This season, I had 14 Fantasy Football leagues to manage. Heading into Week 15's first game tonight, I've still got something to play for in seven of them -- I came up either just short in points or record in three other leagues. All in all, not a bad season -- so far.
I'm not necessarily in a championship-or-it's-a-failure mindset about Fantasy Football, of course. I know how much randomness plays into the outcome of every season, and that's especially true when you get to the point of the season where every week is win-or-go-home. A good process can help you in the long run, but in any given week, our fates are largely out of our own hands.
I hope following along with this newsletter has helped you create a good process, and I hope you've all got plenty to play for this week. The goal now is to make sure you've still got something to play for next week. To that end, we gave you Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column last night, and now we've got Dave Richard's Week 15 advice ready to go Thursday morning.
And, of course, make sure you subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel and join Adam Aizer and me at 2 p.m. ET for our start/sit live stream. We'll be discussing all of the latest news and answering your toughest lineup questions there, and it's your best chance to get direct answers to your questions before tonight's lineup lock.
In tomorrow's newsletter, I'll have previews of every game on the Week 15 schedule, including the latest injury updates, plus all of the key takeaways from tonight's game. Get ready for Week 15 with all of our preview content here:
- : | |
- Week 15 Position Previews: | | |
- Week 15 Rankings: Jamey | Dave | Heath
- My rankings: | | |
Here's what else today's newsletter will cover:
There are the obvious calls, and then there are the ones you need help with. Dave Richard goes through each game to identify the most interesting matchups and biggest lineup dilemmas for Week 15. Here are some of his top picks for this week.:
Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers -- "I'm optimistic Aiyuk will snare at least a 20% target share, but nervous that Purdy won't have to throw too much. The matchup is otherwise a real good fit for Aiyuk, which makes him safest as a high-end flex in PPR and a borderline WR2/3 in non-PPR. In all formats, I would start Aiyuk over Mike Evans, Michael Pittman, Adam Thielen and Gabe Davis."
J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens -- "Dobbins might not have been the most explosive version of himself last week, but he did get plenty of opportunities and he thrived with them. He has an even easier matchup this week and should punch in for at least 15 touches again. He's a must-start No. 2 Fantasy RB ahead of Travis Etienne, Zonovan Knight and David Montgomery."
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills -- "Fantasy managers should be worried about Singletary's workload -- if he's not in line for even 12 touches, his potential really takes a hit. He's at best a No. 3 Fantasy running back who should be shelved for Latavius Murray, Antonio Gibson and Cam Akers."
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins -- "After Tagovailoa's back-to-back games of being off-target and uncomfortable in the pocket, this might be a good week for the Dolphins to focus on shorter passes and the run game, both of which play into some deficiencies the Bills have had lately. If that happens then Tagovailoa's upside would be capped, but that's been the case in the past THREE weeks anyway. I'm leaning toward not starting Tagovailoa in a difficult road matchup, going with Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins and Trevor Lawrence over him, but I'd take my chances with him over Mike White, Aaron Rodgers and Geno Smith."
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns -- "It's fine to start Chubb if you don't have a respectable replacement, but understand that the matchup is incredibly tough. I'm especially spooked by the lack of inside-the-10 carries since Deshaun Watson has started -- there have been none, and he had just three total in the three games prior to Watson's return. Dial down expectations for Chubb, placing him in the weaker No. 2 running back range in PPR for this week just behind Zonovan Knight, Isiah Pacheco and David Montgomery, but ahead of Najee Harris."
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🆚TNF Preview: 49ers at Seahawks
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook
- Line: 49ers -3; 43.5 O/U
- Implied totals: 49ers 23.25, Seahawks 20.25
The Seahawks enter this one healthier than the 49ers, who are down Deebo Samuel (ankle/knee) and Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) and with Brock Purdy questionable with a rib injury. We're expecting Purdy to play, but the 49ers would probably love nothing more than to limit his exposure, leaning heavily on the running game. That makes it extremely tough to say whether you can trust Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle -- I lean toward starting both, but this could very well be a game where the 49ers throw it 20 times again.
Toughest lineup decision: Kenneth Walker -- Start. We've seen the downside for Walker lately, as he has 51 or fewer rushing yards in four of his past five games. Of course, he's also scored multiple touchdowns in two of those games and had six catches in another, so the Fantasy production hasn't been so bad – 14.8 PPR points per game in that span, including at least 12.2 in each game. He's the kind of back who can hit double figures with one long run, but this is an incredibly tough matchup against a 49ers defense allowing the fewest points per game to opposing running backs. Walker is RB19 for me, so I'm starting him ahead of Ezekiel Elliott, Raheem Mostert, and D'Andre Swift, but behind Rachaad White, Zonovan Knight, and Miles Sanders, among others.
Injuries: Brock Purdy (ribs/oblique) is officially questionable after being limited throughout the week, but he's the only player in question for the 49ers. On the Seahawks side, Walker and DK Metcalf (hip) have been removed from the injury report, while DeeJay Dallas (ankle) is not expected to play.
🚑Week 15 Injury Watch
The Big News: The injured reserve is separate from the weekly practice participation reports, so with some big names going on and coming off IR this week, I figured it makes sense to take a second to highlight some. Dallas Goedert, Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and Mecole Hardman were all designated to return from IR Wednesday. Please note, that doesn't necessarily mean all of them will be back from IR this week – it just means they returned to practice and have 21 days to be activated.
At the very least, we do expect Goedert and Waller to be activated this week, though don't lock them into your lineup until we get confirmation later in the week. Renfrow and Hardman are fringe-ier Fantasy options anyway, so you don't need to start them even if they are back – though I would add them if I had a roster spot to play with, just in case they turn out to be useful down the stretch.
I'll have a full breakdown of the injury report in Friday's newsletter along with my previews of each game, but here's a look at the first practice participation reports of the week.
- FP = Full participation in practice.
- LP = Limited participation.
- DNP = Did not practice.
Injuries to watch for Week 15
It's not clear what these injuries mean quite yet.
Justin Fields (illness) – DNP. It doesn't seem like there's much concern here that Fields will miss time, so we'll just note it and move on.
Kenny Pickett (concussion) – LP. Pickett has been diagnosed with two concussions this season, so the fact that he's already limited in practice is quite a surprise. It suggests he has a pretty good chance of playing this week, though that is by no means guaranteed. MItchell Trubisky and Mason Rudolph apparently split first-team reps in practice Wednesday, so we truly don't know who is going to start here. Not that it makes much of a difference.
Tyler Huntley (concussion) – FP. Huntley seems to be on track to make the start Saturday against the Browns, and it really isn't a bad matchup for him. The Browns rank 27th in scoring defense for the season, and Huntley had 17.3 points against them in a start last season – and it would have been more if not for two lost fumbles.
Russell Wilson (concussion) – DNP. Wilson is in the concussion protocol, so he'll have to be cleared before he can play. The Broncos were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, so there's no incentive to rush him back. Brett Rypien will start if Wilson isn't cleared.
Mike White (ribs) – LP. White is probably going to be limited this week, but at this point we're expecting him to be cleared to play. He's a high-end QB2 and a viable streamer against the Lions if you need one.
Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) – DNP. Stevenson wasn't able to practice Wednesday, two days after leaving with the injury. The other big news here is Damien Harris (thigh) was back on a limited basis after missing the two prior games. Harris figures to be in a very valuable role against the Raiders if Stevenson can't play and he can; if both are out, Pierre Strong would be in the RB2 discussion.
Najee Harris (hip) – DNP. This is a new injury for Harris, who had been held out of practice at times the previous two weeks with an oblique injury. I do wonder if it's truly a new injury, since the hip and oblique are pretty close to one another, but either way, it bears watching until we get more clarity. Jaylen Warren and Benny Snell would likely split work if Harris is out against the Panthers, with Warren probably the preferred option if you need an RB starter.
Josh Jacobs (quad/hand) – LP. The hand is probably the bigger concern since he left last week's game, but at this point, it doesn't look like it's going to keep him out. Add Zamir White as insurance just in case.
Brian Robinson (quad)Antonio Gibson (foot) – LP. Both were limited at practice Wednesday coming off the bye week. It'll be worth keeping an eye on both as the week goes on, but I'm expecting both to play in this typical timeshare at this point.
Tee Higgins (hamstring)/Tyler Boyd (finger) – LP. That both players were able to participate in Wednesday's session, even on a limited basis, comes as something of a surprise given that both missed effectively the entirety of Sunday's game. Higgins is a tough one to trust at this point, as there have now been two different situations this season where he was seemingly cleared to play only to barely have a role. He's a high-upside receiver, but given how they've used him, it's awfully tough to know whether he's worth using these days.
Chase Claypool (knee) – DNP. Claypool played through a knee injury suffered in Week 13, but it may have been worse than initially believed. Not that you should be starting him in most Fantasy leagues at this point.
Kadarius Toney (hamstring) – LP. Toney is reportedly eying a return to action this week. He's a talented player with plenty of upside, but you'd have to be pretty bold to trust him given his limited track record of success – and long track record of injuries, too.
Pat Freiermuth (foot) – DNP. Freiermuth suffered the injury during his first catch of Week 14, but he told reporters Wednesday he expects to play through the injury. He's a risky start, but probably still a low-end TE1.
Daniel Bellinger (rib) – LP. Bellinger was forced to leave last week's game due to the injury, but it looks like he's got a chance to play without missing further time. He remains an intriguing streamer, though one without much of a floor at this point.
Trending up for Week 15
This doesn't mean they will play, but we got good news about them Wednesday.
D.J. Moore (ankle) – FP. This is a good sign for Moore after he left Sunday's game with the injury. He's a fringe WR3 in a low-volume pass offense even when healthy, however.
Trending down for Week 15
This doesn't mean they won't play, but they aren't moving in the right direction yet.
Lamar Jackson (knee) – DNP. Jackson's injury was always expected to be a multi-week issue, so it would be a bit surprising if he's back in time for Sunday's game. He hasn't been ruled out, but I wouldn't plan on using him at this point.
Marcus Mariota (knee) – Mariota will undergo surgery to repair a chronic issue in his knee, ending his season. Rookie Desmond Ridder will take over as the Falcons starting quarterback for the stretch run, and it'll be interesting to see if he can show enough to emerge as the team's QB of the future. Kyle Pitts is out of the season, but Drake London gives him a big No. 1 target to work with, and it's not out of the question Ridder could emerge as a useful QB2 here.
Dameon Pierce (ankle) – There were reports Wednesday that Pierce could miss Weeks 15-17.
Jeff Wilson (hip) – DNP. Wilson hasn't practiced either day this week, so it looks like there's a pretty good chance he won't be able to go. Raheem Mostert figures to be the lead back for the matchup against the Bills, with Myles Gaskin filling in as the backup. Mostert is a viable RB2 if Wilson is out.
Courtland Sutton (hamstring) – DNP. Sutton did not play last week, so this is an ominous start. At this point, I'd lean toward him not playing, and he'd be a risky start even if he did.
Brandin Cooks (calf)/Nico Collins (foot) – DNP. Both missed last week's game with their injuries, and it looks like there's risk for Week 15 as well. You probably don't want to start either even if they do play, but Chris Moore is an intriguing option if they're out again coming off his 10-catch game in Week 14.
Treylon Burks (concussion) – DNP. Burks is still waiting to be cleared from the concussion protocol, and we'll continue to get updates on his status as he makes progress. At this point, don't plan on using him for Week 15 – and he's a fringe starter even if he is cleared.
Jakobi Meyers (concussion) – DNP. Same situation with Burks here. He'll have to be cleared to play, and he's a fringe WR3 if he is.
Corey Davis (concussion) – DNP. Davis suffered his concussion last week, so it's not surprising that he was unable to practice Wednesday. He's in the same range as Burks and Meyers if he plays.
Hayden Hurst (calf) – DNP. Hurst told reporters last week he expected to miss just one week, but this isn't a great start. He's barely Fantasy relevant when healthy.