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Week 15 fantasy football matchups preview

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Houston Texans at New York Jets, 4:30 p.m. ET (Sat.), NFLN


Texans


Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Beware
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Keke Coutee: Beware
Demaryius Thomas: Sit
Ryan Griffin: Sleeper
Texans DST: Start

Houston's winning streak finally came to an end last week as the offense struggled to get anything going. On paper, the matchup against the Jets isn't terribly inspiring. Josh Allen's 100-yard rushing effort is an outlier but New York has still allowed decent rushing totals to mobile quarterbacks. That could bode well for Watson and the guys around him. It's still worth being cautious about starting Lamar Miller against a pretty good run defense. Keep an eye on Keke Coutee's injury status as Saturday approaches. He would be a welcomed return to the offense. Houston's defense is a solid play against the turnover prone Sam Darnold.

Jets


Sam Darnold: Sit
Elijah McGuire: Flex
Quincy Enunwa: Sit
Robby Anderson: Deep sleeper
Jermaine Kearse: Deep sleeper
Chris Herndon: Stream
Jets DST: Sit

The Jets have been far too inconsistent an outfit to truly trust in such an important week. New York's propensity to turn the ball over is an even bigger liability against such an aggressive defense. Elijah McGuire should see plenty of volume Isaiah Crowell being expected to miss time, but the matchup isn't the most favorable. The Gang Green receivers have been a difficult trio to figure out this year, though Chris Herndon has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy managers, as well as a franchise that has effectively punted on the position for about a decade. The Jets have an average fantasy defense going against a mediocre fantasy offense. "Meh" totals can be expected across the board.

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos, 8:20 p.m. ET (Sat.), NFLN


Browns


Baker Mayfield: Sit
Nick Chubb: Flex
Jarvis Landry: Flex
Antonio Callaway: Sit
Rashard Higgins: Sit
David Njoku: Stream
Browns DST: Sit

Baker Mayfield has shown us that he can take advantage of good matchups but is still a work in progress against bad ones. This is a bad one. Things might not be as bleak for the receivers with Chris Harris, Jr. out of the lineup. Things might even be a little better for David Njoku since Denver is allowing a lot of catches to tight ends recently. Either way, Nick Chubb gets a crack at a run defense that has known to give up yards on occasion. The Denver offense isn't super terrifying but neither is the Cleveland defense. You can find a better streaming option for the week.

Broncos


Case Keenum: Sit
Phillip Lindsay: Start
Royce Freeman: Sleeper
Courtland Sutton: Flex
DaeSean Hamilton: Deep sleeper
Tim Patrick: Deep sleeper
Matt LaCosse: Deep sleeper
Broncos DST: Start

Case Keenum hasn't been truly startable all season long and there's little reason to think things will significantly turn around this week. That lack of production has spread to Denver's receivers with Courtland Sutton becoming a worrisome option in an average matchup. Outside of deep leagues, there are no other Broncos pass-catchers worthy of consideration. Phillip Lindsay's magical rookie season should continue. Royce Freeman is still getting work and could find the end zone, giving him some sleeper potential. Denver's defense has been a top five fantasy unit this season and should continue to be started.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Packers


Aaron Rodgers: Start
Aaron Jones: Beware
Davante Adams: Start
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Sit
Jimmy Graham: Sit
Packers DST: Stream

The Packers offense looked better last week but how much of that was by virtue of facing the Falcons defense? This week should provide a truer test with a Bears side that shut down the Rams last week. Nonetheless, it's hard to sit Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones or Davante Adams. Be aware that the final totals might not be as pretty as you'd like. It's hard to advocate starting any other Packers against Chicago -- including The Shadow of Jimmy Graham. Green Bay's defense should get a look as a streamer considering Mitchell Trubisky's tendency to sail throws into the defense.

Bears


Mitchell Trubisky: Sleeper
Tarik Cohen: Flex
Jordan Howard: Beware
Allen Robinson: Flex
Anthony Mitchell: Sleeper
Taylor Gabriel: Deep sleeper
Trey Burton: Sleeper
Bears DST: Start

The Trial and Travails of Trubisky might be too much of a rollercoaster for fantasy managers to want to deal with. That's understandable with a quarterback that's just as likely to give four points as he is to give you 24. Tarik Cohen has been the only Bears offensive player that has offered some measure of stability. The Packers secondary has struggled this year, which puts Chicago's pass-catchers -- notably Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller -- into play. You are forgiven if you've given up on Trey Burton this year. Starting the Bears defense this season has become a no-brainer.

Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Lions


Matthew Stafford: Sit
LeGarrette Blount: Sit
Theo Riddick: Deep sleeper
Zach Zenner: Sit
Kenny Golladay: Beware
T.J. Jones: Sit
Lions DST: Sit

It wasn't all that long ago that the Lions had decent fantasy options. But losing Marvin Jones and Keryron Johnson appear to be too much. Kenny Golladay has been slowed amid the extra attention he's getting from secondaries and Matthew Stafford isn't helping anyone in the passing game. The Bills defense has done a good job clamping down on the run. That's bad news for LeGarrette Blount. Detroit's defense hasn't done enough to warrant a Week 15 start.

Bills


Josh Allen: Stream
LeSean McCoy: Beware
Robert Foster: Sleeper
Zay Jones: Deep sleeper
Charles Clay: Sit
Bills DST: Stream

The biggest mystery in the Buffalo offense is whether Josh Allen can continue eating up rushing yards at his current pace. If not, the rest of the Bills offense, such as it is, likely comes crashing down. Robert Foster and Zay Jones have had some nice sleeper weeks but they've been too difficult to predict due to a quarterback still finding himself as a passer. The Bills defense is worth streaming against a moribund Lions defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Buccaneers


Jameis Winston: Sit
Peyton Barber: Sit
Mike Evans: Beware
Chris Godwin: Sit
Adam Humphries: Sit
Cameron Brate: Stream
Buccaneers DST: Sit

The Bucs had been a surprising source of fantasy goodness this year but with the Ravens this week and the Cowboys next week, that run might be over. Only the bravest (or most desperate) among us would consider rolling Jameis Winston out against this Baltimore defense. It might be tough to sit Mike Evans, but his totals could be muted. Likewise, it's difficult to consider either Chris Godwin or Adam Humphries this week. Cameron Brate retains some value as an end zone target facing a defense that has had its problems against tight ends. The Bucs defense hasn't been startable all season. It still isn't.

Ravens


Lamar Jackson: Stream
Gus Edwards: Flex
Kenneth Dixon: Flex
John Brown: Sleeper
Michael Crabtree: Deep sleeper
Willie Snead: Deep sleeper
Mark Andrews: Deep sleeper
Ravens DST: Start

Lamar Jackson is officially the Ravens starting quarterback and should find his way into plenty of fantasy lineups with a good matchup this week. Both Ravens running backs have a chance to produce but will likely cut into each other's opportunities. It was good to see John Brown catch a touchdown last week. Hopefully it was foreshadowing what is to come this week in a favorable matchup. The rest of Baltimore's pass-catchers have been too unpredictable to feel comfortable with. The Ravens defense has been too good to avoid.

Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Cardinals


Josh Rosen: Sit
David Johnson: Start
Larry Fitzgerald: Flex
Trent Sherfield: Deep sleeper
J.J. Nelson: Deep sleeper
Ricky Seals-Jones: Sit
Cardinals DST: Stream

This season has been a struggle for anyone starting David Johnson but this week's matchup is squarely in his favor. He should see the ball plenty as both a runner and receiver. Losing Christian Kirk hasn't made a major impact on Larry Fitzgerald's productivity but we were introduced to Trent Sherfield last week. Still, neither is worth starting in your fantasy lineup in Week 15. Add to that list J.J. Nelson or Ricky Seals-Jones. The Falcons' inconsistency on offense gives Arizona some cred as a streaming option.

Falcons


Matt Ryan: Beware
Tevin Coleman: Flex
Ito Smith: Sit
Julio Jones: Start
Calvin Ridley: Flex
Mohamed Sanu: Flex
Austin Hooper: Stream
Falcons DST: Stream

Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been the epitome of inconsistency over the past month, but he's a difficult player to sit because of his potential ceiling. The same goes for Julio Jones, who should always be in your lineup (in case you were somehow confused). Starting Calvin Ridley or Mohamed Sanu is more of a questionable gambit. If there's ever a week for Tevin Coleman to be resurrected, this is it. That would also apply, to a lesser extent, to Ito Smith although there's not really enough room for two running backs to eat. Austin Hooper's status for the week doesn't look promising. Then again, his prospects for producing this week are equally uncertain. There haven't been many chances to use the Falcons defense but a matchup against the worst offense in the league might be one of them.

Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Raiders


Derek Carr: Stream
Doug Martin: Flex
Jalen Richard: Sleeper
Jordy Nelson: Deep sleeper
Seth Roberts: Deep sleeper
Jared Cook: Start
Raiders DST: Sit

Very quietly, the Raiders have played improved football in the past month. Derek Carr has been part of that, thanks to his lack of turnovers. This week against a bad Bengals defense is a chance to keep that streak going -- at least as a streaming option. The problem is that Carr's success hasn't necessarily translated to one particular wide receiver. Instead, Jared Cook remains Oakland's only reliable pass-catcher. Doug Martin should find his way into plenty of lineups as a flex option against one of the worst run defenses in the league. The Raiders defense isn't great but if you are out of options, they could be a streaming choice.

Bengals


Jeff Driskel: Sit
Joe Mixon: Start
Tyler Boyd: Flex
John Ross: Sleeper
C.J. Uzomah: Stream
Bengals DST: Sit

There hasn't been much about the Bengals offense to get anyone excited over the past few weeks. But a matchup against the Raiders should offer hope for Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd -- the latter of which has been fairly absent for fantasy managers since A.J. Green went down with an injury. Oakland has struggled against tight ends, which should bring C.J. Uzomah back into our lives for at least a week. It's still not worth starting the Bengals defense, though.

Tennessee Titans at New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Titans


Marcus Mariota: Beware
Derrick Henry: Flex
Dion Lewis: Flex
Corey Davis: Flex
Taywan Taylor: Deep sleeper
Tajae Sharpe: Deep sleeper
Titans DST: Sit

It appears that the Titans have returned to their Exotic Smashmouth roots -- good news for anyone chasing the points with Derrick Henry. Not so much if you're thinking of relying on Dion Lewis. Either way, the distribution of labor means both should be considered for flex starts. Marcus Mariota should only be an option in deep or two-quarterback leagues. Jonnu Smith is a viable streamer against a defense that has been average against tight ends. Tennessee's wide receivers are more risk than reward, with Corey Davis having the greatest upside. The Titans defense hasn't been good enough to warrant taking a chance on it in your semi-final.

Giants


Eli Manning: Sit
Saquon Barkley: Start
Sterling Shepard: Flex
Russell Shepard: Deep sleeper
Evan Engram: Start
Giants DST: Sit

The news that Odell Beckham, Jr. will miss another game will have a ripple effect across the Giants offense. Eli Manning was already a questionable start and now becomes nearly impossible to trust without his most reliable receiver. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram will be expected to pick up the slack but both have limited ceilings. Saquon should continue producing as he always has and should be in your lineup without any consternation. The Giants defense is a no-go this week.

Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Dolphins


Ryan Tannehill: Sit
Kenyan Drake: Flex
Frank Gore: Sleeper
Brandon Bolden: Sit
Kenny Stills: Sit
Danny Amendola: Sit
Dolphins DST: Stream

Last week's spectacular finish was a lot of fun -- especially if you started Kenyan Drake -- but it's hard to imagine it translating into big performances against a much better defense. The otherwise mediocre Ryan Tannehill should be avoided, as should his pass-catchers. Drake always has potential, if he can see enough touches (never a sure thing). There's always a chance for Frank Gore to produce but you'd have to be bold enough to start him. Considering the state of Minnesota's offensive line and Kirk Cousins' lackluster production, the Dolphins could be a streaming option in deeper leagues.

Vikings


Kirk Cousins: Stream
Dalvin Cook: Start
Latavius Murray: Sleeper
Adam Thielen: Start
Stefon Diggs: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Stream
Vikings DST: Start

Kirk Cousins hasn't been the fantasy quarterback we wanted him to be and the Dolphins pass defense isn't the most forgiving. It's wise to consider other options. That shouldn't scare you away from starting either Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs, who have succeeded in one of the NFL's most concentrated passing games. Dalvin Cook should definitely start against a poor Dolphins run defense. Kyle Rudolph has underwhelmed but should get consideration versus Miami.

Washington Redskins at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Redskins


Josh Johnson: Sit
Adrian Peterson: Sit
Chris Thompson: Deep sleeper
Josh Doctson: Sit
Vernon Davis: Deep sleeper
Redskins DST: Sit

This offense is a mess from top to bottom. It's hard to envision a scenario in which anyone in Washington's offense helped lead you to the second week of the fantasy playoffs. It's even hard to imagine a scenario in which anyone in this group pushes you to a fantasy championship game. It's better to avoid this offense in nearly all circumstances.

Jaguars


Cody Kessler: Sit
Leonard Fournette: Start
T.J. Yeldon: Sleeper
Donte Moncrief: Deep sleeper
Dede Westbrook: Sleeper
Keelan Cole: Deep sleeper
Jaguars DST: Start

Jacksonville's offense doesn't scare too many people ... but against a bad Washington defense, there are some pieces worth looking at. Leonard Fournette is nearly a must-start this week while Dede Westbrook has value against a secondary that has been awful against slot receivers. With Washington down to its fourth quarterback, the Jaguars defense should be a popular starting option this week. Every other Jaguar should be started at your own peril.

Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Cowboys


Dak Prescott: Start
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Amari Cooper: Start
Cole Beasley: Beware
Michael Gallup: Sleeper
Blake Jarwin: Deep sleeper
Cowboys DST: Start

The Dallas offense has been a renewed unit since Amari Cooper landed on the roster. At this point, it's hard to recommend sitting any of the Cowboys' big three offensive players but it's worth noting that the Colts defense is far from a pushover. Indy has allowed the seventh-fewest passing yards since Week 7. It could take a bite out of Cooper's production and makes it very hard to start any of Dallas' other pass-catchers. You can start Ezekiel Elliott as normal. The Colts offense is tough at home but the Cowboys defense is worth starting as one of the stronger units in fantasy.

Colts


Andrew Luck: Start
Marlon Mack: Sit
T.Y. Hilton: Beware
Chester Rogers: Sit
Ryan Grant: Sit
Eric Ebron: Start
Colts DST: Stream

Andrew Luck has returned to the ranks of top-tier fantasy quarterbacks but is facing one of his toughest tests with a hot Cowboys defense. Nonethless, it's hard to imagine you have better options on your roster. On the flipside, Marlon Mack is a no-go this week against a top run defense. Keep an eye on T.Y. Hilton's injury status. If he plays, he's worth a spot in your lineup. The only other Colts pass-catcher worth starting is Eric Ebron, who is making a bid to be one of the best waiver picks of the year. Indy's defense has been better than expected but is only a stream at best.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX


Seahawks


Russell Wilson: Start
Chris Carson: Start
Rashaad Penny: Sleeper
Mike Davis: Deep sleeper
Tyler Lockett: Start
Doug Baldwin: Flex
David Moore: Sleeper
Nick Vannett: Stream
Seahawks DST: Start

Last week was not a good week to start Russell Wilson. This should be a much better week to start Russell Wilson. By acclimation, it should also be a better week to start Tyler Lockett. The rest of Seattle's pass-catchers are more of a mixed bag due to Seattle's run-heavy offense and inconsistent production during the year. The running backs, led by Chris Carson, should inspire more confidence this week. Seattle's defense isn't what it once was but should find a way to produce against an uneven 49ers offense.

49ers


Nick Mullens: Stream
Matt Breida: Beware
Jeff Wilson: Deep sleeper
Marquise Goodwin: Sleeper
Dante Pettis: Flex
George Kittle: Start
49ers DST: Sit

Over the past couple of weeks, Dante Pettis has emerged as a worthwhile fantasy option and should get flex consideration this week. Marquise Goodwin has offered a high ceiling but a low floor. Fantasy managers should plan accordingly. Nick Mullens had a nice game against the Seahawks in Week 13 and should be considered a streamer yet again. Matt Breida is worth a spot in your lineup if he plays, otherwise Jeff Wilson is ready to roll again. George Kittle has become an upper echelon tight end this week who should never leave your lineup. The Niners defense, on the other hand? You can do better.

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS


Patriots


Tom Brady: Start
James White: Flex
Sony Michel: Flex
Julian Edelman: Start
Josh Gordon: Start
Chris Hogan: Deep sleeper
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Sit

In a game that could feature a lot of offense, Tom Brady and his merry band of pass-catchers should find their way into plenty of lineups. Similarly, both James White and Sony Michel should get a look from fantasy managers but the return of Belitricks has struck fear into plenty of people. Rob Gronkowski is looking as healthy as he's been for much of the season and once again is a confident start. With the Steelers offense on the docket, New England's defense is one to avoid.

Steelers


Ben Roethlisberger: Start
James Conner: Beware
Jaylen Samuels: Sleeper
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Start
Vance McDonald: Stream
Steelers DST: Sit

Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with an injury ... which means he's primed for a huge game this week. But seriously, the Steelers are likely to rely on their quarterback's right arm yet again in a must-win game. Look for plenty of targets to both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster this week. Vance McDonald also has some streaming appeal at tight end. James Conner is making a bid to return from injury, which would have a major impact on Jaylen Samuels' usage rates. The Patriots offense doesn't give up many sacks or giveaways, which could make the Steelers a tough start.

Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC


Eagles


Nick Foles: Sit
Josh Adams: Flex
Alshon Jeffery: Sit
Golden Tate: Sit
Nelson Agholor: Sit
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Sit

The Eagles offense had been trending the wrong direction for weeks but the injury to Carson Wentz and a matchup with a Rams team coming off a loss makes this group nearly universally unstartable. Nick Foles returns to the lineup and isn't going to inspire much confidence in a wide receiver group that has underwhelmed since adding Golden Tate several weeks ago. Zach Ertz retains some value as the top target in the offense. Josh Adams is worth a flex start based on volume and facing a lackluster run defense. Avoid the Eagles defense against Sean McVay's offense.

Rams


Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Robert Woods: Start
Brandin Cooks: Start
Josh Reynolds: Sleeper
Gerald Everett: Sleeper
Rams DST: Start

Forget the weather ... what will really help the Rams this week is not having to face the Bears defense. Instead, Los Angeles gets a Philly stop until that has been hampered by injuries in the secondary. That might be all this offense needs to get back on track. All of L.A.'s main skill position players should be in your lineup this week with Gerald Everett getting some sleeper attention. Starting the Rams defense against Nick Foles feels like one of the easier calls of the week.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, 8:15 p.m. ET (Mon.), ESPN


Saints


Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mark Ingram: Flex
Michael Thomas: Start
Tre'Quan Smith: Sleeper
Keith Kirkwood: Sleeper
Benjamin Watson: Stream
Saints DST: Sit

This should be a get-right week for a Saints offense that has sputtered since Thanksgiving. Drew Brees should be able to pick apart a passing defense that has been vulnerable for weeks. That means plenty of targets for Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara with the potential for some of New Orleans' peripheral pass-catchers to find some work as well. Mark Ingram might find it tough going against a stout Panthers run defense. With the Panthers offense struggling to find consistency, the Saints defense is a quality start this week.

Panthers


Cam Newton: Beware
Christian McCaffrey: Start
Devin Funchess: Beware
D.J. Moore: Sleeper
Curtis Samuel: Sleeper
Ian Thomas: Sleeper
Panthers DST: Sit

Carolina's offense has gone south as Cam Newton's shoulder appears to be deteriorating. That will have a definite impact on the guys catching passes in the offense. Devin Funchess has been a disappointment for much of the season while D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel have a tough matchup against the Saints secondary. Ian Thomas has become a streaming option in recent weeks with a quarterback struggling to push the ball downfield. You can avoid the Panthers defense.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who could use a mani-pedi. Send him your self-care grooming wishes via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, and Instagram.

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