WEEK 15 TOURNAMENT VALUE CHART
The chart below is a value guide for this week’s DraftKings tournaments. In an effort to help the widest range of players, only tournaments ranging from $1-to-$100 buy-ins are listed. The color scaling favors lesser entry fees, lower entry limits, and flatter payout structures since these tournaments generally represent the best return on investment for average DFS players. But remember it’s important to consider your specific strengths and goals when choosing which tournaments to enter.
Do you excel at GPP roster construction and game theory? Then don’t avoid GPPs like the Millionaire Maker due to high entry limits and a top-heavy payout structure -- you can still profit in these types of tournaments while giving yourself a shot at a life-changing payday. Therefore, cells in red do not indicate tournaments to avoid. The color scaling serves primarily to highlight the differences between tournaments, which will make it easier for you to identify the best ones to enter based on your individual skills and goals.
Before constructing your own GPP lineups, it’s important to consider how most of your opponents will be making theirs. Due to the salary cap, figuring out the most common roster construction each week isn’t necessarily as simple as looking at a list of projected ownership percentages for individual players.
A few points to consider as it relates to this week’s common roster construction:
- We can safely assume the game with the most collective ownership will be Patriots at Steelers. It’s the only contest on the main slate with an over/under above 50 and features two public teams. After the national audience watched Pittsburgh hang 39 points on the Ravens Sunday night while Tom Brady struggled in a road loss to the Dolphins in prime time on Monday, expect to see more ownership concentrated on Steelers players despite the Patriots being favored to win.
- Most lineups won’t be saving cap space at quarterback. It wouldn’t be shocking to see as much as 70% of quarterback ownership settle on players priced at $6.3K and up. The most viable punt option for most people -- Nick Foles -- still costs $5.5K and averaged a pathetic 5.2 adjusted yards per pass attempt in his last season as a starter.
- Due to pricing being released prior to the finish of the Sunday night game, both Alex Collins and Kenyan Drake appear priced near their floors. The most common roster constructions will feature one of these two along with a running back from the top price tier, and many will roster Collins and Drake together to leave space for a high-priced WR1 or Rob Gronkowski.
- Julio Jones and Keenan Allen are off the main slate, while DeAndre Hopkins (@JAX) and A.J. Green (@MIN) are in terrible road matchups. As a result, the only wide receiver priced above $7.7K is the white-hot Antonio Brown ($9.1K). Spending at QB and RB1 will make Brown a luxury many people can’t afford, but he’ll be owned in plenty of traditional stacks with Roethlisberger, game stacks with Brady, and lineups that didn’t spend big at RB1. This week’s pricing has created a value pocket in the $5.5-6.5K range at wide receiver that can be exploited from an ownership perspective.
- Tight end is a hellscape outside of Rob Gronkowski. This week’s salaries would normally encourage people to punt tight end, but with Kyle Rudolph ($4.7K) in a walking boot as of this writing, it’s hard finding anything to hang your hat on after Jimmy Graham ($4.9K), and even he is coming off a discouraging 0 point fantasy game in Week 14. Paying up at quarterback, RB1, WR1, and Gronkowski is nearly impossible, so significant ownership will settle on Graham, Delanie Walker, and a bunch of less desirable options by default.
- The top plays on defense have also been marked up. The Jaguars are priced in flex territory ($4.5K) at home against T.J. Yates and the Texans. Along with Jacksonville, the Saints, Eagles, and Vikings will tie up at least half of total D/ST ownership. Pinpointing a cheap, low-owned defense can provide a bigger edge than normal in the context of this slate.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHALK?
Assuming you plan on making multiple GPP lineups each week, your decision on highly-owned players usually isn’t whether to fade them completely, but rather how much exposure you want to them in comparison to their projected ownership.
Some suggestions on how to treat this week’s chalk plays (ownership percentages based on our Steve Buzzard’s projections). Be sure to check back on Saturdays for updated ownership projections.
QB: Russell Wilson (vs. LAR, $7,300, 13% owned) - The Seahawks host the division-leading Rams in a game that will go a long way towards deciding their season. LA’s third-ranked pass defense (DVOA) showed some cracks in last week's loss to the Eagles, but the matchup hardly matters for Wilson. 70% of Seattle’s offensive yardage and 80% of their touchdown production has come via the pass this season. On top of that, Wilson is the only Seahawks player to rush for a touchdown this season and he’s rushed for more yards than Mike Davis, Eddie Lacy, and Thomas Rawls combined.
Jared Goff and the Rams receivers are plenty capable of getting over on Seattle's depleted secondary and if All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (hamstring) is unable to play this week as expected, Todd Gurley's matchup becomes much less intimidating. If Wilson is forced to keep pace due to the strength of LA’s offense and the shortcomings of his injury-ravaged defense, we could be looking at one of his 40-point ceiling games. Wilson deserves to be the chalk. Make him one of your top quarterback exposures.
RB: Le'Veon Bell (vs. NE, $9,300, 26% owned) - It’s difficult to form an argument against playing Bell, aside from his slate-high salary. As per usual, his massive workloads give him both the highest floor and ceiling of any running back. Bell leads all running backs in receptions per game (5.8), total touches per game (27.5), and is the only player who has handled over 90% of his team’s total backfield touches this season.
After getting shredded by Kenyan Drake last week (193 scrimmage yards), New England now ranks dead last in rush defense DVOA. The Patriots (like most teams) will have to decide between selling out to stop Bell or Antonio Brown and if recent history is any indication, Bill Belichick will choose Brown. In two games between these teams last season (both convincing Patriots wins), Brown was limited to 16.5 PPR points per game. Bell only finished one of those games and totaled 149 yards on 31 touches, including a 13-10-68-0 receiving line. By all means, jam Bell in if you can fit him, but with a balanced approach to roster construction likely to be the exception this week, it’s fine to come in with slightly less than the field.
RB: Kenyan Drake (@ BUF, $5,800, 37%) - As previously mentioned, Drake is glaringly mispriced coming off back-to-back games with at least 26 fantasy points. While this has the feel of a classic let-down spot for Miami after they essentially won their Super Bowl against the Patriots Monday night, it would be surprising if their offense didn’t continue to run through Drake in Buffalo.
Damien Williams returned to a limited practice on Thursday, marking the first time he’s participated in any on-field activity since dislocating his shoulder. It appears doubtful Williams plays, leaving Drake as the Dolphins unquestioned feature back -- a role that has netted him a combined 56 total touches and 334 scrimmage yards over the last two games. The Bills defense has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs when normalized for strength of schedule over the last five games and even if the Dolphins suffer a letdown, Drake’s receiving profile and big-play ability keep him somewhat immune to negative game script. He’s seen at least five targets in both of his starts and 47.7% of his rushing yardage has come on runs of 15 yards or more -- the highest rate of any running back with at least 90 attempts.
It could be argued Drake’s reliance on hitting the big play makes him risky, especially as the chalk, but this isn’t a slate where you can thumb your nose at obvious value. Don’t drop below 25% exposure.
WR: Antonio Brown (vs. NE, $9,100, 24% owned) - Competing narratives surround Brown this week, making it difficult to come to a decision on how to treat him in tournaments. On one hand, it’s Antonio Brown at Heinz Field. Since 2014, Brown has averaged 28 fantasy points per game at home over a 26 game sample, compared to 19 per game in 34 games on the road. True to form, his 2017 home/road splits are nearly identical to his three-year average, and he’s scored between 35 and 45 fantasy points in each of the Steelers last three home games.
On the other hand, his opponent is the Patriots, who historically aim to take away the opposition’s WR1, and have been mostly successful doing so for four years and counting -- including in their last two meetings with Pittsburgh (see the Le'Veon Bell blurb above). Brown is obviously more than capable of burning the current version of New England’s secondary, even while facing constant double teams, but in a week with a surplus of high-priced quarterbacks and running backs in great spots, Brown’s $9,100 salary doesn’t leave much room for even a small decline in production. Get some exposure to Brown in Patriots-Steelers game stacks, but take a balanced approach at wide receiver in the majority of your lineups.
WR: Devin Funchess (vs. GB, $6,600, 19% owned) - Funchess is one of those receivers who can help with a balanced approach to roster construction when used as a WR1. He held his own against Minnesota shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes in last week’s win over the Vikings (7-3-59-1), cementing his status as one of the most reliable fantasy wide receivers in the game over the past month.
The matchup couldn’t get much better for Funchess against the Packers diminished secondary. Starting cornerback Kevin King was placed on injured reserve prior to last week’s game and the team’s other outside corner -- Davon House -- suffered a transverse process fracture in his back in Week 14. Aside from middle-of-the-pack slot corner Damarious Randall, who will move outside from his usual slot role, Green Bay is trotting out undrafted free agents in their defensive backfield.
As great as the matchup is, Funchess has needed multiple touchdowns both times he broke the 25-point plateau this season, which is never something you want to count on -- especially considering the return of Greg Olsen and the Panthers run-heavy ways when they get inside the 10-yard line. Funchess is best reserved for cash games. Go lighter than the field.
TE: Rob Gronkowski (@ PIT, $7,300, 15% owned) - Gronkowski provides an enormous advantage over the field on such a weak slate for tight ends, but DraftKings nailed his price, which is equivalent to WR5. The 21% spread between Gronkowski and the TE2 (Zach Ertz) doesn’t leave you much of a choice but to spend down at RB1, WR1 (or both) when rostering him -- particularly in a stack with fellow Steelers-killer Tom Brady. It’s a sacrifice worth making, however, for a player with career averages of 6.0 receptions, 99.2 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game in his career against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh has allowed the fewest fantasy points to enemy tight ends this season, which is supported by their number one overall DVOA ranking against the position. But despite shutting down upper-crust fantasy tight ends like Jack Doyle (2-9-0) and Travis Kelce (4-37-0) earlier this year, the Steelers defense isn’t much cause for worry. How tight ends accumulate fantasy points has more to do with their role on offense and game script than the opposing defense. Besides, the loss of speedy linebacker Ryan Shazier leaves Pittsburgh without their best candidate to hamper Gronkowski downfield. Consider 1.5x the field on your exposure.
D/ST: New Orleans Saints (vs. NYJ, $3,900, 12% owned) - Steve Buzzard’s early projections show Jacksonville as the highest-owned defense, but the Saints could overtake them by the weekend due to the combination of their matchup against Bryce Petty, and the Jaguars exorbitant $4.5K price tag. In the four games he saw significant action last season, Petty completed only 56% of his passes, threw for three touchdowns against seven interceptions, and was sacked 13 times. No team defense put up less than eight fantasy points against Petty in 2016 and the Dolphins defense topped out a tournament-swinging 23 fantasy points. Double the field on your Saints exposure.
MORE CHALK PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Cam Newton||QB||GB||$6,400||11%||GB defense let DeShone Kizer complete 71% of his passes in the wind.|
|Ben Roethlisberger||QB||NE||$6,700||9%||Ben at home narrative is in full swing. 32 PPG in last 3 at Heinz Field.|
|Alex Collins||RB||@CLE||$5,000||14%||Running hot, under-priced, CLE D struggling vs. RBs last 5 weeks.|
|Todd Gurley||RB||@SEA||$8,300||16%||Matchup is a lot less scary with LB Bobby Wagner likely to scratch.|
|Dede Westbrook||WR||HOU||$5,100||14%||No less than 8 targets in each of last three. HOU pass D is a mess.|
|Michael Thomas||WR||NYJ||$7,400||17%||WR1s crushing the Jets weekly. Double the field.|
|Jimmy Graham||TE||LAR||$4,900||16%||Cheapest TE many will consider, should bounce back from Wk. 14 donut.|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||D/ST||HOU||$4,500||12%||Tough to squeeze in, but dream spot vs. T.J. Yates at home.|
These players fall in the middle-to-upper-middle ownership tiers. Each has a path to top-5 numbers at their respective positions or a strong chance to exceed their salary-implied point expectation. You want more of them than your opponents.
QB: Drew Brees (vs. NYJ, $6,500, 8% owned) - It’s not often we get one of the league’s best quarterbacks playing at home as a 16-point favorite, with an implied team total north of 30 points, and not have that player be mega-chalk, but here we are. While 20+ fantasy point games have been few and far between for Brees this season, his play hasn’t slipped noticeably. Brees is still the most accurate passer in the league (72% completion rate) and ranks inside the top-5 in passing yards, yards per attempt, and QB rating.
The problem, as you’ve surely noticed by now, is Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II have run away with all the touchdown equity. The Saints have the fourth-lowest passing touchdown rate in the league a year after having the fifth-highest. It’s doubtful Sean Payton is eager to change the game plan that has led the Saints to the top of the NFC South, but it’s undeniable the Jets are much easier to beat via the pass. New York has allowed the most normalized fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks both this season and over the last five games.
An endorsement of Brees isn’t an indictment of Kamara or Ingram. If we buy Vegas’ game script (and there’s no reason not to with Bryce Petty quarterbacking the Jets), a Brees-Michael Thomas-Ingram or Kamara stack gives you access to the points New Orleans scores as they build a lead and salt away the easy win.
RB: Samaje Perine (vs. ARI, $4,800, 13% owned) - Perine isn’t getting mentioned in the same breath as the top dollar-per-touch running backs like Drake and Collins, but perhaps he should be now that his price has dropped by $1.5K since Week 13. Boxscore scouts will see Perine’s 2.87 yards-per-carry over the last two weeks and get turned off, but such is life for a two-down running back when his team is getting destroyed by 24 and 17 points, respectively.
Blaine Gabbert and the Cardinals aren’t going on the road and blowing anyone out (WAS -4.5), so look for Perine to get back to 20+ carries and even catch a few passes out of the backfield. Not known as much of a pass catcher coming out of Oklahoma, Perine has caught 10-of-11 targets for 68 receiving yards over the last three games. With Chris Thompson and Byron Marshall both on injured reserve, there’s very little blocking Perine from 25-30 total touches, provided the game stays on script.
RB: LeSean McCoy (vs. MIA, $8,400, 11% owned) - Bell, Kamara, Ingram, and Todd Gurley will all be more popular in the $8K and up range, creating an opportunity to double the field on your exposure to McCoy. After rumbling for 156 yards and a touchdown in the snow last week, McCoy has now averaged 25.6 PPR fantasy points per game in 10 games played as a home favorite with the Bills compared to 14.7 per game in 30 other games.
Miami’s rush defense is hit or miss, but with the exception of last week’s wonky win over the Patriots, it’s been missing more often than not lately. The Dolphins have allowed 28% more fantasy points to opposing running backs than league average over the last five weeks and a single running back has exceeded 100 rushing yards on 18 carries or less against them in each of their last three road games. The return of Tyrod Taylor to the lineup should help open running lanes for McCoy against a Miami defense that could come out flat on a short week after an emotional Monday night win.
WR: Josh Gordon (vs. BAL, $6,800, 10% owned) - Finally, we get to play Gordon in a spot where he gives us a bit of leverage. The novelty of his return has faded and his price (up from $5.5K last week) has risen beyond what his first two box scores justify, which will throw the majority of entrants off his scent in a sneaky-great spot at home against the Ravens.
The early returns on how Baltimore’s secondary will respond to playing without top cornerback Jimmy Smith are not good, as evidenced by Antonio Brown’s 18-11-213-0 receiving line last Sunday night. Now they have to go from out of the frying pan and into the fire against Gordon, whose peripherals paint him as every bit a fantasy WR1 through two games.
Gordon has seen 28.3% of Cleveland’s targets since returning -- essentially the same market share Julio Jones and Keenan Allen have received this season. And per airyards.com, Gordon’s 47% air yards market share (in his two games played) is tops in the entire league. It is now a documented fact Gordon still possesses the traits that once gave him a 48-point fantasy ceiling. Betting on an elusive 30+ point game last week at 30% owned was foolish, but it’s a risk worth taking every time we can scoop Gordon at 10% or less, regardless of the matchup.
|Jordy Nelson||With Aaron Rodgers||Without Aaron Rodgers|
|Targets per game||7.6||5.6|
|Receptions per game||5||3.1|
|Receiving yards per game||58||22|
|Touchdowns per game||1.2||0|
|Fantasy points per game||18||5.3|
|Cumulative WR rank||10||67|
TE: Austin Seferian-Jenkins (@NO, $2,900, 4% owned) - Seferian-Jenkins has slowed considerably since his hot start, combining for a paltry 8.3 fantasy points in his last three games. Still, his $1.9K drop in price since Week 10 feels like an overcorrection. Even if we limit the sample to only the last three disappointing games, Seferian-Jenkins has run the ninth-most routes of any tight end. His role in the red zone hasn’t diminished either. Since Week 12, Seferian-Jenkins is tied for the team-lead with four red zone targets. Bryce Petty will likely be playing most of the game from behind and looking for a check down option more frequently than not, giving Seferian-Jenkins the potential to 4x his salary without finding the end zone.
D/ST: Washington (vs. ARI, $2,800, 6% owned) - This may come as a shock, but it didn’t take long for opposing defenses to figure out Blaine Gabbert. Over the last three games, defenses facing the Cardinals have scored 11, 19, and 12 points respectively. Gabbert has been sacked an astonishing 15 times over his last two games -- a trend we can expect to continue in Week 15. According to Football Outsiders, Washington’s 8% adjusted sack rate is seventh-highest in the league. All those sacks tend to result in turnovers, especially in road games, and the best part is Washington provides much-needed cap savings while getting you off chalk plays at the most volatile position.
MORE CORE PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Aaron Rodgers||QB||@CAR||$6,800||9%||Would want to see it first from any other player.|
|Tom Brady||QB||@PIT||$7,600||8%||Steelers killer. 28.5 PPG vs. PIT since 2015.|
|Alvin Kamara||RB||NYJ||$8,600||14%||Only time variance hits is when he's injured in-game.|
|Mark Ingram II||RB||NYJ||$8,200||11%||22.3 PPG when Saints are home favorites. NO -16 vs. NYJ.|
|A.J. Green||WR||@MIN||$6,500||8%||Rhodes is good, but not good enough to fade Green at season-low price.|
|JuJu Smith-Schuster||WR||NE||$5,400||8%||Benefits from man coverage while Pats double team Brown.|
|Brandin Cooks||WR||@PIT||$7,100||12%||#1 target % and catch rate on targets of 20+. PIT getting burned deep.|
|Delanie Walker||TE||@SF||$5,200||9%||Bankable points at a thin position. Revenge game.|
|Philadelphia Eagles||D/ST||@NYG||$3,600||8%||Best pass rush in league too much for washed Eli.|
These players will appear in a small percentage of your opponent’s line-ups. They're high variance plays, but the greater your exposure, the farther your teams will separate from the pack if they have big games.
QB: DeShone Kizer (vs. BAL, $5,000, 1% owned) - Don’t go in expecting another three touchdown passes (or 506 passing yards like Ben Roethlisberger hung on the Ravens last week), but it’s safe to say this isn’t the tough matchup for Kizer most people perceive. Baltimore might have the second-ranked pass defense (DVOA), but they’ve achieved that standing by squashing some of the worst quarterbacks in football and now they’re without their best cornerback.
Of course, it can be argued Kizer is the absolute worst quarterback in football, but that hasn’t been the case from a fantasy perspective. Since Week 12, Kizer is the cumulative QB10 on DraftKings, yet he remains priced as the QB16, despite the Browns adding two difference-making weapons in Gordon and Corey Coleman. Even if Kizer stinks it up as a passer, chances are he does enough on the ground to exceed a 3x salary multiple, which would be enough to make him part of a winning lineup, considering the cap savings and uniqueness he provides.
RB: Jay Ajayi (@ NYG, $5,000, 4% owned) - With Carson Wentz out for the season and Nick Foles taking over at quarterback for Philadelphia, we should expect the team to take a decidedly run-heavy approach moving forward. DFS players have wanted nothing to do with the Eagles three-headed backfield since early in the season, but Ajayi’s usage is trending in the right direction.
Over the last two games, Ajayi has played on 45% of the team’s offensive snaps, compared to just 17% for LeGarrette Blount. After Ajayi was called upon for 16 touches last week (his most as Eagle), it feels safe to assume he will continue as the primary option on base downs, while Corey Clement handles passing down work. The lack of receptions is a bummer on DraftKings, but an early-down role should work out fine against the Giants 25th ranked rush defense (DVOA). The game script (Philadelphia -7.5) could call for 18-20 carries from Ajayi, giving him a realistic shot at 100 yards and a touchdown -- or more given how well he’s run since becoming an Eagle (nearly seven yards per rush attempt).
WR: Alshon Jeffery (@ NYG, $5,900, 6% owned) - Jeffery saw 30% of the Eagles’ targets after Foles entered the game last week, and while it’s an extremely small sample to draw conclusions from, it wouldn’t be the first time a backup quarterback leaned heavily on his WR1.
The last time Jeffery finished with less than double-digit fantasy points was back in Week 7. While a 20+ point ceiling has mostly eluded him in 2017, we saw how the loss of cornerback Janoris Jenkins on the perimeter impacted the Giants pass defense on Dez Bryant’s 50-yard touchdown last week. Given New York’s state of complete disarray and the fact five of their last seven opponents have scored at least 24 points, there’s room for production in both the running and passing games for Philadelphia this week.
D/ST: Green Bay Packers (@ CAR, $2,300, 4% owned) - Due to the cost savings they provide, an 8-9 point finish from Green Bay wouldn’t sink your lineup, and there’s always upside for a defense facing Cam Newton. The Packers secondary is unquestionably in shambles, but if Newton (60% completion rate) can’t put the ball where his receivers can make a catch, it may not matter. Green Bay still has a solid pass rush and according to Pro Football Focus, Newton has been intercepted four times while under pressure, which ties him for seventh-most in the league. None of this is to say Green Bay’s defense will dominate the Panthers, or the game won’t be high scoring, only that there’s greater than a 5% chance the Packers give you enough in tournaments to justify their pittance of a salary.
MORE CONTRARIAN PLAYS
|Player||Pos||Opponent||Salary||Proj. Own %||Comment|
|Case Keenum||QB||CIN||$6,100||3%||MIN a double-digit home favorite w/ 26-point implied total.|
|Latavius Murray||QB||CIN||$4,900||5%||See above.|
|Isaiah Crowell||RB||@BAL||$4,100||2%||Quietly running well since Week 8. Price pivot off Collins, Perine.|
|Robby Anderson||RB||@NO||$5,600||4%||Proven rapport w/ Petty. Who else do you run back the NO stack with?|
|Cooper Kupp||WR||@SEA||$6,200||6%||Slot WRs burning SEA since injuries struck.|
|Ted Ginn Jr||WR||NYJ||$5,000||3%||Leverage on popular Saints plays.|
|David Njoku||WR||@BAL||$2,700||2%||BAL 31st ranked DVOA vs. TEs. Should run free down seam.|
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