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Favorites & Fades

Week 15

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 12/16/23





Sunday Early:


NYG @ NO | ATL @ CAR | TB @ GB

Sunday Late:





- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Chargers @ Raiders - (Fessel)
Line: LV -3.5
Total: 36.5

LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

No Brainers: N/A

Favorite: RB Austin Ekeler

The Raiders have given up the sixth most points per game to opposing running backs, and veteran sub Easton Stick will not have Keenan Allen to throw to. Anticipate a lot of those targets going to Ekeler. He may need them. Already ailed by a 3.7 rushing average, it's likely going to be tough for Ekeler to find running room sans Allen and Justin Herbert, even against a vulnerable Raiders run defense. Still, he should see a whole lot of volume, being far-and-away the best skill player the Chargers have on offense this week.

On the Fence: WR Quentin Johnston, TE Gerald Everett

Johnston becomes the de facto number one wide receiver with Keenan Allen now joining Mike Williams on the shelf. Josh Palmer has been activated, but at least according head coach Brandon Staley, he’ll be on a snap count. Johnston will have unproven veteran Easton Stick throwing to him, which likely dampens the news. Stick did hook up with Johnston for a 57 yard play last week, but Johnston was only targeted twice on 24 pass attempts.

The Raiders have also been less than generous to opposing wideouts, giving up the 10th fewest points to the position. Johnston will likely face tougher coverage than he's faced all season, with a lesser quarterback. Being the a high draft pick and a de facto WR1 on his roster means he deserves consideration as a flex, but it's likely a boom-or-bust situation for the rookie.

Meanwhile, Gerald Everett finally saw some significant targets last week (8), including 4 from Stick. Considering that he also had 4 with Justin Herbert, there's little indication that this was due to any more than game plan for the week. That being said, Keenan Allen was drawing nearly 12 targets per game (150 in 13 games), leaving many opportunities to spread around. Ekeler may get first dibs, but after that it's anyone's guess on the distribution. Everett flirted with top 12 status last year while Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were out. It may be harder to get there without Herbert, but it is reasonable to look at Everett as a fringe TE1 with Keenen’s absence this week.

Fade: QB Easton Stick, WR Josh Palmer

Stick was a 5th round selection for a division II school back in 2019. Up until last week, he'd made just 1 career passing attempt in the regular season. Last week, he went 13-24 for 179 yards after Justin Herbert departed. He did not toss or run for a score, and he fumbled twice, losing 1.

While his first real action was against a Denver defense that has raised its level of play over the last couple of months, it won't get much easier with the Raiders, who have given up the 8th fewest points to opposing quarterbacks.

On the bright side, Stick showed mobility back in his days with North Dakota State, and though he did not attempt a rush last week, he did rush 11 times for 82 yards during the preseason, meaning his legs may provide some value. If Keenan Allen, or even Mike Williams were active, Stick might have deep league value, but it's unlikely that he'll be able to achieve more than deep QB2 value armed with little experience and a paper-thin receiving corps.

Palmer returns this week but appears slated to be eased back into action. If Keenan Allen misses extended time, Palmer could be an helpful add for receiver-thin owners heading into the fantasy playoffs, but any meaningful impact is likely at least another week away.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: N/A

Favorite: WR Davante Adams

Adams continues to look like a high floor, low ceiling WR2 with Aidan O’Connell, and despite playing a Chargers defense that has given up the 6th most points to opposing wide receivers, that’s unlikely to change this week – especially if Josh Jacobs is out. The Raiders run game has been crowded by opposing defenses, and with Jacobs it’s likely that the Chargers use less 8-in-the-box defenses to deal with the Raider running game, meaning more safety help against Adams. 9.9 targets per game and being the best offensive player on his team makes him a wise start for all but the most blessed fantasy owners, none the less.

On The Fence: RB Josh Jacobs (quad), RB Zamir White

Josh Jacobs has not practiced this week and it's a short turn around for the Raiders, so it's looking unlikely that he will play. Even if he does, how effective he'll be is a big question. More likely, it will be Zamir White and Ameer Abdullah who are called upon to handle most, if not all, of the backfield duties.

Neither White nor Abdullah have been asked to do a whole lot on offense while Jacobs has been healthy, but for what it’s worth, White has 20 carries compared to 6 for Abdullah, while Abdullah has 14 receptions compared to 6 for White. It’s likely that the division of responsibility is split largely towards White favor in the ground game, and towards Abdullah’s favor in the passing game. White’s size (6’0, 215) make him the probable favorite for goal line work, and Abdullah’s kickoff responsibilities also stand to limit how much he’s utilized on offense, making White the guy to start, if you must.

“If you must” is a major key, here. Aside from what may be a 60/40 share in White’s favor, the Raiders have only averaged 3.5 yards per rush even with Josh Jacobs on the field, and have scored just 19 total touchdowns. It’s taken incredible volume for the more talented Jacob’s to reach RB2 value this season, so it’s very unlikely that White can be viewed as more than an RB3 this week if Jacobs sits.

Fade: QB Aidan O'Connell and Everyone Else

The Raiders choice to turn away from a decent, but unexciting, Jimmy Garoppolo has predictably failed (3-3 record with, 2-5 without), and it hit rock bottom last week when O'Connell and the Raiders were shut out by a middling Vikings defense. In addition to going without a score, even most players who were involved - such as Jakobi Meyers - were not able to generate any yardage on their receptions (5-25-0 for Meyers).

The Chargers have been vulnerable to the passing game, but have shown some improvement recently, allowing less than 200 yards passing over the last four games. During this time, their opponents have generally been teams with less than stellar passing attacks, but what are the Raiders?

Back-to-back shutouts are extremely unlikely for the Raider offense, but the Chargers will probably have a conservative game plan with Justin Herbert out, providing few easy opportunities for a very desperate O'Connell and company. O'Connell is a non-starter even in deep leagues, and is highly risky in multi-quarterback leagues.

Prediction: Raiders 14, Chargers 13 ^ Top

Vikings @ Bengals - (Green)
Line: CIN -3.0
Total: 40.5

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainers: WR Justin Jefferson (chest), TE T.J. Hockenson

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: Ty Chandler

With Alexander Mattison (ankle) suffering an ankle injury in Las Vegas, Chandler stepped in and logged 15 touches for 42 yards. Obviously, that’s not the kind of output you’d like, but with the Vikings travelling to Cincinnati on Saturday it seems likely that they’ll have to turn to Chandler as their lead back in Week 15. Chandler has flashed at times, most notably his 110-yard outburst versus the Broncos back on Nov. 19, and he’d been seeing an increased role even when Mattison was available. Facing a bottom-10 run defense, Chandler has good upside from an RB3 slot.

Fade: QB Nick Mullens

Who’s ready for starting quarterback #4 on the year in Minnesota? Mullens was summoned after Joshua Dobbs failed to generate any points for the first three quarters against the Raiders and led a field goal drive for the win. He’s also a journeyman with a 5-12 record as a starter during stints with the 49ers and Browns. Mullens will be asked to make smart plays and avoid turnovers. While the Bengals haven’t been lights out as a defense, there’s little to like about Mullens here.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: RB Joe Mixon, WR Ja’Marr Chase

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Jake Browning

Browning has exceeded all expectations since taking over for Joe Burrow (wrist), following up a 354-yard, 2-TD effort against the Jaguars with a 275-yard, 3-TD performance versus Indianapolis. Those are QB1 numbers. The question is whether he can keep it going against a tough Vikings defense that just shut out the Raiders and has allowed a total of 50 points combined over their last four games. Depending on what your alternatives look like, Browning can be used as a risk/reward play.

Fade: WR Tee Higgins

While Higgins racking up 72 yards, his third-highest total for the season, last Sunday was good, nothing surrounding it was very encouraging. He had just two receptions and was targeted four times as Browning spread the ball around. Higgins also extended his scoreless streak to seven games -- in fact, his only two TDs of the season came back in Week 2. It’s starting to feel like it’s never going to happen for Higgins this season. As such, he’d be miscast as anything other than a desperation reach as a WR3 or flex.

Prediction: Bengals 20, Vikings 12 ^ Top

Steelers @ Colts - (Mack)
Line: IND -1.5
Total: 42.5

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB Najee Harris

To be sure, the Steelers are a fantasy wasteland in 2023. There is no true viable offensive fantasy option on this roster at this point of the season, but Najee Harris perhaps offers the best potential heading into this week’s contest against Indianapolis. The Colts are 26th in the league against the run and have given up the third most rushing TDs so far (19) in 2023. But Harris has yet to rush for 100 yards this year and hasn’t had more than three receptions in a game since Week 7. Harris is a desperation play this week. Start him with caution.

Fade: WR George Pickens, WR Diontae Johnson, TE Pat Freiermuth

The fact that Pittsburgh is 7-6 with such a struggling offense speaks volumes of head coach Mike Tomlin. But it’s a painful experience watching this team try to move the ball, particularly through the air. They’re 26th in the league in pass attempts because they are so inefficient, 28th in passing yards, and second to last in passing TDs with 9. Those numbers can drag all of a team’s skill players down, and that’s exactly what they have done for the Steelers. As this is the first round of fantasy playoffs in most leagues, now is not the time to take chances. Pittsburgh players should all be heavily scrutinized before inserting in your lineup.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Favorites: RB Zack Moss

Since Moss reclaimed the starting spot after Jonathan Taylor’s injury a few weeks ago, he hasn’t quite found the magic he displayed earlier this season when he proved to be one of the early favorites for fantasy MVP. He been able to muster only 79 rushing yards over the past two games, along with 34 receiving yards. The Steelers have held opponents to less than 97 rushing yards in three of the last four games, so Moss may once again find it tough to deliver much production. But this Indy backfield is his and his alone right now, so the fact that he will be heavily involved with no real threat for carries increases his value and the possibility that he could put together some semblance of a productive game.

On the Fence: WR Josh Downs

The promise that Josh Downs flashed during the first half of the season is gone. He hasn’t cracked more than 72 yards since Week 8 against New Orleans and hasn’t scored since his breakout performance the week prior against Cleveland when he led Indy with 125 receiving yards. He should stay on your bench.

Fade: QB Gardner Minshew

At his best, Minshew is an inconsistent performer who could possibly give you startable numbers. At his worst, he could singlehandedly cost you a game. It’s the fantasy playoffs, and he should be nowhere near your lineup.

Prediction: Steelers 16, Colts 13 ^ Top

Broncos @ Lions - (Green)
Line: DET -5.0
Total: 47.5

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: RB Javonte Williams, WR Courtland Sutton

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Russell Wilson

Wilson is a bit of an odd case statistically, ranking 18th in passing yardage but fifth in TDs for the season. That blend was on full display in Week 14 as he threw for 224 yards to go with 2 TDs and an INT. Over his last 10 games, Wilson has only passed for more than 225 yards once while accounting for multiple TDs seven times. The Lions have struggled in recent weeks, and you’d think the Broncos would want to try and control the clock in Detroit, which would limit Wilson. Then again, if the Lions can get their offense on track, Wilson will need to try and keep pace. There’s QB1 potential here.

Fade: WR Jerry Jeudy

With Wilson averaging just 16 completions over his last three games, receivers need to take advantage of their opportunities. Jeudy has not. In that same stretch, the former first-round pick has caught seven of 13 targeted balls for 78 yards. In comparison, Sutton has an identical number of receptions, but they’ve gone for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In what’s feeling like a lost season, Jeudy should stay on your bench.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: RB David Montgomery, RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Sam LaPorta

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Jared Goff

Even amid a rough patch for the Lions offensively, you’d still be hard pressed to come up with a convincing argument as to why any of the four players listed above don’t belong in your starting lineup each week. Goff seemed on the cusp of that status at various points this year, but he has really struggled with turnovers recently, racking up three more in the Week 14 loss to the Bears. With the Broncos dragging the NFL’s last-ranked run defense into this matchup, it makes sense that Detroit will lean heavily on the tandem of Montgomery and Gibbs. As such, Goff should be left on your bench.

Prediction: Lions 27, Broncos 24 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Patriots - (Caron)
Line: KC -8.0
Total: 37.5

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: TE Travis Kelce

Favorites: WR Rashee Rice

We’ve been waiting for a Kansas City wide receiver to break out and sustain fantasy viability all season long, and it appears that we’ve finally found our man in rookie Rashee Rice. Rice has now produced for managers in three straight games, compiling 243 yards on 23 catches and two touchdowns over this stretch. He’s also managed to get targeted at least nine times in each of those three games after having not seen over seven targets in any of his first 10 games.

While Rice’s raw numbers have certainly popped, it could be written off as fluky if not for some of the complementary numbers that should be catching the eye of fantasy managers. Rice had not run routes on more than 65 percent of Kansas City passing plays in any of his first 10 games, but he‘s been over that number in three straight games, including this past week when he ran routes on 82 percent of passing plays which was by far his best number of the season. Additionally, Rice has now been targeted on at least 27 percent of Mahomes pass attempts in each of his past three games, after having not reached even 20 percent in any of his first 10 games.

The numbers all indicate that this is a great situation right now for Rice and the Patriots are an above-average matchup for opposing wide receivers, so feel free to place him in your lineup this week.

On the Fence: QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Let’s be honest - there’s almost no one out there who has the guts to actually bench Patrick Mahomes in their fantasy playoffs, but the defending NFL MVP has been in a bit of a rut as of late. Mahomes has averaged just 230 passing yards per game and has thrown just eight touchdown passes over his past six games. While those numbers would be career bests for many players, it’s been quite a disappointment for a player that many fantasy managers have been counting on to be a difference-maker down the stretch. Mahomes now faces a Patriots defense that has quietly given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season and has not allowed a QB to throw for even 215 yards against them in any of their past four games. Mahomes will probably break that streak, but the true high-end performance might be difficult to come by against a New England team that would prefer this game to end 13-10 in either direction.

With Isiah Pacheco likely sidelined this weekend, the Chiefs will again turn to their backfield depth to fill the gaps. We got a glimpse of what this might look like in Week 14 when Clyde Edwards-Helaire led the backfield with 13 touches. While Edwards-Helaire was fairly ineffective with those touches, he was still on the field for 48 percent of the team’s snaps and took 65 percent of the carries, essentially solidifying what we assumed the backfield to be with Edwards-Helaire being the early-down back and Jerick McKinnon being the passing down back. The Chiefs are big road favorites in this game so look for Edwards-Helaire to again lead the team in touches out of the backfield.

Fade: RB Jerick McKinnon

A quick glance at the fantasy box totals from Week 14 would have you thinking that Jerick McKinnon is obviously the better fantasy play, but there’s a lot to be concerned about. McKinnon touched the ball just seven times in his first opportunity this season without Pacheco, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire touched the ball 13 times. Not only that but despite McKinnon getting into the end zone on one of his rush attempts, he carried the ball just four times. The Chiefs losing to the Bills meant that they had to rely more on their passing game, meaning that McKinnon played more snaps than he likely will in a more positive Chiefs game script. With the Patriots being more than a touchdown favorite on the road, look for them to rely more heavily on their rushing attack than normal, which would be good for Edwards-Helaire and not so good for McKinnon.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Ezekiel Elliott

With Rhamondre Stevenson still sidelined in practice throughout the week, it’s appearing increasingly likely that Ezekiel Elliott will again have control of the New England backfield. Elliott took over for Stevenson in Week 13 and ended up seeing 21 touches in that game, then followed that up with a 29-touch game this past week in his first opportunity to be the true bellcow back for the Patriots. Elliott really hasn’t done anything particularly special with the ball, but he’s still a high-level pass protector and he can contribute as a receiver while also carrying the ball 20-plus times. This makes him almost game-script independent, which is shocking for a player who’s as much of a veteran as Elliott is. If the game is close then Elliott should see a ton of carries and if it’s a blowout loss then Elliott should be running plenty of opportunities to run routes. Either way, we probably need Elliott to get into the end zone in order to deliver truly difference-making fantasy numbers, but he’s a viable fill-in this week if you’re in need.

On the Fence: WR Demario Douglas

Demario Douglas missed both Week 13 and Week 14 and could be out again as he deals with post-concussion symptoms. He has, however, practiced this week in limited capacity which gives us hope that he could be back on the field in what would likely be a game where the Patriots will need to pass quite a bit to stay competitive. Prior to his injury, Douglas had caught at least five passes in four straight games and had become the team’s top target in the passing game, having also been targeted at least seven times during that recent four-game stretch.

The Chiefs are a good defense, but they’ll likely be happy enough allowing Douglas to catch the ball in short zones which won’t necessarily result in big plays but can add up in the fantasy box total, especially in PPR.

Fade: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

JuJu Smith-Schuster turned in his best game in a Patriots uniform this past week when he caught four passes for 90 yards on seven targets. It was actually only the second time all season that he had exceeded 35 receiving yards. His uptick in production came in large part due to a spike in playing time due to the concussion sustained by Demario Douglas. Smith-Schuster had run routes on 65 percent or fewer in all but one of the Patriots’ first nine games, but that number jumped up to 94 percent and 97 percent over the past two games with Douglas sidelined.

Most fantasy managers are not digging this deep for options anyway, but if you are - especially if Douglas is active - you’ll want to go back to benching (or dropping) Smith-Schuster.

Prediction: Chiefs 24, Patriots 13 ^ Top

Jets @ Dolphins - (Caron)
Line: MIA -8.5
Total: 36.5

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Garrett Wilson

Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson heads into Week 15 after delivering his best fantasy performance of the season this past week in New York’s surprising blowout victory over Houston. Wilson matched or better previous season highs in targets, catches, yards, and fantasy points and he looks like an excellent bet to continue the hot streak against the Dolphins. Wilson faced the Dolphins back in Week 12 and provided a solid fantasy performance, catching seven of the 10 passes that came his way for 44 yards and a touchdown.

On the Fence: RB Breece Hall

Most draft analysts knew that Breece Hall would be a factor in the passing game for whatever team drafted him, but very few could’ve predicted that he’d be the bellcow running back for an NFL team but that almost all of his fantasy production would be coming via receptions. Hall has now failed to exceed 50 rushing yards and has not scored a single rushing touchdown in the seven games since the Jets’ bye. However, he’s managed to reach at least 40 receiving yards in four of those contests while adding three touchdowns on 39 total receptions.

Unfortunately, the last time these two teams played was one of the more difficult fantasy days for Hall, as they were completely blown out by a much better Miami team, which meant that Hall got just seven carries - his lowest amount since back in Week 4 when he was still splitting touches with Dalvin Cook. While Hall rushed for only 25 yards on those carries, he did manage to salvage what could’ve been a completely disastrous fantasy game with seven receptions for an additional 24 yards. The high passing game usage should continue for Hall, but if he suddenly only sees three receptions in a game for some reason then we could see a situation where he completely drops a dud in your fantasy playoffs. He’s a risky player right now, but the Jets’ offense showed hope this past week and maybe he has been providing at least a 10-point floor due to the catches so it’d be tough to justify benching Hall even in what could be another blowout loss for the Jets.

Fade: QB Zach Wilson

Wilson turned in what was by far his best fantasy game of the season this past week when he reached 300 yards passing for the first time in 2023, while also throwing two touchdowns for just the second time. The Jets’ shocking runaway victory over the Texans might have some fantasy managers considering letting Wilson back into their lives, but this is truly not the time to be trusting the former first-round NFL Draft pick.

While he did look good this past week, we’ve just seen him collapse too many times to have any sort of confidence in putting Wilson in lineups during the fantasy playoffs. He’s been held to fewer than 200 passing yards in six of his 11 games this season and he’s only thrown eight total touchdown passes on the year.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: WR Tyreek Hill (ankle)

Favorites: RB Raheem Mostert

Veteran running back Raheem Mostert is a big banged up heading into this pivotal divisional matchup with the Jets, but he appears to be trending toward playing this weekend and has to be one of the strongest fantasy options at the position right now. Mostert has carried the ball at least 20 times in three of his past four games, including the Dolphins’ big victory over the Jets in Week 12 when he rushed for 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

New York’s pass defense has been excellent this season, but they’ve been a great matchup for opposing running backs and Mostert should see plenty of work. He’s a great option this week.

On the Fence: WR Jaylen Waddle, RB Devon Achane

With Tyreek Hill self-admittedly banged up, we may begin to see Jaylen Waddle inch closer to him in the pecking order for the Miami passing game. Waddle has been by far the team’s second-best option in the passing game this season, but he’s still seen over 40 fewer targets than Hill and he’s only managed to score three touchdowns which has made him a big bust for those who invested early-round draft capital on him. Still, Waddle had one of his best games of the season when these teams matched up back in Week 12 as he caught a season-high eight passes for 114 yards. He’s now been targeted exactly eight times in each of his past four games and if Hill ends up getting re-injured or worse yet being held out of the game then Waddle immediately shoots up into the WR1 discussion.

Achane has been one of the best fantasy stories of the season, but he’s once again dealing with an injury - this time a toe - which has held him out of practice during the week. Achane could end up playing, but we’ve seen the Dolphins be careful with him in the past when dealing with other injuries so there’s also a possibility that he’s active and sees less than 10 touches. Achane is the type of player who could still turn those few touches into acceptable fantasy production, but he’s certainly a risk in this matchup.

Fade: QB Tua Tagovailoa

There was a point earlier this season when quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was legitimately in the MVP discussion, but that time has passed and now fantasy managers are left wondering how the QB has managed to throw just six touchdown passes over his past five games while failing to reach even 250 passing yards in three of those matchups. The sky-high ceiling appears to have come crashing down for the Dolphins’ signal-caller and there’s now a very real risk of him turning in another ugly performance against this excellent Jets pass defense.

Tua was held to just 243 yards, one touchdown, and he threw an interception in what was his worst fantasy game of the season when he faced the Jets back in Week 12. With Hill, Achane and Mostert all dealing with various injuries, the Miami offense is truly hampered right now in the explosive playmaker department and that’s really where Tua has done most of his damage this season. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Hill is back to near-full health and that the Dolphins blow out the Jets yet again, but there’s also a very real possibility that fantasy managers could find a better fantasy option.

Prediction: Dolphins 23, Jets 16 ^ Top

Bears @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -3.0
Total: 37.5

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

No Brainers: QB Justin Fields, WR D.J. Moore

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB D’Onta Foreman

Coming out of a bye last Sunday and with all three backs available and healthy, it was unclear which would fill the No. 1 role. We speculated it’d be Foreman, and we were right, as the journeyman logged 13 touches -- for comparison, Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson combined for four -- that accounted for 72 yards. He didn’t score, as Fields and Moore tallied the rushing TDs, but it looks like he’ll be the guy going forward… or will he? One week is a small sample size, and it’s possible Chicago just rode the hot hand or liked him in that matchup with Detroit. Cleveland ranks 11th in the NFL in run defense, so slot Foreman in as no more than an RB3 or flex.

Fade: N/A

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: TE David Njoku

Favorites: WR Amari Cooper

Cooper cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol just in time to suit up last Sunday, and he was a frequent target of Joe Flacco, catching seven of 14 intended passes for 77 yards. That was easily the most looks on the team with Njoku finishing second with eight. While Flacco has his shortcomings, when he drops back, he’s going to throw, and that should help Cooper recoup some of the value he lost when Deshaun Watson (shoulder) bowed out with a shoulder injury. Facing a Bears team that excels against the run, Cooper could be in for another busy day. He has WR2 upside.

On the Fence: RB Jerome Ford

Only the 49ers are allowing fewer yards per game on the ground than the Bears. While that’s a discouraging stat for Cleveland’s RBs, the Lions found success in that area in Week 14, rushing 24 times for 140 yards (5.8 YPC) and a touchdown. Ford had a dozen carries and five receptions last Sunday, collecting 82 yards in the process. He continues to take a backseat to Kareem Hunt in the red zone, however, which is suboptimal. This is an interesting matchup for Ford, who can be deployed as an RB3 with a little juice if Cleveland can impose their will.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Browns 23, Bears 19 ^ Top

Texans @ Titans - (Mack)
Line: TEN -3.5
Total: 36.5

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB Devin Singletary

Devin Singletary is one of the few healthy skill-position players still standing on Houston’s offense, rendering his chances for success at a low level. The receiving corps is battling injuries, and rookie QB C.J. Stroud is unlikely to play as he remains in concussion protocol. Tennessee has held opponents to under 100 yards rushing in two of the last three games, so Singletary could struggle mightily in this contest. Look elsewhere if you can.

Update: Nico Collins is listed as Questionable but not expected to play.

Fade: WR Nico Collins (calf)

As of Thursday evening, Nico Collins has yet to practice with a calf injury, putting his availability in question this week. Like Olave, his participation in Friday’s practice will go a long way toward determining his status for Sunday. Calf injuries aren’t the best thing in the world for a wide receiver, and neither is playing with an inferior QB in Davis Mills. Collins fits in both categories. Both should be enough to force you to exercise extreme caution when determining to play Collins—if he suits up at all.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

No Brainers: RB Derrick Henry

Favorites: WR DeAndre Hopkins

The change at QB from Ryan Tannehill to Will Levis hasn’t affected DeAndre Hopkins much. If anything, it’s probably boosted his standing in the fantasy realm. He’s converted the 24 targets over the past two games into 12 receptions for 199 yards and two scores. Rookie standout defender Will Anderson Jr. is iffy with an ankle injury, which would weaken a unit that is already 26th in the league in defending the pass. Hopkins should live up to his low-end WR2 status this week.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: RB Tyjae Spears

Tyjae Spears is a complete desperation play this week. Of course, Derrick Henry is the main cog in Tennessee’s running game, but Spears has gotten more playing time than any backup RB has in recent memory during the Henry era. But Spears has been active in the passing game, totaling 10 receptions on 14 targets over the two contests. That may not be sustainable, but it’s a sign that he’s a capable player should anything happen to Henry. But again, given the projected game script, he’s a desperation play, at best, this week.

Prediction: Titans 20, Texans 14 ^ Top

Giants @ Saints - (Mack)
Line: NO -5.5
Total: 39.5

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: RB Saquon Barkley

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Tommy DeVito, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, TE Darren Waller (hamstring)

Tommy DeVito has opened some eyes in The Big Apple with his play, but a contest against a top-10 pass defense in New Orleans that has given up only 14 passing scores this season—good for 3rd in the NFL—is going to be tough. Some may be in a position where they have to start him. DeVito is a nice story, but expectations must be kept in check this week.

There’s not much meat on the bone when it comes to the New York Giants’ receiving options. Wan’Dale Robinson had his best game of the season last week from a yardage perspective when he gained 79 yards on six receptions, and he even threw in two rush attempts for 36 yards in the process. But he nor any other Giants receiver is worthy of consideration. Darren Waller’s anticipated return could add some juice to an otherwise paltry New York passing game, but he hasn’t played in six weeks. Now is not the time to reinsert him in your lineup.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Alvin Kamara

Favorites: N/A

Update: Chris Olave is a gametime decision.

On the Fence: WR Chris Olave (ankle)

Olave played last week despite being sick with flu-like symptoms. He’s now battling an ankle injury that has kept him out of practice so far this week. His practice availability on Friday will provide greater clarity about his status for Sunday. Olave has been a solid WR2, despite his lack of a truly explosive game this season. His production, I believe, is capped by Derek Carr’s limitations and the degree to which Alvin Kamara is involved in the passing game. Keep an eye on Olave’s availability, knowing that even if he does play, he may be limited with his ankle injury.

Fade: QB Derek Carr

As far as Derek Carr is concerned, I’ll make this brief. He has three TD passes combined in his last four games. Not good. Keep him benched.

Prediction: Saints 19, Giants 17 ^ Top

Falcons @ Panthers - (Mack)
Line: ATL -3.0
Total: 33.5

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

No Brainers: RB Bijan Robinson

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts

Sure, London had the best game of his career last week with 10 catches for 172 yards. But let’s not forget the week before when he gave fantasy managers a whopping 1 catch for 8 yards. In fact, in the three previous games before his breakout performance, he only had nine receptions total. So, we have no idea what version of London we’re going to get from week-to-week. And with a turnover prone QB throwing him the ball, that lowers his prospects even more.

The same can be said about Kyle Pitts to a large degree. But Pitts has actually been more consistent than London—consistently mediocre. Last week, he scored only his fifth TD of his career in his 40th game. Plus, he hasn’t had more than 57 yards receiving since Week 5. Outside of Bijan Robinson—whose high floor keeps him in the conversation for a RB1 each week—this offense is painfully up and down. There are simply too many variables to consider when determining who on this team to start, including their opponent this week. For all of Carolina’s problems this season, their pass defense isn’t one of them. The Panthers are third-best in the league defending the pass.

Fade: N/A

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Chuba Hubbard, WR Adam Thielen

Hubbard has taken over this backfield from Miles Sanders and has been highly productive the last two games. While he’s not much of a threat in the pass game, the team has fed him on the ground, and he’s delivered nearly 200 rush yards over those two games. Although Atlanta is the league’s eighth-worst rush defense, they have only surrendered five TDs on the ground—good for 2nd in the league. Starting Hubbard does not come without risks.

Adam Thielen has nearly two-and-a-half more receptions (85) than the next closest teammate (Jonathan Mingo with 36). That the passing game goes through a 33-year-old receiver who hasn’t scored since Week 6 says all you need to know about this team offensively. But as good as Thielen has been, he hasn’t done much in the second half of the season. He started the year totaling more than 100 receiving yards in three of the first six games. He’s now fallen off, but he remains a low-end WR3 or flex option this week, despite going against the 9th-ranked pass defense.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Falcons 20, Panthers 17 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Packers - (Green)
Line: GB -3.5
Total: 42.5

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

No Brainers: RB Rachaad White, WR Mike Evans

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: QB Baker Mayfield

Given how weak Green Bay is against the run, you assume we’ll see a heavy dose of White this Sunday. As such, the idea of Mayfield throwing for a lot of yardage seems unlikely. If Jaire Alexander (shoulder) can’t return from his shoulder injury, however, the Packers don’t have anyone that can match up with Evans in the red zone. Mayfield passed for just 144 yards last Sunday, but he had three TDs, including one on the ground. That kind of production could land him in QB1 territory, but if he doesn’t get the touchdowns he might fall flat.

Update: Chris Godwin is a gametime decision.

Fade: WR Chris Godwin (knee)

Godwin (knee) is dealing with a knee injury, and in a game where the Bucs figure to lean on the run, the veteran may see few opportunities. You could make a case that he’s nearly unplayable already, having gone seven consecutive games without reaching the 60-yard mark -- he hasn’t scored since Oct. 26, either. If you were considering him for a flex spot, however, a gimpy Godwin probably isn’t worth the risk.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: WR Jayden Reed (ankle)

Favorites: QB Jordan Love

First off, let’s just throw this out there: if Christian Watson (hamstring) is back from his hamstring injury, he joins Reed in the no-brainer category. He was firing on all cylinders and looking like a high-end playmaker, so he’d be worth the risk. Now, back to Love, who struggled on Monday night after playing lights out over the previous three games. He finished the game against the Giants with 218 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and a lost fumble. The Bucs rank 30th in the NFL in pass defense, however, which gives Love a chance to rebound. The asterisk here is the health of his receivers, as in addition to Watson and Reed being banged up, Dontayvion Wicks (ankle) is also dealing with an ankle injury. That adds some downside to an otherwise top-10 outlook for Love.

On the Fence: RB Aaron Jones (knee)

Jones (knee) has missed the last three games with a knee injury, and it’s far from certain he’ll suit up in Week 15. Then again, he practiced in limited fashion all last week and was listed as questionable before ultimately being inactive. Green Bay losing to the Giants puts more pressure on the Packers to win this Sunday to keep the playoffs in sight, and they could use Jones’ explosiveness with so many other weapons on the injury report. If Jones is active, he’d warrant rolling the dice on as an RB3.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Packers 23, Buccaneers 20 ^ Top

49ers @ Cardinals - (Fessel)
Line: SF-12.0
Total: 48.5

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: RB Christian McCaffrey, TE George Kittle

Favorites: QB Brock Purdy, WR Deebo Samuel

Brock Purdy has continued to climb the ranks of fantasy quarterbacks, finding himself in the Top 5 in points per game. The situation in San Francisco is often akin to a glorified scrimmage, with lots of pitch-and-catch between Purdy and his elite myriad of receiving options. That should continue this week against the Cardinals.

It is worth noting that while Purdy had an extremely efficient day against the Cardinals at home earlier this year, he only attempted 21 passes. There’s a real possibility that the 49ers blow out the Cardinals and Purdy’s attempts are limited. That could get in the way of a QB1 day, even if it didn’t stop him last time around. To this end, the “good” news is that the 49ers defense is incredibly banged up coming out of last week’s matchup with Seattle, and with one or more starters at all three levels of the defense missing practice due to injury on Thursday. Several Niners defenders missing Sunday’s game could help the Cardinals stay just close enough to see Purdy get 25-30 attempts, which is about all he should need when averaging 9.9 yards per attempt.

Deebo Samuel also sits pretty this week, as the Cardinals have absolutely no answers to their opponents running game, meaning that the dual threat wide receiver should be able to rack up production no matter how San Francisco operates on offense. He should be a strong WR2 in this one.

On the Fence: RB Jordan Mason

Over the last couple of weeks, Jordan Mason has re-emerged as the change of pace back behind Christian McCaffrey with Elijah Mitchell out due to injury. Mitchell may or may not play this week, as he continues to recover from a knee ailment. It’s also entirely possible that he’s a healthy scratch. For owners who have Mason and are in a bit of a pinch at flex, his situation is worth monitoring versus a Cardinals team that has been gutted by opposing running games.

When Mitchell and Mason have both been active, there’s been little noise from either (none from Mitchell), but when Mitchell has been out, Mason has had some back-end flex production. Mason has reached the end zone 3 times this year, and that will be his best way to get to usable production, especially against a Cardinals team that has surrendered 18 touchdowns to the position this year.

It would also not be surprising to see the 49ers give McCaffrey a bit of extended rest as the postseason nears, which could also help Mason’s case and makes him at least a deep league consideration if Mitchell is indeed inactive.

Fade: N/A

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: TE Trey McBride, QB Kyler Murray

The 49ers have been tough on tight ends, giving up the 4th fewest points to the position. Yet for McBride, there are two factors working in his favor. One is that the 49ers injuries on defense are likely to make them less stellar competition than usual (including the real possibility that coverage LB Dre Greelaw misses the contest). The other factor is McBride, himself. Since emerging from Zach Ertz aging shadow, he’s been on a rampage. Kyler Murray’s return has only enhanced this reality – over the last five weeks, McBride’s 13.1 points per game has only been bested at tight end by T.J. Hockenson (13.4).

It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals not spending a whole lot of time in the negative game-script, and Murray has had only one sure target since his return – McBride. There should be a lot of opportunities for that to continue this week.

Kyler Murray has been a borderline QB1 since returning from the IR a month ago. He’s largely been leaning on his legs (106 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns), as despite facing just 18% pressure in 2.4 seconds of pocket time, he’s not managed to pass for more than 256 yards nor throw multiple touchdown passes in any single game. Outside of his connection with McBride, he’s not found consistency with anyone else. The 49ers have been unkind to QBs (including 17 picks against), but again, the defense is banged up. That could leave Murray with some room to run and maybe an opportunity for a couple of big plays in the passing game. Murray is reasonably a backend QB1 when the probability of high volume is weighed in.

On the Fence: RB James Conner

Conner had his first notable game in some time when he dialed up 2 touchdowns and 105 rushing yards against the Steelers in Week 13. Strangely, Conner has disappeared as a pass catching option despite performing well in this area throughout his career. Since Week 1, when he had 5 receptions, he’s had just 9 total in eight other games. As such, Conner has only hit double digits in fantasy scoring when he’s reached the end zone (3 games).

With just 4 touchdowns this year, being a significant underdog this week, and facing a run defense whose only weakness has been surrendering receptions to running backs (72 allowed), the stars are not aligning for Conner. His potential for a solid day hinges on the injury status of key 49er defenders, and he probably isn’t startable if the 49ers get surprisingly healthy by the weekend.

Fade: WR Marquise Brown (heel)

It just hasn’t clicked between Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown in the way that it did last season. Some of that may be due to rust from Murray, and some of that may be due to Brown struggling with his own health. Brown’s heel has been troubling him, and he very well may not play this week. Even if he does, his ability to be productive at this given time is severely in doubt. Desperate fantasy owners would probably be best served searching the wire. Brown’s teammate Greg Dortch is more worthy of consideration.

Prediction: 49ers 31, Cardinals 20 ^ Top

Commanders @ Rams - (Fessel)
Line: LAR -6.5
Total: 50.5

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB Sam Howell, TE Logan Thomas

With Sam Howell taking over as their starter in 2023, the Commanders have the worst adjusted point differential in the NFL. Not nearly all of that is on him, as their defense has folded like an accordion. But Howell’s 58 sacks and three consecutive games with a pick-six haven’t helped. Howell has big splash moments, and enough confidence and athleticism to be called upon to have 35-45 plays run through him, but the limitations in his throwing ability and decision making mean he often has to get to QB1 status on volume, and generally versus very beatable defenses. The Rams present that defense, this week.

Having given up the 10th most points to opposing quarterbacks, and also beginning to fire on all cylinders on offense, the Rams are inviting the Commanders to a shootout. It could get sloppy at times, but Howell has a wide-open window of opportunity to rake a 300+ yardage day and multiple touchdowns. There’s more than enough here to consider him a back end QB1, especially with all of the quarterbacks on the shelf across the NFL at this moment.

Logan Thomas could be the greatest benefactor of a shootout against the Rams, as they’ve had no answers for opposing tight ends. Having given up 66 receptions, 809 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns, they’ve been tagged for 12 points per game by the position, the 3rd worst mark in the league. Logan Thomas isn’t special, but he has his days and sees enough volume (63 targets) to be worthy of a start in this one.

Update: Brian Robinson Jr. is Out.

On the Fence: RB Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring), WR Terry McLaurin

Owners of Brian Robinson Jr. stock face two road blocks this week. One is Robinson’s health, with his status very much in the air. The second, is the fact that the Rams have been tough on opposing RB’s, giving up the 7th fewest points and being particularly devastating against Robinson’s surprising bread-and-butter this year – receiving. The Rams defense has given up just 264 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown to running backs this year. That’s bad news for Robinson, who has amassed over 10 yards per reception on 29 receptions, with 3 receiving touchdowns.

Ranked just outside the Top 12 running backs in points, it’s hard to sit Robinson if he is active, but owners with strong benches should consider it this week as Robinson limps towards Sunday.

Meanwhile, it’s been a disappointing year for Terry McLaurin, who is falling well short of a 1000-yard season despite being health. It’s clear that Sam Howell’s limitations are greater than Tyler Heinicke’s when it comes to getting the ball outside and down the field to his prized wide receiver. It’ll be interesting to see McLaurin with a more equipped starting quarterback, if and when that day comes. The fact that this game could be the most offensive of the week means that one can’t just rule out McLaurin, but he’s far from a lock even in a game that could easily see 600+ yards of passing and 8+ touchdowns between the two teams.

Fade: N/A

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: RB Kyren Williams

Favorites: QB Matthew Stafford, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Puka Nacua

Taking Matthew Stafford and putting him up against the Commanders defense is akin to taking a bucket of hot embers and spilling it into a drought-stricken forest. If you thought the Rams veteran quarterback wasn’t hot already, brace yourself for this weekend.

Stafford has thrown for at least 3 touchdowns in each of the last three games, and part of the recipe for that success has been a clean pocket (just 2 times sacked in three games). The gutted Commanders front-7 should all but guarantee this trend continues, and that coupled with a struggling secondary is likely to provide Stafford his 4th 300-yard passing performance of the season.

Stafford is a must start for virtually any fantasy owner, as he could very easily put up 300-400 yards passing and several touchdowns in this one. The ceiling is about as big as you can ask for.

Not surprisingly, Stafford’s top two receivers, Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, are also must starts this week. Especially with Tutu Atwell potentially missing the game due to a concussion, there should be plenty of production from the Rams number 1 and 2 most targeted receivers this year.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Rams 35, Commanders 21 ^ Top

Cowboys @ Bills - (Caron)
Line: BUF 2.5
Total: 49.5

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: QB Dak Prescott, WR CeeDee Lamb

Favorites: RB Tony Pollard

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard failed to get into the end zone for the first time in four games in Week 14, but he still managed to turn in a strong fantasy performance due to his passing game usage in Dallas’ big victory over Philadelphia. Pollard has now touched the ball at least 15 times in six straight games while having exceeded 16 fantasy points in four-straight.

The Bills do have a solid defense, but they’ve still given up a double-digit fantasy game to an opposing running back in nine of their past 10 games. The only game they played where a back didn’t get there was in Week 12 when D’Andre Swift nearly made it as he rushed for 80 yards.

Pollard may not be delivering the high-end fantasy games that many had hoped for, but he’s still a must-start for most teams as he’s remained a big part of one of the NFL’s best offenses.

On the Fence: TE Jake Ferguson

It’s tough to come by tight ends who are seeing the type of usage that Jake Ferguson is in an offense as good as Dallas’, but if there’s one player who’s normally a solid fantasy starter for the Cowboys who fantasy managers should maybe consider benching this week, it’s Jake Ferguson. Ferguson has a fairly difficult matchup on his hands as he faces a Bills defense that has only allowed one tight end to reach even 55 yards against them all season, and that was Travis Kelce this past week who needed 10 targets to get to 83 yards and he didn’t even score a touchdown. Kelce is the only tight end who’s caught more than five passes against this defense all year long and they’ve conceded just three touchdowns to the position.

Fade: RB Rico Dowdle

The “give Rico Dowdle more touches” people have been letting their voices be heard this week on social media, but based on the Cowboys’ recent track record of running back touch splits, it seems highly unlikely that we’re going to begin seeing any sort of serious changing of the guard for this team, at least this season. Dowdle has been fairly impressive with his touches as of late and he did snipe a goal-line touchdown away from Pollard, but he’s still by far the backup in this offense and he’s only exceeded a 30 percent snap share once all season. With this likely being a competitive game against the Bills, don’t expect Dallas to lean heavily on their backup running back.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs

Favorites: TE Dalton Kincaid

There was some concern that rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid would be impacted by the return of Dawson Knox in Week 14, but we didn’t see that. While Kincaid did get back on the field and ran routes on 39 percent of the Bills’ snaps, Kincaid actually also saw his own rate of routes increase from what it was at in his previous two contests. What essentially ended up happening is that we saw the Bills get back to using more two-tight-end sets, which they utilized heavily early in the season but had gone away from when Knox was injured. Kincaid has shown himself to be a viable TE1 for fantasy and there are not a lot of reasons to be concerned that he’s going to drop off now. Dallas’ defense is slightly above average against opposing tight ends on the year, but there’ve been times when they’ve looked completely helpless against the position as well.

On the Fence: RB James Cook

James Cook’s first 20-point fantasy day of the season came this past week in the Bills’ huge road victory over the Chiefs, as the back carried the ball 10 times for 58 yards while adding an additional five receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Cook has now touched the ball at least 14 times in seven of his past eight games, giving him a great fantasy floor in most matchups. Unfortunately, this week he faces the team that has been the league’s best at defending opposing running backs, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have given up just one game of over 12 fantasy points to an opposing running back since they were exploited on the ground by the 49ers in Week 5. That stretch has included games against Austin Ekeler, D’Andre Swift (x2), Saquon Barkley, and Brian Robinson. This makes trusting Cook a bit more difficult, as he’s unlikely to deliver a true high-end RB1 game and he may not even have his usual floor to save him. Still, he’s seeing enough touches and this could be a shootout, so it’s probably worth putting him in your lineup at least as a Flex here in Week 15.

Fade: WR Gabriel Davis

Davis’ extraordinary inconsistency would almost be impressive if it wasn’t so darn frustrating for fantasy managers. Over his past eight games, Davis has managed to exceed 22 fantasy points twice, while also being held to fewer than four PPR fantasy points in five of those games. For those not keeping track, this means that only once has he finished between four and 22 fantasy points over this eight-game stretch.

Davis now faces a Cowboys’ defense that has struggled at times against the position but has mostly been great at keeping opposing wide receivers in check. Only twice (Keenen Allen, DK Metcalf) has a receiver exceeded 20 PPR points against them. With Davis being a complete boom-or-bust player, the odds seem to favor him turning in another “bust” here in Week 15.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Bills 24 ^ Top

Ravens @ Jaguars - (Mack)
Line: BAL -3.5
Total: 42.5

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: QB Lamar Jackson

Favorites: WR Zay Flowers

Zay Flowers is in the midst of his best two-game stretch of his young career. He’s hauled in 11 of his 18 targets over that stretch and two scores. While the yardage leaves something to be desired (85 receiving yards total), we can’t ignore his overall production and how he’s been Lamar Jackson’s go-to target since TE Mark Andrews’ season-ending injury. Jacksonville gives up the second-most passing yards in the NFL and the fifth-most TDs, so Flowers is set up to continue his current hot streak.

On the Fence: WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. is not an every-week starter at this stage of his career, but he’s a solid depth player who could be a nice fill-in during any given week. This could be one of those weeks for the same reason mentioned above regarding Jacksonville’s struggles this year with stopping the pass. Beckham, at best, is a low-end flex option this week.

Fade: RB Gus Edwards

The touchdown-dependent RB is better left on your bench this week as the Ravens have turned their backfield into a three-headed monster with rookie Keaton Mitchell and Justice Hill having specific roles in the offense. With Mitchell being used more as an early-down back, he’s sucking the fantasy life out of Edwards. You’d be hoping for a goaline TD if you started Edwards.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: RB Travis Etienne, TE Evan Engram

Favorites: QB Trevor Lawrence (ankle)

Trevor Lawrence had his first three-TD passing game of the season last week, but he also had his first three-INT game as well. He’s been on a hot streak over the previous four games, totaling 12 TDs combined over that stretch. This week he faces a 2nd-ranked Baltimore defense that uncharacteristically surrendered 294 yards, 3 TDs, and no INTs to Matthew Stafford. We should anticipate a much better performance from the Ravens, so it should be a good test for Lawrence. His rushing ability should keep his production afloat because he may encounter some major obstacles going up against a defense that now has something to prove. But here’s something to keep in mind about Baltimore’s pass defense: only three teams have more pass attempts against them, but the Ravens surrender the 4th fewest yards. That’s an incredible stat and something to help temper your expectations for Lawrence.

On the Fence: WR Calvin Ridley

We all know that Calvin Ridley has been painfully inconsistent this year. It’s tough to count on a player like that, especially at this crucial juncture of the season. He turned 13 targets last week into a paltry 4-catch, 53-yard performance with no TDs. Whatever Ridley gives you this week, consider it a bonus.

Fade: WR Zay Jones

Injuries have limited Zay Jones this year, and he hasn’t scored since Week 3. Two reasons to keep him out of your lineup. Sure, he saw 14 targets last week, but he only had 5 receptions for 29 yards. TE Evan Engram has become Lawrence’s favorite target over the last two weeks.

Prediction: Ravens 26, Jaguars 17 ^ Top

Eagles @ Seahawks - (Fessel)
Line: PHI -3.0
Total: 47.5

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts, WR A.J. Brown

Favorites: RB D’Andre Swift, WR DeVonta Smith

The Seahawks defense has its strong points, but run defense is not one of them (1228 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns to opposing backs). In general, they just haven’t had a lot of answers, as they’ve given up the 12th most receptions and 9th most receiving yards to the position. It’s a great spot for D’Andre Swift – the league’s No.19 running back in fantasy points - to snap out of his recent doldrums. Smith’s snap count has dipped a bit over the last couple of weeks, seeing only about half of offensive snaps, but he’s had ebbs and flows in snap rate all season. This is more than sweet enough of a match up for Swift to provide RB2 production on even half a game’s snaps.

DeVonta Smith has seen 21 targets in the last two weeks and at least 8 targets in each of the last four games. Much like last season, as the year goes on, he is heating up in terms of both involvement and production (73 or more receiving yards in each of the last four weeks, with 2 touchdowns). Dallas Goedert’s return last week did not seem to put any dent in Smith’s production – again, very similar to what happened late last year.

This week, Smith draws a Rams secondary that has given up 9 different double-digit point performances to opposing team’s WR2’s, and Smith is a WR1 in a WR2 slot on the depth chart. Week 15 stands to be another strong week for Smith.

On the Fence: TE Dallas Goedert

Goedert has never been a prolific touchdown machine, having merely 5 touchdowns as a career high. Jalen Hurts arriving on the scene has put a further dent in Goedert’s ability to see the end zone as he has just 2 touchdowns this year. The Seahawks will not help matters, as they’ve given up just 3 touchdowns to tight ends this season. Goedert may need more touchdown involvement in an offense that has two premier receivers and a scrambling quarterback. Especially in an offense that has mastered the quarterback sneak in short yardage situations like no other team. It’s going to be even tougher than usual for him to get involved this week. He’s no more than a borderline starter against Seattle.

Fade: N/A

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR DK Metcalf, WR Tyler Lockett

Metcalf (2-52-1) and Lockett (6-89-0) both came through with productive performances against the 49ers last week – a continuation of a recent run that has seen the Seahawks passing offense begin to wake up. It’ll be better for Metcalf and Lockett if Geno Smith plays, but against an Eagles defense that has given up more points to opposing receivers than anyone, both are must starts.

On the Fence: QB Geno Smith, RB Kenneth Walker

The Eagles have been tormented by opposing quarterbacks this year (2nd most points allowed) and, as such, the respectable Geno Smith is not “on the fence” for any other reason than due to questions about his health. Pete Carroll is saying all of the positive things you’ll want to hear about Smith’s health status, but owners should keep in mind that the perennially positive Carroll can overstate the well-being of his players. Keep an eye on Smith, and if he starts this Sunday, let him rip against the league’s most snake-bitten defense against quarterbacks.

Per chance, if Smith does not play, Drew Lock warrants some consideration due to the dearth of healthy starting quarterbacks in the league right now. Lock may not be the most effective, but in this pool of options, facing the Eagles, it may be enough to plug him in.

Kenneth Walker’s return from injury last week wasn’t a banner day (12 touches, 54 total yards, 0 touchdowns). To top it off, he only played a little more than half of snaps versus the 49ers. This is actually the continuation of a trend that dates back to Week 7 versus the Browns. Health appears to have been playing a lot into it, and with a 2nd round draft pick behind him in the depth chart, it was never going to take much for him to lose some of his grip on snap and touch dominance.

Whether Walker is going to see a bigger role this week is a fair question, and he’ll also be facing the league’s toughest run defense, making Walker a somewhat difficult start in week 15.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Eagles 24, Seahawks 21 ^ Top