Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 15

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Johnny's Cash Game Plays: Week 15

This week feels extra chalky to me with a long list of obvious plays, but since my role here on the DFS side of things is limited and I’m just a side contributor, all I really care about is getting my picks right and listing players who produce, so this column will be chalky.

QUARTERBACKS

Kyler Murray (Ari vs. Phi - $7000 on DK and $8000 on FanDuel) - I actually don’t have him as a good value this week, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad play. With or without Darius Slay (but especially without, if that’s the case), I like Murray this week. All the signs are there that he’s trending upwards after he put up 13/47 rushing last week (after putting up only 15/61 rushing in his previous FOUR games combined). He also put up a serviceable 7.0 YPA in Week 14 after sitting at just 5.3 YPA in the previous three weeks. The Eagles may go with a lot of zone if Slay is out, but no Slay can’t be bad news for Murray. If Slay is in, they may go man-to-man, which they run more than just 4-5 other teams. Playing man has opened them up to some big rushing performances from some dual-threat QBs like Taysom Hill (5/33), Daniel Jones (13/156/1 in two games), and Lamar Jackson (9/108/1). I think Kyler is a lock for 20+ points this week, and I’m thinking he’ll go over 25 FP with some street free agent types likely playing a lot in the secondary this week for the Eagles.

Drew Brees (NO vs. KC - $5900 on DK and $7500 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-6 value on both sites, but he's a better value on DK (third-best). He’s no lock with Taysom Hill available off the bench and with Michael Thomas out, but when I plugged in some very fair projection numbers for Brees, he stood out as a solid value. It’s not like he has no weapons. Brees in his previous four games has a completion rate of 77% and he averaged 2.3 TD passes per game, despite throwing only 30 passes a game. But the Saints will need 30+ points to keep up with the Chiefs, who have given up 2 TD passes or more in five straight games with 22+ FP in 4 of their last 5.

Jalen Hurts (Phi at Ari - $5900 on DK and $6900 on FanDuel) - He’s the #1 value on FanDuel and top-4 on both sites. He was here last week with a tougher matchup and he came through, so I’m back on the bandwagon in Week 15. His 18 carries last week were really 15, but that’s still the second-most QB rushing attempts in a game over the last six seasons. I like the Cardinals offense in this one, so I think Hurts will have to throw it more than he did last week, and QBs are completing 70% of their passes against the Cards the last four weeks. Arizona may opt to play more zone this week, but on the season they have played more man coverage than all but one team, ironically, the Saints. Hurts ran for 106 yards against those Saints last week, of course. The Cardinals had allowed 35+ rushing yards or a rushing TD to opposing QBs in five straight games before last week, but Daniel Jones had several chances to take off for long runs, which he would have if he were healthy. More passing attempts also means more running opportunities for Hurts, who looks like a lock for another 20+ FP day.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Josh Allen (Buf at Den - $7200 on DK and $8400 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on FanDuel (second-best) and the seventh-best value on DK. The Broncos have been fairly stingy on defense, but they currently have FIVE corners on IR, plus S Jeff Heath, so they are hurting big time. The Broncos are giving up a solid 5/27 rushing per game to QBs their last four games and Allen put up 9/56 rushing in this matchup last year along with 185/2 passing on only 25 attempts. He’s averaging 39 attempts the last four weeks with 40+ in 3 of his last 4. He should get to 20 FP easily, and there’s always 25+ point potential.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Mitchell Trubisky (Chi at GB - $5500 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-5 value on DK and a top-7 value on FanDuel. He’s not easy to trust and he didn’t get it done for me two weeks ago when he was in this article. But he did play well in that Week 13 game against the Lions (they scored 3 TDs with their RBs). He has now finished as a top-10 QB in half of his starts this year (6), so there is upside to be had. I don’t think David Montgomery will roll in the running game in this one, making Trubisky more important, and it looks like LB Eric Kendricks will miss another game, which is huge. Trubisky said this week they are starting to call more plays he’s comfortable with, and it’s showing. At the very least, for example on DK, he’s a great bet for 16.5 FO, which would represent 3x return.

Teddy Bridgewater (Car at GB - $5300 on DK and $7300 on FanDuel) - He’s the top value on the board this week on DK and he’s top-7 on both sites. Teddy hasn’t been terribly reliable, but he’s at a 73% completion rate in three of his last four, and he has a rushing TD in three of his last four. It would really help if he had Curtis Samuel, who was added to the injury report Thursday with a hamstring, but barring a pre-game setback I’d think Samuel will play. It’s not the greatest matchup, but I expect Teddy to throw the ball 35+ times while likely playing from behind, and with DJ Moore back and Robby Anderson still rolling, 16+ FP should be extremely doable for Teddy B. The weather will be fine, low-30s with relatively light wind.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

None of note.

OTHER QB PLAYS I’M INTO THIS WEEK

Philip Rivers (QB, vs. Hou - $5900 on DK and $7100 on FanDuel) - Usually has limited upside, but playing really well and this is a good spot.

RUNNING BACKS

Jonathan Taylor (Ind at LV - $5700 on DK and $6400 on FanDuel) - He will be popular, but popular for a reason: he’s really, really good and is now finding some rhythm in this Colts running game with some actual volume. He’s still not seeing a ton of snaps, with a 56% snap share against the Raiders last week, but he’s now maximizing his touches, and it’s not just the soft matchups he’s had his last two games, either. Taylor is legitimately showing better patience and vision, and he continues to catch literally everything thrown at him (except one ball all year). Taylor has 55/331/2 rushing (6.2 YPC) and 9/83/1 receiving for 22.8 FPG over his last three games, which makes him the RB3 in that span. The top-3 RBs on the season have an average salary of $8600 (and the top-2 have an average of $9250 (Henry and Cook), yet Taylor is reasonably priced at $7200. That’s not a great, great bargain, and he’s no lock for 20+ FP. But the matchup is so good that 150+ total yards and at least 1 TD seems to be inevitable.

JK Dobbins (Bal vs. Jax - $5900 on DK and $5900 on FanDuel) - He’s the second-best value on FanDuel, and the eighth-best value on DK. There hasn't been a very dramatic shift in roles over the last few weeks, but I now view Dobbins as the main guy, or at least I’m 90% sure he’s the main guy. The Ravens are giving Mark Ingram (or “Big Truss”) ceremonial starts the last two weeks, but it’s been Dobbins (37 snaps last week) and Gus Edwards (16). Dobbins has scored in three straight games, and the Jaguars are giving up 167 rushing yards and 1.0 rushing TDs per game over the last four weeks. A full blowup is coming, and this could be it.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Derrick Henry (Ten, at Jax - $8700 on DK and $8600 on FanDuel) - At this point, it feels like one cannot compete in a cash game without Henry - at least this week against the hapless Lions. The Lions are giving 112.2 rushing yards per game (5th-most) and a league-high 23 RB touchdowns. If Matthew Stafford can’t go or is limited, Henry may get 30+ carries. Expecting 25+ FP is a tall order for anyone, but we all know it’s probably coming this week.

Alvin Kamara (NO, vs. KC - $7400 on DK and $7800 on FanDuel) - Once I updated our projections on Friday to account for Drew Brees’ return to the lineup, Kamara shot up to the #1 value at RB on both sites. Kamara was averaging 7.4 catches a game for 70.4 yards on 9 targets a game with Brees. While those numbers were boosted because Michael Thomas was mostly out of the lineup, Thomas is out again and the Saints are going to have to throw it a lot to win this one, most likely, so 6+ catches seems very likely.

Aaron Jones (GB, vs. Min - $7300 on DK and $8200 on FanDuel) - Every once in a while, I will hang my hat on the old “he’s due” thing, and this is one of those cases. Jones is overdue for a big game, and I think it’s coming in this one. The Panthers are allowing a TD per game with 139.2 scrimmage yards per game to RBs. All Jones did in this matchup last year is turn 13 carries into 93 rushing yards (7.2 YPC) and 3 TDs. 20+ FP is probably too much to ask, but I’ll use Jones because 100+ total yards and 2 TDs would not surprise me in the slightest.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Leonard Fournette (TB, vs. Min - $7300 on DK and $8200 on FanDuel) - We all know what we’re getting into with Leonard, right? He could be benched in the first quarter. Or, he could get 25+ touches and total 150+ yards and 2 TDs. He’s here for the latter, of course. Fournette was a healthy scratch coming out of their Week 13 last week, so this could be his only chance to prove to HC Bruce Arians that he needs to remain in the mix. Assuming Ronald Jones is out (and bail on Fournette if he’s not), I like Fournette’s chances with volume. The Bucs aren’t going to put rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn (only 1 carry with Fournette out last week) out there much, and LeSean McCoy can’t handle much more than the third-down role. The Falcons have been tough to run on, but I think Leonard can wear them down and get it done in the second half - if he gets the ball. One thing’s for sure: the Falcons offense is in trouble this week, which should help LF.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

None of note.

OTHER RB PLAYS I’M INTO THIS WEEK

Jeff Wilson (SF, at Dal - $5100 on DK and $5800 on FanDuel) - Little pricey, but I would not be surprised at all if he ran for 80+ and a TD.

Kenyan Drake (Ari, vs. Phi - $5500 on DK and $6600 on FanDuel) - Eagles have good run D, but I think the Cards will move the ball well.

Cam Akers (LAR, vs. NYJ - $6600 on DK and $6700 on FanDuel) - Pricey and the Jets are respectable against the run, but I have to think the Rams keep feeding him the ball to get him rolling for the playoffs.

D’Andre Swift (Det, vs. Phi - $6400 on DK and $6700 on FanDuel) - Pricey for sure and stud C Ragnow is out, but I think he will be unleashed this week and he can catch 5-6 balls easily in this one. But I’d remove him from the equation if Matthew Stafford is out.

Gus Edwards (Bal, vs. Phi - $6400 on DK and $6700 on FanDuel)

WIDE RECEIVERS

Brandon Aiyuk (SF, vs. Was - $6300 on DK and $6900 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-7 value on both sites. I cannot get enough of this guy and he’s making it look easy. He’s averaging 12.3 targets per game with a 30% target share in his last four games with 75+ yards, 5+ catches, and 19+ FP in each game with 3 TDs. The scary thing is he’s being held back by his QB Nick Mullens. Dallas has been suffering from defensive breakdowns all year, and they’re giving up a league-high 1.7 TDs per game to WRs. Given his role and skills, he is a mortal lock for 12+ FP if he’s healthy, and all he needs is a TD most likely to get him up over 20 FP.

TY Hilton (Ind, vs. Hou - $5500 on DK and $6800 on FanDuel) - He’s a better value on DK, but a top-10 value on both sites. I’ve been backing TY against the Texans for almost a decade now, and doing so has actually helped pay for my middle son’s college education. Hilton has looked very good on film the last 2-3 weeks and he’s hit 18+ FP in three straight with 80+ yards and a TD in those games. He’s averaging 19.2 FPG in his last 12 games in this matchup, which is insane, so needless to say Hilton’s confidence will be high. No top corner Bradley Roby for the Texans will help.

DJ Moore (Car, at GB - $5200 on DK and $7000 on FanDuel) - He’s a way better value on DK, FYI. He’s risky coming off his injury and the covid list, but there’s a nice reward if he can score. I do think he’ll see less of top corner Jaire Alexander than Robby Anderson, and Moore had posted 4+ catches and 60+ yards in three straight before their Week 13 bye. Curtis Samuel is questionable and Christian McCaffrey is still out, so Moore’s got a real chance to help you with more than 3X return if he can pop for a big play TD.

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

None of note.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Emmanuel Sanders (NO, vs. KC - $4200 on DK and $5500 on FanDuel) - He’s the #2 value on DK and a top-5 value on both sites. Drew Brees is probably feeling some heat from Taysom Hill and the competitor in him wants to keep battling for his job, so I think he will be looking for this savvy veteran a lot this week. Sanders averaged 5.0/57.0/.5 receiving on 6.8 targets per game in six full games with Brees earlier this season, which mostly came with Thomas out of the lineup. That’s fine because Thomas is out of the lineup again this week. If Sanders finds the endzone he will be a great play, since 5-6 grabs are highly likely.

Lynn Bowden (Mia, vs. NE - $3600 on DK and $5000 on FanDuel) - He’s the top value at WR as I write this for DK, but a much less appealing bargain on FanDuel. Their injury receivers haven’t been ruled out, but none are locked in to play. Bowden should be active no matter what as their slot WR. He’s put up 11/123 receiving on 13 targets and he’s flashed nicely. 4-5 catches are likely and if he scores then he goes off a little for you.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

None of note.

OTHER WR PLAYS I’M INTO THIS WEEK

Justin Jefferson (Min, vs. Chi - $7300 on DK and $7600 on FanDuel) - He did crush them in Week 10 with 8/135 on 10 targets.

Tyreek Hill (KC, at NO - $8800 on DK and $9300 on FanDuel) - Are the Saints going to try to stay playing man-to-man against Tyreek and this offense? I’m not sure, but I’d like to find out while Tyreek is in my lineup because they probably will try it.

Terry McClaurin (Was, vs. Sea - $6600 on DK and $6900 on FanDuel) - He’s a bit of a contrarian play, since he’s been really bad the last two games. Seattle’s defense has really improved, but they are still beatable and McClaurin has a better chance of making downfield plays with Dwayne Haskins, actually.

Corey Davis (Ten, at NO - $5800 on DK and $6800 on FanDuel) - Lions corners are not good, so he’s a nice play IF Matthew Stafford plays.

TIGHT ENDS

HIGHER-END GUYS I’M OKAY WITH

Mark Andrews (Bal, vs Jax - $5500 on DK and $6800 on FanDuel) - He’s a way better value on FanDuel, FYI. But I’ll list him for both sites because 2-TD candidates aren’t easy to find, and Andrews is one this week. Andrews has 5+ catches and 60+ yards with 12+ FP in his last three healthy games, and while Myles Jack has looked very good this year and will give Andrews problems at times, the Jaguars have given up a TD to a TE in three straight, and Hollywood Brown isn’t exactly ready to put this passing game on his back.

TJ Hockenson (Det, at Ten - $5000 on DK and $6000 on FanDuel) - I’m assuming Matthew Stafford will play, which is not a lock, so check Stafford’s status this weekend and Sunday morning before using him. But TJH had a season-high 11 targets last week and he now had nine double-digit FP performances in 12 games with 7+ targets and 4+ catches in four straight games. The last time the Titans faced off against a top TE target it was Week 11 and Mark Andrews put up 5/96/1 on 7 targets. 15+ FP is a lot to ask, so he may not be a brilliant pick, but the guy’s getting 10 FP at least.

BARGAIN BASEMENT GUYS

Robert Tonyan (GB, vs. Car - $4500 on DK and $6500 on FanDuel) - He’s the sixth-best value on both sites. Aaron Rodgers’ trust in his secondary receivers shifts on a weekly basis, if not more often, yet his confidence in the man he calls “Bobby T” is high, or else he wouldn’t bother calling him “Bobby T.” Tonyan has a TD and 13+ FP in four straight games along with a 95% catch rate, so Rodgers is feeling it with his boy Bobby T right now. The matchup is sublime, as the Panthers have been awful against the TE all year. They are giving up 6.8/77/.8 the last four weeks to the position, good for a whopping 18.9 FP. Last week, even with Noah Fant going down early, backup scrubs Nick Vannett and Troy Fumagalli combined for 8/73/1 receiving in this matchup.

Jared Cook (NO, vs. KC - $3400 on DK and $5600 on FanDuel) - Once Michael Thomas was ruled out, Cook needed to be added to the Week 14 TE list. When I updated Cook’s projections, he came in as the top TE value on DK and the sixth-best value on FanDuel. Cook actually has a TD the last two weeks, but on only three catches. Targets have been a problem all year, but matched up against the potent Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes on the other side, Cook could easily see 5-7 looks this week, especially since the Chiefs have been getting crushed by TEs lately. In their last four games, they’re giving up an incredible 8/5/104/1 to TEs. A similar player in Mike Gesicki padded those numbers last week with 5/65/2 in less than four quarters against the Chiefs last week.

Irv Smith (Min, vs. Chi - $3600 on DK and $5400 on FanDuel) - He’s a top-4 value on both sites. Nothing is guaranteed for Irv, but he did look great last week putting up 4/63/1 against the Buccaneers with Kyle Rudolph (foot) out, and Rudolph is out again. Irv’s snaps will likely rise this week (backup Tyler Conklin played more snaps last week, 57% to 35%), another week removed from his layoff, and the Bears have allowed 50+ receiving yards and/or a TD to the TE in 12 of their 14 games this season, and it should have been 13-of-14, as a wide-open Jordan Akins failed to haul in an endzone ball against the Bears last week. In their last four games, the Bears are giving up 6.5/72/.8, good for a healthy 18.0 FPG. Irv will need to score to come through most likely, but 4-5 catches for 50+ yards is very doable. If he scores, then he’s a great pick.

PRIMETIME GUYS I LIKE

None of note.

OTHER TE PLAYS I’M INTO THIS WEEK

Dan Arnold (Ari, vs. Phi - $3500 on DK and $5200 on FanDuel) - Boom or bust, but he’s been booming lately and their LBs may have problems with his speed.

Sample Lineups

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.

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