I made the playoffs in seven of my 14 leagues, and it looks like I'll be moving on in five of those seven -- including my four main leagues. I'm thrilled about that.
Obviously, I try hard to win every one of my leagues, but I don't need to tell you all that some leagues matter more than others. For me, it's my two longest-running leagues -- in our 20th season in one, 12th in the other -- plus the league I play in with my college housemates, and a Dynasty IDP league Heath Cummings set up a few years back. I'm going for a repeat in three of the four, which is partially why those leagues are so important to me, but it's also about bragging rights -- having the job I do, everyone in my home leagues wants to see me lose. And I love to disappoint them.
Of course, there are two weeks left until I can lift any trophies, proverbial or literal, so let's get to the Week 15 recap. Today's newsletter is focused on hitting on the biggest storylines from this weekend's action before we move on to Week 16 and the Fantasy semifinals. We'll have a full breakdown of the Week 16 waiver targets and rankings tomorrow, but here's our last look back:
Week 15 Recap
- Jonathan Taylor (ankle) -- Taylor played just two snaps in Saturday's game against the Vikings before suffering an ankle injury. Taylor suffered a high-ankle sprain, and that's likely to bring his season to an end. It's been a frustrating one for Taylor, who dealt with lingering ankle injuries pretty much all season after famously never missing a practice with injury dating back to high school. He finishes the season with 861 rushing yards and 143 receiving yards in 11 games, and he'll still be a first-round pick next year if there's any sense in the Fantasy Football world. Zack Moss is the top waiver-wire target for Week 16 with Taylor out, though Jackson's pass catching makes him a viable starting RB option in PPR formats as well.
- Colt McCoy (concussion) -- McCoy was on the ground for a few minutes after taking a shot to the head and he was ruled out shortly after leaving the game. Trace McSorley stepped up in McCoy's absence Sunday and would likely start in his place if he has to miss time. McSorley has never started an NFL game since being a sixth-round pick with the Ravens back in 2019, and while his rushing production could actually make him a decent QB2 option, he would be bad news for DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown.
- Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion) -- The Bears are already painfully thin on pass-catchers, with Chase Claypool (knee) out Sunday and Darnell Mooney (ankle) out for the season. Byron Pringle caught a touchdown Sunday, but he wouldn't be worth using in Fantasy -- the biggest impact here is just that it makes Justin Fields' margin for error even slimmer. Despite that, he had 27.6 points Sunday against a very tough Eagles defense. He remains a must-start Fantasy option.
- Caleb Huntley (ankle) -- Huntley's absence might have given Tyler Allgeier a few more opportunities Sunday, and he responded with 139 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Allgeier could be the Falcons lead back down the stretch and is worth adding on waivers ahead of Week 16 if you need an RB.
We also saw the following players leave their games with injuries they were ultimately able to play through. However, as we've learned with high-profile examples like Ja'Marr Chase this season, that doesn't necessarily mean the player is fine. In Ryan Tannehill's case, he gutted it out on that injured ankle yet again after Khalil Mack rolled up on it during the team's first drive, and it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up being in question for Week 16. We'll be keeping an eye out for these throughout the week of practice.
- Ryan Tannehill (ankle)
- Justin Fields (cramps)
- Zonovan Knight (foot)
- Travis Etienne (ankle)
- Austin Ekeler (ankle)
- Justin Jefferson (chest)
- Jerick McKinnon -- I'm not sure there's a simple explanation for McKinnon's massive production the past few weeks. He's broken a few big plays, including Sunday's 21-yard touchdown, and you probably can't count on that every week. However, even without the big plays, 17 targets and 16 carries would certainly make him a very valuable Fantasy option, if not the potential season-winner he's looked like the past two weeks. But the thing is, he had just two targets in Week 13, and he had just one two games before that. And even back in Weeks 9 and 10, when he had eight targets in consecutive games, he still had just 22.2 points in those games combined -- decent production, but nothing to write home about. He's benefited from surprisingly competitive games that have kept the Chiefs throwing it, but he also may have simply played his way into a more significant role moving forward. McKinnon belongs in the RB2 discussion for Week 16 against the Seahawks, who have allowed the ninth-most receptions to running backs this season.
- Trevor Lawrence -- Lawrence had another incredible game, and I'm not sure there are five quarterbacks playing better than him right now. Over his past five games, Lawrence has 14 touchdowns to one interception, while completing 70.4% of his passes at 7.5 yards per attempt. It could just be a hot streak, but doing this -- four touchdowns, 318 yards -- against the Cowboys defense is starting to make me a believer. What's really fun to think about is when he adds Calvin Ridley to this passing game next season.
- Rhamondre Stevenson -- Entering Sunday, we didn't even know if Stevenson was going to play because of his ankle injury. And early on, it seemed like the Patriots might try to limit him, as he didn't see the field under the first third down snap. However, the Patriots seemingly dropped any pretense of limiting once they actually saw how effective he was on the field. Stevenson rushed for a career-high 172 yards on 19 carries, routinely ripping off big chunks of yards. It was actually kind of nice to see him have a big game without dominating in the passing game -- he had 24.8 PPR points despite just two catches for -4 yards. Stevenson looks like a pretty special player, pretty close to a top-five back in this offense. He's going to be a fascinating player to rank this offseason, given how much turnover there historically has been in the Patriots backfield, but he's a top-six RB the rest of the way for me.
- Josh Allen -- Allen hadn't been great for a little while entering Week 15. He hadn't been bad by any means, he just hadn't been great, and great is what we've come to expect from him. Well, he was great against Miami Saturday, with his first 300-yard passing game since Week 10, his first game with more than two pass touchdowns since Week 6, and 77 yards rushing. He dominates the Dolphins, averaging 33.5 Fantasy points per game against them, but even by that standard, Sunday's game was pretty special. And it's a good sign that his elbow injury isn't a real concern.
- Raheem Mostert -- Mostert took advantage of Jeff Wilson's absence and ran all over the Bills Saturday. He rushed for 136 yards on 17 carries, the second-highest total of any player against the Bills this season. The question is, what does Mostert's role look like when Wilson is back? Mostert looked like a pretty solid Fantasy option between Weeks 4 through 8, averaging 12.7 PPR points per game, but Wilson's arrival from San Francisco relegated him to a timeshare at best. Mostert can be a solid RB2 in this offense ... if they'll let him be one.
- Zay Jones -- Jones' contract was part of the Jaguars offseason spending spree that garnered a lot of criticism and jokes in the offseason -- and I'm not too proud to admit I thought they way overpaid for not-that-good players. However, Jones has been a vital part of Trevor Lawrence's breakout, emerging as Lawrence's favorite target during his aforementioned past five games. In that span, Jones has 51 targets, turning them into 35 catches, 415 yards and four touchdowns, three of which came Sunday. The target volume alone makes Jones almost impossible to get away from, though Week 16 gives Jones a very tough test -- Jets rookie Sauce Gardner rarely plays the slot, so you would think Jones will see more of him than Marvin Jones will. Suddenly, that looks like a marquee matchup.
- Diontae Johnson -- Johnson caught all 10 passes thrown his way for 98 yards, his best game of the season by a pretty healthy margin. And it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise -- he has at least 10 targets in each of the four games Mitchell Trubisky has played every snap of, compared to just three of his other 10 games. That doesn't necessarily mean you should expect this kind of production moving forward, of course -- Kenny Pickett will almost certainly be back in at QB whenever he's past his concussion. Still, this was a nice reminder in a frustrating season of what Johnson is capable of.
- Running backs who don't catch the ball -- I tend to be lower on the likes of Nick Chubb than the consensus and Sunday provided some good examples of why, but I want to zoom in on Isiah Pacheco. He was Jamey Eisenberg's Start of the Week for this week, and Jamey wasn't alone -- he was RB15 in FantasyPros.com's consensus expert rankings. But he was RB24 for me, and Sunday was exactly what I feared for him. He had a very good game, averaging 5.7 yards per carry on his 15 carries. However, because he had just one catch, he had a tiny margin for error as a Fantasy option -- he didn't score a touchdown, and ended up with 8.7 PPR points because he had a badly lost fumble. It's not that Pacheco was a bad play, or that backs who don't catch passes are bad players in Fantasy; it just means they have fewer paths to putting up big games. It's not quite touchdown-or-bust for someone like Pacheco, but the path to RB1 production almost always has to go through the end zone for him,
- Alvin Kamara -- You know what makes me sad? Watching Alvin Kamara's passing game role shrink. He's not quite to the point where he would fit into the first category here, but he was Sunday, as he had just two targets. That made a pretty good game on the ground -- 91 yards on 21 carries -- turn into a pretty mediocre game for Fantasy, and it's continuing a trend. Over his past six games, Kamara's target share is down to 15%, and he has just 20 catches in that span. That's not bad for most backs, but it's terrible for Kamara, who rarely gets 15-plus carries and plays in a bad offense. I just don't understand the way the Saints are using him, but coming out of the bye, I didn't see much reason to think he'll return to the RB1 tier.
- Justin Herbert -- It was actually kind of heartening to see Herbert's defense lift him up on a day when he wasn't at his best, and the Chargers even hit a late, game-winning field goal! But that doesn't make Fantasy players who suffered through Herbert's 313-yard, two-interception, no-touchdown game feel any better. Herbert's had a lot of good excuses for not playing well this season, and while the offensive line is still a mess, his weapons are at least healthy. But despite having Keenan Allen and Mike Williams both back, he has just one touchdown on 93 attempts over his past two games. It's not what you want to see.
- Rachaad White -- Last week, White out-touched 18 to 10, but it was fair to wonder if Fournette's ankle injury played a role in that. And now, I think it's fair to conclude it did. White didn't get buried Sunday, or anything, but Fournette out-snapped him 39-29 while out-touching him 14-12. White still has a solid role, but he isn't running away with this job like some may have hoped. That makes him more like an RB3 moving forward.
- Brandon Aiyuk -- We thought Aiyuk would benefit from Deebo Samuel's absence, but at least in Week 15 against the Seahawks, it didn't work out that way. He was fourth on the team with four targets, and the 49ers only threw the ball 26 times. I fear that's going to be an ongoing issue for Aiyuk with Brock Purdy as his quarterback. Purdy has played well, but he's allergic to the deep ball, with just 3.6% of his attempts going 20-plus yards down the field, the lowest in the league over the past three weeks. I'm not giving up on Aiyuk, but he may just not be a great fit in the 49ers offense right now, especially with Christian McCaffrey seemingly taking on a lot of the Deebo touches. That would have been one possible path to Aiyuk being a star, but it seems closed. There might not be too many other ones available in this offense.
- Amari Cooper -- We've now seen Cooper play three games with Deshaun Watson, and far from fueling a breakout, it has kind of derailed Cooper's season. He had his best game with Watson, but that only led to four catches for 58 yards, and only six targets in a game where Watson threw it 28 times. Watson still doesn't look comfortable, he isn't taking shots down the field, and he's spread the ball around -- Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku all have between 15 and 22 targets in three games. This just isn't the situation we thought it would be before the season, and it's made Cooper more of a WR3.
- Joe Mixon -- It would be an overstatement to say Mixon is in a committee because he still played 61% of the snaps Sunday. However, his past two games represent his lowest snap shares of the season (not counting Week 11 when he left early with an injury), and Samaje Perine had nine carries-plus-targets in Week 14 and eight Sunday. That's not enough to make Perine anything more than a desperation play, but it's a thorn in Mixon's side since he's typically pretty inefficient. He's an elite Fantasy RB when he's getting nearly all of the touches for the Bengals, and he isn't right now. You're probably still starting him down the stretch, but matchups against the Patriots and Bills could lead to some disappointment.
Five Early Waiver Targets
- Zack Moss, RB, Colts (3%)
- Deon Jackson, RB, Colts (21%)
- Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons (55%)
- Juwan Johnson, TE, Saints (25%)
- K.J. Osborn, WR, Vikings (8%)