What a terrible week. Decided to start Greg Olsen over Trey Burton in FanDuel AND my high stakes season long league. Both cost me money. Lots of it. Not the best close to the year.
On the bright side, it’s almost baseball season! Don’t worry, I’m still invested..
A recap of last week’s picks and the winning lineup, then onto the top pivot picks for Week 15 in the NFL FanDuel Sunday Million.
Week 14 Winning Lineup
Total Points: 196.6
Case Keenum: $7,500 salary; 21.2 points; 3% owned
LeSean McCoy: $9,000 salary; 21.6 points; 21.4% owned
Jordan Howard: $7,000 salary; 28 points; 4.8% owned
DeAndre Hopkins: $8,600 salary; 30.4 points; 30.1% owned
Adam Thielen: $7,500 salary; 19.4 points; 12.3% owned
Demaryius Thomas: $6,300 salary; 19.3 points; 1.9% owned
Trey Burton: $4,500 salary; 21.6 points; 2% owned
Harrison Butker: $4,800 salary; 17 points; 11.8% owned
Denver Broncos: $4,700; 18 points; 2.9% owned
Week 14 Picks
Jameis Winston: 16.4 points; 4.8% owned
Carlos Hyde: 13.4 points; 2.7% owned
Robby Anderson: 4.2 points; 5.8% owned
Greg Olsen: 0 points; 2.9% owned
Chalk: Russel Wilson ($8,400), Ben Roethlisberger ($8,000)
Why: With Tom Brady showing some effects of the Achilles injury he suffered a few weeks ago, Russel Wilson is the unquestioned top quarterback play, even in a tough matchup. Big Ben has been playing as well as he’s played in his career, and he’s a pretty good value at $8,000, relatively.
Keenum has taken the Vikings, who went 8-8 last year, to the precipice of a first-round bye and potential home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. But it’s more than just a cute story. Keenum is a legitimate fantasy option, particularly as a weekly differentiation play in this tournament.
Keenum doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but he’s exceeded 17 FanDuel points in every game since Week 8. And even with recent tough matchups in Charlotte and Atlanta, he’s remained serviceable.
The Bengals are a top ten defense by most metrics, but they gave up 33 points to the Bears at home last week. The best quarterbacks they’ve faced this year have all had pretty good games, too. Keenum won’t be their most talented opponent, but certainly better than most.
Joe Flacco has regressed to a position as one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks this year. That alone should keep his ownership under 4%, even in a plus matchup against the Browns.
Flacco’s last two games have been his best this year, though, having thrown for 269 yards and two touchdowns in both Weeks 13 and 14. That includes last week’s matchup in Pittsburgh.
Quarterbacks facing the Browns have a 10-1 touchdown-interception ratio since Week 10, highlighted by a three touchdown performance from Brett Hundley last week. Brett Hudley. At $6,800 and sure to be under 5% owned, Flacco doesn’t have to do much to be a value in Week 15
CHALK: Le’Veon Bell ($9,400), Leonard Fournette ($8,000)
Why: Bell had his best game of the season in Week 14, and he has an even better matchup this week against New England. Leonard Fournette has been hit or miss this year, but the Texans defense won’t scare anyone away in Week 15.
McCaffrey had just 35 yards on eight carries in Week 14. He did catch three balls, but the four targets were his fewest of the year.
This should all be enough to keep McCaffrey under 9% owned on Sunday. And with his typical floor and reasonable salary, that’s all he needs to be appealing.
Green Bay’s rush defense is only slightly below league average, but they’re a better matchup for a pass catching back like McCaffrey. Le’Veon Bell hauled in 12 catches in Week 12, which was obviously the anomaly, but guys like Jerrick McKinnon, Alex Collins, and Duke Johnson have all had big games as well. At an attractive price point and with lower projected ownership than every back priced ahead of him, I like McCaffrey a lot this week,
As you look towards the lower priced options at running backs, few guys offer the upside AND safety of Derick Henry.
Henry and DeMarco Murray have been splitting carries evenly over the past three weeks. But while there is still question over who the lead back in Nashville is, there is no question as to who the most effective member of this backfield is.
Henry is averaging 6.5 yards per carry over the past three weeks, and he’s scored in two consecutive games. Against a 49er team allowing over 120 yards per game, Henry will be really valuable if he can find the end zone just once this weekend.
CHALK: Antonio Brown ($9,300), DeAndre Hopkins ($8,200), Michael Thomas ($8,100)
Why: You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue that Brown and Hopkins aren’t the clear cut best receivers in the game right now. Brown will be one of the two or three highest owned players of the week, and even against the Jaguars Hopkins will be popular. Coming off his best game of the year, Thomas should be higher owned than Hopkins.
Mini Vikings stack this weekend. Adam Thielen has established himself as a top tier wide receiver this year, but I think the matchup with Cincinnati depresses ownership enough to make him attractive in the Week 15 FanDuel Sunday Million.
Thielen went over 100 yards receiving for the third time in six games in Week 14. He posted an inefficient 6-for-13 line, but Carolina is one the league’s best defenses, so that’s excusable.
Despite metrics that favor the Bengals’ secondary, the unit hasn’t shut down any of the elite receivers its faced this year. Thielen might not qualify as such, but he’s pretty darn close. Worth the small gamble this weekend, particularly with Thielen’s high floor.
Westbrook benefits from a good matchup and a low salary on FanDuel, but his ownership should remain below 10% because of his relative anonymity and the persistent lack of confidence in Blake Bortles.
Westbrook is averaging nine targets per game over the past three weeks, and he’s gone over 10 points on FanDuel in the past two. And that includes last week’s matchup with Seattle.
The Texans have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, ranked 26th by FanDuel’s metrics. They haven’t faced a ton of elite guys, but they’ve allowed huge games to receivers like Paul Richardson, Brandin Cooks, T.Y. Hilton and Robert Woods, each of whom hung two touchdowns on Houston.
Dede has a high ceiling this weekend, and should be appealing as long as hie remains below 12-14% owned.
CHALK: Rob Gronkowski ($8,500), Zach Ertz ($7,900)
Why: There are a few overwhelmingly appealing options at tight end in Week 15. I recommend spending up for one of these guys, despite the fact that each will have ownership levels around 20%, if not higher.
Walker isn’t a bad option by any measure this week, and he won’t be particularly low owned as a result. But Walker will take a significant backseat to Gronk and Ertz.
Walker has at least five targets in every game since Week 2, and he’s exceeded nine FanDuel points in five of Tennessee’s last six games.
Mariota should play, but his continued injury problems will send most people looking in another direction. Factor in the fact that tight ends have scored six touchdowns in the past seven games against San Francisco, and Walker is a serviceable, relatively low cost pivot option on Sunday.
Jimmy Graham probably had the worst game of his career on Sunday. Without any context to that statement I can say it confidently, simply because it’s hard to do worse than catch 0 balls for 0 yards and 0 touchdowns.
But after a string of five games in which he faced four top-ten passing defenses, Graham and the Seahawks will get somewhat of a break in Week 15, hosting a Rams team whose secondary is good – but not anywhere near great.
Despite his dud against Jacksonville last week, Graham still has nine touchdowns in his last nine games. Graham’s ownership will be around 11-12%, but he’ll be significantly less popular than Ertz and Gronk. I look for Russell Wilson and the entire Seattle passing game to click on Sunday, and Graham should be a main beneficiary.