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Fantasy Football Starts And Sits: Week 15

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t order a trophy just yet! There are two more weeks until the fantasy championships so get your starts and sits!

Two weeks remain in fantasy football, and I hope your first playoff matchups went well. It was a low-scoring affair for most teams as many fantasy studs did not do that well. If you had a team comprised of Ben Roethlisberger (2.6), Melvin Gordon (0.5), Matt Forte (0.8), Devonta Freeman (1.8), Dez Bryant (-1), Terrelle Pryor (0.3), Jordan Reed (1), Dan Bailey (0), and Seahawks D/ST (-2), you would’ve scored just four points in ESPN standard scoring. Of course, if you had Le’Veon Bell (47.8) or Falcons D/ST (26), your team probably lived to see another playoff game. Hopefully, Week 14 lit a fire under every players’ butt and will result in a touchdown-fest this week. 


Starts of the Week

QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns: Tyrod Taylor hasn’t been nearly as great this year as he was last year. However, this offense is looking complete with LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins both healthy. They’ll be playing the Browns this week, so you know it’s a good matchup. The Browns have allowed 19.58 fantasy points to QBs on average, second highest for any defense. This makes Taylor a low-end QB1 for this week.

QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons: Kaepernick has been up and down as of late despite hitting the ground running after he won back his starting job. This coming week, he’ll have an outstanding matchup against the Falcons defense, who has allowed 19.72 fantasy points to QBs this year. Moreover, the Falcons offense should be able to get an early lead against the porous 49ers secondary, forcing the Niners to play catch-up by passing or scrambling. Kaepernick will also be a low-end QB1 for the week. 

RB T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans: Chris Ivory will likely be out again for Week 15, so T.J. Yeldon will have another game as the lead back. This game will likely to be a low-scoring affair between two good defenses and two dysfunctional offenses (especially passing games). Yeldon should get his touches, both on the ground and as a receiving back. He is usually a RB3, but this week I’m considering him a RB2 against the below average Texans run-defense.

RB Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings vs. Indianapolis Colts: I was debating whether to put Asiata or McKinnon here, but I ultimately chose Asiata due to the touchdown upside. The two backs will likely end up with very similar carry totals, but the coaching staff has continually opted for Asiata at the goal line. The Colts run defense was a turnstile against Lamar Miller and the Texans offensive line, especially with D’Qwell Jackson suspended. I expect both Asiata and McKinnon to have no problem running the ball, but Asiata is the one who will probably get the touchdown, making him an RB2 for the week.

WR Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers: Taylor Gabriel has been a great weapon for the Falcons offense the past couple weeks with five touchdowns and at least 40 yards in his last six games. He’ll be facing an underwhelming 49ers secondary, which means he should have no problem getting open (especially if the defense has to contain Julio). Gabriel has been performing like a high-end WR2, and this game will allow him to continue that consistency with WR1 upside.

WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills: On one hand, I am worried that his quarterback is Robert Griffin III, who had an awful passing game last week. On the other hand, Griffin targeted Coleman a whopping 11 times, but Coleman only caught three of them. Coleman will be facing an underperforming Bills defense that has struggled to contain WR2s: Kenny Stills 16 points, Chris Hogan 15 points, Tyler Boyd 11 points, Marqise Lee 9 points, Michael Crabtree 13 points, etc. If Coleman can consistently connect with Griffin, he’s poised to have a great fantasy day. 

TE Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns: I believe I wrote about Charles Clay last week in my Playoffs Trade Targets article, and it paid off! In Week 14 against the Steelers, he caught three-of-six targets for 52 yards and a touchdown. He should be able to carry over the momentum with yet another easy matchup against the Browns. The Browns defense has allowed 77 catches (fourth most), 830 yards (sixth most), and 11 TDs (most) to opposing tight ends. Clay should be a low-end TE1.

Other good starts: RB Carlos Hyde (SF @ ATL), RB Jonathan Stewart (CAR @ WAS), WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN vs. NE), WR Jordan Matthews (PHI @ BAL), WR Kenny Stills (MIA @ NYJ), TE Ladarius Green (PIT @ CIN)


Sits of the Week

QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions @ New York Giants: Stafford has been a steady quarterback this year, but the days of him throwing the ball 60 times look to be over. The offensive scheme under Jim Bob Cooter has been much more conservative as they have looked to establish a formidable run game. Couple that with the Giants’ shutdown defense this year and you have a bad matchup for Week 15. This year, the Giants defense has allowed just 12.81 points on average to opposing QBs, just second to the Broncos. This is also an away game for Stafford playing without a dome in the wintry weather of the New Meadowlands. Stafford is a desperate play if you truly have no one else to start. 

QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts @ Minnesota Vikings: Luck struggled against the Houston secondary in a game that likely ended the Colts’ playoff hopes. In Week 15, Indianapolis will travel to Minnesota to face the stout Vikings defense. This defensive corps has been solid all year, having allowed 13.45 points to opposing signal callers, good for third in the league. Furthermore, the Colts have a banged up offensive line that will surely crumble under the Vikings’ d-line trio of Danielle Hunter, Linval Joseph, and Everson Griffen. Luck is a QB2 for this tough Week 15 matchup. 

RB Matt Forte, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Matt Forte said he felt “cracking and popping” (per Rotoworld) in his knee during their Week 14 game, which led to his being benched. Forte will likely either be inactive or still banged up for their Saturday game. Even if he were healthy, this does not look like a good matchup against the Dolphins defense that has allowed just five rushing TDs all year. Moreover, the Jets offensive line looks awful, especially with center Nick Mangold shut down. It’s highly unlikely that Forte will be active as this season is unsalvageable, so why bother rushing his return? Even if Forte is active, he is not startable as Bilal Powell will take the majority of the touches. 

RB Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots: Devontae Booker will be at most a FLEX play this week for two reasons. First, the Denver Broncos just recently signed veteran RB Justin Forsett to bolster the backfield, which does not bode well for Booker’s volume. Second, the Broncos offensive line play has been subpar and will surely struggle against a good defense like that of the Patriots. New England has allowed an average of 15.23 points to RBs this season, good for seventh best. Unless Booker gets a touchdown, it is pretty unlikely that owners get good production from him this week.

WR Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints @ Arizona Cardinals: Brandin Cooks has been a boom-bust play this year, and with Drew Brees’ recent struggles (0 TD, 6 INTs in past two weeks), I’m considering Cooks a FLEX player at best. Not only do the Cardinals have a great overall defense, Cooks will likely be shadowed by All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. Unless you do not have two wideouts with better matchups, better leave Cooks on the bench for this away game.

WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans: Allen Robinson has been a WR2 at best during this forgettable season. The Texans pass rush and secondary are amongst the league’s best, mostly due to the breakout season cornerback A.J. Bouye is having. It’s highly unlikely that Bortles and Robinson can recreate their 2015 magic, especially if Bouye spends considerable time shadowing Robinson. Just like with Brandin Cooks, Robinson belongs on the bench unless you do not have other wideouts.

TE Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens: Zach Ertz had an outstanding game in their loss to the Washington Redskins, catching 10 catches for 112 yards. He’s unlikely to repeat that success as the Eagles travel to face the Ravens’ unstoppable defense. Tight ends against Baltimore have averaged just 4.43 points, good for second lowest in the league. This is due to the Ravens’ impressive front-seven that excel at blitzing and coverage, thanks to linemen Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan and linebackers C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs. Rookie QB Carson Wentz will try to look for Ertz’s large frame, but it’s unlikely that Ertz will have success against this defensive group. Ertz is a low-end TE1, benchable if you have another tight end with a better situation.

Other good sits: QB Andy Dalton (CIN vs. PIT), QB Blake Bortles (JAX @ HOU), RB Ryan Mathews (PHI @ BAL), RB Terrance West (BAL vs. PHI), WR Julian Edelman (NE @ DEN), WR Doug Baldwin (SEA vs. LA), TE Coby Fleener (NO @ ARI), TE Dennis Pitta (BAL vs. PHI)

I want to finish by talking about one of the struggles with Starts and Sits every week: the tight end section. It’s hard to justify saying which tight ends to start or sit because chances are, every team is only rostering one tight end. Furthermore, tight end talent is scarce such that even if a talented player is boom-bust, there’s no point in dropping them for a lesser talent who might produce for just one week. I guess my point is that be careful not to drop anyone who can be used against you next week. Just start your talented superstars, sit back, and watch some good ol’ American football.

Edited by Justin Peroff, Kat Johansen.

SQuiz
In the 2016 NFL season, what was the first team to clinch a playoff spot?
Created 12/12/16
  1. New England Patriots
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Oakland Raiders

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