When Derrick Henry rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns on Thursday Night Football, we all should have known what type of week for fantasy football we were in for. The craziness did not end there. Week 14 saw all manner of upsets, vultured scoring, and games that contained little to no fantasy production. It was a week of craziness that coincided with the first week of many fantasy playoffs. Hopefully, most people reading this survived that and are moving on.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the more questioned roster spots this week and try to determine which are the best start or sit decisions.
Public service announcement, there are two games being played this Saturday. The Houston Texans face the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns against the Denver Broncos. Adjust all lineups accordingly.
Fantasy Football Week 15: Starts and Sits Featuring Justin Jackson
Jared Goff vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This week, the Los Angeles Rams are playing at home, where Goff has been a strong fantasy asset. Goff and company face a Philadelphia Eagles defense that is allowing the 10th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Eagles secondary has been an exploitable hole in their defense. Expect the Rams, and Goff, to rebound in a big way and put up the solid numbers we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him this season. He’s in the QB1 mix this week.
Andrew Luck vs. Dallas Cowboys
Outside of an absolute stinker against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Andrew Luck has been playing like the quarterback we all remember. He’s had a keen eye for the end zone and bounced back for a strong game against a tough Texans defense last week.
The Dallas Cowboys defense is no pushover and allow the 10th fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. However, Luck has been solid and finds ways to be productive both on the field and from a fantasy standpoint. Given that the Cowboys offense has been red-hot lately, this could turn into a shoot-out. Owners should feel comfortable rolling him out this week. He’s in the QB1 conversation this, and most, weeks.
Lamar Jackson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has already committed to Lamar Jackson as this week’s starter. It’s a changing of the guard in favor of the heir apparent that was sped up by an injury to Joe Flacco. Flacco, now healthy will be serving as Jackson’s backup.
Jackson is averaging 83 rushing yards-per-game in his four starts, has thrown three touchdowns and rushed for two more during that span. The Buccaneers defense instills no fear to opposing offenses. While Jackson may limit the floor the and ceiling of his receiving options, he himself is a sleeper type of start this week with a safe floor and QB1 ceiling.
Matthew Stafford vs. Buffalo Bills
On a short list of things that do NOT improve a quarterback’s play, losing most of his wide receivers ranks pretty high. Since losing Golden Tate to trade and Marvin Jones Jr. heading to injured reserve, Matthew Stafford has not played well. Since week 10, he’s thrown five interceptions to four touchdowns. During that span, he’s only thrown more than 250 yards one time. The Buffalo Bills defense has been very good against quarterbacks. They are currently allowing the fewest points to the position.
In a must-win fantasy playoff match, Stafford is too risky to plug into starting lineups with any real confidence.
Starts: Running Back
Justin Jackson vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Obviously, the big caveat here is this pick entirely depends on whether or not Melvin Gordon suits up and plays this week.
There was speculation and hope last week that in Gordon’s absence Justin Jackson would take over as the lead-back role, allowing Austin Ekeler to slide back into that complementary role he’s played all season. Things did not go as hoped for people who had rushed to the waiver wire and picked up Jackson. At least not last week, it didn’t. This week is a new week. Gordon is shaping up as a game-time decision. Ekeler is all but ruled out with a neck injury and he’s still in the concussion protocol.
This paves the way for Jackson to get plenty of touches in a high-powered offense that’s facing a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is allowing the second-most points to the position. There is no disguising that Jackson did not do anything to impress on his limited touches last week. He enters this week as a possible volume play in a good matchup.
However, monitor the Gordon injury updates this week.
Leonard Fournette vs. Washington Redskins
Many owners who spent a high draft pick on Leonard Fournette have been fairly salty all season long. Between several weeks out with an injury, to performing very well, to serving a suspension for throwing haymakers; he’s left a lot of fantasy points un-scored. Then last week happened. He was back from suspension and rushed 14 times for 36 meaningless yards. Bad games happen and it shouldn’t hamper owners outlook on a very talented running back.
This week, the Jaguars face a Washington Redskins team that just allowed Saquon Barkley to go absolutely ham to the tune of 170 rushing yards last week. The Redskins as a team are injury-plagued on both sides of the ball and have all but given up. The Jaguars aren’t going to be putting their faith in Cody Kessler to move the ball. Fournette should return to 20 or more touches and solid production. He’s a solid play for RB1 production this week.
Sits: Running Back
Kenyan Drake vs. Minnesota Vikings
One could spend an excessive amount of time wondering what Kenyan Drake must have done to irk Adam Gase. While there’s nothing negative to say about Frank Gore, Drake is the more explosive running back, and a better pass catcher. Somehow, that has yet to translate to more consistent touches. Drake has had some fantasy success on finding ways to score on limited work.
This week, the Dolphins travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Their defense is allowing the 10th fewest points to running backs, most of which receive a more consistent workload. On the losing side of a timeshare and against a tough defense, Drake owners should employ a safer option. Drake is always an opportunity to score with the ball in his hands, but this is a bad matchup to tempt fate.
Starts: Wide Receivers
Julian Edelman vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are allowing the 13th fewest points to receivers but seem more susceptible to slot receivers. This matchup is important for both teams, so expect Brady and Edelman to be clicking early and often. He’s a high-end WR2/low-end WR1 this week and should be started in all formats.
Tyler Lockett vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Seattle Seahawks are playing old-school, smash-mouth, Tecmo Bowl type of football this season. Russell Wilson has led his team to victory on minimal pass attempts. Part of that success has been the incredibly efficient play of Tyler Lockett. Lockett has scored in nine games through this season, on 61 total targets.
The San Francisco 49ers secondary has allowed nine touchdowns over the last four games. Wilson may not pass a lot, and he may not need to for the Seahawks to win this one, but Lockett represents a good shot to reel in a long one for another score. He’s a high-upside WR2 this week.
Sits: Wide Receiver
Kenny Golladay vs. Buffalo Bills
This somewhat piggybacks off of the Stafford take mentioned earlier. Kenny Golladay is a talented wide receiver in what typically is a pass-heavy offense. Golladay is now the best option in the offense and is being treated as such by opposing defenses.
This week, the Lions face the Buffalo Bills and Golladay could see a lot of Tre’Davious White. The Bills are allowing the second-fewest points to receivers and Stafford hasn’t been playing well enough to instill confidence for Golladay. He remains a volume play that could be slotted in as a desperation flex, but owners shouldn’t expect much more than that this week.