NFL Reid Option: Week 15

Each week, Sammy Reid will break down each position in detail, pinpointing his favorite plays at various salary ranges. Who should we be focusing our core on this week? Read below to find out!

Week 15

Three weeks.

That’s what we have left in the NFL regular season. Hopefully it’s gone as well (or better!) for you as it’s gone for me, at least so far. If you’ve used The Reid Option picks as a guide, you’ve probably finished in the black somewhere in the neighborhood of nine of the 14 weeks. Obviously, that won’t be the case for everyone. Most of you read and use plays from multiple columns, plus use original ideas of your own. You might be up more, less, or not at all.

So my buddy Sid came and visited me from Portland recently. We’ve been tight since college and have played in the same dynasty season-long football league for 16 years. He’s really good at fantasy football, and has always been one of the most active and involved owners you could imagine. Yet he’s never tried DFS, despite my best efforts. During his visit, I gave him the spiel again – you know, one more time, just in case.

He asked me if I was doing well, and I said yes. He asked me how much I was up, and I told him I didn’t know. “You don’t keep track?” he asked. “Well, I do in my bankroll tracker,” I told him, “but I don’t know off the top of my head”. To Sid – who works as a business consultant – this was heresy. But to me, someone who used to play poker for a living, it’s standard. I’m always aware of my success metrics and my ROI, because it’s important to have an honest and objective idea of your strengths and/or weaknesses. But as for the actual money … I try not to think about it.

Why? First off, because thinking about the real-world value of money only distracts from making optimal game theory decisions. And secondly, knowing how much you’re “up” or “down” is largely irrelevant, because you’re not actually up or down – that’s just a psychological construct. The truth is, you’re always even.

What do I mean? I mean, you always have as much money as you currently have – no more, no less. What you had before might matter to you psychologically, but in actuality it has no bearing on how you should proceed in this current moment. The past is the past.

I’m sure everyone who has ever gambled has at some point been at a table, stuck and chasing the money they’ve lost. It’s a terrible feeling, and more often than not, you end up losing more money because you’re chasing an imaginary goal rather than focusing on making the correct decision at every opportunity. Frankly, it’s a losing way to play.

Again, being up or down is simply a mental construct. You might be down $500 in the current session, but maybe you’re up $2,000 in the past month. Or up $10,000 in the past year. Or $50,000 in your lifetime. So why would you feel like you’re down and needing to chase money based on a relatively tiny and frankly inevitable downswing?

The same idea applies to DFS. Say you started the season with a $2,000 bankroll, you usually play about $200 per week, and you’re currently “down” $1,000 on the season. What most players do is chase that money at the end of the season by putting more money in play, say $500 per week. That’s 50% of your current bankroll – way higher than it should be – as opposed to the 10% you started the season off with. Sure, with two good weeks you can “break even”, you think. But now, by the same token, two bad weeks and your bankroll is snapped. Or perhaps instead, you start spending more money on high-variance GPP buy-ins than your normal low buy-in games, just hoping for a big score to make your money back. Either way, you’ve changed your game because you felt like you were down and needed to win your money “back”, and that’s no recipe for success.

So here we are, with three weeks left in the season. Forget where you think you are money-wise and realize that you’re exactly even at this moment in time. Past results don’t matter – your only job is to make the best decisions you can from here on out, starting this week. Let’s get to it.

On a typical NFL week I put together several cash game lineups across multiple sites which will have significant player overlap. I diversify to hedge on the players I don’t feel as strongly about to reduce variance in a game where it’s inherent. The players I feel strongest about will be in the majority of my lineups – these are my “high exposure” picks. The “moderate exposure” players will be in roughly half of my lineups, and the “GPP” picks are higher-risk, high-reward plays that I believe will be under-owned by the masses. The GPP options listed aren’t the only guys I’ll be using in tournaments, but more so the gems I see as having the best ownership-to-upside ratio on the board.

(As always, all odds listed are accurate at time of writing, and may shift throughout the week. The Reid Option focuses exclusively on the main slate.)

QUARTERBACKMODERATE EXPOSURE

Cam Newton vs GB ($6400 DK, $7900 FD, $13,200 FDRAFT)Ben Roethlisberger is going to be extremely popular in cash games after finishing as the QB10, QB2, QB1, QB10, and QB1 (per Graham Barfield) in the five weeks since Pittsburgh’s Week 9 bye. And indeed, I shall surely have plenty of exposure to my boy in various formats in a projected home game shoot-out this week. However, let me offer a slightly cheaper alternative: Cam Newton. Cam’s also in a home game and faces the Packers’ weaksauce defense – a far weaker brand than the Patriots trot out there. Cam’s fantasy floor has been higher than TJ Hernandez now that he’s fully back to his old rushing ways; over his past eight games, Cam’s averaged an insane 61.9 ground yards per game – the fantasy equivalent of 154.8 passing yards per game. The Panthers also have a strong implied team total of 25.3 points, checking all the boxes for Newton as a cash game stud.

QUARTERBACKGPP PLAYS

Russell Wilson vs LAR ($7300 DK, $8400 FD, $13,900 FDRAFT)Tom Brady rates to be one of – if not the – highest-owned QBs in GPPs this week, and for good reason: The Pats have the 2nd-highest implied team total on the slate and Tom basically owns the deed to the Steelers’ soul. With most people going with Brady if they’re paying up at QB, Russ Wilson makes for a fire pivot in what amounts to a must-win game for the Seahawks. By now you know the deal – the Seahawks use Wilson like you use your QB in a Madden season when you’re trying to win the MVP award; RW has accounted for an outlandish 81.8% of Seattle’s offensive yardage and 97% of its offensive touchdowns. I’ll have plenty of Brady stacks this week, but will likely choose to be overweight on Wilson in comparison.

RUNNING BACKHIGH EXPOSURE

Kenyan Drake @ BUF ($5800, $6500 FD, $10,900 FDRAFT) – As is the case with Alex Collins, we get a several hundred dollar price break on Drake from where he likely would have been priced if his game wasn’t played after pricing already came out. And be assured this isn’t point-chasing – it’s all about volume. Per Raymond Summerlin, over the past two weeks (while Damien Williams has been out), Drake has seen 80% of Miami’s carries go to along with 15.7% of the team’s target share. For point of reference, Todd Gurley – who ranks 2nd in the NFL in Scott Barrett’s Actual Opportunity metric – has seen 72.8% of his team’s backfield carries and a 17.1% market share of his team’s targets this season. Considering his price point, he’s the first guy I’m locking in to my cash game lineups, assuming Williams is out yet again.

RUNNING BACKMODERATE EXPOSURE

Alex Collins vs CLE ($5000 DK, $6600 FD, $11,900 FDRAFT)

He’s a good back, loves the Ravens
Loves Irish dancing, and breakin’ runs too
He’s a good back, crazy ‘bout smashing
Loves truckin’ fools, and touchdowns too

It’s a great day, to face the WOAT Browns
They’re missin’, Ogbah and Collins too
He’s a bad boy, gonna crush Cleveland
He’s a bad boy, gonna crush his salary too

And I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins
Yeah I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins

All the fishes, gonna fade Alex
Like Nate Nohling, because he’s got gills
He’s a nice play, 69% of rushes
He’s a good play, great gamescript too

And I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins
Yeah I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins
(Free Collins, roster free Collins)
(Free Collins, roster free Collins)

It’s a tough slate, this week on DraftKings
I wanna praise God, he’s only $5k
He’s a free square, in the context of pricing
20 touches, it’s gonna get lit

And I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins
(Free Collins, roster free Collins)
Yeah I’m freeeeee …. Free Collins
(Free Collins, roster free Collins)

Mark Ingram vs NYJ ($8200 DK, $8300 FD, $15,900 FDRAFT) – I want to roster Le’Veon Bell. I really do – he’s quite clearly the best RB play on the slate. And if any value opens up by the end of the week, I’ll be jamming him in like nobody’s business. Yet as of this writing, I haven’t been able to make it work in a DK cash lineup that doesn’t make me want to barf into a plastic bag and then dump it on my own head. Enter Mark Ingram, the decent-looking friend of the girl you actually wanted to go home with but rejected you like a torn dollar bill from a vending machine. If you do some game log scouting, you’ll see that Ingram hasn’t been getting a ton of touches lately – just 16.8 per game over his past six games. But if you look at his home games where the Saints have stayed ahead of the scoreboard, you’ll see a guy that gets a ton of work.

31-21 win vs. CAR (wk 13): 20 touches, 7 targets, 122 total yards, 1 TD (24.2 DK pts)
30-10 win vs TB (wk 9): 17 touches, 1 target, 79 total yards, 0 TD (7.9 DK pts)
20-12 win vs CHI (wk 8) 24 touches, 6 targets, 99 total yards, 1 TD (19.9 DK pts)
52-38 win vs DET (wk 6) 30 touches, 5 targets, 150 total yards, 2 TD (34.0 DK pts)

That’s an average of 22.8 touches, 4.8 targets, 1 TD, and 21.5 DK points per game for those scoring at home. That feels like a pretty solid median expectation for this week with upside for a lot more; the Saints are 16-point home favorites against a squalid Jets squad that’s trotting out Bryce Petty at QB. Without writing a whole blurb on him, I do believe Alvin Kamara is also fully in play in GPPs, as the Saints are highly likely to smash here.

Samaje Perine vs ARI ($4800 DK, $6700 FD, $10,200 FDRAFT) – According to my main rasta TJ Hernandez, Perine is just one of four running backs (along with Le’Veon Bell, Kenyan Drake, and Jamaal Williams) who have been given at least 50% of their team’s touches in multiple games over the past three weeks. Surely this is in no small part due to having nothing but decomposing corpses as backups, but Perine rates to see another strong workload as a 4.5-point home favorite this week against Arizona.

RUNNING BACKGPP PLAYS

UPDATE: Fournette will not play in Week 15.

Leonard Fournette vs HOU ($7500 DK, $8000 FD, $15,400 FDRAFT) – Considering price, a strong case can be made that Fournette is a better DK cash play than Mark Ingram, and that’s already probably the case in FanDuel cash. I have him listed as a GPP play because I’ll have a ton of Fournette-JAX DST stacks in tournaments across all sites, as I fully expect them to crush like Davis Mattek at the gentleman’s club. Fournette’s averaged 21.0 carries and 5.0 targets per game this season, marks that he should equal or beat at a 10-point home favorite against the Texans, a team that has allowed 146.3 rushing YPG over the past three weeks.

WIDE RECEIVERMODERATE EXPOSURE

Dede Westbrook vs HOU ($5100 DK, $5700 FD, $10,400) – You know, I talk a lot about how I like DraftKings better than FanDuel, because I like sharper pricing, the Flex, and #NoKickers. But then a week like this comes along where I freakin’ hate it. Why? Because Dede is sharply priced at $5100 on DK, while he’s close to free on FanDuel at $5700. Westbrook hasn’t played a ton this season, but in the four games that he has, his market share rates have been near elite. Dropping the games played qualifier, Dede ranks 11th among NFL WRs in team target share (26%) and T-12th in air yards share (36%), while Marqise Lee (21%, 27%) has taken a second-fiddle role in those games. Dede also gets a sick matchup against the Texans, a team that has allowed villain WRs to score 2.4 fantasy points over their season averages, in no small part to trotting out two starting outside CBs that allow more than .4 fantasy points per route run.

AJ Green @ MIN ($6500 DK, $7700 FD, $12,800 FDRAFT) – One place that DraftKings does leak value to us is by over-adjusting for matchups, like it’s done this week with AJG. Green is top-3 in the NFL in both team target share (30%) and team air yards share (46%) while ranking 10th in targets inside the 10-yard like (8), yet is priced as just the WR11 on DK – $2600 less than the WR1. Yes, he’s likely to be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes, one of the league’s elite cover men. But look, Rhodes isn’t unbeatable by any stretch. Marvin Jones Jr shook him down for 6/109/2. Julio Jones got him for 5/98/0. Mike Evans had a solid 7/67/0. For the season, Rhodes has allowed .25 fantasy points per route run to villain WRs – a strong mark to be sure, but not something that’s multiple standard deviations better than average. In my DK cash games I’m looking to take advantage by rostering a Nordstrom’s WR at Target prices.

Nelson Agholor @ NYG ($4400 DK, $6000 FD, $9600 FDRAFT) – I’m gonna be real with you – I don’t want to play Nelson F*****g Agholor in cash games. But because of DK pricing that is tighter than Jen Setler’s abs, we’re gonna have to do some ugly things to get by. Agholor has been given 23 targets over the past two games, although with Nick Foles now at the helm it’s anyone’s guess what the Eagles offense will look like. At least Agholor has a solid individual matchup against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the guy I always mix up with the Cromartie who has 14 kids despite having a vasectomy but is really just a finesse CB who’s lost a step in his old age.

WIDE RECEIVERGPP PLAYS

Josh Gordon vs BAL ($6800 DK, $7500 FD, $12,300 FDRAFT) – Since his Ali-like return to the ring, all Gordon’s done is lead the NFL in air yards market share at 48%. And, per Rich Hribar, the Ravens have allowed five pass plays of 30+ yards in the six quarters they’ve played without the injured Jimmy Smith. While some see a tough matchup at an inflated price tag for Flash, all I see through my rose-colored glasses is yet another spot for him to go buck wild.

Devin Funchess vs GB ($6600 DK, $7300 DK, $11,900 FDRAFT) – My favorite stacking partner to go with Cam Newton (taking a cheap shot with Greg Olsen being the other) is Funchess, who’s been a legit #1 WR since Kelvin Benjamin’s copse was shipped out of Carolina. Since the team’s Week 9 bye, Funchess has seen 28% of the Panthers’ targets while getting 42% of its air yards – the same rates that Julio Jones has this season. In addition, Funchess has a great matchup against a Green Bay secondary that stinks like Sex Panther cologne; over the past five weeks they’ve allowed villain WR cores to score 7.6 fantasy points over their season averages. Taking a chance on a Jordy Nelson resurgence is a nice way to juice up the game stack.

TIGHT ENDHIGH EXPOSURE

Rob Gronkowski @ PIT ($7300 DK, $8500 FD, $13,700 FDRAFT) – Gronk’s career game log against the Steelers:

5/72/3 on 5 targets
7/94/0 on 9 targets
9/143/1 on 10 targets
5/94/3 on 8 targets
4/93/1 on 4 targets

Oh, and Pittsburgh’s best coverage LB, Ryan Shazier, is out. Gronk might be the best overall pass-catching option on the slate – at any position.

TIGHT ENDGPP PLAYS

Greg Olsen vs GB ($4000 DK, $5600 FD, $9000 FDRAFT) – It’s certainly a risky play, considering Olsen only has one grab total in his two games back from injury. However, there are some good signs as well, such as his 92% snap rate last week. If he continues to see this much of the field, he’ll inevitably start seeing targets again, and this week provides a nice opportunity to get in on the ground floor at both a low cost and low ownership.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMSMODERATE EXPOSURE

New Orleans Saints vs NYJ ($3500 DK, $4600 FD, $7300 FDRAFT) – I’d seriously consider rostering a group of 11 dandelions against Bryce Petty, so I think we’re getting a pretty good deal here getting a top-10 defense by DVOA with the 4th-highest adjusted sack rate as a 16-point home favorite. It’s hard to get to the Saints in DK cash, but the Saints are a lock at $4600 on FanDuel.

Washington Redskins vs ARI ($2800 DK, $4500 FD, $5900 FDRAFT) – The ‘Skins have been a surprisingly good defense this year; they rank 12th in defensive DVOA and 7th in adjusted sack rate, plus they’ve scored 12+ DK points in three of their six home games this season. Enter Blaine Gabbert and his merry gang of ragtag scrubs. Gabbert has started four games, and in those games he’s taken 18 sacks and thrown five picks while fumbling four times. I’m all about that life for less than three grand on DK.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let’s go make some money in Week 15.

Meet the Experts Content Posting Times

About the Author

  • Sammy Reid (SammyReid)

  • Sammy is a former online poker professional and Hearts champion who has been playing competitive fantasy sports for more than 15 years. A student of both sports and game theory, Sammy has been grinding DFS cash games since 2013. You can find more of his work in the 2017 edition of Joe Pisapia’s Fantasy Black Book, at FantasyInsiders.com, RosterCoach.com, and the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast.

Comments

  • ChiHawks28

    Multiple LOL’s in this article. Good stuff.

  • Kleppy12

    Great read as always. A few things, first, love the Brian Fantana reference. Second, is it me or can you literally post those type of stats for Gronk against any team in the NFL? Seriously, I feel like every week someone brings up that Gronk has scored 700 TD’s vs team X in his last 4 games against them. Lastly, Julio had 2 catches for 24 yards against Rhodes, and Rhodes did hold AB to 5 for 62 on 11 targets and Michael Thomas to 5 for 45 on 8 targets. Obviously AJ is an elite WR and can beat any match up but just seems like on FD it would make more sense to either pay $400 more for Thomas or $200 less for Gordon and on DK pay up for Funchess or Gordon for $100 or $200 more respectively or down (this may be me just begin crazy) to Goodwin for $500 less. Either way love this article, thanks again.

  • SammyReid

    Thanks ChiHawk!

    Kleppy – Full agree and you make several good points. First off, yes – you can easily make these comparisons for Gronk to a ton of teams. And even further, in general I’m not a big “history vs team x” guy bc so many variables can change/be noisy. But against PIT I think it holds water because of the scheme continuity; ie the staples of the PIT D have remained fairly static throughout the years, from LeBeau to Butler. I think the Brady vs PIT comparison would hold water in this regard as well. I rarely pay up for TE in cash but I think this week I’m getting in as much Gronk as possible.

    As far as Green/Rhodes, he’s def had successes against good WRs too, as you’ve pointed out. Didn’t mean to be one-sided, just wanted to make the point that he’s not Revis in his prime. It’s really only his decreased cost on DK that has me interested – his average price this season has been $7900, this week it’s $6500 (almost 20% less). The reality is that while Rhodes is a shadow corner, there will still be plenty of plays where he’s not on AJG due to a zone concept or whatever. Cinci also rates to trail so you’d expect a higher pass mix, tho one thing that does have me worried is that neither of these teams play at a real fast pace.

    All in all tho, I factor in matchups less than than volume+skill, which is why I’m taking the discount on AJG on DK. My initial thoughts here on Thurs are that I prefer him to Goodwin and Gordon in cash, while M Thomas/Funchess are really good plays as well and you could def make a good case for them > AJG

    Thanks for the sharp thoughts/discussion my dude

  • boogereatingmoron

    • 992

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2017 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2019 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    ah yes, the weekly swipe at Mattek…..great read Sammy.

  • idontluvdemhos

    jen “setler”? At least it’s better than taking pleasure in a guy getting concussed and missing 2 weeks.

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