And then there were two, at least in most leagues. If Week 15 fantasy football saw you solidify a spot in your championship game, congrats and good luck. Many of the usual suspects indelibly played their part. It began on Thursday night when Lamar Jackson tightened his grip on the NFL MVP award. And it ended with Drew Brees making more history on Monday night, becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes while also finishing the game with the highest single-game completion percentage in league history.
But as usual, there are players who put up impressive fantasy stats despite low or even non-existent ownership rates. Some may even warrant consideration if you’re looking to get an edge in your championship matchup. Others are probably fool’s gold and need to be avoided. Either way, this column highlights the fantasy surprises of Week 15.
Note: all references to ownership percentages are based on data from Yahoo Sports leagues.
Week 15 Fantasy Football Surprise Sensations
2019 certainly has been a learning experience for Haskins. The rookie who put up record-setting numbers for Ohio State last year is finding out that the NFL is a much tougher nut to crack. Coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, Haskins was averaging just 138.7 passing yards per game all the while throwing three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Suffice it to say that his Week 15 performance was his best as a pro. He threw for a career-high 261 yards and added two touchdowns in what inevitably was a 37-27 loss. And his fantasy output of 19.04 points ranked him top-10 among quarterbacks. It was a step in the right direction for the young quarterback even taking into account his bone-headed fumble at the end of the game which resulted in a late Eagles touchdown that was a significant play to some if you catch my drift.
Hey… Dwayne Haskins has looked DAMN good
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 15, 2019
Perriman is the least surprising of the players to make an appearance on this week’s list. After all, the season-ending injury to Mike Evans surely portended an increased role in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense for him. And his 10 percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues meant quite a few fantasy players benefited from his standout performance. He totaled five catches for 113 yards and a whopping three touchdowns in Tampa’s 38-17 win over the Detroit Lions. It led to him joining multi-year Pro Bowler Julio Jones as the only receivers who totaled 30+ PPR fantasy points in Week 15. His low ownership percentage along with the possibility that another Bucs wideout, Chris Godwin, might be out due to injury means he’ll be a very popular waiver wire target for those looking for an edge in their fantasy title game.
Career day for former first round pick Breshad Perriman:
• 5 receptions
• 113 yards receiving
• 3 TDs
His last 3 games:
• 13 receptions
• 270 yards
• 4 TDs
— #MovingTheChains (@_MTCPodcast) December 15, 2019
You never want to see players get hurt. But it’s just a fact of life in this violent game we all know and love. And when it happens, it provides an opportunity for lesser-heralded names on the roster to prove they’re capable of making an impact. Well, that’s exactly what happened on Sunday in the Minnesota Vikings 39-10 blowout of the Los Angeles Chargers. With star speedster Dalvin Cook re-aggravating a shoulder injury and rookie Alexander Mattison already out, Boone came in and made his mark. He rushed for two touchdowns and finished as the RB11 in Week 15. Not bad for someone owned by just two percent of Yahoo league entrants. Though you’ll need to keep an eye on the Vikings injury report, he’s definitely worth a stash and, subsequently, a start if Cook can’t go on Monday Night Football.
Filling in for Dalvin Cook, Mike Boone scores his second TD! #SKOL
— NFL (@NFL) December 15, 2019
Oh, the Cleveland Browns. Just when you think they’ve turned a corner and finally become relevant, they turn in a season like this. The latest chapter in a year characterized by massive underperformance relative to expectations came in Glendale where they fell 38-24 to the Arizona Cardinals. Much of it was centered on Cleveland’s complete inability to stop running back Kenyan Drake, who found the end zone four times. But, hey, at least Seals-Jones balled out. He caught both of Baker Mayfield‘s touchdown tosses on the day. And only Travis Kelce and George Kittle finished with a higher non-PPR fantasy point total. But few, if any, benefited as he commanded a measly one percent ownership rate in Yahoo leagues. That likely won’t go up at all since the Browns face the formidable Baltimore Ravens this coming Sunday.
Ricky Seals-Jones getting a little bit of payback on his former employer today. 3 receptions, 29 yards, and 2 touchdowns for the former Cardinal.pic.twitter.com/LnhG7O4hGm
— colton chumbley (@chumbleycolton) December 16, 2019
Dwayne Haskins wasn’t the only Washington Redskins player who was among the top scores at his respective position despite a lack of love from the fantasy community. Hopkins himself played his own unique role in giving the ‘Skins a fighting chance to pull off an upset and hurt their NFC East rival’s playoff hopes. He was perfect on the day, converting all three of his extra points and both of his field goals, including a long of 53 yards. It resulted in him finishing with 12 fantasy points which were tied for third-best among kickers. Of the five kickers who reached that point threshold in Week 15, his one percent ownership in Yahoo leagues was the lowest. He may be worth a look with Washington’s opponent on Sunday, the New York Giants, giving up the eighth-most points to fantasy kickers.
Dustin Hopkins drills a 53-yarder, and we're all tied at 24.
WAS 24, PHI 24 (8:02 4Q)
— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) December 15, 2019
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense
This unit is a big reason why the Bucs are currently on a four-game winning streak. In that time, they’ve finished top-four among fantasy defense/special teams on three separate occasions. They’ve done just about everything, totaling 13 sacks, five interceptions, five fumble recoveries, and three defensive touchdowns over the past four games. In Sunday’s dominant win in Detroit, they totaled 15 fantasy points, the fourth-best mark of the week. But their ownership mark in Yahoo leagues came in at just nine percent. To put that in perspective, the three teams above them had ownership rates no lower than 77 percent. They’re a risky add in Week 16, though, as they face a Houston Texans team ranked top-10 in scoring offense.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 15, 2019