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Fantasy Forecast

Week 15 Fantasy Football Forecast

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: December 13, 2019, 11:30 am ET

PaceWeek15

 

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: SF, KC, SEA, NO, TEN, OAK, NE, NYG, CLE

Page 2: LAR, DAL, MIN, HOU, GB, ARI, PHI, MIA, DET, CAR

Page 3: LAC, JAX, PIT, TB, IND, CHI, DEN, WAS, BUF, ATL, CIN

TNF: BAL, NYJ

 

Chargers (21.25, +2.5) vs. MIN

Forecast: Philip Rivers QB2/3, Melvin Gordon RB2, Austin Ekeler RB2/3, Keenan Allen WR2, Mike Williams WR5, Hunter Henry TE1

 

lacmin

The issue with the Chargers for fantasy is their fourth-slowest pace and 21.25-point team total. With so many mouths to feed, it’s inevitable that one or two of their skill position players will bust each week, especially with how Philip Rivers has played this season. Before last week’s fluky 314-3 game, Rivers was averaging 286 yards, 1.4 touchdowns and 1.3 interceptions per game on a career-worst touchdown rate. I’m chalking up last week to luck, something I’m not willing to bet on with the Vikings’ above-average defense against fantasy quarterbacks coming to town… Melvin Gordon’s 14.7 carries and 2.8 receptions per game put him squarely in the RB2 mix, especially since he sees most of the goal-line work… Austin Ekeler is averaging 6.2 carries and 5.4 receptions with Gordon and 14.0 carries and 6.0 receptions without him. Ekeler’s so darn good that he can reach a ceiling on this limited volume, but it’s not something I’ll bet on often because volume > skill. Ekeler is on the RB2/3 borderline in PPR leagues and an RB3 in standard leagues.

LACAY15

Keenan Allen is averaging 12.3 PPR points on eight targets per game with MGIII and 24.4 PPR points on 12 targets per game without him. Allen's usage is no longer elite, but he's still a rock-solid WR2 play, especially in good matchups like this week's. The Vikings are in the bottom 19th-percentile against fantasy receivers this year… Mike Williams finally scored a touchdown last week -- that's good -- but he now has three targets in three of his last five games. Usage is becoming a real problem with everyone in the offense healthy. Williams is a pure dart throw WR4... Hunter Henry only has one below-average usage game since returning in Week 6. Over that span, Henry is the TE3 overall on the third-most targets. The Vikings' above-average tight end defense makes Henry a mid-range TE1 this week.

 

Jaguars (19.5, +6.5) @ OAK

Forecast: Gardner Minshew QB2/3, Leonard Fournette RB1, Dede Westbrook WR3, Chris Conley WR3/4, Keelan Cole WR5

JAXOAK

The Jaguars have the look of a team that’s given up on the year. That will be made worse by Chark’s absence. Gardner Minshew has everything but matchup working against him. Luckily the Raiders are absolutely awful in the secondary, leading to a 31st-ranked defense against fantasy quarterbacks… Leonard Fournette’s 18.1-carry and 5.2-reception averages lock him inside the top-five every week. A matchup against a bottom 16th percentile run DVOA defense awaits. 

JAXAY15

D.J. Chark (ankle) leaves behind 22% of the Jaguars’ targets, 35% of the air yards, and 0.61 red-zone targets per game. Keelan Cole will soak up some of that usage as the new starting receiver, but I’m way more interested in Dede Westbrook and Chris ConleyDede Westbrook is a candidate to exceed his 7.5-target average over the last four games. Not only does Chark’s absence open up a lot of looks, but Westbrook also catches the Raiders nonexistent secondary after A.J. Brown destroyed them last week. Westbrook is a higher-floor WR3 play with volume and matchup on his side… Westbrook has the floor, but Chris Conley has the ceiling. Conley’s 14.4-yard average depth of target meshes well with Oakland’s No. 32 defense against 20+ yard passes, as long as Minshew is willing to chuck it deep. Expect 5-9 targets as an upside WR3/4.

 

Steelers (19.25, -1.5) vs. BUF

Update: JuJu Smith-Schuster is unlikely to play.

Forecast: Devlin Hodges QB3, James Conner (questionable) RB2/3, JuJu Smith-Schuster (very questionable) WR5, James Washington WR4/5, Diontae Johnson WR4/5

PITBUF

Devlin Hodges against the No. 3 defense against fantasy quarterbacks? Nah… James Conner (shoulder) has practiced in full and is expected to start Week 15. It’s unclear if he’ll get a full complement of snaps, however. When healthy, Conner was averaging 14 carries and 4.1 receptions per game, numbers he’d be lucky to hit in his first game back, especially with a 19.15-point team total. Conner is a boom-or-bust RB2/3. If Jaylen Samuels (groin) can’t play, Conner would be slightly more appealing since his receiving projection would improve.

PITAY15

JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) is now not expected to return this week, which moves stud CB Tre’Davious White to James Washington and Diontae Johnson. I'm not convinced that White will shadow either receiver, but both receivers need to be downgraded given the matchup. Washington and Johnson are low-floor WR4/5s with inconsistent usage in the three games without JuJu.

 

Bucs (TBD, TBD) @ DET

Forecast: Jameis Winston (questionable) QB1/2, Peyton Barber RB3, Ronald Jones RB3, Chris Godwin WR1, Breshad Perriman WR4, Scotty Miller (questionable) WR5, Justin Watson WR5, O.J. Howard TE1/2

TBDET

Jameis Winston has been throwing tennis balls at practice with his fractured thumb. There’s no way you can be fully confident in his floor this week, but as always, the upside is still there. The Lions traded away their best safety a few weeks back and are 30th at preventing 20+ yard passes because of it. For now, I have Jameis just inside my top 10 but will be adjusting based on injury news.

Last 3 Games (AVG)

Barber

Jones

Carries

13.0

9.7

Targets

1.0

2.7

Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones are splitting touches and snaps evenly. Last week, Barber played 30 snaps. Jones played 27. Even Dare Ogunbowale played 23. The Lions are in the bottom 9th percentile against fantasy running backs, but volume is a concern for all three backs. Barber and RoJo are RB3s and would be downgraded if Jameis’ thumb injury is somewhat serious.

TBAY15

Mike Evans (hamstring) leaves behind 23% of the Bucs’ targets, 35% of the air yards, and 1.23 red-zone targets per game. Chris Godwin will consume some of that, vaulting him into the elite WR1 club, and the rest will be spread out to Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson, Scotty Miller (hamstring), the tight ends, and the running backs... As the air yards chart shows, Perriman has been the most stable receiver behind Evans and Godwin, and he’s been on the field the most. In Week 14, Perriman ran a route on 50-of-52 dropbacks compared to Watson’s 34-of-52. If Miller (hamstring) remains out, I like Perriman as an upside WR4 and Watson as an upside WR5. But if Miller returns, things get really muddy because Miller out-targeted, out-airyarded, and out-snapped Perriman in his last healthy game (Week 11)... O.J. Howard has had his three highest-usage games of the season over the last five weeks, and he’s in the mix for an additional target or two with Evans sidelined. Howard has upside, but there’s no way to rule out him getting benched, making him a boom-or-bust TE1/2 in a plus matchup. 

 

Colts (19.25, +8) @ NO

Forecast: Jacoby Brissett QB2/3, Marlon Mack RB2/3, T.Y. Hilton (questionable) WR3, Zach Pascal WR3, Marcus Johnson WR5, Jack Doyle TE1

INDNO

Jacoby Brissett only had 251 yards and two touchdowns in a game where the Colts scored 35 points against the league’s worst pass defense. He just doesn’t provide any sort of ceiling with low-level pass-catching options… Indy has opted to run the ball with Marlon Mack regardless of the score this season -- Mack’s averaging 17.8 carries in losses this season. That will likely be the formula in this one, especially with the Saints losing DT Sheldon Rankins and DE Marcus Davenport to injured reserve. Mack, however, has only caught one (1) pass in losses this season, so he’ll need to find the end zone to pay off as an RB2/3. 

INDAY15

T.Y. Hilton (questionable) will likely join Parris Campbell (foot, IR) on the sidelines, leaving Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson as the primary receivers. Pascal has seen awesome usage with them sidelined, clearing my “10 PPR Expected” threshold in six of his last eight games and checking in as a top-10 receiver in both targets and air yards over the last two weeks. Pascal is a strong WR3 option because of his volume… Marcus Johnson got behind the Bucs secondary for a 46-yard touchdown and will be Indy’s best deep threat whenever Hilton is out. Johnson doesn’t have the floor Pascal has but can score a long touchdown as a dart throw WR5. The Saints are a 54th-percentile defense against 20+ yard passes… Jack Doyle is a positive regression candidate. Doyle has had strong TE1 usage in both of his games without Eric Ebron and should continue to see 6-12 targets down the stretch as a mid-range TE1. 

 

Bears (18, +5) @ GB

Forecast: Mitchell Trubisky QB2/3, David Montgomery RB3, Tarik Cohen RB4, Allen Robinson WR2, Anthony Miller WR3/4, Taylor Gabriel (questionable) WR5

CHIGB

Easy matchups have led to back-to-back three passing touchdown games for Mitchell Trubisky but going into Green Bay in December should put this nonsense to an end. Trubisky had 228 scoreless yards on 45 attempts last time they played. The only saving grade is Trubisky’s sudden willingness to run. That’s how he saved his stat lines in 2018… David Montgomery’s matchup is far easier with the Packers sitting in the bottom 20th percentile in run DVOA. Montgomery’s issues are his athletic limitations (speed in particular) and 1.8-reception average. The rookie should see 15-20 carries, but he has a low ceiling given his one-dimensional role... Tarik Cohen is averaging 5.5 receptions and 31 receiving yards in losses. The Bears are 5-point underdogs.

CHIAY15

Allen Robinson is the WR11 on the season with a top-10 target total. His individual matchup could be better, but it’s not terrible. Ian Hartitz notes CB Jaire Alexander did not shadow A-Rob in their previous contest, so Robinson will dodge him whenever he moves into the slot. Robinson is a volume-based WR2… Taylor Gabriel (concussion) being out again would make Anthony Miller a viable WR3/4 again. Miller has had a touchdown or six receptions in each of his last four games while running routes at near full-time rates. If Gabriel returns, Miller would be a risky WR4 play. Luckily Gabriel hasn’t practiced yet.

 

Broncos (17.75, +10) @ KC

Forecast: Drew Lock QB2/3, Phillip Lindsay RB2/3, Courtland Sutton WR3, Noah Fant (questionable) TE2

DENKC

Drew Lock made some gutsy throws in last week’s blowout win over Houston. Those are the plays he made in college, but he can also easily bust with his boom-or-bust playing style. Game script won’t be an issue for Lock as 10-point favorites, but the Chiefs’ pass rush and secondary are above-average. Lock is a QB2/3 in his first game in Arrowhead… A lopsided scoreboard allowed Royce Freeman to play more last week, but this is still very much Phillip Lindsay’s backfield. Lindsay is averaging 15.5 carries and two receptions over his last four games, which are very similar to his averages in losses. Lindsay is an RB2/3 on volume alone and can reach a mini ceiling because of the Chiefs’ 30th-ranked run DVOA defense.

DENAY15

Courtland Sutton is seeing 40% of the Broncos’ air yards with Lock starting. Their strengths work well together, but they will likely be very boom-bust since a lot of their production will come on high-variance deeper routes. Complicating things further is Kansas City’s No. 2 defense against fantasy receivers. Sutton needs to be downgraded to the WR3 range while Lock plays in Arrowhead for the first time…  Noah Fant is dealing with multiple injuries and will likely draw a questionable tag. Fant will have the easier individual matchup compared to Sutton if he plays, but the rookie tight end is still only seeing 3-5 targets per game. Fant’s insane athleticism gives him some upside as a TE2 (see below). The floor is just nonexistent.

 

Redskins (17.75, +4.5) vs. PHI

Forecast: Dwayne Haskins QB3, Adrian Peterson RB3, Chris Thompson RB4, Terry McLaurin WR3/4

WASPHI

Dwayne Haskins. No thanks… Another knee injury will take Derrius Guice out of the mix, leaving Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson as the clear top-two backs. Peterson will handle 14-20 carries and goal-line work while Thompson operates as a receiver. Game script will always lean Thompson’s way, but Washington’s willingness to run the ball while trailing keeps AP in the RB2/3 mix. 

WASAY15

Terry McLaurin currently has the sixth-best PFF season among rookie receivers since 2010, only trailing Odell, Michael Thomas, Mikey Evans, Antonio, and Keenan. He’s a legit player, but McLaurin is only averaging 3.7-43-0.2 with Haskins. Playing the 31st-ranked defense against fantasy receivers clears a path to a ceiling game as a boom-or-bust WR3/4, however. We’ve seen spike weeks from him before… Everyone else is too thin to mention. 

 

Bills (17.75, +1.5) @ PIT

Forecast: Josh Allen QB2, Devin Singletary RB2/3, John Brown WR3, Cole Beasley WR4

BUFPIT

Josh Allen’s 34 rushing yards and 0.62 rushing touchdowns per game keep him in the mix, but this matchup is brutal for Allen. The Steelers have the defensive line personnel to limit Allen’s rushing -- Pittsburgh allowed 28 rushing yards to Russ, Kyler, and Baker combined this season -- and will give him a lot of issues when he passes. The 17.75-point team total suggests Allen is a QB2 this week despite ranking inside the top 10 this season… Devin Singletary has taken over the backfield -- he played a season-high 81% of the snaps last week -- but Allen and Frank Gore are still options near the goal-line. In an impossible road matchup, Singletary needs a random touchdown or extended receiving work to pay off as a flex. The rookie did catch six passes in a similar matchup against the Ravens last week, so that’s in play. 

BUFAY15

“High floor John Brown" has retired. He has gone under 30 receiving yards in three straight and will be tested this week. The Steelers have four top-32 corners per PFF and have DPOY candidate Minkah Fitzpatrick as safety. Since their Week 7 bye, they’ve allowed 191 passing yards on average. Brown is a risky WR3 who needs a signature big play to pay off… Cole Beasley is averaging four receptions and 40 yards in the eight games since the Bills’ bye, but somehow has six touchdowns over that span. How? Idk. But I’m confident in that being an unsustainable pace, rendering Beasley a low-floor WR4 given the matchup… Dawson Knox’s questionable talent, low volume, and tough matchup make him an easy fade.

 

Falcons (17.5, +11.5) @ SF

Forecast: Matt Ryan QB2, Devonta Freeman (questionable) RB2/3, Julio Jones WR1, Russell Gage WR4, Austin Hooper TE1

 

ATLSF

Matt Ryan not only loses Ridley for the season, but now has to travel across the country to face a top 23rd percentile defense against fantasy quarterbacks. Ryan should drop back a ton but efficiency and pressure will be issues. A 17.5-point team total makes Ryan a mid-range QB2… Devonta Freeman should also struggle and has a low touchdown projection give the team total, but he is averaging 4.5 receptions and 30 receiving yards in losses this season. As 11.5-point underdogs, Freeman should be projected for 4-7 receptions as an RB2/3 in PPR leagues.  The veteran isn’t a “must bench” by any means unless his knee issue is worse than it appears.

ATLAY15

Calvin Ridley (abdomen) leaves behind 17% of the Falcons’ targets, 27% of the air yards, and 0.54 red-zone targets per game. It’s a major loss but will make Russell Gage a more appealing fantasy option. Gage should see 5-10 targets per game down the stretch as a WR3 in good matchups and WR4 in bad ones. Going into San Francisco definitely qualifies as a bad one... Julio Jones should also see a slight uptick in usage, but the matchup this week is the bigger news. The 49ers are top five against fantasy receivers and Atlanta is only projected to score 17.5 points. Those are concerns, but this is a spot to bet on volume and talent, especially if/when CB Richard Sherman (hamstring) misses. Julio remains a WR1 with an 8-12 target projection... Austin Hooper struggled in his return from an MCL sprain (2-32-0 on six targets), but he’s a slight bounceback this week even with the matchup being beyond brutal. Hooper will see 6-10 targets and should be more comfortable playing through his injury the second time around. Hooper is a mid-range TE1 based on his volume projection.

 

Bengals (15.25, +10) vs. NE

Forecast: Andy Dalton QB3, Joe Mixon RB3, Tyler Boyd WR3/4, John Ross WR5

CINNE

I have nothing to say about Andy DaltonJoe Mixon is averaging 21 carries and two receptions per game since the Bengals’ Week 9 bye. His usage and even his rushing efficiency have been great in recent weeks but that will likely regress given the matchup. Only five running backs have exceeded 40 rushing yards against the Patriots this year. 

CINAY15

Auden Tate leaves behind 18% of the Bengals’ targets and 29% of the air yards. His injury puts more pressure on John Ross, who only ran 17 routes in his return from injury. He’s a candidate to double his snaps and usage, but the Patriots Defense is too good to take a Ross gamble… Tyler Boyd is the best bet since New England is somewhat willing to allow underneath passes, but Boyd is a low-ceiling WR3/4 at best. A Dalton receiver facing the No. 1 defense against fantasy receivers is a bad formula… Alex Erickson should play a lot of snaps if you care… As will Tyler Eifert.