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Fantasy Football Week 15: Players to start or sit

Dalton Del Don
·10-min read

Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 15 lineups.

Buffalo Bills @ Denver Broncos

Sit: Devin Singletary, Jerry Jeudy

Singletary has a decent matchup, but Buffalo is passing at a higher rate than any team in football, and Zack Moss had nearly twice as many carries last game. In fact, Singletary saw just a 40 percent snap share (compared to 59% for Moss) last week and has a goal-line beast as his QB, so he’s tough to trust in fantasy lineups.

Jeudy ranks No. 5 in air yards this season and has flashed serious route-running ability but continues to be hindered by shaky QB play, as his catchable target% ranks last in the NFL since Drew Lock returned in Week 6. Jeudy is looking at a tough matchup with Tre’Davious White this week, so Tim Patrick is the better start.

Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers

Start in DFS: Mike Davis ($20)

Start: Packers D/ST

Davis looked refreshed coming out of Carolina’s bye last week and gets a Green Bay defense that openly welcomes running. When/if the Panthers fall behind, Davis will remain active as a receiver, as Christian McCaffrey’s lost season continues.

The Packers have allowed just 5.1 yards per play at home this season (sixth-fewest), and Teddy Bridgewater has gotten only 6.7 YPA since October ended. He’ll be forced to throw frequently (in below-freezing weather) Sunday when Carolina gives up a bunch of points.

Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts

Start: Keke Coutee

Start in DFS: Jonathan Taylor ($29)

Coutee should see a big role Sunday with Houston always struggling to run and Brandin Cooks still banged up (and Jordan Akins dropping everything in sight). This game has one of the week’s highest totals, and the Colts have quietly allowed the third-most yards per play over the last three weeks. Indy has also ceded the fifth-most fantasy points to the slot over the last month, so Coutee should continue to make Bill O’Brien look bad with another nice game.

[Week 15 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

It’s taken longer than expected, but Taylor has become Indy’s lead back, and he’s a borderline top-five RB this week against a Texans defense that’s been gashed for the second-most fantasy points by running backs this season.

Detroit Lions @ Tennessee Titans

Start: Marvin Jones, Corey Davis

Jones would take a hit should Chase Daniel have to start instead of Matthew Stafford, but he’ll be worth starting either way this week against a Tennessee defense that’s yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Detroit should be pass-heavy (and has been throwing downfield more since Matt Patricia was fired) while playing catchup against a Titans team that enters as double-digit favorites.

Davis remains on pace to surpass 1,000 yards (and score five touchdowns) this season despite coming off a quiet game and missing two others, and he should bounce back against a Detroit secondary allowing 8.0 YPA. The Lions have also been gashed for the most fantasy points this season to Davis’ primary side.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

Start: Tom Brady, Hayden Hurst

Brady has actually been far better on the road this season (18:2 TD:INT ratio) compared to home (10 turnovers), and he gets to play in a dome this week in a game that projects to be fast-paced and high scoring. With Ronald Jones highly questionable and facing an Atlanta defense that’s shut down the run recently, Brady is set up for a big game Sunday, especially with Tampa Bay’s receivers finally getting healthy together.

Hurst has been a big disappointment this year, but Julio Jones is likely out again, and the Bucs are a funnel defense that’s been one of the most favorable matchups for tight ends over the last five games. Hurst is a sneaky start this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12)
The GOAT could be in for a big game in Week 15. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins

Start: Damien Harris, Lynn Bowden

Harris is the only Patriots player worth even considering starting in Week 15, and the impressive young back gets a run-funnel Miami defense that ranks #5 against the pass and #23 versus the run in DVOA. New England also enters with a big advantage up front, and the team’s game plan will feature minimizing Cam Newton’s pass attempts.

Bowden ran the ninth-most routes in the league last week and could be even more involved Sunday with DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Jakeem Grant all uncertain to play. Bowden is a threat to run or pass as well, and the Patriots are far more vulnerable against the slot than outside, so he’s a flier and a cheap DFS option in Week 15.

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Football Team

Start: Seahawks D/ST, Football Team D/ST

The Seahawks’ defense has been playing far better of late, allowing an NFL-low 4.2 yards per play over the last three weeks. Carlos Dunlap plans to return this week, while Washington will either be starting a banged-up Alex Smith or Dwayne Haskins at quarterback likely without the team’s starting running back Antonio Gibson, so the Seahawks are a strong fantasy start.

Washington enters with the #2 pass defense DVOA and won last week thanks to scoring two defensive touchdowns (and they were the first team to beat Pittsburgh this season the week before, as WFT’s defense has been terrific). While a matchup as underdogs against a good Seattle offense doesn’t seem ideal, Russell Wilson has committed 11 turnovers and taken 20 sacks over six road games this season.

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

Start: Cole Kmet, Irv Smith

Kmet had the eighth-highest target share (21.2%) among tight ends last week, so he’s an option at a thin position. He’s just $12 in Yahoo DFS.

With Kyle Rudolph unlikely to play Sunday, Smith is another tight end flier against a Chicago defense that’s actually allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position this season.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens

Start: Gardner Minshew

Start in DFS: J.K. Dobbins ($20)

Minshew is more of a Superflex option, but he’s a flier now starting again and facing a Baltimore defense that’s been favorable to fantasy quarterbacks recently. Minshew can add rushing stats, and he should drop back plenty Sunday with the Ravens likely to score a bunch of points.

Dobbins has emerged as Baltimore’s lead runner (he had a 61% snap share last week when Gus Edwards was next with 25%), and the impressive rookie back has run for a score in three straight games. Jacksonville has ceded the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, and Dobbins should have a favorable game script with Baltimore near two-touchdown favorites at home, so he’s a top-10 RB in Week 15.

San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys

Start: Jeff Wilson, Michael Gallup

Raheem Mostert is battling a high-ankle sprain (and required an MRI this week) and will be at far less than 100% if he does play (and a big risk of leaving in-game), while Wilson has taken control as SF’s clear #2 back. In a creative Kyle Shanahan system against a poor Dallas defense allowing the second-most rushing yards per game (132.8) to backs this season, Wilson is an intriguing upside flier in Week 15.

[Play in Yahoo’s NFL $150K Baller. $15 entry fee. $15K and more to first]

Gallup ranked top-15 in WOPR last week and has more air yards this season than Amari Cooper, who will have to deal with Richard Sherman on Sunday. Over the last four games since Andy Dalton returned, Gallup leads Dallas in targets (30).

New York Jets @ Los Angeles Rams

Sit: All Jets

Start in DFS: Cam Akers ($29)

The Jets are on pace to finish with the worst point differential in NFL history, and they now travel across the country to face arguably the league’s best defense that’s allowed the fewest yards per play (4.6) this season. Factoring in the massive coaching mismatch (and throw in a shaky New York kicking situation), the Rams look like the best fantasy D/ST start of the season this week.

The Jets don’t have a bad run defense, but the game script sets up nicely for Akers, who finished with the second-highest snap share among all running backs last week (teammate Darrell Henderson played just seven snaps). Akers has looked good and will benefit greatly from a system that’s provided him with a whopping 11 carries inside the 10-yard line over the last two weeks. The rookie is a borderline top-five fantasy back this week.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Jalen Hurts

Sit: Christian Kirk

Hurts impressed during his first start last week in an upset win over a Saints team that entered having allowed zero 100-yard rushers this season but left the game allowing two (with zero sacks). Hurts has plenty of work to do as a passer, but his fantasy floor is high thanks to the bankable rushing stats, and this week is a favorable matchup against a predominantly man-coverage Arizona defense. It’s a toss-up which quarterback scores more fantasy points in this game.

Kirk hasn’t scored more than five fantasy points in a game since Week 9 despite seeing 50+ snaps in all five contests. He’s not close to worthy of trusting in lineups right now.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints

Start in DFS: Tyreek Hill ($34)

Start: Jared Cook

KC should be in a high-scoring game up against a strong New Orleans defense that’s yielded the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season while also being the stingiest team versus tight ends over the last five games, so Tyreek Hill is in a good spot indoors. He’s worth paying up for in DFS, especially with Davante Adams not on the main slate.

After a quiet stretch, Cook has scored a touchdown in two straight games, and he gets Drew Brees back this week against a Kansas City defense that’s been one of the most vulnerable to tight ends lately. Expect Brees to go to Jared often Sunday. I have him as a borderline top-five fantasy TE in this matchup.

Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants

Start: Browns D/ST

Sit: All Giants but Wayne Gallman

The Browns have a huge advantage up front and look likely to face a backup offensive coordinator and quarterback Sunday night. Cleveland’s fantasy defense is a top-three start this week.

Gallman has been unlucky while losing three TD runs to Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis over the last two weeks, but he remains an easy start given the weak running back position right now. But with Colt McCoy likely starting at QB (or a hobbled Daniel Jones), no other NY player (despite Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram all being healthy) should be used during the fantasy playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sit: James Conner, All Bengals

Conner is impossible to trust moving forward while seemingly always dealing with an injury. He should be benched in Week 15 even if he’s able to play through his latest quad ailment. The Steelers have a get-right matchup and should provide a favorable game script as near two-touchdown favorites, but Pittsburgh struggles run blocking, making Benny Snell only a flier if Conner sits.

The Steelers should bring their A game coming off two straight losses after opening the season 11-0 and will have extra rest now after a three-game stretch over 11 days. The Steelers’ pass rush is going to be a major problem for an overwhelmed Bengals offensive line and whichever backup starts at quarterback.

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