We’re getting closer to the end of the 2022 NFL regular season. As the holidays draw near we tend to see the NFL expand its schedule across the weekend and that’s exactly what we get for Week 15. We get three games on Saturday, similar to the annual Thanksgiving slate so naturally, we’ll touch on those games while also examining the Week 15 main slate this Sunday. Don’t miss out on all the NFL DFS Tools we have to give you an added edge for both slates this weekend. And without further ado let’s take a look at the top NFL DFS D/ST plays for Week 15.
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NFL DFS Week 15 Saturday D/ST Rankings
- Buffalo Bills
The fact that the Bills are under $3,000 on DraftKings is a bit odd, especially since they’re the most expensive group on FanDuel for the Saturday slate. Prices be damned, they’re probably my favorite defense to target on this three-game slate. They may have lost Von Miller for the year, but they’re getting healthier in other areas. Tre’Davious White is back as are Greg Rousseau and Tremaine Edmunds. Everyone has already discussed the weather for Saturday night’s game with temps in the 20’s and the forecast also calls for snow. That kind of climate probably impacts both sides of the ball, so the Dolphins will also be ranked well on this list. But given the discount we’re getting on DraftKings we can take advantage of the home team and hope this game is well under the 43.5 projected points.
- Baltimore Ravens – This is a very good floor play. But if you’ll remember about some D/ST’s I’ve faded the last couple weeks, I don’t think this screams “ceiling matchup” for Baltimore. The Browns have run the ball 63 times in two games with Deshaun Watson as the starting quarterback. Last week they started throwing more late to try and keep pace with the Bengals. But if the Browns go with a run-heavy approach this week then that’ll limit the turnover and sack potential for the Ravens. But consider this, the Ravens have at least held their last six opponents to under 90 rushing yards, and they’ve held four of their last five opponents to 14 or fewer points on offense. If the Browns end up throwing a little more then we could see some fireworks from this D/ST. For now I consider them a safe play, with modest upside.
- Cleveland Browns – On the other side of the ball we do have the Cleveland Browns as the home favorites in the game with the lowest projected total (37 points) on this three-game slate. The Browns don’t have the floor of the Ravens, but if there’s any sign the Ravens go to their third-string quarterback then I’m interested in this group. Now as of Wednesday night, Tyler Huntley logged back-to-back practice so he’s trending towards playing. But keep an ear to the ground on Saturday for inactives. If Huntley is a go and gets the start, then we pivot and bump up the next team to number three. But I will trust Vegas and get exposure to this game and hope it’s low scoring with a cacophony of turnovers. Update: So Tyler Huntley has indeed cleared concussion protocols as of Thursday afternoon, but John Harbaugh has not yet officially named him the starter for Saturday's game.
- Miami Dolphins – It might shock some people that I haven’t yet listed the Vikings and we’ll get to them shortly. But I’ll go with the Dolphins here. There isn’t a more polarizing defense on this slate than Miami and it really comes down to how much offense the Bills can generate in the snow and if Miami can play in the conditions. I also don’t hate Miami from the perspective they offer the most salary relief on the slate as well so you can comfortably fit more studs or round out your stacks. Josh Allen is pretty turnover prone and the weather could impact both offenses, but there’s a little more variance with Buffalo in this matchup.
- Minnesota Vikings – On a short slate, it’s hard for me to say anything bad about the Vikings. If making 20 lineups, I’d probably find a way to play all six defenses in some capacity. I just don’t think the Vikings necessarily do anything good on defense and keep in mind, this is the one game on the slate that is in a controlled environment and it possesses the highest projected total. Minnesota has just two takeaways and four sacks in their last four games and I do actually like Matt Ryan and Indianapolis stacks for this slate. Another run-heavy scheme for Indianapolis could limit the upside of the Vikings.
- Indianapolis Colts – And let’s round it out with the Colts. It’s a tall order for the Colts defense. Do they have some talent? Sure. But you have to contain Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, T.J. Hockenson, Adam Thielen, and the rest of Kirk Cousins’ weaponry in a controlled atmosphere. As underdogs in the game with the highest projected total on a three-game slate, I’d just feel more comfortable taking the discount and going to the Miami Dolphins in this range.
NFL DFS D/ST Top Tier
Kansas City Chiefs
I will go back to the well with Kansas City this week. Last week I wrote them up and didn’t love the ceiling, but they did post 15 fantasy points. What did they need to get there? Six sacks, a pair of turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. The ceiling could’ve been even higher if the Chiefs had kept the Broncos out of the end zone a time or two, but I can’t rip on 15 fantasy points too much. They get another great matchup this week, on the road against the Texans. The over/under is very high at 49.5 points, but the Chiefs are favored by nearly 13 points. I do want to acknowledge this might be a bit of a trap game for Kansas City. This is their third straight game on the road and as we saw last week, the Texans aren’t complete pushovers. Maybe they played their best game against Dallas, but it is possible to put points on the board against the Chiefs. Overall, the Chiefs are top-ten in tackles for loss, pressure rate, and sacks.
On paper, this isn’t a game we should be targeting. They’re slight favorites on the road by four points and the over/under is at 47.5 points as of Wednesday night. Not to mention the Jaguars offense has been turning around and playing better and Trevor Lawrence has “flipped a switch.” Let’s see how the offense stacks up against the best defense in the league. Remember when the Jaguars rallied from being down 17-0 against the Raiders and won 27-20? They wound up putting up just 17 points the following week against Kansas City in a game everybody thought would be a shootout. Remember when the Jaguars pulled off an incredible comeback against the Ravens and won 28-27? They put up 14 points the following week against Detroit’s soft defense. Jacksonville put up 38 points against the Titans last week and Trevor Lawrence threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns (and he added one on the ground). If the pattern holds, the following game after these Jacksonville “breakouts” lead us to an underwhelming performance. Jacksonville is pretty good in pass protection, but this is a stiff test as Dallas has the best pass rush in the league and that doesn’t bode well for the running game either as the Jaguars are terrible in that regard. You’re likely paying down at D/ST in Cash games, but I don’t think this D/ST carries much ownership in Week 15 so I absolutely love them in Tournaments.
NFL DFS D/ST Mid Tier
The Steelers have made me look like a fool whenever I’ve hyped them up. But I still buy into the fact this is a good defense and I feel much more confident in them with T.J. Watt back. They’ve held three opposing offenses to under 310 yards of total offense and just 49 total points in that span. That’s pretty good. The downside is that they only have six sacks and three takeaways in their last three games. But they do visit the Carolina Panthers this week, who have been on a roll. They’ve won back-to-back games and put up 30 points last week against Seattle. This game is arguably a Pick ‘em with the Steelers as slight dogs and the projected total is sitting at 37.5 points as of Wednesday night. A mild concern I have is that the Panthers could go run heavy and that would limit Pittsburgh’s upside similar to what we saw a few weeks ago when they played Atlanta. If you wanted exposure to the Carolina Panthers on the other side of the ball, I think that’s certainly a possibility. They’re averaging 9.25 fantasy points per game over their last four games, but I don’t love the price tag on either site.
New England Patriots
Call me crazy, and maybe I’m being a bit of a homer, but this seems a little too cheap for the Patriots. They are on the road against the Raiders, who have won three of their last four games. The Raiders have a little extra rest on their side, but Bill Belichick knows Josh McDaniels better than most. And BB usually schemes to take away the opposing offense’s best weapon. Now the Raiders still have other weapons and between Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller (activated off IR), and Hunter Renfrow (also activated off IR) the Patriots will have their hands full. Both teams are hunting for a playoff spot. But the Patriots have put up double-digit fantasy points six times, and they’ve put up at least eight fantasy points eight times. So at this price tag I love the play in Tournaments. I’d look elsewhere in Cash games. New England hasn’t forced many turnovers but they can collect sacks in bunches (they’re third in pressure rate) so given the price tag I like this group as a Tournament play.
The Lions are a late addition to the D/ST Coach as of Friday morning. Mike White is OUT for the Jets this week which means Zach Wilson will start. This is a huge downgrade for the likes of Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson, but overall it's an upgrade for a Lions defense that has been playing better as the team makes a push for a NFC Wild Card spot. We haven't seen significant line movement based on this news yet, but the projected total is still around 43.5 points. The Lions have forced 11 turnovers in their last six games with 15 sacks in that span. The pricing is okay on both sites, but there's some Tournament appeal here given the quarterback shakeup in New York. Wilson's only completing about 55% of his passes on the year with just a few touchdowns so be aware they could go run-heavy on Detroit which caps the upside a bit.
NFL DFS D/ST Value Plays
The Broncos are an obvious choice to consider in the value tier. Truth be told, they’ve still been a respectable defense despite trading away Bradley Chubb. With Colt McCoy running the Arizona offense, they can still put up points. However, Arizona’s offensive line isn’t that good and the Broncos are sixth in pressure rate and Colt McCoy was sacked six times by New England Monday night. Add in the fact Denver also boasts a very good secondary and we’re getting an offense we can attack. The projected total is very low at just 36.5 points and they’re affordable on both sites. There’s a pretty good floor established here with a sprinkle of upside and it’s a home game at elevation, where the Broncos average 8.2 fantasy points per game.
It’s not ideal, but truthfully a D/ST at $2,000 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel isn’t awful if you absolutely have to punt this low. The last three weeks the Texans have been a pretty cheap unit and they’ve returned seven, eight, and seven fantasy points. Slate breakers? Hardly. But if that’s the return then you’re looking at 3X value and can pay up elsewhere. They have six takeaways and seven sacks in their last three games and as I mentioned above, this is the third straight road game for the Chiefs. Maybe, just maybe some fatigue is setting in. This isn’t a team you build around and plug in as a core piece. You play them in the hopes they just don’t get you negative points so you can fit in more studs.
NFL DFS D/ST Fades
New Orleans Saints
A lot of folks in the DFS community may be quick to target the Saints on Sunday because the Falcons will be starting Desmond Ridder at quarterback. I’m not sold. Both teams were on Bye last week, so they had time to prep, but Ridder didn’t even tell his parents he was named the starting quarterback a week ago because he didn’t want it leaking to the media to give the Saints extra time to prepare for him. And keep in mind, we’ve only really seen one great performance from the New Orleans D/ST all season. The ceiling has been very low week in and week out. Additionally, Atlanta could deploy a run-heavy game plan that limits the upside. It decreases the likelihood of turnovers and you can’t sack the running back. Ridder could surprise some people on Sunday. He has a pretty good arm, and in 50 games at Cincinnati in college, he averaged about ten rushing attempts per game and 40 rushing yards per game. Do I expect Ridder to light it up on Sunday? No, but I also don’t view the Saints as a high-upside D/ST priced up in the top five on both sites.