Start’em Sit’em Week 15
Welcome back to yet another Start’em Sit’em column here with Gridiron Experts. Perhaps you are using this column to help better you in some daily fantasy formats this weekend. Beyond that though, the real hope is that you have been able to advance to the next round of your league’s playoffs. It’s do or die week, and it is now or never, but no matter what, this column is here to help you break on through to the other side.
Last week was a fairly productive week for this column. Most notably, among the picks made last week was Jarvis Landry finishing Week 14 as a top ten wide receiver. Along with that was selecting the Giants DST and suggesting that you sit Tyler Boyd. Shortcomings were suggesting to start a player like Philip Rivers who finished outside the top twenty at his position for the first time this season. With all of that being said, let’s get into the Week 15 Start’em and Sit’em suggestions.
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Rams vs Eagles
- ESPN Starting Percentages: 42.6%
Last Sunday in Chicago, not only was the temperature cold, so too was Jared Goff’s performance. His performance was so bad that Goff would throw for a career-high four interceptions, and a season-low 180 passing yards. Looking to turn the page as fast as humanly possible, the Rams will welcome in the Philadelphia Eagles. While the Eagles secondary has had issues with staying healthy, from the naked eye, things appeared to be looking up in Weeks 12 and 13. Those two weeks would mark the first time since Week 6 that the Eagles would finish outside the top twenty in points allowed to the quarterback position. It should be noted though that those games came against the Giants and the Redskins. In Week 14 though, the Eagles would be thrown right back down to earth as Dak Prescott would run wild to the tune of 455 yards passing. If the Eagles performance against the quarterback is being dictated by the offense they are playing, this should serve as a get right game for Jared Goff. The Eagles may be eleventh in the league in points allowed to the position, but they are still allowing an average of 294.8 passing yards per game. While I fear that Goff’s consistency has been hindered without Cooper Kupp, this is a matchup in which Goff can overcome that.
Buccaneers at Ravens
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 35.6%
Over the last few weeks, a variety of different Tampa Bay Buccaneers have graced this column. While some of those have worked out for the better, this week, I’m selecting Jameis Winston as a player that you will regret starting. In Week 15, Winston and the Buccaneers will head to Baltimore to take on a Ravens defense that is allowing the sixth fewest points to the position. In Week’s 8 and 9, just before the Ravens bye, the defense had finished those games in the top five in points allowed to quarterbacks. After the bye though things began to shape up as they have finished two out of their last four games in top five of fewest points allowed. While the Ravens are tied for the second-fewest interceptions with six, Winston’s history of turning the ball over may help out with their turnover shortcomings. So far this season, nine of Winston’s 12 interceptions have come on the road. On top of that, while this may be Winston’s first meeting against the Ravens, he has thrown just one touchdown and six interceptions in two games against the AFC North. It will not shock me if this is one of those games in which the broadcast crew is calling for a bit of Fitzmagic.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Titans at Giants
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 22.0%
I get it, after rushing for over 200 yards last week, selecting Derrick Henry as a starter candidate may seem obvious. However, as I write this, Henry is only being started in twenty-two percent of all leagues, so I feel compelled to state the obvious. As previously mentioned, last week was the week that every Henry supporter had been waiting and wishing for. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titans running back would rush for 238 yards and four touchdowns. It would mark his first regular-season contest with more than 100 rushing yards since Week 12 of last season, and it would be just the third time in his career in which he would have multiple rushing touchdowns in a game. While Henry’s career may not be known for consistency, I do like the running back to have a solid outing again, this time against a Giants defense that is allowing the ninth-most points to the position. Granted, last week the Giants were able to contain three Redskins running backs to under 50 rushing yards combined, but that was a game that got way out of hand in the second quarter. Any game script leaning towards the run was useless. This week, the Titans will make life a little bit harder for the Giants as they attempt to control the time of possession with a healthy dose of Derrick Henry.
Falcons vs. Cardinals
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 43.9%
If you’re an owner of Tevin Coleman, this may be a nomination that will have you scratching your head. Since Week 10, he hasn’t been able to log more than 11 touches in a game.
On top of that, over his last three games, Coleman has only scored a combined 16 points in half-point formats. The silver lining to that though, those last three opponents the Falcons have faced sit inside the top 12 of fewest points allowed to running backs. Hope is on the horizon in Week 15 though as the Falcons welcome in the Arizona Cardinals. After allowing the fourth-fewest points to the position in 2017, the Cardinals have flipped the script in 2018. In thirteen games this season, the Cardinals are allowing a league-high 1,618 yards rushing and the third most points to the position. With Devonta Freeman ending up on the injured reserve list, it is understandable that most people expected better numbers than Coleman has produced. While I don’t blame you for being disappointed, I envision a favorable opponent as the best way for Coleman to return the favor.
LeSean McCoy – Bills Running Backs
Bills vs. Lions
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 46.7%
Before we go any further, we should note that LeSean McCoy, despite receiving good news on an MRI, is still considered to be ‘highly-questionable’ headed into this weekend. Even if he does play, I do not like this weekend’s matchup against the Detroit Lions. Make no mistake, this Lions defense has struggled against running backs. They have struggled so much so that they are allowing the eleventh most points to the position. That being said, last week against the Cardinals, the Lions would hold David Johnson to 49 yards rushing and just 12 yards off of eight receptions. That allowed the Lions for the first time in a while to finish a week in the top five of fewest points allowed to the position. I think lightning strikes twice as the Lions will contain any Buffalo Bills running backs in Week 15.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Panthers vs. Saints
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 41.8%
After 248 yards receiving in Week’s 11 and 12, things have slowed down for the rookie wide receiver. Since those two weeks, D.J. Moore has had just 111 yards receiving and no touchdowns. The bright side in the regression in receiving yards is the fact Moore has led all Panthers wide receivers in targets. Those consistent targets will come in handy this week when Moore and the Panthers take on a Saints defense that is allowing more points to the wide receiver position than any other team in football. I’ll grant you that despite that ranking, over the last two weeks, the Saints have finished outside the top twenty in points allowed to wide receivers. That being said though, with at least eight targets per game since Week 11 and Devin Funchess being targeted just six times over the last two weeks, I like for Moore to be a great play in Week 15.
Bengals vs Raiders
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 49.9%
It really isn’t debatable, since their week nine bye, things have fallen apart for the Cincinnati Bengals. With A.J. Green being injured, attempting to play and then ending up on the injured reserve, Tyler Boyd had absorbed the role of being the Bengals number one receiver. While the targets and yards have remained consistent, only one of Boyd’s six touchdowns have come since the bye week. The lack of touchdowns has been what has hurt Boyd owners as he has had only one top ten game since Week 9. Up next for the Bengals is a Raiders team that is allowing the tenth fewest points to the position. While the Raiders gave up over 30 points to Steelers wide receivers last week, since Week 10, the Raiders have been top fifteen or better in fewest points allowed. Also, for what it is worth, the Raiders are allowing the fewest receptions to wide receivers this season. I don’t see Boyd getting enough traction in this one to finish inside the top twenty.
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Buccaneers at Ravens
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 37.2%
This may seem strange as I have selected Cameron Brate’s quarterback, Jameis Winston to sit. However, Brate would finish last week as the sixth best tight end in fantasy and he did that while catching two passes, for two touchdowns. Make no mistake, Brate is very touchdown dependent, but I think that works into his favor this week. In the 2018 season, the Ravens are allowing the eighth most points to tight ends. It gets even better for Brate as over the last two weeks, the Ravens have been fifth or better in most points allowed to the position. I have mentioned this before when discussing Brate, but if you’re in a full point format, Brate may not be the guy for you. However, if it’s standard or half point scoring, Brate could be great.
Packers at Bears
- ESPN Starting Percentage: 49.9%
For starters, I have to be completely honest with you. At the start of this fantasy season, I was a big supporter of Jimmy Graham. At this point, I have already written him off as a loss and you should too in Week 15. Since Week 8, Graham has had just one game inside the top ten. Looking a little further into his abysmal play, since Week 10, Graham has had just one game with more than two receptions. Despite all of this, Jimmy Graham is still being started in 49.9% of ESPN leagues. This week, Graham and the Packers will head to Chicago to take on a Bears team that is allowing the ninth fewest points to the position. Back in Week 1, Graham would have just two receptions for eight yards against this Bears team. I don’t see a way in which I can tell you that starting Jimmy Graham is actually a good idea. Bench him, and forget him.
Start’em Sit’em Defense
Giants vs Titans
Listen, a lot of these DST picks can be obvious. So, I like to pick a defense that you may not be thinking about. Even though I like Derrick Henry to have another productive week, I cannot ignore what the Giants have been able to do defensively for fantasy. In both Week’s 13 and 14, the Giants were tied for the second-best scoring defense in fantasy. In those two weeks, they have had 10 sacks, five interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. With five of Marcus Mariota’s interceptions coming on the road this year, I think the Giants defense will once again find a way to put points on the fantasy board.
Steelers vs. Patriots
Last week, the Steelers DST would wind up scoring just six points against the Oakland Raiders. In the week prior, against another AFC West opponent, the Steelers defense would score just one point against the Los Angeles Chargers. Next up for the Steelers is the visiting Patriots who have scored 84 points in their last three games. I have never known a steel curtain to flail in the wind, but we may actually see that in Week 15.
Good Luck this week!