Looking back at last week, it proved to be one of our worst. Alex Smith put up solid numbers but two touchdowns called back turned an outstanding fantasy day into an average fantasy performance. Meanwhile, Tom Brady looked like your average 40-year-old man at quarterback against the Miami Dolphins and sunk fantasy lineups. Needless to say, the week didn't go in our favor.
So we'll look to bounce back this week and turn the tide. As always we'll provide some elite targets, value options and names to avoid. This week, we look at two top plays, three value plays and one quarterback we'll want to avoid. The value plays will make great targets for your cash-game lineups, while our elite plays are quarterbacks you'll want to plug into your GPP lineups to try and maximize the amount of money you could win.
Now let's get started for the Week 15 slate of games.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT v. NE, ($8,000)
Once written off, Roethlisberger's performance of late puts him square back in the elite fantasy play consideration. Whether you want to give much of that credit to Antonio Brown, doesn't matter as Big Ben's numbers over the past four weeks stand out to the average eye and make him an easy consideration as a top play. In his last four games, Roethlisberger combined for 12 touchdowns and threw for 290-plus yards in each of those contests.
Now he'll face a New England Patriots defense that just allowed Jay Cutler to toast them for 263 passing yards and three touchdowns, keep in mind Miami's top receiving threat Jarvis Landry looks more like a running back most weeks. Pittsburgh will have no answer for Brown and an inconsistent pass rush may find problems getting home against the Steelers' offensive line. With time to throw deep to Brown, work in short passes for Le'Veon Bell to make big plays and the return of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Roethlisberger is a top-three play this week.
Russell Wilson, SEA v. LAR, ($8,400)
We bet against Wilson last week when the Seattle Seahawks traveled across the country to face one of the best pass defenses in the NFL in the past decade, that won't happen again this weekend. Seattle returns home and welcomes a Los Angeles Rams defense that just lost one of its top cover cornerbacks and is allowing the seventh-most passing yards per game (270) to opposing quarterbacks.
That spells disaster for Los Angeles and smells of sweetness for Wilson. He is a near lock for three-plus FanDuel points just off his running ability alone and his work running the ball just serves as icing on the fantasy cake. Paul Richardson, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham should all find good opportunities to make plays in this game and get open, while Wilson rolls out of the pocket to buy time and allows his target to separate before he drills a bullet right into their hands for the big play. Even his price is fairly reasonable for an elite quarterback and the matchup paired with his talents make him the top fantasy quarterback in Week 15.
DeShone Kizer, CLE v. BAL, ($6,700)
One of the calls we got right last week, Kizer is really starting to put together more consistent flashes of his talent and displaying the ability to help move the offense downfield and rack up numbers. With two 19-plus point FanDuel performances in the last three weeks, Kizer is showing increased ability to significantly surpass on his projected value and give DFS users a great return on their investment in him.
While a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens might sound intimidating, this defense isn't the same without cornerback Jimmy Smith. While Josh Gordon isn't on Brown's level, he is still a special talent who can exploit Baltimore's secondary and get open deep down the field. Meanwhile, second-year receiver Corey Coleman is starting to come into his own and his speed on vertical routes opens up the offense. Facing a Ravens' defense that allowed the most passing yards per game on average (328.25) to opposing quarterbacks, Kizer is a great bargain play this weekend.
Nick Foles, PHI @ NYG, ($6,000)
This is the obvious one and a player we need to take advantage of with the salaries locked in and Foles now locked into the starting job with Carson Wentz out for the year. While Foles didn't look good in relief against the Rams, quarterbacks taking over in an emergency rarely do well and Foles still helped lead the Eagles on two scoring drives that ultimately decided the game. He also carries significant experience as a starting quarterback with success as a fantasy option.
He'll face a New York Giants defense that is allowing the fourth-most passing yards per game (272.75) to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks and a secondary that continues to be exposed after numerous injuries. He should also see the return of tight end Zach Ertz, further adding to a strong group of offensive weapons that can get open and give Foles multiple options to look at on any given situation. Foles is an excellent spot start quarterback this week in fantasy and from a DFS perspective, the value doesn't get much better than this. Even if it's only a one-week ride, we'll enjoy Foles at $6K.
Blake Bortles, JAX v. HOU, ($7,400)
Bortles placement of third on the value play list is only because of his price and being amongst the top-15 priced options for Week 15. In terms of matchup and recent play, Bortles is a confident quarterback to target this week and his price still puts him in that range where good value can be found. These might be words that no one would have believed to begin the season, but Bortles' performance recently makes him an impact player in fantasy.
While Bortles fell short of 20-plus FanDuel points this week, which would have made three consecutive starts with that total, he still finished Week 14 with 18.52 points on FanDuel. Given the Seahawks defense remains fairly stout even with numerous injuries. While you can't count on Bortles' rushing ability for the two scores he posted in Week 13, he could add 10-20 rushing yards on any given week and with the upside for 250-plus yards and two scores, the upside is there. Jacksonville's offense is starting to click and facing a bad Houston Texans team, with some opportunities to have a short field thanks to turnovers, Bortles is a top-15 play this week.
Matthew Stafford, DET v. CHI, ($7,800)
Stafford enters Week 15 as the seventh-most expensive healthy quarterback on the slate, a high price given he likely won't crack the top-12 for many fantasy rankings this weekend. Over his last three games, Stafford threw a touchdown pass four times and only saved his day from a fantasy perspective with 381 passing yards against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.
This week he'll face a Chicago Bears defense that is really starting to gain recognition around the league and just held Andy Dalton under 200 passing yards last week. While Marvin Jones and Golden Tate will challenge Chicago's secondary, this defense showed it can limit an opposing passing attack and control the clock with its running game. Even if Stafford can rack up the yards, Detroit is showing a heavier commitment to running the ball inside the 10-yard line and limiting Stafford's opportunities for touchdowns as a result.
Ultimately, the price and matchup pushes him just out of consideration for us in a week where there are a lot of great options.