Week 15 Start/Sit


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Week 15 Start/Sit

Graham Barfield and Scott Barrett are here to help you out with all of your Start / Sit needs with a deep rundown of their favorite- and least-favorite plays every single week. This article will be continually updated with news throughout the week, so make sure you keep it locked on our projections and on this column all the way through to kickoff on Sunday.

Start / Sit recommendations for “Shallow” leagues refer to 10-team leagues while “Deep” is 12- or 14-teamers.


Shallow leagues

Start: Dak Prescott at Jaguars

After finishing as a top-10 QB in three-straight games in his return from injury, Dak Prescott has failed to notch a performance better than QB14 in each of his last three games. Dak only has one top-5 finish on the season (vs. Bears in Week 8), but this is easily one of his best spots to potentially hit a ceiling game. The Jaguars have been downright awful as of late defensively.

Since Week 7, Jacksonville is last in yards allowed per drive (38.5) and they’ve surrendered a score on 47% of their opponents possessions (fourth-worst). That is thanks in large part to their secondary that is allowing 7.8 YPA (sixth-worst) and 0.51 fantasy points per dropback (third-worst) in this span.

The Jaguars have allowed eight QB1 (top-12) weeks this season, third-most. Dak is a strong QB1 for the fantasy quarterfinals. [GB]

Deep leagues

Start: Trevor Lawrence vs. Cowboys

Despite the tough matchup with what has been an excellent Dallas defense so far, there is enough going in Lawrence’s favor to trust him again as a back-end QB1. Outside of two hiccups vs. the Broncos and Lions, Lawrence has finished as a top-10 fantasy QB in six of his last 8 games. Lawrence is QB6 (20.9 FPG) in this span. If Dallas pushes the scoring pace against the Jags’ weak defense, this game has shootout upside – making both quarterbacks great options this weekend. [GB]

Sit: Tom Brady vs. Bengals

Brady and the Bucs’ had no answers for the 49ers last week and this offense ended up bottoming out for fantasy. Brady has finished better than QB10 just twice this season and has not been better than QB11 since Week 8. Brady’s connection with Mike Evans has been snakebitten all season long and this offense just has no downfield threat to stretch the defense vertically. Combined with an awful run game, the offense is broken. Brady is averaging a career-low 6.2 YPA and shouldn’t be in 1-QB fantasy lineups this weekend. He is strictly a SuperFlex play only. [GB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Daniel Jones at Commanders

Listen, it’s not sexy! I get it. Jones’ upside is tied to his rushing and I could see this being a week where the Giants ramp it up. This is a must-win game for them to stay in the playoff hunt, and Jones had a season-high 12 carries against Washington in Week 13 when these two sides met.

Jones has notched four top-12 (QB1) scoring weeks in four of his last 7 games and is the QB9 by FPG (19.2) in this span. Daniel Jones is my favorite QB streamer of the week for Kyler Murray-less teams. [GB]

Running Backs

Shallow leagues

Start: James Conner at Broncos

Over his last four games, Conner has played on 91.1% of the team’s snaps (most by any RB over this span) while handling 90.7% of the backfield XFP (also most), and averaging 19.3 carries, 4.8 targets, 18.4 XFP/G (5th-most), and 20.6 FPG (3rd-most).

So, by all appearances, it seems as though Conner is fully back to being a highest-end bell cow, reprising the role he had last year when he averaged 23.6 FPG (2nd-most) over the final 10 weeks of the season. And I don’t expect that to change following Kyler Murray’s season-ending ACL injury. In fact, this may even be beneficial to Conner. Because over the last two seasons, Conner averages 22.8 DK FPG across the 6 games Colt McCoy has attempted at least 10 passes. In all other games, Conner averages just 14.1 DK FPG.

In a neutral-at-worst matchup against the Broncos, I like Conner as a mid-range RB1 this week. [SB]

Start: Miles Sanders vs. Bears

We were all over Sanders last week and he came through for his best game of the season, torching the Giants for 17/144/2 on the ground. I see no reason to not run it back this week with Sanders. This is arguably an identical spot – the Eagles are strong road favorites against a bad run defense.

In the fallout of the Robert Quinn/Roquan Smith trades, Chicago has fielded the worst defense in the league. Since Week 8, the Bears have allowed a TD on 38% of their opponents possessions (most) and have hemorrhaged 40.8 yards per possession (most). That is largely because their run defense has collapsed, allowing 138/698/8 (5.05 YPC) across their last six games. Sanders is a better play in 0.5 PPR, but a RB1 no matter what this weekend. [GB]

Deep leagues

Start: Brian Robinson vs. Giants

Robinson finally looked fully healthy in the Commanders last two games before their bye, totalling up 236 scrimmage yards on the back of 20 and 23 touches. After averaging less than 3.8 YPC in each of his first seven games of the season, Robinson averaged 5.2 YPC vs. the Falcons and Giants in Weeks 12-13. Well, Robinson gets the Giants again here and in an even better spot. New York has been absolutely crushed on the ground, yielding an unreal 137/711/8 rushing line across their last eight games.

A part of the reason Robinson got so much work in the Commanders last two games was because Antonio Gibson (foot) was banged up. Gibson was playing well in his own right before getting hurt, so he could steal a few more touches if he is healthier now out of the bye. Still, this spot makes Robinson one of the best RB2 plays for Week 15. [GB]

Sit: Leonard Fournette vs. Bengals

Once again, the Bucs backfield was a full-blown rotation last week.

Over the last two weeks, Rachaad White has 22 carries while Leonard Fournette has 14. The duo has split targets (14 to 13, in favor of Fournette) and routes (60 to 39, in favor of Fournette). White did widen the gap last week in terms of carries (13 to 4), but I’m not sure if that was just a part of how quickly the game got out of hand vs. the 49ers.

It also doesn’t help that this matchup is quietly really tough. Since DT DJ Reader returned, the Bengals have allowed the eighth-fewest YPC (3.81) across their last four games and just shut down Nick Chubb for 14/34 rushing.

Both Bucs backs are better PPR plays, but realistically you’re praying for a TD if you start either. [GB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Jerick McKinnon at Texans

The Chiefs are 14.0-point favorites, playing behind the highest implied point total of this week’s slate (31.75), and up against a Texans defense that’s given up the most rushing FPG to opposing RBs (21.5). Based on all of this, I suspect Isiah Pacheco will be started in a high number of leagues this week. And, I suppose, rightfully so. Because I do like Pacheco this week; I’d have him ranked as a low-end RB2 this week. But also, I still wouldn’t have him ranked too far ahead of McKinnon who offers (in my estimation) significantly more upside.

Pacheco will definitely lead the team in carries this week, and thus, get the better end of this soft matchup. But I think McKinnon has significantly more touchdown-upside, and may see the better volume on the whole. Because over the last two weeks, McKinnon has handled 63% of the backfield XFP and 88% of the backfield XTD to Pacheco’s 37% and 22%. And he’s played on 79% of the team’s red zone snaps, to Pacheco’s measly 16%. Over this span he averages 23.2 FPG to Pacheco's 14.3. [SB]

Wide Receivers

Shallow leagues

Start: Mike Williams / Keenan Allen vs. Titans

Since returning in Week 11, Allen has finished 23rd (94 yards on 68% of the team’s snaps), 21st (15.9 PPR), 12th (20.8 PPR), and then 9th (21.2 PPR) among all WRs in fantasy points scored. And across those latter two WR1 weeks, Allen leads the league with 28 targets (14 in each game).

Whereas Allen has always been the exemplar of consistency, Williams has been more highly-volatile, but still very productive. Minus a Week 11 game in which Williams played on only 9% of the team’s snaps (due to injury), he averages 16.0 FPG (~WR12). He’s hit at least 19.0 fantasy points in 5 of these 8 games, but was held under 20 receiving yards in the other 3 games.

Given their flawless matchup against the Titans – Tennessee is giving up the 8th-most FPG to opposing slot WRs (18.2) and the 2nd-most FPG to opposing outside WRs (30.5) – I think both WRs need to be viewed as WR1s this week. [SB]

Start: Christian Watson vs. Rams

Everyone keeps waiting for Watson to stop scoring TDs, but he ran hotter than the sun in his four games before the bye with 15/313/7 receiving to go along with a 46-yard TD run vs. the Bears.

Ok, will Watson score every week? Maybe not.

Still, every metric under the hood signals that Watson is a strong buy – even if we bake in some TD regression. Over the Packers last four games, Watson saw a strong 0.28 targets per route run and was the first read on 30% of Aaron Rodgers passes. That all came with a ridiculous 45% of the team’s air yards in this span. I’m going back to Watson as an upside WR2 play against this Rams secondary that is giving up the third-most yards per game to opposing outside WRs (126.9). [GB]

Deep leagues

Start: Michael Pittman at Vikings

Pittman has been one of the bigger busts in fantasy this year, providing WR25 returns (13.5 FPG) on a WR12 ADP. But I like his upside enough to view him as a high-end to mid-range WR2 this week. Pittman will be facing off against a Vikings defense which ranks worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (both over the last 5 weeks and across the full season), as well as worst by fantasy points allowed over expectation to outside WRs (+123%). Since Week 10 the Vikings have surrendered spike weeks to: Stefon Diggs (24.8 PPR), Gabe Davis (21.3 PPR), Nelson Agholor (18.5 PPR), DeVante Parker (80 yards), Garrett Wilson (162 yards), D.J. Chark (21.4 PPR), and Josh Reynolds (16.1 PPR). I think Pittman will be the next name on that list, and there may even be some room left over for a spike week from Alec Pierce. [SB]

Start: Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. Ravens

Noisy home/road splits be damned, I like DPJ over Amari Cooper as the top Browns WR play this week. Cooper is dealing with a nagging hip injury, which could potentially limit him this weekend. That boosts up Peoples-Jones as a strong WR3 play against this Ravens secondary that has struggled against boundary WRs all season long. DPJ went for 6/71 in this matchup back in Week 7 as the Ravens have allowed the fourth-most yards per game (124.8) to outside WRs on the season. [GB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Elijah Moore vs. Lions

Corey Davis suffered a concussion last week – and our injury expert believes he’ll need to sit out at least one more week to return. In his absence, Moore played on 82% of the team’s snaps (behind only Garrett Wilson, and most for Moore since Week 4) earning a team-high 10 targets (most for Moore in over a year).

So, if Davis sits out this week, Moore is finally meeting all 3 of the requirements on our checklist (from several weeks ago): 1) Zach Wilson is no longer starting. 2) Moore is finally seeing, or at least finally saw, a full-time workload. 3) He’s finally back to his natural position in the slot (65% slot rate last week).

And this couldn’t come at a better time. Because Detroit ranks worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing slot WRs (+4.6), and also 3rd-worst in FPG allowed on deep passes (9.0), where Moore (team-high 22% deep target rate) possesses a substantial edge over Garrett Wilson (9%).

So, to me, Moore is legitimately viable to start this week, ranking for us as a fringe-WR3 (so long as Davis sits). [SB]

Tight Ends

Shallow leagues

Start: Dallas Goedert at Bears

Across the full season, Goedert ranks: 4th in target share (20.6%), 2nd in YPG (60.4), and 3rd in FPG (12.6, 95% of Mark Andrews). Among all of 86-qualifying receivers, he also ranks 3rd in fantasy points per target average (2.18), behind only A.J. Brown (2.23) and Travis Kelce (2.20).

So, anyway, yeah… If he’s playing this week – even at the risk of him being somewhat limited in his first game back – I don’t think you have any other choice but to start him as a mid-range TE1. [SB]

Sit: Pat Freiermuth at Panthers

Friermuth probably isn’t a “sit”, but it is worth tempering your Week 15 expectations. Because Freiermuth is somehow – and I have no idea why – now only a part-time player. Through the first 12 weeks of the season, Freiermuth ran a route on 74% of the team’s dropbacks when healthy (9th-most). Since then he’s fallen to just 55% (Week 13) and 57% (Week 14). He’s declined in target share as well, though granted, not by a lot, and he’s still been productive. But this is worrisome enough to bump him down to the low-end TE1-range this week. [SB]

Deep leagues

Start: Cole Kmet vs. Eagles

Over his last two games – with Darnell Mooney missing from the near-entirety of this sample – Kmet’s route share has jumped from 71% (~TE11) to 86% (~TE1). And over his last 4 games with Justin Fields under center, he’s finished as a top-5 fantasy TE 3 times. During this hot-streak, he averaged 55.5 YPG and 16.3 FPG, on a 27% target share. If over the full season, those numbers would rank: 4th-best (just 0.4 behind Mark Andrews), 2nd-best (3.1 FPG above Andrews, 3.5 FPG behind Travis Kelce), and tied for best in target share.

It’s a tough on-paper matchup against the Eagles, but the Eagles are definitely more vulnerable to TEs than they are to WRs. And this does look like a game in which Fields may be forced to lean atypically pass-heavy. And so, although there is some inherent volatility here, I think the upside outweighs the risk enough to start Kmet as a mid-range TE1 this week. [SB]

Sit: Tyler Higbee at Packers

Following the loss of Matthew Stafford (spinal cord contusion), Higbee averages just 2.7 targets per game (down from 7.3) and 2.2 FPG (down from 9.1). The Packers have given up the fewest receptions (46) and the 2nd-fewest receiving yards (411) to opposing TEs. So this one’s easy – Higbee is glaringly a “sit” this week. [SB]

Sleeper You Probably Shouldn’t Start

Underrated: Jeff Driskel vs. Chiefs

Jeff Driskel has TE-eligibility on Yahoo! even though he is not a TE; he’s a QB. And although he’s not even a starting QB, he did take 50% of the team’s QB snaps last week.

Texans HC Lovie Smith has said he plans to again roll out a QB-by-committee approach in Week 15 against the Chiefs (who are giving up the 3rd-most FPG to opposing QBs). Driskel was productive within that role last week, scoring 5.5 passing fantasy points on 6 attempts and 3.6 rushing fantasy points on 7 attempts. In other words, his 9.1 fantasy points would have finished 11th among all TEs in PPR leagues last week, or 6th among TEs in standard leagues.

In 9 career QB starts, Driskel averages 14.4 FPG. And this season Houston QBs are combining to average 12.6 FPG. So, 50% of either number would amount to somewhere around 6.3 to 7.2 FPG.

Given the current dumpster fire-like state of the TE position, and Driskel’s unique upside (as a QB with TE-eligibility), I’d consider starting Driskel as a low-end TE1 in standard leagues. But I’d probably sit him in half-point or full-point PPR leagues. [SB]