DFS 3 and OUT 2017 WEEK 15

By Bob Harris
Bob Harris Three DFS players I'm investing heavily in for tournament (GPP) play this week. ... And one I'm not.

I'm In:

Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

I'm not going to lie. I wish he was cheaper. That said, my expectation is the price is only going to rise. This is all based, of course, on Aaron Rodgers' imminent return to the starting lineup. As SI.com's Michael Beller noted this week, in eight games without Rodgers (including the game in which the QB broke his collarbone), Nelson has 18 catches for 213 yards and zero scores. In the four games with Rodgers this season, Nelson had 19 catches for 230 yards and six touchdowns. He sat at fantasy WR6 when Rodgers went down. That simpatico with Rodgers is nothing new. As ESPN's Matthew Berry pointed out, Nelson, on a per-game basis, has averaged 19.8 fantasy points per game (in PPR formats) over the past five seasons (41 games) with Rodgers under center. If he was scoring that rate this season, Nelson would currently be fantasy's WR3 behind only Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. Adding to the intrigue, the Panthers defense have allowed 34 points per game to wide receivers this season, tied for sixth-worst in the league. They rank 29th against the pass over the past four weeks. I do need Rodgers to be Rodgers for this one to work out. So it's comforting to remember the star QB was off to one of his best starts before his injury at Minnesota. Through five weeks, he led the NFL in touchdown passes (13) and had thrown just three interceptions. Yes, I realized Nelson is somewhat touchdown dependent, but that's nothing new. My only issue is the price ($6300 on DraftKings; $7200 on FanDuel). And I’m still paying up.

Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants

There are a number of higher-priced receivers I want to (and that I will) play this week. Josh Gordon vs. a Jimmy Smith-less Ravens defense, Devin Funchess vs. a toothless Packers pass defense and Keenan Allen in Kansas City to name just a few. But I wanted to break out a mid-tier play to go with the Nelson pick. And Shepard is it. As the Sports Xchange notes, the Giants' only chance to move the chains against Philadelphia might rest on Shepard, their slot receiver. The Eagles have allowed three touchdown receptions by an opposing receiver in their last two games. Shepard, meanwhile, has recorded at least one touchdown catch against the Eagles in three career games and has averaged 14.35 yards per reception with a 63 percent catch rate in games played against the Giants' division nemesis. In the Week 3 game against the Eagles, Shepard killed the Eagles, hauling in 7 passes for 133 yards and his lone TD on the season. Worth noting, Eli Manning has a league-best 70.4 red-zone completion percentage, but the Giants have had the league’s fourth fewest red-zone opportunities (30). It won’t take too many opportunities for Shepard ($5200 on DraftKings; $6300 on FanDuel) cash in -- although you’ll want to watch his status on Friday to make sure his tender hamstring isn’t an issue.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins

As the Sports Xchange suggested, Miami knew what it was doing when it dealt Jay Ajayi to Philadelphia because Drake has stepped in and carried the offense recently. He had his second straight 100-yard game in the victory over New England, and he has also been a weapon in the passing game. You've got to keep going with the hot hand, and Drake is about as hot as it gets for this team. In the last two weeks, he's produced 334 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. Drake has established himself as a big-play threat in both the running and passing game and that's becoming more reliable every week. His 48 carries the last two games are a testament to his importance. Better still, he goes up against a Bills run defense that's 27th in the league at 123.7 yards per game. Buffalo is giving up an average of 30 fantasy points per game to running backs, which is tied with Detroit, Cincinnati and San Francisco for the most in the NFL. So yes, Jordan Howard is a great play as well. But the price differential between Howard ($69000 on DraftKings; $7500 on FanDuel) and Drake ($5800 on DraftKings; $6500 on FanDuel) makes it possible to play both. In fact, I'll be doing just that in at least a few of my GPP lineups this weekend.

I'm Out

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Yes. Sometimes it's just as simple as asking yourself who is going up against Xavier Rhodes. This week that will be Green, who leads the Bengals with 65 catches for 950 yards and eight touchdowns. The Bengals star wideout has 28 targets over the last two weeks and has seen seven-plus in each of his last five. As ESPN's Mike Clay put it, Green is a great receiver, but Rhodes should be a great matchup at cornerback for him. Rhodes has nine passes defensed and two interceptions. But stats don't tell the whole story on him. Asked to shadow Antonio Brown in Week 2, he shut him down. Asked to cover Julio Jones two weeks ago, Rhodes held Jones to two catches for 24 yards. The week before, Jones had 253 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to Jones, Rhodes shadowed Devin Funchess last week and previously traveled with Marvin Jones (twice), Josh Doctson, Davante Adams, Mike Evans and Brown. Despite that tough slate, Clay notes that Rhodes is allowing 0.25 fantasy points per route, which is well below the 0.31 league average. In general, the Vikings rank ninth against No. 1 wideouts and Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer should know Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton's tendencies better than most after seeing him in practice every day for years when he was defensive coordinator with the Bengals. That's enough for me to fade Green given the price ($6500 on DraftKings; $7700 on FanDuel).