The Rundown: FantasyScore Week 15

A weekly guide to FantasyScore's Salary Cap and Draft-and-Go contests.

Before getting to Week 15, let's first look back at how my value probability system fared last week for quarterbacks and running backs, the two positions at which I've previously demonstrated that it works well.

At quarterback, the No. 1 value, Johnny Manziel, achieved it in cash games, but not in tournaments, while the other two high-value quarterbacks didn't score enough points in both formats. Of course, neither did all three quarterbacks on the low-value list, so we'll call this position a push.

Among high-value running backs, four of the five in last week's table achieved value in cash games, while three of five did so in tournaments. That would be great except for the fact that the No. 1 value, C.J. Spiller, didn't achieve value in either format despite having a probability among the highest of the season. What seems to have happened here is that the timeshare between Spiller and Tim Hightower -- who was also on the list, I should add -- didn't proceed as projected.

Alright, on to the Week 15 value probabilities...

quarterbacks

Below are the quarterbacks with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
T.J. Yates HOU 4500 18.9 81.1% T.J. Yates HOU 4500 20.1 55.9%
Matthew Stafford DET 6400 22.7 71.8% Matt Hasselbeck IND 4800 19.9 41.6%
Philip Rivers SDG 6000 21.4 71.0% A.J. McCarron CIN 5300 19.7 33.9%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 8400 21.1 24.8% Ben Roethlisberger PIT 8400 21.5 2.0%
Aaron Rodgers GNB 8400 22.4 32.0% Aaron Rodgers GNB 8400 22.6 3.3%
Carson Palmer ARI 8600 23.2 33.3% Carson Palmer ARI 8600 23.5 3.3%

In my opinion, Stafford and Rivers are better cash game values than Yates because their floors are higher. Stafford needs to score 19.2 points to achieve value, and the Saints defense has given up at least that many to opposing quarterbacks in 10 of their 13 games. Yes, two of the three games below 19.2 points have come in the past three weeks, but both of those were against the run-heavy offenses of Tampa Bay and Houston. Meanwhile, although Miami's pass defense has given up the 18.0 points Rivers requires for cash game in only 7 games, their performance has fallen off a cliff the past three weeks, including allowing Matt Schaub -- Matt Schaub! -- to throw for over 300 yards two weeks ago.

On the low-value side, Palmer's a good candidate to overcome the odds simply due to his matchup: Philadelphia's defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to score at least 25.8 points in three of the their past four games.

running backs

Below are the running backs with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Melvin Gordon III SDG 2100 11.9 82.5% Melvin Gordon III SDG 2100 12.6 69.6%
Fozzy Whittaker CAR 2000 9.3 74.0% Fozzy Whittaker CAR 2000 11.1 58.8%
Denard Robinson JAC 3300 14.3 70.4% Denard Robinson JAC 3300 14.7 54.5%
Chris Polk HOU 2000 8.5 69.7% Chris Polk HOU 2000 8.9 53.8%
Matt Jones WAS 2800 11.7 68.5% Matt Jones WAS 2800 12.7 52.4%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Alfred Blue HOU 4800 4.8 5.4% Spencer Ware KAN 4200 6.1 0.8%
Karlos Williams BUF 3400 4.0 8.6% Alfred Blue HOU 4800 5.4 2.1%
Alfred Morris WAS 3700 5.6 15.9% Karlos Williams BUF 3400 6.6 3.7%
C.J. Anderson DEN 5400 8.5 17.3% Alfred Morris WAS 3700 6.3 7.8%
Ryan Mathews PHI 6700 11.0 18.7% C.J. Anderson DEN 5400 8.9 8.6%

All of the high-value running backs are too unreliable to use in cash games, but Robinson is someone I'd target in tournaments. With T.J. Yeldon doubtful to play, Robinson will have Atlanta's run defense all to himself. He needs 13.2 points to achieve tournament value, and the Falcons have surrendered at least that many to 11 different running backs this season. And if you, again, account for the fact that he's going to get almost all of the work, then it's valid to point out that the Falcons' run defense has given up at least 13.2 points total to every opposing backfield they've faced.

In the bottom half of the table, Anderson and Matthews are the running backs to fade, but you've probably been fading them for a couple of months now. Otherwise, there's an interesting dynamic with Houston and Washington wherein the table as a whole gives clear guidance regarding which member of the backfield committee to consider using and which to consider fading.

All of that said, there's a lot of dreck in this table talent-wise, so I wouldn't blame you for avoiding all 10 of the running backs listed.

wide receivers

Below are the wide receivers with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Malcom Floyd SDG 2300 12.4 82.0% Malcom Floyd SDG 2300 14.3 68.0%
Jeremy Butler BAL 2000 9.6 76.7% Jeremy Butler BAL 2000 11.3 61.0%
Dontrelle Inman SDG 2200 9.7 72.4% Dontrelle Inman SDG 2200 10.6 55.8%
Nelson Agholor PHI 2000 8.6 71.1% Nelson Agholor PHI 2000 11.0 54.3%
Albert Wilson KAN 2000 8.3 69.6% Albert Wilson KAN 2000 9.1 52.5%
Marvin Jones Jr CIN 2900 11.7 67.6% Marvin Jones Jr CIN 2900 12.7 50.4%
Jermaine Kearse SEA 2600 10.0 65.0% Jermaine Kearse SEA 2600 11.9 47.6%
Roddy White ATL 2100 7.8 63.3% Roddy White ATL 2100 8.8 45.7%
Andre Johnson IND 2000 7.4 62.5% Andre Johnson IND 2000 8.9 44.9%
Seth Roberts OAK 2400 8.8 62.0% Seth Roberts OAK 2400 10.1 44.4%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Jordan Matthews PHI 6300 9.8 15.3% Jordan Matthews PHI 6300 10.7 7.1%
DeSean Jackson WAS 6000 11.2 22.9% DeSean Jackson WAS 6000 12.1 11.7%
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 8800 17.3 25.5% DeAndre Hopkins HOU 8800 18.3 13.4%
Allen Robinson JAC 7900 15.6 25.5% Allen Robinson JAC 7900 16.4 13.4%
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 6700 13.5 26.5% Emmanuel Sanders DEN 6700 13.7 14.1%
Doug Baldwin SEA 8000 16.6 28.1% Doug Baldwin SEA 8000 17.6 15.2%
Ted Ginn Jr CAR 5200 10.9 28.7% Ted Ginn Jr CAR 5200 11.1 15.6%
Danny Amendola NWE 6600 14.1 29.9% Danny Amendola NWE 6600 15.2 16.4%
Michael Floyd ARI 6300 13.7 30.8% Michael Floyd ARI 6300 15.1 17.1%
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 7900 17.4 31.3% Larry Fitzgerald ARI 7900 18.4 17.5%
Tyler Lockett SEA 6000 13.2 31.5% Tyler Lockett SEA 6000 16.1 17.6%

Floyd and Wilson are my primary picks for value wide receivers because they're playing the 31st- and 30th-ranked pass defense (per DVOA), respectively. For Floyd, the Dolphins rank dead last (per DVOA) in pass defense efficiency against No. 1 wide receivers. And with Stevie Johnson doubtful to play, those targets have to go somewhere. Meanwhile, Baltimore's allowed 28 different receivers (!!!) to score at least 8 points, which is what Wilson needs to achieve value. Furthermore, that total includes three of Seattle's four wideouts last week.

On the bottom of the table, Matthews is a clear fade made clearer by the fact that he has one of the least favorable individual receiver/cornberack matchups of the week (per Pro Football Focus). (Also worth noting is that Nelson Agholor, although a good value this week, also has a horrible individual matchup.) In contrast, one receiver in particular isn't necessary to fade because his individual matchup is easily favorable enough to overcome his low-value status: Danny Amendola.

tight ends

Below are the tight ends with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Will Tye NYG 2100 9.8 86.7% Will Tye NYG 2100 10.3 65.3%
Ryan Griffin HOU 1700 7.6 83.7% Vernon Davis DEN 2700 14.9 47.2%
Vernon Davis DEN 2700 10.5 74.1% Ben Watson NOR 3500 14.0 45.9%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Travis Kelce KAN 6700 12.4 11.2% Travis Kelce KAN 6700 12.9 2.7%
Richard Rodgers GNB 5700 10.6 11.7% Richard Rodgers GNB 5700 11.4 2.8%
Antonio Gates SDG 7300 13.8 12.2% Antonio Gates SDG 7300 14.6 3.0%

First, Will Tye, the Footballguys Value Guy.

With that obligatory mention out of the way, both Vernon Davis and Ben Watson should definitely be in your universe of tight ends to roster this week. Given that Davis' big Week 14 came against tight end-friendly Oakland, and that it was his first strong receiving performance in eons, there's a low-floor, high-ceiling variance dynamic at play this week. That's okay because we embrace variance in tournaments, but just keep in mind that a 5-point dud is a distinct possibility, especially against a Steelers defense that covers tight ends well (ranked 8th per DVOA). Watson, on the other hand, is less of a crap shoot, both because of his higher floor (and higher ceiling) and because Detroit is worse at defending tight ends (ranked 30th per DVOA).

defenses

Below are the defenses with the highest (and lowest) probabilities of achieving value in cash games and GPPs:

MOST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
San Francisco 49ers SFO 1200 9.5 88.8% San Francisco 49ers SFO 1200 9.5 83.4%
Indianapolis Colts IND 1600 10.5 88.2% Indianapolis Colts IND 1600 10.8 80.3%
San Diego Chargers SDG 1300 9.2 86.5% San Diego Chargers SDG 1300 9.3 79.8%
LEAST LIKELY TO ACHIEVE VALUE
NAME TM SALARY AVG P(CASH) NAME TM SALARY MAX P(GPP)
Denver Broncos DEN 3300 9.0 42.5% Denver Broncos DEN 3300 9.1 19.1%
Carolina Panthers CAR 3300 10.6 55.3% Carolina Panthers CAR 3300 10.8 29.0%
Arizona Cardinals ARI 3000 9.8 56.1% Arizona Cardinals ARI 3000 9.8 32.0%

It's rare to find good defenses in the bargain bin, so the trick here is to figure out which of the 49ers, Colts, and Chargers (if any) is going to be less bad than their price implies. There are arguments in favor of all three: San Francisco's facing A.J. McCarron, Indianapolis is facing T.J. Yates, and San Diego has been playing better the past couple of weeks. If I had to choose, I'd go with either the Colts or the 49ers. Yes, Indianapolis has given up 96 points the past two weeks, which brings the dreaded "negative score" into play, but both of those performances came against offenses that can score a ton of points. Houston, especially with Yates, does not qualify as such an offense. For San Francisco, they tend to play better at home (esp. in pass defense), and McCarron's inexperience means mental errors -- like last week's pick-six -- are more likely. Also, their game has the lowest over-under of Week 15, so a negative score is unlikely for them. 

week 15 draft lists

Finally, to supplement the statistics-based strategies I recommended earlier in the season, here are the VBD draft lists you should use for FantasyScore's Draft-N-Go (DNG) games:

2-PERSON DNGS5-PERSON DNGS8-PERSON DNGS
NAMEPOSTMNAMEPOSTMNAMEPOSTM
Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL Julio Jones WR ATL
Odell Beckham Jr Jr WR NYG Odell Beckham Jr Jr WR NYG Odell Beckham Jr Jr WR NYG
Rob Gronkowski TE NWE Calvin Johnson WR DET Calvin Johnson WR DET
Calvin Johnson WR DET Adrian Peterson RB MIN Antonio Brown WR PIT
Antonio Brown WR PIT Antonio Brown WR PIT Adrian Peterson RB MIN
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Devonta Freeman RB ATL Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA Demaryius Thomas WR DEN Devonta Freeman RB ATL
Adrian Peterson RB MIN David Johnson RB ARI Rob Gronkowski TE NWE
Devonta Freeman RB ATL DeAngelo Williams RB PIT David Johnson RB ARI
A.J. Green WR CIN Rob Gronkowski TE NWE A.J. Green WR CIN
Tom Brady QB NWE A.J. Green WR CIN DeAngelo Williams RB PIT
David Johnson RB ARI Alshon Jeffery WR CHI Alshon Jeffery WR CHI
Alshon Jeffery WR CHI Jeremy Maclin WR KAN Jeremy Maclin WR KAN
Russell Wilson QB SEA LeSean McCoy RB BUF Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
DeAngelo Williams RB PIT Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU
Jeremy Maclin WR KAN DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU T.Y. Hilton WR IND
Delanie Walker TE TEN Tom Brady QB NWE LeSean McCoy RB BUF
Kansas City Chiefs DEF KAN T.Y. Hilton WR IND Tom Brady QB NWE
      Russell Wilson QB SEA Doug Baldwin WR SEA
      Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA Delanie Walker TE TEN
      Doug Baldwin WR SEA Russell Wilson QB SEA
      Cam Newton QB CAR Jordan Reed TE WAS
      Delanie Walker TE TEN Cam Newton QB CAR
      Javorius Allen RB BAL Sammy Watkins WR BUF
      Jordan Reed TE WAS Allen Robinson WR JAC
      Kansas City Chiefs DEF KAN Seattle Seahawks DEF SEA
      Sammy Watkins WR BUF Javorius Allen RB BAL
      Allen Robinson WR JAC Brandin Cooks WR NOR
      New England Patriots DEF NWE Randall Cobb WR GNB
      Latavius Murray RB OAK Jarvis Landry WR MIA
      Brandin Cooks WR NOR Golden Tate WR DET
      Randall Cobb WR GNB Latavius Murray RB OAK
      Jarvis Landry WR MIA Greg Olsen TE CAR
      Golden Tate WR DET Kansas City Chiefs DEF KAN
      Charcandrick West RB KAN Amari Cooper WR OAK
      Greg Olsen TE CAR Gary Barnidge TE CLE
      Denard Robinson RB JAC Michael Crabtree WR OAK
      Carson Palmer QB ARI Danny Amendola WR NWE
      Amari Cooper WR OAK New England Patriots DEF NWE
      Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN Charcandrick West RB KAN
      Drew Brees QB NOR Denard Robinson RB JAC
      Gary Barnidge TE CLE Martavis Bryant WR PIT
      Michael Crabtree WR OAK Travis Benjamin WR CLE
      Lamar Miller RB MIA Carson Palmer QB ARI
      Pittsburgh Steelers DEF PIT Antonio Gates TE SDG
            Michael Floyd WR ARI
            Lamar Miller RB MIA
            Drew Brees QB NOR
            Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN
            Ben Watson TE NOR
            Matthew Stafford QB DET
            Allen Hurns WR JAC
            Tim Hightower RB NOR
            Tyler Lockett WR SEA
            Kamar Aiken WR BAL
            Cincinnati Bengals DEF CIN
            John Brown WR ARI
            Pittsburgh Steelers DEF PIT
            Aaron Rodgers QB GNB
            Shaun Draughn RB SFO
            Willie Snead IV WR NOR
            Houston Texans DEF HOU
            Theo Riddick RB DET
            Matt Forte RB CHI
            Carolina Panthers DEF CAR
            Malcom Floyd WR SDG
            Blake Bortles QB JAC
            Frank Gore RB IND
            James White RB NWE
            Travis Kelce TE KAN
            Anquan Boldin WR SFO
            Indianapolis Colts DEF IND


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