(Image credit: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)
By: Jett Rosenstein
It is week 15 of the NFL season and for many fantasy owners, it is now the start of the fantasy playoffs. It has been a wild and entertaining regular season, but your job isn’t done just yet. The next step is to bring home a fantasy championship. In this article, I get you all of the information you need to know to pick up a win in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
QB Justin Fields (CHI)
For some, it is going to be very difficult to rely on a player that has been extremely inconsistent throughout the season, but for those willing to take the risk, Justin Fields is set up to have a nice game in Week 15. He will face off against a Vikings defense that is allowing the 4th most points to opposing QBs. Fields has also performed very well as of late. He has put together 3 top 10 performances in his last 4 games. If you are hurting at the QB position, Fields presents a ton of upside and could help you pick up a win.
RB Devonta Freeman (BAL)
2X Pro-Bowler Devonta Freeman has seemingly found a home in Baltimore and has consequentially resurrected his career. He is now the leader of the Ravens backfield and the numbers back it up. He has had at least 15 touches in the last 4 games. Now, the matchup against the Packers isn’t an exciting one, but with the potential for Lamar Jackson to be hindered due to injury, the Ravens may choose to lean on Freeman a little more. Fire him up as a solid RB2.
WR Devante Parker (MIA)
It was just announced that rookie WR Jaylen Waddle tested positive for COVID-19, so he may be in danger of missing the upcoming game against the Jets. If that is the case, Devante Parker is set up to have a big day. While he has had to fight off the injury bug all year, Parker should receive a ton of volume with some of his fellow teammates most likely not being able to suit up in this one. On top of that, it is a great matchup against a Jets team that while statistically has slowed down opposing WRs, they are overall not a great team.
RB Chuba Hubbard (CAR)
Last week, Hubbard saved his fantasy day by scoring a touchdown, but other than that he was playing second fiddle to Ameer Abdullah as the Panthers were trailing for most of the game. It will most likely be much of the same as the Panthers face off against the Bills. While the Bills have been susceptible to the run at times, the Panthers will be playing catchup and Hubbard is rarely used as a pass-catching back.
WR Marquise Brown (BAL)
Marquise Brown got off to a fast start at the beginning of the season but has cooled off since then. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since week 7 and hasn’t finished higher than WR27 in PPR formats. On top of that, his QB is a little banged up which could hinder his production once again. Brown has probably been one of the reasons you may have gotten to the playoffs, but I would temper expectations in a game where all the factors are not favoring a big game from Brown.
WR Jerry Jeudy (DEN)
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Jerry Jeudy all throughout the offseason, but it just has not seemed to materialize. After being quite productive in week 1, he went down with an injury and since returning, he hasn’t been anything great. He hasn’t finished higher than WR21 and a lot of this is due to Teddy Bridgewater hindering his upside. He is going to be very hard to rely on in the fantasy playoffs as the Broncos are a run-first team that isn’t going to have to sling the ball a bunch of times. Stay away!
DEFENSIVE STREAMS (owned in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues)
1. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team (37% owned in Yahoo leagues)
Surprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagles are widely available all throughout Yahoo Fantasy Football leagues. In week 15, they have a great matchup against an ailing Washington Football Team. Taylor Heinicke is expected to play but is banged up. Their #1 WR, Terry McLaurin is also dealing with a concussion and his status is up in the air. The Cowboys defense just feasted on this team and I expect much of the same from Philadelphia. If you missed out on some of the higher-end options, go give Philadelphia a look.
2. Cleveland Browns vs. Las Vegas Raiders (50% owned in Yahoo leagues)
The Cleveland Browns are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak throughout their team, but Myles Garrett and the rest of the defense should have a productive day against a Raiders team that just got dismantled by the Chiefs. Derek Carr has had a turnover in all but 4 games this year so the Browns should be able to put some pressure on the veteran QB and have a productive fantasy outing.
3. Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears (39% owned in Yahoo leagues)
Up above, I talked about how Justin Fields is primed for a solid outing against the Minnesota Vikings. However, that doesn’t mean he still isn’t a great target for opposing defenses. Fields is still a rookie and has had issues with holding onto the ball at times. He has more INTs than TDs on the season. The Bears are also allowing the 7th most points to opposing defenses. The Bears are not an explosive offense by all means so, despite the fact the Vikings don’t have a great defense, to begin with, they are a reasonable streaming option.
PLAYERS TO STASH
The RB position is most susceptible to injury, but with there being an outbreak of COVID, rostering handcuffs is becoming more and more important. Guys like Mattison, Dillon, and Pollard are most likely rostered in all leagues as they should be. However, some guys like Ronald Jones, Samaje Perine, or Devontae Booker aren’t as highly rostered. Having these guys in the event that their teammates go down would give you a huge competitive advantage over your league mates.
Los Angeles Chargers Defense
If the Chargers defense is still sitting on your waiver wire, I highly advise you to pick them up. While they are far from playable for their matchup against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, they face off against the Houston Texans in Week 16. So if you are fortunate enough to make it to the next round or already have a bye, the Chargers defense is a great defensive stream in a terrific matchup.
ONE THING BEFORE I GO…
Some people may have not been fortunate enough to make the fantasy playoffs this year and that is okay. You may have suffered from bad luck, injuries, or whatever the case may be. It just wasn’t your year. But, it is important to understand what you did right and what you did wrong, so you can learn from it and come back even stronger next year. For those still fighting for a championship, don’t overthink any decisions you are trying to make. Roll with the players that you got you here and hope for the best. In the end, we all do this for fun, so enjoy all of the games, and best of luck in the fantasy playoffs!