2019 Fantasy Football Week 15: Starts/Sits (and Sleepers!)
Week 15 is upon us, and if you're reading this, you're likely still alive in your playoffs! So let's push you in the right direction for some of the best plays of this week to get you into your semi-final or championship game! There's so much to get into here, so let's not delay!
You can also find me on Twitter @ktompkinsii for more analysis including rankings updates, start/sit advice, and much more!
That said, let's get right into it!
START Jameis Winston, TB @ DET
A hairline fracture in his thumb put a bit of doubt into Jameis Winston's playing status, but he was cleared and ready to go in Detroit this Sunday. Yes, he loses Mike Evans for the season, but Chris Godwin is clearly more than capable of shouldering the load, as is Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman. Maybe O.J. Howard? Maybe... maybe... Anyway, Winston has 20 fantasy points in 5 of his last 7 contests, and after last week's blow-up spot against the Colts where he scored 38 points, are you going to sit him as long as he's healthy enough to play? I'm not, I have him as my QB2 for the week and he has massive upside which should help his owners this week as long as his thumb is intact.
SIT Josh Allen, BUF @ PIT
A brutal over/under at 37, a road game in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers have allowed only three quarterbacks all season to top 18 fantasy points. There's nothing in this matchup that's leading me toward playing Josh Allen in any format other than Superflex, and even then, I'm not particularly enthralled. If you're able to, leave Allen on the bench, or you can even drop him if your league championship is in Week 16. He faces New England next week in Foxboro, and then for your Week 17 championships (why?), Allen does have a good matchup at home versus the Jets.
DON'T SLEEP ON Eli Manning, NYG vs. MIA
So here's the rub on Eli Manning (look at that goofball up there!). He wasn't good, he wasn't bad in his return as the starting quarterback. 2 touchdowns and just over 200 yards passing. This matchup against Miami, which could be his final start in front of the Giants' home crowd at MetLife as a Giant, is very juicy. Miami's defense has the lowest pressure rate among NFL defenses and they also allow over 24 points per game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. This game has the makings of a shootout and with two teams that have nothing to lose, they could be slinging the ball around. I have Manning as a middle of the road QB2 but upside could get him into the back end of the top 12 this week.
START Phillip Lindsay, DEN @ KC
The workload is there for Phillip Lindsay to make a big splash against a Kansas City defense who has been subpar against the run this season (4.98 YPC against opposing running backs in 2019). Since the Broncos' Week 10 bye, the touch count for Lindsay has read: 18, 14, 20, 18 and 9, 4, 9, 10 for Royce Freeman, so clearly, the Broncos are more comfortable with Lindsay toting the rock and Freeman being the spell and pass-catching back. Even in Arrowhead, I like the Broncos to hang around and make it interesting despite the Chiefs being favored by double-digits, so that bodes well for Lindsay's fantasy prospects. I have him just shy of RB1 territory but a high-end RB2 with upside this week.
SIT Devonta Freeman, ATL @ SF
Devonta Freeman's return to the starting lineup was a success, with a whopping 21 touches and 19 fantasy points in PPR for the day against a bad Carolina run defense. This week, the script flips as he and the Falcons head to the Bay Area to face the 49ers. The 49ers not only allow the 3rd fewest points to opposing fantasy running backs, but the game script could be a factor for the Falcons who are just playing for pride. As a reference point, Aaron Jones, Mark Ingram, and Alvin Kamara were held to a combined 18 points in PPR and zero touchdowns in the last three weeks. Freeman this week is a flex play for me, but owners needing to play him should hope for an end zone plunge.
DON'T SLEEP ON Kareem Hunt, CLE @ ARI
While the stats don't jump off the page for Kareem Hunt in his return five weeks ago, he's been a stalwart RB2/Flex option, gathering double-digit points in PPR formats. His snap counts have been over the 50% mark every week, with virtually even snap counts with Nick Chubb the last three contests, so there should be no worry about any preference to one back over the other; both running backs are clearly viable. Hunt essentially is Austin Ekeler-lite, not the main focal point of the offense but one that is clearly producing at a high level with a high floor. That's exactly what's so difficult to find in non-RB1 options, that consistency. Treat Hunt as a locked-in RB2 with top 12 upside should the teams stay close.
START Kenny Golladay, DET vs. TB
Great matchup against the Buccaneers? Check. Opposing defense can't stop the pass? Check. Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson on IR, leading all of the targets to Kenny Golladay? Checkmate.
Golladay should have a great day indoors against a bad Tampa secondary. Double digits targets to him should be expected, and we could see a blow-up day for Golladay as the Lions finish out the season. He's see an uptick in production with David Blough leading the way and he'll likely see the action as the Lions' quarterback to finish out 2019. This is narrow target distribution at its finest here, so lock Golladay in as a WR1 with top of the position, week-winning upside.
SIT Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. NE
This is not a good matchup for Tyler Boyd. It's as simple as that. They may be at home, but Boyd will want to be anywhere but with premier corner and defensive player of the year candidate Stephon Gilmore locked on him. Gilmore does travel into the slot, so the Patriots will scheme to take away Boyd and force other options to beat them. Game script could get out of hand quickly, even with the Patriots struggling offense, so it's best to either sit Boyd if you have better options, or just hope for some garbage time love to Boyd late in the contest when all has been decided.
DON'T SLEEP ON Anthony Miller, CHI @ GB
Averaging 9 targets per game over the last four weeks, Anthony Miller has really stepped up with Taylor Gabriel's injury to be the #2 in the Bears offense. Helping matters is Mitch Trubisky looking rather competent. We're not sure how long that lasts, but ride the wave while you can. The Packers, who have been pretty decent against the slot all things considered from a yardage and production limiting standpoint, still have allowed the 7th most completions to slot receivers, so in PPR formats, I'm firing up Miller as a WR3/high-end Flex option and continuing to ride that wave. Let's just hope the 1st half Trubisky doesn't show up against the Packers in Lambeau.
START Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. DAL
All Tyler Higbee has done in the past two weeks is save the behinds of fantasy owners shrewd enough to run him out there. With 7 catches in each game, over 100 yards receiving with a score in one of the two contests, Higbee has been a savior with Gerald Everett out and now with Everett out yet again, Higbee turns his attention to the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has been competent against the tight end position but haven't played anybody that's a focal point of their offense since before their bye 6 weeks ago. Look for Higbee to continue his run as a TE1 for the third straight week, though asking for his stat line from the past two weeks may be a stretch. From the tight end position, you'll certainly take 6-70 line.
SIT Jared Cook, NO vs. IND
Jared Cook may not be active for this game, as he's currently in the concussion protocol. WHat makes matters worse is that he plays on Monday, with zero viable fantasy options to replace him with, as Jack Doyle is owned in most leagues, and nobody is going out to add Josh Hill or Mo Alie-Cox to start them in a fantasy playoff. If you have other options available, I'd play them instead of playing the waiting game with the concussion protocol. Or on the waiver wire, options such as Tyler Higbee, Ian Thomas, or Jacob Hollister could be available for you.
(AGAIN), DON'T SLEEP ON Ian Thomas, CAR vs. SEA
Last week, I gave a big rundown on Ian Thomas and why he should be added if you need a tight end. If you weren't able to grab Tyler Higbee, some of you grabbed Ian Thomas and were very happy. Greg Olsen has been ruled out again, so count on Ian Thomas for some more fantasy friendly numbers against a Seattle defense that has been the 3rd worst defense to opposing fantasy tight ends. Even I was surprised to see Thomas get 10 targets last week, so that should bode extremely well for his points floor. Lock Thomas in as a TE1 with top five upside this week.
Good luck in your fantasy football matchups this week and hope to see you next week right here for your start/sits/sleepers in your championship or semi-final!