Woo and Boo: Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em for Week 15
Josh Allen vs. Detroit Lions
Josh Allen is back in the start section for Week 15 due to the plus matchup ahead of him against the Detroit Lions. The Lions’ defense has been routinely getting worked over in recent weeks by opposing quarterbacks, and I expect no different in this game, even against a less than star-studded offensive group with the Bills. The Lions have yet to face a quarterback that utilizes his running ability to the degree of Allen and that facet will keep the defense off balance. Look for Allen to continue to run wild while also pressing the defense with his passing abilities. I can see a three-touchdown game here for Allen, plus another 100-yard rushing day. If you’ve gotten this far in your Fantasy playoffs and are willing to throw caution to the wind thanks to your normal starter disappointing (Kirk Cousins or Aaron Rodgers), play Allen and don’t look back as you advance to Week 16.
Lamar Jackson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Staying with the mobile rookie quarterbacks, Lamar Jackson has once again been the named the starter for Week 15. With a matchup against one of the worst defenses in Fantasy in the Buccaneers, Jackson could have his best day yet. His passing acumen is still in the works on the pro level, but his legs add a dimension that gives you another outlet for scoring. The Ravens will look to keep the ball on the ground in this game as the grind the clock out for a win. You won’t see a 300-yard passing performance out of Jackson here, but 300 yards total (100 yards on the ground) feels about right. Add in a minimum of two touchdowns and you have a quarterback that will be worth streaming as a low-end QB1 this week.
Tevin Coleman vs. Arizona Cardinals
Essentially splitting time with Ito Smith over the course of the last month, Tevin Coleman has fallen out of favor amongst Fantasy owners. But a favorable matchup in Week 15 against a soft Cardinals run defense may be just what the doctor ordered to get him back on track. The Cardinals have allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the league, and I expect for this game to be well in hand by the second half. Game script will be in Coleman’s favor, as he should eclipse 100 total yards in this game and get back into the end zone. This puts him into the discussion as a low-end RB2 in any format.
Darren Sproles @ Los Angeles Rams
Darren Sproles has been back for two games and is already a thorn in the sides of Josh Adams owners. Adams has been seeing most of the work on the ground, while Sproles sees the benefit of scoring. He’s playing more snaps each week and now with the possibility of Carson Wentz being out in this game and Corey Clement on IR, Sproles role could increase even more. Playing against an angry Rams team on the road, the Eagles likely will be behind for most of this game, meaning that Sproles will be on the field quite a bit in passing situations. He will be worth the gamble as a Flex option in PPR formats, as I expect to see him haul in at least five passes in this game with a potential trip to the end-zone.
Adam Humphries @ Baltimore Ravens
On paper, this could be a difficult matchup for Humphries and the Buccaneers’ offense in Baltimore, but I suspect to see some points on the board by the end of the game. Humphries has been very consistent over the last month of the season, and with most of the coverage being focused on stopping Mike Evans in this game, he should find plenty of open areas out of the slot. The running game for the Buccaneers will be largely non-existent in this game, so look for Jameis Winston to throw plenty. This means more opportunities for Humphries and the secondary receivers. If your depth is thin heading into Week 15 and you need a player to fill out your WR3/Flex spot, Humphries and his potential five catches are worthwhile. Add in a possible score and you’ll be doing backflips for it paying off.
Tim Patrick vs. Cleveland Browns
When the news hit of Emmanuel Sanders being out for the season, Courtland Sutton owners rejoiced in their new prize that could potentially hit it big. Apparently, we were all wrong, as Tim Patrick emerged from obscurity to the tune of a seven-catch, 85-yard game in Week 14. Can he repeat that in Week 15 against a Browns secondary that has been reeling in recent weeks? I believe that he can as it seemed that he and Case Keenum were on the same page last week. That could continue here, making Patrick a strong Flex option for owners that have been getting hit with the injury bug late in the year.
Evan Engram vs. Tennessee Titans
Welcome back Evan Engram…sort of. Engram returned from a two-game absence in which he was being out-played and out-snapped by Rhett Ellison with a solid three catch, 77-yard day. If completely healthy, he gives Eli Manning an extra weapon to utilize in the event that Odell Beckham is not fully back to being himself. With the tight end position being the mess that it is, a four catch, 60-yard performance is just good enough to be start worthy for a guy like Engram.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
With NFC South games traditionally being high-scoring affairs in recent years, you may immediately have second thoughts about playing the Saints’ defense on the road this week. But with the obvious shoulder issues bothering Cam Newton, it opens the door to potential turnovers and a defensive score. Give this defense a few sacks on top of that and they just might be the top scoring defense in Fantasy for Week 15.
Cam Newton vs. New Orleans Saints
As previously stated, Newton is visibly hurting from a shoulder ailment. Although the team will not confirm its severity, you can notice the accuracy taking a hit along with the zip on the ball. Coupled that with the team’s insistence on establishing Christian McCaffrey and the ground game and Newton is a quarterback that I would be hesitant in playing this week. With other options out there with better matchups, it may be smart to pivot somewhere else with your playoff hopes on the line.
Aaron Rodgers @ Chicago Bears
Bench Aaron Rodgers in the Fantasy playoffs? Blasphemy! Say what you want, but Rodgers has just one 300-yard game since Week Six and has only had two performances with more than two touchdowns all season long. That’s not what you are looking for from the top quarterback drafted in 2018. In this pivotal Week 15 game, he goes on the road to play a tough Bears defense that just shut down the high-scoring Rams’ offense. You likely could be forced into playing Rodgers, but if a player like Josh Allen is available on the waiver wire, I would scoop him up and play him over Rodgers in a heartbeat this week.
Derrick Henry vs. New York Giants
Everyone will be excited and chasing last week’s monster performance from Derrick Henry, but be advised that this is the same player that has disappointed for most of the 2018 season. In fact, prior to last week, Henry has had less than 10 carries in all but two games since Week Seven. Another thing to keep in mind is how the Titans offense tends to play on the road. This team usually struggles away from Nashville and playing against the Giants could put a negative game-script against Henry. If you are desperate, Henry is likely in your lineup, but if you have options, I would certainly weigh those in Week 15.
Adrian Peterson @ Jacksonville Jaguars
With Washington down to playing Josh Johnson as their starting quarterback, the days of Adrian Peterson being a viable Fantasy option this season may be over. Aside from a couple of good games over the course of the last six weeks, Peterson has been nothing more than a bench player in Fantasy. Now he goes on the road in Week 15 to face a Jaguars defense that is one of the best in the league in preventing points to opposing backs. With your playoffs on the line, it would be in your best interest to go in another direction than Peterson in this matchup.
Tyler Boyd vs. Oakland Raiders
Overall, Tyler Boyd has exceeded expectations this season and has been a weekly staple in starting lineups in any format. But the odd thing is, without A.J. Green on the field, he has been somewhat invisible. This matchup in Week 15 against the Raiders, on paper, should be one he could take advantage of. But with Gareon Conley potentially covering Boyd, I’m hesitant to say that he is a sure-fire starter this week. You may not have other options to pivot to, so if you are cornered into playing Boyd this week, be sure to temper your expectations on him.
Alshon Jeffrey @ Los Angeles Rams
Sure, Jeffrey is coming off a very solid performance in Week 14, but in the previous five games he had gone for no more than four catches or 48 yards. Now with Wentz in doubt and the matchup against the Rams’ defense, Jeffrey has all the makings of a player set to disappoint in Week 15. If you have the depth to insert another option into your starting lineup this week, I would definitely go that route.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Miami Dolphins
Rudolph is another case of a player drafted as a starter at his position and has returned no where near the value you were expecting to get back. He’s had only four games all year long that would be deemed worthy of TE1 status and I don’t expect to see any different this week against the Dolphins. Look for the Vikings’ offense to center around the ground game of Dalvin Cook and the star receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Like I mentioned earlier, the tight end position is a crap-shoot week in and week out this season, so you likely have to start Rudolph. But if there are some intriguing options out there on the wire, it may not hurt to pivot to a better matchup for the week.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After holding their own in Kansas City last week, common perception is that the Ravens’ defense will be hitting on all cylinders against the Buccaneers’ offense. But I have a gut feeling that Winston and the Bucs’ offense could be up to the challenge and put up some points here, especially in a garbage time scenario. They may still be a start-worthy defense in Week 15, but the matchup may not be the slam dunk that many Fantasy think that it will be.