Week 15 Player Pool - Locks and Props
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
UPDATE: Zeke is inactive, Pollard is the value I needed.
Ingram inactive, Dobbins is much more playable.
Welcome back to another finalized player pool and say hello to Roster Up's first player props edition! The holidays are a busy season but the final stretch for fantasy football looms large so stay strong, stay focused, and let's win some money. As always, here's what I'm looking at heading into Sunday morning.
I'm kicking it off with Murray. He's struggled for 3 straight weeks, but I see this as a buy-low opportunity. I think more people will be playing Watson at 6.8k, who is perfectly playable by the way, but I am going to pivot to Murray here. He ran the ball 13 times last week so I think his shoulder is feeling better. He also had a couple of tough matchups against the Rams and Giants with a game in Foxboro just before that. I think he can get back on track here against the Eagles. You're better off throwing against Philly so I expect Murray to get back in that 25-30 point range this week and if he can run for a TD or two then we are looking at significant ROI for Murray's price. Next up is Goff. Everyone is on Akers this week so I am going to pivot to the Rams passing game here. It's risky because McVay has shown that he is willing to go full-on Establish the Run and just hand it off 40 times. Akers' volume has exploded the last 2 games, but I have written weekly how the Jets are weakest against the pass. They have a decent y/c average against so it comes down to the fact that they are always trailing and teams run the clock out against them. I think Goff and company build that 20 point cushion through the air so if I'm right, then Goff becomes a solid leverage play off of Cam Akers. My final QB of the week is Jalen Hurts. I am hesitant because of the price bump but he has so much untapped rushing equity. I'm sure you've already heard someone say the Cardinals play Man defense at one of the highest rates in the NFL. Against a QB like Hurts, this is perfect. Another 100-yard rushing game is possible plus I expect him to fall in the endzone this time. The QB pool is essentially as follows: Buy low, Leverage, and Rushing Equity.
Another tight pool awaits us at running back and starting us off is once again the Big Dog. By the way, did the entire fantasy community just agree to steal that from Evan Silva? Feels like we did. Anyways, loved him last week and love him again here. Henry is a monster and the Lions are bottom 3 against the run. He's a stud so if you can afford him then he is once again giving you 40 point upside. Up next is an absolute lock for me. Alvin Kamara finds himself in a familiar situation. No Thomas and finally, no Taysom Hill. The dump off king has returned!!! I expect Kamara to get 10-12 targets in this game and return to the insane efficiency we saw earlier this year. He is also going to be in all of my lineups and I don't care how much ownership he receives. I can find leverage elsewhere.
Jonathan Taylor is finally rocking and rolling. He was unleashed just in time for some of the softest matchups in the NFL, and that continues this week against the Texans. Cowboys, Texans, and Lions. Just play running backs against them, it's simple. By the way, if you can figure out who's getting the ball more between Mostert and Wilson then play that man because one of them is going to destroy Dallas. If you can't decide and still need leverage at running back then take a look at Swift. He looked good last week and hopefully retakes the volume in that backfield. I love Swift and he has massive upside but he is purely a tournament play. He will be low owned and for good reason. I always like to find one or two leverage plays in my lineup with massive upside and I feel like I can get that with Swift. The hardest decision this week was eliminating Miles Sanders from my player pool. If he is officially unleashed then I don't want to miss it, but I like Taylor and Kamara more in that range so, for now, he's out of my lineups but if you like him then I get it if you go that route.
I'm feeling a DHop smash game in my veins. I like Murray so I am naturally going to like his receiving options this week. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Darius Slay shadow doesn’t bother me. He’s good, but shadows can be overrated at times. It can limit a ceiling, but Hopkins can get it done if Murray’s shoulder is fine and Kliff lets him return to a more diverse route tree. I think a lot of the Cardinals’ issues have been due to Matchup and Kyler’s shoulder so the bet this week is simply saying this is a get right spot for them. The same can be said for Kirk at 4.3k. He is always a tournament play and this week is no different. Murray’s blowup games are heavily correlated with Kirk’s success so he will be a top leverage play for me this week. I think he’s great leverage off of Sanders at 4.2k and we know Kirk has a much higher ceiling. Box score checkers will fade him, that’s exactly what I want.
Next up is AJ Brown. I played him and Henry together last week and if I can do it again when I build my lineups then I will. Brown and Henry are heavily correlated because their big-play abilities speed up games. When Brown scores a quick 60 yard TD then that just means Henry’s blow-up chance is right around the corner. If you think one or both fail, then play Corey Davis. I always play Davis when I fade Brown or Henry because if they fail then he is the one receiving volume. The Titans’ tight ends can vulture TDs as well, but against the Lions, there should be plenty of big-play opportunities for Henry and Brown. I wish Golladay was finally healthy because this would have been an all-out stack for me if he was. You can still do that, I just think Marvin Jones is dust and Hock is too expensive for my process.
If Goff is leverage off of Akers then can you guess what I’m doing? Double stack, baby. If you have read anything by me at all then you know I love to create leverage in small field tournaments by double stacking passing games. People talk about it but don’t do it as much as you think. Kupp and Woods are priced up but I think a 75th percentile outcome is still possible for both at these prices. I don’t need 30 point games from these guys, although that would be nice. I simply need Akers to bust while his points are distributed between Kupp and Woods. I just want to get 18-25 PPR points from these receivers to create leverage on the field. Next up is Terry McLaurin. Much like Murray, this is a buy-low opportunity. The Seattle defense is much improved and hasn’t allowed a TD to a WR in 4 games. That’s a massive turnaround for this defense but I still think F1 is matchup proof. I expect a bounce-back game while the small sample size squad waits to play him when he’s chalk in a couple of weeks. My player pool is always going to have risky plays like this, but that is absolutely what you must accept if you want to create upside in your lineup. I am trying to be in the top 1% of a tournament, McLaurin creates that upside. My next play is much safer and is in an absolute smash spot. Brandon Aiyuk is going to destroy Dallas and I will be locking him into my lineups. He is my second of three locks this week and I expect Shanahan to manufacture 12-15 touches for the big play rookie. My hesitation with locking him in comes in large part because the 49ers can run the ball down Dallas’ throat here but I still think Aiyuk contributes enough to warrant a safe floor with plenty of upside.
Dropping below 6k I’ve got Antonio Brown. He continues to see a 20+% target share and an even higher air yards share. If his price had increased, then maybe I would be hesitant but they continue to target AB so he is my favorite price-adjusted play in this game. The matchup is nice too because the Falcons are awful against the pass though they have also been improving. Honestly, the pace should create an environment where Atlanta’s recent improvements are thrown out the window and Brady just slings it around, hopefully to Antonio Brown. With no Julio, I like Gage on the other side of the ball in this game. You guys know how much I love Ridley but with his price finally in the 8k range, I’m going to pivot elsewhere. Gage is playing on the outside more so his upside should increase as his ADOT does. Being in the slot creates a decent PPR floor but limits upside. The outside allows him to gain significant upside while maintaining a reasonable reception floor. I hit on Kirk earlier so my final play at WR is Cam Sims. This is only if you are desperate. He’s playing 90% of the snaps and is athletic enough to make a couple of big plays happen. If you expect Seattle to slow down McLaurin, then Sims is a reasonable pivot in a world that is sadly without Antonio Gibson. Sims is risky but comes with opportunity and salary relief. This is only if you are desperate for salary cap relief and upside.
Rounding out the player pool, and my final lock of the week, is Jared Cook at Tight End. Like last week I feel like there are several cheap tight end plays so you have to choose what suits your lineup best. I think Cook receives an uptick in volume with Brees back under center and he should be heavily involved in a potential shootout against Kansas City. I am also targeting Cook for the same reason I liked Gesecki last week, the Chiefs pass defense is weakest against tight ends. As for defense, I am genuinely unsure which direction I go. It’s shaping up to be a week where I am forced to pay up for defense but by the time 1 pm rolls around I am confident I will have found a cheap defense. Right now, I like the Vikings against Trubisky but I am still hoping news breaks late and I can find something cheaper.
Welcome to the first player props edition of Roster Up! My player props are heavily correlated with my DFS plays because they are essentially the same process. Rarely will you find me betting the spread. I find them to be extremely sharp but feel as though the player props market is a little more opportunistic. To me, player props are similar to fantasy football because I am making what I find to be a more data-driven decision. Without further ado, here are the props I bet for tomorrow. (All bets placed at Draftkings Sportsbook.)
Jalen Hurts, Over 57.5 Rushing Yards (-112)
Brandon Aiyuk, Over 74.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
Alvin Kamara, Over 48.5 Receiving Yards (-118)
Jared Cook, Over 31.5 Receiving Yards (-112)
Tom Brady, Over 2.5 TD Passes (+130)
Kyler Murray, Over 48.5 Rushing Yards (-106)
Kenyan Drake, Under 53.5 Rushing Yards (+110)
For Transparency's sake, here is what I took for the Packers vs Panthers game. This game isn't over yet so I won't know the outcome until after this article is released but these bets will contribute to my overall winning percentage on the weekend so I want to make sure it's in writing.
Mike Davis, Over 54.5 Rushing Yards (+105)
Aaron Jones, Over 61.5 Rushing Yards (-134)
Jamaal Williams, Over 27.5 Rushing Yards (-130)
D.J. Moore, Over 61.5 Receiving Yards (+100)
Like with all of my plays, I put my money where my mouth is so play at your own risk. Whether it is my player pool or my player props, I am simply telling you that this is what I am doing for this week's slate of games because our goal here is to be as transparent as possible with you guys. It's been a highly successful year so let's finish these last couple of weeks strong. Good luck!
The Locks this week are Kamara, Aiyuk, and Cook
Don't worry about overall RB ownership, find your leverage at WR and TE
At WR, you need one or two buy low candidates to pop for you to take down a tournament
I say it every week but correlate where possible
Target contests with high % payout and balanced distribution in the Top 10
Bet at your own risk