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Fantasy football Week 15: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em

Allow Sosa to help guide you through Week 15 of your Fantasy Football season.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 kicks off tonight with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets going at it. The Ravens look to clinch the AFC North title while the Jets look to, well, do nothing like usual at this time of year.

At this point in the year, your fantasy leagues are likely somewhere in the playoff race, making it of the utmost importance to correctly select players.

Let’s get into the starts and sits and good luck!


Start ‘Em:

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield vs. Arizona Cardinals

Mayfield is coming off two weak performances in his past two contests, though his schedule eases up considerably as the Cardinals allow the most points per game to opposing QB’s. The Cardinals are also ranked 29th in pass defense DVOA and 30th in yards-per-pass attempt allowed (YPA). The status of WR Odell Beckham Jr. is worrisome, but Mayfield has enough weapons to work with to put together a strong performance against a truly terrible pass defense.

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Atlanta Falcons

Jimmy G has been inconsistent in recent weeks as he’s either erupted for 18+ points or scored 11 points or less. This week, Jimmy G gets the Falcons which allow the 4th most points per game to opposing QB’s and are ranked 26th by pass defense DVOA and 27th by YPA allowed. Garoppolo is a good bet to have one of his productive weeks against the weak Falcons pass defense.

Other potential starts: Tom Brady vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Gardner Minshew vs. Oakland Raiders

Sit ‘Em:

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold vs. Baltimore Ravens

Darnold had an incredible stretch between Weeks 10 through 12, but he’s slowed down considerably in his past two contests. The Ravens boast an incredible pass defense that allows the 2nd fewest points per game to opposing QB’s and is ranked 3rd in pass defense DVOA and 7th in YPA allowed. I’d look elsewhere as Darnold is slated to play on Thursday Night Football.

Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. San Francisco 49ers

Ryan is generally a consistent and steady quarterback, but his matchup this week against the 49ers is brutal. The 49ers allow the 8th fewest points per game to opposing QB’s and are ranked 2nd in pass defense DVOA and 1st in YPA allowed. Ryan also lost WR Calvin Ridley to a season-ending injury this week, lessening his weaponry.

Other potential sits: Josh Allen vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Mitch Trubisky vs. Green Bay Packers

Running Back

Start ‘Em:

Oakland Raiders RB’s Josh Jacobs/DeAndre Washington vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

I listed both Raiders’ running backs here as we aren’t sure which will draw the start and handle majority of the work, but either is a great play this week. If Jacobs is cleared and active, roll with him. If he isn’t, feel free to start Washington as he comes off an incredible 21-point performance. The Jaguars allow the 2nd most points per game to opposing RB’s and are ranked 31st in both run defense DVOA and YPC allowed.

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Lindsay is the most productive running back in the Broncos’ backfield, so he’s the one I’d ride with this week against the weak run defense of the Chiefs. The Chiefs allow the 3rd most points per game to opposing RB’s and are ranked 30th in both run defense DVOA and YPC allowed.

Other potential starts: David Montgomery vs. Green Bay Packers, Sony Michel vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sit ‘Em:

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon vs. New England Patriots

Mixon is coming off the best two-week stretch of his entire season, making it quite hard to bench him at this point. I understand if you choose to ride with him as he’s begun to reach the endzone lately, scoring in three of his past four games. But the Patriots allow the least amount of points per game to opposing RB’s and are ranked 6th in run defense DVOA and 15th in YPC allowed. I also don’t believe the Bengals’ pass offense will have a ton of success, meaning they may not even give Mixon a chance to score an easy touchdown once entering the redzone.

Detroit Lions RB Bo Scarbrough vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If you scooped Scarbrough off the waiver wire a few weeks back, well done. He’s been a productive runner simply due to volume. The issue is the rib injury he sustained coupled with the incredibly tough matchup against the Buccaneers. The Bucs allow the 2nd fewest points per game to opposing RB’s and are ranked 1st in run defense DVOA and 2nd in YPC allowed.

Other potential sits: Devonta Freeman vs San Francisco 49ers, Adrian Peterson vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Wide Receiver

Start ‘Em:

Washington Redskins WR Terry McLaurin vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Scary Terry is hard to trust at this point simply due to ineffective QB play from rookie Dwayne Haskins, but they’re slowly beginning to get on the same page — which is strange as both played college football at Ohio State. Anyways, McLaurin eviscerated the Eagles in their Week 1 matchup — albeit with Case Keenum at QB — scoring 23.50 points and leaving more (another long touchdown) on the field due to overthrows. The Eagles allow the 2nd most points per game to opposing WR’s and are ranked 16th in pass defense DVOA and 18th in YPA allowed.

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry vs. Arizona Cardinals

When talking about steady production and consistency, Landry is among the first names to come up as he’s managed to score double-digit points in all of his past seven games. His matchup is a great one as the Cardinals allow the 6th most points per game to opposing WR’s while also benefiting from a generally bad pass defense, which is the same scenario for Mayfield. Landry looks to be Mayfield’s top option as a receiver, earning him a place on this list.

Other potential starts: Darius Slayton vs. Miami Dolphins, DeVante Parker vs. New York Giants (*If healthy*)

Sit ‘Em:

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson vs. Buffalo Bills

Johnson is coming off a 25.60-point explosion in Week 14 (hello, Cardinals), but I wouldn’t suggest playing him this week as his matchup against the Bills is an incredibly tough one. The Bills allow the 2nd fewest amount of points per game to opposing WR’s and are ranked 5th in pass defense DVOA and 3rd in YPA allowed.

Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks vs. Dallas Cowboys

Is it time to put out an APB for Mr. Cooks? Since returning from yet another concussion, Cooks hasn’t seen more than four targets in any game, hasn’t crossed 33 yards receiving in any game, hasn’t scored in any game, and is coming off a Week 14 contest in which he only played 39% of the offensive snaps. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the Cowboys allow the 8th fewest points per game to opposing WR’s.

Other potential sits: Tyler Boyd vs. New England Patriots, Allen Lazard vs. Green Bay Packers

Tight End

Start ‘Em:

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen vs. Seattle Seahawks

First things first, ensure Olsen is good to go as he’s currently recovering from a concussion he sustained in Week 13. The tight end position is scarce this season, particularly at this point in the year. Olsen gets a nice matchup in the Seahawks which allow the 3rd most points per game to opposing TE’s, evidenced by the shredding they took last week by Tyler Higbee of the Rams.

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle vs. New Orleans Saints

Doyle has been inconsistent lately, but he’s a good play with Eric Ebron on injured reserve. The Saints aren’t a great matchup as they allow the 13th fewest points per game to opposing TE’s, but Doyle should see a good amount of volume.

Other potential starts: David Njoku vs. Arizona Cardinals, Tyler Higbee vs. Dallas Cowboys

Sit ‘Em:

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert vs. New England Patriots

The Patriots are good at everything defensively. Even though they aren’t elite against tight ends like they are everywhere else, they still allow the 10th fewest points per game to opposing TE’s. I wouldn’t trust anyone on the Bengals this week.

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten vs. Los Angeles Rams

Not only does Witten move like he’s ready to install an acorn stair lift in his house, but the matchup against the Rams isn’t a good one. The Rams allow the 8th fewest points per game to opposing TE’s.

Other potential sits: Vance McDonald vs. Buffalo Bills, Dawson Knox vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Start ‘Em:

Philadelphia Eagles D/ST vs. Washington Redskins

The Redskins score the least amount of points per game with only 14.5. They’re awful and rookie QB Dwayne Haskins is mistake-prone. The Eagles are going to live in the backfield of the Redskins.

Baltimore Ravens D/ST vs. New York Jets

The Jets aren’t good offensively as they rank 29th in PPG. That matches up perfectly with the Ravens as they’re one of the best defenses in football since acquiring CB Marcus Peters prior to the trade deadline.

Other potential starts: New England Patriots D/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills D/ST vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit ‘Em:

Tennessee Titans D/ST vs. Houston Texans

The Titans are a great defensive option in Fantasy Football, but they oppose the almighty Deshaun Watson this week. The Titans have scored defensive touchdowns in back-to-back games. You should expect to see some regression in that area, potentially as early as this week.

Denver Broncos D/ST vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Broncos are coming off a strong 15-point performance against the Texans in Week 14, but the Chiefs are a different animal offensively. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this defense shutting down QB Patrick Mahomes and his bevy of weapons.

Other potential sits: Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs. Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts D/ST vs. New Orleans Saints