Here’s the breakdown for the Week 15 one-day slate that kicks off on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Cash Game Roster Construction
As always, I’ll start with the cheapest viable options (listed below), then build from there.
- Baker Mayfield, Browns: $6,400 DraftKings; $7,800 FanDuel (at Broncos)
Mayfield leads the league in yards per attempt since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator. Mayfield faces a Chris Harris-less Broncos defense that gave up more yards to one player in the first half last week than Sam Darnold (170) or Case Keenum threw for in the entire game.
- Elijah McGuire, Jets: $3,800 DraftKings; $5,700 FanDuel (vs. Texans)
- Phillip Lindsay, Broncos: $7,200 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel (vs. Browns)
- Nick Chubb, Browns: $7,600 DraftKings; $8,000 FanDuel (at Broncos)
Along with DeAndre Hopkins, Chubb and Lindsay have top-three median projections among non-quarterbacks while McGuire has the top Projected Plus/Minus on the slate as he takes over the lead role in the backfield for the injured Isaiah Crowell (ankle), so this is essentially your cash-game backfield.
- Robby Anderson, Jets: $4,200 DraftKings (vs. Texans)
- Jermaine Kearse, Jets: $4,700 FanDuel (vs. Texans)
- DaeSean Hamilton, Broncos: $4,600 DraftKings; $5,300 FanDuel (vs. Browns)
- Courtland Sutton, Broncos: $5,000 DraftKings; $6,500 FanDuel (vs. Browns)
Quincy Enunwa (ankle) was ruled out, and his absence opens up value in the Jets receiving corps.
Anderson leads the team in market share of air yards by more than 10% and has a top-two Plus/Minus at the position on DraftKings. Kearse is second on the team in target share (18%) after Enunwa and is a better value on FanDuel. The Texans rank 27th, 25th and 17th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA vs. No. 1, No. 2 and “other” wide receivers, respectively.
Emmanuel Sanders’ season-ending Achilles injury also continues to open up value in the Broncos pass-catcher corps. Sutton is top three by Projected Plus/Minus and Pts/Sal at the position on both sites. You’re essentially paying for Sutton’s upside at this point — he’s failed to clear 14 yards in two of his past three games — but it’s there against a Browns pass defense that won’t be as formidable without No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward (concussion).
- Christopher Herndon, Jets: $3,000 DraftKings; $5,700 FanDuel (vs. Texans)
Herndon is cheap enough on DraftKings to give him the top Projected Plus/Minus at the position against a Houston defense that’s been sliced up by tight ends all season (27th in DVOA). I think I’m going to end up with Herndon ranked higher than David Njoku — Herndon’s target share over the past six weeks (14%) is actually greater than Njoku’s (13%). Herndon is $300 less than Njoku on FanDuel, so if you are going to roll with Njoku, that’s the better site to do it.
- Texans: $3,600 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel (at Jets)
As the team with by far the largest spread facing the NFL leader in interceptions (Darnold has 15), the Texans should be the only D/ST we consider in cash. (The guy who placed a high-five-figure wager on Houston would probably agree.)
It’s pretty straightforward this time around: Plug in Hopkins in place of Hamilton on DraftKings and Sutton on FanDuel.
- Deshaun Watson and Mayfield have the top outlooks on the slate in terms of raw projection, but of the two underdog quarterbacks, our NFL Player Models give Keenum an edge of more than four points in projected ceiling on both sites, though if you’re multi-entering, I’d have at least one Darnold lineup. He’s the cheapest quarterback on the slate and faces a Texans defense that sets up as a run funnel (second in rushing DVOA, 16th in passing).
- Alfred Blue has been logging anywhere from six to 15 carries as Lamar Miller’s backup and has handled a third of the carries inside the 5-yard line, which is enough to put him into large-field consideration on a two-game slate.
- Devontae Booker played 17 snaps to Royce Freeman’s nine last week, but if Denver keeps this game close, by say, not giving up 215 yards to one player in a half, then Freeman could be a sneaky leverage play against a leaky Browns run defense that’s 26th in DVOA.
- With Mayfield balling for Cleveland and Harris out for Denver, it’s probable that at least one Browns receiver puts up big numbers. Jarvis Landry directly benefits from Harris’ absence in the slot and has the second-highest ceiling projection on the slate at his position. That said, there’s been no such thing as a confident Browns pass catcher projection since Kitchens took over, as Landry’s team-leading target share over that span sits at just 19% compared to 30% pre-Kitchens. Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins and Breshad Perriman all have target shares between 8% and 12% since Kitchens took over, with Perriman holding a somewhat surprising slight lead in air-yard share (18%) over Callaway (17%) and Higgins (12%). All Browns supplementary pass catchers are high-leverage dart throws on a slate where Njoku and Landry figure to dominate ownership.
- Undrafted free agent Tim Patrick doesn’t have the draft pedigree of Sutton or Hamilton, and that combined with Hamilton catching a touchdown last week likely means Patrick will be the lowest owned of the three. But Patrick shouldn’t be overlooked in tournaments after dominating air-yard share (48%) and target share (25%) in last week’s loss to San Fran.
- The Houston tight ends are in play for tournaments. Ryan Griffin popped for a 5-80 line last week and costs only $2,800 on DraftKings and $4,700 on FanDuel. Griffin is second on the Texans after Hopkins in targets inside the 20 with 10, though he’s caught only two with none going for touchdowns while fellow tight end Jordan Thomas is third with seven red-zone targets but has caught six with four going for scores. Both players provide leverage on the more expensive Texans skill players.
- From a tournament perspective, the best play after the Texans looks like the Jets. Among potential outcomes on this slate, the Jets doing well would run most contrary to consensus opinion, and you also have the built-in sack upside against a Deshaun Watson, who has 46 sacks taken are second-most in the league.
Let’s get this shmoney!
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Chris Raybon is a Senior Editor at the Action Network and a co-host of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2010 — even the kneel downs. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRaybon and read about how he quit his accounting job and got paid to watch sports.
Pictured above: Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10)
Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports