We’re getting into the nitty gritty point of the NFL season, it’s time for teams to put up or shut up as they fight for playoff spots and division titles. The pressure is on. If Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott follows last week’s stinker with another skunky performance we will be in the middle of an uncontainable Romo fever outbreak.
Meanwhile, most of the teams eliminated from playoff contention have begun playing like the season is already over. The Jacksonville Jaguars somehow managed to get a delay of game on a kick off last Sunday against the Vikings. I suppose hesitation to kick off is understandable when you know a mediocre quarterback like Sam Bradford is about to ram it down your throat.
Let’s mix in some inexpensive mediocre players with some high priced studs as we construct our optimal roster this week.
Here is your Week 15 DraftKings expert lineup.
QB: Trevor Siemian – $5,200
RB: LeSean McCoy – $8,900
RB: Kenneth Farrow – $4,400
WR: Mike Evans – $8,300
WR: T.Y. Hilton – $7,200
WR: J.J. Nelson – $3,900
TE: Zach Ertz – $4,900
FLEX: Isaiah Crowell – $4,100
DST: Baltimore Ravens – $3,100
Travelin’ Trev is returning home to Denver to face Tom Brady and the 11-2 Patriots. He’s not the most exciting quarterback option, but he hasn’t scored under 15 fantasy points in the last five weeks. Quarterbacks average the fifth highest amount of pass attempts against the Pats and have passed for at least two touchdowns in four out of the past five games; Jared Goff being the only quarterback to not. Considering the matchup and Siemian’s improving chemistry with stellar wide-outs Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, a high volume aerial attack is likely in the Bronco’s game script. Trust Trevor this week.
McCoy has been the daddy mac of the mac daddy this season, high stepping his way into the end zone nearly every week; despite Mike Gillislee vulturing touchdowns. McCoy is the cheap version of Le’Veon Bell and Dennis Johnson, but he’s just as capable of ripping off a historical fantasy day. The matchup doesn’t set up any better than playing at home against Cleveland. The Bills lead the league in rushing yards and the Browns have given up the second most in the league, this matchup is sweeter than “Sweetness,” and McCoy should resemble the great Walter Peyton rushing through this barely there defense. McCoy hasn’t scored under 20 fantasy points in the past three weeks and has come out on top against the best run defenses throughout 2016. It’s a safe bet he comes out on top in Week 15.
The Chargers ran Melvin Gordon into the ground like he was the latest viral internet trend, the mannequin challenge was fun for a while but warn out; as is Melvin Gordon. Every Charger gets injured eventually, its Melvin Gordon’s turn and he won’t suit up in Week 15. Philip Rivers will be running a complete makeshift offense this week, any familiar weapon he once knew is injured or is a shell of his former self (Antonio Gates). Gordon’s absence will result in a huge workload increase for undrafted rookie running back Kenneth Farrow.
There is talk of a split between Farrow and Ronnie Hillman, but Hillman has not even been active since joining the Chargers. Facing a tough Panthers run defense last week, Farrow carried the ball 16 times for 55 yards and caught all six of his targets. He should have another solid fantasy day in any PPR setting, Rivers needs a solid pass catcher out of the backfield and the Raiders allow the seventh most rushing yards in the league. They’ve allowed six rushing touchdowns in their past four games. Farrow is far and away the best bargain in Week 15.
Mike Evans has been colder than Jack Frost’s fanny lately, but it’s a trend that should be short lived. Evans Almighty is the league leader in targets, but has only caught seven balls with no touchdowns the past two weeks. Consider these two games fluky like the NBA title Wade won without LeBron. Evans should get back on track against a Cowboys defense that gives up the fifth most receiving yards a game. Considering Dallas allows the second least rushing yards allowed in the league, the Bucs will need Evans to be heavily involved to pull off an upset.
The matchup isn’t fantastic, but TY Hilton has been playing with his hair on fire lately and his workload should be ginormous. The Colts will be without their second most targeted receiver and best red zone weapon, Dante Moncreif, meaning TY Hilton should be used all over the field early and often. He’s been plenty busy as it is; Hilton is Luck’s most trusted receiver and has quietly become the fifth highest scorer in fantasy points at the position. He has 18 catches and 161 yards in his past two games, talent and volume should trounce a difficult matchup in Minnesota.
Another wide receiver who should see an increase in usage is J.J. Nelson. Former Cardinals receiver Malcom Floyd went all Lindsay Lohan and got a DUI after last Sunday’s game. He was let go by the team, leaving J.J with an increase in snaps and targets in Week 15. Nelson’s electric playmaking ability was on display last week, when he turned his one hand-off into a 56 sprint to the house. He’s scored three touchdowns in the past two weeks and should find success in a game the Cardinals are expected to throw heavily in, especially if the struggling Saints can find their footing and put some points on the board. Despite the Saints offensive struggles of late, this division matchup has a decent chance to turn into a high scoring shootout in the weather element free dome.
Ertz has been a huge part of the Eagles game plan in recent weeks and injuries to the offense should force more work upon him. Running back Darren Sproles has been a jack of all trades on this field this year, but Redskins safety Deshazor Everett did his best Queen of Hearts impression by trying to decapitate Sproles on a punt return. The monster hit left Sproles with a concussion, leaving him highly unlikely to suit up in Baltimore. Ertz is the most likely candidate to receive the dink and dunk targets Sproles will be leaving behind. Zach has caught 19 of 28 targets in the past two weeks and appears to have supplanted Jordan Mathews as Carson Wentz most reliable target. The Ravens have statistically done well against tight ends this year, but they haven’t played against many quality ones. The Ertz burst should continue into Week 15.
Crowell has silently run the ball well in 2016, it’s hard to gain any praise when your team has yet to win a game entering Week 15. The Crow was cawing vociferously early in the year, scoring three touchdowns in his first four games. He’s gotten back on track recently scoring double digit fantasy points the past two weeks. Robert Griffin back under should help Crowell’s cause; defenses will have to respect his rushing ability leaving Crowell more room to maneuver. The Bills have allowed the fifth most rushing yards and second most rushing touchdowns this year. Both of these teams will try to win this game on the ground but the Crow should be flying.
When looking for a fantasy defense this time of year it’s important to find a home team with a lot to play for against a team that does not. The Ravens have entered must win territory while it appears the Eagles have begun phoning it in like most of Johnny Depp’s recent performances. Although, he did crush it in “Black Mass.” The Ravens lead the league in least rushing yards allowed meaning rookie Carson Wentz is going to be forced to throw far more often than the Eagles prefer. Wentz has eight turnovers in his past four games and ripe for more picking in Baltimore this Sunday.