Daily Fantasy Football is the ultimate week-to-week test of acumen. There is worry about bye weeks or injured players like in season-long formats. FanDuel offers a variety of cash and tournament contests consisting of a single week of matchups. Projecting player ownership to build lineups is an integral strategy to long-term success. Here are the key players for Week 15 of the 2016 season:
*Ownership Ranges to be added on Friday*
THE CHALK PLAYS
Cam Newton (at WAS), $7,700: Newton is QB14 in salary on the Sunday slate and coming off three lackluster games in his last four outings. Newton is a touchdown regression candidate with seven passing touchdowns over the last seven games. Washington is the No.30 pass defense by ProFootballReference metrics and second in opposing quarterback fantasy scoring over the last five weeks. Over the span, Carson Wentz last week was the only quarterback to not log multiple touchdowns against Washington, however, the rookie had 319 total yards and a single touchdown. Expect 10% or higher ownership for Newton.
Ezekiel Elliott (vs TB), $8,500: Elliott's salary is at its lowest point since back in October after his 1.3x value performance in Week 13, his lowest of the season. Elliott uncharacteristically did not have a reception or touchdown last week. Tampa Bay is a top-5 matchup for running backs according to ProFootballReference and Dallas is a strong home favorite and the third-highest Vegas team total of the week. All signs point to a rebound game from Dallas' offense and Elliott in Week 14. Expect close to 15% ownership for Elliott.
Kenneth Dixon (vs PHI), $5,100: Dixon continues to secure a bigger share of Baltimore's backfield from Terrance West. Dixon has dominated pass-catching duties and now his interior work is growing. Despite the uptick, Dixon is still minimally-priced. The last three games represent three of Dixon's best four games of the season. Expect lower than 10% ownership for Dixon.
Antonio Brown (at CIN), $8,500: The Bengals struggle to rush the passer and are a neutral overall pass game matchup. Brown is at his lowest salary of the season after two lackluster games for his lofty track record. Brown has not cracked 91 yards in more than a month and is a strong candidate to provide 2-3x value this week. Brown projects in the 20% range of ownership.
Michael Crabtree (at SD), $6,000: Crabtree is once again much cheaper than Amari Cooper ($1,400 to be exact) this week. Crabtree is at his lowest salary of the season and has just one touchdown over his last six games, spanning 32 receptions. Despite being on the road, Oakland has the No.5 Vegas team total of the week in a projected shootout. Crabtree projects in the 10-15% range of ownership for Week 15.
Sammy Watkins (vs CLE), $6,100: Watkins has ramped up his involvement and snaps over three games since returning from injury, hitting a season-high 4-54-1 stat line last week. Buffalo is the second-largest favorite of the week and Cleveland is an elite pass game matchup to target. Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins is an ideal stack against consensus. Expect 10-15% ownership for Watkins.
Travis Kelce (vs TEN), $6,900: Kelce is on an elite run of production despite not finding the end zone since October and Jeremy Maclin returning to the lineup last week. Kelce is one of the strongest touchdown regression candidates, spanning 36 receptions without a score. Antonio Gates is the last quality tight end Tennessee has faced, logging 5-75-1 against the Titans back in Week 9. Kelce is the chalk play of the position in Week 15. Expect close to, or surpassing, 20% ownership.
Matt Bryant (vs SF), $5,100: The Falcons are by far the top Vegas team total of the week and two-touchdown favorites at home. Despite the high salary, Bryant is the best kicker bet of the week.
Bills (vs CLE), $5,100: The Browns remain the clear top matchup for opposing defenses over the last five weeks. Cleveland has allowed a ridiculous 22 sacks over the last four games, 22% more than any other team. Also, the Browns have allowed at least three sacks in each of those trailing five contests. As 10-point favorites, the Bills defense is projected to have a positive game script to accrue a high DFS floor. The Bills are projected near 20% ownership this week.
THE SNEAKY PLAYS
Tyrod Taylor (vs CLE), $7,600: The Browns are the top matchup for opposing quarterbacks on the season by ProFootballReference, allowing an NFL-high 30 passing touchdowns with subpar pass rush numbers and just eight interceptions forced. In 13 games, 11 quarterbacks have multiple touchdowns against Cleveland. Taylor is coming off a game (Pittsburgh) with just two rushing yards, his lowest total of the season and has a sturdy floor by hitting 2x value or better in 10-of-13 games in 2016. Taylor is in the 5-10% ownership range for Week 15.
Jordan Howard (vs GB), $6,600: Howard's salary is down $1,200 from last week. As the clear centerpiece of Chicago's offense, Howard has not had a dud game since mid-October and Alshon Jeffery returns from suspension this week to open up more running lanes. The Packers are a neutral matchup and Howard has seen at least 15 touches in each of the last six games. Near 100 total yards is Howard's floor. In the 5% ownership range, Howard is a quality blend of projection and unique roster qualities.
Spencer Ware (vs TEN), $6,700: Ware has been in a funk lately, topping out at 77 rushing yards in a game over the last seven weeks and just a single touchdown on the ground over the span. As a result, Ware's salary is his lowest since early October. The Titans are a neutral running back matchup overall and have allowed 261 total yards to Melvin Gordon III and 127 total yards to Jordan Howard in recent weeks. Ware is a volume play outside the top-10 running back salaries on the Sunday slate. Ware is a low-ownership special in the 3% or lower range.
Dez Bryant (vs TB), $7,500: Bryant is coming off his worst game of the season, a 1-10-0 stat line of nine targets, including a fumble lost. Tampa Bay is a big-play matchup for opposing pass games, allowing a top-5 yards-per-completion and yards-per-attempt on the season. With a strong Vegas team total, expect a 'get well' performance by Dallas' offense who was stifled by the Giants last week. Expect 3-5% ownership for Bryant.
Allen Robinson (at HOU), $6,300: The Texans are a positive matchup for opposing wide receivers, being torched by T.Y. Hilton, Jordy Nelson, and Dontrelle Inman in successive weeks. Allen Robinson's last big game came against Houston five weeks ago (9-107-1) and he has not hit even 40 yards since. Robinson is one of the bigger regression candidates at any position this week at his lowest salary of the season. Expect less than 3% ownership for Robinson.
Cameron Brate (at DAL), $5,700: Outside of Mike Evans, Brate is the only thing going on for the weapons-strapped Tampa Bay pass game. Brate has just one game of less than five targets over the past two months. Dallas is the No.3 matchup for tight ends, allowing 75 yards per game over the last five. With Tampa Bay strong underdogs on the road, expect Brate's volume floor to be high this week. At a projected sub-5% ownership, Brate is an ideal play this week.
Dustin Hopkins (vs CAR), $4,600: Washington has the second-highest Vegas team total of the week. The Panthers are allowing the second-most kicker points over the last five weeks, including 13 field goals. Hopkins is coming off his worst game of the season (0-1 on field goals, three extra points) and is minimally-priced.
Packers (at CHI), $4,500: The Bears are a solid matchup for opposing defenses, allowing 10 sacks and eight turnovers over the past five games. Green Bay's pass rush is solid (13 sacks over the last five games) and also has forced eight turnovers. At a medium-level price, Gree Bay has as high a floor and ceiling as any top-priced defense this week. At less than 5% ownership, Green Bay is an ideal tournament option.
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