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Week 15 DraftKings Cheap Tournament Plays: Philip Rivers, Matt Jones, Nate Washington & More!


Three weeks are left in the NFL regular season and while the pros are vying for playoff spots and season long fantasy owners are going for the championships, you DFS vets are simply playing another week. As always this late in the season, be careful that you aren't drawing too much out of numbers that pertain to the whole season, as the red hot stretch from Weeks 2-4 aren't really going to do much for you in Week 15.

The games with the highest projected point total from Vegas is the 50.5 total for the Detroit-New Orleans matchup on Monday night as well as the Arizona-Philadelphia game. The Atlanta-Jacksonville and Carolina-NYG games have also hit the 48.5-49 range across the sportsbooks in Vegas. Take note of those games in particular as we enjoy when points are on tap.

There is still plenty of value calling far down on the player lists in DraftKings' player pool. We'll note the chalkier plays in the "other names" quick hit, but the full blurbs will be reserved for plays that require some context.

Week 15's Cheap DraftKings Quarterback DFS Plays

Philip Rivers (QB, SD): $5,500 - vs. MIA

The cat may be really out of the bag a bit now thanks to a primetime implosion by Miami's defense against the Giants on Monday night, but it still might not be enough to dig Philip Rivers and the Chargers up out of the hole that their narrative and injury report has dug them into. Rivers could make for a solid GPP option here as we know the Chargers lean heavily on the passing game, and that the Dolphins just gave up 337 yards and four touchdowns to Eli Manning. While Rivers doesn't have an Odell Beckham to throw it to, he is still good at slinging the ball and San Diego and Miami both play with some pep in their step, meaning that overall game tempo should favor some more plays being run (SD is 7th in pace, MIA is 12th). Dontrelle Inman is ready to go (crazy that that is such a plus, but here we are) alongside Malcom Floyd and of course Antonio Gates. Stevie Johnson is still being held out of practice with a groin injury so it's very doubtful we see him. Rivers looks like he should have a very good chance at 300 yards and the bonus, with 2-3 touchdowns to boot.

Jay Cutler (QB, CHI): $5,300 - @MIN

Cutler had been struggling, only throwing for one touchdown combined in the previous three games before putting up 315 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday. Cutler and the Bears are capable of stringing together some great offensive efforts, but they can also fold in on themselves. That's what tournaments are for though, yes? The hope here is that people still see Cutler's recent stretch of games as a reason to stay away from him in most DFS formats. That the inconsistency just isn't worth rolling the dice with. That Alshon Jeffery being back on the injury report this week only means worse things for Cutler and the Bears. These things can all be true, but it would be really surprising if Jeffery missed Sunday (of course if he does, you probably don't want to play Cutty). Minnesota's defense is still pretty banged up and the likes of Jeffery, Zach Miller, Matt Forte, Jeremy Langford, and maybe even a little Eddie Royal should be able to put up points on them.

Other cheap plays: T.J. Yates, $5,000 @IND, Alex Smith, $5,100 @BAL, Ryan Tannehill, $5,100 @SD.

Week 15's Cheap DraftKings Running Back DFS Plays

Matt Jones (RB, WAS): $4,000 - vs. BUF

Chris Thompson going down really has opened the door for Matt Jones to show what he's made of down the stretch for Washington. In a PPR format such as a DraftKings this only makes it that much sweeter to lean on him. Buffalo has quietly been pretty darn bad against the run recently (aka many people still just assume their name-filled defensive line is doing well against it), but they are 28th in DVOA against the run this year and also 29th in DVOA against running backs in the passing game. Last week Jones outsnapped Alfred Morris 44-22 and while his line against the Bears wasn't anywhere near impressive, the matchup against Buffalo mixed with the opportunities he seems to be lined up to get make for a solid DFS play.

Tim Hightower (RB, NO): $3,900 - vs. DET

Hightower got fed last Sunday against the Buccaneers, outsnapping C.J. Spiller 58-15 and rushing 28 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. This game against the Lions should bode a little better for the running game (Tampa Bay is top 5 in run DVOA while Detroit is 15th). The Saints may be forced to open up to the passing game more if the Saints defense can't contain Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and company, but all the same Hightower should have a solid opportunity to make great value again as he sits under four grand still. The Saints are wrapped up in one of the highest projected scoring games of the week and they are favored, so this lines up well for playing the running back here. It only helps that Hightower is basically your bellcow here as the Saints refuse to utilize C.J. Spiller.

Melvin Gordon (RB, SD): $3,800 - vs. MIA

Here's a guy who is going to be low owned. The Dolphins just made Rashad Jennings actually look good in a Giants' rushing attack that has been laughably ineffective all year, and all you're going to play Gordon for here is a tourney long shot play where you hope he breaks off one of those long runs that people came to love him for in college. There's not much to say here, Gordon is still getting outsnapped by Danny Woodhead, but is being actually used a lot more as of late. A real home run shot in the dark who should be 1% owned.

Fozzy Whittaker (RB, CAR): $3,000 - @NYG

I like to include an absolute minimum guy if I can just for those who are really desperate or want to see what their lineup might look like if they diverted maximum resources to other positions. Whittaker would be the move in a PPR format like DraftKings against a Giants defense whose linebackers are just very bad in coverage and struggle with tracking and accounting for running backs coming out of the backfield (Bilal Powell gashing them showed that). While the Carolina committee might just be a headache that offers no one any real playability, Whittaker appears to be your best bet for DK purposes and you're going to hope for 3-4 receptions alongside 50-60 rushing yards with a side of touchdown. If he gets you around 15 points you'll be thrilled for that 5x value.

Other cheap plays: Brandon Bolden, $3,200 vs. TEN, Frank Gore, $4,000 vs. HOU, Danny Woodhead, $4,200 vs. MIA, Darren Sproles, $4,200 vs. ARI.

Week 15's Cheap DraftKings Wide Receiver DFS Plays

Nate Washington (WR, HOU): $3,400 - @IND

Washington is Houston's very own boom or bust DeSean Jackson zero route guy. This means he is the tournament play here against a Colts team that is just looking extremely burnable lately. The Texans are putting T.J. Yates under center here with Brian Hoyer unavailable (concussion), but Yates has actually performed pretty well when called on, throwing for three touchdowns and zero picks in limited action (albeit with a less than 50% completion rate). It's been a long time since Nate Washington put up nine catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins, but that is the tournament upside line you want to chase here.

Dorial Green-Beckham (WR, TEN): $3,800 - @NE

No one would be thrilled about this, but he led the Titans' receivers in snaps with 54 (out of 61) and was clearly the apple of Marcus Mariota's eye against the Jets. Even though he sprinkled in some pretty ugly drops, he still caught three of seven targets for 53 yards in a game that would easily be classified as "ugly" for the Titans. The Patriots should have no problem moving the ball against the Titans in similar fashion to how the Jets did, and so DGB and the passing game should be necessary early and often. If he pulls in a touchdown to top off a similar receiving line, well that would make for a fine game. If he ends up with 5-80-1 or even 6-50-2 (which why isn't he capable of doing?) and approaches the 18-20 point range, that's a good play.

Dontrelle Inman (WR, SD): $3,000 - vs. MIA

Inman was hinted at before, and he is the minimum price here against the aforementioned horrible Dolphins defense. Before Inman struggled and was hurt against the stout Broncos D and also missed the matchup with the improved Chiefs defense, he put up a very nice line against the subpar Jaguars secondary with five catches on nine targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. That Jaguars game profiles pretty similarly to this upcoming bout with the Dolphins, though the Miami offense isn't as potent as Jacksonville's. The Chargers should be able to pass on the Dolphins and Dontrelle Inman, when healthy, is heavily involved. For three grand I will absolutely have some exposure to him in tournaments.

Other cheap plays that should have higher ownership: Andre Johnson (if Donte Moncrief sits), $3,500 vs. HOU, Anquan Boldin, $3,900 vs. CIN, Stefon Diggs, $4,000 vs. CHI, and I have to say that Michael Floyd at $4,400 is one of the best plays you're going see for the price.

Week 15's Cheap DraftKings Tight End DFS Plays

Jacob Tamme (TE, ATL): $3,300 - @JAX

Well, the bad here is that you're relying on an Atlanta Falcon to help you score points. To boot, it isn't even Julio Jones, who is obviously the #1 look for Matt Ryan (except near the end zone because of Shanahanigans). However, Jacob Tamme is still a sizable target for Ryan to look for out there and with Leonard Hankerson gone it just clears up more room for Tamme to operate. The Falcons also get to play the Jaguars, who just aren't that good at defending the pass (despite what last week's game against the Colts might lead you to believe). Tamme still saw five targets last week, and the Jags rank out as 29th against the tight end according to the DVOA metric. More importantly, in the four weeks before the Colts game they had given up touchdowns to both Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams for Baltimore, over 100 yards to Delanie Walker, two touchdowns to Antonio Gates, and then 92 yards and a touchdown to Walker again. If Tamme were to ever strike with this sputtering Atlanta offense, it'd be this week.

Eric Ebron (TE, DET): $3,000 - @NO

Here I am just throwing all of this horrible names at you? Really rude right? Well, another guy who has fallen from grace has a great matchup and circumstances around him that might make him a viable play again, even if just for one week. So Eric Ebron is on one of the teams tangled up in this high scoring projection of a Monday night game, and he happens to be on the team going against the historically bad defense. He also has a much clearer path to snaps and usage again thanks to a season ending injury to Brandon Pettigrew, who he had been splitting time with at tight end since Pettigrew had come back from another injury. No one is going to feel thrilled about playing Ebron, but there is very little surrounding him that is really discouraging here. There also just really aren't many other cheaper plays that have his upside.

Vance McDonald (TE, SF): $2,500 - vs. CIN

Here's the one guy who may be cheaper and have that decent upside to offer though, depending on which San Francisco team shows up on Sunday. If it's the absolute floor "oh we're playing one of the worst defenses in the league in Cleveland? Well we better just roll over or run like we're playing in ten feet of mud" 49ers, then there is nothing but despair here. If it's the decently serviceable 49ers who can actually move the ball on occasion, then you've got a puncher's chance with Vance McDonald in a PPR setting. Garrett Celek is on the injured reserve and McDonald is finally healthy again after suffering a concussion (he's officially listed as probable this week). In two tough matchups against Seattle and Arizona in Weeks 11 and 12, he pulled down a touchdown in each game, with the game against the Cardinals seeing him post a 20+ DK point effort. Cincinnati is still not entirely healthy on defense, their defense might be on the field more than they're used to with A.J. Macarron at the wheel, and the Bengals still only rank as 17th best in DVOA against the tight end. If you love your roster but need to only leave yourself with the bare minimum to fill in for tight end, stroll on down to Old McDonald's farm (he's only 25, but that's no fun).

Other cheap plays that should have higher ownership: Zach Ertz, $3,200 vs. ARI, Zach Miller, $3,600 @MIN, Heath Miller, $3,700 vs. DEN.

Week 15's Cheap DraftKings Defense DFS Plays

San Diego Chargers, D/ST: $2,200 - vs. MIA

You've got to zig a bit here, as there really aren't many defenses that look at all worthy without paying up towards the $2,700 area. That said, the Dolphins offense is a little beaten up and Ryan Tannehill and crew have quite a streak of inconsistency to them, while the Chargers defense has actually held opponents down these past two weeks (the Broncos and Chiefs offenses both only put up 10 points all game [the Broncos had a pick six tacked on to their score]). It's not pretty, and San Diego isn't generating a bunch of sacks or anything terribly fun, but if you need a really cheap play you could plug in San Diego and hope they continue to play solid defense and perhaps Ryan Tannehill makes an errant throw or two on the road that lead to an opportunity for six the other way. It could happen.

Indianapolis Colts, D/ST: $2,000 vs. HOU

Why zig when you can zag back in the face of all conventional wisdom? The Colts defense has looked absolutely awful lately, with even superstar Vontae Davis looking rather mortal recently. However, we talked about how T.J. Yates is going to be Houston's quarterback in this one and he is the backup for plenty of reasons. With this, you're banking on the minimum salary play here at defense to pay off when Yates makes some ill advised decisions, holds onto the ball too long, or makes a poor read and gives Indianapolis plenty of chances to pick on a backup. Yates has shown that he can be more than serviceable in the NFL, but at the same time you can't deny that for the absolute floor on DraftKings, being able to oppose a quarterback who doesn't normally start on a team that doesn't have a strong running game that he can rely on to get some momentum going...well that's enough for me to roll the dice.

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