NFL

4 Daily Fantasy Football Players to Avoid in Week 15

As you're filling out your DFS lineups, it's always tempting to simply target the biggest superstars. However, player salaries don't always align with their expected production in a given matchup.

In this preview, I'll highlight a few players who might ordinarily be on your radar but are probably best to avoid this week. These aren't going to be players you absolutely must avoid due to injuries or playing-time demotions but rather players who are in a bad spot due to a matchup or a salary that has risen too high to justify rostering.

Let's take a look at four players who may not live up to expectations this week. All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook. All stats are from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

Cam Newton, QB, Patriots

FanDuel Salary: $7,300

DraftKings Salary: $5,500

Cam Newton's fantasy production has been all over the map this season -- over his last four games, he's topped 20 fantasy points twice and twice been held to single digits. We should probably expect another rough game for Newton against a strong Miami Dolphins defense on Sunday.

The Dolphins have blitzed on 39 percent of opponents pass attempts this year, the second highest rate in the league. Meanwhile, Newton ranks among the worst quarterbacks at handling the blitz, averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt and taking a sack on 12 percent of opponents' blitzes. Only Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Jake Luton has averaged fewer yards per attempt versus the blitz than Newton.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles

FanDuel Salary: $6,900

DraftKings Salary: $5,900

In Jalen Hurts' debut as the Philadelphia Eagles' starter, the team took full advantage of his athleticism with 40 percent of his throws occurring outside the pocket, according to Sports Info Solutions. That familiar style of offense likely benefitted Hurts -- 25 percent of his throws came outside the pocket last year at Oklahoma -- but it could backfire this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

When opposing quarterbacks leave the pocket, Arizona is allowing them to complete just 48.7 percent of their throws at 3.9 yards per attempt -- well below the league averages of 54.6 percent and 5.6 yards per attempt.

Perhaps Hurts can maintain his fantasy value by running the ball, but with Arizona favored by 6.0 points, the Eagles will likely need to rely on Hurts' arm more than they did last week, when they led for the majority of the contest against the New Orleans Saints.

Todd Gurley, RB, Falcons

FanDuel Salary: $6,100

DraftKings Salary: $4,700

After missing the Atlanta Falcons' Week 12 game with a knee injury, Todd Gurley has played fewer than 40 percent of the team's snaps in each of his last two outings -- and he's managed just 35 yards on 14 carries when he's been on the field. It appears as though something isn't right with Gurley, and there's little reason to believe his workload will increase again this late in year.

Even when healthy, Gurley was seeing a reduced workload in negative game scripts. When playing from the behind, the Falcons have given Gurley a 23 percent opportunity share, compared to a 30 percent rate when Atlanta holds a leads. With the Falcons 6.0-point underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this looks like a tough spot for Gurley, even on a reduced salary.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks

FanDuel Salary: $7,400

DraftKings Salary: $6,700

Tyler Lockett carries the eighth highest salary among receivers on FanDuel and the 14th highest on DraftKings. While he's certainly flashed value in that range at times, over his last seven games, Lockett has finished among the top 20 receivers only once.

The Washington Football Team may present a particularly tough matchup for Lockett, as Washington is allowing 7.1 yards per target to slot receivers, the second lowest rate in the league, per Sports Info Solutions.

During this seven-game slump, Lockett has maintained a 20 percent target share, so perhaps he'll bounce back soon. Until he re-establishes his fantasy value, however, it's tough to trust him while his cap hit remains among the highest at his position.


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.