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Stats Perform’s Fantasy Football Outliers: Week 15

By: Stats Perform

It’s a big week for fantasy owners fortunate enough to have advanced to the championship semifinals.

Those hopeful owners are surely searching for anything that might help them move on to play for their respective league’s big prize. This late in the season, anything can happen and a previously unknown can emerge as a difference-maker down the stretch.

Those who took a flier on Cleveland Browns running back Jerome Harrison in 2009 after he had rushed for a total of 301 yards and no touchdowns on 88 carries over the first 11 games certainly received a playoff boost. Remarkably, Harrison racked up 561 yards and five scores on 106 rushes in the final three contests.

Stats Perform’s projections are here to help you make the right decisions both this fantasy postseason and in daily fantasy plays. We’ve pinpointed players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end in a half PPR-scoring format that we project are either higher or lower than other experts’ rankings.

For the consensus rankings, we’re using FantasyPros, which aggregates major fantasy sites’ picks, to compare our projections with others in the industry. Half PPR grants a half-point for a reception, a nice blend between standard scoring and full PPR.

Here are Stats Perform’s top undervalued and overvalued players for Week 15:

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes under pressure on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass.

Quarterback – Undervalued:

Tom Brady, New England Patriots (DK $6,000, FD $7,600)

Stats Perform Ranking: 4

FantasyPros Ranking: 14

ProjectionComp.-Att./CarriesYardsTDs-INTs/TDs
Passing32.5-45.2346.52.0-0.8
Rushing0.30.60.0

 

We know what you’re thinking. TB12 hasn’t been himself this season and has likely let more fantasy owners down than he’s lifted up. He has his lowest quarterback rating since 2003 to go along with a career-worst 3.6 touchdown percentage.

Brady, however, should have plenty of opportunities to put up some old-school numbers against the Cincinnati Bengals, whose offense has trouble staying on the field. We project New England to have an unusually large number of offensive plays this week, and in turn, more Brady pass attempts than usual.

Quarterback – Overvalued:

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (DK $6,900, FD $8,200)

Stats Perform Ranking: 11

FantasyPros Ranking: 3

ProjectionComp.-Att./CarriesYardsTDs-INTs/TDs
Passing28.0-34.2229.32.1-0.3
Rushing0.20.40.0

 

Don’t get the projections wrong here. We’re showing Brees to be a safe play with an expected 2.07 touchdown passes, but it just isn’t likely that he’s going to be able to build off his 349-yard, five-touchdown performance against the San Francisco 49ers last weekend.

This week’s opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, likes to play a slow-down game and control the possession – ranking eighth in the NFL in total offensive touches. That’s likely going to lead to fewer opportunities for Brees and the Saints offense.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley sprints with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Running Back – Undervalued:

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (DK $6,000, FD $7,600)

Stats Perform Ranking: 6

FantasyPros Ranking: 11

ProjectionCarries/CatchesYardsTDs
Rushes20.684.00.7
Receiving3.021.20.2

 

Everyone has looked like an All-Pro lately against the struggling Dallas Cowboys. We expect that trend to continue and project Gurley to have another strong performance after totaling 174 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries in his last two games.

The Cowboys have allowed seven straight opponents to rush for 100 yards or more after getting gashed for 151 and a score in a 31-24 loss to the normally pass-heavy Chicago Bears on Dec. 5.

Running Back – Undervalued:

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (DK $7,700, FD $8,300)

Stats Perform Ranking: 1

FantasyPros Ranking: 5

ProjectionCarries/CatchesYardsTDs
Rushes23.0113.40.7
Receiving5.444.00.3

 

Yes, we’re going with a bonus undervalued play at running back this week as Barkley projects to be a must-start against the Miami Dolphins.

Though Barkley has been a disappointment after going first overall in many fantasy drafts with just 301 yards and no scores over his last six games, he should be able to break through with a big effort in Week 15. The Dolphins are tied for 30th in the league against the run, allowing 141.1 yards per game.

Dallas Cowboys’ Amari Cooper (19) makes a touchdown reception against Chicago Bears’ Kevin Toliver (22) on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, in Chicago.

Wide Receiver – Undervalued:

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (DK $6,500, FD $7,700)

Stats Perform Ranking: 12

FantasyPros Ranking: 15

ProjectionCatchesYardsTDs
Receiving5.572.80.4

 

We’re going to throw a little qualifier on Cooper being a solid undervalued choice. Our projections have Dallas throwing the ball a bit more than usual against a Los Angeles Rams team that has struggled to defend the pass at times this season. Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson have thrown for four touchdowns against the Rams, while Lamar Jackson lit them up for five scores through the air in Week 12.

Los Angeles has held its own against the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo, Andy Dalton, Mason Rudolph, Mitchell Trubisky, Kyler Murray and Wilson last week. So Dak Prescott figures to be one of the top QBs the Rams have faced all season. Nevertheless, we would lower the expectations for Cooper should Jalen Ramsey end up man-to-man on him the entire contest.

Wide Receiver – Overvalued:

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (DK $6,800, FD $8,000)

Stats Perform Ranking: 20

FantasyPros Ranking: 10

ProjectionCatchesYardsTDs
Receiving5.163.90.3

 

With seven receptions for 102 yards in the season opener, Robinson was one of the few bright spots in Chicago’s 10-3 loss in the first meeting with the Green Bay Packers. It might be difficult for the Bears to get the passing game going in the rematch with frigid conditions expected at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

The Packers have had a fierce pass rush, have given up just 221 passing yards per game over their last three and picked off five passes in their past four. So instead, we project that the Bears will try to take advantage of a Green Bay run defense that ranks 25th in the NFL, allowing 122.8 yards per game.

Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith, right, catches a touchdown pass in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.

Tight End – Undervalued:

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (DK $3,500, FD $4,900)

Stats Perform Ranking: 10

FantasyPros Ranking: 19

ProjectionCatchesYardsTDs
Receiving3.033.20.5

 

Smith certainly isn’t a big name in terms of fantasy tight ends, but he could be a diamond in the rough for fantasy owners this week. He’s likely to run a ton of routes in a matchup with the Houston Texans and the model points to a strong chance of him finding the end zone. In fact, our projections give him the fourth-best shot at hauling in a touchdown pass among all tight ends.

Ryan Tannehill has been hot with 15 touchdowns passes and only four interceptions over his last seven games and we rank Houston as one of the NFL’s worst teams in terms of defending the tight end position.