We’re close to the end of the season and fantasy playoffs are in full swing. That means that who to start in your lineup is even more important during these last weeks and who to be aware of so they do not leave you with a bust in your lineup. Thankfully, Sports Al Dente is here to help out! So let’s take a look at week 15!
Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 15
Even after a bad week, you can still have trust in the Vikings starter. Case Keenum has played well in three of his last four games and a matchup with the Bengals’ defense should prove to benefit his fantasy points this week. This is a Bengals’ defense who has suffered injuries to defensive playmakers like Vontaze Burfict and Dre Kirkpatrick. While their status for week 15 is uncertain, the defense is still a struggling one that just gave up 33 points to the Bears. So rest easy that Keenum will fall back into his 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions type games where he can be a solid fantasy QB.
The most recent addition of Dak Prescott’s sophomore slump featured a career-high 332 passing yard game. In his past two games, he has the ratio of 5 touchdowns to 0 interceptions. This makes his matchup against the Raiders struggling secondary even better as it seems Prescott is on a small hot streak. The Sunday Night Football matchup displays the Cowboys having a fantasy QB1 under center.
December seems to be Bortles favorite month of the year. Bortles is 2-0 this month and has been turnover-free. This month’s version of the Jaguars quarterback is something that can benefit you in fantasy as there seems to be nothing that can really stop him. After playing well against the Seahawks defense, Bortles gets a Texans defense that really is not living up to big play level defense’s you would think would be from Houston. Blake Bortles will always be Blake Bortles but those of you with quarterback-needy fantasy teams can take advantage of the streaming option while you can.
What a second half of the season Alex Smith and the Chiefs have faced. The team has only won two of their last eight games. Smith’s performance through those games has been up and down and the same can be said with his fantasy performance. He faces a Chargers team that has won four games in a row and has the 3rd ranked passing defense in the league. Smith is a smart sit for this week and is a matchup-based quarterback unless the Chiefs get out of this second half funk they are in.
Mariota’s knee injury itself is a cause for concern in week 15 but when you take in his recent performances, he is close to a bust. The matchup against the 49ers may be appealing but the San Francisco team has been on a two-game winning streak that has played decent defense. Mariota himself has thrown four interceptions throughout the last three weeks and without a solid running game, this offense seems to be a struggling unit. There’s not a need to have the Titan’s starter in your lineup this week.
Cutler pulled off one of the many miracles of the season by outplaying Tom Brady on Monday Night Football. But coming off the best game of his season should not give fantasy owners a lot of confidence in starting him. A division matchup against the Bills should put Cutler back on his trend of a turnover a game. Cutler has thrown an interception in all but three games this season. Please try to not over analyze the Dolphins of last week as they are more than likely to fall back to their regular self.
While I am not a believer in Jay Cutler the Dolphins have found a rising star in Kenyan Drake. Drake has amassed 334 total yards from scrimmage the past two weeks. The Dolphins have found an extremely versatile weapon that could carry them to a win against the Bills who have a struggling defense. Look for Drake to keep his RB1 status this Sunday.
Up until last week, Murray had been on a hot streak for about a month. Murray ran into a Carolina defense that shut him down but he will be looking to get back on track against a Bengals’ defense that just got run over by Jordan Howard. While he is still somewhat touchdown dependent, expect the Vikings to return to their running game in a matchup they should be in complete control of. Murray is a solid RB2 on a good offense.
Before Aaron Rodgers return, I was wary about starting Jamaal Williams this week. But with the superstar’s return, Williams comes into week 15 as an RB2 with upside. The Carolina defense he faces is a tough one but Rodgers opens up a limited offense that Williams still had success in the past week. Williams also has seemingly taken away the backfield from Aaron Jones and there should not be any worries about him losing snaps.
Martin and his season are very similar to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season as a whole. He has been up and down and last week he was benched in the second half for a fumble and inefficiency. Martin might not even be the starter for this game. So go ahead and fire up Peyton Barber this week if you need a Tampa Bay back because Barber has a much higher upside than a struggling Martin.
It is a little hard for me to go against Gore. He has had a stellar career and is a 34-year-old pro who looks nearly fresh out of college sometimes. But the Broncos’ defense is still a top-five rushing defense. Plus Gore just had a crazy blizzard game that will be a little hard to recover from for a Thursday Night Football matchup. Marlon Mack should be more involved with the game plan this week and it will be better for you playoff hopes to leave Gore on the bench.
Miller’s fantasy value continues to fall these last few weeks and now he goes into bust territory for week 15 as he goes against a Jaguars team that has the number one defense this season. This defense is almost reaching historical levels of play and has only allowed one rushing touchdown to a running back since week 4. Matchups against the Jaguars kill the fantasy value of running backs and Miller is no different this week.
This is Gordon’s second week on this list. The Browns’ wide receiver looks like he did not lose any skill during his suspension and a matchup against the Raven’s is not as scary as it may look at first. The Ravens are missing top corner Jimmy Smith and just let Antonio Brown essentially win the game against them. Now Gordon is not playing like an MVP the way Brown is but what it does show is that Gordon should still be productive with him playing like a true number one. Flash Gordon should be fine in a division matchup that might turn out a little closer than most people think.
Crabtree did not really benefit from great quarterback play last week but he did see an insane amount of volume with Amari Cooper out. At best he is still a WR2 but he has a chance this week to blow up against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys pass defense currently ranks at 23rd in the league and even if Derek Carr struggles, Crabtree should give you some nice points in your playoff game this week.
Mohamed Sanu Sr.
Sanu is a riskier start than the two above but he has WR2 upside. In his last game against Tampa Bay, Sanu had nine targets and converted for eight catches for 64 yards. His ceiling is a little bit higher than that and you can have confidence starting Sanu in your deeper leagues or maybe even as a flex option if you need the help.
This really has nothing to do with Anderson falling off or struggling the past few weeks. This has everything to do with the injury to Josh McCown. Bryce Petty is not a viable starter for the Jets and basically runs the offense into the ground whenever he is in. Sorry to fantasy owners that own Anderson or other Jets players because their value takes a huge dip with the quarterback change.
Hilton has had a few positive fantasy games throughout this season without Andrew Luck but this week he’ll fall back into his trend of disappointing games. The Broncos have struggled as a team overall but their defense is still one of the best in the league. They should be able to hold T.Y. Hilton at bay for week 15 and he should remain on your bench.
Watkins has been productive lately with Robert Woods out but week 15 is the week where he starts to fall back down. The matchup against the Seahawks is a tough one as Watkins did not even have a reception when he played the same team in week 4. Now things have obviously changed but with fantasy playoffs on the line, there is no reason to take a risk with Watkins. He will probably struggle in the matchup and losing targets to Robert Woods will make it even more of a stretch for him to produce.
Streaming TE Options
Streaming D/ST Options
Streaming K Options
QB Start: Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers.
QB Sit: Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith.
RB Sit: Lamar Miller, DeMarco Murray, “Bengals RB”.
QB Start: Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Case Keenum, Blake Bortles.
QB Sit: Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor.
WR Start: Devin Funchess, Josh Gordon, Michael Crabtree, Marqise Lee, Marquise Goodwin.
WR Sit: Robby Anderson, T.Y Hilton, Sammy Watkins, Sterling Shepard, Nelson Agholor.
Pro Football Focus
QB Sit: Marcus Mariota, Alex Smith.
RB Sit: Frank Gore, Lamar Miller.
WR Sit: Robby Anderson, Sterling Shepard.