DraftKings Week 15: This is Russell Wilson Country

Russell Wilson vs Vikings

The hottest quarterback in the league over the past month has undoubtedly been Russell Wilson. Including week 11 against San Francisco, he’s notched 25, 38, 34, and 32 DK points. During that stretch, he has accumulated 16 touchdowns to zero interceptions, and has not had a completion rate under 70%. Plain and simple, as of late the fantasy football landscape has indeed been “Russell Wilson country”.

Unfortunately, with the drastic increase in production has also come a drastic increase in price. At the start of his torrid pace he was a meager $5,900, and has ballooned all the way up to $7,000 – the fifth highest priced quarterback on the slate. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from riding the hot hand yet again, as the Seahawks will get a visit from the Cleveland Browns, aka the 28th ranked pass defense per DVOA, this Sunday.

The blowout concern will be present, and certainly Vegas thinks this one will get out of hand with a Seattle being a 14-point favorite, but consider this: Seattle has blown out it’s last two opponents, Minnesota and Baltimore (both on the road, by the way), and it’s because of Wilson (okay, and Doug Baldwin) that they’ve cruised to easy victories. Don’t let the threat of a blowout scare you off good plays, and Wilson, my friends, is a good play.

Let’s check out some other good plays…

Quarterback

Cash

Carson Palmer/$7,000 @ Philadelphia

Palmer, Brady, Newton, and Rodgers are all within $800 of each other this week. And while each are solid plays in their own right, Palmer’s matchup with Philadelphia stands out, in particular, because of the projected 50-point over/under in a prime time game this Sunday night. The Cardinals are favorited by only three points, which leads us to believe this game should stay relatively close, causing the Cardinals to keep their foot on the gas. Palmer has eight 300-yard games this season, and has thrown multiple touchdowns in 10 of 13 games. The Eagles are terrible in coverage on the outside, and the Cardinals counter with arguably the deepest receiving core in the league.

Matthew Stafford/$6,100 @ New Orleans

This matchup on Monday night also has a 50-point over/under, and also projects to be a tight one with New Orleans only a two and half-point favorite. This one doesn’t require much thought, as the Saints are dead last in basically every passing defensive metric and have been surrendering huge games to opposing quarterbacks. My only pause in rolling Stafford out in this one is his inconsistency and penchant for turnovers, but even an interception or two shouldn’t damper his outlook too much, one in which he could easily post a 30 burger.

Alex Smith/$5,100 @ Baltimore

The Kansas City passing attack will never feature much volume, but fortunately efficiency > volume when it comes to fantasy football quarterbacks. And if Alex Smith is anything, he’s efficient. He gets an excellent matchup this week with Baltimore, who funnel action towards the passing game. It probably won’t be sexy, but it should be a fairly easy 15-20 points in your cash games.

Other Considerations: Drew Brees/$6,600 vs. Detroit, Blake Bortles/$6,100 vs. Atlanta, Tyrod Talyor/$5,600 @ Washington

GPP

Ben Roethlisberger/$6,400 vs. Denver

The matchup with Denver, the league’s best defense, and the tiny, little red “1st” next to Big Ben’s name is sure to scare off plenty of people this week, making him the perfect tournament play. Denver’s secondary is the best for a reason, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to hold down Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant for the whole game. Don’t expect a world beater, but if you zig when everyone else zags and Roethlisberger goes off for 30 points, you could be finding yourself near the top of some GPP’s.

Running Back

Cash

Adrian Peterson/$7,100 vs. Chicago

Peterson has had two subpar games in a row and could actually make for a nice bounce back GPP play, but the matchup against Chicago – the last ranked team against the run per DVOA – makes him a very safe cash play, too. Minnesota has dropped two in a row and badly need to win this game to keep pace with Green Bay in the division, so it’s likely they’ll stick with the formula that has got them to where they are – and that’s pounding the rock with best running back in the game.

LeSean Mccoy/$6,300 @ Washington

Mccoy, though his final tally of 14.9 DK points wasn’t horrible, still let the fantasy community down last week as many of us we’re expecting him to go off against his former team. Buffalo moves on to Washington this week, and while the matchup isn’t as juicy, Mccoy should still enjoy a nice day at the office against the 18th ranked run defense. He hasn’t had less than 20 touches since week 9, and you can’t ignore a running back with type of volume at any price. His involvement in the passing game gives him a fairly safe floor.

Denard Robinson/$4,600 vs. Atlanta

DFS is about finding value and exploiting price tags when the opportunity presents itself. Enter: Denard “Shoelace” Robinson. TJ Yeldon sprained his knee last week against Indianapolis, and Robinson was the direct benefactor of his absence as he received 15 total touches (14 carries), in a game that wasn’t all that close. Yeldon is expected to be sidelined for a while, and Robinson should continue to see a similar workload against Atlanta this week in a game with a surprisingly high over/under of 47 points.

Other Considerations: David Johnson/$5,700 @ Philadelphia (assuming Ellington is still out), Tim Hightower/$3,900 vs. Detroit

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GPP

Jeremy Hill/$5,000 @ San Francisco 

With Andy Dalton sidelined for at least a few weeks, I expect the Bengals coaching staff to dial down the offense for AJ McCarron. That means several things for their offense, but namely slowing the game down by running the ball more. A lot more. Over the past couple of weeks (save last week against Pittsburgh), we’ve started to see glimpses of the Jeremy Hill of the second half of last season, and that could be exactly what the Bengals need as they try and put the ship on cruise control until Dalton comes back.

Wide Receiver

Cash

Julio Jones/$8,500 @ Jacksonville

Because of his rather pedestrian production over the last three games, I’m on board with Jones as an excellent play across all formats as his matchup should make him safe for cash games, and your’e likely to get him at low ownership in tournaments, too. Jacksonville has been giving up some huge games to opposing wide receivers, and actually ranks 24th in DVOA to opposing number one’s. Jones is due for some positive regression, and it should come this week.

Demaryius Thomas/$6,800 @ Pittsburgh

There aren’t many times, even with Brock Osweilier at the helm, where Denver will be underdogs. But this week at Pittsburgh, they are. The Steelers are six-point home favorites in a game with a respectable over/under of 45 points, meaning Denver, even with their great defense, will need to score points to keep pace with the vaunted Pittsburgh offense. Thomas has hands down been Osweiler’s favorite target, and should have his way with a poor Steeler secondary.

Doug Baldwin/$5,800 vs. Cleveland

I started off this article singing Wilson’s praises, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his PIC, Doug Baldwin. The pair have combined for eight touchdowns over the past three games, and have won a lot of money for those wise enough to roster them. At some point, there will be some regression but I’m not sure it comes this week against Cleveland. I doubt we’ll see another two or three touchdowns, but at just $5,800 we only need about 18 points for him to pay off his salary.

GPP

Odell Beckham Jr./$9,200 vs. Carolina

This will be the matchup on everyone’s lips as we get closer to Sunday: the unstoppable force of OBJ, meets the immovable object of Josh Norman. Who will give? I don’t have the answer, but I do know you’ll likely get OBJ at very low ownership in tournaments. If you have the stones, that is. If he truly is unstoppable and Norman can’t contain him, you could find yourself sky rocketed to the top of your tournaments.

Tight End

Cash

Rob Gronkowski/$7,700 vs. Tennesse

The tight end position is a bit of a wasteland this week, which means it could be a great week to pay up for Gronk. Yes, the price tag is always going to be high, but he proved last week that he’s fully back from his knee injury, and is facing the 26th ranked team in DVOA against the tight end position.

Gary Barnidge/$5,000 @ Seattle

The Browns offense is limited in what it can do in just about every game. This week against Seattle, they will be extremely limited as Sherman and Co. will lock down the outside, forcing Johnny Manziel to look toward the middle of the field. On paper, the Seattle defense looks intimidating, but they’re actually quite vulnerable against the tight end position, ranking 28th in DVOA. Barnidge should see around 8-10 targets, and only needs 15 points to pay off his tag.

GPP

Richard Rodgers/$4,300

Rodgers is always a GPP-only play for me due to his lack of volume, but he’s always a viable one due to his presence in the red zone. He has touchdowns in back to back games, and has seven total on the year. Oh yeah, he’s facing Oakland who have allowed opposing tight ends to score in every game but three this year.

Defense

Seattle/$4,600 vs. Cleveland

For the second week in a row, Seattle will likely be the chalk play at defense – and for good reason; they’re 14-point home favorites against one of the the league’s worst offenses. No need to overthink this one.

Minnesota/$2,500 vs. Chicago

Minnesota isn’t the sexy name like Seattle, but they are a very solid unit and are also home favorites in a game with a very low projected total of 43 points. They have and excellent front seven, and could easily force Jay Cutler into a couple turnovers.

 

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