FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 15 Saturday Slate
The NFL has gifted us a two-game slate for Saturday. Things get going with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos at 4:30 p.m. EST before the nightcap between the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers at 8:15 p.m. EST.
On FanDuel Sportsbook, we have two sizable favorites in the Packers (-7.5) and Bills (-6.0). Green Bay's 29.75-point implied total edges Buffalo's 27.75-point mark. The two clashes carry totals of 52.0 (Panthers-Packers) and 49.5 (Bills-Broncos), so we should get some fantasy-friendly games.
Per our oddsFire tool, the betting public is backing the favorites to cover -- 83% of the money is on Buffalo in the opener, and 80% of the money is on the Green Bay side in the night game. Money is pouring in on the over for both games, as well.
We have a fun choice at the top of the quarterback pool between Josh Allen ($8,400) and Aaron Rodgers ($9,200). Both have shown big-time upside this season, have an elite wideout you can pair with them and are quarterbacking favorites. Our model sides with Allen, and he becomes particularly appealing when you factor in the $800 difference in salary.
After a little bit of a midseason lull, Allen has showcased both his superb floor and sky-high ceiling over his last five games, scoring at least 16.48 FanDuel points in each and going for 28-plus FanDuel points three times in that span.
A matchup on the road at Denver is far from easy, but Allen is coming off two games in which he posted 30.10 and 19.32 FanDuel points versus the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers, respectively. He's run it at least six times in eight straight games, and Denver has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to signal callers.
We project Allen for 23.8 FanDuel points, 2.7 more than Rodgers, with Allen's running ability being a big plus in his corner. We have Allen projected for 32.2 rushing yards and 0.56 rushing touchdowns. The rushing touchdown projection is the second-best among all players on the slate.
Of course, Rodgers is also a fantastic play, too, and he could torch a Panthers defense that has surrendered the 13th-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (19.5). He's put up at least 22.54 points in every outing since the debacle at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which covers a span of eight games. In the past three weeks, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdowns with no picks, and he's run for two scores over his last five games.
There's really nothing to dislike with Rodgers outside of the gap in salary between he and Allen.
If you want to go with a low-salary quarterback, you can make a case for each of Teddy Bridgewater ($7,300) and Drew Lock ($6,800) since both games have juicy totals. Between the two, I side with Lock. The Bills' defense has permitted the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to quarterbacks (20.6), and Lock has shown some decent upside with games of 30.22 and 25.60 across his past five, both of which came in shootouts. The salary certainly opens up things for the rest of your lineup.
Jones checks a lot of boxes. He's on a favorite and is facing a Carolina defense that has given up the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs (22.0). While Jones' snap share can be underwhelming at times, he's logged at least 18 opportunities (carries plus targets) in five of his past six games, with the lone exception bring a 14-opportunity game. And he did play 70% of the snaps last week, his second-highest clip of the season.
We project Jones for 17.3 FanDuel points, giving him the top running back projection on the slate while also making him the best point-per-dollar running back. It feels like you almost have to roster Jones if you don't use Rodgers.
Since starting the year on a tear, Davis' snaps, volume and overall production had waned in the second half of the season. He righted the ship in Week 14 with 23.8 FanDuel points via 11 carries, five receptions, 93 total yards and two touchdowns. It was his second-best FanDuel output of the year, and he was in on 73% of the snaps, a big jump from his 57% snap rate in Week 13.
Now Davis gets a sublime matchup against a Green Bay defense that has struggled against the run game in 2020, giving up the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs (25.9). We forecast Davis to score 15.3 FanDuel points.
There's a significant drop after those two. Our algorithm has Melvin Gordon ($6,000) next up, pegging him for 11.1 FanDuel points.
Gordon was out-snapped by Phillip Lindsay ($5,100) last week for the first time all season in a game in which both played. But Gordon still got three more opportunities than Lindsay did (16 to 13), and Gordon has accounted for 58.3% of Denver's carries inside the five in 2020, compared to only 25.0% for Lindsay. Gordon has also seen a boost in snap rate in losses, playing 64% of the snaps in defeats, compared to Lindsay's 31% snap share in the split.
Jamaal Williams ($5,200) is a fun pivot off Jones, and he's not a total shot in the dark as we rank him fifth among this slate's running backs. As we mentioned earlier, Jones did get his second-biggest snap share of the season last week, which limited Williams to a 30% snap rate, his lowest of the campaign. But it wouldn't be surprising to see Jones play a little less on a short week, especially if Green Bay gets a healthy lead, and prior to Week 14, Williams had played at least 46% of the snaps in three of the last four games.
Like we've seen at quarterback and running back, we have a clear top two at wideout, as well, in Davante Adams ($9,500) and Stefon Diggs ($8,200). These guys have had elite floor/ceiling combinations all year long.
Adams has seen at least nine targets in every game with the exception of Week 2, when he suffered a mid-game injury. His 34% target share for the season is the top clip among receivers while his 37% air yards share is also a top-10 mark, per AirYards.com. Over the last eight weeks, Adams has scored at least 14.6 FanDuel points in every outing and has more games with at least 28 points (three) than he does games with fewer than 21 points (two).
Carolina is 10th-worst against the pass, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics, and we project Adams to score a whopping 17.7 FanDuel points, a number topped on this slate by only Rodgers and Allen. Adams may wind up being the slate's most popular player.
Diggs, however, is the better point-per-dollar play, per our model, thanks to the $1,300 difference in salary. Diggs' 29% season-long target share trails only Adams', and while Diggs hasn't had Adams' ridiculously high floor, he has scored at least 12.2 FanDuel points in five of his last six games. The matchup isn't great -- Denver owns the sixth-best pass D by our metrics -- but Diggs just rocked the Steelers' elite defense for 10 catches, 130 yards and a tud.
We have Carolina's duo of Robby Anderson ($6,700) and D.J. Moore ($7,000) slotted in next with nearly identical projections. PlayerProfiler expects Packers stud corner Jaire Alexander to be on Moore, which pushes me to Anderson, but Moore has seen a gaudy 55% air yards share since the start of Week 10. Both are great run-back pieces for Green Bay stacks.
The $5,000 range has some appealing options, led by Cole Beasley ($5,800), Jerry Jeudy ($5,300), Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($5,500), Gabriel Davis ($5,400), Tim Patrick ($5,700) and Allen Lazard ($5,600).
Beasley and Davis have both seen an uptick in usage sans John Brown, who is out again. Over the past three weeks, Beasley has accounted for a 24% target share and 25% air yards share. Those clips are 16% and 29%, respectively, for Davis.
MVS is pretty much made for small slates, though I'm going to tread lightly. He'll likely see a boost in popularity after a productive Week 14 (six catches, 85 yards and a score), but he'd gone two straight games without a catch prior to that one. Those two zeros coincide with Lazard's return, and Lazard is second on Green Bay with a 14% target share across the past three games. Lazard has also played just five fewer snaps than MVS over the last two games. He's a sneaky-good play, and I prefer him to Valdes-Scantling.
Jeudy and Patrick are two of my favorite receiver plays on this slate, and they may go a tad overlooked after K.J. Hamler ($5,100) went berserk last week. Jeudy is pacing the Broncos in both target share (19%) and air yards share (32%) over the last five weeks while Patrick has led Denver's wideouts in snap share in four straight games.
Our model has Jeudy and Davis as the best point-per-dollar plays among receivers in the $5,000s.
Tight end is rough on full main slates, so you know it's gonna be a wreck on this one. We don't have any tight end projected for more than 8.0 FanDuel points, and we have only two -- Noah Fant ($5,600) and Robert Tonyan ($6,500) -- scoring more than 3.8.
Tonyan is seeing a 17% target share and 16% air yards share over the past two weeks. Fant -- who left early with an illness last week but it expected back -- has a 21% target share and 13% air yards share in his last two fully healthy games with Lock. The Bills have allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to tight ends (12.4) while Carolina has given up the ninth-most (11.6). We peg Fant for 7.9 FanDuel points and Tonyan for 7.5.
Going with any other tight end is risking a zero, but I will at least entertain the idea of punting with Dawson Knox ($4,800). Over the last three games, Knox has an 14% target share and 9% air yards share. He's got 11 targets in that time, combining for eight catches, 61 yards and a tuddie.
Nick Vannett ($4,600) is a hold-your-nose dart throw with Fant back. He's played between 45% and 63% of the snaps in each of Fant's last three games but saw only five total targets in that time. Without Fant in Week 14, Vannett caught all four of his targets for 20 yards and a touchdown.
You can compile an argument for every D/ST on the slate outside of the Carolina D/ST ($3,200). I'm not touching them at Lambeau against Rodgers. The other three are in play, although every offense on this slate ranks in the bottom half of the league in sack rate allowed.
Given the expected game script and their salary, the Green Bay D/ST ($4,200) will likely be the most popular defense, and they top our projections by a slight margin (6.7 FanDuel points). The Panthers' offense has this slate's highest sack rate, and Carolina should have to go to the air to keep pace.
We have the Buffalo D/ST ($4,800) as the better point-per-dollar play, projecting them for 6.4 FanDuel points. The Bills have given up only 18.6 points per game across their last three, and that number would look even better if not for some garbage-time work by the San Francisco 49ers. Lock has 13 picks this year and will probably be in a negative game script.
You can even go with the Denver D/ST ($3,700). As good as Allen has been this year, our model has the Broncos' defense with the best projection in fumbles (0.68) and picks (0.84), and they're a close second in sacks (2.28).