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Fantasy Football Value Picks: Top DraftKings NFL DFS Bargain Plays for Week 15

Zach Thompson goes position-by-position to find the best affordable plays for the Week 15 main DraftKings NFL slate, which locks at 1:00 p.m. ET on December 20.

There are just three weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, and there are still plenty of storylines to track for each team coming down the stretch. Even with a doubleheader on Saturday, there are still 11 games lined up for Sunday afternoon on the DraftKings main slate. The 10 teams not on this slate are in action on Saturday or part of Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football. The 10 teams missing from this slate are the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. The other 22 teams are scheduled to play in the 11 games on the main slate with eight games kicking off at 1:00 p.m. ET and just three games in the late wave.

There is only one game in the featured 4:25 p.m. ET slot, allowing everyone to lock in on a potential Super Bowl preview as the New Orleans Saints host the Kansas City Chiefs. The other two late wave games are the revitalized Philadelphia Eagles visiting the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams hosting the woeful New York Jets. The eight early matchups include four divisional games led by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins hosting the New England Patriots. In an important non-divisional contest that will impact the playoff picture, the Seattle Seahawks are visiting the Washington Football Team.

As you look at each of the matchups and set your DraftKings roster, make sure to take a look at the affordable plays listed below that come with some great upside at a very affordable salary. Each week, I dive into the bargain bin and give you my favorite cheap plays based on recent form, matchup and expected opportunity. Check out the plays I like the most this Sunday.

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QUARTERBACK

($6,000 and under)

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals, $5,900 – Hurts was impressive in his first NFL start, rushing for over 100 yards against a solid Saints defense and avoiding mistakes through the air. He added 167 yards and a passing score to his 106 yards on the ground for a total of 23.28 DKFP. He completed 17-of-30 passes overall but only went 2-for-5 on passes that were more than 10 yards down the field, settling mostly for short routes with lots of rolling out and bootleg action. He’ll need to show he can connect on some deeper passes moving forward to keep defenses from crowding the line and stacking the box against him, and he’ll need to show he can produce from the pocket if he’s going to be a long-term answer for Philadelphia.

Whether he’s the long-term solution or not, he is an option that makes a lot of sense against the Cardinals this week due to his high ceiling. His rushing potential gives him the ability to produce points in a hurry, even against a solid Cardinals defense. Arizona shut down the Giants last week and the Patriots a few weeks ago, but the unit has struggled with mobile options, giving up big games to Russell Wilson ($7,300) and Josh Allen and even allowing over 21 DKFP to Tua Tagovailoa ($5,700) and Jared Goff ($6,300). As he continues to grow into his new role as the starting QB, Hurts should be a solid play in the desert this week.

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, $5,500 – Trubisky was actually in these value picks the week he was ultimately pulled against the Falcons, which, in hindsight, looks like it may have been a move that came too early from coach Matt Nagy. The Bears did win that game with Nick Foles ($5,100) but struggled badly with Foles under center after that, forcing Nagy to go back to Trubisky three weeks ago once Foles sustained a hip injury. Trubisky has been a solid fantasy performer in his three starts over the past three weeks, producing over 21 DKFP in two of those three games and in three of the five games he has both started and finished on the season. Last week, he threw three touchdowns in the second quarter and finished with 267 passing yards and 24.98 DKFP against the Texans while completing a very efficient 24-of-33 pass attempts.

A little like Hurts, I’m still not sure I’m sold on Trubisky as a long-term solution at the position for his team, but I do think he makes a good fantasy option this week. The Vikings have allowed seven passing touchdowns over their past four games and gave up solid games to Mike Glennon ($5,000), Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton ($5,400) during that stretch. Trubisky has more upside than those options and will continue to get the chance to prove he deserves a longer look as he continues to develop. He has shown signs of improvement when given the chance this season. Throughout his career, Trubisky has been boom-or-bust with his DFS production and typically excelled against weaker defenses. While the Vikings aren’t awful defensively, they also haven’t looked sharp for most of the season, which should leave openings for Trubisky to attack as the Bears try to save their once-promising season.

Other Options: Tua Tagovailoa ($5,700), Andy Dalton ($5,400)


RUNNING BACK

($5,000 and under)

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, $4,400 – The value options at RB are a little thin on this slate unless there is a developing injury situation as the week progresses. At this point, Edwards looks like he’ll be the strongest play under $5K since he does get a sizable chunk of the Ravens’ backfield rotation, which seems to have narrowed to just J.K. Dobbins ($5,900) and Edwards with Mark Ingram ($4,700) barely involved at all. Edwards has been on the short side of the timeshare with Dobbins playing around 30% of snaps the past two weeks, but he has made a significant impact when given the chance. Two weeks ago, he stacked up 101 yards and 13.1 DKFP against the Cowboys, and then on Monday Night Football against the Browns, he had a pair of rushing scores and 18.3 DFKP. He has now scored six touchdowns on the season, all coming over his past eight games, and he matched Dobbins’ red-zone opportunities last week, although Dobbins did convert a one-yard touchdown run as well.

When they’re at their best, the Ravens run the ball a ton with Dobbins, Edwards and Lamar Jackson ($7,500) overwhelming defenses. That could definitely be the case this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed the third-most DKFP to RBs this season. They were just crushed by Derrick Henry ($9,500) last week and have given up at least 120 rushing yards to opposing RBs in three straight weeks. There should be plenty of production to split up between Baltimore’s backs, so I think it’s a good week to hop on the Gus Bus.

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,000 – Another RB rotation that has potential this weekend is the Falcons’ three-man platoon situation. Smith is available at the minimum salary but has actually emerged as the leader of the committee that also includes Todd Gurley II ($4,700) and Brian Hill ($4,000). Last week against the Chargers, Smith led the timeshare with 44% of snaps played while Gurley was second with 33%. He was also the only Falcons RB with multiple red zone opportunities, although he wasn’t able to get into the end zone and only managed 5.5 DKFP on 42 rushing yards and a three-yard catch.

It’s a tough matchup for Smith this week against the Buccaneers, but there’s a good chance Atlanta will have to pass more, which could set him up for work as a receiving back. He has been involved in that capacity in the past and had four catches on his way to 17.5 DKFP against the Raiders just a few weeks ago. He isn’t a sure thing because of the matchup and timeshare situation, but Smith does have very nice upside for a player at the minimum salary due to his growing role.

Other Options: Adrian Peterson ($4,600), Peyton Barber ($4,400)


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WIDE RECEIVER

($5,000 and under)

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $4,700 – Gage has produced over 12 DKFP in three of his past four games, although last week most of his production came on a gadget play that resulted in him throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass. He added five catches for 82 yards on his way to 18.76 DKFP. He has at least seven targets in three of his past four games and has played over 70% of the team’s offensive snaps in each of Atlanta’s four games since the bye week.

While Tampa Bay’s defense has been strong against the run, they have allowed five WR touchdowns over their past three games and given up the seventh-most DKFP to WR on the season. Since Gage is very involved, he’s worth a look in this matchup especially if Julio Jones ($6,900) continues to battle a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined last week.

Keelan Cole Sr. ($4,000), Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens, $4,000 – The Jaguars will go back to Gardner Minshew ($5,300) at QB, which should help Cole’s upside since he has a strong connection with the second-year passer. Cole had a touchdown on Minshew’s first drive in the game last week and finished with seven catches for 67 yards and 19.7 DKFP. He drew a season-high 12 targets last week and has flashed a nice ceiling with over 19 DKFP in three contests on the season.

Cole’s matchup is a tough one against the Ravens, but remember Baltimore did just give up 42 points to the Browns in regulation on Monday Night Football. If Baltimore takes a big lead early, the Jags could be forced to throw the ball a lot in the second half, which could lead to plenty of work for Cole.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings, $3,900 – Mooney hauled in his third touchdown of his rookie season last week against the Texans and finished with 10.7 DKFP by producing 22 yards and catching both his targets. He was targeted 15 times in the two previous games with Trubisky back as the starting QB, and continues to run as the Bears’ second WR. Mooney played 75% of the Bears’ snaps against the Texans, the same number as Allen Robinson ($7,400), and he also got a pair of looks in the red zone.

Mooney and Trubisky are a solid way to stack some value in your lineup and hope they hit against the Vikings, who have allowed the eighth-most DKFP to WR this season. The Vikings have given up a touchdown to a WR that isn’t his team’s No. 1 option in four straight weeks, so there’s a good chance that Mooney could get a score again this week if the Bears’ offense is rolling with Trubisky.

Lynn Bowden Jr. ($3,600), Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, $3,600 — The Dolphins are likely to lean on Bowden this weekend against the Patriots, and he could even end up being their top WR option depending on how their injury situations play out. Last week against the Chiefs, DeVante Parker ($5,900; hamstring), Mike Gesicki ($4,800; shoulder) and Jakeem Grant ($3,800; hamstring) all left with injuries, and they’re all in danger of missing this week’s game. Bowden stepped up with seven catches on nine targets for 82 yards and 15.4 DKFP. He led the team in catches and receiving yards while tying for the team lead in targets with Mack Hollins ($3,500).

Bowden has an apparent connection with fellow-rookie Tua Tagovailoa ($5,700) and has already taken over as the team’s top slot receiver. If Grant or Parker end up being out, he’ll have a pretty high floor along with a good ceiling against New England as the Dolphins continue to battle for the playoffs, which are now out of reach for the Patriots.

Other Options: CeeDee Lamb ($4,500), Jalen Reagor ($4,400), Chad Hansen ($4,200), Laviska Shenault Jr. ($3,800), N’Keal Harry ($3,300)


TIGHT END

($4,000 and under)

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears, $3,600 – The Bears have given up the fourth-most DKFP to TEs this season, and Smith showed he’s healthy and ready to take advantage of the matchup last week in his return from a two-week absence due to a hamstring injury. With Kyle Rudolph ($2,700; foot) out last week, Smith played 35% of snaps and hauled in all four of his targets for 63 yards, a touchdown and 16.3 DKFP. Smith has now produced double-digit DKFP in four of his past six games and should be set up for a good game against the Bears, who have surrendered three TE touchdowns in the past three weeks.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers, $3,200 – Schultz has converted all 12 of his targets over his past three games into catches, totaling 102 yards as Andy Dalton’s top TE. Schultz has three touchdowns on the season and is averaging 9.2 DKFP per contest. While he doesn’t have a sky-high ceiling unless he gets into the end zone, he is reliably involved and represents a low-risk play even against the 49ers, who typically defend opposing TEs pretty well. San Francisco did allow six catches for 43 yards to Logan Thomas ($4,000) last week, though, and a touchdown to Dawson Knox the week before. Most of their high ranking against TEs is from earlier in the season when their defense was healthier.

Other Options: Logan Thomas ($4,000), Zach Ertz ($3,400)


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

($2,800 and under)

Cowboys DST, Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers, $2,700 – The Cowboys had three fumble recoveries in the first half last week against the Bengals and returned one for a touchdown on their way to a season-high 18.0 DKFP. While I still wouldn’t trust them against a good offense, they get a very favorable matchup this week against the 49ers, who could turn to C.J. Beathard ($5,000) or stick with Nick Mullens ($5,100) at QB. Either way, the Cowboys should be set up to make plays once again. They have multiple sacks in three of their past four games while the 49ers have allowed multiple sacks in three of their past four and turned the ball over 12 times during that stretch.

Falcons DST, Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $2,300 — Atlanta’s DST has been much improved since Raheem Morris took over as interim coach and has averaged over 7.0 DKFP per game since he took over after producing only 1.4 DKFP per game in their 0-5 start to the season. The Falcons have at least 4.0 DKFP in five of their past six games with multiple sacks in four of those contests. They have a tough matchup against Tom Brady ($6,600) and the Bucs, but Brady has been vulnerable when under pressure this season and has thrown seven interceptions over his past five games.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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