As we move into Week 15 of the DFS season, our Sunday slate gets slightly thinner. Besides the weekly Thursday Night Game, there are two games on the Saturday slate in each of the next two weeks. With only 11 games available, the variance of possible plays increases, placing an increased importance on identifying the high-value plays and avoiding the potential high-priced busts.
Here are my early-week targets and fades for an exciting opening week of the seasonal fantasy playoffs.
Tua Tagovailoa ($5700 DK, $7400 FD)
The Dolphins have struggled to establish their running game, which has been a huge boost to their passing attack. Miami ranks seventh in passing percentage per game, and that has coincided with incredible efficiency from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The second-year signal-caller has completed 80% (84-of-105) of his passes over the past three games, with five touchdowns and just one interception. The Dolphins have three running backs in the COVID protocol, which increases the likelihood of passing production.
Wideout Jalen Waddle was just placed in the COVID protocol today, but the return of wide receiver DeVante Parker last week should still provide enough weapons for Tagovailoa to present as a great DFS quarterback value.
Lamar Jackson ($7200 DK, $7700 FD)
Lamar Jackson has experienced a capped upside over the past few weeks, which is even more complicated given his ankle injury. In the Ravens’ last four games, Jackson has produced two low-end QB1 performances, the overall QB17 stat line, and left Week 14 due to injury. He is listed as day-to-day and faces an improved “bend but don’t break” Green Bay defense.
Jackson’s last four games have produced three passing touchdowns and six interceptions. His DFS value has been saved by an average of 74 rushing yards in his last five full games played. The Packers have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, making it tough to recommend Jackson as the fourth-highest-priced quarterback on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Running Back Target
James Robinson ($5,400 DK, $6,300 FD)
What better way to celebrate the Urban Meyer firing than plugging James Robinson into your DFS lineups?
Robinson is the 21st highest-priced RB on DraftKings and 18th on FanDuel. With Meyer-favorite Carlos Hyde in the concussion protocol, Robinson is in the perfect position to receive his highest snap share since Week 6, when he finished as the overall PPR RB11 against Miami.
Houston has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing rushers, including the most (1,676) rushing yards.
Running Back Fade
A.J. Dillon ($5,700 DK, $7,500 FD)
Green Bay running back Aaron Jones finally looked fully recovered from a Week 10 MCL sprain, tallying the overall RB8 PPR performance in last week’s 45-30 win over Chicago. That had a direct impact on A.J. Dillon, who reverted to the overall RB35 after four consecutive weeks of RB2 or better stat lines.
Dillon is primarily used as a between-the-tackles grinder, which is a challenge against a strong Baltimore front seven. The Ravens have allowed the fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing running backs (4for4) and will entice Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to attack a depleted Ravens secondary.
I’m passing on Dillon with Jones now fully back in the Green Bay backfield rotation. He carries an inflated price on both sites due to his skewed uptick in recent production.
Wide Receiver Target
Gabriel Davis ($3,700 DK, $4,900 FD)
Emmanuel Sanders suffered a knee injury against Tampa Bay, putting Gabriel Davis in a fantastic spot against Carolina in Week 15. Buffalo returns home in desperate need of a win after two straight losses. The Panthers have done nothing to inspire confidence, losing three straight games and four of their last five. Their defense, once considered a strength, has allowed an average of 29.7 points in those last three games. The Panthers were one of the league’s best at limiting opposing wideouts but have now fallen to a mediocre 15th after their late-season struggles.
Davis saw a season-high 84% snap share last week and has scored a touchdown in two consecutive games. He rates out as one of the best Pts/Sal players among receivers in our projections.
Wide Receiver Fade
Ja’Marr Chase ($7,100 DK, $7,500 FD)
Ja’Marr Chase had an explosive Week 14, finishing as the overall WR5 with two touchdowns. However, this was an outlier given his struggles in the prior five games. From Week 8 to Week 13, Chase averaged just 40.8 receiving yards per game and failed to record better than the overall WR28 performance.
The Bengals now must travel to Denver in the December cold to battle one of the best pass defenses in the league. The Broncos have allowed the 10th-fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points (4for4) to opposing wideouts and the fewest points to tight ends. The way to attack this Denver defense is on the ground, limiting Chase opportunities even further.
With the development of Tee Higgins, Chase’s early-season production has slowed. His Week 15 cost is simply too high, given the myriad of variables working against him.
Tight End Target
Tyler Higbee ($4,000 DK, $5,200 FD)
Tyler Higbee steps into the perfect DFS scenario in Week 15, looking to finally produce for loyal fantasy players. Higbee has started to produce in the past three weeks, with three overall TE1 performances in the Rams past four games.
He now faces a Seattle defense that has allowed the second-most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing tight ends, only exceeded by Philadelphia. With Odell Beckham joining a myriad of players on the COVID list, this is a golden opportunity for that big Higbee week we’ve all been waiting for. He is our second-highest projected TE play, ahead of the scalding-hot George Kittle on both sites.