DraftKings NFL: Week 15 Picks
DraftKings NFL: Week 15 Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

Saturday games have entered the mix, knocking two more games from Sunday's Main Slate for Week 15. The Chargers-Chiefs (Thursday), Texans-Jets (Saturday), Browns-Broncos (Saturday), Eagles-Rams (Sunday Night) and Saints-Panthers (Monday Night) games are out of the equation, unless you're playing an alternative slate, or angling for single-game contests.

Fortunately, the early forecasts suggest that weather doesn't appear to be a major issue for any of the 11 games on the Main Slate.

Here's a quick rundown of the Implied Totals based on the point spread and over/under total for each of the Main Slate matchups:

The Ravens announced Lamar Jackson will start at a quarterback against Tampa Bay on Sunday, even with Joe Flacco (hip) now healthy enough to play. The Ravens own one of the highest Implied Totals on the board (27) with a home matchup against Tampa Bay, though it should be noted that the Bucs' defense has been much better overall since firing former defensive coordinator Mike Smith after Week 6. The schedule has included a few favorable matchups during that span (Bengals, Redskins, Giants, Niners), but they held Cam Newton to 21.18 and 22.30 in two meetings, and limited Drew Brees to 15.34 points last week (24-for-31, 201 yards, one TD). The Tampa Bay defense has allowed 28.9 DK points per game to running backs during that same period, however, which could make Jackson a particular tough matchup for them in Week 15.

Expect ownership rates on the Patriots-Steelers matchup to be inflated with so many high-powered offenses missing, and with the spread being tight for a game with the highest over/under on the slate by a decent margin.

To make things even more tricky (and chalky for Pats and Steelers), two struggling offenses – the Falcons and Vikings – are in the top five for Implied Totals this week thanks to good matchups at home. It certainly seems like the pool of viable cash-game plays is smaller than usual, and the door appears to be wide open for utterly dumb things to make somebody a millionaire in Week 15.

QUARTERBACK

Cash

Tom Brady, NE at PIT ($5,900): Brady nearly dropped 30 DraftKings points in the Pats' loss to Miami last week, thanks to a high volume of attempts (43) and his first three-TD effort since Week 7 against Chicago. As noted above, the Patriots-Steelers matchup will generate some of the most heavily owned players on the board in Week 15, and the uncertainty about the health of Ben Roethlisberger's ribs paired with a $700 discount on Brady is enough to make him my preferred cash-game quarterback this week. While the Steelers' pass defense has been efficient this season (7.2 YPA), a 25:6 TD:INT leaves Brady with a soft landing spot on the road for the second straight week.

Also Consider: Matt Ryan, ATL vs. ARI ($6,100), Roethlisberger *If healthy* ($6,600)

GPP

Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. MIA ($6,200): Cousins looked terrible Monday in Seattle, and he looked bad against the Patriots in Week 13 as well. For the season, he's sitting with a mediocre 7.1 YPA, despite having two of the top-10 receivers in the league at his disposal with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after Monday's loss, and their season hangs in the balance as they return home to face a Miami defense yielding 8.1 yards per attempt to defense this season. Per Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, Dolphins top cornerback Xavien Howard had arthroscopic surgery to trim a meniscus injury in his knee, so his status for Sunday is in question after he missed the Week 14 matchup with the Patriots. Even with Howard, the Dolphins have been beatable through the air this season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing passers through 13 games.

Also Consider: Dak Prescott, DAL at IND ($5,500), Aaron Rodgers, GB at CHI ($5,700)

The Cowboys are on the road against an up-tempo offense that should be good enough to put a reasonable number of points on the board, putting Prescott within reach of 35 pass attempts.

A low-owned Rodgers against anybody is dangerous, and only Brock Osweiler (?!) has outscored Rodgers' Week 1 performance against the Bears this season. It's a contrarian, big-field tournament dart worth throwing if you have the ability to create several lineups this week.

RUNNING BACK

Cash

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL at IND ($9,000): If enough value opens up over the course of the week, building with Zeke and Saquon Barkley might be the most frequently used cash-game combination this week with several top running backs peeled away from the Main Slate, but if you're only using one, the $400 discount on Elliott is worth taking. The RotoWire weekly projections have both players with 23-plus DraftKings points, while the next closest running back on the main slate is Leonard Fournette at 16.1 points for $7,500. Elliott is matchup proof, and the Colts are a middle-of-the-pack run defense in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs despite a sub-4.0 YPC mark.

Joe Mixon, CIN vs OAK ($6,100):
The Bengals' offense without A.J. Green has significantly more downside, but at home, against a very weak Oakland defense that has allowed 4.98 YPC this season, Mixon should be a solid cash-game option at this price – which matches his lowest mark of the season (Week 1 against the Colts). He averages nearly 20 touches per game, and that's unlikely to change with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel under center the rest of the way. Moreover, Mixon is averaging 4.8 YPC thanks in part of seven caries of 20-plus yards (180 attempts) in his second NFL season, and he's still held a steady role in the Cincinnati passing game as well, stabilizing his floor in the unlikely event that the Raiders open up a significant lead on the road Sunday.

Also consider (listed in order of price): Saquon Barkley, NYG vs. TEN ($9,400), Jaylen Samuels, PIT vs. NE ($5,200) **check James Conner's status**, Jeff Wilson, SF vs. SEA ($4,600) **check Matt Brieda's status**

GPP

Leonard Fournette, JAC vs. WAS ($7,500): The price on Fournette puts him in no-man's land on this slate, but his opportunity for a huge workload against a deteriorating Washington run defense should be accompanied by very limited interest. Over the last six games, the Redskins have allowed 5.38 YPC and 293 receiving yards to opposing running backs, ranking as the third-worst in terms of fantasy points allowed to the position (31.0 FPPG) during that span. In last Thursday's blowout loss to Tennessee, Fournette turned 16 touches into a meager 41 yards from scrimmage, snapping a stretch of three straight games with at least 22 DraftKings points (including an early exit due to an ejection against the Bills).

Dalvin Cook, MIN vs. MIA ($6,500):
Cook, like Fournette, won't be low-owned this week, but both should be owned considerably fewer lineups than the chalky cash-game plays listed above. Don't sweat it, since there will be opportunities to get differentiation in your lineup builds at wide receiver. Cook's matchup against Miami is a good one at this price even if his workload doesn't spike in Week 15. While his 17 targets over the last two games were largely the result of the Minnesota offense having to play catch-up, Cook is dangerous in space and might be situated with a 3-4 target floor even if the Vikings are winning throughout Sunday's game. The Dolphins have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season (27.5 FPPG).

Also Consider: David Johnson, ARI at ATL ($7,100), Sony Michel, NE at PIT ($5,400), Derrick Henry, TEN at NYG ($5,000)

WIDE RECEIVER

Cash

T.Y. Hilton, IND vs. DAL ($6,800): Hilton missed the first two practices of the week due to an ankle injury, but assuming he's deemed fit to play Sunday against Dallas, he's one of the best cash-game options on the board at receiver this week as he enters Week 15 having four straight games with nine or more targets. During that span, he's managed to pull in 33 catches for 556 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and while the Cowboys' defense presents another difficult matchup, another target share of 25-plus percent should lead to another big day for Hilton at an affordable price.

Julian Edelman, NE at PIT ($7,200):
It will likely be difficult to pay up for an elite running back and to find room for either of the Steelers' receivers in cash games, which makes paying down for Edelman a particularly easy choice given the aforementioned shootout potential in this matchup. Since returning from his four-game suspension in Week 5 against the Colts, it's been a pretty typical Edelman output, as he's averaged 9.0 targets and 6.2 receptions per game while holding a target share of at least 20 percent in all but one game this season. With the expected game script, Edelman should reach double-digit targets for the fifth time in his last seven games Sunday.

Also Consider: JuJu Smith-Schuster ($8,000), PIT vs. NE, Kenny Golladay, DET at BUF ($5,400) and Allen Robinson, CHI vs. GB ($5,500)

GPP

Davante Adams, GB at CHI ($7,900): Maybe you're not interested in committing to any quarterback against the current iteration of the Bears' defense. Regardless of whether you are intrigued by Aaron Rodgers as a contrarian GPP play, Adams should be on your radar for tournaments this week. He turned eight targets into five catches for 88 yards and a TD during the Packers' meeting with the Bears in the season opener, and Adams have tallied at least 16 DraftKings points in every game this season. For the season, Adams is averaging a career-high 8.7 yards per target, while carrying a 28.8 percent target share in the Green Bay offense. Adams, with Rodgers, is on the short list of high-end receivers worth paying up for against Chicago.

Tyler Lockett, SEA at SF ($6,200):
Regardless of whether Doug Baldwin plays, Lockett is on the tournament radar again this week despite a season-high price tag. He salvaged a potential disaster showing two weeks ago against San Francisco by pulling in a 52-yard touchdown for his only reception in a 43-16 blowout win, and his big-play ability (12.4 YPT!, 12 catches of 20-plus yards) has enabled him to rack up a ton of fantasy points on a team that seemingly wants to be a conservative, run-heavy offense. The Seahawks are a five-point road favorite, which should push Russell Wilson to throw 26-28 passes against one of the league's softest pass defenses, where Richard Sherman's 94.3 QB rating against ranks as the best among the San Francisco corners.

Also Consider: Adam Thielen, MIN vs. MIA ($8,600), Josh Gordon, NE at PIT ($6,400), Calvin Ridley, ATL vs. ARI ($5,000), and Taylor Gabriel, CHI vs. GB ($4,200)

Hail Mary: Michael Gallup, DAL at IND ($3,600):
Plenty of attention will be paid to Amari Cooper, and for good reason. He's been great since the mid-season trade to Dallas. Over the last four weeks, Gallup has finished with 9, 7, 6 and 5 targets, but he's been unable to turn those opportunities into meaningful production. Gallup has had separation for potential long TDs on at least two occasions in the last four games, only to be slightly overthrown by Dak Prescott.

TIGHT END

Cash

Eric Ebron, IND v. DAL ($5,900) or Rob Gronkowski, NE at PIT ($5,800): If you're using Hilton and Edelman, going somewhere else at tight end makes sense. Otherwise, these are the two best options for cash-game lineups since Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce are not on the main slate. Ebron's heavy increase in opportunities in the absence of Jack Doyle is well documented. Prior to missing a potential game-saving tackle in Miami in Week 14, Gronk put up his best line of the season while matching his season-high in targets. I'd give the slight edge to Ebron if everything else is equal, since Andrew Luck has fewer alternatives to turn to in the red zone than Tom Brady possess at the present time.

If you are using Hilton and Edelman and want to limit exposure to each team's group of pass catchers, Jared Cook ($5,600) against the Bengals is my preferred cash-game pivot, as paying up for George Kittle ($6,300) may prove to be an issue.

GPP

Vernon Davis, WAS at JAC ($3,200): Jordan Reed (toe/ankle) is doubtful to play Sunday, and while it's a potentially ugly situation with Josh Johnson at quarterback, the Washington offense might actually have a pulse with Johnson at the helm after being completely useless with Mark Sanchez under center to start Week 14. Consolidating the opportunities that typically go to Reed with Davis' typical part-time workload could lead to a significant bump in targets (6-plus), and as Davis showed on Thanksgiving Day against Dallas, he still offers some big-play ability if he gets into the open field.

Also Consider: Vance McDonald, PIT vs. NE ($3,900), C.J. Uzomah, CIN vs. OAK ($3,600)

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Falcons vs. ARI ($2,700): Cash permitting, I'm happy to use the Ravens ($3,000) at home against Jameis Winston at the Bucs, since there is plenty of sack and turnover potential in that matchup, but the extra $300 might not be available in the budget this week. The Falcons are home against a rookie quarterback (Josh Rosen) playing behind a patchwork offensive line. The return of Deion Jones in Week 13 provided a much-needed lift to the Atlanta defense, and the Falcons generated steady pressure while creating a few interception opportunities (they were dropped) against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on the road last week.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Derek VanRiper plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: RotoWireDVR, DraftKings: BentleysChair, Yahoo: d.vanriper,.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek VanRiper
Derek is the Director of Media for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).
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