The 2020-21 NFL season has kicked off and there are huge Week 15 DFS contests being offered on FanDuel with big prize pools and exciting new formats such as Best Ball.
In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.
Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats, which require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risks in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick-off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
NFL DFS WEEK 15 FANDUEL BEST CONTESTS
Sunday Million: $4.44 entry, $1.5M guaranteed – $1,000,000 to 1st!
Sunday Bomb: $55 entry, $375k guaranteed – $100,000 to 1st!
Sunday Rush: $9 entry, $200k guaranteed
Best Play: Lamar Jackson ($8.2k)
If Jackson is our top play at DraftKings this week, you can bet that he’ll be our top play at 7.3% of the salary cap at FanDuel. The reigning MVP has resumed his elite form as a runner, which is simply DFS gold in FanDuel’s scoring system. He has 218 rushing yards and 3 TDs at a 9.7 YPC clip over his last 2 games and is almost guaranteed to do more work with his legs since the Ravens WR corps has been non-existent and is now ridden with COVID. The Jaguars rank 31st in DVOA pass defense, 24th in rush defense, and dead last in total DVOA defense per Football Outsiders. They are allowing a 4.4 YPC clip to opposing QBs this year and coughing up 5.2 YPC over their last 3 contests.
Value Play: Jalen Hurts ($6.9k)
For $1.3k cheaper than Jackson, Jalen Hurts also gives you a good floor for your lineups due to his rushing prowess. Coming off a stellar performance in which he rushed for 106 yards and took zero negative plays against the Saints’ league-leading rushing defense, Hurts now faces a Cardinals team that has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (316) to QBs. Arizona has the sixth-most sacks (37) this season and the Eagles offensive line is atrocious, which counter-intuitively, could play into Hurts’ favor again by forcing him to scramble for valuable yards.
GPP Play: Taysom Hill ($7.5k)
It’s a running QB kind of week at FanDuel. Hill is yet another athletic QB with the potential to exceed value by gaining yards and TDs via the ground game. The Chiefs have yielded 4.8 YPC over their last 3 games and have allowed the second-most rushing TDs (5) to QBs this season. Hill has proven to be an effective pocket passer in Sean Payton’s adjusted offense and should see plenty of volume in a game with a 51.5-point implied total.
Fade: Deshaun Watson ($8.1k)
As good as Watson may be, even he can’t overcome his circumstances. He’s playing behind a porous offensive line with 2 of his starter WRs out, while Brandin Cooks (foot) and Keke Coutee (knee) are also banged up. Watson recently managed to tag the Colts for 341 passing yards and a rushing TD, but couldn’t convert in the red zone against their speedy defense. The Colts are holding opposing QBs to the second-lowest passer rating (75.9) in home games.
Best Play: David Montgomery ($7.3k)
Obviously Derrick Henry ($10.2k) is the top RB play this week against the porous Lions defense. But if you’re looking to pay up at WR and save at RB, both Montgomery and Jonathan Taylor ($7.4k) offer great per-dollar value. On a Bears offense that’s trending up, Montgomery is seeing a 73.7% snap share and his usage in the passing game has increased considerably with Mitchell Trubisky under center. Montgomery has now run the second-most routes (307) among RBs and the Vikings D has funneled 91 targets to backs this season.
Value Play: Jeff Wilson ($5.8k)
If Raheem Mostert (ankle) is active, Wilson will see lower ownership and thus become an even better play. But the Niners coaching staff clearly wants to preserve Mostert anyways by utilizing Wilson in short yardage situations. He’s handled 6 red zone carries over his past 2 appearances and is facing a Cowboys team that’s allowed 50% of TDs from the opposition to come on the ground over their last 3 games. Dallas allows a league-high 166.3 rushing YPG at home and ranks 27th in DVOA rush defense.
GPP Play: Cam Akers ($6.7k)
The Jets are a tough matchup for RBs on paper, but 31.1% of TDs against Gang Green have come on the ground and they seemed to lose their effort in run defense while yielding 4.8 YPC to the Seahawks last week. With DC Gregg Williams fired, this unit is in shambles. Akers played on 82% of offensive snaps last Thursday and has handled 50 carries the past 2 weeks, including a whopping 14 red zone touches.
Fade: Leonard Fournette ($5.5k)
Ronald Jones is dealing with a fractured pinky and is now on the COVID/Reserve list. After he was a healthy scratch last week, we’re still not sold on Fournette as a slam dunk value. Atlanta has been strong in rush defense all year and dynamite under interim HC Raheem Morris. The Falcons are only allow 21% of TDs from visiting teams on the ground and are allowing just 15.7 PPG over their last 3 outings. This is a Bucs team that set an NFL record with just 5 rushing attempts in a blowout loss a few weeks ago and is run by a stubborn pass-first coach in Bruce Arians.
Best Play: A.J. Brown ($8.3k)
With Derrick Henry drawing deserved attention in a beautiful matchup, a Ryan Tannehill stack with Brown and/or Corey Davis ($6.8k) could pay off in tournaments. The Lions have been worse against the pass than against the run lately, coughing up 282 passing YPG and 61.5% of TDs allowed through the air over the past 3 weeks. Brown is set to feast on backups with Desmond Trufant (hamstring) and Jeff Okudah (shoulder) out. If you’re concerned about his ankle injury, target Davis or Jonnu Smith instead, but grab a piece of the Titans passing attack.
Value Play: Brandon Aiyuk ($6.9k)
Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is out for the rest of the year and that secures Aiyuk’s role as lead WR even more. In his last 3 games without Samuel, Aiyuk is averaging 13.3 targets and 95 receiving YPG. The rookie out of Arizona State has played on every offensive snap in 2 of the past 3 weeks and drawn 50 targets over his lats 4 outings. That type of volume is unparalleled and deserves a higher price tag as Aiyuk prepares to face a Cowboys secondary that has been burned by fast WRs all season.
GPP Play: Lynn Bowden ($5.0k)
A true salary saver with a wide range of outcomes, Bowden may fly under the radar if DeVante Parker guts through a hamstring injury this week. Parker would draw coverage from Stephon Gillmore and leave Bowden to hurt the Patriots secondary underneath. With Parker, Jakeem Grant (hamstring) and Mike Gesicki (shoulder) injured during last week’s loss to KC, Bowden turned a team-high 9 targets into 7 catches for 82 yards. New England is allowing the second-fewest YPA (4.3) over the past 3 weeks, so Bowden should have more success in the short areas.
Fade: Calvin Ridley ($8.4k)
Ridley often becomes a popular play when Julio Jones (hamstring) is out, but he could fizzle this week with the Bucs defense adjusting to contain Atlanta’s top option. Tampa has been playing funnel defense to stop the run, but the Falcons rank 28th in DVOA rush offense. Bucs top CB Carlton Davis has been fantastic with 482 routes defended and he should be all over Ridley with safety help over the top. Russell Gage ($5.7k) could provide more per-dollar value if Jones misses another game.
Best Play: Mark Andrews ($6.8k)
Andrews is the best partner to stack with Lamar Jackson and is affordable compared to top TE Travis Kelce ($8.5k). After missing 2 games with COVID, Andrews returned to catch 5 of a team-high 6 targets while playing on 73.6% of offensive snaps. He leads all TEs in Air Yards Share (26.6%) and has a 32.4% target share in the red zone. The Jaguars have allowed the second-most TDs (10) to his position this year.
Value Play: Irv Smith Jr. ($5.4k)
Kyle Rudolph (foot) missed Week 14 and Smith Jr. caught 4-of-4 targets for 63 yards and a TD in a tough matchup at Tampa. Now he’ll face a Bears team that’s coughed up the third-most receptions (74) and fourth-most FD PPG (12.7) to opposing TEs while playing solid coverage on the outside. With opposing defenses selling out to stop Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have the highest percentage of their TDs (87.5%) through the air over their last 3 games.
GPP Play: Jordan Reed ($5.1k)
The Niners are trying to utilize Reed more with several other offensive weapons out due to injury. He ran 29 routes last week but was unable to find much separation against Washington’s elite pass defense. This week he could find success against a Cowboys team that ranks 23rd in DVOA pass defense and yields 2.2 passing TDs per game at home. Reed still has the highest Hog Rate (21.2%) of any TE and is often given an opportunity to produce despite being a part-time player.
Fade: Travis Kelce ($8.5k)
Kelce is a PPR machine and is worth paying up for on sites that award a full point per reception. We’re not willing to bank on him scoring a TD against the tough Saints defense and that would basically be the only way for him to justify this price tag. New Orleans has only allowed 3 passing TDs over the past 3 weeks and allows a modest 9.3 FD PPG to opposing TEs this season.