Lineup Prep: Week 15

Wed Dec 11 9:41am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Carson is a great play Week 15



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The regular season is over. Playoffs begin either this week or kicked off last week for all your teams. Either way, if you are reading this, you likely made the playoffs, so kudos to you for the big accomplishment. It is not easy to make it to the playoffs, which is the goal of every team when the season starts. Now the tough part is advancing. Good luck in all your leagues this week and hopefully you are still reading this column next week. 

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . . 

First off, lineup decisions are always tough for the playoffs. Two things I really look at when making a playoff lineup are players with high ceilings and consistency. Sometimes you have to take some chances to advance, especially if you have the inferior team. So taking a chance on a player with a high ceiling sometimes needs to happen if you want to advance. I also don’t like benching my studs. Go with the guys that got you here. I know those two things I said kind of contradict each other but there is a balance with the two. Hopefully, you can set that correct lineup in Week 15.  

I think before the season everyone wanted a top-four pick, so they could get one of the top four running backs. Well, that isn’t holding true anymore with Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley failing to live up to expectations. These two have been huge disappointments that have really surprised me all season. Neither is scoring touchdowns. And the only thing saving Kamara right now is his work in the passing game. His rushing numbers have been terrible - even in favorable matchups. Barkley has been similar in terms of rushing the ball, but isn’t getting quite the work in the passing game, making him a slightly bigger bust than Kamara. Either way, having either of these players has not been a positive to fantasy teams. 

So at this point, the only 49ers back I trust is Raheem Mostert. Who would have thought that early in the season? But that is the case now as he is producing the most consistent numbers and getting the job done on a weekly basis for fantasy teams. I would steer clear of Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. 

I’m really excited about the fantasy future of A.J. Brown. This guy is just a beast and going to be load to cover for the opposition. His combination of size and speed is going to make him a matchup nightmare. He reminds you a little of Anquan Boldin but with maybe a little more athleticism. I think the future is really bright for Brown. 

Enjoy the Jameis Winston show while you can because I’m not sure he is starting anywhere next year. He certainly has the talent but the turnovers are a real issue. Winston sure is a plus for fantasy teams, though. He is up to fourth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. He produces big weekly numbers in the Bucs pass-first offense. He gets the Lions and Texans to end the fantasy season, making him a great play the rest of this season. Enjoy it while you can!

I don’t think Tyler Higbee’s last two games are a fluke. He can help fantasy teams the rest of the way. The Rams are going heavy on the run and using play action a lot, giving Higbee plenty of weekly looks. I think this will be a trend the rest of the way for the Rams offense, especially since the team is having success with this way of attacking defenses. Higbee has a high ceiling the rest of this season. 

I mentioned last week that I was super impressed with the coaching job of Brian Flores in Miami. Well, I need to mention another great coaching job this week. Mike Tomlin has worked wonders with his team in Pittsburgh. They have all sorts of injuries offensively and keep finding  a way to win. It is pretty amazing, consider they are using their third-string quarterback and have  been without their No. 1 receiver and running back many weeks. I’m not sure how they are doing it. Kudos to Tomlin for keeping this team together. 

I was really impressed with Drew Lock last week. Maybe the Broncos have finally found their franchise quarterback. I know it was just a game but it was his second career start on the road against a team in playoff contention. Lock showed a lot. Now it will be interesting to see if he can build on that, going on the road in an even tougher matchup against the Chiefs. Either way, things seem to finally be looking up for the Broncos and their quarterback spot. Lock has the talent and moxie to be a solid NFL starter. 

As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 15 rankings

News and Notes: The Cowboys released kicker Brett Maher and signed Kai Forbath on Monday. Forbath will take over the kicking duties for the Cowboys going forward. Maher was a big disappointment this year, struggling much of the season. . . . .The Falcons signed cornerback Jamar Taylor on Tuesday. He gives the Falcons some depth at the cornerback position. . . . .The Colts signed receiver Dontrelle Inman on Tuesday. The team has a host of injuries at receiver right now, so Inman could work his way into the mix in a hurry. 

HOT PLAYS

Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. The Eagles are a complete mess at receiver right now, having all sorts of injuries at the position. That isn’t slowing Wentz, though. He has powered through and still produced for all his fantasy teams. He has two straight 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns each of those games. He is the offense right now and will need to carry the team again in Week 15, playing the Redskins. Washington allows the 14th most fantasy points to quarterbacks and 24 points per game.

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Rashaad Penny started to eat into Carson’s playing time the last few weeks, but that won’t be the case anymore with Penny done for the season. Carson was still producing well despite Penny getting more work, too. He had 91 total yards last week and hit the 100-yard rushing mark the previous game. He has five 100-yard games this season and has been very consistent because of a heavy weekly workload. He should get a big workout this week against the Panthers, a team 29th overall against the rush. Carolina allows the second most fantasy points to running backs.

Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods scored his first touchdown of the season last week, catching seven passes for 98 yards and a score. He also ran twice for 29 yards, giving him 128 total yards in the game. He has been red hot, ranking first overall in fantasy receiver scoring his last three games. He has been a huge volume play, getting a lot of weekly targets. He plays a Dallas team this week that couldn’t stop the Bears passing attack last week. Expect more of the same from Woods in Week 15.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans. Tannehill has been a huge surprise, posting consistent weekly numbers as the starter for the Titans. He has multiple touchdowns seven straight games. He also has 30-plus fantasy points two of three. He is fourth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring his last three games. The numbers don’t lie. Tannehill is a legit low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback right now. He gets the Texans this week, a team that has struggled stopping the pass this year. Houston is 27th against the pass and allow the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks. 

Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers. Mostert has emerged as the back to use in the 49ers offense. He has touchdowns threes straight and had multiple scores for the first time all season last week. He has more than 100 total yards two straight games and is fifth overall in fantasy running back scoring his last three. He should continue to get double-digit touches for the 49ers going forward. Mostert just keeps producing with his chances. He can do some damage this week against the Falcons, a team that allows 26 points per game. 

COLD PLAYS  

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Lions. Scarbrough has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy teams, having 70 or more total yards three straight games. The issue is he has double-digit fantasy points just once all year. He just doesn’t catch the ball, which holds back his fantasy value. If he doesn’t catch the ball once again this week, his numbers should be down once again. Scarbrough plays the Bucs, a team that has really clamped down on the run this year. Tampa is first overall against the rush, allowing just 76-rushing yards per game. 

James Washington, WR, Steelers. Washington cooled off last week despite a great matchup against the Cardinals. He caught four passes for 33 yards. This isn’t a huge surprise, though, because Washington hasn’t been getting a ton of targets. He has eight targets his last two games and has more than four receptions in just one game all year. He is a bit of a boom or bust play. He probably isn’t worth the risk this week against the Bills, a team that allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to receivers. 

Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bears. Trubisky is finally playing up to his potential. He has two straight three-touchdown games and multiple scores four of five games. He remains a risk, though, especially against better defenses and on the road. He gets both those things this week, playing at Green Bay. Trubisky opened the season against the Packers and failed to score a touchdown in that game. Green Bay allows the seventh fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Don't risk using Trubisky in this matchup. 

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets. Anderson has finally put it together lately, having two straight 100-yard games. He has more than 85 yards three straight games. But he played the Raiders, Bengals and Dolphins during that three-game stretch. Those are three of the worst pass defenses in all of football. Things get much tougher for him this week against the Ravens. Baltimore is ninth overall against the rush, allowing just 219-passing yards per game. Expect Anderson to come back down to earth in this matchup. 

Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens. Ingram got off to a great start this year, but his numbers have been down the last few weeks. He has fewer than 60-rushing yards four of five games. He is capable of the huge game in this explosive offense, so he is tough to sit any week. But you might want to consider sitting him this week against the Jets. New York is terrible against the pass but do well against the run, rankings second overall against the rush. The Jets have allowed fewer than 70-rushing yards five of six games. Ingram could be mediocre once again in this one. 

SLEEPERS  

David Njoku, TE, Browns. Njoku played his first game since breaking his wrist last week, catching a pass for four yards on three targets. He didn’t do much but played and was on the field for much of the game. His playing time should just increase going forward. He is a sneaky play this week against the Cardinals. Arizona has been awful stopping the tight end all season, allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends by a wide margin. Njoku is worth taking a chance on in Week 15 because of his high ceiling. 

Breshad Perriman, WR, Bucs. Perriman moves into a starting role for the Bucs with Mike Evans hurt. Perriman has 70 or more yards two straight games and has started to become a bigger factor in the offense even with Evans on the field. He has some potential going forward in the Bus pass-first offense, especially this week against the Lions. Detroit allows the ninth most fantasy points to receivers. Shutdown corner Darius Slay should cover Chris Godwin, meaning Perriman could get favorable coverages much of the game.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Derrius Guice is injured again. Shocking, right? Well, that leaves Peterson to get most of the work at running back again. And he is running well right now. He has touchdowns two straight and 75-plus rushing yards six of eight games. He has been pretty consistent all year, making him a player to consider using at the flex spot. He should get near 20 touches this week against the Eagles, a team allowing 23 points per game.

Allen Hurns, WR, Dolphins. Hurns had season highs last week, catching five passes for 68 yards. DeVante Parker suffered a concussion and could be out this week. If that happens, Hurns should be the go-to target for the Dolphins. This would be a good thing for Hurns, playing the Giants. New York allows the third most fantasy points to receivers and are 26th overall against the pass. 

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew was just alright in his return to the starting lineup last week, going 24-of-37 for 162 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t a great matchup against a pretty good Chargers secondary, though. Minshew can get it going this week against the Raiders. Remember, Minshew had 20-plus fantasy points six of his first eight games this year. He is more than capable of the big game in this offense. Oakland allows the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass. 

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Texans/Titans, Seahawks/Panthers, Browns/Cardinals, Rams/Cowboys.

Low Scoring Games: Bears/Packers, Bills/Steelers.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Green Bay Packers Jan 17 5:20pm ET

The Green Bay Packers Defense faces a tough task this weekend in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. In their regular-season meeting, the Packers gave up 37 points and only dropped Jimmy Garoppolo only three times. They also failed to generate any turnovers. Green Bay's defense may need to lend their offense a helping hand by creating a turnover or two to swing the field position game. If Za-Darius and Preston Smith can ramp up the pressure, the Packers will have a good chance of generating a turnover or two and winning the game. It certainly won't be easy, considering how formidable the 49ers offense has been this season.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Jan 17 3:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. Graham has back-to-back 49-year receiving performances, but those games came against teams that struggle to defend the tight end position. The 49ers are not one of those teams. They allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends all season and were the league's stingiest pass defense. Maybe Graham makes a play in the red zone. Still, he's a cheaper DFS play but by no means a comfortable one.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Jan 17 2:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (illness) is trending in the right direction to play in the NFC Championship game this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers. Even if available, Allison isn't an option in any fantasy format. The 25-year-old hasn't caught more than four passes in a game this season. It sure doesn't seem like he'll eclipse that mark against the league's best defense with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Jan 17 2:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (ankle) is currently questionable for the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. There's certainly a risk for injury, considering he re-aggravated the ankle in last week's playoff game. Still, it's hard to ignore the two-game stretch Lazard had to end the season, where he saw 17 targets. That alone makes him worth a gamble, particularly in a must-win game for a Packers team in desperate need of another threat at receiver. Just beware, the matchup isn't ideal. The 49ers allowed only 172 passing yards to the Vikings last week.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Jan 17 1:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams gets a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Adams produced only 43 receiving yards and a score against San Francisco in the regular season but still had 12 targets. The star receiver has seen double-digit targets in nine of 13 games played this year. There's not many receivers that you can virtually pencil in for double-digit targets- but Adams is one of them. If fellow receivers Geronimo Allison (illness) and Allen Lazard (ankle) suit up, they may be limited. Adams could be looking at more work than usual, even in a matchup this difficult.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Jan 17 1:30pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense enter Championship weekend as the highest-priced fantasy defense. The Niners face the Green Bay Packers, who they demolished 37-8 in Week 12. In that previous contest, the Niners relentlessly harassed future Hall of Famer quarterback Aaron Rodgers, dropping him five times and forcing a fumble. The Packers were a meager one for 15 on third down conversions. The 49ers will need to follow that blueprint again in the critical NFC Championship to emerge victorious. With a higher-intensity contest expected, it could be difficult to splurge on a defense in fantasy compared to other addressable positions.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Jan 17 1:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders both offer solid fantasy value in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Both players were limited to under 45 yards apiece in last weekends Divisional Round blowout but were featured early on when the game was still in question. The rookie Samuel has emerged as a consistent dual threat in the latter half of 2019 and is likelier the safer floor. Sanders, the savvy vet has proven himself as a reliable chain-mover with big-play potential. Against the Packers 10th-best pass defense by DVOA, either option seem primed to pop in Sundays winner-take-all battle.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Jan 17 1:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams will face off with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. Williams has been playing second fiddle to Aaron Jones quite a lot recently, as he hasn't seen double-digit carries since Week 13 against the Giants. It's worth noting that Williams played a large role in the regular-season game against the 49ers, which saw him rack up 18 touches. Green Bay very well could utilize Williams in spurts to keep San Francisco guessing, though his recent downtrend in usage makes him hard to trust.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Jan 17 12:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a reasonable DFS bet for Sundays NFC Championship matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Priced as the third-best quarterback, Jimmy G squares off against a strong Packers defensive line that ranked 12th-best in adjusted sack rate during the regular season. Garoppolo was not pressed into service in the Divisional Round blowout win, but will likely be tasked with a tougher test on Sunday. While the Niners have mostly ridden its dominant running game throughout the year, Garoppolo has answered the bell in multiple occasions with three four-touchdown games. With dangerous weapons surrounding him, Garoppolo shouldnt be ruled out in the biggest game of his career to-date.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Jan 17 12:30pm ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game this weekend. The 49ers Defense held Jones to just 38 rushing yards in their regular-season meeting. However, the star back has been playing some seriously good football in his last five games, with 501 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. He's also had 20-plus carries in three straight contests. Expect Green Bay to utilize Jones early and often in screens and runs to combat the 49ers mighty pass rush. Even if Jones doesn't pile up over 100 yards, his propensity to find the end zone and role in the passing game make him a safer play this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Jan 17 12:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The 49ers Defense held Rodgers to just 104 passing yards and one touchdown in their regular-season meeting. However, there are a couple things that are different ahead of this matchup. First, tackle Bryan Bulaga will play in this game after being injured in the first quarter against the 49ers previously. Rodgers should have better protection than he had when these teams met. Secondly, Rodgers himself is playing better football than he was during the regular season before this matchup. He has 566 passing yards and four touchdowns in his last two contests. There is also the added motivation of denying a Super Bowl berth to the team that could have drafted him. Play Rodgers on Sunday, despite the tough matchup.

From RotoBaller

Kendrick Bourne Jan 17 12:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is worth a gamble for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Bourne scored the only receiving touchdown for the Niners in the Divisional Round, adding to his 2019 resume as a legitimate red-zone threat. The third-year pro has just 33 catches this year, including the playoffs, but collected six scores. Despite his risks as a zero-floor fantasy option, Bourne has emerged as a trustworthy target in clutch situations.

From RotoBaller

Raheem Mostert Jan 17 11:40am ET

San Francisco 49ers running backs Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert are both bankable DFS options in Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. The two backs combined for 163 rushing yards in the Divisional Round, with Coleman riding a hot hand to two touchdowns. Considered a backup for the latter half of the regular season, Coleman played 46 percent of snaps last Sunday compared to Mosterts 34 percent. While the touch forecast for either back is cloudy, the Niners draw one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. The Packers ranked 23rd in rushing DVOA during the regular season with the second-worst defensive line in the league, yielding 4.96 adjusted yards per carry. With a likely floor of 10 touches for each Coleman and Mostert, both runners have great opportunities to make a splash.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Jan 17 11:30am ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle) was a full participant in Thursdays practice and should be fine for Sundays NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Kittle scared Niner Nation with soreness on the left ankle he chipped earlier this year, but confirms he feels fabulous. Kittle factored more as a blocker in last Sundays Divisional Round blowout but the Niners passed just 19 times. The All-Pro is an integral piece in all facets of the offense so is worth his premium TE1 price in DFS on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Danny Amendola Jan 17 1:13am ET

Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola is set to become an unrestricted free agent, but he's a 'prime candidate' to be re-signed, in the opinion of The Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Callaway Jan 16 6:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Callaway (Browns) signed with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL Thursday, Jan. 16.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Jan 16 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (illness) remained out of practice Thursday, Jan. 16.

Fantasy Spin: McCoy played just one offensive snap in last week's Divisional Round game against the Houston Texans. He's clearly behind RB Damien Williams and is no longer worth starting.

From TheHuddle

Morris Claiborne Jan 16 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Moore (illness) and DT Chris Jones (calf) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. DT Khalen Saunders (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), CB Kendall Fuller (knee), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (neck), C Austin Reiter (wrist) and G Andrew Wylie (ankle) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Marcedes Lewis Jan 16 5:33pm ET

Green Bay Packers DL Kenny Clark (back), TE Marcedes Lewis (non-injury), LB Preston Smith (ankle), FB Danny Vitale (knee) and CB Tramon Williams (non-injury) were limited participants in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. S Adrian Amos (chest), OT Bryan Bulaga (non-injury), WR Ryan Grant (non-injury), LB Blake Martinez (hand) and OL Billy Turner (ankle) practiced in full.

From TheHuddle

Travis Kelce Jan 16 5:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (knee) remained limited at practice Thursday, Jan. 16.

Fantasy Spin: Kelce earned a light practice week while catching 10 of 12 targets for 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. He's the week's top tight end option once against this week so long as he takes the field.

From TheHuddle