NFL DFS Week 15 AutoMattek Absolutes
Times have changed in DFS. When I first started writing the AutoMattek Absolutes six years ago, cash games were all anyone wanted to talk about. A majority of players considered themselves cash game grinders and tournaments were secondary to the 50/50’s, head to heads and double-ups.
That is no longer the case. Tournaments are the primary source of discussion and interest for both the casual and serious DFS players. As such, the content has to evolve with time. Throughout the 2019 NFL season, the AutoMattek Absolutes will be a hybrid GPP strategy/individual plays highlight column to help you get prepared for the Sunday main slate of tournaments.
Deep In The Value Mines
As happens every year as the NFL season winds to a close, players get hurt. Starting running backs finally give way to getting tackled 20 times a game, wide receivers close up shop and really, the attritional nature of playing football takes hold.
We have new backfields in Miami (Our Laird Hath Risen), Oakland (DeAndre Washington is the best play of the week), Derrick Henry getting “load managed”, Chris Carson without Rashaad Penny behind him, Todd Gurley finally returning to this 2018-level of workload at least as it pertains to carries, Raheem Mostert taking over the San Francisco 49ers backfield, and even Chris Thompson getting a larger split of carries and snaps with Derrius Guice again injured.
All of those changes do seem pretty overwhelming. How do you even begin to deal with half of the leagues’ backfields in flux? The first advice should be pretty obvious, which is #TrustTheProcess. The Daily Roto projections are, of course, going to be better than many of our guesses at how the new playing time is going to shake out.
There are two value running backs, however, that are so good that regardless of ownership or how good some of the higher tier values are (Carson, Barkley, CMC, ect), they are locks to make up a huge chunk of my player pool. Those players are Patrick Laird against the lowly New York Giants and DeAndre Washington against the somehow-worse Jacksonville Jaguars.
Laird played 82% of the offensive snaps for Miami last week, was targeted five times in the passing game (for the second week in a row), ran a route on over 80% of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s dropbacks and saw his special teams snap share decrease significantly. Laird is a legit bellcow running back against a team in the Giants that has given up the 4th most rushing attempts against and conceded the seventh most plays against overall. Whether you like the Laird bit or not, he is one of the best values of the slate.
The best value, however, is DeAndre Washington of the Oakland Raiders. We are not expecting Josh Jacobs to play this week and with Jacobs out, Washington both kept his pass-catching role while taking over all of Jacobs’ groundwork. He played 63% of the snaps, was targeted seven times in the passing game (more than Jacobs had been targeted all season) and doubled up Jalen Richard in carries. Against Jacksonville, who is the first time since the 1986 Buccaneers to be beaten by as many points as the Jags have been beaten by over their last five games, Washington should be considered the quintessential “first guy in” for your lineups in all formats.
Jameis: The Optimal Stack
Conditions we know to be true:
- Correlation is the most important part of building GPP lineups because your odds of picking every roster spot perfectly are infinitesimal but your odds of picking the right stack are slightly less impossible.
- Jameis Winston double stacks have been miserable this year because Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have traded off having nuclear games.
Well, sadly, that problem has now been solved for us. You can double stack 100% of your Jameis lineups (and you should be using a heavy percentage of Jameis in your MME runs) without crippling the rest of your lineup and one touchdown being good enough for the secondary pieces. With Mike Evans injured, Justin Watson ($3,700 on DK) is the most intriguing value of the week. Watson is the all-time leading receiver from Penn and is a 91st percentile SPARQ score athlete. The groups you can make with Jameis now are fantastic and affordable.
The cumulative salary (and points needed) from Watson/Brate/Howard/Perriman is so low than 4-50 and a touchdown can pretty easily get them in an optimal lineup. If one of them has a full nuclear game you have leverage on the field as only Watson will approach “chalk” or if they have just a mediocre game, your lineup is still not dead because the needed points for a 3.7k player is so much lower than a 7.7k player. There are also very cheap bring backs on the Lions side of the ball and we should anticipate the Lions to be quite pass-heavy in this game.
Kansas City Chiefin’
The Chiefs just have no running game. Last game with Damien Williams out against the Patriots, the team had only 20 rushing attempts by running backs and 10 targets distributed to the three running backs. As much as people want to say #EstablishingIt is important, it just isn’t. Patrick Mahomes is not having an MVP-level season but that ability still exists in the Kansas City offense. With Ryan Tannehill being outrageously projected, Russell Wilson on the slate, DeShaun Watson in a good spot and Kyler/Baker in a higher-total game, it is hard to see Mahomes in a game with a total under 50 being rather chalky. Similar to how the Oakland game played out, however, the Chiefs’ total inability to run is going to mean that even with a big lead, Mahomes will get his chances.
Depending on your stance on Drew Lock, there are some pretty intriguing bring-back options on Denver’s roster. Noah Fant has been a dominant athlete at the tight position and Lock’s high variance style throws are a perfect match for Courtland Sutton as well. I will not be including Lock in my QB player pool but both Fant and Sutton should see market shares and raw target numbers that put them in play for MME.