2023 Week 15 DFS Early Look


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2023 Week 15 DFS Early Look

Week 14 of the NFL regular season just wrapped up, and that means Week 15 is just around the corner. As my readers likely know, DFS is the best version of fantasy football, and since DraftKings and FanDuel have released their Week 15 prices, it’s time to track down the obvious values and best plays.

Here are the plays that jumped out to me for Week 15 DFS.

Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears (@ CLE)

DraftKings: $7,000 (QB6) | FanDuel: $7,900 (QB6)

Fields has averaged 28.7 DraftKings FPG over his last four games against opponents not named the Minnesota Vikings. He’s put up no less than 46 rushing yards in five straight, and I wouldn’t expect that to change in Week 15 against a Browns defense that ranks top-4 in man coverage usage.

Remember, man coverage means that coverage players have their back turned to the QB while guarding their man one-on-one. Fields averages 23.4 DraftKings FPG and 8.2 rushing FPG against teams that rank top-12 in man coverage usage this season. 23.4 DraftKings FPG is 5% better than Dak Prescott’s season average, and he costs 14% more on DraftKings. I’d expect Fields to (again) be one of the chalkiest QBs of the week against a Browns defense that’s been an above-average schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing QBs on the ground.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Los Angeles Rams (VS. WAS)

DraftKings: $6,000 (QB11) | FanDuel: $7,200 (QB11)

Stafford hadn’t been a popular DFS option over the last six or so weeks primarily due to injury concerns, but it’s safe to say he’s put those concerns to rest after 10 passing touchdowns and 23.7 DraftKings FPG over his last three games. With Stafford once again finding his groove, why wouldn’t we want to play him against the league’s worst passing defense?

The Commanders rank as the single-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing passers (+7.0 passing FPG), and have allowed 22.0 or more DraftKings points to Tommy DeVito, Desmond Ridder, and Geno Smith alongside games of 30.0 or more DraftKings points to Dak Prescott, Justin Fields. Targeting QBs against this Washington defense has been a print fest all year, and that should continue in Week 15 with a healthy Matthew Stafford playing some of his best ball of the season.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, San Francisco 49ers (@ ARI)

DraftKings: $9,300 (RB1) | FanDuel: $10,500 (RB1)

McCaffrey had a down game in Week 14, which still meant 152 YFS and 19.3 DraftKings points – just the third time he failed to crest 20.0 DraftKings points this year. We know CMC offers the best floor and ceiling of any RB in football, especially in a San Francisco offense that looks unstoppable. And his floor and ceiling can only improve against this disaster of an Arizona defense.

The Cardinals are the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing RBs (+5.4 FPG), and the last time these teams played (Week 4), McCaffrey scored 51.7 DraftKings points – the 13th-highest fantasy score by a RB since 2010. CMC is the clear choice if you want to pay up at RB this week in a near-perfect matchup.

James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills (VS. DAL)

DraftKings: $6,300 (RB14) | FanDuel: $7,200 (RB11)

The Bills have turned notably more run-heavy since OC Joe Brady took over, going from a top-5 pass rate over expectation (PROE), to bottom-10 over the last four weeks. That’s been a minor boost for James Cook, but the bigger change for him is the massive increase in goal-line usage.

Since Week 10, Cook has earned a 62% snap share and 58% of backfield usage inside the 10. In Cook’s first nine games, he only managed a 29% snap share and 21% of backfield usage inside the 10. His goal-line role has more than doubled since the offensive coordinator change, but his price hasn’t quite followed. Cook’s matchup with Dallas this week is far from optimal, but he makes up for it with his new-found TD equity in the best offensive environment of the slate.

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers (VS. ATL)

DraftKings: $5,600 (RB19) | FanDuel: $6,700 (RB14)

OC Thomas Brown has called plays in five games this season, and Hubbard has averaged 15.0 XFP/G in those contests (RB12 over the full season). Over the last four weeks, Carolina has been right there as the most run-heavy team in the NFL by pass rate over expectation (PROE). And Hubbard has averaged 18.0 carries per game and 73.3 rushing YPG while scoring over 20.0 DraftKings points twice during that run-heavy stretch. Right now, Hubbard has a far more valuable role than his price implies.

Hubbard’s Week 15 matchup with Atlanta is a mostly neutral one, according to the metrics that matter to me. The game getting away from Carolina is a risk as they are 3.0-point underdogs, but it doesn’t even seem like gamescript can force these Panthers' coaches away from the run. This past Sunday, we saw Carolina lose by 22 points in a game that resulted in Hubbard earning 23 carries – the 2nd-biggest rushing workload of his career.

Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams (VS. WAS)

DraftKings: $7,300 (WR8) | FanDuel: $8,000 (WR7)

Nacua is on pace to tie Ja’Marr Chase’s modern rookie receiving record, and he’s clearly underpriced on this slate – ranking 5th among slate-eligible WRs in DraftKings FPG (18.3) and 4th in XFP/G (18.4), despite being priced as the WR8 by DraftKings salary. But we want to play Nacua this week mainly because of his outstanding matchup.

The Commanders are the 3rd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing outside WRs (+6.9 FPG), and have allowed a league-leading 2.40 YPRR to opposing pass catchers lined up outside. So far this year, 11 different players have gone over 90 receiving yards against Washington, and 10 of those players ran the majority of their routes on the outside. Nacua should be able to do whatever he wants in this spot, and it’s only made more appealing by the game environment, which features the 2nd-highest total of the slate.

Rashee Rice, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (@ NE)

DraftKings: $6,100 (WR15) | FanDuel: $6,500 (WR19)

Don’t look now, but Rashee Rice is finally a full-time player – logging a career-high 82% route share on Sunday. He’s run a route on over 60% of the team’s dropbacks in three straight games, and that’s led to 17.1 XFP/G and 20.4 FPG – marks that rank 11th and 4th among all WRs over the full season. On a per-route basis, Rice is earning targets at a higher rate than Travis Kelce, CeeDee Lamb, and Mike Evans. Now that Rice is a full-time player, we can figure he will be a top-10 fantasy asset at WR for the rest of the season – presenting clear value relative to his Week 15 DFS salaries.

This week, he draws a New England defense that’s been one of the three softest schedule-adjusted matchups for opposing WRs since Week 7. Expect Rice to be chalk in a great spot.

Noah Brown, WR, Houston Texans (@ TEN)

DraftKings: $5,000 (WR25) | FanDuel: $6,500 (WR19)

Tank Dell is on IR, and Nico Collins is dealing with a calf injury that prevented him from finishing Houston’s Week 14 game against the Jets. That leaves Brown as the presumptive WR1 in the league’s 2nd-most productive passing attack by YPG.

Sure, he hasn’t done anything for two straight games, but prior to that, Brown led Houston’s receivers in receiving yards in each of his last 3 games (his only 3 full or fully healthy games this year). And the matchup with Tennessee couldn’t be much better – the Titans are the 2nd-softest schedule-adjusted matchup for opposing WRs since Week 7 (+10.5 FPG). Brown could see his best volume of the year in a near-perfect matchup, and that should make him one of the top values at any position in Week 15.

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (VS. CHI)

DraftKings: $4,700 (TE8) | FanDuel: $6,200 (TE5)

Since Week 10, David Njoku is the TE1 by XFP/G (17.1), the TE6 by first-read target share (24%), the TE6 by DraftKings FPG (14.0), and the TE5 by receiving YPG (56.2). His floor and ceiling have both been excellent over this stretch. He posted the 9th-best fantasy performance by a TE this year on Sunday, and he’s earned at least 8 targets and 11.8 DraftKings points in four of his last five games.

For Week 15, Chicago has been an above-average matchup for opposing TEs, but importantly – Njoku leads the Browns’ pass catchers in red zone usage with Joe Flacco under center, which could set him up for a multi-TD game.

Jake Tribbey is the 2022 FSWA Football Writer of the Year and the leading Spring Football expert in the fantasy industry. He is a lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.