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DFS Week 15: Main Slate Matchups to Exploit

Each week, we’ll dive into Fanduel’s main slate to highlight some of the juiciest matchups and situations to exploit. Whether it’s finding the low(er)-owned gems in a popular upcoming shootout or identifying an overlooked clash that DFSers can use to gain leverage over a tournament field, our aim is to provide you the individual plays and overall strategy to consider as you chase profitability in your DFS portfolio. Let’s jump in.

Dolphins at Vikings (-7.5, 44.5)
Through Week 14, the Vikings have been a very pass-heavy team, gaining 75.9 percent of their yardage through the air. However, they’ll introduce a new offensive coordinator and play-caller in Week 15 after canning John DeFilippo. We don’t know how the offensive balance will change under the guidance of Kevin Stefanski, but the uncertainty could favor those who play the odds that the Vikings will trend to a more run-heavy attack. Dalvin Cook ($6,200) has retaken hold of the lead backfield role and dominated snaps as he moves further away from the hamstring injury that hampered him earlier in the year, averaging 16 touches and 15.5 FanDuel points over his last three games. This week he takes aim at one of the game’s most porous run defenses in the Dolphins, who have given up the fourth most total yardage on the ground. Cook has the potential to be one of the most explosive value plays this week and maybe even at a reasonable ownership level.

Buccaneers at Ravens (-7.5, 46)
This Sunday pairing looks like a fantasy mismatch: The Bucs’ offensive strength is the strong suit of the Ravens and the Ravens’ offensive strength is the Bucs’ defensive forte, at least relative to their (in)ability to slow down the pass. What you’ll get by playing Jameis Winston ($7,000) is plenty of risk, but also plenty of potential reward if he’s able to elevate his game against a stout defense. Neither was on the road or against a unit as stingy as the Ravens, but he’s crossed the 20-point plateau in each of his last three contests. He’ll be underowned on Sunday, providing a chance to apply leverage over a large tournament field. If you want to stack him, Adam Humphries ($6,200) and Cameron Brate ($5,400) are intriguing options. Chris Godwin ($5,400) isn’t a terrible gamble either as he’s coming off a 10-target game in the absence of DeSean Jackson, who’s been ruled out for this contest, but the Ravens’ have funneled the limited amount of passing production gained against them to No. 3 receivers and tight ends.

On the other sideline, it’s all about the rushing yards and touchdowns we could see from Lamar Jackson ($7,700) and Kenneth Dixon ($5,700). The Bucs’ poor run defense has been overshadowed by their atrocious results against the pass, but it’ll be tested against a Ravens offense that has adopted an extreme ground-heavy attack, rushing the ball 1.93 times per pass attempt. Jackson has scored at least 16.5 FD points since taking over as starter and averaged 83 rushing yards over that four-game span. He won’t be the only one dashing through running lanes though. Dixon has seen his snap percentage climb from 21 percent to 32 percent since rejoining the backfield and could be in line for an uptick on the nine touches he’s seen in each of his last two contests. Considering the modest volume he’s seen thus far, consider him a promising “punt play”.

Raiders at Bengals (-3, 45.5)
Welcome to Week 15’s “Charmin Bowl”, where both teams aim to play the softest defense. Both the Bengals and Raiders rank in the top five in yards allowed, setting the stage for gobs of fantasy points. Players on both sides warrant looks as underowned value plays. From Derek Carr ($6,800) and Jeff Driskel ($6,400) to Joe Mixon ($7,800), Doug Martin ($6,300), Tyler Boyd ($6,700) and Jared Cook ($6,300), there is a lot of value — and upside — to be sought in this matchup. In terms of the way the Raiders and Bengals attack and get attacked, both teams are reasonably balanced relative to one another, so this looks like a matchup where any and everything could be on the menu.

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