The NFL season’s home stretch always features injuries to big time players. These injuries create opportunities in DFS, with FanDuel rarely having time to adjust prices. These cheap options, known as “lineup makers,” are key to cashing on these slates. They offer the salary relief necessary to jam in the best plays. Here are some lineup makers for Week 15 based on advanced stats, metrics and analytic player profiles.
Ronald Jones, RB: $5800
At $5800, Ronald Jones is a nice option for those looking for a cheap running back. He’s been seeing solid volume since Tampa’s Week 5 bye, averaging 13.3 touches per game, but he’s also seeing solid volume through the air with 25 targets over that span.
The best reason to roster Jones is his matchup. The Lions have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season. David Blough has thrown five interceptable balls in his two starts, so the Buccaneers will be able to force short fields often. The team should also lean run-heavy with Mike Evans out for the rest of the season.
Patrick Laird, RB: $5500
Patrick Laird is here to stay. The undrafted running back out of California has seen his snaps increase in every game this season, hitting 84.1-percent last week. He also saw a season-high 19 touches against a stout Jets front, turning in 82 yards. His 33-percent Juke Rate over the last two weeks indicates that he’s creating yards on his own and that he’s primed to explode in good matchups.
Check out Patrick Laird on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Well, a good matchup is finally here, with the Dolphins facing a Giants defense that has been gashed in every phase. Ryan Fitzpatrick has kept the Dolphins competitive in the last few weeks, and two bad defenses against two capable offenses sets the stage for a potential shootout. This game has a solid total at 45.5, an environment that Laird can potentially smash in.
Isaiah Ford, WR: $5500
Our first receiver destined for more targets is Isaiah Ford. With DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson both sustaining concussions, Ford played 77.8-percent of Miami’s snaps in Week 14. He was also targeted nine times, handing in a respectable six receptions for 92 yards. Both Parker and Wilson are murky given the standards of the NFL’s concussion protocol, and Allen Hurns is also battling leg injuries, so Ford should continue to produce in his expanded role. He also draws a matchup with Deandre Baker, who has played like the definition of a first-round bust. Keep an eye on the status of the other receivers throughout the week.
Danny Amendola, WR: $5400
With Marvin Jones done with an ankle injury, Danny Amendola is primed to absorb extra targets in a premium matchup. The veteran slot receiver has seen eight targets in back-to-back games with David Blough under center in Detroit, but struggled to post meaningful yardage against the Bears and Vikings. His solid target total still gives him a point floor to trust in cash lineups.
The Buccaneers have allowed the most yards and the second-most receptions to opposing receivers on the season, so Amendola is set up nicely in what projects to be a shootout.
Greg Ward, WR: $4900
With nearly every Eagles receiver out with an injury, the team will need to turn to the converted college quarterback, Greg Ward. The undrafted rookie did it all as a Houston Cougar, throwing for over 8,700 yards, rushing for over 2,000 and even catching 15 balls in his four collegiate seasons.
Philadelphia has transitioned Ward into a slot receiver, where he has garnered 19 targets from Carson Wentz in his three games this season. Not that he has much of a choice anymore, Wentz clearly doesn’t mind throwing to him. Plus, Ward has an excellent matchup against Fabian Moreau this week. The Washington DB ranks No. 122 in PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings.
Justin Watson, WR: $4500
While some people are doubting who will fill the role that Mike Evans left behind, anyone that has perused PlayerProfiler knows it will be Justin Watson. For starters, Watson has incredible athleticism with a 107.2 (87th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Speed Score and a 123.3 (91st-percentile) SPARQ-x score. With 33 3/4-inch arms, he possesses a 10.28 (92nd-percentile) Catch Radius that rivals Mike Evans’ 10.32 (95th-percentile) Catch Radius.
What Watson also has that Evans never did is age-adjusted college dominance. While breaking out at the age of 19.4 (81st-percentile), Watson accumulated three straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards and scored 31 touchdowns for a 60.3 percent (98th-percentile) College Dominator Rating. Watson’s advanced metrics indicate he is the real deal, and he now has the opportunity to prove it. Don’t be afraid of the first-round bust, Breshad Perriman, or the undersized slot receiver, Scott Miller.
O.J. Howard, TE: $5700
O.J. Howard has fallen back in favor of Bruce Arians, it seems. It couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Bucs in need of deep production in the stead of Mike Evans.
Howard has already been playing in a comparable role, ranking No. 4 in Deep Targets and No. 7 in Average Target Distance. Jameis Winston should look to Howard and his 123.9 (98th-percentile) Speed Score more often in the deeper quadrants of the field.
Ian Thomas, TE: $5300
With Greg Olsen out, Ian Thomas smashed his stone-minimum price tag with five catches, 57 yards and a score on a whopping 10 targets. With Olsen still not cleared from his concussion, Thomas can do the same this week. His matchup is even better, with Seattle allowing the second-most receptions and yards to tight ends on the season. His ownership will also be lower given his price jump and other options. Thomas is an excellent post-hype contrarian play.