Week 15 Fantasy Football Workshop: Win Your League
Week 15 Fantasy Football Workshop
Every week in the fantasy football workshop, I will go through all the important news + notes and look at any important statistical oddities that can improve our process in fantasy football (and help our rosters) while also posting my rest-of-season rankings. The idea behind this space is to give readers an insight into how rankings are made and for all of us to keep track of players’ values throughout the course of the season.
Week 14+15 Fantasy Football News And Notes
-Both DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant are listed as questionable for the Dolphins game against the Patriots this week. I would not plan on being able to start either one of them. The obvious beneficiaries here are Lynn Bowden Jr. and Mike Gesicki, though Mack Hollins is also going to be in line for basically an every-down role if both Grank and Parker are out.
-Ronald Jones broke his pinky playing against the Vikings this last week and is having a surgical operation on Tuesday to fix it. That would lead us to believe that he has some chance of not playing on Sunday. If he does not play, given that Leonard Fournette was a game-day inactive last week, we might see Ke’Shawn Vaughn in his first real run out as a starter this week. He is a very sneaky waiver add.
-Brandin Cooks is expected to return for the Texans in Week 15 which will shift Steven Mitchell Jr. back into a bench role. Cooks is likely to stay in his same role while Chad Hansen fills in the old Will Fuller role and Keke Coutee plays primarily out of the slot. Randall Cobb is not expected back this season, either.
-Alex Smith was forced out of the Washington Football Team’s most recent game against the 49ers but the team is reportedly optimistic that he will be able to play this week. If he is not able to suit up in Week 15, Dwayne Haskins is going to get another crack at starting. It wouldn’t be surprising for Haskins to kill the fantasy value of Terry McLaurin further.
-Raheem Mostert is going in for an MRI on his knee this week before the 49ers resume practice. If he was not able to play, Jeff Wilson Jr. would likely build on his role from last week where he played only one fewer snap than Mostert against WFT. If you are in need of an RB this week, Wilson Jr. is the best possible add even more so than DeAndre Washington. Additionally, Deebo Samuel is out for “awhile” which probably means he won’t be back this year.
-John Brown is returning to practice this week, per head coach Sean McDermott though I wouldn’t say it is a lock he plays this week. Brown has been in and out of the lineup this week and Gabriel Davis has proven to be a more than capable deputy for Smokey. He would be a risky start either way because Brown has a long history of not playing well while banged up.
-Matthew Stafford’s status for Week 15 is in doubt due to a rib injury. If you have been starting D’Andre Swift, Marvin Jones or TJ Hockenson to this point in your fantasy season, all of their floors and ceilings are considerably lower with Chase Daniel at the helm. Specifically, I would not be comfortable starting Jones this week if Daniel was the QB.
-In Jets news, Denzel Mims has returned to the facility and Adam Gase “won’t bench” Frank Gore. I have made a personal vow to stop playing Jets players in my DFS lineups and it is hard for me to imagine starting Mims at this point but both of these things do impact fantasy football if only marginally.
-Gardner Minshew is going to start for the Jaguars in Week 15 against the Ravens. While it was always going to happen because, c’mon, no one needs to see more Mike Glennon but at least Glennon was being aggressive and throwing the ball down the field. Minshew was not taking chances when he was starting and it negatively impacted the entire offense. Obviously, we do not have high expectations for the Jags against Baltimore.
-Matt Rhule is telling reporters that he does expect Christian McCaffrey to come back and play this season. I am personally lowering my expectations for that actually happening (I desperately need it in the NFC Silver Bullet) but this at least positive-sounding news.
-David Johnson has been activated off of the COVID-19 list which means that he will likely start at RB for the Texans again this week. If you got your 10.9 PPR points from Duke Johnson last week, count yourself lucky.
Week 14+15 Team Level Fantasy Football Analysis And Player Usage Notes
-Last year one of my favorite things in fantasy football was using the Air Yards charts to create something I called the “Unrealized Air Yards” chart as well as “Unrealized Fantasy Points” which was basically just to see how many fantasy points wide receivers were leaving on the field. The formula is not tricky, it is just Air Yards subtracted by actual yards as well as yards after the catch. This is the table for the last month of the season:
-As it is Week 15, I think it is natural to start looking towards next year. A great place to start is: which players are drastically over-performing their expected points? Using the Rotoviz Weekly Stat explorer, we can take a look at the list of guys who are scoring far more points than they should have based on the areas of the field where they see the ball.
-Obviously the analysis is not as simple as “fade the players who scored more points than expected” because one of the thing you learn playing fantasy sports for a long time is that some players are going to beat their expected points consistently. Derrick Henry is probably the best example of this. The more interesting names on this list, for me, are Antonio Gibson and Corey Davis. Given the offense he was mired in, I view it as a huge positive signal that Gibson has been able to score points ABOVE expectation. For Corey Davis, the fact that he has kept pace with AJ Brown both in actual and expected fantasy points should be a pretty large signal for next year as well. We left him for dead far too early.
This is the leaderboard for the entirety of the 2020 season:
-This tool is extremely useful for determining player archetypes. Obviously, we know that what we want out of RBs is targets and touches inside the ten-yard line. Players like Gus Edwards, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson (and even RBs in those backfields) are going to have less fantasy value than the market assumes whereas even forgotten players like Jamaal Williams and James White are better fantasy bets on a weekly basis because of where and how they get their offensive involvement. Bookmark Sam’s website because it will be a useful tool for fantasy football moving forward.
-I do not actually think we are that far away from moving to fantasy football without the tight end position. This is the table of TE scoring from Pro Football Reference search database in 2020:
-The fifth-highest scoring Mike Gesicki has gone through stages where he wasn’t even the starter on his own team. Tonyan, Andrews, Logan Thomas and Dalton Schultz are all going to be in the top-12 of TE scoring but if they were only eligible at WR, you literally wouldn’t even consider them. It is another historic season for Travis Kelce but outside of him, Waller and the never-healthy George Kittle, this has been the most forgettable season at the position ever. I wonder if Kelce might end up going second or third overall next season in FFPC and other tight-end premium formats.