It’s been a pretty ridiculous past couple of weeks for receivers. We saw 14 of them surpass the 100-yard mark last week, with A.J. Green and Julio Jones combining for 483 yards. In Week 13, eight wide receivers found the end zone on two occasions.
To say that receiver selection is important on DraftKings is an understatement, especially in tournaments since many users like to use a high-upside receiver in their flex spot. Here are some options for the Week 15 Millionaire Maker $3M Finale.
Top Five Wide Receivers
Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs Minnesota, $9400 – After what we’ve seen the past two weeks, I think we can say with confidence that Calvin Johnson is back. That makes all the difference in the world for Matthew Stafford, and because their production is linked perhaps more than any two players in football, I think Stafford-to-Megatron makes a ton of sense in GPPs this week.
In cash games, I’m probably not going to pay up for Johnson. As much as I like him, it’s tough to justify paying $700 more than Antonio Brown and $1100 more than Demaryius Thomas – arguably the two most consistent receivers in football.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, $8700 – 5, 7, 10, 7, 5, 7, 10, 9, 11, 8, 9, 8, 9. Those are Brown’s reception totals this year. Is this even real life? He’s perhaps more consistent than any player in football – not just receiver – and the perfect exception to the rule of paying up primarily for quarterbacks and running backs in cash games. Roethlisberger-to-Brown is of course very much in play in tournaments, too.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati at Cleveland, $8500 – In A.J. Green’s past three matchups versus Joe Haden, the receiver has totaled 12 catches for 81 yards and no touchdowns. I think the “Green doesn’t play well against Haden” narrative is going to be a really popular one this week that is going to drive down Green’s usage a decent amount. He might be a little overpriced here, but I’m not really concerned about his ability to beat Haden. At all. My only fear is that the novice user isn’t even going to consider anything other than that he’s A.J. Green and he had a big game last week.
Odell Beckham Jr., NY Giants vs Washington, $8400 – I was chatting about ODB with some guys on Twitter this morning. My main argument was that I’m willing to miss out on players like Beckham because, in order to jump on those exceptions to the rule, you’re probably going to swing and miss a whole lot, too. That doesn’t mean Beckham can’t be played on DraftKings – I rostered him once this year when the price was a lot lower – but I’m just not going to be on a rookie (who I still believe will have trouble scoring consistently during his career) who costs more than Demaryius Thomas.
BUT, I also think almost everyone is going to drop $100 to Thomas, so you could make an argument for Beckham as a contrarian tournament play (although I think the price is too much for me to go that against the grain).
Demaryius Thomas, Denver at San Diego, $8300 – Prior to last week, Thomas didn’t have fewer than six catches in a game since Week 3. He also had either 100 yards or a touchdown in every single one of those contests. There’s a slight discount here for a player who should probably cost closer to $9000 given the pricing of the other receivers. Usage will be high, I think.
Five Others to Consider
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago vs New Orleans, $8200
I think Jeffery’s stock gets a substantial boost with Brandon Marshall out for the season. Jeffery has scored in every game for a month and should make for a nice pairing with Cutler at home against the Saints. Monitor the wind as much as you can on Sunday morning.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis vs Houston, $8000
Dez Bryant, Dallas at Philadelphia, $7900
Jordy Nelson, Green Bay at Buffalo, $7800
Julio Jones, Atlanta vs Pittsburgh, $7800
Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver at San Diego, $7500 – Sanders has decent stat lines over the past two weeks – he’s averaged five catches for 65 yards and no scores – but probably not what you want out of a top-priced receiver. I think he could be hurt a tad by the Broncos’ willingness to run the ball of late, which could very well continue in Week 15. That has me off of Sanders in cash games, but I still like a Manning/Thomas/Sanders stack in GPPs, especially since Sanders thrives on yards while Thomas is more touchdown-dependent.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland vs Cincinnati, $7400 – I don’t care about the matchup. I don’t care who is at quarterback. I don’t care about the weather. I am going to take a receiver as talented as Gordon with a workload as heavy as his will be every single time at this price.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay at Buffalo, $7300 – Cobb is a really interesting player because he doesn’t actually see a ton of targets, but he’s so incredibly efficient in Green Bay’s offense. Aaron Rodgers has a 143.7 passer rating when targeting Cobb, according to Pro Football Focus, which is just insane. The No. 2 quarterback-to-receiver duo is Rodgers to Jordy Nelson with a 131.1 rating. No other receivers are above 120.7.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay at Carolina, $6600 – Note the price drop here; although Evans is the receiver listed after Cobb in the DraftKings salaries, he’s $700 cheaper. That’s a substantial drop, so Evans is very much a consideration this week. He’s very high-variance in the Bucs’ offense, so I probably won’t use him at all in cash games. It basically comes down to finding the end zone for Evans to return value, but he can do that so well that you almost have to take a chance in GPPs.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs Tampa Bay, $6200 – Which rookie wide receiver do you prefer? Evans at $6600 or Benjamin at $400 cheaper? I think Evans is the clearly more talented player and has more upside this week, regardless of whether or not Cam Newton plays. It’s worth noting that even prior to Newton’s car crash, Vegas had the projected total of this game at only 41 points.
Five Others to Consider
Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia vs Dallas, $6100
The Cowboys are still somehow ranked eighth against opposing receivers. There’s no way they’ll be that high by the end of the year. Maclin is a risk because I could see Philly just running all over Dallas and keeping the ball out of Mark Sanchez’s hands, but I also think he’s underpriced here relative to his upside against an overrated defense.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston at Indianapolis, $6100
Keenan Allen, San Diego vs Denver, $6000
Kenny Stills, New Orleans at Chicago, $5700
Brandon LaFell, New England vs Miami, $5600
Five Value Wide Receivers
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo vs Green Bay, $5600 – Watkins broke out for seven catches and 127 yards last week after slumping for awhile. The main issue for me is that Watkins doesn’t have a ton of upside in a Bills offense that’s projected to score only 21 points against Green Bay, yet he’s also clearly a low-floor player at this point in his career. Rookie receivers really progress as their first year rolls along, but I think I’d prefer a different rookie.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay at Carolina, $5400 – Jackson and Evans are both highly volatile players. It’s unlikely that both of them will have big games – last week was Jackson’s turn with 10 catches and 159 yards – so I don’t think you should play both of the receivers together in tournaments. I like Jackson at this price, but I’m having trouble deciding if I like the rookie even more at $6600. In all likelihood, I’ll have a small amount of exposure to both.
Eric Decker, NY Jets at Tennessee, $5100 – If there were ever a week for Decker to show up, this is it. The Titans have the fifth-worst defense against receivers. Vegas hates the Jets at only 20 projected points, but that’s pretty much what you’re going to get at this price tag. I still think Decker is a much better receiver than he’s shown and, given that I believe he will score a few touchdowns over the final month of the season, I will again get suckered in here.
Mike Wallace, Miami at New England, $5100 – Wallace actually got the best of Darrelle Revis in Week 1 with a 7/81/1 line. My guess is that the Pats are going to do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen again. The Dolphins are so thin at receiver that I just can’t see New England being worried about defending anyone else. Stop Lamar Miller, limit Wallace’s big plays, you win.
Charles Johnson, Minnesota at Detroit, $5000 – As much as I love Johnson’s skill set, it’s important to remember that he still has only 21 catches on the season. He’s very much capable of big plays, but he has only a moderate ceiling in Minnesota’s offense given the lack of opportunities, especially in a very difficult matchup this week. Vegas has the Vikings at 17 points. Yikes. I will be avoiding Minnesota across the board.
Five Others to Consider
Steve Smith, Baltimore vs Jacksonville, $4800
Pierre Garcon, Washington at NY Giants, $4800
Garcon is going to be a great value if DeSean Jackson is out again. He doesn’t have a ton of upside, but I like him as a cash-game value, only if Jackson doesn’t suit up.
Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh at Atlanta, $4800
Marques Colston, New Orleans at Chicago, $4600
Malcom Floyd, San Diego vs Denver, $4200