NFL DFS Picks Week 15: Best sleepers, value players for DraftKings, FanDuel daily fantasy football lineups

Written By Sloan Piva
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(SN/Getty)

Week 15 kicks off Thursday, and just like that (how Carrie Bradshaw of me), we are over 75 percent of the way through a wild and crazy season. The playoff race is heating up in a major way, and this is when the true stars shine and the duds fall on their faces. It’s also when the value sleepers step up in the wake of injuries (and COVID). Now is the time that you can really reward yourself by doing the necessary research in DFS contests on FanDuel and DraftKings, especially since more people are playing daily fantasy football after being knocked out of their season-long leagues.

We exist to help you pinpoint those sleepers and high-value DFS picks each week. The more value players you add, the more money you’ll have left for proven weekly studs at other roster spots.

MORE WEEK 15 DFS: Best stacks | Lineup builder 

If you read this column last week, you would have benefited from our advice to plug a plethora of low-cost, high-value players into your Week 14 DFS lineups. Here’s a healthy list of our hits from last Sunday, including each player’s DraftKings cost and final PPR output:

  • Baker Mayfield, Browns vs. Ravens (DK: $5,200 | FD: $6,500): 19 fantasy points
  • Javonte Williams, Broncos vs. Lions (DK: $5,900 | FD: $6,700): 21.3 
  • Tee Higgins, Bengals vs. 49ers (DK: $6,400 | FD: $6,800): 16.4 
  • Jarvis Landry, Browns vs. Ravens (DK: $5,400 | FD: $6,400): 15.1 
  • D.J. Moore, Panthers vs. Falcons (DK: $6,200 | FD: $6,800): 14.4 
  • Dawson Knox, Bills at Buccaneers (DK: $5,000 | FD: $6,000): 19.0 
  • Gerald Everett, Seahawks at Texans (DK: 3,500 | FD: $4,800): 10.8 

That’s a tidy list of seven low-cost, high-value position players. Collectively over the past two weeks, we’ve enjoyed an average of 18.6 points from 14 position-player hits, all for an average of just over $5,300 each. If you started any of these affordable players, you likely saved yourself enough salary to heavily upgrade one or two other positional spots. 

Getting the most bang for your buck has always been the name of the game in DFS, so it’s important to do your due diligence before constructing lineups. Leave the deep-diving to us -- we're here for you, from the first kickoff through the last play of the 2021 NFL season. Now let’s carry over some of our momentum, and make some more money!

All player values are from DraftKings and FanDuel. All stats are from NFL.com and Pro Football Reference.

WEEK 15 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

NFL DFS Picks Week 15: QB sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel

Jalen Hurts, Eagles vs. Washington (DK: $6,600 | FD: $7,800)

When we last saw Hurts, he suffered an ankle injury in Philly’s Week 12 loss to the Giants, but he’s expected to be fully healthy for this game. That’s great news for Eagles fans, and it’s great news for DFS opportunists who will relish the chance to grab the RPO specialist for $6,600. Hurts put up 30.78 points the last full game he played, a 40-29 win over New Orleans, and he has logged at least 55 rushing yards in six consecutive contests. If you want a running back who can also throw the ball -- for under $7,000 -- grab Hurts here. No team has surrendered more fantasy points to QBs than WFT has this season. (Update: The Eagles-Washington game has been moved to Tuesday, so Hurts is no longer eliglble in Sunday contests.)

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers vs. Falcons (DK: $5,800 | FD: $6,700)

People assume Jimmy G’s a bad fantasy play because he’s a dink-and-dunker, but he’s actually been remarkably consistent this season despite myriad injuries to San Fran’s offensive nucleus. He logged 20.14 fantasy points in a win over Cincinnati last week after putting together his second consecutive 296-plus-yard, two-touchdown game. Now he gets a home battle against the Falcons, who bleed points to QBs. Only the aforementioned WFT has allowed more fantasy points to the position this season.  

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Titans (DK: $5,600 | FD: $6,600)  

Big Ben looked like a dumpster fire in the first half of Pittsburgh’s Week 14 game in Minnesota, but he looked like an All-Pro in the second half. It seems reports of his arm’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, or maybe he contacted Frank Thomas and found himself some Nugenix. Who knows (and who cares?) how this late-season resurgence has been initiated -- all that matters is the fact that he just put up 28.82 fantasy points, and the Steelers have an outside shot of clinching a wild card spot before season’s end. I think you could do much worse than Big Ben at $5,600 against the Titans, who rank 26th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to QBs.

WEEK 15 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

NFL DFS Picks Week 15: RB sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel

Javonte Williams, Broncos vs. Bengals (DK: $6,100 | FD: $7,000) 

Williams has been one of the hottest rookies in the second half of the season, and he’s spent plenty of time making this list. What can we say? He’s a value at anything below $7,000. He proved last week that he has the confidence and ability to provide bellcow output, even in a timeshare with veteran back Melvin Gordon. Denver prioritizes the run as much as Cleveland has the past few seasons, so both Broncos' backs are good plays against a soft Bengals front-seven. The Bengals rank 22nd in points allowed to RBs this season, Williams has scored four times the past three weeks, and he’s averaging 24.7 PPR points over that span. The stud rookie will be a "my guy" the rest of the way.

James Conner, Cardinals @ Lions (DK: $6,400 | FD: $8,000) 

Conner makes this list regardless of the status of fellow Cardinal back Chase Edmonds (ankle). He’s the NFC leader in rushing touchdowns, and he padded his lead by tacking on two more in front of a prime-time audience on Monday despite a tough divisional tilt with the Rams. Conner now has 14 total TDs through 13 weeks (the Bucs’ Leonard Fournette is second in the NFC with eight scores -- good luck bridging that gap, Lenny!). The fifth-year bruiser now gets a date with Detroit, the fourth-most generous defense to running backs in fantasy. Hell, I’d probably play Edmonds at $5,100 if he’s finally activated off the IR. But as long as Conner's ankle injury doesn't keep him out, he's a no-brainer, whether he gets 15 touches or 25.

James Robinson, Jaguars vs. Texans (DK: $5,400 | FD: $6,300)

Admittedly, this is the most volatile of my RB picks this week. Robinson has fallen victim to the absurd and nonsensical coaching tactics of Urban Meyer, who somehow thought it was a good idea to give his talented second-year back single-digit touches the past two weeks. Well, I’m guessing interim Jacksonville GM Trent Baalke -- and maybe even franchise owner Shahid Khan -- will tell Meyer to get his head out of his keister and give J-Rob the rock this week. The Texans rank 27th against RBs in fantasy points allowed this season, so if not now, then when? Robinson averages a healthy 4.8 yards-per-carry this season, and he has seven total TDs. He’s ready and able and a good bet to finally see some volume if you’re down with risk/reward. (Update: Meyer has been fired, which actually gives us even more optimism for Robinson.)

WEEK 15 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

NFL DFS Picks Week 15: WR sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel

Brandin Cooks, Texans @ Jaguars (DK: $5,800 | FD: $6,900)

Cooks is a stud. The veteran receiver produces year in and year out, even if he has Tyrod Taylor or Davis Mills slinging him the ball. Last week against Seattle, Cooks caught eight-of-11 targets from Mills for 101 yards, his third time breaking the century mark this campaign. One of those games came in Week 1 against the Jags, whom he burned for 132 yards. Jacksonville ranks 26th in PPR points allowed to wideouts, so fire up Cooks once again. 

Odell Beckham, Jr., Rams vs. Seahawks (DK: $5,400 | FD: $6,000)

OBJ has touchdowns in three consecutive games as a Ram, and he’s also collected a 25-yard gain in three straight contests. His biggest game, by far, came Monday night against the division-rival Cardinals. The veteran caught six-of-seven targets for 77 yards and a score, playing an integral part in a massive 30-23 win. Beckham has clearly developed a rapport with LA signal-caller Matthew Stafford, and the results should continue to follow as the playoff chase intensifies. Seattle just allowed Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins to combine for 13 catches and 170 yards, so I think Cooper Kupp and OBJ can thrive in their second-straight divisional battle. Note: Beckham Jr. is currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so make sure he's active. (Update: The Rams-Seahawks game has been moved to Tuesday, so OBJ is no longer eligible in Sunday contests.)

Braxton Berrios, Jets @ Dolphins (DK: $3,200 | FD: $5,300).

Extreme value alert! With starting wideout Corey Davis (core) done for the season and stud rookie receiver Elijah Moore (quad) out until Week 17, Berrios stepped up last week against New Orleans. The third-year speedster hauled in six-of-10 targets for 52 yards, bailing out New York’s often-desperate rookie QB Zach Wilson. Berrios keeps on moving until he runs himself open, and he’s always a threat to bust loose once he has the ball in his hands. If you have a superb squad with just $3,200-$3,500 left in your wallet (or $5,300-$5,700 on FD), grab BB for the upside play. Miami has surrendered more PPR points to receivers than 29 other defenses this season.

NFL DFS Picks Week 15: TE sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel

Dawson Knox, Bills vs. Panthers (DK: $5,100 | FD: $6,500)

Knox is clearly back to greatness, and he’s also back to this column for the second-straight week. The burly tight end caught seven-of-nine targets for 60 yards and a score against Tampa Bay on Sunday, and now he gets to face a Panthers squad that similarly just let rookie Kyle Pitts haul in five catches for 61 yards. Knox’s cost only rose $100 since last week, so I’m buying right back in. Be the Walter White of your DFS contests -- be the one who Knox. 

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins vs. Jets (DK: $5,000 | FD: $6,200)

The last time we saw Gesicki, he had caught seven-of-11 targets for 46 yards in a 20-9 Week 13 win over the Giants. Now he’s fresh off a bye, rested, and ready to roast the other Big City squad at home. The Jets rank 26th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to the tight end position. Get down with the Gesickiness (I know, that was bad). 

NFL DFS Picks Week 15: D/ST sleepers, values for DraftKings, FanDuel

Bills vs. Panthers (DK: $3,100 | FD: $4,900)

The Bills have an outstanding defense, they’ve just been outshined by the Super Bowl-contending Pats and Bucs the past two weeks.  Well, Carolina is a gigantic step down from those squads on the competition scale, and Orchard Park in December is a tough place for a banged-up Carolina squad to play. Cam Newton and P.J. Walker (and Sam Darnold, if he's back) make lots of mistakes, so take Buffalo while the price tag is still in the lower $3,000s.

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