Joey Ricotta | December 15th, 2019
If you were booted from season-long fantasy football playoffs last week, have no fear. DFS doesn’t care whether you lost last week or not. That’s the beauty of it. With that said, welcome. For those of you returning readers that have been grinding it out all season, you know the drill. Let’s get it cracking with some money plays for Week 15.
As always, the goal of the cash game article is to outline some of the safer plays, while also, providing options that will help you create the most optimal builds. The whole point of it all is to make some money. Sometimes we won’t, but putting ourselves in the best position to do so is the most important part. That goes without saying, but can sometimes get overshadowed by the results on a week to week basis.
The main thing people want to know is how many points a guy scored, and not necessarily the route in which they got there. DFS is not only a science but a math equation. Let’s dive in, put the pieces together, and try to solve it. Here are my favorite Cash Game Plays for Week 15.
Jimmy Garoppolo ($6,100 DK, $8,400 FD)
Now, I don’t mind using Jimmy G on FanDuel, but he is a much better value and more of a priority for me on DraftKings. His salary remains in the happy medium range and he’s been very efficient recently. Fantasy-wise, he’s had three 30-point performances in the last six weeks. During that span, he’s averaged 292.7 yards per game with a 16-4 touchdown to interception ratio and 113.5 quarterback rating. The Atlanta Falcons allow the ninth-most passing yards per game (258.4) and fifth-most QB DK points per game (23.6). The 49ers also have one of the higher Vegas implied team totals on the entire slate.
Kyler Murray ($5,600 DK, $7,600 FD)
Part of my weekly research process includes gathering an understanding of the consensus fantasy rankings for that particular week. Murray is someone who is popping up consistently in many of the industry’s finest top ten models. However, he’s tied for the 19th spot as far as DraftKings’ pricing goes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tremendous value, especially for Cash Games. Cleveland isn’t a disastrous defense, but one that can be exploited without Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon on the defensive front.
Christian McCaffrey ($10,000 DK, $10,400 FD)
McCaffrey boasts the highest floor and ceiling potential every week. The Seattle Seahawks are dealing with a plethora of injuries on defense. They will be without Mychal Kendricks who is normally tasked with covering running backs on receiving routes when the Seahawks are in their 4-3 base set. They will also be without Jadeveon Clowney, and potentially Ziggy Ansah, Al Woods, and Shaquill Griffin. That’s a long list of defenders. Rookie Cody Barton may be asked to cover CMC and that could spell big problems for the Seahawks, as they’ve struggled against pass-catching RBs in the past (Alvin Kamara and Devonta Freeman). If you can afford McCaffrey, play him.
Leonard Fournette ($7,800 DK, $7,700 FD)
The usage hasn’t faltered in the least. Last week, the Jags were blown out by the Los Angeles Chargers so Fournette played 77% of the offensive snaps. That’s the second-fewest snaps percentage share he’s played all season and he still had close to 20 touches. Not to mention, it was the ninth-highest snaps share out of any running back in Week 14. This week, that number should jump back into the 80-90% snaps range that we’re used to seeing.
As bad as the Jags have looked recently, the Oakland Raiders haven’t fared much better. They’ve been blown out their last three games with losses to the Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets. The Raiders sit 27th in the league in DVOA against the run (sixth-worst). With DJ Chark ruled out, the Jags will have to lean on Fournette heavily in the running and passing game.
Chris Carson ($7,500 DK, $7,400 FD) 🔒
Usually, when it’s Chris Carson’s week, it turns out not to be. And when it’s not Chris Carson’s week, that’s exactly the time that it is. One of these times chalky Chris Carson has to be correct, right? I’ll hop back on the train, as Carson was one of the very first players I locked my eyes onto during my first look over the slate. Carson, being $2,500 cheaper than McCaffrey on DK, provides a solid mixture of floor and upside.
Unfortunately, Rashaad Penny tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. Fortunately for us, that means we can expect Carson to be heavily fed. The Carolina Panthers are near the bottom, and in some cases at the very bottom of many categories pertaining to defending the run. They rank last in rushing touchdowns allowed per game (1.8), last in DVOA (19.2%), and last in the league in rushing yards allowed per attempt (5.3). The Seahawks run the ball 46.38% of the time, which puts them fifth in the league for rushing play percentage. I don’t see any reason why head coach Pete Carroll gets cute and decides to avoid attacking an obvious opponent’s weakness.
Patrick Laird ($4,500, $5,500 FD) – DraftKings only.
Laird, have mercy on my soul. This whole Patrick Laird DFS love was comical and rather ridiculous at first. But the fact of the matter is he’s a good value play relative to the way he’s being used and the matchup. Laird has seen an uptick in usage (82% of the offensive snaps last week) and doesn’t have a real threat on the depth chart to steal work from him. Despite having some tough matchups, Laird has been serviceable.
The New York Giants allow the ninth-most receiving yards to opposing running backs (601), but have yet to allow a receiving TD to them. The only other team to not allow a receiving TD to a running back this season is the San Francisco 49ers, and they are definitely not in the same ballpark as them as far as talent goes. The 49ers allow the second-fewest receiving yards per game to RBs (348). That tells me, in our case, positive TD regression is coming. With 19 touches last week, and four catches in each of his last two games, I’m willing to use him as a solid price point option.
DeAndre Washington ($4,700 DK, $6,300 FD) – ONLY IF JACOBS SITS!
Washington is almost a plug and play for Cash Games ONLY if Josh Jacobs winds up being inactive. The ruling is still out on that. As of now, it’s more likely that he plays than he doesn’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me one way or the other. The Jags have gotten destroyed on the ground for 141.1 yards per game (second-most in the NFL). Washington adds a little in the passing game as well, reeling in six of seven targets last week in Jacobs’ absence.
DeAndre Hopkins ($8,000 DK, $8,600 FD)
Sure, I’ll take the coward’s way out and write up Hopkins. I’m perfectly fine using either Godwin or Hopkins, depending on your personal roster construction preference. No Will Fuller usually means Hopkins gets a ton of work, as we’ve seen in the past. However, Fuller is expected to play, which throws a wrench into things. With that said, D-Hop remains Houston’s unquestioned number one receiver, and talent trumps all.
Much ado has been made about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-funnel defense. The same sort of thing can be said about the Tennessee Titans. While they rank fifth in DVOA against the run, they rank 23rd in DVOA against the pass. In comparison, the Bucs rank first against the run and 19th against the pass. Hopkins outmatches almost every cornerback he faces every week. From a one-on-one matchup standpoint, no one should scare us away from him.
Chris Godwin ($7,700 DK, $8,400 FD)
Mike Evans sustained a hamstring injury that will shelve him the rest of the season. Perfect timing for season-long fantasy owners in the thick of the playoffs. Along with Evans, Godwin has been a top fantasy wide receiver this season. Stating the obvious, Godwin is expected to see an uptick in targets with Evans being out. Godwin lines up in the slot 63% of the time, according to PFF. While Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay is considered by many to be an outstanding corner, he hasn’t played like it fully this season. Furthermore, he doesn’t normally cover slot receivers.
Justin Coleman usually gets dubbed those duties. And Coleman hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire this season. According to playerprofiler.com, Coleman allows 16.6 fantasy points per game, which puts him 76th in the league. And he allows a 120.1 passer rating, which is 62nd in the league. Cheap Tampa Bay receivers are also available to take stabs at, but I’d rather shoot my shot with the trusted commodity.
Danny Amendola ($4,100 DK, $5,400 FD) 🔒
Let’s preface this by saying there are a ton of value wide receivers this week. Amendola is my favorite of the bunch. He’s been slung eight targets each of the last two weeks and is a safer check down slot option for David Blough. Albeit quarterbacking in two losses and playing from behind, the Lions have shown they aren’t afraid to let the rookie throw the ball, with 78 passing attempts over his two starts.
Fellow Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. While Amendola won’t exactly assume the role that Marvin Jones had in the offense, the targets have to go somewhere. Kenny Golladay and Blough seem to have a connection and I’ll definitely have some exposure to him in tournaments. However, paying up for him in cash games, seems less than ideal when attempting to balance and jam in this week’s high-priced running backs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed a whopping 48.6 points per game to opposing wideouts (seven points more than any other team). This game has some shootout potential and I want a piece of it.
Zach Ertz ($6,000 DK, $6,700 FD)
NO ONE IS AVAILABLE TO CATCH PASSES FOR THE EAGLES. No that doesn’t mean there will literally be no one else on the field. The Eagles will have bodies out there, but no one NFL proven. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were practically the only remaining healthy pass catchers for the Monday Night game against the New York Giants. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are on IR. Nelson Agholor and Jordan Howard have also been ruled out. The Eagles already love using two TE sets quite a bit and they will be forced to again out of necessity this week. The Washington Redskins allow the eighth-most DK points per game to opposing TEs. Ertz is about as “safe” as it gets.
Tyler Higbee ($3,900 DK, $5,700 FD)
Admittedly, I was a bit hesitant to use Higbee, given the number of options the Los Angeles Rams have to catch passes. The reality is Higbee has been getting consistent targets with Gerald Everett out and he’s made the most of them. Higbee has at least six targets in each of the last three games and seven catches for over 100 yards in each of the last two contests. As many expected, the Rams will once again be without Gerald Everett.
For the last four weeks, the Cowboys have faced opponents who barely feature their Tight Ends in their offensive attack (Chicago, Buffalo, New England, and Detroit). For three of those games, the Cowboys saw very little production come from the opponents’ Tight Ends. Bears head coach Matt Nagy dialed up a good game plan and the Bears finally had some contributions from their TEs last week. Bears TEs combined for seven catches and 92 yards receiving against the Cowboys. Even with the three weeks prior with basically no production against them, the Cowboys rank 11th in DK points per game allowed to the TE position. If Matt Nagy can dial up a good gameplan against the Cowboys, I’ll trust that Sean Mcvay can and will utilize Higbee.
Value: Ian Thomas
If you’re a returning reader, you know, I like to look for cheaper defenses than most people feel comfortable with. I felt like I needed to say that as almost a disclaimer before we get going. This doesn’t necessarily make these defenses “safe,” although I know that’s normally the goal in cash games. Because of the unpredictability at the position, I’m more willing to punt defense in hopes of finding some cheap turnovers. Taking salaries into consideration, here are my favorites.
Detroit Lions ($2,300 DK, $4,100 FD) – Mainly using on DraftKings
The Lions get the privilege of hosting the walking turnover machine, Jameis Winston. The Lions aren’t a great defense by any means and still could get torched in this matchup, as that’s also what Winston is very good at, carving up opponents for huge chunks of yards. But adding to Winston’s turnover tendencies, he’s dealing with a fractured thumb and has had trouble gripping the football throughout the week, even to the point where he was throwing tennis balls. An inaccurate, bad decision maker dealing with an injury to his throwing hand doesn’t seem like a spot to cut down on turnovers.
Arizona Cardinals ($2,200 DK, $3,500 FD) – Mainly using on FanDuel
The Cards are cheaper on FanDuel and that’s site I prefer to use them on. On DraftKings, I think the extra $100 it takes to get to the Detroit Lions is easy to do and more plausible. Baker Mayfield has tossed 16 interceptions this season, which ranks him second behind only the aforementioned Jameis Winston.
Other Targets: NE (@ CIN), KC (vs DEN), PHI (@ WAS)
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