This article could be much shorter by simply saying start all the Chargers this week. For those of you looking for reasons, then you're in luck. We love to break down the deeper research, especially for those of you jumping in for the first time after missing out on a playoff berth.
We've got some fantasy stars and some contrarian plays that might seem like head-scratchers at first glance. But Chigoziem Okonkwo was a head-scratcher in our Twitter lineup last week, and that seemed to pan out okay with 18.5 points at $2,700. Now we have more best plays to get your mind off your regular-season fantasy failures.
NOTE: Below are the best picks for either double-up or tournament lineups. DraftKings salary available: $50,000
Sheldon High School fishing club president Justin Herbert is set for another stellar game in Week 15. Since Keenan Allen has returned, Herbert’s ripped off four straight games of 20+ DraftKings points. His receivers are finally healthy, resulting in him leading the NFL in passing yards over the last four weeks. Now he gets a Tennessee defense at home that’s allowed the top fantasy stack in back-to-back weeks. I would not be shocked at all if it became three in a row, as the Titans are 31st in pass yards and touchdowns allowed this season.
Only $6,200 for a quarterback whose team leads the NFL in scoring since his return may seem puzzling. However, we haven’t seen the touchdown upside like usual, limiting the ceiling in recent games. His season high in points this year would be his seventh-best of 2021. I expect the touchdowns to positively regress, as the Cowboys unusually have had more rushing touchdowns than passing this season. Jacksonville has been a top-10 offense as of late and should force the Cowboys into another competitive game this week. A ceiling game could finally be inbound against a defense that has allowed a QB1 in five straight games. The passing yards are there and the efficiency is stellar -- the touchdowns will come. Just time to be patient and trust the talent.
Did I mention I like the Chargers this week? Well, I do. Ekeler might be overlooked this week, which is great for DFS as we look to differentiate ourselves from the field. The reason I say that is the Titans are the fourth-best defense against running backs this season, which should hopefully scare people off when eyeing the high price tag. But when you’re on pace to set the NFL record for receptions by a running back, who cares if a team has a good run defense? The Titans allow the third-most targets to the position and are playing a quarterback who loves to check the ball down. Not to mention Ekeler averages a touchdown per game this season. Fire him up with confidence.
If you missed out on the playoffs because Sanders told you not to draft him this preseason, now you can make up for your mistake. After not scoring in 2021, Sanders is already up to 11 touchdowns on the season, and he's up against a defense allowing the second most on the year. The Eagles new play calling under Shane Steichen has opened up more running lanes with defenses getting stuck having to contain both Jalen Hurts and Sanders. The Eagles back continues his incredible resurgence with the second-most rush yards per game over the last four weeks.
Joe Burrow might throw to Chase 100 times on Sunday. After averaging nearly 11 targets per game, Chase will suit up with three Bengals pass catchers (who add up to nearly 50% of the team’s target share) banged up. The Bengals wideout has already been the overall WR1 versus both NFC South teams he faced this season. He’s surpassed 30 DraftKings points in three of his last four games and will certainly be the main focus for a Bengals offense in a pass-heavy matchup.
If you don’t choose to stack Herbert with Ekeler, I’d suggest plugging in Allen -- if not both. We talked about Herbert’s improvement with Allen back in the lineup. Well, to nobody’s surprise, Allen is playing great, too. The Chargers are second in pass percentage since his return, and he’s averaged over 17 points a game while leading the NFL in targets. Tennessee is shooting for its fifth consecutive game of allowing a wideout to hit over 20 points as it looks to lock in the last-place rank versus the position on the season. Expect Allen to continue to tear it up in year 10.
Look, I get it. Suggesting this makes me nauseous. Regardless, take away the grudge, trust the analytics and Johnson looks to be a great value. I like this because of the potential of Mitchell Trubisky starting. Which, when I say that out loud, sounds insane. But when Trubisky plays the majority of the game, Johnson has averaged over 10 targets and 14.2 points, all without a touchdown scored. Trubisky has a very low average depth of throw throughout his career, which favors Johnson’s skillset over George Pickens. This is proven by the numbers, as the Georgia rookie has received just 15 targets in four games without Pickett under center. Getting the volume that Johnson receives in a good matchup for only $5,100? Absurd. It just looks ugly when you put a face to the price. But while Johnson is sitting at $5,100, the other wideouts on the slate with over 10 targets a game sit at an average salary of $8,300. If you believe in positive regression, there’s no better case than Johnson. He currently has the most targets in a season without a score in NFL history.
The first receiver off the board in the 2022 draft will play his first game with fellow rookie Desmond Ridder at quarterback. Ridder is much more likely to take shots downfield or just throw more in general than Marcus Mariota has this season. London has a good chance to boom for a player under $5,000, especially if he gets a Saints secondary still without its star corner, Marshon Lattimore. Although Atlanta hasn’t passed much this season, London is sixth in the entire NFL in target share. I expect Ridder to feed London this Sunday, much like he fed Colts rookie Alec Pierce in college, a player who has nearly identical size and play style as his new No. 1 receiver.
Jacksonville has allowed more points to tight ends over the last four weeks than Arizona, which is saying a lot if you’ve paid any attention to TE defense. Schultz is next up, a week after leading the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards as he continues an extremely consistent season (as long as Prescott is starting). Getting Schultz in your lineup is a great way to get a piece of this potential shootout for a low cost.
I’m giving you another tight end pick trusting that you don’t upset me by putting one in the flex. I despise two-TE lineups, but if you don't have the salary for Schultz, Dulcich is the next best option. The Cardinals are on track to win the triple crown of stats allowed to tight end this season, which isn’t exactly an accomplishment. The UCLA rookie has flashed several times in 2022 and still received nine targets in his one game without Russell Wilson. Dulcich is the sixth-best tight end on the slate in terms of points per game and still only costs $3,600 despite getting the golden Arizona matchup.
The Broncos defense has almost been as impressive as the Broncos' lack of offense. The number one scoring defense in the NFL now gets Colt McCoy and the Cardinals coming to town with the lowest projected point total of the week. McCoy, who has one touchdown in his last three games, won’t have it easy on a short week against a defense that had not allowed three touchdowns all season until playing Kansas City last week. Denver is a safe plug-and-play defense at a discounted $2,700.