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James Davis

Daily Fantasy Football Cash Game Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings Week 15

Well we don't have any teams on byes this week, but we still have a relatively small main slate thanks to several key teams playing on different slates. We're running low on running back value all of a sudden, but we do have plenty of diamonds in the rough at wide receiver (and even quarterback) to keep you living the running back life of luxury that you've become accustomed to. All in all, it's looking like a good slate to keep our NFL hot streak alive.

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Dak PrescottDak Prescott FD 7300 DK 5500
Opponent IND
Proj Points FD - 18.51 DK - 19.25
We're officially in a world where Dak Prescott just helped people win the largest big tournaments of the week. And he's still incredibly cheap! But a lot of analysts are saying you shouldn't trust a one week sample size, so what do we believe here? Well, I'd argue that we're not actually looking at a one week sample size. Yes, the explosive connection to Cooper did seem to come out of nowhere, and you can't count on 400+ passing yards from Dak (or anyone) in a given week, but there have been signs that he's been a great DFS quarterback on these prices for a while. Dak has quietly returned to 2016 form this season, in spite of having a significantly worse supporting cast for most of it. He's completed 68% of his passes, averaged 7.5 yards per attempt, and is on pace to exceed his career bests in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He scored 26 and 27 fantasy points against the Eagles and Redskins, respectively, and has a similarly cushy match-up with the Colts this week. He's also priced around Josh Allen, Marcus Mariota, and Ryan Tannehill. I'm happy to play Dak anywhere this week.

Ben RoethlisbergerBen Roethlisberger FD 8600 DK 6600
Opponent NE
Proj Points FD - 20.67 DK - 21.54
It's not especially likely that I'll pay up for cash games at QB this week, but enough value presents itself, I think I'd go back to the well with Roethlisberger. Big Ben looked incredibly sharp against Oakland last week, completing 25 of 29 passes for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns. Opposing teams at this point seem to have to decide if they want to shut down Brown or JuJu, but no one has really had any luck in shutting down both, and Roethlisberger has always been excellent at working through his reads until he finds a target he likes. But do we trust him in a harder match-up than he had against the Raiders? I say we do. The Steelers have now lost three absolutely heartbreaking games in a row, and with Conner's status still unknown, it stands to reason that the Steelers will have to turn to the passing attack to keep up with the high flying Pats. It'd be tempting to grab Brady in this spot, but I'm giving Ben the nod thanks to how the Steelers have leaned on the passing game down near the goal line recently. This game has the highest total on the main slate by far, and I think Ben and the Steelers show up at home.

Lamar JacksonLamar Jackson FD 7700 DK 5900
Opponent TB
Proj Points FD - 22.16 DK - 21.53
Jackson has had quite the run of going up against terrible passing defenses. In his first five games as a starter he'll have played Oakland, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and now Tampa Bay. It doesn't get a whole lot cushier than that. For Jackson's purposes, though, the opposing defense hasn't seem to have made much of a difference. He's not a very good passer, and his ability to pass seems to mostly manifest itself as a way to keep opposing defenses honest. Jackson has averaged 17 carries for 83 yards and half a rushing touchdown in his first four starts, or reasonable stats for a running back on these prices. The 6-15 fantasy points he chips in as a passer are almost just a bonus. It hasn't been pretty for him in the passing game so far, but going up against one of the worst passing defenses in all of football gives us a little piece of mind here, and Jackson is viable in all formats.

Also considered: Jameis Winston against Baltimore, just because he's 10% cheaper than people have happily paid for him recently. It's an age old DFS question: What matters more between the price and the match-up? Well, they both matter, and our system thinks Winston could have points per dollar upside even in a tougher match-up than he's seen recently.


Running Back

Ezekiel ElliottEzekiel Elliott FD 8800 DK 9000
Opponent IND
Proj Points FD - 22.54 DK - 25.13

Elliott’s 26.84 touches per game (carries plus receiving targets) are 11% more than the next closest running back (Todd Gurley) and 17% more than number three (James Conner, who’s hurt). This is to say, Elliott sits firmly in his own tier of high volume running backs this season and is coming off his biggest usage game yet (28 carries, 13 targets). The Cowboys are three-point road dogs against the Colts, but Zeke is a game script independent running back who is featured enough in the passing game that even if the Cowboys fall behind early he isn’t a risk to see his usage fall off a cliff. The FanDuel price is a moderate joke and on a shorter main slate Elliott figures to be the overwhelming chalk running back once again. It’s worth mentioning that the Colts are significantly better against the run, but that’s not a big concern considering just how much the Dallas offense is focused around their running back.

Joe MixonJoe Mixon FD 7800 DK 6100
Opponent OAK
Proj Points FD - 18.4 DK - 19.45
Mixon is coming off his highest volume game of the season, a Week 14 loss to the Chargers in which the Bengals’ workhorse carried the ball 26 times and saw six receiving targets. He totaled 138 yards and a touchdown. By the end of the season, Mixon could find himself in the top five of per-game usage running backs considering the Bengals face soft run defenses in two of their remaining three games. He should be able to eat against a Raiders’ team ranked 31st against the run and it says a lot about Oakland that this Cincy team opens as -3 home favorites. Mixon offers high volume upside in the upper-middle tier, a perfect spot for cash games especially on DraftKings where his pass catching ability gives him a higher floor in PPR formats.

Jaylen SamuelsJaylen Samuels FD 5500 DK 5200
Opponent NE
Proj Points FD - 14.22 DK - 16.48
Any concern about a Pittsburgh running back timeshare with James Conner out was put to rest in Week 14 when Samuels outsnapped Stevan Ridley 48-8 in the Steelers’ loss to the Raiders. Samuels didn’t get much going on the ground (11 carries, 28 yards and a TD vultured by Ridley) but was active in the passing game with seven targets and 64 receiving yards. You hate to see Ridley stealing goal line carries, but it’s clear the Steelers want Samuels to be the every-down back with Conner out. If that’s the case, he’s still a bargain at these prices on both sites against the Patriots. The use in the passing game gives him a high floor if the Steelers find themselves behind early. I don’t mind going back to the well on Samuels after a chalky Week 14. Note: James Conner hasn’t been officially ruled out as of Thursday morning, but also hasn’t practiced at all. We will monitor this situation.

Strongly consider Dalvin Cook as a -7 home favorite against the Dolphins. He’s coming very cheap on FanDuel if you think he can garner close to the 20 touches (13 carries, 7 targets) he saw in Week 14. It’s worth noting that he out-snapped Latavius Murray 49-8 in that game.

Wide Receiver

Amari CooperAmari Cooper FD 6600 DK 7500
Opponent IND
Proj Points FD - 15.95 DK - 18.96
Well, we're officially here. Cooper went from looking cooked to looking like the true #1 receiver everyone envisioned he could be in a matter of three weeks. In that time he's caught 26 of the 30 balls thrown his way for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. Awkward for Raiders fans. He's shown the same electric playmaking ability that always had fantasy analysts dreaming, but also demonstrated that he can be efficient if he has a competent quarterback. He's also priced like a mid-tier speculation play on FanDuel. You're playing him there against the Colts this week as a sheer price and opportunity mismatch play. On DraftKings the price is a little scarier, but he's a guy worth making rooom for.

T.Y. HiltonT.Y. Hilton FD 7900 DK 6800
Opponent DAL
Proj Points FD - 16.71 DK - 19.43
I feel like I'm in the twilight zone here. Hilton and Cooper were the punch line of many DFSR articles regarding their efficiency, and both have turned a serious corner recently. While Hilton doesn't have a new quarterback, he is involved in a totally revamped offense approach. Prior to this year he can converted 56% of the balls thrown his way into catches, and this year he's caught 63% of them. The Colts no longer use him as a feast or famine upside option - they're relying on him to move the chains. He's been targeted 35 times in the last three weeks, and his price has barely moved thanks to him unluckily catching no touchdowns. I love him this week in a league average match-up with the Cowboys.

JuJu Smith-SchusterJuJu Smith-Schuster FD 7800 DK 8000
Opponent NE
Proj Points FD - 15.88 DK - 19.13
As much as I love Hilton, it's going to be touch to decide between him and JuJu in the same price range. Matt Freedman wrote a solid article for Fantasy Labs about Antonio Brown falling off a cliff, but at least some of that can be attributed to opposing teams scheming against him. The main benefit for JuJu, of course, is that he's slid nicely into the "who, me?" role that Emmanuel Sanders and Martavis Bryant have benefited from in the past. The Pats are sophisticated enough to understand this, and my suspicion is that they try to make JuJu beat them as well. I don't know that you can count on him for 12 targets and 2 touchdowns, but double-digit targets look like a solid bet, and if Brown's skill set really has deteriorated then we could see the Steelers lean on him even more.

Jordy NelsonJordy Nelson FD 5000 DK 4200
Opponent CIN
Proj Points FD - 10.87 DK - 13.12
With Nelson's knee now fully healthy, he and Carr seem to be very much on the same page. They've connected on 16/18 of the targets thrown Nelson's way in the last two weeks, and both of them just seem relieved to still be making meaningful contributions in the NFL. Perhaps Cooper's exit was a net benefit for Carr. Maybe wide receivers are like motorcycles, and Cooper was just too much bike for Carr to handle. Either way, Jordy seems like an excellent check-down option and chain-mover for the Raiders at this point, and I think there's touchdown upside here as well. He's been running routes all over the field with the Raiders, but a decent amount of those have been out of the slot. The Bengals' slot coverage comes from Darqueze Dennard, and like we said in Keenan Allen's write-up last week, he's been one of the very worst corners in all of football. At the near-minimum price on both sites, he also helps you pay up twice at running back this week. As of this writing he's my favorite low tier wideout.

Also considered: Chris Godwin. He finally saw the increase in targets that we were hoping for, and 10 targets is a ton for a guy who's in the mid $5,000s on FanDuel. He also caught exactly 1 of those targets for 13 yards. He hadn't shown terrible conversion issues in the past, but it's enough to give me pause before including him as an auto-play this week.


Tight End

George KittleGeorge Kittle FD 7400 DK 6300
Opponent SEA
Proj Points FD - 14.81 DK - 17.38

At halftime of Week 14 against the Broncos, Kittle had seven catches for 210 yards and a touchdown. He was four yards away from the all-time record for yards in a game by a tight end. He finished the game with seven catches for 210 yards and a touchdown. I suppose in some ways, the lack of second half production could be seen as a *disappointment*. But still, that line was the nuts just from a half of football. Since Nick Mullens took over under center in Week 9, Kittle is the second-most targeted tight end in football (45) after Travis Kelce (53) and he has the most yards (519), The matchup against the Seahawks isn’t ideal, they rank 8th against tight ends this season. But Kittle is a borderline WR1 type pass-catcher priced for much less.

Eric EbronEric Ebron FD 6500 DK 5900
Opponent DAL
Proj Points FD - 13.31 DK - 16.07

Pat Thorman from Pro Football Focus had a great tweet yesterday which sums up, in some ways, just how amazing Eric Ebron has been:

“Six tight ends have accumulated at least 2700 yards and 23 TDs by the end of their age-25 season.

Hall of Famers Mike Ditka, John Mackey, and Kellen Winslow.

Future Hall of Famers Rob Gronkowski and Tony Gonzalez.

And Eric Ebron.”

Since Jack Doyle went down for the season three weeks ago, Ebron leads the league in tight end targets (31), and touchdowns (3). He’ll now face a Dallas team ranked below average against the tight end and should once again see heavy target share in the offense. He and Kittle are the same price on DraftKings, making them a coin flip there, but I’ll take the nearly $1K savings for Ebron on FanDuel all day.


This week in defense

We won the defense lottery last week by grabbing the Giants against hall of shamer Mark Sanchez, and the trend of playing cheap defenses in great match-ups continued to be profitable.

This week doesn't look quite so straightforward.

Leading the pack for us on FanDuel right now is the mid-range option Minnesota Vikings. The teams with truly elite match-ups (the Jags, the Bills, and the Falcons) are all considerably more expensive, and the 18 point implied total that Vegas has for the Dolphins is an excellent one to grab an opposing defense into.

On DraftKings you have some nice cheap options to pick from. The Buffalo Bills are just $2,800 in an elite match-up with Stafford and the Lions. If you can stomach $600 more you can get the Jags against the same Redskins that looked like the worst offense in the league against a significantly worse Giants defense last week. All in all you shouldn't have to make too many concessions on the defensive end on DK this week.

Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our NFL optimizer for FanDuel and DraftKings, our NBA Optimizer, and our new Player Lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.

First time with NFL? Be sure to read our free MLB and NFL Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.

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