Week 15: Safe Bets

Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.

Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, for week 15:

Drew Brees, Saints, $12,300 – An interesting fact I have noted on multiple occasions this season is how drastic Drew Brees’ career home splits truly are. It’s time to acknowledge the trend has continued this season and is as evident as ever. Through 12 games, Brees has now played six games on the road and six games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and here are the results:

Home: 178 completions out of 249 attempts (71.49 percent completion), 17 passing touchdowns (TDs), five interceptions (INTs), 2100 passing yards, 111.2 quarterback rating (QB rate), 8.9 yards per attempt (YPA) and one rushing TD

Road: 159 completions out of 248 attempts (64.11 percent completion), eight passing TDs, six INTs, 1694 passing yards, 84.6 QB rate, 6.83 YPA and zero rushing TDs

17 TDs to just eight on the road! The rest of the statistics tell the rest of the story (which is really just more of the same). Detroit allows the 14th most fantasy points to the QB position so the matchup is certainly beatable. If the splits are any indication of what to expect, 350 yards and three-ish TDs are well within the realm of possibility as to the damage he may do this week. He’s priced as QB6. You know what to do.

Devonta Freeman, Falcons, $14,100 – In my opinion, Devonta Freeman is one of the top two backs in football so naturally he’s a solid pick on most weeks. The Falcons have backed themselves into a corner and now are stuck in a must-win game on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. By his standards, Freeman has just been quiet for too long as he has not eclipsed the 30 fantasy point plateau since week six. Jacksonville ranks middle of the road against opposing running backs (RBs) however they have allowed the second most receptions to the position. Considering catching passes is Freeman’s specialty and what separates him from all the other great backs, this could be the game where he gets back to his monstrous scoring ways on the heels of a five-plus catch day.

Calvin Johnson, Lions, $13,000 – Facing New Orleans team that has allowed 36 passing TDs, Calvin Johnson looks primed for a vintage “Megatron” performance. Those aforementioned 36 TDs by far rank last in football to second place Philadelphia’s 29. Johnson draws the individual matchup with the largest advantage (against Brandon Browner) this week according to Pro Football Focus. Some fantasy owners may worry due to recent duds from DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans against this putrid Saints defense and may choose to fade Johnson. That is a giant mistake because, looking at the full season, those are merely outliers against a defense that typically has a tough time shutting down anybody. In a game with an over/under of 51, there will be plenty of points to be scored on both sides. It would be shocking if Johnson isn’t one of those guys finding the end zone and contributing personally to the scoreboard.

John Brown, Cardinals, $9,800 – According to Pro Football Focus, John Brown draws the third best individual matchup of the week (Byron Maxwell) and faces an Eagles team that has allowed 29 passing TDs. “Machine” accurately describes the Arizona Cardinals passing offense; Carson Palmer has thrown at least two TDs in six of the last seven games. Brown scored his fifth TD last week against Minnesota in his 11th game. His best attribute is his speed so he possesses big upside due to his ability to both take the top off of the defense and score in the red zone. At just $9,800, there’s simply too much value to pass on.

Antonio Gates, Chargers, $8,600 – Philip Rivers has been utterly horrific recently as he’s failed to surpass 10 fantasy points in three of the last four games. When scheming how to right the ship, the answer seems pretty obvious: get the ball in the hands of your best player. Miami is nothing more than mediocre against opposing TEs but overall this is still a favorable matchup for Antonio Gates. Opposing passing games as a whole have succeeded against the Dolphins as they’ve allowed the eighth most passing yards of any team. Gates is above and beyond the best pass catcher left healthy so I think the Chargers have no choice but to find ways to get the ball in his hands this week. The price is way too low for a true TE1 and his price is nearly $6,000 less than Rob Gronkowski’s. As per usual Gronkowski will be a popular pick in cash games but Gates should prove to be the much better value play.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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