Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 15 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games.
In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus.
I would like to quickly touch on the new contest type on Fanduel which includes the flex and Superflex slots instead of kicker and defense. I couldn’t be more excited about this new format, as it removes the variance from kicker and defense and transfers over to even more of a skill game. This format benefits those of us who work hard. If you’re reading this, that includes you. I just wanted to touch on that, because the more people that fill those contests this week, the bigger the prize pools are going to be next week.
Let’s not waste any more time…
Eagles (23.75) at Giants (16.25) Total 40
It is tough to lose someone as talented as Wentz, for the sake of football as a whole. He is so fun to watch and carried this Eagles team all season. Each week they were one of the highest team totals on the board, and deservedly so. Here their team total is almost 24 points which is still no slouch. This is a sign from Vegas that they think Foles can get the job done. He has experience with Pederson and has been a starting QB for the Eagles before. This is not new territory for him.
In a game they should win pretty easily, I actually think they don’t change the game plan in his first week as the starter. If they feel like they are going to need him to throw a ton to beat the Saints or Rams (like Wentz just did) in the playoffs, then they will need to get him as many game speed reps in three weeks that they can. I think he is in play at his price here in this matchup. He looked like he was comfortable with spreading the ball around to multiple receivers last week, but if I had to pick a receiver to pair him with, it has to be Jeffrey. However, when a guy spreads the ball around, you don’t have to pair him with anyone especially when he is cheap.
On the Giants side, this team is still an absolute mess and I don’t want any exposure in salary cap format.
Top Plays: Foles
Bengals (15.5) at Vikings (26.5) Total 42
This Bengals total is the lowest it has been all season and it really scares me. Playing in Minnesota, without Mixon, means the defense can key on AJ Green even more. Xavier Rhodes will already be shadowing him, but if they can rotate a safety over to his side as well, AJ will be completely shut down. This isn’t out of the realm of possibility either. I am off the AJ train this week and the Bengals as a whole for that matter.
On the Vikings side, I love the RBs here if you can fit them into your roster construction. I lean Murray, as the Vikings will likely try to pound the rock over and over. The Bengals are missing Burfict who is the biggest piece of their run D. It wouldn’t surprise me if Murray went for 100 yards and a score here. If you want to play a receiver, I always side with Theilen as he is Keenum’s favorite target. But I am not making it a point to pay up for Theilen this week.
Top Plays: Murray
Texans (13.25) at Jags (24.75) Total 38
Deandre Hopkins missed practice all week but is expected to play. Even if he manages to play, this isn’t a spot we would even play him if he was fully healthy. So he makes for an easy fade for me as Ramsey should be in his back pocket. While TJ Yates came in and saved the day for Hopkins owners last week, that won’t happen again. This Jags D is the best D in the NFL and they should shut down the Texans.
On the Jags side though, I think there is fantasy goodness to be had here. The Texans are defending the run pretty well, but are getting absolutely torched through the air. Blake Bortles actually played really really well this year. Before the season started I wrote an article on Bortles saying that he was going to have a good year because of all of the upgrades to his defense. He no longer has to play from behind. He isn’t forced to drive 90 yards down the field every drive either.
The defense creates short fields, lets Bortles actually have favorable game flow and should create a couple extra touchdown opportunities for Bortles. This should be another spot where the offense can do as they please. We have seen the Texans get torched by the speed WRs all year this year, and Westbrook is the speed guy for the Jags. Even if you aren’t playing Bortles, Westbrook is one of my favorite point per dollar WRs this week. Marquise Lee is a good play as well if you want to go all in on the Jags air attack, but with how cheap Bortles and Westbrook are, I would be fine with just playing those two together also.
Top Plays: Bortles, Westbrook, Lee, Jags D
Cardinals (19) at Redskins (23) Total 42
This is a sneaky game for fantasy goodness. The Cardinals are giving up the 9th most fantasy points to QBs this year, and the Redskins are down to basically one NFL caliber RB on their roster. This should be a game they continue to lean on Cousins. If their linemen play, I actually have serious interest in Cousins. With how much he spreads the ball around, this is another situation where you don’t have to pair him with any of his WRs. Cousins is priced in the same range as Bortles, so you aren’t forced to pay much here for him either. Samaje Perine should handle close to every single RB touch in this one, so solely because of volume, you have to at least consider him.
On the Cardinals side, we have seen slot receivers torch the Redskins all season. If only the Cardinals had a really good slot WR that we could look to target. Enter Larry Fitzgerald. If you can afford him this week, he is one of my favorite WRs on the board. It is a mistake to not at least consider him.
Top Plays: Cousins, Fitzgerald
Jets (15.75) at Saints (31.75) Total 47.5
This is a rather straightforward game to break down. On one hand, the Jets are starting Bryce Petty. This means the Saints D is going to wreak havoc. On the other hand, this means the Saints will have shorter fields to work with and will be playing from in front. This is a perfect spot to stack the Saints D and Ingram and/or Kamara.
Yes, I said it, because you can definitely play both guys in the same lineup in this game. We have seen both RBs go over 20 points in the same game multiple times. I side with Ingram if I had to choose since Kamara is coming off the concussion and they could choose to be slightly cautious with him as they shouldn’t need him this week to win.
Top Plays: Ingram, Kamara, Saints D
Dolphins (17.75) at Bills (21.25) Total 39
Outside of Kenyan Drake, this is going to be a stay away game for me. Drake gets one of the best matchups for an RB this week, and with Williams set to miss this game Drake should continue to see all of the touches. He is underpriced for his role and matchup and I am doing everything I can to fit him in.
Top Plays: Drake
Packers (22) at Panthers (25) Total 47
Figuring out this game is what is going to lead to DFS success this week. There will be a tournament winning player from this game. On the Panthers side, if you can afford to pay up at QB, this is one of the few times I will recommend Cam all season. The Packers love to blitz and play man coverage, and those are two things a running QB can take advantage of. Cam has been rushing for almost 70 yards consistently recently, and his rushing upside makes him a great cash and tourney play. Funchess is the one receiver I have interest in. He is Cam’s favorite target and this GB defense is injury-ravaged and wasn’t very good to begin with. He should have his way here. One hundred yards and a score is in the realistic realm of outcomes.
On the Packers side, I would temper expectations for Rodgers in his first game back in 8 weeks. However, he is Aaron Rodgers and he could defy all odds. I am going to get my Rodgers exposure through his pass catchers. Randall Cobb saw target counts of 13, 9 and 4 in the three games Rodgers started earlier this year and he is extremely underpriced. Likely due to the fact of how he played when Hundley was the QB. Cobb should eat here against a slot corner in Munnerlyn who isn’t happy with his role on the team. Carolina doesn’t have confidence in him, and he’s backup slot corner. Fire up Cobb.
Top Plays: Cam, Funchess, Cobb
Ravens (23.75) at Browns (16.75) Total 40.5
Alex Collins has looked like he is being shot out of a cannon recently. Now he gets to face an injury-ravaged defense that was once the best run D in the league. With all their injuries, teams are running on them at will. That shouldn’t change this week. Collins is one of my favorite plays on the slate. Don’t get cute here.
On the Browns side, Josh Gordon is actually in a better matchup than he is on paper. With Jimmy Smith out, this is a different Ravens team. We just saw Ben throw for 500 yards against them, and 225 of them went to Antonio Brown. While Kizer isn’t Big Ben, Josh Gordon is still Josh Gordon. I wouldn’t make it a point to roster Gordon here, but if you can fit him in, he is definitely in play.
Top Plays: Collins
Rams (22.5) at Seahawks (24.5) Total 47
With everyone wanting to game stack the next game we will talk about, this actually makes for a sneaky game stack itself. These are two high octane offenses who do not struggle to move the ball. Both defenses are banged up as well, and there should be tons of points scored in this one. While Gurley’s only single-digit performance this year came against Seattle, this go-round should be a different story. As I mentioned, this Seahawks defense is banged up and this Rams offense is in a groove. With Robert Woods back this week, that muddies the WR situation, but it makes Goff a better play as he has another weapon. Goff and Gurley are my two favorites from the Rams side as we don’t know where the WR production will come from mainly.
On the Seahawks side, Russ has been nothing short of incredible all season. He now gets to face a banged-up Rams D that just lost one of their starting CBs for the season. The Eagles were just able to put up over 30 points on offense against the Rams, and even Nick Foles didn’t struggle to move the football against them. This is a great spot to go all in on the Seahawks offense with Russ, Baldwin, Graham and Richardson. Mike Davis is interesting, but I can only play three RBs and I am making Drake, Collins and Bell my priorities.
Top Plays: Goff, Gurley, Russ, Baldwin, Graham, Richardson
Patriots (28.25) at Steelers (25.25) Total 53.5
The Patriots definitely missed Gronk last week. They didn’t look like their normal explosive offense. Brady tried to force some throws that weren’t there. Gronk is back in Week 15, and they should be back to normal. Gronk absolutely smashed the Steelers throughout his career. Ryan Shazier was probably the only guy that would have had a chance to cover Gronk and he isn’t playing. Gronk should be able to roam free this week. The gap between Gronk and the next TE in terms of production is way too large that I am just going to jam Gronk in. Cooks and Hogan are interesting, but I am making Gronk my priority.
On the Steelers side, we finally have a main slate with Bell and AB. While the Patriots have done a good job of limiting AB’s ceiling over the past couple of years, his floor is still among the safest in those matchups. As previously mentioned though, I am siding with Bell this week. His volume is too high to ignore. He is not only carrying the ball over 20 times a game, but he has also had 10, 6, 14 and 11 targets in his last 4 games. Don’t overthink this one. Jam in Bell.
Top Plays: Brady, Gronk, Cooks, AB, Bell
Titans (21.75) at 49ers (22.75) Total 44.5
This is a spot I would love to target Mariota and Corey Davis, but I can’t pull the trigger. This Titans offense hasn’t been good this season.
On the 49ers side, Jimmy G has sparked some life into this offense. Kyle Shanahan loves to feature one receiver and force targets his way. Marquise Goodwin is now that receiver. In a matchup where Goodwin should see a ton of man coverage, with his elite speed he has tourney winning upside here. The volume is there for him. The one thing he is missing is the TDs. Jimmy G has been taking shots to him deep, so the long TD is coming soon. This could be the week.
Top Plays: Goodwin