Crush Spot – NFL Week 15
by Justin Vardian

Welcome back to Crush Spot, our weekly breakdown of one player at each position, at any price, who has the potential to crush his value. Our first week was a success, with three of our five picks finishing inside the top eight at their respective positions. At the quarterback position, I went with Aaron Rodgers. He had a favorable home matchup against a weak Falcons defensive unit and managed to put up 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, while adding 44 yards on the ground. These numbers are far from spectacular by his own standards, but they were good enough for 20.2 fantasy points and a QB8 finish. At running back, Alvin Kamara, had the potential to dominate against the Buccaneers. He ended up with 87 total yards and a rather pedestrian 10.7 fantasy points, putting him at RB18 in week 14’s standings. In what turned out to be the pick of the week, Amari Cooper had a career game, posting a video game line of 10/217/3. Not only was Cooper the fantasy WR1 last week, he also posted the highest fantasy point total of any player on Sunday’s slate. He’s averaging 107 yards per game since joining the Cowboys. At tight end, Jared Cook had 7 catches for 116 yards on 10 targets in Oakland’s embarrassing win over the Steelers. He was Derek Carr’s favorite target and the Steeler defense had no answer for him. Cook finished as TE4. The Los Angeles Chargers DST unit turned out to be the worst pick of the week, finishing tied with five other teams for DST12. In a home matchup against a Bengals team led by Jeff Driskel, the Chargers managed to squeak out a win, but gave up 21 points while doing so.

Now that we’ve recapped, here are our picks for Week 15:

Quarterback: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Matchup: @ Pittsburgh, 4:25 PM EST

Price: DraftKings: $5,900; FanDuel: $7,900

A theme throughout Tom Brady’s career has been winning, especially against the Steelers. In 13 career games against Pittsburgh, he is 11-2. Despite this, every time these two rivals square off, there is a playoff-type feel in the air. The same should be true this Sunday in a pivotal late season matchup with a lot of playoff implications on the line. Regardless of the outcome, we should see a high scoring affair with plenty of touchdowns to go around. In his last 5 games against the Steelers, Brady is averaging 325 yards per game to go along with 14 touchdowns and only 1 interception. The Black and Yellow have lost 3 straight games, and if they’re going to win this one, it won’t come without a fight from Tom Brady’s offense.

Running Back: Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Matchup: vs. Oakland, Sunday 1:00 PM EST

Price: DraftKings: $6,100; FanDuel: $7,800

Last week, Joe Mixon racked up 111 yards on the ground and added 5 catches for 27 yards against the Chargers. This week, he’ll look to keep the momentum going against a Raiders defense allowing 144.5 rushing yards per game, next to last in the league. With Andy Dalton and A.J. Green both sidelined for the rest of the season, Mixon should continue to see plenty of work as a true workhorse back. Over the last three weeks, he has caught 17 balls for 144 yards. With Oakland giving up 22 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, Mixon should be able to provide your lineup with a solid anchor at RB.

Wide Receiver: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

Matchup: @ San Francisco, Sunday 4:05 PM EST

Price: DraftKings: $6,200; FanDuel: $6,700

With Doug Baldwin out last week, Tyler Lockett had the opportunity for an increased target share and thus, a big game. Instead, he had 5 catches for 42 yards on 6 targets. A pretty average game. Although it is still early in the week, and it will definitely be a situation to monitor, it is worth noting that Baldwin was a DNP all last week and could be well on his way to sitting out another game. Although Lockett is known as a boom or bust option at wide receiver, I’m betting he booms this week against a 49ers defense that has allowed a league worst 20 touchdowns to opposing wideouts this year. Last week, Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton (who?) combined for 14/132/1 against San Francisco. With the Seahawks looking to win their 5th straight game and continue building momentum en route to the playoffs, look for Lockett to have a big game.

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

Matchup: @ Pittsburgh, Sunday 4:25 PM EST

Price: DraftKings: $5,800; FanDuel: $6,900

Three things in life are sure: death, taxes and Rob Gronkowski dominating the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his 6 career games against them, Gronk has piled up 39 catches for 664 yards and 8 touchdowns. Last year, he posted a 9/168/0 line in Pittsburgh. In his worst game against the Steelers, he went 7/94/0. Gronk is also coming off a week 14 in which he had 108 yards and a touchdown, and it looked as if he and Tom Brady re-established a connection after a few quiet weeks and missed games. To make matters worse for Pittsburgh, they were torched last week by Jared Cook for 116 yards. I don’t even need to emphasize the shootout potential that this game has. Simply put, Rob Gronkowski loves to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Start him.

DST: Indianapolis Colts

Matchup: vs. Dallas, Sunday 1:00 PM EST

Price: DraftKings: $2,600; FanDuel: $3,600

Fresh off a tough divisional win against Houston, the Colts return home for a favorable matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is also coming off a tough divisional win, but brings to Indy a defensive team that will need to keep Andrew Luck under wraps, a tall task indeed. Dak Prescott needs a lot of help to win football games, and he won’t get any from his defense this week. Luck should be able to put points up at home, and this could force Dallas into turning the ball over while trying to keep up. Of course, Zeke is one of the most talented backs in the league, but the Colts have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season. Dallas has been hot lately, but look for them to come back to Earth this week and struggle on the road.