The first week of the Fantasy Playoffs was brutal (unless you were a Le’Veon Bell owner). Injuries to Melvin Gordon and Matt Forte torpedoed many a fantasy football championship aspiration (DFS too) as well as a litany of eggs laid by some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL (Wilson, Brees, Roethlisberger). Week 14 was not my finest hour. At least I got the “sits” right. Here’s to having a short memory!
Fantasy Football Start/Sit – Week 15
Start – Matt Ryan vs 49ers
What does Matt Ryan in the midst of an MVP-type campaign look like without Julio Jones in the lineup? Exhibit A – 18 of 28, 237 yards, 3 TDs and no interceptions. The Falcons won by 28 and clearly called off the dogs against a talented albeit struggling L.A. Rams defense. Last week Ryan and the Falcons were in Cali; Week 15 (1st or 2nd round of your fantasy playoffs) the Dirty Birds will be in the familiar confines of the Georgia Dome. Jones will miss his second straight contest but that shouldn’t be any cause for concern against the tanking San Francisco 49ers.
- Trevor Siemian vs Patriots
- Cam Newton vs Redskins
- Derek Carr vs Chargers
Sit – Andy Dalton vs Steelers
Dalton has been pretty efficient over the last two weeks averaging 256 yards and 2 TDs per game, but he certainly hasn’t set the world on fire. Additionally, his opponents were a fading Philadelphia Eagles team and the lowly Cleveland Browns. Obviously, there is a shortage of weaponry in Cincinnati particularly without A.J. Green and a surging Pittsburgh Steelers team is coming to town. Defensive Backs coach Carnell Lake has his unit playing much better as of late and the front seven is making it difficult to get anything going on the ground. Simply put, the Steelers fashion a defense on the rise and Andy Dalton isn’t THAT good.
Start – Lamar Miller vs Jaguars
Frankly it’s been a disappointing year for Lamar Miller and his fantasy owners. A series of nagging injuries and a lack of touchdowns (5) and explosive/big play runs which Miller had become known for in Miami has tempered everyone’s expectations. But, he hasn’t missed a game this season in his new found workhorse role and he presents a safe floor in Week 15. With wildcards such as Adrian Peterson and Kenneth Farrow now entering the Fantasy Playoffs fray, Miller had a quiet 21/107/1 against the Colts in Week 14. He has also found plenty of success against divisional opponents in 2016 averaging 20/105 in those contests. Although, he is woefully under-utilized in the passing game, it appears Miller has reclaimed the goal-line work in the latter weeks of the 2016 season. If the Texans intend on winning the division they will have to ride Lamar Miller; and if you want to advance to Round 2 of the Fantasy Playoffs or better yet the Championship I recommend starting Lamar Miller.
- Tevin Coleman vs 49ers
- Devonta Freeman vs 49ers
- LeGarrette Blount vs Broncos
- Kenneth Dixon vs Eagles
Doug Martin vs Cowboys
Doug Martin is averaging a robust 3.0 yards per carry. Starting right tackle Demar Dotson is expected to miss this game. Jacquizz Rodgers leads the Buccaneers in rushing despite having 31 fewer carries than Martin and Charles Sims has returned from injury to siphon snaps as well. Oh, and Dallas is the 2nd ranked run defense in the NFL having allowed only five rushing touchdowns all season. That’s tied for fewest rushing TDs allowed with the top ranked run defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Avoid Dougie Fresh.
Start – Sammy Watkins vs Browns
Those of you that stashed Watkins a month ago… now’s the time to unleash him. Sammy isn’t 100% and his quarterback IS Tyrod Taylor, but Sunday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns is as good as it gets. Watkins played 94% of the snaps in Week 14 and appears to be back in game shape. Coming off a 4/54/1 performance his confidence in his surgically repaired foot is growing and the Browns have given up the 8th most fantasy points to receivers in the NFL this season. Get em’ Sammy!
- Tyreek Hill vs Titans
- Taylor Gabriel vs 49ers
- Stefon Diggs vs Colts
- J.J. Nelson vs Saints
DeAndre Hopkins vs Jaguars
I could sum up this “sit” recommendation with two words… “Brock Osweiler.” However, let me give you a little more context if you are on the fence. Only 52% of Hopkins’ targets have resulted in a completion; he’s only eclipsed the 100-yard mark once this season (that was in September); and the last time the Texans and Jaguars faced off Hopkins managed 5/48 on 13 targets. The one thing the Jaguars have done well this season is defend the pass. Defending Brock Osweiler is “cake.” This was a lost season for Hopkins a long time ago; I don’t recommend rolling the dice here unless you simply don’t have any other options.
Start – Cameron Brate vs Cowboys
Brate has become a huge part of the Buccaneers’ offense and is the clear #2 in the passing attack; second to Mike Evans. Some might say he’s been the top option in the passing game in recent weeks. Jameis Winston favors the tight end position and has developed a terrific rapport with Brate particularly in the red zone. Clearly the way to attack an over-achieving Dallas defense; the Cowboys rank among the most forgiving in terms of receptions and yardage allowed to the tight end position.
- Ladarius Green vs Bengals
- Eric Ebron vs Giants
- Greg Olsen vs Chargers
Martellus Bennett vs Broncos
Bennett has already proven that he’s no lock to put up fantasy numbers in Rob Gronkowski’s absence. The Broncos aren’t quite as dominant on defense as they have been in recent years but they make it very difficult on receivers and tight ends in the passing game. I imagine Bennett will run fewer pass routes in this contest as the Patriots will likely attack the Broncos on the ground and target Dion Lewis and James White out of the backfield more often. I understand if you don’t have a viable alternative but temper your expectations.
Defense to stream
Miami Dolphins vs Jets
It’s a bit of a chalk week but Bryce Petty should offer up a few turnovers to the Miami Dolphins. If you’re in a pinch (like me) plug and play the Miami Dolphins.