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, heading into Week 15:
Tyrod Taylor, Bills, $11,200 – For some reason, the Buffalo media has been calling for Tyrod Taylor’s head this week even though he threw for 228 yards and two TD last week in a blizzard. Sure the team lost the game but that can hardly just be put on him and at least Coach Rex Ryan sounds committed to him. In what should be a perfect game to prove himself to the fan base once again, Taylor and company will square off against a soft Browns defense that just allowed Andy Dalton to rack up 16.90 fantasy points against them sans A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. Overall the Browns rank 31st in passing defense and 29th in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric. Considering Taylor leads the QB position in terms of both rushing yards (471) and rushing TDs (six), both of those statistics are equally important and the Browns linebackers are simply not athletic enough to contain him. With the ability to display his skills as a dual threat in an elite matchup, Taylor is simply priced way too cheap. Assuming the weather holds up this week (since it did not last week), Taylor will be well worth using in all formats.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, $15,400 – Of course Le’Veon Bell is a safe bet as per usual but honestly I am just sick of writing him up every week. Another (much cheaper) back in a fantastic situation this week is Ezekiel Elliott coming off his worst fantasy performance since his pro debut. The team will face the Buccaneers who rank 23rd against the run according to DVOA and have allowed the 12th most rushing yards. Even in a quote unquote “bad game,” Elliott still rushed for 107 yards against the Giants but he caught zero passes. Well, the Buccaneers also rank 27th in DVOA against RBs in the passing game so Elliott is unlikely to get held catch-less for the second consecutive game. Really the strongest argument for Elliott is he is priced at a sub $18,600 cost; the same cannot be said for David Johnson ($19,000) nor Bell ($18,600). Instead of using both the stud backs, choosing one and pairing them with Elliott should provide more overall upside for a lineup due to the extra salary to spend.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins, $10,600 – Coming off a game where Jamison Crowder was held to season-low two catches, he will immediately have a chance for redemption versus Leonard Johnson. On paper, this is a fantastic individual matchup against a porous talent as Johnson has graded in the bottom three of all starting cornerbacks (in nickel formations), per Pro Football Focus. The return of Jordan Reed certainly did not help Crowder’s cause last week but he still has caught 60 balls this year even with all the competition for targets. Only Pierre Garcon has been targeted more (91) times on the team and owns a greater target share (18.8-percent) but the disparity is tiny (89 targets and 18.4-percent target share respectively). Garcon had been the favorite recently due to multiple matchups where he drew the best matchup of the receiving core. With that streak officially over, look for Kirk Cousins to find the open man who habitually should be Crowder in Week 15.
Rishard Matthews, Titans, $9,100 – So let me get this straight…Rishard Matthews had topped 13 fantasy points in five consecutive weeks heading into a matchup against arguably the league’s toughest secondary last week, he flopped and now his price has regressed all the way down to scrub level? Wow. Bargains like this do not come along everyday as Matthews has proven himself to be a borderline WR1 on most weeks but especially in favorable matchups. The Chiefs rank 25th in DVOA against opposing number one WRs and have surrendered 83.0 yards per game the position so they definitely qualify as a favorable opponent. Amazingly, Matthews has scored seven TDs over the course of his last nine games and yet guys like Cole Beasley (five TDs) and Willie Snead (four TDs) are significantly more expensive. Since the Chiefs have allowed 15 receiving TDs to opposing WRs already this season, Matthews is a threat to score once again. Even if he does not, the Chiefs have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to the WR position so Matthews should be in a great spot to exceed value at his price regardless.
Eric Ebron, Lions, $7,400 – Safe Eric Ebron feels like an oxymoron but this week the two terms are synonymous. Prior to Jason Witten’s 6.60 fantasy point disappointment in Week 14 versus the Giants, teams had been tearing up the Giants in the middle of the field. In Week 13, Ladarius Green torched this squad for six catches, 110 yards and a TD. The week before, Isaiah Crowell caught a season-high six passes for 47 yards. The week before, Zach Miller was amidst a monster three catch, 61 yard half capped off by a TD and then he left due to injury. Against the Bengals, Tyler Eifert caught three passes for 96 yards…and the trend goes on and on and on. Meanwhile, Ebron has been targeted at least five times in all but one game this year (9-10 games total) but he has not eclipsed double-digit fantasy points in any of his last three games. The Giants rank 27th in DVOA against TEs so there are absolutely no excuses this week. At a depreciating cost, this is the perfect time to buy low in the talented youngster.