Tackling Big Week 15 Issues
RotoExperts Special for the Associated Press
WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR BIG GAMES THIS WEEK?
With the semifinals of the fantasy football playoff season typically occurring in Week 15 we don’t recommend making many wholesale changes to your lineup.
However, if you’re looking for a little magic at the QB position, the Raiders’ Derek Carr has averaged 303 passing yards over the past two weeks with five TD passes and no INTs. He faces the Bengals, who allow the second most Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to QBs.
The Bengals have also allowed at least one rushing TD to RBs in eight straight games and given up the most FPPG to the position. Raiders RB Doug Martin is averaging just 54 rushing yards per game in his last seven starts but has TDs in three straight.
The Jets have allowed the third most FPPG to WRs. Bills WR Robert Foster has at least 94 receiving yards in three of his last four games and with Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes no longer on the team he’s likely to be heavily targeted by QB Josh Allen.
Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah has a plus matchup vs. the Raiders, who’ve given up the most FPPG to TEs. Panthers TE Ian Thomas has a tougher matchup against the Saints, but has 14 catches over the past two weeks including nine in Week 14.
CAN CAM NEWTON BE TRUSTED THIS WEEK?
Newton has been on the Panthers’ injury report for the past few weeks due to a shoulder injury but has been able to play. His shoulder woes may be more serious than the Panthers are letting on. His average yards per pass attempt has decreased from a high of 9.65 in Week 11 to just 6.31 this past week. Even Newton’s rushing yards per game have decreased in each of the past three weeks. In addition, he’s failed to reach 200 passing yards in his last three games against the Saints, his Week 15 opponent. Combine those factors and you’ll be better off keeping Newton on your bench if you have a viable alternative option.
IS JOSH ALLEN A BETTER START THAN AARON RODGERS OF CAM NEWTON THIS WEEK?
Allen is exactly the kind of useful option that we alluded to in our last section. Allen has scored the second most fantasy points among QBs over the past two weeks. During that time Rodgers has been a QB12 and Newton has been a QB 21 as per total fantasy points scored. Since Week 12 Allen’s averaged 112 rushing yards per game. Depending on your scoring system that could equate to 11 fantasy points. His rushing yards provide a nice floor to his fantasy production. Rodgers has averaged 209 passing yards over the past three weeks, takes on the Bears in Chicago this week, and they’ve allowed the second fewest FPPG to QBs.
CAN TITANS RB DERRICK HENRY HAVE ANOTHER BIG WEEK?
Recent history suggests the answer is no. Including the playoffs, Henry has rushed for at least 109 yards three times in his career. His rushing totals in the weeks following those games were 13, 20 and 28 yards. Henry takes on the Giants on the heels of a tremendous 238-yard rushing performance. The Giants gave up just 43 rushing yards to Redskins RBs last week but in their previous five games RBs torched them for an average of 130 rushing yards. Henry’s 17 carries in Week 14 were his most since Week Three, and Dion Lewis is still playing a significantly higher number of snaps than Henry every week.
WHICH BRONCOS WR IS THE BEST FANTASY WR3 START?
Fade Courtland Sutton. He’s averaging just over two catches per game and he’s been dealing with a quad muscle injury that could limit him. Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton are two Broncos WRs who are both in play this week.
Patrick plays on the outside and is coming off of a 10-target, seven-catch, 84-receiving yard performance. He should benefit from top Browns CB Denzel Ward missing his second straight game.
Hamilton plays most of his snaps from the slot, and slot receivers have enjoyed success against the Browns. He led the Broncos WR in routes run, caught a TD pass and had seven catches for 47 yards last week.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE PATRIOTS BACKFIELD?
Earlier in the season Sony Michel and James White were both startable in fantasy every week. Michel got the majority of carries and goal line opportunities and White was a reliable change-of pace-option whose specialty was catching balls out of the backfield. Fast forward to Week 14 and FB James Develin scored his third TD in two weeks, and he Michel and White all have snap percentages north of 40 percent. Even Rex Burkhead’s snaps percentage is over 20 percent. You obviously can’t start Develin or Burkhead but, they do cut into Michel and White’s fantasy production. Continue to start Michel, but lower your expectations. He’s not the RB1 we expected him to develop into based on his early-season usage. White’s still valuable in points per reception (PPR) scoring formats, but his production isn’t as consistent as it was earlier in the season.
WITH CARSON WENTZ’S INJURY HISTORY WOULD IT BE WISE TO ATTEMPT TO TRADE HIM (ONCE HE’S HEALTHY) IN A KEEPER LEAGUE?
Wentz’s 2018 and 2017 seasons ended prematurely due to injury. He also missed most of the 2015 college season due to a broken bone in his wrist. While his injury history is concerning its too early in his career to write him off. However, no player should ever be untouchable on your fantasy team. When the time is right, let your league know that he’s available. You might get an offer that could save you headaches for seasons to come.