NFL DFS: Cash Game Plays for Week 15by Joe Ricotta December 20, 2020 0 comments
Nearing the end of the regular season, we are running out of time to take full advantage of NFL DFS. Of course, it is still available throughout the playoffs, but things can get wonky real fast with only two or four games on the slate. Crack open a cold one (or brew a cup of coffee) and let’s dive into this week’s 11-game slate.
The cash game article’s goal is to outline some safe plays while also providing options that will help you create the most optimal builds. The whole point is for us to make some money.
Sometimes we won’t, but putting ourselves in the best position to do so is the most important part. That should go without saying but can sometimes get overshadowed by the results on a week to week basis. Cash Games are basically H2Hs, 50/50s, and Double-Ups. The amount of winnings might be limited but have a higher probability of hitting.
Everyone wants to know how many points a guy scored and not necessarily the route that took them there. DFS is not only a science but a math equation. Let’s dive in, put the pieces together, and try to solve it. Here are my favorite NFL DFS Cash Game Plays for Week 15.
As always, there will be a next to a few of my favorite options. All of the guys mentioned are viable for cash games, but the ones with that will be fixtures in my main lineup.
Lamar Jackson ($7,500 DK, $8,200 FD)
After running his butt off the field with (stomach) “cramps,” Jackson showed last Monday Night that pooping really solves a lot of (t)issues. While Jackson has disappointed many season-long fantasy owners who drafted him at a high slot in their leagues, he’s picking up steam late in the year and showing why he was taken so high. In the past two games, he has combined for 218 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He and the Baltimore Ravens should be able to do whatever they want in a home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who rank second-worst in pass DVOA. The rushing ability (combined with the positive passing matchup) makes Jackson very appealing.
Jalen Hurts ($5,900 DK, $6,900 FD)
The pain I feel for the missed opportunity to play Hurts at the low price of $5,100 last week can’t quite be put into words. Along with his college track record, my gut was telling me his rushing upside outweighed the tough matchup he faced against a good New Orleans Saints defense. However, I couldn’t pull the trigger given other unknown information. Now with a game under his belt and seeing him rush 18 times for 106 yards, hitting the DraftKings 100-yard bonus last week, it’s fair to say he has a high floor as a fantasy quarterback. Even if he only runs the ball 10-12 times, that’ll do the job.
Derrick Henry ($9,500 DK, $10,200 FD)
I guess December Henry (D-Henber or however you spell the actual nickname) is more than just a narrative and fun historical split stat to look at. The guy is absolutely smashing and ripping apart more DFS bankrolls than the IRS. Last week, he ran for 215 yards and two scores against the Jags and has now rushed for over 100 yards in four of the last five games. He needs only nine yards to eclipse his personal best single-season rushing yards mark of 1,540 he set a year ago, and an average of 156 rushing yards in his last three games to reach the 2,000-yard rushing mark—a truly remarkable feat reached by only seven running backs in NFL history. The Detroit Lions put up very little resistance on the ground, averaging the second-most DK points allowed to the running back position.
Alvin Kamara ($7,400 DK, $7,800 FD)
Cash Game contests should come preloaded with a “play Alvin Kamara” disclaimer before entering them. As soon as the news broke that Drew Brees was returning this week, and Michael Thomas was ruled out, Kamara basically became a free square. How can a guy that is in the mid-$7,000 range be a free square? That’s because he should be priced where Henry and Dalvin Cook are. In games Drew Brees has started, and Michael Thomas has missed, Kamara has averaged a 26 percent team target share and 35 percent total opportunities average market share. He’s also averaged over 29 DK points in those contests. Kamara is my lock of the week and he should be yours as well.
Cam Akers ($6,600 DK, $6,700 FD)
These last couple of weeks, it’s been the Cam Akers coming out party. He’s been getting the coach’s stamp of approval many of us have been waiting for all season. On Thursday Night Football in Week 14, Akers rushed 29 times for 171 yards and broke off large run after large run. In the last two games, he’s accounted for 75.3 percent of the team’s rushing attempts and 41.8 percent of the entire offense. The Los Angeles Rams have the third-highest implied team total on the slate.
Surprisingly, the New York Jets haven’t been a complete train wreck when it comes to stopping the run. They rank dead last in pass DVOA (28.9 percent) but eighth in rush DVOA (-19.3 percent). However, the Rams wide receivers aren’t coming in at a value salary-wise, and it’s difficult to predict whether it will be Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp having the better game. We also can’t trust the Jets’ offense to keep pace and force the Rams to throw the ball in the second half. For that reason, and to still get exposure to the Rams high implied points total, let’s roll with the impressive rookie in a matchup he should do the heavy lifting in.
Jonathan Taylor ($7,200 DK, $7,400 FD)
Speaking of rookies bursting onto the scene, Taylor comes to mind. JT has a 33 percent average opportunity market share over the last three games he’s played. That’s a huge chunk of the Colts’ offense. The next closest player is running back Nyheim Hines at 15.6 percent, then T.Y. Hilton at 12.5 percent. In those three games, Taylor has carried the ball 55 times for 331 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.02 per carry. He gets a juicy matchup this week against the Houston Texans, who have allowed the second-most yards per carry and yards per game on the ground.
Brandon Aiyuk ($6,300 DK, $6,900 FD)
Aiyuk’s price tag has been on the rise recently, and for a good reason. His targets and production have been on the rise as well. He’s received a whopping 49 targets in his last four games, good enough for a 29.7 average team target share during that stretch. And it’s not just the volume either. Aiyuk has exploded for at least 75 receiving yards in each of his last five games and at least 90 receiving yards in four of those five contests. If the trend continues, he could be the top-scoring WR on the entire slate at a high-end WR2 price tier. The Cowboys are 23rd in pass DVOA and have allowed the seventh-most DK points to opposing wideouts. Without Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, lock him in.
Emmanuel Sanders ($4,200 DK, $5,500 FD)
Not only is Kamara in a great spot with the return of Brees and the loss of Thomas. Sanders should see an uptick in volume as well. In games that Brees has played and Thomas hasn’t, Sanders has a 22 percent average target share. The Kansas City Chiefs have given up the second-fewest DK points to opposing wideouts this year. Nonetheless, whenever you can get a player at this price tag projected to receive nine targets in a game with a 52.5 Over/Under, you take it.
Travis Kelce ($8,000 DK, $8,500 FD)
As Kelce’s production has continued to be otherworldly, his price has skyrocketed. You’d be hard-pressed ever to find a tight end this expensive. However, he’s as safe as it gets and is on pace to break the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. If you want to pay up for Kelce and lock in the points at an otherwise terrible tight end position, you’ll hear no arguments from me.
Cole Kmet ($3,000 DK, $5,100 FD)
If you’re spending down at the tight end spot, look no further than Kmet. For the second week in a row, he garnered seven targets from Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears quarterback has pined for them to use more of Kmet. He’s been getting a lot of volume and playing a ton of snaps the past few weeks. He’s also been very impressive with the ball in his hands, racking up yards after the catch. Kmet is averaging 5.2 yards after the catch per reception. In comparison, the best tight end on the planet, the aforementioned Travis Kelce, is averaging 5.6. Fellow tight end Jimmy Graham is questionable to play with a hip injury that limited him in practice on Thursday and Friday. If he misses, that will open up the floodgates for Kmet to have a huge game. Even if Graham plays, Kmet should still be in a good position to produce, especially at his cheap salary.
Atlanta Falcons ($2,300 DK, $3,500 FD)
While Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are more than capable of carving up this defensive unit, the 43-year-old signal-caller has thrown the fifth-most interceptions this year.
Tennessee Titans ($3,400 DK, $3,900 FD) – Mainly a FanDuel option
In tournaments on DraftKings, the Titans defense is a fine play, but a better Cash Game play on FanDuel. Matthew Stafford plans to tough it out and play despite his torn rib cartilage and right thumb injury. The Titans rank last in adjusted sack rate, but the Lions are 22nd in that category on the offensive side of the ball, and they throw the ball at the eighth-highest percentage. Something has to give. Give me the cheap defense for a chance at sacks and interceptions.
Other Options: Washington Football Team, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks