In seasonal fantasy football, matchups often boil down to which owner makes the right start/sit decisions. You can’t hold allegiances to projections or name recognition, you simply have to play the guys you think will wind up with the most fantasy points.
Here are the fringe options that might should be in your fantasy lineup in Week 15.
QB Lamar Jackson vs. TB
Named the official starter in Week 15 with Joe Flacco (hip) returning as a backup and situational threat, Lamar Jackson is safe enough to deploy in a juicy matchup. The Bucs defense has been horrific at every level, but is especially poor on the road. Tampa has yielded 18 passing TDs and a 137.2 passer rating while coughing up 39.8 PPG on the road this season. The Bucs Cover 2-based scheme leaves them vulnerable to the type of easy short completions that Jackson can make at this point in his career. And Tampa’s depleted LB corps ensures that he’ll be able to make plays as a runner.
RB Tevin Coleman vs. ARI
Tevin Coleman has been a big disappointment along with the rest of the Falcons offense in recent weeks, but needs to be considered as a great bet for a TD and solid yardage in this matchup. Arizona ranks 22nd in DVOA rush defense and has coughed up the most rushing TDs (16) to opposing RBs this season. Coleman averages a decent 4.3 YPC and an 80% catch rate at home this season and the Falcons were lighting it up at the Georgia Dome prior to facing two top 3 scoring defenses in the Cowboys and Ravens.
RB Jordan Howard vs. GB
As the weather gets colder, the Bears are turning into a true ground-and-pound team with a conservative approach to complement their league-leading defense. Jordan Howard turned in 101 yards on 19 carries in a win over the Rams stout defensive front and will now face a Packers team that lost its two best defensive linemen (Muhammad Wilkerson and Mike Daniels) and two run-stopping LBs (Nick Perry and Jake Ryan) for the season. Green Bay ranks 29th in DVOA rush defense as a result and is coughing up 4.6 YPC to opposing backs. Look for Chicago to lean on the run and short throws until Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) is fully healthy.
WR Curtis Samuel vs. NO
Hopefully you listened to us and started Curtis Samuel last week, benefiting from his 80-yard performance against the Browns. He’s clearly the 1B receiver behind D.J. Moore in a new-look Panthers passing attack that depends on short passes to compensate for Cam Newton’s bum shoulder. Samuel leads Carolina’s receivers with 19 targets over the past two weeks and has played on 88.6% of offensive snaps the last three weeks. The Saints have allowed the most receptions (193) and second-most receiving yards (2,668) to opposing WRs this season and should force the Panthers to throw throughout the game after Drew Brees dissects Carolina’s struggling secondary.
WR Josh Reynolds vs. PHI
With the Rams offense shut down, Josh Reynolds obviously didn’t turn in a very useful box score in Chicago last Sunday. But it’s noteworthy that he drew 7 targets and played on all 63 offensive snaps in that contest. The Eagles injury-depleted secondary has contained some elite WRs (Michael Thomas, Odell Beckahm Jr.) by adjusting their scheme. If Philly sends more resources towards Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Todd Gurley, Sean McVay will adjust and use his third WR to burn that overmatched unit. Playing at home is also clearly a huge boost.
TE Cameron Brate @ BAL
Last Sunday, Cameron Brate did what no other TE has accomplished by snaring multiple TD receptions against the Saints. In fact, only one other TE had caught a TD against New Orleans at all this season. Brate is clearly the preferred option for Jameis Winston in the red zone and he should be utilized against a Ravens team that ranks 26th in DVOA pass defense against his position, but is stout everywhere else. Baltimore has allowed the fourth-most receptions (73) and seventh-most receiving yards (858) to opposing TEs this season. What Brate lacks in consistent yardage, he more than makes up for with TD potential.