NFL

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 15

In this DFS preview, I'll focus on the Sunday main slate and group players into two categories based on their DraftKings salaries: players to build around and value plays.

Players to build around are those with high salaries but even higher production ceilings, making them worth prioritizing in your lineup. Value plays are guys with lower salaries and typically come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the more expensive players on the slate.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Players to Build Around

QB Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs ($7,900) vs. NO

Patrick Mahomes is a viable option for lineups every week, but he may have an elevated ceiling against the New Orleans Saints. According to Sports Info Solutions, New Orleans plays the highest rate of man coverage (48 percent). When facing man coverage, Mahomes has been slightly more effective, especially when throwing downfield.

Mahomes by Coverage TypeComp%Yds/AttComp% 10+ Yds Downfield
vs. Zone67.7%8.355.1%
vs. Man63.8%9.763.8%

This matchup is also tied for the highest total on the slate (51.5 points), giving it shootout potential.


QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($7,500) vs. JAC

This game might get out of hand early, limiting Lamar Jackson's opportunities, but he's worth rostering on the chance the Baltimore Ravens put up a huge number against a Jacksonville Jaguars defense allowing 29.5 points per game. According to Sports Info Solutions, quarterbacks are averaging 9.2 yards per carry (excluding sneaks and kneel-downs) against Jacksonville, giving Jackson a massive ceiling if he gets some opportunities to run the ball.

RB Cam Akers, Rams ($6,600) vs. NYJ

The Los Angeles Rams' committee approach to running the ball appears to be dead. Over the last two weeks, Cam Akers has accounted for 86 percent of the handoffs to running backs, and he's added another four targets in the passing game. With the Rams favored by 17.0 points, the game script should allow for another strong workload against a New York Jets defense that is allowing 24.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

WR Tyreek Hill, Chiefs ($8,800) vs. NO

As mentioned in the writeup on Mahomes, the Chiefs' offense is slightly more explosive versus man coverage, and Tyreek Hill is the main beneficiary among the receivers. Hill sees a team-high 25 percent target share and averages 12.7 yards per target against man coverage. Versus all other coverage types, Hill's target share sits at 23 percent (trailing Travis Kelce) with 8.6 yards per target.

WR Cooper Kupp, Rams ($7,000) vs. NYJ

The Jets are allowing a NFL-worst 9.5 yards per target to slot receivers, per Sports Info Solutions. That should make for an easy day for Cooper Kupp, who has been lined up in the slot on 75 percent of his targets.

WR Robert Woods, Rams ($6,800) vs. NYJ

Robert Woods is the Rams' primary downfield weapon, with 31 percent of his targets coming at least 10 yards downfield. With the Jets allowing a league-worst 59.6 percent completion rate on throws 10 or more yards downfield, there's a good chance Woods turns in a few big plays in this matchup.

WR Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers ($6,300) vs. DAL

Over his last five games, Brandon Aiyuk has commanded a 30 percent target share and a 40 percent air yards share in the San Francisco 49ers' offense. The Dallas Cowboys' secondary is in shambles right now, and Aiyuk is likely to draw coverage from journeyman Rashard Robinson, who hadn't suited up since 2018 prior to taking the field for Dallas in Week 11. In four games, Robinson has allowed 13 receptions on 16 targets and has already surrendered two touchdowns.

Value Plays

QB Taysom Hill, Saints ($6,000) vs. KC

For a quarterback averaging 22.3 fantasy points per start, Taysom Hill's salary is surprisingly inexpensive -- nine others own a salary above his on this slate. This looks like a particularly strong matchup for Hill against a Chiefs defense which has allowed quarterbacks to score 6.5 fantasy points above their average since Week 9.

RB J.K. Dobbins, Ravens ($5,900) vs. JAC

Since Week 11, J.K. Dobbins has accounted for 43 percent of the opportunities among Ravens running backs. Mark Ingram, who started the year as Baltimore's primary ball carrier, saw just one snap against the Cleveland Browns last week, further indicating this is now Dobbins' job. According to Sports Info Solutions, Ravens running backs are averaging a league-high 2.5 yards before contact per attempt, while the Jaguars defense is allowing 2.4, the fourth worst rate in the league. Dobbins should have plenty of room to run and a strong workload based on game script in this expected blowout.

RB Kenyan Drake, Cardinals ($5,500) vs. PHI

According to Sports Info Solutions, the Arizona Cardinals favor running the ball out of 12 personnel -- 54 percent of Kenyan Drake's carries come in those packages. That makes the Philadelphia Eagles' defense a good matchup for Drake, as Philly is allowing 5.3 yards per carry versus 12 personnel formations, the third worst rate in the NFL. With Arizona favored by 6.5 points, there's also a good chance the game script plays in Drake's favor, giving him a strong workload against a shaky defense.

WR Michael Gallup, Cowboys ($3,500) vs. SF

Michael Gallup's usage has spiked over the last two weeks, as he leads the team with a 25.4 percent target share. In that span, 12 of his 17 targets have come at least 10 yards downfield, so it appears as though the Dallas Cowboys are exploring a more aggressive downfield passing game. Gallup almost exclusively lines up wide, which means he's likely to cause problems for the San Francisco 49ers' defense. San Francisco is allowing teams to complete a league-high 60 percent of their throws at 10 or more yards downfield to receivers lined up on the outside.

TE Cole Kmet, Bears ($3,000) vs. MIN

Over the last two weeks, rookie Cole Kmet has seen 14 targets while playing more than 75 percent of the Chicago Bears offensive snaps. He primarily lines up as an in-line tight end, with 61 percent of his targets coming in that role, according to Sports Info Solutions. The Minnesota Vikings' defense has struggled to defend tight ends, allowing 8.3 yards per target, but that number jumps to 9.2 yards per target when focusing on only tight ends lined up in the traditional tight end spot (as opposed to the slot or out wide). With 20 tight ends carrying a higher cap hit than Kmet's, he should be very popular on this slate.



Ryan McCrystal is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ryan McCrystal also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username cfbfilmroom. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.