Fantasy Football Week 15 Lineup Cheat Sheet: Get to the championship with our expert help
Don't know who to start or sit? Don't worry, we've got your back. A week's worth of analysis, game watching and stat analysis will help you win in Week 15.
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The Lineup Cheat Sheet combines Fantasy analysis and game-flow predictions with a confidence scale to give you a definitive answer on who to start in your leagues.
The higher the number next to a player's name, the more confident you should be to start him. If a player isn't listed, don't start him.
To find a specific player, use your search function — CTRL-F on PCs and Command-F on Macs. If neither of those are options, or if you're on a mobile device, you can scroll by game.
If you're still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) and I'll give it a look, time permitting.
Broncos at Colts
|Broncos|| ||Colts|| |
|Trevor Siemian||(4.7)||Jacoby Brissett||(2.9)|
|C.J. Anderson||(6.5)||Frank Gore||(5.6)|
|Demaryius Thomas||(7.6)||T.Y. Hilton||(4.5)|
|Emmanuel Sanders||(4.6)||Jack Doyle||(6.6)|
The Broncos defense got its swagger back last week, pulverizing the Jets at home. Doing the same on the road four days later is a tall order but it helps they're playing the Colts. Normally this is a good spot for a running back, but Gore took a career-high 36 carries in the Buffalo snow last week. Asking him to barrel through the Broncos with little rest time seems like a lot, but he claims he'll be ready. A regular workload for Gore consists of about 17 touches. However, he's been below 4.0 yards per run in all but four games this season and the Broncos are giving up 3.4 yards per carry on the season. If Domata Peko ends up playing for Denver, he'll make a big difference in limiting Gore.
As running backs with safe eight-Fantasy-point minimums go, Anderson is a good option in Week 15. The Colts have allowed at least eight Fantasy points to a running back in eight straight and a rushing score to the position in each of their last three. Anderson's rolling behind a depleted O-line but he's landed the lion's share of playing time and carries in his last two games, even adding six grabs for 68 yards in those matchups. The Broncos seem to believe in him again as their best back, and the short week combined with an improved receiving profile and a good matchup make him fairly appealing.
Most offenses steer clear of the Broncos cornerbacks, and the Colts should not be an exception. That should result in a bumper crop of targets for Doyle. He saw five or more in 10 straight before the Snow Bowl game last week in Buffalo (a game in which he scored in). That's good news — six of eight tight ends with a minimum of five targets against the Broncos have been good for at least seven Fantasy points. Doyle should be able to exceed that.
Bears at Lions
|Bears|| ||Lions|| |
|Mitchell Trubisky||(3.9)||Matthew Stafford||(7.3)|
|Jordan Howard||(9.1)||Theo Riddick||(5.2)|
|Tarik Cohen||(5.8)||Ameer Abdullah||(4.9)|
|Kendall Wright||(3.3)||Marvin Jones||(7.9)|
| || ||Lions||(6.8)|
I mentioned thisand will mention it again here: Tate struggles with the Bears. In seven career matchups with the Lions, he's hit 10 Fantasy points or less every time. In Chicago he had just four targets, three catches and 32 yards. Tate's also not the most consistent guy in the world as he has yet to score in back-to-back games this season after accomplishing the feat just twice in 2016. PPR league owners can feel better about starting him since he does have seven-plus targets in all but one of his last nine (at Chicago being the outlier), but non-PPR leaguers shouldn't think of Tate as a slam-dunk.
Chiefs at Chargers
|Chiefs|| ||Chargers|| |
|Alex Smith||(6.8)||Philip Rivers||(9.1)|
|Kareem Hunt||(8.1)||Melvin Gordon||(9.0)|
|Tyreek Hill||(7.5)||Austin Ekeler||(4.3)|
|Albert Wilson||(2.8)||Keenan Allen||(9.1)|
|Travis Kelce||(7.9)||Tyrell Williams||(3.6)|
| || ||Hunter Henry||(7.0)|
| || ||Chargers||(8.4)|
Smith's numbers have been better when he's on the road, and his personal three-game streak of multiple touchdowns against the Chargers should mean something. But this is a tough matchup as the Chargers have not allowed a passer to eclipse 20 Fantasy points in 12 straight games. They have the defensive backs to scheme up against Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce along with the front seven to put pressure on Smith. So why is he still worth considering? Because last week Smith should have had three touchdowns — one was reversed when Kelce was ruled down at the goal line, one was dropped by Kelce and one was called back by penalty on a play Kelce scored. He's moving the chains and playing well, so don't immediately discount him just because his final stats were bad last week. I'd feel better starting him over Jameis Winston, Derek Carr and Jared Goff, but not over Blake Bortles or Joe Flacco.
It seems like the Chargers have learned to lean on Henry regularly without regard for his specific matchup. After all, he has two catches or less in all but one of the Bolts' losses this season. We can't complain about Henry's usage over the past three weeks, and he should come through against the likes of strong safety Daniel Sorensen (76.6 percent catch rate allowed per Pro Football Focus). Besides, who else are you going to start at tight end these days?!
Texans at Jaguars
|Texans|| ||Jaguars|| |
|T.J. Yates||(3.5)||Blake Bortles||(7.0)|
|Lamar Miller||(6.7)||Leonard Fournette||(9.5)|
|Andre Ellington||(3.9)||Marqise Lee||(6.9)|
|DeAndre Hopkins||(9.2)||Dede Westbrook||(6.0)|
|Will Fuller||(3.9)||Keelan Cole||(4.7)|
|Stephen Anderson||(3.6)||Marcedes Lewis||(3.8)|
Quarterback issues and a depleted offensive line aren't typically good for running backs. Miller is no exception. Miller has averaged below 3.0 yards per rush in his last four games and has 13 Fantasy points in his past two games combined. Starting rushers have been held to single-digit Fantasy points against the Jaguars in five straight matchups and Miller himself delivered nine points against the Jags back in Week 1. That's probably close to his ceiling in a game the Jaguars should be able to dominate on the scoreboard and in time of possession.
Bortles looked pretty dang good last week. He hit a couple of tight throws and was 5 for 5 on deep ball passes. The Texans pass defense has allowed just two touchdowns in the last three weeks but that's been partially because of teams running on them and partially because of some mediocre quarterbacks. Bortles has seemingly busted out of mediocrity (three straight with 22-plus Fantasy points) and could take aim at Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson much like he picked on Byron Maxwell last week. Houston's shrinking pass rush only helps Bortles' cause.
Ravens at Browns
|Ravens|| ||Browns|| |
|Joe Flacco||(5.3)||DeShone Kizer||(5.1)|
|Alex Collins||(8.7)||Isaiah Crowell||(6.2)|
|Javorius Allen||(5.0)||Duke Johnson||(5.4)|
|Mike Wallace||(6.6)||Josh Gordon||(8.6)|
|Chris Moore||(3.4)||Corey Coleman||(5.9)|
|Benjamin Watson||(5.55)|| || |
|Ravens||(8.6)|| || |
The Browns have allowed six scores to wide receivers in their last six games, many by No. 1 wideouts. Additionally, Joe Flacco has turned his season around with back-to-back games with multiple touchdowns and a season-high 269 yards in each. This seems like the kind of data you'd like to have when backing a receiver, but we're talking about Mike Wallace. He seems like the No. 1 threat in the Ravens passing game but had just five targets last week in a game the Ravens scored 38 points. Here's the good news — he's posted at least seven Fantasy points in four of his past five (10-plus in PPR) and has come through with four deep-ball receptions on 10 deep targets in his past two overall. Go big or go home with Wallace in a matchup where Flacco should throw a decent amount.
I can't find big negatives with Flacco. He's taking on a Browns defense that's seen five of six quarterbacks hit 19-plus Fantasy points against them. He also happens to have a sensational recent track record against them -- multiple touchdowns in three straight and four of his last five. Flacco also has come through for 20-plus Fantasy points in back-to-back games in equally easy matchups (Detroit at home, Pittsburgh on the road). Best of all, he's throwing much better now than earlier this season and has quietly developed a deep receiving corps when you include his running backs, tight ends and developing wideout Chris Moore. It's hard to see him getting slowed down by the Browns.
Packers at Panthers
|Packers|| ||Panthers|| |
|Aaron Rodgers||(8.5)||Cam Newton||(7.8)|
|Jamaal Williams||(7.6)||Jonathan Stewart||(7.4)|
|Davante Adams||(8.5)||Christian McCaffrey||(6.0)|
|Jordy Nelson||(5.8)||Devin Funchess||(8.4)|
|Randall Cobb||(5.0)||Greg Olsen||(4.6)|
There hasn't been a philosophical change in how often the Panthers use Stewart — he's still under 30 snaps per game in all but one outing this year. But it is noticeable that the Panthers have gotten some scoring out of J-Stew in each of their three games since their bye. That isn't a by-product of what the run game is doing. It's more of a by-product on how the offensive line has performed. Last week was particularly great because center Ryan Kalil was back, and his return helped the offense in general. Stewart, who has 15-plus touches in three of his last four and 100 rush yards and/or a touchdown in each of his last four, should be in line for another solid game at home against the Packers, who have yielded at least a dozen Fantasy points to a rusher in each of their last four. A lot of data points favor the old-school power churner.
Dolphins at Bills
|Dolphins|| ||Bills|| |
|Jay Cutler||(5.7)||Tyrod Taylor||(4.5)|
|Kenyan Drake||(9.3)||LeSean McCoy||(8.9)|
|Jarvis Landry||(7.2)||Kelvin Benjamin||(5.35)|
|Kenny Stills||(4.45)||Zay Jones||(2.5)|
|DeVante Parker||(3.7)||Charles Clay||(4.9)|
|Dolphins||(7.0)|| || |
Dolphins DST: Miami's DST opened the week available in over 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues despite posting 11-plus Fantasy points in each of its past three. Playing at Buffalo has always been tough on the Dolphins, but they've started to round into form, posting 11-plus Fantasy points in each of their past three, including twice against the Patriots. Throw out last week's snow party, and the Bills have averaged 18.9 points per game and 35 sacks allowed. With the expectation that Tyrod Taylor won't be at 100 percent and without top receiver Kelvin Benjamin, Buffalo's offense isn't considered scary. If you're streaming DSTs, the Dolphins should be considered.
Bengals at Vikings
|Bengals|| ||Vikings|| |
|Andy Dalton||(4.1)||Case Keenum||(8.3)|
|Giovani Bernard||(6.3)||Latavius Murray||(8.0)|
|A.J. Green||(7.4)||Jerick McKinnon||(4.7)|
|Brandon LaFell||(2.6)||Adam Thielen||(8.8)|
| || ||Vikings||(9.1)|
The formula remains pretty simple for Murray — if it's a game the Vikings can win and control the clock, he's a start. If it's a tough matchup where the Vikings will chase points, he's a sit. This one's a start — the Bengals have allowed seven total touchdowns (five rushing) and 4.7 yards per carry to running backs over their last five. If linebacker Vontaze Burfict is out, the matchup is that much sweeter, as it will be if the Vikings offensive line gets healthy. Before last week, Murray had nine or more Fantasy points and an average of 17 carries per game in four straight, so expect him to get back to at least those numbers in Week 15.
It's a perfect storm for Diggs -- tight end Kyle Rudolph and his 5.8 targets per game are doubtful for Sunday and the Bengals will play on the road without their top two cornerbacks. It leaves Diggs with a shot to match or exceed the 10 targets he had last week against the likes of Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson. Those guys are pretty good, but they're not starters for a reason -- they allowed 159 yards to the Bears' receivers last week. The Bears!! Diggs is a safe bet for five catches and should have a better shot at scoring without Rudolph on the field.
Cardinals at Redskins
|Cardinals|| ||Redskins|| |
|Blaine Gabbert||(3.3)||Kirk Cousins||(6.6)|
|Kerwynn Williams||(5.7)||Samaje Perine||(7.2)|
|Larry Fitzgerald||(7.8)||Jamison Crowder||(5.4)|
|Ricky Seals-Jones||(3.2)||Ryan Grant||(4.1)|
| || ||Vernon Davis||(5.0)|
| || ||Redskins||(6.4)|
This is a mess. Williams has had a nice workload over the past two games (16 and 20 carries) and turned it into good-enough Fantasy numbers. However, the Cardinals offensive line continues to get shredded and this feels like a matchup where the Redskins will rebound and force Arizona to get one dimensional. Such a scenario would take Williams off the field since he doesn't play many passing downs. Washington's run defense has been ripped up by really good run offenses lately (Chargers, Cowboys, Saints, Vikings) — the Cardinals 30th-ranked unit doesn't quite qualify. Williams isn't worth taking the chance on unless you're thin on running backs.
Cousins played about as well as he could behind an offensive line that had trouble with the Chargers' four-man front. It's pretty safe to say he'll have just as hard of a time with a Cardinals defense that blitzes like crazy and has cornerback Patrick Peterson patrolling one side of the field. What's equally heartbreaking has been the lack of plays made by his receivers over the past few weeks. Save for a big catch here or there from Ryan Grant or Vernon Davis, Cousins has been let down by his receiving corps. Cousins totaled two scores at Arizona last year but only one came through the air — he'll be lucky to come away with a similar game this Sunday.
Eagles at Giants
|Eagles|| ||Giants|| |
|Nick Foles||(5.5)||Eli Manning||(3.1)|
|Jay Ajayi||(7.8)||Orleans Darkwa||(4.8)|
|Corey Clement||(4.5)||Wayne Gallman||(4.2)|
|LeGarrette Blount||(4.1)||Sterling Shepard||(6.65)|
|Alshon Jeffery||(7.7)||Evan Engram||(6.0)|
|Torrey Smith||(4.2)|| || |
|Zach Ertz||(8.2)|| || |
|Eagles||(9.0)|| || |
The stars seem to be aligning perfectly for Ajayi, who has led the Eagles' running backs in snaps, carries and rushing yards over their past two. Philly already leads the league in rush attempts per game and should be in position to stick even more with the run since Nick Foles will replace Carson Wentz. In the past three weeks the Giants have allowed 13-plus Fantasy points to a running back in each game, yielding a gaudy 4.6 yards per run. Ajayi isn't promised snaps inside the opponents' 5 — Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount each have had more playing time down there than Ajayi in the past two games — but the safe bet for total yards in what might wind up being an Eagles blowout win is Ajayi.
Jets at Saints
|Jets|| ||Saints|| |
|Bryce Petty||(2.3)||Drew Brees||(8.2)|
|Matt Forte||(5.1)||Alvin Kamara||(9.4)|
|Bilal Powell||(4.6)||Mark Ingram||(9.2)|
|Robby Anderson||(6.2)||Michael Thomas||(9.3)|
|Jermaine Kearse||(3.35)||Ted Ginn||(4.4)|
Part of Anderson's appeal is his big-play ability, but there's no doubt that his big season was helped along by the play of Josh McCown. But even with McCown, Anderson was catching just 56 percent of his targets and needed to come through on deep passes to help Fantasy owners. The quality of those passes will drop with Bryce Petty under center, even if the two did hook up for two touchdowns last season. Toss in a tough matchup against a Saints secondary that's allowed just seven scores and five plays of 40-plus yards to receivers when its top two cornerbacks are healthy (11 games), and Anderson figures to be in a lot of trouble.
Rams at Seahawks
|Rams|| ||Seahawks|| |
|Jared Goff||(4.9)||Russell Wilson||(9.4)|
|Todd Gurley||(9.7)||Mike Davis||(6.6)|
|Robert Woods||(6.4)||Doug Baldwin||(8.3)|
|Sammy Watkins||(5.5)||Paul Richardson||(5.3)|
|Cooper Kupp||(5.2)||Tyler Lockett||(4.3)|
| || ||Seahawks||(6.6)|
You probably want to start Watkins — he's come down with a touchdown in three straight. But those three straight were games where the Rams didn't have Robert Woods, the Rams' leader in targets per game (7.0). Woods return should change Jared Goff's target distribution, further putting Watkins' opportunities in a hole — he averaged 3.8 targets per game with Woods. Seattle's allowed a touchdown to a receiver in four straight, three allowed by slowish cornerback Byron Maxwell. Woods figures to line up against him the most, making him an interesting option while limiting the potential for Watkins.
Titans at 49ers
|Titans|| ||49ers|| |
|Marcus Mariota||(4.3)||Jimmy Garoppolo||(6.1)|
|Derrick Henry||(6.1)||Carlos Hyde||(7.9)|
|DeMarco Murray||(5.5)||Marquise Goodwin||(7.3)|
|Rishard Matthews||(6.5)||Trent Taylor||(3.2)|
|Corey Davis||(2.4)||Garrett Celek||(4.8)|
|Titans||(5.6)|| || |
You could call it a hunch, or you could call it a favorable matchup in which the Titans should eventually have to throw. Matthews looked rusty last week, typical for players who miss multiple games without practicing, plus he saw a handful of targets against shut-down cornerback Patrick Peterson. That's not happening this week. Instead he'll go toe-to-toe with the 49ers leaky cornerbacks, both of whom have let up over 65 percent of passes against with multiple touchdowns over their last five. With the Niners run defense improved, look for the Titans to try taking it to the air, helping Matthews' chances.
Patriots at Steelers
|Patriots|| ||Steelers|| |
|Tom Brady||(8.9)||Ben Roethlisberger||(9.0)|
|Rex Burkhead||(8.3)||Le'Veon Bell||(9.6)|
|Dion Lewis||(7.3)||Antonio Brown||(9.5)|
|James White||(4.0)||JuJu Smith-Schuster||(5.7)|
|Brandin Cooks||(8.2)||Martavis Bryant||(3.5)|
|Chris Hogan||(6.8)||Jesse James||(4.0)|
|Rob Gronkowski||(9.3)|| || |
|Patriots||(3.4)|| || |
Over the past two weeks we got a pretty good glimpse of what the Steelers run defense is like without Ryan Shazier on the field. In effectively two games, Pittsburgh has allowed a gaudy 5.7 yards per carry, 12.2 yards per catch and three rushing touchdowns to opposing rushers. You better believe the Patriots will attack with the run with both Lewis and Burkhead. While those two have been used evenly through much of the year, Burkhead has a distinct advantage inside the opponents' 10-yard line in the last three weeks (six carries, three touchdowns plus another receiving score and an additional rush score from 14 yards out) to Lewis (three carries, no touchdowns). Burkhead is a no-brainer, Lewis should rebound after barely seeing work last week, and both rushers could help spearhead the Patriots offense.
Cowboys at Raiders
|Cowboys|| ||Raiders|| |
|Dak Prescott||(9.3)||Derek Carr||(5.0)|
|Alfred Morris||(8.2)||Marshawn Lynch||(6.9)|
|Rod Smith||(5.3)||Michael Crabtree||(6.3)|
|Dez Bryant||(8.1)||Cordarrelle Patterson||(4.0)|
|Cole Beasley||(2.2)||Johnny Holton||(2.9)|
|Jason Witten||(6.2)||Jared Cook||(6.1)|
Crabtree is a quality receiver, but he's not quite as good as a pure No. 1 option. In other words, playing opposite Amari Cooper helps a lot. In this game he'll take on a Cowboys defense starting a couple of rookies at cornerback, but they've been playing well. One guy who hasn't been playing well is Derek Carr, and even with the mandate to "let it rip" from coach Jack Del Rio, he still doesn't evoke confidence. Crabtree should pick up a nice bushel of catches but not do a ton with them.
Falcons at Buccaneers
|Falcons|| ||Buccaneers|| |
|Matt Ryan||(7.1)||Jameis Winston||(6.3)|
|Devonta Freeman||(8.8)||Peyton Barber||(5.9)|
|Julio Jones||(8.7)||Doug Martin||(4.4)|
|Mohamed Sanu||(6.7)||Mike Evans||(7.0)|
|Austin Hooper||(5.4)||DeSean Jackson||(4.8)|
| || ||Cameron Brate||(4.2)|
| || ||Buccaneers||(3.6)|
Evans' struggles aren't all his fault. Last week, he was targeted downfield on three straight plays and ran the wrong route on one and saw bad throws from Winston on the other two, though he drew a flag on the third. Winston was also off the mark by just a little on an end-zone target to Evans from 4 yards out. And several passes weren't on point the week before at Green Bay. Somehow, Winston has completed 67 percent of his passes over the last two weeks, but just 33 percent on passes ticketed for Evans. You'd think this is something that can be corrected quickly, but Atlanta's pass defense is healthy and its defensive line should keep constant pressure on Winston given the state of his offensive line. It doesn't mean Evans can't come through for a good game, especially since the Bucs figure to trail for much of the game. Plus it's likely that the team wants to get Evans going. That should mean more targets and a chance at a high-reception result. Evans should remain in lineups despite his cold streak.
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