Fantasy Football Week 15: Mailbag focuses on Eagles, Derrick Henry, and more reader questions
You've got questions about Week 15, and we're answering them in our latest reader mailbag before the weekend.
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The last couple of weeks of the Fantasy season have gone a little sideways. Injuries to key players and unexpected breakouts have thrown a bit of chaos into the system at the worst possible time, with the playoffs here.
But then ... some of you may have started Keenan Allen. Yikes. You're in rough shape, and you need some help. That's where we come in. Let's take you into the weekend with the answers to some of our readers' biggest questions for Week 15.
We'll start with the biggest news from Friday: Beckham has been ruled out for Week 15's game against the Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, available on fuboTV). That's two weeks in a row without Beckham. Two of the biggest weeks of the Fantasy season, and you're without one of your biggest stars. If you're reading this, that means you survived one week without him already, and your best bet is to go with who got you through Week 15; in my case, that was Chris Carson, who slides once again into the flex spot for me.
In this specific instance, I don't think Robby Anderson is the answer. He's got upside, sure, thanks to his big-play ability, but he was also averaging just 11.6 yards per catch with no touchdowns in five games prior to last week. There's no good answer for replacing Beckham, but Sterling Shepard is probably the best you can do. Okay, he only had two catches in Week 15, but the Giants also had almost no reason to throw the ball in that one, and Shepard still led the team with six of Eli Manning's 22 targets. He's the No. 1 receiver here, and the Titans haven't exactly shone against wide receivers this season. He's your best bet.
Let's start with someone Fantasy owners are probably thinking a lot about this week: I'm starting Derrick Henry of this group. I don't think that's just an overreaction to his massive Week 14; maybe his massive Week 14 was just the long-awaited breakout. For the first 10 games of the season, Dion Lewis had out-touched Henry 158-118, and had even rushed the ball more often, flipping expectations. However, Henry has more carries in all three of the team's most recent games, and has now out-touched him in consecutive games, with 29 touches to Lewis' 23. Henry remains weirdly big-play dependent for such a bruising, physical runner, but he's also proven time and time again he's capable of doing just that. The Giants have allowed three 100-yard rushers in six games since trading Damon Harrison, so you have to prefer Henry in a game that should benefit the Titan's run game.
Elijah McGuire will be another hot topic this week, with Isaiah Crowell ruled out for Week 15 and beyond after being placed on I.R. McGuire hasn't exactly blown the doors off the place so far, averaging just 3.7 yards per carry (after putting up 3.6 ypc as a rookie). He's shown some playmaking chops as a receiver, but all told, the appeal for McGuire comes solely because of the opportunity. He should be in line for 15-plus touches for the Jets, making him a viable flex play, even against a tough Houston matchup.
However, I think Tyler Lockett is quite a bit more than just a flex play. I don't think his success in 2018 is wholly sustainable — he's been too touchdown dependent for my taste — but he's a big-play receiver who plays with a big-play quarterback who consistently elevates his receivers. The biggest knock on Lockett is that he doesn't get a ton of targets, but with Doug Baldwin banged up yet again, Lockett could get a few more opportunities thrown his way. I'm sticking with him.
Nick Foles represents such a difficult riddle for Fantasy players. Occasionally, he'll look brilliant; other times, he looks like he doesn't belong on an NFL field. We got more of the latter in his first stint as the Eagles' starter this season, and on the whole, the offense just hasn't looked as dynamic as last year, when Foles (somehow) won a Super Bowl. This offense may not miss a beat with Foles, but you probably have to factor in some kind of downgrade. And given how hard to rely on the likes of Nelson Agholor, Golden Tate, and Alshon Jeffery had been with Carson Wentz, I don't see how you can justify starting any of that trio with Foles.
Zach Ertz is, of course, a different story. He was targeted 23 times in Foles' two earlier starts, and is a must-start tight end in all circumstances.
I'm going with Jackson. Could he get benched for Flacco? I suppose it's possible, though that would require him playing poorly, and I just don't think that's going to happen in this matchup. They are a bottom-three NFL defense, and I don't see any reason they'll be able to bottle up a dynamic rusher like Jackson. They were gashed for 53 yards by Mitchell Trubisky earlier in the season, and I would put Cam Newton's disappointing showing a few weeks back more on his bum shoulder. Jackson has the chance to add to his typical rushing numbers with his best passing performance of the season. I'm riding with him for the big upside.
I keep thinking Golladay will be great, and he continues to disappoint. And, in Week 14, he finally stopped getting the kind of targets I expected to lead to big numbers, with just four of Matthew Stafford's 23 passes going his way. He's struggled with efficiency in recent weeks, and if you can't count on him for eight-plus targets, what can you expect? Samuel is definitely trending in the right direction, and has a matchup that should be conducive to more opportunities. I don't feel great about either, but Samuel gets the edge for me.
I think the answer to your question lies in the asking of it.
Is that too oblique? Okay, I'll simplify: You're asking to start one of three running backs, two of whom are on the same team. Do you think you can accurately predict how the Ravens will divvy up work in the backfield — i.e. who will get passing down's work, who will get the most carries, and who will get goal-line work?
If you do, great. Start that guy. Me? I'm not so confident. I could see Edwards having another big performance like we've seen, but I could just as easily see Dixon continue to steal work from him. The answer, then, is simple: Doug Martin, who gets a primo matchup and has actually run the ball quite well. It's an easy call.
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking quarterback could win you Week 15? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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