Cost Efficiency Breakdown: DraftKings Week 15

A look into the shrewd DraftKings Week 15 plays in terms of cost efficiency. Who provides the most bang for your buck?

Thanks to some high-profile running back injuries, Week 15 is a fascinating exercise in value-poaching on DraftKings. A handful of No. 2 (and even No. 3) backs enter the fantasy landscape – some cheap and valuable, some pricey and unpredictable, but all worthy of discussion as we piece together value-driven lineups.

QUARTERBACK

 

Sal

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Carson Palmer

7,000

24.78

3.540

35.246

B. Roethlisberger

6,400

23.01

3.595

34.484

Matthew Stafford

6,100

21.34

3.498

32.313

Tyrod Taylor

5,600

20.08

3.585

32.125

Johnny Manziel

5,100

18.54

3.634

31.294

Russell Wilson

7,000

21.57

3.081

28.615

Blake Bortles

6,100

19.50

3.196

28.228

TJ Yates

5,000

16.81

3.361

27.562

Brock Osweiler

5,100

16.98

3.330

27.441

Blaine Gabbert

5,100

16.64

3.264

26.628

AJ McCarron

5,400

17.15

3.175

26.294

Cam Newton

7,800

21.62

2.771

25.772

Marcus Mariota

5,500

16.86

3.066

25.179

Cash Plays

  • I want all of the Carson Palmer this week. He’s quarterbacking across from Chip Kelly’s mile-a-minute offense, with an elite 27-point team projection from Las Vegas. With all three starting wideouts healthy and an offensive line that’s finally come together, Palmer is a true threat for top-two status regardless of matchup. And this one is just plain sexy: the Eagles are mostly a mess defensively, having somehow allowed more touchdown passes than the Saints over the last four weeks.
  • Rostering Russell Wilson is a great way to follow the herd – typically a positive in cash games – so that mitigates some of the risk involved in investing in these video game numbers. Wilson won’t keep producing at this level for long, but he only needs 65% of last week’s wild production to reach cash value. The upside payoff is obvious, especially with the run game in transition, and DraftKings has him priced well enough ($7,000) to handle some of a potential fall back to earth.
  • I have lots of love for Cam Newton, but my love is fickle – it revolves around DraftKings pricing, which has finally caught up to Newton’s remarkable stretch. As a result, I won’t have him in more than 1-2 of my lineups, but it’s not because I don’t see the appeal. The Giants look like a good canvas on which to project his moderate 23.4-point cash line.

GPP Plays

  • The narratives tell us to avoid Ben Roethlisberger against the elite Broncos defense, but shrewd GPP players will roll the dice. Leading the league’s most pass-oriented offense, Roethlisberger carries the week’s best attempt projection (39.9) and boasts a remarkable 8.92-yard average over his last four games. The matchup limits his upside, but it doesn’t eliminate it – and his volume gives him a strong enough floor.
  • Tyrod Taylor has actually been the model of fantasy consistency of late – he wouldn’t be out of place in a Week 15 cash lineup. He’s posted 27, 29, and 19 points across the last three weeks, aided by great feet (127 rushing yards over that span) and a special big-play connection with Sammy Watkins. The two have hooked up for a league-high four completions of 40+ yards over the last four games, and it’s easy to see that repeating against Washington’s burnable cornerbacks.
  • He’ll be more owned than your typical GPP target, but Matthew Stafford wins the Saints lottery for Week 15 and is therefore worth your time. He’ll need 24.4 points to bring tournament value, which is right in line with his production over the last two weeks (18.0 and 17.3), and the inflation from facing the Saints makes him a solid dice roll for that boost. Add a long touchdown to his recent per-game production and you’ve hit your mark at QB.

RUNNING BACK

 

Sal

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Charcandrick West

4,800

20.79

4.331

39.497

Javorius Allen

4,500

18.74

4.164

36.048

Shaun Draughn

4,600

17.67

3.842

32.303

Denard Robinson

4,600

16.73

3.637

29.757

Tim Hightower

3,900

14.89

3.818

29.464

Devonta Freeman

7,500

21.56

2.875

26.705

David Johnson

5,700

17.59

3.086

25.883

Jeremy Langford

3,900

13.53

3.470

25.530

James White

4,600

14.48

3.147

23.947

Frank Gore

4,000

13.08

3.269

23.642

LeSean McCoy

6,300

17.51

2.779

23.251

Adrian Peterson

7,100

18.77

2.643

22.902

Theo Riddick

4,000

12.63

3.157

22.439

DeMarco Murray

4,000

12.58

3.145

22.313

Jeremy Hill

5,000

14.35

2.871

21.750

Latavius Murray

4,500

13.34

2.964

21.648

Eddie Lacy

5,200

13.96

2.685

20.061

Cash Plays

  • David Johnson will be in every cash lineup of mine that doesn’t feature Carson Palmer. He’s a near-every-down back in arguably the league’s best offense, facing an opponent that’s allowed 96+ rushing yards in 11 of 13 games, including the last four. I’d like to see some red zone usage, but I’m confident enough that the matchup will allow him to rack up 20+ touches. And Johnson is explosive enough in both aspects of the offense to create fireworks from that.
  • Adrian Peterson has failed to reach cash value the last two weeks, but both games came in losses to teams with elite run defenses. He’s just fine. The only threat to his weekly workload is game flow, which should stay neutral or in his favor against the 5-8 Bears. He’s running well and carries the best short-yardage outlook of any back on the Week 15 slate. This is one of those plays you don’t have to think much about.
  • With T.J. Yeldon almost certain to miss Sunday, Denard Robinson is squarely in play as a cash option. He’s priced a little higher ($4,600) than I’d like from an injury replacement, but takes the reins in a cherry matchup – Atlanta has allowed 117+ rushing yards in five of their last six. Robinson is a playmaker (a 5.4-yard average over his last four games) who had actually taken a lot of goal line work from Yeldon of late.
  • Tim Hightower isn’t going to excite you, but he’ll almost certainly reach cash value (just 11.7 points). With C.J. Spiller clearly not in the mix for meaningful snaps, Hightower absorbs gobs of opportunity as a steady inside runner. He’s also very well-versed in the passing game, so it’s hard to envision fewer than 40 snaps Sunday. Another typical feature-back workload should drag Hightower near his cash marker, with or without a touchdown.
  • Eddie Lacy looks back to relevance, or even beyond – he’s reached 100 yards in each of his last three full games. The Raiders have been sporadically gashed by the run all year, so a decent game script could cost Lacy to the 15 points he’ll need.

GPP Plays

  • Another injury sub, Fozzy Whittaker, fortunately finds himself at the minimum salary. He’s the nominal Week 15 starter, though he’ll share work with Old Reliable (Mike Tolbert) and underwhelming rookie Cameron Artis-Payne. If you’re looking for a high-floor guy with tons of opportunity on his plate, Whittaker represents a dice roll. But nine points is a great marker, and Whittaker is a semi-explosive runner who can maximize low opportunity, especially in the offense.
  • Jeremy Hill is gradually regaining his rookie form (maybe?) and looks poised for big Week 15 things at relatively low ownership. He carries a great outlook for both rushing success and touchdowns against the woeful 49ers defense; If game flow works in his favor as expected, Hill should be ripe for his first big fantasy game in a month.
  • Take your pick between Patriots teammates Brandon Bolden and James White, who will share the backfield going forward. Bolden is the preferred play in cash contests, as he’s absurdly cheap ($3,200) and will handle all rushing duties as a 14-point home favorite. But White makes contrarian sense; if the Patriots struggle and throw 40+ passes, he’s likely to rack up catches and post a big Danny Woodhead week at just $4,600.

WIDE RECEIVER

 

 

Sal

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Doug Baldwin

5,800

24.22

4.177

41.112

Tyler Lockett

4,200

17.80

4.238

35.755

Jeremy Maclin

5,500

20.75

3.773

34.380

Golden Tate

5,500

20.65

3.754

34.113

John Brown

4,900

17.46

3.564

29.783

Odell Beckham Jr.

9,200

25.08

2.726

27.306

Jarvis Landry

6,300

17.85

2.834

23.950

Alshon Jeffery

7,300

19.69

2.697

23.929

Sammy Watkins

6,200

17.48

2.819

23.568

Anquan Boldin

3,900

12.79

3.280

23.467

Michael Floyd

4,400

13.63

3.098

22.878

Kamar Aiken

4,600

13.98

3.040

22.737

Ted Ginn Jr.

4,600

13.79

2.998

22.262

Antonio Brown

8,700

20.21

2.323

20.893

A.J. Green

7,900

18.93

2.396

20.849

Cash Plays

  • Julio Jones early-season dominance has definitely subsided along with the Falcons’ Super Bowl hopes. Matt Ryan is playing his worst football in awhile, and Jones hasn’t been producing in the red zone. As a result, his ownership has been dropping to the point that a huge performance can tilt a contest your way. The Jaguars secondary presents little obstacle, and Vegas expects the Falcons to be playing laterally or from behind.
  • With a stable quarterback in place and a solid target share lead over his teammates, Sammy Watkins is finally a stout cash option. His outlook is great against a shaky Washington secondary that’s been worked over by No. 1 receivers – Alshon Jeffery (25.7 points), Odell Beckham Jr. (32.2), and Ted Ginn (15.9) have all feasted recently. Roster him confidently, knowing he only needs a line around 5-60-1 to reach 3x value.
  • Ted Ginn presents a similar profile to that of Watkins: suddenly, there’s more to be excited about than deep balls. He’s actually making strong cash-game sense as he’s integrating into the base offense. He’s seen 8+ targets in four of his last seven games (including 10 twice) and caught three red zone touchdowns over that span. With Greg Olsen likely limited, Ginn should land on the upper edge of his target projections against a poor Giants secondary.
  • Everyone and their mothers will be rostering a Lions wideout, and I prefer Golden Tate, who’s still too cheap for a playmaker taking on the Saints. Johnson is many great things, but teams have been able to scheme Matthew Stafford’s attention away all year. Tate will see plenty of man coverage from Kyle Wilson, who’s been eviscerated by Ted Ginn and Mike Evans the last two weeks. Tate needs 16.5 points to cash and averaged just shy of that prior to last week’s two-touchdown explosion; $5,500 is a perfectly fair dice roll.
  • Similarly, the DFS world will flock to the Seahawks’ starting duo of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, and it makes sense to follow the herd. I prefer Lockett, however, and the $1,600 discount he carries. After back-to-back seven-target games, he’s asserted himself as the No. 2 option in the wake of Jimmy Graham’s injury, and the production (48.1 DraftKings points) has been monstrous. Baldwin is (finally) priced right at the appropriate spot – expecting 20+ points a week going forward is foolhardy – and doesn’t produce much value if the Seahawks abandon the pass early.
  • The Cardinals can and have supported multiple great WR weeks at once, so John Brown’s and Michael Floyd’s fantasy value aren’t docked by the Arizona crowd. Brown has notched 75+ yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last eight full games. And Floyd has hit 100+ yards in three of his last four on the backs of a solid 19.5% target rate and a 16.7 yards-per-catch mark. I truly feel sorry for Eagles cornerbacks today.

GPP Plays

  • Alshon Jeffery projects to fairly low ownership, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. He’s a sheer target hog and a dynamic playmaker, as well as the Bears’ clear preference on red zone throws. I guess the worry comes from his sporadic matchup with semi-shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who’s looked great over the last three weeks but has allowed six touchdowns on the year.
  • Kansas City’s is a decidedly run-happy offense, but Alex Smith’s efficiency can still produce a fantasy-viable receiver. And Jeremy Maclin has halted the Travis Kelce Coronation and asserted himself as the top option. Maclin will face the Ravens’ burnable cornerbacks in Week 15 and looks like a tournament-winner. Game flow may be a concern, but Maclin’s price is affordable enough to accommodate a floor around 6-90-1, which would satisfy your GPP hopes.
  • For a dirt-cheap punt play, take a look at Malcom Floyd at just a $3,500 salary. With so few healthy offensive pieces in place, Philip Rivers will have to pepper Floyd with looks against a Dolphins defense that’s stout against the run but awful against the pass. All he’ll need to do is catch 4-5 balls and find the end zone to return tournament value.

TIGHT END

 

Sal

DK Pts

Pts/$1K

H-Value

Delanie Walker

5,600

17.17

3.066

25.414

Will Tye

3,100

11.57

3.732

25.385

Jordan Reed

5,900

17.43

2.954

24.659

Zach Ertz

3,200

11.31

3.536

23.788

Kyle Rudolph

3,600

12.09

3.359

23.357

Gary Barnidge

5,000

14.07

2.815

21.119

Antonio Gates

4,600

13.09

2.846

20.596

Vernon Davis

3,300

9.72

2.946

18.368

Jacob Tamme

3,300

9.69

2.938

18.292

Greg Olsen

6,900

15.24

2.208

17.239

Julius Thomas

4,700

11.67

2.482

16.958

Zach Miller

3,600

9.76

2.711

16.936

Heath Miller

3,700

9.83

2.655

16.647

Rob Gronkowski

7,700

15.70

2.039

16.162

Cash Plays

  • Far be it from me to talk you off of Rob Gronkowski or Delanie Walker, the highest and third-highest salaried options on the board. Gronkowski Both are fine plays; I just don’t see a huge change in floor to “drop” to the next pricing tier.
  • Poor Philip Rivers has dealt with the losses of Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, and Dontrelle Inman to his receiving corps. That leaves two familiar names, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, to make up the bulk of the Chargers’ voluminous passing attack. Gates is definitely high-floor – he’s seen 6+ targets in six of his eight games, including 17 over the last two weeks – but his ceiling is impressive as well, especially this week.
  • Jordan Reed’s role in the offense has shifted throughout the season, but his prominence hasn’t. He’s sitting on a Walker-esque 28.1% target share over the last four weeks, with six touchdowns over the last seven. The Bills defend the TE spot well, but Reed’s reception floor keeps him a strong top-five option on any given week.

GPP Plays

  • With a team-high 29 targets over the last four weeks, Kyle Rudolph is suddenly a featured player in the Vikings offense, even if his salary doesn’t reflect it. $3,600 is a steal for that kind of GPP upside.
  • Very quietly, and without Manning-related fanfare, Vernon Davis has established himself as an elite weekly sleeper. His market share (13.7%) isn’t enticing, but a lot of that is compensated for by an absurd 85% catch rate from Brock Osweiler. Fresh off a 7-74 line against the Raiders, Davis draws the Steelers, another subpar TE-defending unit, for Week 15.
  • In a similar boat, and costing just $3,100, Will Tye has been maximizing a low market share of his own. He’s topped 56 yards in three of four games.
  • The Broncos’ elite cornerbacks tend to funnel attention inside, making Heath Miller an intriguing target. Raiders TEs combined for a 6-96-1 line last week, and the Steelers’ passing volume tends to transcend game situation.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Cash Plays

  • Kansas City continues to play inspiring defense, having reached double digits in nine of its last 11 games. They’ve notched nine sacks over the last two weeks without Justin Houston, and there’s no better dice roll for multiple takeaways. Matt Schaub reminds me of the ill-fated goat from Jurassic Park.
  • The Bengals have been inconsistent defensively, but have had no trouble dispatching of the shaky offenses they’ve faced – they totaled 33 DraftKings points against the Rams and Browns. It’s a good thing Blaine Gabbert and his motley crue are on the docket. Pencil the Bengals in confidently.

GPP Plays

  • There’s uncertainty as to the Colts’ Week 15 quarterback, but neither drab option has a good outlook against J.J. Watt and an underrated Texans secondary. Houston has recorded 27 sacks over its last eight games and allowed just six points in three of those.
  • The Dolphins by no means field a strong NFL defense, but they could benefit wildly from a matchup with a bland, uninspiring Chargers offense that hasn’t weathered its injury woes. San Diego has been held to three points three times in four weeks.