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Fantasy Football: Week 15 Starts/Sits, Injury Report

QUARTERBACKS:

STARTS

Jared Goff (vs. NYJ): The Jets are playing for the top draft position at this point. They have zero incentive to win, and their defensive stats back that up. New York allows the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs, third-most completions (26.5), third-most passing yards (294.4), and most passing touchdowns per game (2.15) to quarterbacks while having the 32nd ranked pass DVOA. Clearly, the Jets are awful defending the pass, and I’m expecting Goff to have a solid week here.

Ben Roethlisberger (@ CIN): Before writing this first section of the article, I assumed Ben Roethlisberger was an auto-start for most owners this season. After doing some research, it turns out he’s actually a borderline QB1 this year, ranking as the 11th best this season. That being said, he’s got a great matchup vs the Bengals on Monday night. Cincinnati has a poor defense, and a good one to attack with quarterbacks. CIN has the 29th overall DVOA, the 29th ranked pass DVOA, and allow 18.0 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the year. Fire up Big Ben if you’ve got him for this Monday night.

SITS

Andy Dalton (vs. SF): The 49ers are still a tough matchup for quarterbacks this season. They allow just 221.3 passing yards per game and allow just 16.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. We recommended Dalton as a start last week in a great matchup and a revenge game, and unfortunately that did not work out. This week, he gets a much tougher matchup. There are better routes to go this week.

Cam Newton (@ MIA): Did you know the Miami Dolphins are the second-best defense in fantasy football this season? Miami’s defensive backfield of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. Miami allows just 21.6 QB Completions per game. That’s the 10th fewest in the NFL. They also have the third-best QB passer rating, allowing just an 83.7 rating. Those two stats, plus their top five pass DVOA ranking is enough to put me in another direction this week.

RUNNING BACKS:

STARTS

J.K. Dobbins (vs. JAC): The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the league against the run this season and go up against one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL in the Ravens. Dobbins seems to have taken over that lead role for the Ravens over the last four weeks, as has had the most rushes for the Ravens over that span, averaging 13 rushing attempts per game. Since Week 11, Dobbins has scored 18.50, missed a week due to COVID-19, 13.10, and 13.30 PPR fantasy points per game. Jacksonville has the 32nd ranked overall DVOA, 24th ranked DVOA vs the run, and allow 118.0 rushing yards per game on the season. It’s a solid spot for Dobbins. The only concern is the fact that he’s still in a committee plus his quarterback takes up a lot of the rushing volume as well. I still feel alright with starting Dobbins as a mid-range RB2 this week with some upside.

Raheem Mostert (@ DAL): Which NFL Team allows the most rushing attempts, second most rushing yards per game, and the sixth most fantasy points to running backs per game? That would be the Dallas Cowboys, Mostert’s opponent this week. The concern with Mostert is that he has been limited in practice throughout the week, and his role is uncertain for Sunday. All we know at this point is as of Friday, he was taken off the injury report and is expected to play a role this week. He might still share the backfield with Jeff Wilson, and someone like Tevin Coleman, but Mostert has the most upside in this situation.

SITS

Giovani Bernard (vs. PIT): The Steelers have one of the best defenses in the NFL this year. Not only does PIT rank first in overall DVOA, but they also rank third in DVOA vs the run and first in DVOA vs the pass. The Steelers allow the second fewest fantasy points per game to RBs on the season. Gio has been very underwhelming over these last few weeks. Since Week 10, he’s only scored 8.70, 9.50, 6.90, 4.90, and 3.30 PPR fantasy points each game. Trending downward the last few weeks and in a tough matchup here. No thank you.

Todd Gurley (vs. TB): Over the course of the entire season, Tampa Bay has been a tough opponent for all running backs. TB has the second ranked rush DVOA, allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to RBs, allow by far the fewest rushing yards per game, and really do well stopping the run. Given Gurley’s struggles over the course of the season, this is an easy pick to fade Gurley.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

STARTS

Corey Davis (vs. DET): Have you been paying attention to the numbers Corey Davis has produced this season, specifically over the last four weeks? Did you know Davis is the WR12 over the last four weeks? That’s right. He’s the WR29 on the season but has really gone off lately. In four of his last five weeks, Davis has scored 11.70, 16.30, 10.00, a whopping 35.20 fantasy points, and a dud of 4.40 fantasy points last week. In Week 15, Davis gets a phenomenal matchup against the Lions. Detroit gives up the third-most receiving yards per game to wide receivers, and the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the year. Let’s keep rolling with the hot hand.

Marvin Jones Jr (@ TEN): Despite being in contention for the playoffs again this season, Tennesee’s pass defense is an issue. They rank 28th in DVOA vs the pass, allow the second-most passing yards per game to receivers and the fifth most receiving yards per game to wide outs. Golladay remains out for DET, so Jones is the next man up. It is unclear if Stafford or Daniel will get the start for this game, but regardless, I think it’s a good matchup for Jones this week.

SITS

DeVante Parker (vs. NE): A WR in a tough matchup here in Week 15 is a banged up DeVante Parker versus the Patriots. Parker will go up against top CB Stefon Gillmore as the Patriots try and backdoor their way into the playoffs this year. NE allows the third-fewest receptions per game to WRs, and the fifth-fewest receiving yards to receivers. I’ll look elsewhere unless I’m desperate.

Emmanuel Sanders (vs. KC): Normally, we would jump right on Emmanuel Sanders if Michael Thomas were out and Drew Brees was starting. However, let’s pump the brakes a little for this week. The worst matchup in the league to this point for receivers is the Chiefs. They allow just 132.3 receiving yards to WRs (fewest) and the second fewest receptions to wide receivers this year. KC also allows the second fewest fantasy points to the position as well. I’m not expecting much more than FLEX Level production from Sanders this week, even in a game that’s expected to shootout.

TIGHT ENDS:

STARTS

Tyler Higbee (vs. NYJ): We already talked about how poor the Jets defense is during the Goff write up, so I won’t waste too much more space here. The only thing I can add that hasn’t been said is that the Jets allow the most fantasy points to tight ends this season.

Eric Ebron (@ CIN): Cincinnati allows the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season. That equates to 5.46 receptions (sixth-most) and 66.7 receiving yards (most) per game. CIN also is the 29th ranked DVOA vs the Pass and overall DVOA. It’s a nice spot for Ebron here in Week 15.

SITS

Jonnu Smith (vs. DET): Man, it sucks how inconsistent Jonnu Smith has been this year. I wish he were a more reliable option, but he just disappears sometimes. Detroit presents a tough spot for Jonnu. They are giving up just 8.68 fantasy points to tight ends on the year, which is the seventh-fewest in the league. Detroit gives up the second-least amount of receiving yards to the tight end position as well. If Jonnu was more consistent, I might be able to sign off with starting him this week, but I can’t do it if there are decent alternatives out there.

Logan Thomas (vs. SEA): So, despite the crazy production Seattle allows to QBs and WRs this season, they are actually decent vs the TE. They do well defending the middle of the field, allowing just 3.62 receptions to tight ends per game, and the top ten least amount of fantasy points to the position. Add in the fact that Haskins returns to the starting lineup after being benched. Seems like a spot to avoid Thomas.

DEFENSES:

STARTS

Arizona Cardinals (vs. PHI): Jalen Hurts put on a show in his debut, but that also put some footage for teams to review on him. Philadelphia is one of the worst offenses in the NFL, and they allow the second-most sacks per game, and the second-most turnovers per game. I’m not expecting a ton from the Eagles offense here.

Cleveland Browns (@ NYG): One of the most talked about storylines in the NJ/NY area is the health of Daniel Jones heading into Week 15. He’s questionable but not expected to play, as of this writing. That means Colt McCoy will get the nod in a revenge game. Usually, we like revenge games, right? What if I mentioned this is a double revenge game? That’s right. Coach Freddie Kitchens will be filling in for Jason Garrett as the Giants’ offensive coordinator while Garrett recovers from COVID-19. An offense that consists of Colt McCoy, Wayne Gallman, a banged-up Evan Engram, and mediocre WRs in Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard seems like a good spot to attack on defense. Even if Jones winds up playing, I don’t mind the Browns defense as a start this week.

SITS

Kansas City Chiefs (@ NO): KC faces a returning Drew Brees in the Super Dome on the turf. Brees has been out of action for weeks now with that rib’s injury. I’m not expecting Brees to dominate right off the bat, but I would not be surprised if this were a high scoring, competitive game.

New Orleans Saints (vs. KC): I tried to find defenses that were playing in a different game, but after a further review, my two top sits actually come from the same game. After a disappointing outcome in Week 14’s relatively easy matchup versus the Eagles, it’s the opposite end of extremes for the Saints as they go against the Chiefs. This game has a 51.5 total and KC is the top offense in the NFL. Let’s just not worry about the Saints defense right now.

KICKERS:

STARTS

Rodrigo Blankenship (vs. HOU): Surprisingly, Blankenship has been a top five kicker in his first season as a Colt and has performed at a top five level over the last four weeks. He’ll look to continue that success into Week 15 in a divisional matchup vs the Texans. The other thing Blankenship has going for him this week is that his game has a 51.0-point total. Those two things make Blankenship a solid start yet again this week.

Ryan Succop (@ ATL): Earlier in the week, it was listed that Succop had COVID-19. However, that seems to not be the case as of now, he’s expected to play in Week 15. If he plays, Succop gets a great matchup. In this divisional contest, TB are 6.0-point favorites in the Falcons’ dome. Weather is not going to be an issue. I like this situation for Succop. Tampa Bay is still fighting for a playoff spot, so they are going to do everything they can to win this game.

SITS

Dan Bailey (vs. CHI): Has anyone watched Dan Bailey play over these last few weeks? Man, he’s really fallen off. It’s a shock to me that MIN has not cut him yet. A once great kicker for the Cowboys has really fallen off. Fun fact, there was one time where I owned a Dan Bailey Cowboys jersey back when I was in high school. He used to be great. However, not anymore. He missed at least 10 points worth of kicks last week and isn’t in the best spot here in Week 15. Let’s look elsewhere as Bailey tries to find his confidence again.

Matt Prater (@ TEN): Frequently, Prater has been listed as a starter in this write up. However, I’m a bit concerned about his matchup here in Week 15. TEN are 10.0-point favorites, Stafford is questionable, and TEN allows just 1.4 field goal attempts per game, which is the third fewest in the league. I would feel slightly better about Prater if Stafford were active, but as of this writing that is not confirmed, and thus I think Prater is worth benching.


INJURY UPDATES

QUARTERBACKS:

Brandon Allen (Knee): Ruled out, Ryan Finley will start.

Daniel Jones (Hamstring): Not expected to play.

Alex Smith (Calf): Ruled out, Dwayne Haskins will start.

Matthew Stafford (Ribs): Limited practice, game-time decision.

RUNNING BACKS:

Chase Edmonds (Ankle): Game-time decision.

Ezekiel Elliott (Calf): Expected to play.

Antonio Gibson (Toe): Not expected to play.

Damien Harris (Ankle): Ruled out.

David Johnson (COVID): Expected to return.

Ronald Jones (Finger/COVID): Not expected to play.

Alexander Mattison (Illness): Expected to play.

Adrian Peterson (Forearm): Expected to play.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Marquise Brown (COVID): Not expected to play.

Kenny Golladay (Hip): Not expected to play.

Julio Jones (Hamstring): Ruled out.

D.J. Moore (COVID): Expected to play.

DeVante Parker (Hamstring): Expected to play.

Deebo Samuel (Hamstring): Not expected to play.

Michael Thomas (Ankle): Placed on short-term IR.

TIGHT ENDS:

Evan Engram (Calf): Questionable.

Mike Gesicki (Shoulder): Expected to play.

Jimmy Graham (Hip): Expected to play as a backup.

Austin Hooper (Neck): Expected to play.

Kyle Rudolph (Foot): Not expected to play.

(Cover Photo: Michael Leff/Getty Images)

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