Week 15 NFL has a lot to offer. You have a lot of running backs in smash matchups. You have rookie Quartebacks in potential dog fights. You even have some old vets in exploitable matchups. Tons of fun for DFS. I hope one of us wins some money … it is Christmas week, is there a Christmas miracle waiting for one of us to uncover? Sure hope so!
*BREAKING NEWS: Ezekiel Elliot is Inactive Today. That puts Tony Pollard in play as a CHEAP flex option for me even against a tough San Francisco team. I don’t have a projection to back this up but I think with it being so close to lock, you may be able to get ahead of this news and lock Pollard in at next to no ownership.
(Now back to the article)
Normally I am writing about strategy that I am using as I am giving you the plays I’m looking at. Today you can call me Dragnet – Just the Picks, Man. There is some very interesting things developing that need to be addressed and I think the best way to do that is to look at the players first. I will tell you about a new approach I am taking today at the end of this article, for you strategists out there.
Ownership at the Top
The heavy ownership that is being projected on 5 Players is literally amazing. Each of these players are looking like they will all come in North of 20% ownership and when you have a situation like this occur, it really opens up so much with other players on the slate which can allow you to find many ways to create a lineup with some variance. So how do you use this chalk to your advantage. Well let’s take a look at who these top owned players are first:
Alvin Kamara – looks to be the highest owned player on the slate with roughly 37% ownership. This is 100% due to the news that Drew Brees is coming back and Michael Thomas is now on IR. He is in a smash spot in a potential shootout with the Chiefs. The fun thing though is that DK and FD released their pricing before the Brees news broke. So on both sites Kamara is about $2,000+ cheaper than Derek Henry who earlier in the week was far and away the top owned player.
Cam Akers – looks to be the second highest owned player on the slate after being on the field for 80% of snaps last week and facing the NY Jets. This is an interesting spot for me. Believe it or not, the Jets have been 6th best against running backs and at least for me – I prefer the Rams receivers – but that is just me.
Derek Henry – earlier in the week Henry was projected for over 40% ownership and with the Brees news pushing Kamara to the top, Henry now is looking to come in a hair less than 30% owned. I like that a heck of a lot more! The issue with Henry is he is the highest priced player on the slate – but you are paying for the matchup. The Detroit Lions give up THE MOST yardage on the ground. Henry is set up to smash. I will find a way to make his salary work especially now with the ownership dropping.
Brandon Aiyuk – no player has been mentioned more across the fantasy industry than Aiyuk this week. No Deebo, No Kittle, the Cowboys. He is a lock in season long for sure. At about 20-24% ownership however I think it will astound you how much this has effected the ownership of literally every other Wide Receiver on the slate. Aiyuk is a great play today no doubt, but for me when I look at the low ownership on a lot of other studs, he isn’t my favorite. The nice thing about Aiyuk however is his salary $6,300 on DK, $6,900 on FD. Very affordable – huge opportunity.
Jonathan Taylor – the last player with over 20% ownership currently on FanDuel. Taylor is back and healthy and is on a roll. The Houston Texans are 2nd worst only to the Lions against the rush. He also just took 13 carries for 91 yards and 3 catches for 44 yards and a score against this same team 2 weeks ago. The Texans will be too busy trying to contain Deshaun Watson and slow down the Texans Slayer TY Hilton and I think Taylor gets a lot of run to move. How can you not like that? With Kamara only $300 more, I think Taylor ultimately shakes out under 20% ownership and should be in your player pool.
Leonard Fournette – Uncle Lenny is over 20% owned on DraftKings for the first time since 2017. Good for you Lenny! This has everything to do with Ronald Jones sitting and nothing to do with Keyshawn Vaughn and Shady McCoy also seeing work the last two weeks. The funny thing though is that the Falcons have actually been a lot more solid against running backs than they are being given credit for, limiting backs to 15 or less Fantasy Points over back half of this season. Couple that with Vaughn and McCoy likely being figured in and Brady throwing the ball to – everyone – Fournette is a fade for me. But that’s just me.
Emmanuel Sanders – is the last player projecting for over 20% ownership on Draft Kings and this is 100% due to the news that Michael Thomas is on IR. Sanders caught a nice touchdown ball from Taysom Hill last week, so even with Brees coming back if Thomas was playing Sanders would be floating in the 10% ownership range. I think the interesting thing about this is that the common strategy to pivot from a chalky running back is to attack the passing game on that back’s team. The problem is now you have the passing game getting chalky. So the pivot from Sanders Chalk is Tre’quon Smith and Jared Cook …. YIKES.
PS – I am not convinced that Brees comes back and dominates the QB touches. I think we will still see a fair amount of Taysom Hill in this game, specifically for his designed runs. It makes the Saints outside of Kamara and to a lesser extent Latavius Murray, really confusing to me.
No other Running Back or Wide Receiver or Quarterback or Travis Kelce is projected for over 20% ownership so let’s run through my favorite plays real quick and I’ll hit on the crazy ownership that they are seeing as I go.
Lamar Jackson – 12% ownership against the awful Jaguars
Kyler Murray – 10% ownership in a win or go home matchup against the Eagles
Jalen Hurts – 10% ownership coming off a huge game and in a dog fight with Kyler
PATRICK MAHOMES – 8% ownership. C’mon
Ryan Tannehill – 7% ownership against the leaky Detroit secondary
Mitchell Trubisky – 4% ownership against the leaky Vikings secondary and CHEAP
RUSSELL WILSON – 4% ownership in a tough matchup with Washington. 4% ownership?
Tom Brady – 3% ownership against Atlanta’s basement level secondary
Kenyan Drake – 14% ownership and likely to see 75% of snaps. Drake has been solid lately
DALVIN COOK – 12% ownership in a tough matchup with the Bears … but uh DALVIN COOK
JK Dobbins – 8% ownership against the Jaguars… wha wha whaaaat? PS – Gus Edwards: 2% owned
Miles Sanders – 7.5% ownership against the Cards. Jalen Hurts lit a fire under Sanders last week – does it continue?
James Robinson – 6% ownership against a Ravens team that gave up over a combined 40 fantasy points to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt a week ago. Robinson is the one man show though!
San Francisco Running Back (Wilson or Mostert) 1% owned against the Cowboys would give up the MOST yards BEFORE contact to running backs also – CHEAP.
TY Hilton – always eats the Texans for lunch and will do it today while only 14% of us reap the rewards. Also pretty cheap for the opportunity.
Allen Robinson – 12% ownership against the Vikings. Let’s go AROB
TYREEK HILL – 12% ownership on Tyreek Hill in any matchup is CRAZY
Deandre Hopkins – 11% ownership matched up with a Eagles Secondary that is ravaged with injuries
Justin Jefferson – 10% ownership against the Bears who he DOMINATED earlier this season. By the way, Adam Thielen? Less than 9% owned.
Chris Godwin – Mike Evans – Antonio Brown: 10% owned or less facing Atlanta. I particularly like Evans.
Cooper Kupp – Robert Woods: Under 10% owned against the J-E-T-S Jets. Just stop the madness!
AJ Brown – Corey Davis: Under 8% owned today with a matchup against Detroit on tap. I prefer Brown but both are viable.
Terry McLauren – under 7% owned with his boy Dwayne Haskins back under center and a matchup with Seattle!
Dallas Wide Receivers – Tough Matchup against San Fran? I still don’t mind taking a shot on Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb at sub 7% ownership… and Michael Gallup, 1% owned today. Did you know that the San Francisco 49ers have given up the second most passing plays of 20 or more yards since week 8 this season? Hmmm (credit NFL Network for that stat)
KeKe Coutee – just had a 20 Point Fantasy Game against Indy’s Zone defense and he is 5% owned today.
And the Craziest of them all?
DK METCALF – 2% owned today. I’ll play Metcalf against anyone at 2% ownership. Tyler Lockett is seeing more ownership at 6%… wow, just wow.
Travis Kelce is 19% owned today and is in play every day. He is always a smash but you are now paying WR1 Prices for him. $9,000 on DK and $8,500 on FD. The next closest owned Tight Ends is Chicago’s Cole Kmet at 14% and Jared Cook and Mark Andrews at 12%. All great plays today. Other guys I am looking at:
Gronk against Atlanta
Irv Smith against Chicago with Kyle Rudolph still banged up
Jonuu Smith against Detroit
Jordan Reed against Dallas
My Strategy Today
I am breaking with something I pretty much always preach today. You can go down this rabbit hole with me or not, but I wanted to share this with you. I am not prioritizing QB – Wide Receiver/Tight End Stacks. I am also not prioritizing RB – Defense stacks. The forefront that I am going for is to attack teams that I think have the highest chance for the overall team to hit a ceiling and so I am starting my builds with a Running Back – Receiver/Tight End stack. I am then going the opposite way, stacking QB with Opposing Pass Catcher(s) and I am building that correlation to save salary for the best possible one off(s) that I can. Here is a lineup that I built this morning using this strategy and at least based on matchups and what I know about the players and the games, I have a bit of a man crush on this lineup (so don’t you go and play it too please!)
QB Jalen Hurts
RB Derrek Henry
RB Alvin Kamara
WR AJ Brown
WR Christian Kirk
WR Willie Snead
TE Dan Arnold
Flex Gus Edwards
So here my primary stack is the Titans with Henry and Brown. My secondary stack is the Ravens with Snead (Hollywood Brown is out today) and Edwards. Both of these teams are heavily favored in their games. My game stack is Hurts with Kirk and Arnold. And that left me enough money to nab Kamara in that matchup with the Chiefs. Seattle Defense just fit and they are playing Dwayne Haskins today.
So there you have my strategy today. Maybe it gives you an idea or two for your lineups and with really crazy ownership, it will shock you how different your lineups can look even with ‘studs’ and not as many ‘duds’. Hope that makes sense. If you have any questions or comments I am always available on Twitter @DelRayBoston
Good Luck in your Contests!