Fantasy Football

Michael F. Florio's Week 15 fantasy football matchups

Best QB Matchups

Jared Goff vs Jets: This is the best matchup a QB can have as of late. The Jets have allowed the last six QBs they've faced to finish as a top-eight fantasy QB. They've also allowed the most fantasy PPG to QBs in that span. The lone concern for Goff is that the Rams jump out to a big lead and simply just start grinding out the clock with Cam Akers. But still, to jump out to that big lead, Goff will need to put up some numbers. The yardage is never an issue for Goff, but the touchdowns have been. This week he has a great opportunity to put up big numbers.

Lamar Jackson vs Jaguars: Is the 2019 Lamar Jackson finally back? He had two favorable matchups the past two weeks and took advantage of both going off for 26 and a season-high 35 fantasy points. Hopefully you weren't like me and facing Lamar with a big lead in Week 14, just to watch him go off and eliminate you. But he can keep this hot streak alive against the Jags who have given up the third most fantasy PPG to QBs (21.66). They also struggle against the run and with the Ravens being thin at WR, I expect Lamar to run even more than normal. He is my QB1 this week.

Other Favorable QB Matchups: Tom Brady vs ATL, Dwayne Haskins vs SEA, Ryan Tannehill vs DET

Best RB Matchups

Derrick Henry vs Lions: Henry went off for over 36 fantasy points in Week 14, and he could score even more this week. He faces Detroit, who have given up the most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (31.2). That includes a league high 23 touchdowns allowed to the position -- no other team has given up 20. Henry has such a favorable schedule he is going to win a lot of people championships.

Jonathan Taylor vs Texans: The Texans have given up the second most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (30.55). But they allow by far the most yards per game to the position at 183.2. This is such a great matchup for Taylor, who has three straight games with at least 16 touches and 100 yards in three straight and is coming off his best game as a pro scoring over 30 fantasy points last week. Taylor is a must start this week.

Other Favorable RB Matchups: J.K. Dobbins/Gus Edwards vs JAX, Mike Davis vs GB, Aaron Jones vs CAR

Best WR Matchups

Terry McLaurin vs Seahawks: On the season the Seahawks have allowed the most fantasy PPG (46.16) and yards per game (216.8) to WRs. But over the last four weeks they have surrendered the fewest to the position (21.28). That is largely though because they faced the Cardinals and Kyler Murray dealing with the shoulder injury, then matched up against the Eagles, Jets, and Giants. They will be tested like they haven't recently against McLaurin. The only issue is Terry hasn't been so scary the past two weeks. This is still a matchup worth starting McLaurin in this weekend. If he struggles this week, you can sit him in Week 16.

Buccaneers WRs vs Falcons: On the season the Falcons have allowed the second most fantasy PPG (42.89) and yards per game (201.1) to WRs. They also allow the second most fantasy PPG to QBs -- so if you are not trusting your Bucs this week, when can you? Since the Bucs have signed Antonio Brown, Mike Evans has been their top target; he leads them in air yards, and he dominates the targets near the goal line. Due to all that, he is a WR1 for me this week, while Godwin is a low-end WR2 and AB is a high upside WR3. All three are in play this week.

Other Favorable WR Matchups: Marvin Jones vs TEN, A.J. Brown/Corey Davis vs DET, Allen Robinson vs MIN

Best TE Matchups

Tyler Higbee vs Jets: The Jets have allowed the most fantasy PPG to TEs this season at 17.16 per game. When you take a deeper look at their game log, it's been the good tight ends who have feasted against them. In recent weeks, Darren Waller scored the most fantasy points a TE has scored in 18 years against New York. The Jets also allowed Travis Kelce to finish a week at the TE1 and Hunter Henry as the TE6. Higbee isn't quite in the same group as the others, but he does have talent. He is more of a TE2 with upside for those in need of a streaming option, perhaps as a Mike Gesicki replacement.

Evan Engram vs Browns: Engram disappointed last week but he has a great chance to make it up to fantasy managers this week against the Browns. Cleveland has allowed the second most fantasy PPG to TEs (16.21) and they've allowed five top-seven fantasy TEs in their past five games. Engram is also the most targeted player by Colt McCoy (11) this season. I would still start Engram if you've been riding with him this season.

Other Favorable TE Matchups: Irv Smith vs CHI, Eric Ebron vs CIN, Rob Gronkowski vs ATL

Fastest Rising Players:

Since it's Week 15 and the semi-finals in many leagues, this is the league winner edition! Players who will win managers a championship over the next two weeks.

  1. Derrick Henry: Henry is a beast. Look, I've knocked him for his lack of pass game usage in the past, but even I have come around. He has scored over 36 fantasy points in two straight games, rushing for over 200 yards and two touchdowns last week. He faced the Jags last week, which was a favorable matchup, but finishes the season against the Lions and the Packers, just the teams allowing the most and fourth-most fantasy points to RBs this season. If you have Henry, you may want to start thinking where you want to display your trophy (you can now buy the official fantasy trophy of the NFL -- and it's awesome!).
  2. Tyreek Hill: Remember early on when Hill was productive, but not having blowup games? That was funny. Since Week 9, Hill is averaging 31.78 fantasy PPG -- no other receiver is topping 26 fantasy PPG in that span. During this hot streak, Hill is seeing 13 targets and 162 air yards per game. He has over 11 targets in all but one of those games. He has scored over 26 fantasy points in all but one and is purely a TD machine. He has 16 TDs this season ad has just two games without one this season. He gets a matchup in the Superdome and then against the Falcons. He's going to be on many championship rosters.
  3. Brandon Aiyuk: Aiyuk has scored over 17 fantasy points in five straight and over 20 in three of his last four. But with Deebo Samuel leaving very early last week, Aiyuk saw a season-high 16 targets, 10 catches and 119 yards. Samuel is expected to miss some time, meaning Aiyuk could be the top target against the Cowboys and Cardinals. He has a strong chance to go from waiver wire darling to league winner.
  4. David Montgomery: Montgomery has been on such a hot streak as of late, going for over 110 yards and over 24 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He scored four touchdowns in his last three games. He gets two more favorable matchups this week against the Vikings, who allow the ninth-most rushing yards per game to RBs (101.4) and the Jaguars who allow the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs (29.08). I went on a ledge on Fantasy Bites early this season and had Montgomery as a sneaky league winner. I am feeling good about his chances now.
  5. Davante Adams: I was debating between Adams, Nick Chubb and Jalen Hurts here, but how can I not go with Adams? I mean he has scored over 18 fantasy points in eight straight games -- the third longest streak for a WR in NFL history. Look, Adams is awesome and many fantasy managers are going to win championships with him. The Panthers matchup doesn't scare me, and then he faces the Titans, who have allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to WRs this season.

Toughest QB Matchups

Tua Tagovailoa vs Patriots: Tagovailoa is coming off his best game as a pro -- just in time to be benched against the Patriots. You can start Tua at your own risk, but I would strongly advise against it. Since becoming the Patriots head coach in 2000, Bill Belichick has faced 25 rookie QBs and they are averaging 9.91 fantasy PPG in those contests. In fact, only three times has one of those rookie QBs topped 20 fantasy points against Belichick and only six times has one even topped 15. We saw what happened to Justin Herbert a couple weeks ago. Stay away.

Patrick Mahomes vs Saints: The Saints have issued the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs this season (15.37). In fact, they have not allowed 20 fantasy points to a QB since Week 5. But they haven't faced the G.O.A.T. yet (yeah, I said it). Mahomes has topped 18 fantasy points in six straight games and we know the ceiling is so much higher than that. This guy can sleep-walk his way to 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. You never sit Mahomes.

Other Tough QB Matchups: Sam Darnold vs LAR, Brandon Allen/Ryan Finley vs PIT, Baker Mayfield vs NYG

Toughest RB Matchups

Giovani Bernard vs Steelers: Bernard fumbled on his first carry last week and was benched. Simply put, it was a disaster. I wouldn't expect much better this week as the Steelers allow the fewest fantasy PPG to RBs (17.16). And before you think the Bengals could be trailing and have to throw to Gio, just know the Steelers allow a league-low 3.5 catches per game to RBs and just 23.4 receiving yards per game, the second fewest in the NFL. Sit Gio this week.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs Saints: Since Week 7, CEH has topped 15 fantasy points just once. Simply put, he is not an RB1 for fantasy purposes, he is more of an RB2. There's nothing wrong with that, it just means that he is not a must-start in tough matchups, which is exactly what he has this week against the Saints who allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG to RBs this season (17.44). They've allowed a 100-yard rusher once in the last 50 games. CEH is more of a flex option for me in this really tough matchup.

Other Tough RB matchups: Chris Carson vs WAS, Frank Gore/Ty Johnson vs LAR, Ezekiel Elliott vs SF

Toughest WR Matchups

Jets WRs vs Rams: The Rams have issued a league-low 29.51 fantasy PPG to WRs this season. They're also in the bottom eight of fantasy points allowed to slot receivers, and the Jets are the lowest scoring offense in football. Get away from all the Jets this week.

Saints WRs vs Chiefs: This is a tough matchup on paper as the Chiefs allow the second-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs this season (30.83). The Saints receivers do have both a safer floor and higher ceiling with Drew Brees back, as he is the superior thrower of the football over Taysom Hill. The issue though is Michael Thomas has been limited with an ankle injury. If he plays, I would start him and not Emmanuel Sanders. If Thomas sits, Sanders is in play.

Other Tough WR Matchups: Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson vs CHI, DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett vs WAS, Dolphins WRs vs NE

Toughest TE Matchups

Dalton Schultz vs 49ers: The Niners have been very stingy against tight ends, allowing a league-low 8.23 fantasy PPG to the position this season. Schultz is not a productive-enough TE to start despite a tough matchup, so I would look to go in another direction this week.

Drew Sample vs Steelers: The Steelers have been tough to all positions and the tight end is no different. On the season they have allowed 8.51 fantasy PPG, the second fewest in the NFL. You probably don't need to be told this, but do not start Sample this week.

Other Tough TE Matchups: Jordan Akins vs IND, Dallas Goedert/Zach Ertz vs ARI

More Week 15 Matchup Stats to Know:

ATL: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to WRs this season (42.9)

ATL: Allowing 5th-most total YPG in NFL this season (390.6)

ATL: Allowing most combined fantasy PPG to QB/WR/TE this season

ATL: Allowing most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (23.1)

ATL: Allowing 5th-most fantasy PPG to TEs this season (15.3)

ATL: Allowing 3rd-most pass YPG in NFL this season (281.8)

BUF: Allowed 6 Top-24 fantasy WRs in last 5 games combined

CAR: Allowing 5th-fewest fantasy PPG to RBs since Week 8 (17.5)

CAR: Allowed 2nd-most fantasy PPG to TE since Wk 9 (20.3)

DAL: Allowed most rec TD to WR this season (22)

DAL: Allowing 8th-most fantasy PPG to RB this season (24.81)

DEN: Allowed Top-12 fantasy QB in 6 of last 11 games

DET: Allowing most-most combined fantasy PPG to QB/RB/WR this season

DET: Allowing 5th-most rush YPG to RBs this season (112.2)

GB: Allowing 4th-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (29.0)

GB: Allowed 18 total TD to RBs this season (3rd-most in NFL)

HOU at IND: 5.2 offensive TD/gm combined this season

HOU at IND: 50.7 combined PPG allowed this season

HOU: Allowing 4th-most combined fantasy PPG to QB/RB/WR/TE this season

HOU: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (30.6)

HOU: Allowing most scrimmage YPG to RBs this season (183.2)

HOU: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (30.6)

HOU: Allowing most rush YPG to RBs this season (137.7)

IND: Allowed a Top-12 fantasy WR in 4 straight games

IND: Allowing 8th-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs this season (34.2)

JAX: 1.6 giveaways/gm this season (T-7th most in NFL)

JAX: Allowing 3rd-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (29.1)

JAX: Allowed Top-4 fantasy RB in 3 straight games

MIN: Allowing 9th-most rush YPG to RBs this season (101.4)

MIN: Allowed Top-10 fantasy TE in 4 of last 8 games

NO: Allowing 2nd-fewest fantasy PPG to RB this season (17.44)

NO: Allowed fewest TD to RB this season (7)

NO: Allowed only one Top-20 fantasy RB since Wk 5 (Miles Sanders Wk 14)

NYJ: Allowing 2nd-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (22.3)

NYJ: Allowed a Top-8 fantasy QB in 6 straight games

NYJ: Allowing most fantasy PPG to WRs since Wk 8 (47.8)

NYJ: Allowed Top-20 fantasy WR in 6 of last 7 games

TB at ATL: 5.7 offensive TD/gm combined this season

TB at ATL: 3.6 pass TD/gm combined this season

TB: Allowing 9th-most rec YPG to WR this season (176.4)

TEN: Allowing 3rd-most fantasy PPG to WRs this season (42.5)

WAS: Allowing 4th-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs this season (32.7)

WAS: Have not allowed a Top-24 fantasy WR in the last 4 games

Follow Michael F. Florio on Twitter and Instagram.

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