Another week, another handful of injuries sure to shake up Fantasy rosters — and just in time for when every single game matters.
But this week also marked injuries to Amari Cooper and Kelvin Benjamin, plus a bunch of running backs failing to deliver when we needed them most. If you survived to Week 15 -- congratulations! You're going to need some help.
The Big Get
Would you believe that this week's leading Fantasy running back is available in 35 percent of leagues? Can you believe it's Stewart?! How about J-Stew coming up with three touchdowns? How many more questions can I rattle off?
Assuming quarterback isn't your biggest need, the Panthers' top back has scored in three straight, and has come through with eight-plus Fantasy points in four straight. The Panthers have no problem giving him the rock (14.8 carries per game in those last four) and he's become a primary option at the goal line as they try to preserve Cam Newton. The Panthers host the Packers in Week 15 and the Buccaneers at home in Week 16, both nice matchups for a veteran who can help you rumble your way to a league championship.
Peyton Barber Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB
|Doug Martin started the Bucs' Week 14 game against the Lions and scored a touchdown, but fumbled before halftime and didn't play another snap the rest of the game. Barber took over and looked pretty good while rushing for 45 yards on nine second-half carries. Maybe we're staring at a shared backfield for Tampa Bay, but Barber has impressed over his last three games and seems to be a slightly better fit for the Bucs run game. We'll see if coach Dirk Koetter makes a change at running back next week against the Falcons — from where we sit, he should.|
Kerwynn Williams Arizona Cardinals RB
|Williams didn't have a monster game (89 total yards), but he did get 20 carries. That's the kind of workload you're looking for from a rusher at this point in the season. Provided that Adrian Peterson remains sidelined next week, Williams should get plenty of work at Washington in a matchup that should provide a pretty good game script. It wouldn't be wrong to start Williams as a No. 2 running back good for as many as 100 total yards.|
Tarik Cohen Chicago Bears RB
|Cohen is finishing the season strong after starting his rookie year with some solid performances. Good for at least eight Fantasy points in three of his last five, Cohen has earned back a share of the Bears rushing offense both on handoffs and receptions. He also had a touchdown called back Sunday and was just shy of scoring on another play at Cincinnati. The Bears' matchup at Detroit next week is dreamy, and while Jordan Howard should pave the way, don't be surprised to see Cohen get a decent chunk of work and break some long runs.|
Rod Smith Dallas Cowboys RB
|We're just never feel good about starting the Cowboys running backs, are we? Alfred Morris started, totaled 22 touches and combined for 85 total yards but was a blip on the radar compared to Smith. The passing down specialist took a pass 81 yards for a score and then rumbled 15 yards for another within the last five minutes of Dallas' 20-point win over the Giants. Smith typically plays around 30 snaps per game (29 on Sunday) and gets roughly 10 touches per matchup (11 on Sunday). It's not the kind of workload you'd want from a Fantasy starter but considering the Cowboys' Week 15 matchup at Oakland, it's not the worst situation.|
Dede Westbrook Jacksonville Jaguars WR
|Don't assume that we're seeing a changing of the guard among Jacksonville's receiving corps, but Westbrook has looked really good the past two weeks. On Sunday he set a new career-high with 81 yards on five grabs, while adding his first NFL touchdown reception. Also of note: He's caught at least five passes in three straight games and had at least eight targets in those games. And we'd be remiss not to point out an improved and confident Blake Bortles under center for the Jaguars. Westbrook gets a glorious matchup against the Texans in Week 15 and should be worth starting in PPR leagues for sure.|
Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers WR
|Make it four straight games for Goodwin with at least seven Fantasy points in non-PPR and 11-plus in full PPR. The speedster has clearly gelled with new 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and has taken the reign as their leading receiver. Best of all is another delicious matchup in Week 15 against a porous Titans pass defense at home. Enjoy that matchup because in Week 16 the Jaguars will come calling and Goodwin's potential could be limited.|
Tyler Lockett Seattle Seahawks WR
|(and Paul Richardson, 74%) — Usually Lockett or Richardson will come through with a big play for the Seahawks. Against the Jaguars (of all teams!), both struck for long touchdowns to help keep Seattle's offense afloat. There's a lot of randomness in Russell Wilson's offense, partially because Wilson does a lot of improvising, and it impacts these wideouts. Lockett has scored in two straight but isn't known for getting lots of targets on a consistent basis. Richardson tends to get more passes sent his way but has one game in his last six with more than four catches, none with more than the 72 yards he had Sunday and only one touchdown in those six (it happened in Jacksonville). Both are boom-or-bust receivers you could dial up when the run-shy Seahawks play at home against the Rams next week.|
O.J. Howard Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE
|So, is Howard the main tight end in Tampa Bay now or not? He had already played way more snaps than Cameron Brate, but rare was the game Howard would outproduce Brate in targets, catches and yards. It happened Sunday, much to the dismay of those Fantasy owners who picked up Brate following his two-score game. Howard scored and caught four passes for 54 yards on six targets. We'd feel uneasy going with Howard as a starting Fantasy tight end for Week 15 against the Falcons, but at least we can feel good about the likelihood of Jameis Winston throwing a bunch, and we know he likes to lean on his tight ends (Brate and Howard have eight of Winston's 12 passing scores this year).|
Trey Burton Philadelphia Eagles TE
|Burton's two touchdowns were a dream come true for Fantasy owners in need of a Zach Ertz replacement. The only way he'll have a chance to even score one touchdown next week is if Ertz is still sidelined by a concussion. Worse yet, Nick Foles will now be his quarterback instead of Carson Wentz. Twenty-five percent of Foles' career scores have gone to tight ends (Ertz has the most with six), which isn't too bad as far as tendencies go. A nice matchup against the Giants, who have struggled with tight ends all season, could help owners make a decision on Burton, but it's clearly contingent on Ertz's status.|
Adam Shaheen Chicago Bears TE
|Three weeks ago we saw Shaheen use his size to come down with a touchdown as part of a four-catch day against the Lions. Then, he caught one pass in his next two games, disappointing those of us who stream tight ends in Fantasy. As soon as we wrote him off and left him for dead on the waiver wire, Shaheen shows up at Cincinnati with another four-catch game including a touchdown. His playing time went up (32 snaps), he saw four red-zone targets including three inside the 10 (one was called back on a penalty), plus the one-yard score.|