Week 15 FanDuel Top Shelf & Bargain Bin Plays

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Surprise Surprise Week 14 was yet another week full of injuries and none bigger than Thomas Rawls for the Seattle Seahawks. Rawls broke his ankle in the 1st quarter against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s very unfortunate since Rawls has been the best undrafted free agent running back to emerge since Arian Foster back in 2009. He finishes the season with 147 carries for 830 yards and five total touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how this loss effects Russell Wilson moving forward.

The next crushing blow was Andy Dalton fracturing his thumb while making a tackle after throwing a pick. It was a freak injury and one that will drastically hurt the Cincinnati Bengals chances of making a Super Bowl run. In other injury news rookie T.J. Yeldon sustained a MCL sprain and breakout tight end of the year Tyler Eifert suffered yet another concussion. Make no mistake these injuries will hurt their respective teams but also create new opportunities for some value plays in DFS. Without further ado here are my Week 15 FanDuel Top Shelf & Bargain Bin Plays. Good luck to everyone in their cash and GPP games and go out there and win some money!

Top Shelf Picks

Quarterback

Cam Newton- Carolina Panthers $9400

at New York Giants

In Week 15 the Carolina Panthers look to continue their magical run at an undefeated season inspiring stories of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Led by Superman himself, aka Cam Newton the Panthers are one of the most balanced teams in the NFL. I expect to see plenty of dancing this week from Cam in the end zone against a New York Giants defense that ranks 25th in pass DVOA on Football Outsiders. I expect Cam to run more with Jonathan Stewart on the shelf and take on a larger role in the red zone by utilizing his dual-threat ability. This matchup has the 2nd highest over/under for the main slate of games at 48 points. Cam Newton may be a chalk play but he’s also a must-play in cash games given his high floor and ceiling.

Carson Palmer- Arizona Cardinals $8700

at Philadelphia Eagles (SNF)

Carson Palmer gets his 2nd Primetime matchup in a row in South Philly on Sunday night versus the Eagles. Chip Kelly and company are riding high on a two-game winning streak but the Cardinals are a tough draw with a high-powered offense engineered by Carson Palmer. Palmer has been on cruise control lately and has passed for multiple touchdowns in six of his last seven games. The Eagles pass defense has been dreadful of late giving up 19 scores through the air over their last six games. It’s no secret that Eric Rowe and Byron Maxwell are two of the worst cover corners in the NFL. The rankings back up this claim ranked 54th and 70th, respectively, out of 113 qualified corners by PFF this season. Palmer will have no problem shredding the Eagles secondary by utilizing his top weapons Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and John Brown. It would be smart to stack these players to maximize exposure to a game that projects to be a high scoring affair. Vegas currently has this Primetime matchup over/under set at 51 points.

Other possible Top Shelf options in cash: Tom Brady $9500, Aaron Rodgers $9000, and Russell Wilson $8800.

Bargain Bin Plays

Blake Bortles- Jacksonville Jaguars $7900

vs Atlanta Falcons

Blake Bortles has been on a roll of late. He has thrown nine total touchdowns over the last two weeks and now has a healthy Allen Hurns back in the fold. Bortles is playing extremely efficient football, he’s now up to 15 total touchdowns and only three interceptions in his last five contests. He’s responsible for leading a top-10 scoring offense (25.1 points per game) with a trio of touchdown machines (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas have 25 scores between them). Bortles should stay hot against a Falcons group that was just shredded by Cam Newton. The Atlanta Falcons rank 24th in pass DVOA on Football Outsiders making Bortles a very strong play in your cash and GPP lineups. Playing Bortles also offers you plenty of stacking options with the aforementioned Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, and Julius Thomas.

Alex Smith- Kansas City Chiefs $7000

at Baltimore Ravens

Captain Checkdown as he is referred to by many is typically hard to trust in fantasy circles. However over the past three weeks Smith has thrown five touchdowns adding another score on the ground. He continues to be an asset as a runner, with over 30 yards on the ground in five of the last six games, including a 78-yard performance against Detroit in Week 8. I’m more optimistic about Smith in Week 15 since the Chiefs travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens who just surrendered five touchdowns to Russell Wilson this past Sunday. The Ravens currently rank 30th in pass DVOA on Football Outsiders making this a matchup to exploit in DFS. Smith has developed great chemistry with Jeremy Maclin and also has a nice big target in Travis Kelce, aka “Fake Gronk”.

Top Shelf Picks

Running Back

Adrian Peterson- Minnesota Vikings $8600

vs Chicago Bears

I’ll start by stating that everyone knows that Adrian Peterson owns the Chicago Bears. He’s historically had his best games versus the Bears. In five games versus the Bears since 2012 Peterson has rushed for 676 yards total (135 yds. per game) and has at least 100 rushing yards in all of those games. In a year where top-tier running backs have gone down with injuries at an alarming rate, Peterson has managed to stay healthy and consistently produce RB1 numbers. Norv Turner isn’t going to reinvent the wheel and will stick to his run-heavy gameplan against a Bears defense that ranks 32nd in rush DVOA on Football Outsiders. In a week were there are very few top-tier backs you can trust AP is a slam dunk option if you’re paying up at the position.

Lamar Miller- Miami Dolphins $6700

at San Diego Chargers

I’m going to give it to you straight and tell you that I really don’t like the top-tier options at running back this week not named Adrian Peterson. I had to drop down quite a bit in salary before I found a running back option that I consider a viable Top Shelf play. Lamar Miller is that guy this week and does come with some risk due to questions about the Dolphins commitment to the running game. I’m not worried about that since I believe the Dolphins offense should be able to contain a struggling Chargers offense that has been decimated by injuries. In addition Miller has been great in the Dolphins last two games. Over that timespan Miller has 32 carries for 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Facing a Chargers defense that ranks 31st in rush DVOA is a recipe for success which Miller should be able to parlay into a top-10 finish at the running back position in Week 15. Let me also remind everyone that the Chargers have allowed 4.8 yards per rush this season, second worst in the NFL. I like Miller a lot this week and prefer him over higher-priced options like Devonta Freeman, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, and Eddie Lacy.

Bargain Bin Plays

David Johnson- Arizona Cardinals $6500

at Philadelphia Eagles (SNF)

This is a week that I’m fine with fading all the higher-priced running backs and instead playing the mid-tier and bargain bin options. At the top of the list for me is David Johnson and I absolutely love him this week. Johnson performed well in his second career start last Thursday night. He finished the Primetime matchup versus the Vikings with 19 carries for 92 yards and five receptions for 31 yards. He was held out of the end zone but fell victim to some bad luck. Palmer airmailed a short pass to Johnson at the goal line in the first quarter which he was unable to corral for a score. He also barely missed scoring again late in the game when he was tripped up at the two-yard line after a 24-yard scamper. Had he scored these two touchdowns we would be talking about the top scoring fantasy back in Week 14. This week Johnson gets another Primetime matchup in South Philly versus the Eagles. He’s locked in as the Cardinals feature back with Andre Ellington out with turf toe. I expect another heavy dose of Johnson on the ground and through the air where he’s always a threat to take a screen pass to the house. He’s a must-play in my book given the high-volume and big-play ability to his game.

Denard Robinson- Jacksonville Jaguars $6300

Denard  Robinson

(USATSI)

vs Atlanta Falcons

Shoelace was the hottest pickup of the week in season-long leagues with the news that T.J. Yeldon suffered a MCL sprain this past week. I’d compare Denard Robinson to David Johnson in terms of skill-set and opportunity. Similar to David Johnson Robinson has some serious juice in the open field and is a very good pass-catching option out of the backfield. He proved himself last year in Jacksonville when his number was called and had a four-game stretch that he rushed for over 94 yards in three of those contests, while scoring four touchdowns.

Last week after T.J. Yeldon left the game Shoelace dominated snaps and finished the game with 14 carries for 75 yards and a score. The Jaguars have very little depth at the running back position outside of Joe Banyard and Jonas Gray who they just signed off the street. Robinson will be locked in as a high-volume back this week versus a Charmin-soft Falcons rush defense. The Falcons rush defense ranks 24th overall on Football Outsiders and they have given up the 2nd-most rushing scores this year with 17 total. Robinson is safe to employ in your cash and GPP lineups and could easily finish as the top scoring fantasy running back in Week 15.

Charcandrick West- Kansas City Chiefs $5900

at Baltimore Ravens

We talk about opportunity and salary all the time when it comes to players to target in DFS and West fits the bill perfectly in Week 15. West flashed earlier in the season after the season-ending injury to stud franchise running back Jamaal Charles. West had a three-game stretch against the Steelers, Lions, and Broncos in which he dominated snaps and scored four touchdowns over those contests. He also had over 400 all-purpose yards over that time span. Circling back to the opportunity that is knocking on the door for West, Spencer Ware is doubtful to play in Week 15 after sustaining bruised ribs last weekend. Ware hasn’t practiced all week and it was reported that his ribs were bruised, swollen, and in pain. It’s pretty simple in this case, if Ware is out West resumes his lead-back role with little competition behind him for touches.  Due to his versatile skill-set West is the perfect fit for Andy Reid’s system and his system is built around his starting running back. The cherry on top for me is West’s current FanDuel salary of $5900. On FanDuel as your second running back West offers a lot of flexibility in terms of roster construction. West may be a risky play in your cash games, it’s a risk that could pay off bigtime.

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Top Shelf Picks

Wide Receiver

Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants $9100

vs Carolina Panthers

OBJ is the hottest wide receiver in football and arguably the most talented player at the position. Similar to the running back positon this week, I’m fading the majority of the top-tier wide outs this week. Antonio Brown has one of the toughest machups on paper versus the Broncos who’ve only allowed two touchdowns all year to opposing wide receivers. Julio Jones is suffering from quarterback woes in the form of Matt Ryan and an offensive line that is partly to blame with poor play of late. DeAndre Hopkins has been very inconsistent of late and has gone almost a month without recording a 100-yard receiving game. That leaves OBJ at the top of my list and let me remind everyone that he’s recorded six games in a row with at least 100 yards receiving and scored eight touchdowns over that time span. As for the Josh Norman effect I’m not as concerned as most people since the Giants will move OBJ to the slot enough to allow him some freedom away from Norman. I do prefer OBJ more as a GPP play this week since his ownership level will be suppressed by his date with Josh Norman.

Calvin Johnson- Detroit Lions $8000

at New Orleans Saints (MNF)

For those of one who played Megatron last week I feel for you. Johnson was in danger of finishing the first game in his career without a reception before hauling in a short pass for five yards late in the fourth quarter. Megatron was only targeted five times by Stafford in last week’s game versus the Rams which was his lowest total since Week 1. I’m willing to give him a Mulligan for last week’s performance and instead focus on the positives. This week Calvin gets a juicy Primetime matchup with the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The Saints own the NFL’s worst pass defense which Football Outsiders backs up with their 32nd overall ranking. They’ve also allowed an NFL-worst 36 receiving touchdowns and you can expect that number to reach close to 40 by the end of Mondays night’s game. It’s also worth noting that the Saints-Lions over/under is currently set at 51 points. This game is indoors in the Superdome and figures to be a shootout which makes Megatron an even more attractive option.

Other possible Top Shelf options in cash: Brandon Marshall $8500, A.J. Green $8700, and Allen Robinson $8100.

Bargain Bin Plays

Jeremy Maclin- Kansas City Chiefs $6700

at Baltimore Ravens

The Mac attack is back baby! I was ready to write his obituary this off-season after signing with the vertically challenged Kansas City Chiefs. Well it took a while but Maclin is firing on all cylinders right now. Over the Chiefs past three games Maclin has been a target hog registering 30 targets. He’s managed to haul in 24 of those targets for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Believe it or not Maclin is 23rd in the league in targets per game (8.50) and 20th in fantasy points per game among wideouts this season. It’s time to take Maclin for real and he has to be licking his chops for his Week 15 matchup versus the Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this season, setting up Maclin as a strong cash and GPP play. I’d recommend stacking Alex Smith and Maclin for a very affordable combined cost of $13,700 on FanDuel.

Ted Ginn Jr. – Carolina Panthers $6600

at New York Giants

Tedd Ginn Jr. is red-hot and over his past two games has seven receptions for 200 yards and four touchdowns. The former Ohio State alum has track speed and outside of Greg Olsen is Newton’s preferred target in the passing game. Speaking of speed Ginn was clocked at 22.44 mph near the end of his 74-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter of Sunday’s 38-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. For the record it was the fastest foot speed turned in on an offensive play all season, according to the NFL Network. Ginn should have no trouble producing against a beat up Giants secondary that ranks 25th in pass defense DVOA on Football Outsiders. I’d like to refer to Tedd Ginn Jr. as a poor man’s Doug Baldwin with elite speed. While they say not to chase points in DFS I’d rather arrive late to the party than not show up at all. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better value at wide receiver than Ginn at his current FanDuel salary of $6600.

Top Shelf Pick

Tight End

Gary Barnidge- Cleveland Browns $6400

at Seattle Seahawks

Gary Barnkowski continues to build on his breakout season. Believe it or not Barnidge has quietly scored eight touchdowns on the season and is second in scoring at tight end behind just Rob Gronkowski. There was a lot of concern that the Browns change at quarterback from Josh McCown to Johnny Manziel would negatively affect Barnidge. Actually on the contrary Johnny Football has leaned on Barnidge and targeted him at least eight times a game over his last three starts. This week’s matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks on the road looks like a tough one on paper but let’s dig deeper here. The Seahawks are vulnerable over the middle and have allowed the seventh-most points to the tight end position this year, having allowed seven scores. Also take into consideration that the Browns will most likely be chasing points in this game meaning a lot of pass attempts for Manziel and targets for Barnidge. This week you can trust Barnidge as a Top Shelf play in your cash and GPP games.

Bargain Bin Play

Richard Rodgers- Green Bay Packers $5500

at Oakland Raiders

The Rodgers to Rodgers connection has taken flight over the past few weeks. We all witnessed what happened a couple of weeks ago in Detroit and it appears that it wasn’t a fluke. Rodgers has scored in back-to-back games and has five touchdowns over his past six games. Rodgers comes with some baked in risk but what tight end out there doesn’t besides Gronk, Olsen, and Barnidge? Rodgers targets have been sporadic but as long as he’s getting targets in the red zone he’s in play. This week he has a great matchup versus a Oakland Raiders defense that has struggled containing opposing tight ends. If you’re looking for salary relief at the tight end position Rodgers makes a ton of sense at his current FanDuel salary of $5500.

Defenses To Target

Kansas City Chiefs $5200

at Baltimore Ravens

Jacksonville Jaguars $4400

vs Atlanta Falcons

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