Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 15
As we now are into the second week of fantasy football playoffs for most, it’s do-or-die from here on out. We saw another week of devastating injuries, breakout performances, and disappointing results across the league. With no more bye weeks, there are a full plethora of players to choose from, making decisions that much harder. We will take a look at the players and the matchups to take advantage of and the ones to shy away from.
Recapping last week
It was an up-and-down performance for our picks in Week 14. Taysom Hill finished as a top-12 option and Kirk Cousins finished just outside the top-15 but Derek Carr had a top-eight performance. J.D. McKissic finished as a top-24 play and Chase Edmonds finished inside the top-36 but Miles Sanders had a top-three showing. Tim Patrick had a top-30 performance and DeVante Parker suffered an injury but Corey Davis disappointed with a finish outside the top-75. Logan Thomas finished inside the top-15 while Evan Engram predictably struggled with only two catches in Week 14. With that, we’re on to Week 15.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 15 QB’s
Titans vs Lions
ESPN Starting Percentage: 39.6%
Tannehill has been playing better as of late with at least two total touchdowns in each of his last four games with only two interceptions in that time. A.J. Brown and Corey Davis have been playing like one of the best wide receiver duos in the league recently as the team pushes for a playoff spot. He faces a Lions defense that has given up four total touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in two of their last three games while not forcing an interception since Week 6. Tannehill will be a top-12 option in Week 15.
Colts vs Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 7.0%
Rivers has been playing very well over the last month with two or more passing touchdowns in each of his last four games. He also has at least 285 or more passing yards in four of his last five games as well. T.Y. Hilton’s resurgence has been a big driving factor in River’s improved play. Rivers now faces the same Texans defense that gave up 285 yards and two touchdowns to Rivers in Week 12. He has a chance to improve upon those numbers after Mitchell Trubisky just lit up Houston’s defense for 267 passing yards and three touchdowns this past weekend. He’s a top-15 choice this weekend.
Falcons vs Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 40.%
This has more to do with Ryan’s performance than his upcoming matchup. Ryan has really struggled as of late with only three passing touchdowns to six interceptions over his last four games. He also has only thrown for 250 or more passing yards over his last four games as well. The Falcons offense outside of Calvin Ridley is hard to trust at the moment and Ryan can’t be expected to be more than a mid-tier QB2 this weekend. There are much better options than him for Week 15.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 15 RB’s
Ravens vs Jaguars
ESPN Starting Percentage: 26.0%
While Lamar Jackson went off for more than 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns, Dobbins once again had double-digit carries and a touchdown. He is at worst the 1A option at running back to Gus Edwards’ 1B. He now faces a Jaguars defense that just got shredded for 215 yards and two touchdowns by Derrick Henry. Overall, Jacksonville has given up three straight 175+ yards from scrimmage performances to opposing running backs. Dobbins will be a top-18 option for Week 15.
Jeff Wilson Jr
49ers vs Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 1.4%
Much like we talked about the Ravens, the 49ers find themselves with a 1A/1B situation at running back with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Mostert is seeing typically more work than Wilson but Wilson has seen the majority of the goal-line work and increased usage in the passing game. Mostert exited the game for a bit and Wilson saw the lion share’s of the work in his absence. Wilson has 12 or more offensive touches in two of his last three games and at least 40 scrimmage yards in each of those games. The 49ers now face a Cowboys defense that has given up five rushing touchdowns in their past five games along with a 100+ rushing yard performance in three of their last four games. Wilson is a mid-tier RB3/FLEX play in Week 15.
Falcons vs Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 42.6%
While Dalvin Cook went for 102 yards and a touchdown in Week 14, that can be considered more of an outlier for the Buccaneers defense. Prior to Week 14, the Buccaneers hadn’t given up 50+ rushing yards to a running back since Christian McCaffrey in Week 2. Gurley now faces them after three straight games of less than 10 offensive touches, 35 or fewer scrimmage yards, and no touchdowns. He’s not startable outside of very deep leagues based on his body of work and even more so with the tough matchup on tap. He’s best utilized on your bench.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 15 WR’s
Colts vs Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 22.1%
Hilton has seen a career renaissance over the last three games with 80 or more receiving yards and a touchdown in each of them. He has suddenly had a light switch flip and turn back the clock. With the Colts fighting for the AFC South, we’ve seen them step up on offense as of late and Hilton has been a catalyst for it. They now face a Texans squad where Hilton caught eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. He is locked-in as a top-24 WR option for Week 15 and going forward.
49ers vs Cowboys
ESPN Starting Percentage: 28.6%
Aiyuk has been playing like a man possessed as of late. He has no fewer than 75 yards receiving in his last five games with a touchdown scored in four of five. He also has seen a ridiculous 49 targets over his last four games. The 49ers are simply force-feeding Aiyuk at will and with Deebo Samuel out indefinitely, Aiyuk is a near-lock for double-digit targets every week and now faces a Cowboys defense that has given up six receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the last four games. Aiyuk is suddenly a low-end WR1 with a lot of upside going forward.
Steelers vs Bengals
ESPN Starting Percentage: 43.5%
Claypool has hit a cold streak as of late with a combined 19 targets, 11 receptions, and 105 scoreless yards over his last three games. He has seemingly dropped down the pecking order behind Juju Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson on a passing offense that has cooled off recently. The Steelers are riding a two-game losing streak and now face a hapless Bengals squad. The Bengals, however, have been playing well against opposing wide receivers as of late. They’ve only given up two 50+ yard games to opposing wide receivers and one touchdown in their last three games. This could be a “get right” game for the Steelers but it’s hard to trust Claypool as more than a mid-tier WR3/FLEX at best in Week 15.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 15 TE’s
Saints vs Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 19.1%
After a stretch of only one catch for six yards in Weeks 10-12, Cook has two straight games of three receptions, 25+ yards, and a touchdown. With the Saints struggling to find anyone besides Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to rely on in the passing game, Cook has been leaned on more. He now faces a Chiefs team that has been giving up plenty of points to opposing tight ends as of late. They’ve given up 57 or more receiving yards to an opposing tight end in four straight games. The Chiefs have also given up four receiving touchdowns to tight ends in that time as well. With Drew Brees potentially returning in Week 15, Cook’s floor could increase even more. He’s a low-end TE1 for Week 15.
Falcons vs Buccaneers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 31.2%
Much like Ryan and Gurley, Hurst’s play has dropped off as of late as well. In three of his last four games, he has either one or no receptions. He’s seeing just over four targets per game on average over that span as well. He’s playing below replacement-level for fantasy owners and he simply can’t be trusted. It’s tough to justify dropping him because he’s still the starting tight end on a pass-heavy offense. But he is not one to be safely started in any leagues with one starting tight end slot.
Doug Moore is a fantasy football writer for Gridiron Experts. He has previously written for sites such as ESPN, SBNation, FFToday & Inside The Pylon. He also was the co-host for the highly-rated fantasy football podcast Overtime Ireland for several years. You can find him on Twitter at @DMooreNFL