Skip to main content

Fantasy Football

Week 15 fantasy matchups: Everything you need to know

Patriots at Bengals (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: WR Julian Edelman

Start: RB James White

FLEX: RB Joe Mixon

Beware: QB Tom Brady

Sit: RB Sony Michel; QB Andy Dalton; WR Tyler Boyd; WR John Ross

Stats to know

-- Tom Brady has finished as the QB17 or worse in five of his last seven starts

-- In this span, Brady has completed 127-of-294 passes (56.8 percent) for 1,694 yards (5.8 YPA), 9 TDs and 4 INTs (78.0 passer rating)

-- Joe Mixon has seen 23 touches per game since the Bengals' Week 9 bye

When the Patriots have the ball: The matchup is obviously great for Tom Brady and this offense, but outside of Julian Edelman and James White, the Patriots are tough to trust in fantasy. Even though Brady has been a QB2 for the majority of the back half of the season, Julian Edelman is thriving. Edelman has 10 or more targets in eight straight games and the only receivers that have scored more fantasy points than Edelman in this span are Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins. James White has taken over as the Patriots lead back over the past two weeks, leading the backfield in snaps in Week 13 (78 percent) and in Week 14 (61 percent). White is a low-end RB2 start against Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Sony Michel remains completely unplayable. Michel has played under 20 percent of the Patriots snaps in back-to-back games and has seen 12 or fewer touches in four of his last five contests.

When the Bengals have the ball: Outside of betting on Joe Mixon's volume and talent, I don't see how you can confidently start any Bengal against the Patriots in the fantasy semifinals. Mixon has finally been re-instated as the Bengals' bell-cow back and has quietly been used in the passing game more over the last two weeks with Dalton back (7/66 receiving), which keeps him on the RB2/FLEX radar. Mixon could have a bad day on the ground and make up for it as a receiver this week. Tyler Boyd has 5/52/1 and 5/75 receiving with Dalton back under center over their last two games, but you can only entertain Boyd in deep leagues this week. The Patriots are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to slot receivers, and that's where Boyd aligns 60 percent of the time.

Buccaneers at Lions (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: WR Chris Godwin; WR Kenny Golladay

Sleeper: WR Breshad Perriman; WR Danny Amendola

Stream: TE O.J. Howard

Sit: RB Ronald Jones; RB Peyton Barber

Injuries to monitor: QB Jameis Winston (thumb); RB Bo Scarbrough (ribs)

Stats to know

-- No team is allowing more fantasy points per game (32.3) to receivers aligned out wide than Tampa Bay

-- Detroit has allowed the league's worst passer rating and given up the second-most fantasy points per attempt to quarterbacks over the last eight weeks

-- Marvin Jones' absence opens up seven targets per game

When the Buccaneers have the ball: If Jameis Winston is active on Sunday, there are only five QBs I like more than him for Week 15 (Watson, Brees, Mahomes, Tannehill, and Prescott). It's hard to watch at times, but Winston has finished as the QB13 or better in eight of his last 11 games and has gone over 300 yards 9 times in this span. With Mike Evans (hamstring) out for the rest of the season, Chris Godwin is set up to finish off his league-winning season with a bang. Detroit has allowed the fifth-most receptions and third-most yards to opposing wide receivers over the last five weeks. With Evans' massive role up for grabs -- he was averaging 9.7 targets per game -- both O.J. Howard and Breshad Perriman are viable options for Week 15. Perriman has been the Bucs' No. 3 receiver all year long, has posted 5/87 and 3/70/1 over the last two weeks, and will now play nearly every snap for Tampa. I'd play Perriman over Tyrell Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Curtis Samuel and Golden Tate this week. Howard has quietly come alive with 5/61 and 4/73 receiving in his last two games and will be this week's top streaming option if Ian Thomas doesn't start for Carolina. Finally, please continue to avoid the Bucs' backfield altogether.

When the Lions have the ball: Detroit's side is easy to figure out this week. With Marvin Jones (ankle) on injured reserve, Kenny Golladay should be featured heavily against the Bucs' league-worst secondary. Danny Amendola isn't a bad replacement for any injured wide receiver, either. The Lions should have to throw the ball to keep up with the Bucs' offense this week and Amendola is one of the Lions only remaining healthy pass-catchers.

Texans at Titans (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: QB Deshaun Watson; WR DeAndre Hopkins; RB Derrick Henry

Start: QB Ryan Tannehill; WR A.J. Brown

Beware: Texans backfield

Sit: WR Kenny Stills; WR Corey Davis

Injuries to monitor: RB Derrick Henry (hamstring) WR Will Fuller (hamstring)

Stats to know

-- This game has the highest over/under (51 points) of Week 15

-- Ryan Tannehill is the QB3 in fantasy points since taking over as the Titans starter

-- Houston ranks 32nd in fantasy points allowed to QBs over the last five weeks

When the Texans have the ball:Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins both have nuclear upside in this likely shootout. The Titans are already down starting CB Malcolm Butler (injured reserve) while Adoree' Jackson (foot) hasn't practiced all week. With Will Fuller likely at less than 100 percent if he plays, Hopkins will be targeted heavily against Tennessee's backup secondary. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson have been canceling each other out in fantasy over the last few weeks and neither can be relied on during the playoffs. At this point, Johnson is the preferred play over Hyde if you're desperate simply because he's more involved in the passing game (11 receptions for 94 yards and 1 TD in Weeks 13-14).

When the Titans have the ball:Derrick Henry is on a heater for the ages. He's riding a four-game streak of 100 or more rushing yards, in which he's scored seven TDs and averaged an absurd 6.97 yards per carry. Hopefully, Derrick Henry can get his hamstring healthy enough to play on Sunday. Henry doesn't need the practice reps in order to suit up, but it's notable that he did not practice all week. Dion Lewis is a must-add for Henry owners this weekend. The Texans should offer little resistance both on the ground and through the air this week. Houston's secondary has completely collapsed recently and there is no reason to go away from Ryan Tannehill in the fantasy playoffs. The Titans are still very run-heavy which always hurts A.J. Brown's volume, but he's clearly separated as Tannehill's No. 1 target. With 60 yards and/or a touchdown in five of Tannehill's seven starts, Brown is a top-20 receiver play in Week 15. Adam Humphries' (ankle) absence only helps Brown's outlook. While Brown leads the team in targets (40) and yards (516) in Tannehill's starts, Corey Davis (259 yards on 31 targets) remains unplayable in fantasy.

Broncos at Chiefs (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: QB Patrick Mahomes; WR Tyreek Hill; TE Travis Kelce

Start: RB Phillip Lindsay; WR Courtland Sutton

Sit: RB LeSean McCoy; RB Royce Freeman; WR Sammy Watkins

Injuries to monitor: TE Noah Fant (hip/foot); RB Damien Williams (rib)

Stats to know

-- Patrick Mahomes has scored 16 or more fantasy points in 9-of-10 fully healthy games this year

-- Denver has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs over their last four games

When the Broncos have the ball: While it hasn't always shown up in the box score, Phillip Lindsay has clearly taken over as the Broncos No. 1 back. Since their Week 11 bye, Lindsay (72) has opened up a wide advantage in opportunities (attempts plus targets) over Royce Freeman (32). Lindsay remains an underrated RB2 against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to RBs this season and the fifth-most yards per carry over the eight weeks. Courtland Sutton disappointed last week (5/34 receiving) because the Broncos got out to a massive lead and took their foot off of the gas in the second half, but they likely won't have the luxury of a huge advantage on the scoreboard on the road against Kansas City this week. Sutton remains a strong WR2. Noah Fant went off for 4/113/1 last week, but got banged up in the process and is questionable to play. If Fant suits up, he's certainly back in play as a streaming option. No team has allowed more receptions to tight ends than the Chiefs have this year.

When the Chiefs have the ball:Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill are no-brainer top-3 individual plays at their positions this week while Travis Kelce is the obvious TE1 against a Broncos team he's owned for a monster 45/595/4 receiving in his last six meetings. After three straight "down" games, Mahomes is way over-due for a monster performance and this seems like a week the Chiefs could hit their ceiling again. The Broncos have quietly allowed top-10 fantasy results to Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen and Deshaun Watson over the last month. With Damien Williams back practicing and nearing a return, the Chiefs backfield will continue to be impossible to figure out. LeSean McCoy, Darwin Thompson and Spencer Ware all split snaps last week.

Dolphins at Giants (at 1pm ET)

Start: RB Saquon Barkley

Stream: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick; TE Mike Gesicki

FLEX: WR Darius Slayton; RB Patrick Laird

Sit: WR Golden Tate; WR Sterling Shepard

Injuries to monitor: WR DeVante Parker (concussion); WR Albert Wilson (concussion); TE Evan Engram (foot)

Stats to know

-- Darius Slayton has gone 25/386/4 over the last month

-- Slayton has seen at least 7 targets in every game in this span

-- Patrick Laird played on 82 percent of Dolphins snaps and got 19 touches last week

When the Dolphins have the ball: If DeVante Parker plays this week, he has to be back in your lineup. Parker shed the non-contact jersey in practice on Thursday and Friday as both he and Albert Wilson are trending in the right direction for Sunday. Over the last two months, the Giants have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per pass attempt, the fifth-highest passer rating, and they have given up a total of nine WR2 or better (top-24) fantasy performances to wide receivers in this span. With his full cast of weapons (hopefully) back, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a worthy low-end QB1 streamer. There are a few tight end streaming options that I like more (Ian Thomas, O.J. Howard, and Noah Fant), but Mike Gesicki is also in the low-end TE1 conversation once again this week. The Giants have allowed the 8th-most fantasy points to tight ends over the last month. The Dolphins haven't been able to effectively run the ball all year, but Patrick Laird is slated to play nearly every snap for Miami once again in Week 15. Laird likely won't rush for many yards, but he's seen five or more targets in three of his past 4 games and has caught 14 balls for 132 yards in this span. Laird is a fine FLEX play if you're desperate this weekend.

When the Giants have the ball:Saquon Barkley's sophomore campaign has certainly disappointed, but there is no way you can bench him against Miami if you've made it this far in the fantasy playoffs. Eli Manning crashed back down to earth against the Eagles in the second half last week after hitting Darius Slayton deep twice early in the game. Still, Manning should be able to provide a solid enough stat line to make his receivers play-able in fantasy. The only issue is picking the right Giants pass-catcher. Slayton has arguably emerged as the No. 1 option in New York while both Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate have faded as of late. Evan Engram has missed three-straight games and there is no reason for New York to risk their star tight end if he's not 100 percent. Kaden Smith will get another start with Engram out again.

Eagles at Redskins (at 1pm ET)

Must start: TE Zach Ertz

FLEX: RB Miles Sanders

Stream: TE Dallas Goedert

Desperation FLEX: WR Terry McLaurin; RB Adrian Peterson

Sit: QB Carson Wentz

Injuries to monitor: RB Jordan Howard (shoulder); WR Nelson Agholor (knee)

Stats to know

-- Carson Wentz has finished as a QB1 (top-12) in back-to-back games after failing to do so in his previous five games

-- Terry McLaurin has gone over 60 yards or scored a touchdown in three of his last 4 games

-- The Giants have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers over the last two months

When the Eagles have the ball:Now down Alshon Jeffery (foot) for the rest of the season, Philadelphia will have to turn to Nelson Agholor, Greg Ward, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at wideout. This just means that Zach Ertz will continue to dominate as the Eagles No. 1 receiver. As Rich Hribar noted on Twitter, Ertz is averaging 12.2 targets (27.5 percent of the team share), 8.4 receptions, 82.4 yards and 20.6 PPR points per game in the five games that Jeffery has missed or exited early. All of the Eagles injuries at wide receiver keeps Dallas Goedert in play as a streamer, too. Goedert has seen six or more targets in four-straight games. Miles Sanders still got 19 touches last week even though he missed a few series with a minor injury and he'll remain on the low-end RB2/FLEX conversation if Jordan Howard misses his fifth-straight game. However, there is a chance that Boston Scott gets more work again after he carved up the Giants for 128 scrimmage yards and a score on 16 touches last week. Carson Wentz is a decent QB1 play in 12-team leagues, but because of all of their issues at receivers, I'd try hard to find an alternative. Ryan Tannehill, Kyler Murray, Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield all have more upside than Wentz this week.

When the Redskins have the ball: With Derrius Guice (knee) unfortunately on injured reserve, Washington will be forced to go back to Adrian Peterson as their clear lead back against the Eagles. Before Guice returned to the lineup in Week 11, interim HC Bill Callahan was using Peterson in a featured role. Peterson handled at least 16 touches and played over 60 percent of Washington's snaps in Weeks 6-9, tallying over 80 scrimmage yards in every game. Ideally, you'd have better options than both Peterson and Terry McLaurin this week -- but both are in play as desperation FLEX options in deep 12- or 14-team formats. McLaurin ripped the Eagles for 5/125/1 in his rookie debut and he's obviously talented enough to go off against Philly's secondary once again in Week 15. Unfortunately, Dwayne Haskins' accuracy remains a question mark.

Seahawks at Panthers (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: RB Christian McCaffrey; RB Chris Carson

Start: QB Russell Wilson; WR D.J. Moore

Beware: WR Tyler Lockett; WR D.K. Metcalf; TE Jacob Hollister

Stream: TE Ian Thomas

Sit: WR Curtis Samuel

Injuries to monitor: TE Greg Olsen (concussion)

Stats to know

-- In the eight games Rashaad Penny has either missed or been limited to less than 15 percent of snaps, Chris Carson has handled 23.3 touches per game and played over 80 percent of Seattle's snaps in 6-of-8

-- Carolina ranks dead last in yards per carry and rushing yards per game over the last two months

-- No team has allowed more explosive rushing gains (10+ yards) in this span than the Panthers

When the Seahawks have the ball: With Rashaad Penny on injured reserve, Chris Carson is about to carry his fantasy owners to championship glory. Carson will play nearly every snap against Carolina's putrid run defense this week and then gets to face Arizona in Week 16. The concern for Seattle this week is whether or not Kyle Allen and the Panthers can force Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to keep their foot on the gas. Wilson can certainly go off at any time, but he's finished outside of the top-12 fantasy QBs in six of his last 7 games and will be in danger of another low-end performance if Seattle builds a lead and just sticks with the run in Carolina. I'm treating Wilson as a low-QB1 this week and would stream both Ryan Tannehill and Baker Mayfield over him. HC Pete Carroll claims that Tyler Lockett is healthy again after a nasty shin injury has limited him in recent weeks, but both he and D.K. Metcalf are boom-or-bust WR3 plays for the semifinals. Jacob Hollister has been a fine tight end streamer this season, but the same volume-based concerns apply to him this week as well. Along with Ian Thomas (read below), I'd stream O.J. Howard and Noah Fant over Hollister for Week 15.

When the Panthers have the ball: While D.J. Moore has 70 yards and/or a touchdown in 11-of-13 games this year, Curtis Samuel has been held under 50 yards in seven of his last 10 outings. Kyle Allen has been the worst quarterback in the NFL when throwing deep (20 or more yards) this season, which has completely killed Samuel's breakout campaign. Moore has been able to produce because the majority of his routes are run closer to the line of scrimmage. While Samuel is a Week 15 fade, Ian Thomas is arguably this week's top streaming option with Greg Olsen out again. Thomas ran a route on 85 percent of Carolina's pass plays last week, saw 10 targets, and posted 5/57/1. This week, Thomas gets another great chance to pay off as a TE1 streamer. No team has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends over the last month than Seattle.

Bears at Packers (at 1pm ET)

Must Play: WR Davante Adams; WR Allen Robinson

Start: RB Aaron Jones

Sleeper: WR Anthony Miller

Low upside FLEX: RB David Montgomery

Beware: QB Aaron Rodgers

Sit: RB Jamaal Williams

Injuries to monitor: WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion)

Stats to know

-- These are Allen Robinson stat lines in Taylor Gabriel's missed games this year: 7/77, 7/97/2, 10/87/1, 6/131/1, 8/86/1, and 5/48/2

-- A-Rob is averaging 10.7 targets per game in Gabriel's six missed contests

When the Bears have the ball: Chicago's side of the ball is very straight-forward this week. You're starting Allen Robinson no matter what, David Montgomery is a boring FLEX play like always, and Mitch Trubisky is only appealing in 2QB/Superflex leagues. Meanwhile, now that he is back healthy and Trubisky isn't playing like the worst QB in the NFL, Anthony Miller has come alive with 6/54, 6/77, 9/140, and 3/42/1 over the last month. If you just lost Mike Evans or Calvin Ridley, Miller is an attractive WR3 in PPR leagues against this Packers secondary that is allowing the 8th-highest catch rate (70 percent) to slot receivers. Miller lines up in the slot on nearly 80 percent of his routes.

When the Packers have the ball:Aaron Jones and Davante Adams have certainly been up-and-down this season, but there is no way you can go into a semifinals matchup with either one of them on your bench. Aaron Rodgers' outlook is a much tougher conundrum, though. Rodgers can go off for a big game against any opponent, but I'd lean towards streaming Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, or Jared Goff over him this week. Rodgers has been producing like a low-end QB1 in fantasy for most of the season and has another brutal matchup here. Chicago has yet to allow a top-10 fantasy performance to a quarterback all season long. After scoring touchdowns in four-straight games from Weeks 6-9, Jamaal Williams' last four fantasy finishes are RB35, RB12, RB29, and RB65. You can't rely on him this week.

Vikings at Chargers (at 4:05pm ET)

Must Play: RB Dalvin Cook

Start: WR Stefon Diggs; RB Melvin Gordon; RB Austin Ekeler; WR Keenan Allen; TE Hunter Henry

High upside FLEX: WR Mike Williams

Sit: QB Philip Rivers; QB Kirk Cousins; TE Kyle Rudolph

Injuries to monitor: WR Adam Thielen (hamstring); RB Alexander Mattison (ankle)

Stats to know

-- The Chargers are allowing the 5th-fewest fantasy points to receivers aligned out wide

-- L.A. is also giving up the 8th-fewest points to slot receivers

-- Meanwhile... the Vikings are allowing the 2nd-most PPR points to receivers aligned out wide

When the Vikings have the ball: With Alexander Mattison ruled out, Dalvin Cook will basically have the backfield to himself against the Chargers mediocre run defense. Cook might push for 30 touches this week with only Ameer Abdullah and Mike Boone behind him on the depth chart. The Vikings are going to get Adam Thielen back this week, but I have little interest starting him in his first game action in five weeks. The Vikings have no real reason to risk forcing Thielen into a big role with the playoffs firmly in sight while the Chargers secondary hasn't given up much production wide receivers over the last two months. With Thielen back, Diggs is a low-end WR2 start for Week 15 while Kyle Rudolph needs to go back on the bench in fantasy. Rudolph has averaged 13 PPR points per game when Thielen misses this year and has only put up 5.5 PPG when Thielen is active. Even with all of his weapons back healthy, there are at least 15 QBs I'd start over Kirk Cousins this week. The Chargers have allowed one QB1 (top-12) performance all year long and that was to Deshaun Watson way back in Week 3.

When the Chargers have the ball: By now, you know what to do here. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are both high-end RB2 starts this week while Keenan Allen has quietly resurrected his fantasy season with 6.8 receptions and 72.5 yards per game over the last month. Both Allen and Mike Williams have week-winning upside against this Vikings secondary that has allowed the 4th-most fantasy points to receivers over the full season. Minnesota's pass defense hasn't been any better recently, either. They've given up a total of eight top-25 fantasy performances in their last 5 games. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry remains a top-6 play at the position this week. The Vikings have allowed the 5th-most receptions to tight ends this year.

Jaguars at Raiders (at 4:05pm ET)

Start: RB Leonard Fournette; TE Darren Waller

Sleeper: WR Dede Westbrook and WR Chris Conley

Deep Streamer: QB Gardner Minshew; QB Derek Carr

Beware: WR Tyrell Williams

Injuries to monitor: RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder); WR Hunter Renfrow (ribs); WR D.J. Chark (ankle)

Stats to know

-- No team has allowed more fantasy points per pass attempt than the Raiders over the last two months

-- The Jaguars have allowed the 5th-most fantasy points per attempt in this span

When the Jaguars have the ball: Unfortunately, D.J. Chark is out for Week 15. It's a cruel twist that Chark will miss one of his best matchups of the season but his absence opens up Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley as attractive WR3 sleepers against Oakland's lousy secondary. Conley is particularly cheap in DFS this weekend, too. Westbrook ranked second (67) and Conley ranked fourth (51) behind Chark (81) in targets from Gardner Minshew this season. Because the Jaguars have lost five straight games by 17 or more points, they haven't been able to feed Leonard Fournette the rock as much as they'd like. Even though Fournette has 15 or fewer carries in four of his last 5 contests, Fournette remains heavily involved as a check-down option. Fournette is averaging 6.6 receptions per game and has seen at least six targets in every contest during the Jaguars losing streak.

When the Raiders have the ball:Josh Jacobs' status is one of the biggest news storylines to track over the weekend. Apparently, Jacobs' MRI on his shoulder came back better than expected and he has gotten in limited work in practice all week. For now, Jacobs is tentatively expected to play against the Jaguars stone-worst run defense. Jacksonville ranks dead-last in yards per carry allowed and is 31st in FootballOutsiders rush defense DVOA metrics this year. If Jacobs suits up on Sunday, he needs to be in your fantasy lineup as an RB2. DeAndre Washington turned his 20 touches into 96 yards from scrimmage and a score without Jacobs last week and he remains a must-stash through Week 15. While Tyrell Williams is still operating at less than 100 percent because of a major foot injury, Darren Waller remains the only other Raider we can trust in fantasy.

Browns at Cardinals (at 4:05pm ET)

Start: RB Nick Chubb; RB Kareem Hunt; WR Jarvis Landry; QB Kyler Murray; WR Christian Kirk

FLEX: WR Odell Beckham

Stream: QB Baker Mayfield

Sit: RB Kenyan Drake; RB David Johnson; WR Larry Fitzgerald; TE David Njoku

Stats to know

-- Arizona ranks dead last in fantasy points, yards, and TDs allowed to quarterbacks this year

-- The Cardinals have allowed a top-12 (QB1) performance to a quarterback in 10-of-13 games with only Russell Wilson (Week 4), Daniel Jones (Week 7), and Devlin Hodges (Week 14) failing against them

When the Browns have the ball: Cleveland's offense has disappointed all season long, but Baker Mayfield and their passing attack couldn't ask for a better spot in Week 15. Mayfield is by far and away this week's top streaming option at quarterback. While Jarvis Landry continues to produce, it's impossible to trust Odell Beckham at this point. Since the Browns bye week in Week 7, Jarvis Landry has averaged 6.3 receptions and 79.4 yards (on 10.3 targets) per game while OBJ has 4.3 receptions and 58.3 yards (on 7.7 targets) per contest in this span. The Cardinals are allowing the 7th-most fantasy points per game to boundary receivers and the 6th-most points to slot wideouts, but Beckham is no more than a FLEX option at this stage of the season. Landry is a strong WR2 with WR1 upside. I want to like David Njoku as a streamer in the flow-chart matchup of the century (start any tight end with a pulse against Arizona) -- but Njoku ran only 9 routes and caught one pass in Week 14 after missing three months of action. Tyler Higbee, O.J. Howard, and Ian Thomas are just significantly better options at the position this week. Even though he has just one touchdown to show for it, Nick Chubb has still handled at least 16 touches in every game and gone over 92 scrimmage yards in 4-of-5 contests with Kareem Hunt in the lineup. Meanwhile, Hunt has at least 10 touches and has played at least 50 percent of Cleveland's snaps in every game so far. Both he and Chubb are rock solid RB2 starts for Week 15 lineup decisions.

When the Cardinals have the ball: After the Rams and Steelers shut down Kyler Murray for QB21 and QB29 fantasy results over the last two weeks, Murray and the Cardinals entire passing attack are in pristine bounce-back spots in this likely shootout. Cleveland-Arizona features this week's second-highest over/under (49 points) and all five of the Cards' previous home games prior to the last two weeks have combined for at least 47 total points. Since returning to the lineup six weeks ago, Christian Kirk has seen more targets than Larry Fitzgerald in every single game and has 51 passing looks to Fitz's lowly 35 in this span. Meanwhile, the Cardinals backfield devolved into a three-man timeshare last week with Drake (38 snaps) leading the way over David Johnson (21 snaps) and Chase Edmonds (11 snaps). You can't trust any Cardinals back in a lineup during the semifinals.

Rams at Cowboys (at 4:25pm ET)

Start: QB Dak Prescott; RB Ezekiel Elliott; WR Amari Cooper; WR Michael Gallup; QB Jared Goff; RB Todd Gurley; WR Robert Woods; WR Cooper Kupp; TE Tyler Higbee

Sit: WR Brandin Cooks

Injuries to monitor: TE Gerald Everett (knee)

Stats to know

-- These are Dak Prescott's fantasy finishes at home this season: QB1, QB8, QB6, QB10, QB5, and QB7

-- These are Amari Cooper's fantasy finishes at home this season: WR16, WR7, WR3, WR17, WR55 (only played 50 percent of snaps), and WR22

When the Rams have the ball: Outside of the Ravens 45-6 beatdown of the Rams in Week 12 in which he only saw the ball nine times, Todd Gurley has handled 28, 20, and 27 touches in three of his last 4 outings. Gurley's usage has been downright frustrating this season and HC Sean McVay hasn't been forthright about Gurley's health, but he is certainly back on the RB1 radar in Week 15. Outside of Brandin Cooks, you're firing up all of your Rams this week. Jared Goff has been the most matchup-sensitive QB in the NFL this year, but I'm trusting him as a top-12 play this week. Dallas has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to QBs over the last month. Robert Woods has reasserted himself as the Rams No. 1 wideout over the last month with four-straight rock-solid outings (7/95, 6/97, 13/172, and 7/98/1). Even though he has taken a back seat to Woods over the last four weeks -- Woods has 47 targets to Kupp's 23 in this span -- Kupp remains a WR2 start in this likely shootout. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee leads all tight ends in targets, air yards, and receiving yardage with Gerald Everett out of the lineup over the last two weeks. With Everett out again for a third-straight game, I'm treating Higbee as a borderline must start against this Cowboys defense that has allowed the 6th-most receptions per game to tight ends this year. I'd only play Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller over Higbee this weekend.

When the Cowboys have the ball: The Rams have been stingy on defense ever since they traded for Jalen Ramsey back in Week 7 -- L.A. has allowed the 3rd-fewest yards per pass attempt and the 4th-lowest QB rating in this span -- but Dak Prescott and Co. all must be locked into fantasy lineups in the semifinals. Prescott and Cooper have enormous home/road splits this year and both still possess week-tilting upside even in this tough matchup, especially if the Rams jump out to a lead and force Dallas to the air for most of the game. While Jalen Ramsey will assuredly travel with Amari Cooper on every snap, Michael Gallup is one of my favorite WR2 plays for Week 15. Gallup has seen at least 6 targets in six-straight games and is averaging 4.7 receptions and 80.7 yards per contest with 2 touchdowns in this span.

Falcons at 49ers (at 4:25pm ET)

Must Play: TE George Kittle

Start: WR Julio Jones; TE Austin Hooper QB Jimmy Garoppolo; RB Raheem Mostert; WR Emmanuel Sanders; WR Deebo Samuel

FLEX: RB Devonta Freeman

Sit: QB Matt Ryan; RB Tevin Coleman; RB Matt Breida

Stats to know

-- Raheem Mostert has played over 60 percent of 49ers snaps in back-to-back games

-- Tevin Coleman has been held under 20 percent of 49ers snaps in back-to-back games

When the Falcons have the ball:Drew Brees just ripped apart the 49ers defense last week, but Matt Ryan on the road with no Calvin Ridley is not something I want a part of in the fantasy semifinals. Prior to last week's poor performance, the 49ers had given up the fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over the entire season and ranked No. 1 in passing success rate allowed (39 percent) in their 8 previous contests. Julio Jones is a must-play with Richard Sherman (hamstring) likely out while Austin Hooper remains a top-8 option at the position. Ridley's absence will open up a few extra looks in the passing game for Hooper, Devonta Freeman, and Russell Gage. San Francisco has been susceptible against the run -- they rank 10th-worst in yards per carry and 8th-worst in rushing success rate over the last two months -- but Freeman will likely have to rely on check-downs for his fantasy production if the 49ers build a big lead over the Falcons.

When the 49ers have the ball: Since Tevin Coleman was relegated as the No. 3 back two weeks ago, Raheem Mostert has balled out in a larger role. After posting 154 scrimmage yards and a score on 21 touches in Week 13 against Baltimore, Mostert once again led the way even with Matt Breida back healthy in Week 14 going for 109 scrimmage yards and 2 TDs on 13 touches against the Saints. Mostert is ripping off chunk plays left and right -- he's averaging 7.4 yards per carry during this hot-streak -- and is a high-upside RB2 start against Atlanta in the semifinals. Meanwhile, the entire 49ers passing attack is in an obvious green-light spot. Jimmy Garoppolo is a QB1 start this week while both Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel are top-20 plays at wide receiver. With Desmond Trufant on injured reserve, the Falcons will be rolling out Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Isaiah Oliver, and Kendall Sheffield as their top three cornerbacks in Week 15. Oliver and Wilson both rank 90th or worse (out of 121 CBs) in PFF's pass coverage grades this season while Blidi Wreh-Wilson has given up a monster 13 receptions, 168 yards, and a score on 18 targets in his coverage so far this year. Meanwhile, no team has allowed more passing yards over their last five games than the Falcons (1,419). Giddy up.

Bills at Steelers (at 8:20pm ET)

FLEX: RB James Conner; RB Devin Singletary

Sit: QB Josh Allen; WR John Brown; WR Cole Beasley; WR James Washington; WR Diontae Johnson

Injuries to monitor: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee); TE Vance McDonald (concussion)

Stats to know

-- The Steelers have allowed a 75.8 passer rating (second-lowest) and a 58 percent completion rate (second-lowest) over the last two months

-- Pittsburgh also ranks second-best in sack rate in this span (10.9 percent)

When the Bills have the ball: Buffalo at Pittsburgh features this week's lowest over/under (35.5) of the week, by far. With two elite defenses set to square off, there aren't many great fantasy options in Sunday Night Football this week and Josh Allen is chief among the players to fade. Allen was exposed by Baltimore's defense last week and few defenses are hotter than Pittsburgh right now. The Steelers certainly have the talent and scheme to frustrate Allen, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and the Bills entire passing attack for a second consecutive game. Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and even Ryan Fitzpatrick (if DeVante Parker plays) all have better outlooks than Allen this week. After ripping the Dolphins for 9/137/2 back in Week 11, John Brown has been held to 2/39/1, 3/26, and 3/26 receiving lines over the last three weeks. Now facing this white-hot Steelers secondary, Brown is particularly hard to click into a fantasy lineup right now. With at least 17 touches and 79 yards from scrimmage in five of his last 6 games, Devin Singletary stands alone as the top fantasy option for Buffalo this week. Singletary is frustratingly rarely involved when the Bills get in close to score, but his usage in between the 20s remains elite. Singletary has played over two-thirds of Buffalo's snaps in seven-straight contests. I'd start Singletary over Miles Sanders and Devonta Freeman this week, for example.

When the Steelers have the ball: After missing five of the last 6 games nursing a shoulder injury, the Steelers are getting James Conner back healthy just in time for their Wild Card playoff push. Conner handled 26 touches on 82 percent of Pittsburgh's snaps and went for 150 scrimmage yards and a score the last time we saw him healthy in Week 8. Obviously, the Steelers would be foolish to load up Conner with workhorse usage after a lengthy absence -- but I'm expecting Conner to receive around 15-18 touches as the Steelers continue to try and hide Devlin Hodges by running the ball and playing stellar defense. If Conner can handle the bulk of the work, there is certainly a path to fantasy goodness here. Buffalo has yielded the 4th-most yards per carry (4.83) over the last two months. Outside of Conner, the rest of the Steelers offense is easy to avoid for Week 15 lineup decisions.

Colts at Saints (at 8:15pm ET; Monday Night Football)

Must Play: WR Michael Thomas

Start: RB Alvin Kamara; QB Drew Brees; TE Jack Doyle

Sleeper: WR Zach Pascal (if T.Y. Hilton DNP)

Sit: RB Marlon Mack

Injuries to monitor: WR T.Y. Hilton (calf); TE Jared Cook (concussion)

Stats to know

-- Alvin Kamara has five inside-the-5 (red-zone) touches this year

-- Taysom Hill has four inside-the-5 touches

-- Over the last five weeks, the Colts have allowed the most passing yards in the NFL and the 8th-most fantasy points to QBs

When the Colts have the ball:Marlon Mack bailed out his fantasy owners with a touchdown last week, but he only played on 41 percent of Colts' snaps and got 13 carries after a three-week absence. Indianapolis will certainly try to establish the run since the Saints just lost stud defensive linemen Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins for the season while Cameron Jordan (abdomen) is banged up. Still, Mack is a touchdown-dependent RB3 option with a scary low floor if the Colts get behind early against the Saints. Mack has caught 2 balls in his last five games while Nyheim Hines continues to handle most of the passing down work. T.Y. Hilton is pushing hard to play this week after returning to practice on a limited basis, but there is no way you can trust him in your lineups. Hilton hasn't played a full game since Week 8. Even after flopping last week (2/27), Jack Doyle remains a strong TE1 start in Week 15. The Saints have allowed a top-10 fantasy tight end in four of their last 5 games and Doyle will continue to be relied on heavily in this thin Colts pass-catching corps. Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson will be the Colts top two receivers this week if Hilton can't suit up again. Parris Campbell (foot) was put on IR this week.

When the Saints have the ball: With a grand total of zero touchdowns over his last eight games, it's obvious Alvin Kamara is over-due for a monster game. It'd sure be nice if it came as the MNF hammer in the fantasy semifinals. If Jared Cook can't clear the league's concussion protocol in time to play, New Orleans will be forced to rely even more heavily on Kamara and Michael Thomas in the passing game. Regardless, Thomas is the No. 1 WR for Week 15 while Drew Brees is an obvious QB1 start coming off of the biggest game of his season. I'd only play Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson over Brees this weekend.

  • -- Graham Barfield is a fantasy editor and analyst for Catch him on the NFL Fantasy Football podcast with Marcas Grant and Michael Fabiano, Fantasy LIVE on NFL Network, watch him on Fantasy League One, and follow him on Twitter @GrahamBarfield. *
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content