Congratulations, Ninja! You’ve advanced to the semifinals of your fantasy football league.
The jellybeans are just two wins away. Or, maybe you’re not even playing season long at all. You’re trying to find the best plays in daily fantasy football at Draft Kings, FanDuel, Yahoo or any number of other sites.
I hope you haven’t started playing at Draft Kings yet, but you are considering it. This week, until Dec. 20, if you sign up using my refer-a-friend link and deposit a few bucks, we each get two $20 tickets into the $5 million Millionaire Maker, the final milli-maker of the season.
So, you drop a couple bucks, use the info we have on this site (I started by depositing just $50 this season, finished high in a couple tournaments and have profited 600% combined across three sites) and get two chances to win a million. So even if you drop $40 on DK, you’re still even because of the tickets. And I get two free entries for all the work I’ve done on these boom-or-bust projections this season.
Thanks for considering it, and sorry for selling it here, but it is a pretty sweet deal, even better than last week’s.
One last thing before we get to the rankings discussion: Take not we have a game tonight AND a game on Saturday, so if you have any Jets or Cowboys make sure they are in your lineup before you try to polish off your holiday shopping Saturday night.
Ok, let’s get to the rankings fine print, then the rankings.
As always check late NFL news at a site like Rotoworld to make sure games are being played and players are in lineups.
Our rankings will be updated early Sunday morning and don’t always reflect final starting lineups. I went over the biggest matchups in our projected scores/Las Vegas column. When push comes to shove, I construct daily fantasy rosters based more on the research done for that column than these rankings.
We use composite odds and over/unders from Vegas Insider to generate the projected scores. I reference Defense-adjusted Value Over Average a lot, it is a Football Outsiders’ metric which can be a better predictor of future success than fantasy points allowed. All team rankings and yards allowed to receivers are referenced from Football Outsiders’ Defense Efficiency page. If I reference fantasy points allowed, I’m likely referring to the excellent charts produced by FFToday. These rankings also factor in the Expert Consensus Rankings at Fantasy Pros.
Projected scores/matchups/Las Vegas | Game day weather | Waiver wire
Daily fantasy: Draft Kings values | FanDuel values
Early Week 15 rankings
Use the tabs at the bottom to cycle through positions. Use the arrows at bottom right to find more positions.
We have Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles and Matthew Stafford at fifth through seventh, ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Yeah, boom-or-bust is back.
Here’s the deal. You gotta go with what feels right, Ninja. I was just texting with a friend and leaguemate who has both Brees and Stafford. He’s going with Brees because it’s a Monday Night Game and the Saints are at home. That’s a good call.
These boom-or-bust projections are here to make you consider the other plays, especially if you aren’t lucky enough to have Stafford and Brees on your team.
I have Rodgers going for me in a semifinal this week. I’m not benching him just because he’s ninth.
I also have Russell Wilson and Cam Newton in one league. I’m not benching Cam even though our rankings say Wilson is going to score two more fantasy points. Cam has done more, more consistently all season. He’s my play. You might think I’m insane because you own Wilson and you couldn’t imagine starting anybody else.
I love it when we get boom-or-busty at running back. This week we have Javorius Allen, Eddie Lacy and Denard Robinson at five, six and seven respectively, ahead of Devonta Freeman (who the industry has ranked third), DeAngelo Williams (sixth) and Todd Gurley (seventh).
If you read our projected scores column, you know where we are with a lot of this stuff. Freeman gets a Jaguars defense that has been very efficient against the run. Expect Freeman to get most of his action through the air, if Matt Ryan can get it to him. Williams gets a pile of work each week, but you have to wonder how well he’ll be able to do against the Broncos’ top rated DVOA defense. Gurley also has a poor matchup.
All that said, I’m starting Gurley, Williams and Freeman in semifinals this week. They are still in the top-10, which means they should be starting in all but the weirdest of fantasy football leagues.
Three of our top-five receivers are ranked considerably lower by the rest of the industry, but just like with the running backs, we went over some reasons why in our projected scores column.
We have Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas and Jarvis Landry in the top-3, ahead of Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins.
Beckham faces Josh Norman, Brown is going up against Chris Harris and the top defense and top passing defense in the NFL and Hopkins has quarterback trouble and Vontae Davis to worry about.
Meanwhile, Johnson gets to face the worst defense in the NFL, Thomas faces a Steelers defense that allows 82 yards per game to No. 1 wide receivers and Landry plays mostly out of the slot, which means he should avoid the best players in San Diego’s secondary, in a game that should have one of the highest paces of the week and that has a chance to be a sneaky shootout.
Our tight end rankings aren’t as boom-or-bust as the rest on this list, but any tight end list that has Jordan Reed at No. 1 instead of Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen at No. 4 against the Giants’ prolifically-bad-against-the-TE defense, is taking some chances.
On DFS sites that have a flex spot, I might pair Reed, Gronkowski, Olsen and Ben Watson together in various combinations. Yes, I know I said Watson instead of Delanie Walker, Gary Barnidge or Antonio Gates, who we have ranked higher.
Tight ends are the most efficient position when it comes to red zone opportunities and that Lions-Saints game has the highest over/under of the week. And like I said in the quarterbacks section, it’s Brees and the Saints, at home, in primetime, against a Lions defense that has allowed two or more touchdown passes eight times and 300 or more yards five times.