What You Need to Know in Fantasy Football Week 15
Don't Set Your Fantasy Football Week 15 Lineup Before Reading This!
By Michael Waterloo
Can you trust Blake Bortles to get you to your title game in Fantasy Football Week 15? Why yes, you can. No, really. Bortles has hit a stride lately for Fantasy owners, as he’s scored 22 or more Fantasy points in six-point per passing touchdown leagues in his past three games. Next up for Bortles is the Houston Texans defense, which is giving up the seventh-most yards (241.8) through the air per game this season. From Week 1 to Week 11, Bortles accounted for more than one touchdown in a game just once, which was when the Jaguars offense exploded against the Ravens in London. From Week 12 to Week 14, Bortles had two touchdowns in each game, with his two in Week 12 coming via the run. If you lost Carson Wentz or find yourself in a peculiar position, you could do worse than Bortles this week.
On the subject of the Jaguars, one of the reasons that Bortles has been so productive as of late is the play of rookie Dede Westbrook. Westbrook has filled the No. 2 void in the Jaguars receiving corps with Allen Hurns missing time, as he’s had 27 targets over the last three weeks. With the lack of production and lack of targets that Mike Evans is having in Tampa Bay, I wouldn’t hesitate to start Westbrook as a WR3.
The Seattle Seahawks rush defense has been stout this year, as they’ve given up the eighth-fewest yards per game on the ground (102.8). So that should be enough reason to be wary of Todd Gurley this week, right? Well, not so fast. With Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright looking less and less likely to play in Week 15, the Seattle front seven becomes a somewhat juicy matchup. You’re starting Gurley regardless, as he has been the same rusher we saw in his rookie year in 2015, but he’s arguably the top option at the position if those linebackers do in fact miss the game.
In eight starts with the Eagles in 2014, Nick Foles targeted the tight end 68 times between Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and James Casey on 311 attempts. In his 10 relief attempts Sunday, Foles targeted tight end Trey Burton once. It’s a different system from when Foles was in Philly before and the weapons are better, but Ertz, who appears on track to play Sunday, shouldn’t see too much of a dip in production with Foles under center.
— Philly.com Sports (@phillysport) December 14, 2017
Aaron Rodgers is back, which isn’t just great for Fantasy and the Packers, but it’s great for the NFL, too. But will Rodgers’ return mean the return to Fantasy relevance for Jordy Nelson, too? Nelson was putting up big Fantasy numbers through the first five weeks of the season, but his production was tied directly to touchdowns. Nelson, who hasn’t scored since Week 5, by the way, had six scores with Rodgers under center though the first five games of the year, but he saw nine or fewer targets in all other games. His highest yardage output was in Week 1 with 79 yards. Nelson is dependent on Rodgers, but if it wasn’t clear enough last year, he has lost a step. He’s touchdown or bust. You can do better.
Without Vontaze Burfict on the field, the Cincinnati Bengals have no rush defense. In fact, ask Jordan Howard and the Bears, who put up 232 yards last week against them. In Weeks 1-3, the Bengals allowed 157, 168 and 64 yards on the ground, respectively. This week, with Burfict likely sidelined, Latavius Murray and the Vikings are hosting the Bengals. We’ve seen how the Vikings use their two backs this year. When they are trailing or in a high-scoring affair, it’s Jerick McKinnon that is the useful Fantasy back. When they are controlling the game and the clock, it’s Murray that is the more useful back. Murray is a Top 12 Fantasy back this week with Burfict out of the picture.
The Cleveland Browns carried the reputation of being a stout defense against the rush early this season, but those numbers have quickly gone in the other direction, as they’ve allowed an average of 114.8 yards per game on the ground in their past five games. This week, Alex Collins and the Ravens will look to further contribute to the weak Cleveland numbers against the rush. The Ravens, who have the eighth-most rushing attempts on the season, will continue to ride Collins. Man, as good as Mike Davis has looked in his past two games for Seattle, maybe the Seahawks shouldn’t have given away Collins, huh?
Robby Anderson owners aren’t going to feel comfortable starting him with Josh McCown out for the season – it’s 2017 and McCown was making people relevant for Fantasy – but let’s not drop him yet. Remember, it was after Bryce Petty took over last year that Anderson really started to break out slowly but surely, as his target share spiked from Week 12 on. He’s more of a GPP play this week against the Saints, but perhaps the small audition last year with Petty was some sign of hope.
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