN) vs PIT||Eli Manning (NYG) vs DET|
|Carson Palmer (ARI) vs NO||Colin Kaepernick (SF) @ ATL||Andrew Luck (IND) @ MIN|
|Drew Brees (NO) @ ARI||Trevor Siemian (DEN) vs NE|
|Matt Ryan (ATL) vs SF||Tom Brady (NE) @ DEN|
|Philip Rivers (SD) vs OAK||Dak Prescott (DAL) vs TB|
|Derek Carr (OAK) vs SD||Cam Newton (CAR) @ WSH|
|Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs CAR|
– I think the public is going to nail it at QB for the most part this weekend. Yes, there are going to be a handful of players that don’t realize that Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger don’t play well on the road, and there are going to be some that use Tyrod Taylor just because he’s playing CLE (not a horrible play, but limited upside), but for the most part I think we’re going to see a lot of Kirk Cousins, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Derek Carr. I love that sextet of QB’s this weekend. It’s early in the week, but I’m pretty sure that some combination of Kirk Cousins, Carson Palmer, and Philip Rivers are going to be among my top 4 GPP QB’s this weekend (along with Marcus Mariota). I think it’s going to be site dependent on which one of the four I end up ranking highest. All three are paying home games against awful pass defenses and are part of pass happy offenses. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Carr, Rodgers, and Ryan as well, but at some point you have to narrow down your list. In the end I’ll probably have Aaron Rodgers on “my guys”, but Derek Carr’s finger and the blowout potential for ATL are two factors that will keep me off the other two.
– Dare I use Colin Kaepernick again? On the road? Against a defense that’s starting to get hot? On Monday night I’m going to say that I don’t know, but by Saturday afternoon I have a feeling that I’m going to lean away from Kap. Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford, on the other hand, are right in my wheelhouse this weekend. We’ve seen Flacco’s upside and he’s going up against an Eagles’ defense that just isn’t right on the road. They are susceptible to the long ball and Flacco has a few guys who can get deep. My only concern with Bradford is the conservative nature of the Vikings’ offense. Against Indy though, even a conservative offense can get a QB to 300 yards and 2 TD with an accurate enough passer (which Bradford is).
– As you read above, Marcus Mariota is one of my favorite QB options this weekend. He has a rough game in Week 14, but that was against the best pass defense we’ve seen in years. He has a large enough body of work right now for us to easily say that he’s on his way to being an elite fantasy option outside of extreme circumstances (like he faced in Week 14). KC is nowhere near as good as Denver, and I think we get Mariota back on track this weekend. If we can do that with a low ownership, sign me up right now. I think Trevor Siemian might actually be a halfway decent NFL QB. If anything, he seems to have figured out how to use his stud WR duo. I see no reason that he can’t wing it for another big game against the Patriots this weekend. It would take some guts to use him, but if he pops off then you’re going to be in great shape in a GPP. I will probably leave Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, and Eli Manning on the sidelines along with Brees and Ben. I don’t like the matchup for any of them (Newton’s isn’t bad, he’s just bad). If anyone can beat the Denver defense, it’s Tom Brady. I don’t think I have the guts to find out though.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Jordan Howard (CHI) vs GB||Isaiah Crowell (CLE) @ BUF||T.J. Yeldon (JAX) @ HOU|
|Lamar Miller (HOU) vs JAX||Spencer Ware (KC) vs TEN||Kenneth Dixon (BAL) vs PHI|
|LeSean McCoy (BUF) vs CLE||Jeremy Hill (CIN) vs PIT||Frank Gore (IND) @ MIN|
|DeMarco Murray (TEN) @ KC||Tevin Coleman (ATL) vs SF||Justin Forsett (DEN) vs NE|
|Le'Veon Bell (PIT) @ CIN||LeGarrette Blount (NE) @ DEN||James White (NE) @ DEN|
|David Johnson (ARI) vs NO||Doug Martin (TB) @ DAL||Charles Sims (TB) @ DAL|
|Devonta Freeman (ATL) vs SF||Jonathan Stewart (CAR) @ WSH|
|Carlos Hyde (SF) @ ATL|
|Latavius Murray (OAK) @ SD|
|Kenneth Farrow (SD) vs OAK|
|Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) vs TB|
|Robert Kelley (WSH) vs CAR|
– 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. The most widely owned player this weekend is probably going to be Kenneth Farrow if Melvin Gordon doesn’t suit up. Even at 50%+ ownership, I’m probably going to have to use him in Flex leagues so I can fit in my dynamic duo. I’m not sure I believe in the recent hot streak for Latavius Murray. His advanced metrics say that he should be doing much worse than he is; at some point he’s going to come crashing back down to Earth.
– If I’m going to look at a mid-range RBs 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 Kenneth Dixon takeover is happening. He had a really solid Monday night and in PPR leagues he’s a great Flex option for really cheap. On DK he’s actually less expensive than Kenneth Farrrow, so I’d be more than happy to make that pivot. Doug Martin is the man in the Tampa Bay backfield, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a near min-priced Charles Sims to make an impact. Justin Forsett looks to have already taken over for Devontae Booker and we all know what he can do in a Gary Kubiak offense. It’s a risky move but one that could work out well in a PPR (look at what Dixon just did to the Patriots on Monday night).
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Jordy Nelson (GB) @ CHI||Ty Montgomery (GB) @ CHI||DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs JAX|
|Davante Adams (GB) @ CHI||Stefon Diggs (MIN) vs IND||Marqise Lee (JAX) @ HOU|
|Alshon Jeffery (CHI) vs GB||Tyler Boyd (CIN) vs PIT||Mike Wallace (BAL) vs PHI|
|Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs CLE||Willie Snead (NO) @ ARI||Jeremy Maclin (KC) vs TEN|
|Tyreek Hill (KC) vs TEN||Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs NE||Adam Thielen (MIN) vs IND|
|Odell Beckham Jr (NYG) vs DET||Dez Bryant (DAL) vs TB||Philip Dorsett (IND) @ MIN|
|T.Y. Hilton (IND) @ MIN||Pierre Garcon (WSH) vs CAR||Tyrell Williams (SD) vs OAK|
|Antonio Brown (PIT) @ CIN|
|Brandin Cooks (NO) @ ARI|
|Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) vs NO|
|J.J. Nelson (ARI) vs NO|
|Taylor Gabriel (ATL) vs SF|
|Emmanuel Sanders (DEN) vs NE|
|Amari Cooper (OAK) @ SD|
|Dontrelle Inman (SD) vs OAK|
|Mike Evans (TB) @ DAL|
|DeSean Jackson (WSH) vs CAR|
– 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. Obviously I think that the word is out about him since I placed him on this list, but if I’m wrong, then he moves up in my rankings big time.
– As you can see, there are a lot of WRs that I think can be chalk this week. Most of them won’t end up that way and this list will narrow down significantly over the weekend. If I had to put a guess on the top five most widely owned WRs this weekend I’d say that Inman, Gabriel, and Hill would be among them with probably Watkins and Jordy Nelson. That first trio are a relatively inexpensive group with excellent matchups. I really like Inman but would probably avoid the other two. I don’t see ATL passing too much against SF this weekend, and I actually like Jeremy Maclin to reassert himself in the KC passing game with another week of rest under his belt. I can see a lot of people jumping on the J.J. Nelson bandwagon once again with his big game last weekend and a matchup against the Saints in Week 15. He’s the most likely player I didn’t put in my top 5 to crack the top 5 most owned players. I won’t have him anywhere; no way I get suckered into that again this year. Give me David Johnson and Jermaine Gresham instead.
– Ty Montgomery is a very low priced option that’s finding his touches once again for the Packers. It’s no coincidence that they won huge against a tough opponent the week they finally decide to use Montgomery properly. Mike McCarthy isn’t a good coach by any stretch of the imagination, but he can’t be so dense as to not realize this and continue to feed his new RB (who is still listed as a WR on many sites). Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have developed quite a rhythm with Trevor Siemian. We saw on Monday night that an average QB (Joe Flacco is not elite) can pass on the Patriots. Trevor Siemian is the very definition of average, and he’s got two above average guys to throw to. I think both are in play this weekend, although I prefer Thomas as he’s got to be due for a big game. The last time Dez Bryant played this poorly, he had a really good game in his next outing. Dak is going to be looking to feed his big dog against a TB secondary that is playing over their heads. Pierre Garcon and Willie Snead are two WRs that are playing much better than you realize; both should be in line good games this weekend. Week 14 was the fourth or fifth week in a row that a #2 WR (Kenny Stills) had a good game against the Cardinals’ defense. This is not a fluke, it is a trend and Snead is the beneficiary this weekend. As for Garcon, he leads the Redskins in receptions this year and has really only had one bad game among his last six outings. He’s very safe.
– If I’m going to spend up at RB then I need to find some cheapie WR to fill out my roster. This week those two guys are Adam Thielen and Philip Dorsett. Thielen has been really good over his last six weeks, scoring 10+ PPR points every time out. Dorsett is a nice option if Donte Moncrief doesn’t suit up this weekend. I don’t love the matchup for the Colts in Minnesota, but anyone who is the #2 WR for Andrew Luck, overrated and all, still has a ton of value and upside (8 targets in Week 14). Jeremy Maclin is going to get back on track this weekend against a soft TEN secondary.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|C.J. Fiedorowicz (HOU) vs JAX||Charles Clay (BUF) vs CLE||Dennis Pitta (BAL) vs PHI|
|Travis Kelce (KC) vs TEN||Zach Ertz (PHI) @ BAL||Delanie Walker (TEN) @ KC|
|Tyler Eifert (CIN) vs PIT||Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs IND||Jermaine Gresham (ARI) vs NO|
|Antonio Gates (SD) vs OAK||Ladarius Green (PIT) @ CIN||Austin Hooper (ATL) vs SF|
|Jordan Reed (WSH) vs CAR||Cameron Brate (TB) @ DAL||A.J. Derby (DEN) vs NE|
|Martellus Bennett (NE) @ DEN||Greg Olsen (CAR) @ WSH|
– Travis Kelce is playing like the best fantasy TE in football right now; 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. I probably wouldn’t pay up for any other TE, although I suppose you could make a case for Tyler Eifert. He’s clearly the top weapon on CIN right now and PIT plays poorly on the road. OK, yes, I could talk myself into Eifert pretty easily. Martellus Bennett came to life on Monday night, and Tom Brady is not going to stop throwing completely just because Denver has a great pass defense. If anyone knows how to scheme against a good defense it’s Bill Belichick and I have a hunch that, along with LeGarrette Blount, Bennett is going to be a big part of the Patriots’ offense in Week 15.
– 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’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. 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 Austin Hooper and A.J. Derby intrigue 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.
|Public Plays||Expert Plays||HuLo Plays|
|Houston Texans vs JAX||Baltimore Ravens vs PHI||Green Bay Packers @ CHI|
|Buffalo Bills vs CLE||Kansas City Chiefs vs TEN||New York Giants vs DET|
|Atlanta Falcons vs SF||Minnesota Vikings vs IND||Arizona Cardinals vs NO|
|Denver Broncos vs NE|
|Washington Redskins vs CAR|
– 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. As it happens, the Bills and Texans 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. Given the choice, I prefer Houston. 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.
– 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 QBs 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 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; they are going to get exposed in New Jersey by a ferocious Giants’ D. 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. 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. Green Bay is the team nobody in the NFC wants to see get hot. Too late. They are going to crush the Bears this weekend; the defense will be a big part of that.
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.