If you’re still alive in the fantasy playoffs, congratulations for making it this far, but now the start ’em, sit ’em decisions get even tougher. Thanks to some injuries at running back — namely Christian McCaffrey, Raheem Mostert, James Conner, and Ronald Jones — the depth of some teams will be tested this week, and many owners will have to rely on sleepers and streamers to advance. Even if you aren’t dealing with injuries, finding a high-upside flex play or a newly minted high-volume option for the flex spot can bolster your chances of winning a fantasy championship. Ahead of Week 15, Jeff Wilson Jr., Jalen Hurts, Russell Gage, and Gerald Everett represent some of the best under-the-radar options who can be trusted by fantasy owners to deliver victories.
WEEK 15 FANTASY: Busts | Start ’em, sit ’em
Our Week 14 sleepers ended up being solid, and we had at least one player “hit” at each position. J.D. McKissic panned out at RB while Philip Rivers and Kirk Cousins had decent days at QB. At WR and TE, Darnell Mooney ended up catching a TD while Mike Gesicki found the end zone twice during one of his best games as a pro. The Arizona D/ST was a home run for us, as well, as Haason Reddick alone (five sacks) ensured that they had a good game against the Giants. There’s still room for improvement and room for finding bigger hits, so we’ll try to keep finding impactful players for our must-win matchups.
WEEK 15 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 15 Fantasy Sleepers: Running backs
Jeff Wilson Jr., 49ers @ Cowboys (Jacob Camenker). With Raheem Mostert battling an ankle injury, Wilson may end up being the backfield leader for the 49ers against the Cowboys. Even if Mostert is able to play, Wilson has still averaged 11 touches and 47.7 yards per game in his past three outings, and that has come against tough defenses (Rams, Bills, Washington). The Cowboys have allowed the second-most rushing yards to RBs this season (1,727), so Wilson should be able to do some serious damage as an RB2. If Mostert is out, he could be a fringe-RB1 if all goes well.
Gus Edwards, Ravens vs. Jaguars (Vinnie Iyer). The Gus Bus and the Dobbins Express should complement Action Jackson for a massive game on the ground against a team that just wilted against Derrick Henry.
James Conner or Benny Snell, Steelers @ Bengals (Matt Lutovsky). The Steelers running game has been non-existent lately, but it should get revived against an overmatched Bengals team. Not only is Cincinnati likely to be shut down on offense, but its defense allows the fifth-most rushing yards per game (131.7) and yards per carry (4.6). Conner should get back on track if he can play through a quad injury, and if he’s out, Snell should excel in this favorable matchup.
WEEK 15 DFS TOURNAMENT LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 15 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Quarterbacks
Jalen Hurts, Eagles @ Cardinals (Camenker). Hurts impressed in his first start of the season, as he totaled 167 yards and a TD through the air while rushing for over 100 on the ground. His rushing floor makes him a viable streamer every week, and this matchup with the Cardinals could be a good one for him. The Cardinals have allowed the sixth-most rushing yards to QBs at a mark of 316, so Hurts could have another big rushing day. Don’t be afraid to play him if you’re desperate for a solid quarterback option.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Bengals (Iyer). Roethlisberger might be really hard to trust after the Washington and Buffalo games, and the matchup isn’t great on paper, but Pittsburgh will be throwing 40-plus times in a one-dimensional offense in a must-win game.
Philip Rivers, Colts vs. Texans (Lutovsky). Rivers has averaged 278 passing and 2.3 TDs over his past four games, and that includes a 285-yard, two-TD outing in Week 13 against Houston. The Texans were just lit up by Mitchell Trubisky, so Rivers has a high floor and solid ceiling once again.
WEEK 15 DFS CASH LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel
Week 15 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Wide receivers
Tyron Johnson, Chargers @ Raiders (Camenker). With Mike Williams (back) banged up and the Chargers playing on Thursday night, Justin Herbert might have to find a new WR2 to target in this one. Johnson turned out to be his go-to guy behind Keenan Allen against the Falcons, and Johnson put up 55 yards and a TD on six catches. The Raiders have surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs and just fired their defensive coordinator on a short week, so Johnson could be in a smash spot.
Michael Pittman Jr., Colts vs. Texans (Iyer). Houston should be trying to at least contain T.Y. Hilton this time. That will open things up for the rookie to be busy on the other side playing off the running game.
Russell Gage, Falcons vs. Buccaneers (Lutovsky). Over the past four games (two of which included Julio Jones), Gage has averaged 4.8 catches, eight targets, and 56.3 yards per game, which is decent, but he’s been even better the past two games, scoring in each. To be fair, last week’s touchdown came when Gage threw a pass to Calvin Ridley on a trick play, but he’ll still see plenty of touches this week in a game in which Atlanta will likely be unable to run much. Even if Jones is active, Gage is still in play as a WR3.
MORE WEEK 15 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder
Week 15 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Tight ends
Irv Smith Jr., Vikings vs. Bears (Camenker). Smith had a big week against the Bucs in Week 14, catching all four of his targets for 63 yards and a TD. Kyle Rudolph (foot) missed that game, and his status moving forward is uncertain. If Rudolph can’t play against the Bears, Smith will be the No. 1 tight end for the Vikings, and while Tyler Conklin could get some targets, Smith will be the No. 1 pass-catcher at the position. That should bode well for Smith’s upside considering that the Bears have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs on the year.
Dan Arnold, Cardinals vs. Eagles (Iyer). He’s scored in the past two games and is getting more key usage from Kyler Murray. He doesn’t get a lot of targets or snaps, but they can be impactful.
Gerald Everett, Rams vs. Jets (Lutovsky). Everett’s targets are always spotty, but just two weeks ago he had seven and he continues to play a high percentage of snaps. Against the Jets, who allow by far the most fantasy points to TEs, Everett is a decent bet for a good game in terms of yardage and/or a touchdown.
WEEK 15 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker
Week 15 Fantasy Sleepers: Defenses
Cleveland Browns @ Giants (Camenker). Daniel Jones couldn’t move the ball at all against the Cardinals and appeared to be hampered by the hamstring injury that kept him out against the Seahawks. He should get healthier as time goes on, but even when healthy, he is prone to sacks (he took six against the Cardinals) and turnovers. The Browns just gave up 47 points to the Ravens, but they have a strong pass rush that should be able to rattle Jones quite a bit.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Falcons (Iyer). Matt Ryan is melting down, and going one-dimensional likely will open the door for sacks and picks.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Eagles (Lutovsky). Even if Jalen Hurts puts up a decent amount of fantasy points, the Cardinals’ D/ST can have a good game. Arizona is coming off an eight-sack, three-takeaway game in New York, and it’s generated 12 total sacks and six turnovers in its past three games. The Eagles still allow a lot of QB pressure, and Hurts figures to make one or two rookie mistakes in his first road start.
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