Fantasy Football

Michael F. Florio's Week 15 Saturday fantasy football matchups

There are two Saturday games this week -- which will both add more fun to your weekend but could also add some more stress when setting your lineup! This week you may not be able to wait until Sunday morning to make some of those lineup decisions. That is why we are bringing you a special Saturday game edition of the fantasy matchups column! The lone difference is, I will be looking team by team rather than just the best and toughest matchups.

Buffalo Bills

The straw that stirs the drink for the Bills offense is Josh Allen, who has been a consistent fantasy asset all season long. People may see the matchup in Denver and get nervous as the Broncos rank in the middle of the pack against QBs. But Allen has scored over 18 fantasy points in four of his last five games -- including over 27 in three of those. He has just one game with fewer than 15 fantasy points all year, showing what a safe floor he brings each week. While Denver has ranked 15th in fantasy PPG allowed to QBs, it is still allowing 18.5 per game, and given how well Allen has played, he is still a top five fantasy QB this week.

The Broncos are also stingy when it comes to allowing fantasy points to WRs, as they've allowed the 10th-fewest at 34.94 per game. Still, there is no way you can sit Stefon Diggs. He brings such a high ceiling, scoring over 19 fantasy points in four of his last five, including nearly 30 in a tough matchup against the Steelers last week. But he also brings a safe floor, having double-digit fantasy points in every game. Cole Beasley is much more borderline, as the Broncos allow the seventh-fewest fantasy PPG to slot receivers (11.91). While Diggs is a no-brainer WR1, Beasley is more in the WR3 or flex range, but he does bring a very safe floor of nine fantasy points and he comes with upside if John Brown sits again this week. If Brown returns, he is a volatile WR3 or flex option that comes with high upside as the Bills field stretcher. Gabriel Davis is a deeper flex option, but only if Brown is inactive. The Broncos also rank in the bottom 10 of fantasy PPG allowed to TEs (11.21), not that you were considering starting Dawson Knox.

As for the running game, Denver ranks middle of the pack against RBs in fantasy, allowing 23.93 fantasy PPG, the 14th most in the NFL. The other issue is both Bills backs have been ineffective for fantasy. They are both averaging less than nine fantasy PPG, both scored under five fantasy points last week and neither has topped 13 fantasy points since Week 8. At this point, both can be dropped, let alone benched.

Lastly, the Bills defense is very much in play this week. Since Week 2, the Broncos have allowed an opposing defense to finish as a top-12 fantasy defense eight times. Lock has also thrown 1.3 interceptions per game, the most in the NFL this season. Start the Bills defense this week.

Denver Broncos

Drew Lock is coming off his second-best fantasy day of the season, scoring 25.6 fantasy points against the Panthers. He only scored more in Week 9 against the Falcons, when he put up 29.22 fantasy points. The issue is in the three games in between those two big performances, he scored less than 12 fantasy points in each. On the season, the Bills have allowed the eighth-most fantasy PPG to QBs (19.66), but those numbers are misleading as the Bills defense has played better as of late. Since Week 6 the Bills have allowed just one QB1 (top-12 fantasy QB) and just two top-15 QBs in that same span. Stay away from Lock in this Saturday matchup.

But what about his pass catchers? The Bills rank 13th in fantasy PPG allowed to WRs (35.43), and while they have improved, they've still allowed five top-21 fantasy WRs in their last five games. Tim Patrick has been the most consistent and productive Broncos WR, scoring double-digit fantasy points in eight of his last 10 games. Given that he could see his fair share of Tre'Davious White this week, he is still more of a flex option, but he brings a safe floor and some upside. KJ Hamler is the pure upside play, the issue is, he doesn't have any sort of floor. He scored a season high 22.6 fantasy points last week, but just on just three targets. He's now had six targets or fewer in three straight. He is a pure boom-or-bust option that should be saved for deeper formats. Jerry Jeudy is a great talent, but he has scored fewer than seven fantasy points in each of the last four games. There's no way you can trust him here.

The Bills have also allowed 15.25 fantasy PPG to tight ends this season, the sixth-most in the NFL. But, Fant has topped 10 fantasy points just once since Week 2. He is a low-floor TE2 that comes with some upside in this favorable matchup.

As for the run game, the Bills rank middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to RBs. Melvin Gordon is the preferred play here, the only issue is he's been entirely up and down. In his last six games he has three with over 12 fantasy points and three with under five. Due to the low floor he brings, he is a low-end RB2 or flex option, with the ability to give you 15 fantasy points or so, but expecting any more will likely lead to disappointment. Phillip Lindsay has scored single-digit fantasy points in six straight games and is more of a dart throw in deeper formats.

The Bills haven't allowed a top-10 fantasy defense since Week 5, and have done so only twice this season, so sit the Broncos defense this week.

Carolina Panthers

It looks like Christian McCaffrey will once again sit this week, but whichever back starts for the Panthers should start for your fantasy team. The Packers have allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (28.99). That includes 18 touchdowns, which is tied for the second most in the NFL. Since Week 3 they've allowed a top-12 RB in all but three games. We have only seen McCaffrey three times this year, but he has scored over 24 fantasy points in each of those games. Mike Davis is coming one of his best games of the season, scoring over 26 fantasy points against the Broncos last week. This is an even better matchup, and if he gets the nod again this week in place of an injured McCaffrey, you should do like the Panthers and start him.

While the Packers struggle against the run, they are much better defending the pass. On the season they've allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (16.49). In fact, opposing QBs have finished outside the top 20 against Green Bay in five of its last seven games. Bridgewater has been a safe fantasy asset, but in this tough matchup he is a player I would look to get away from this week. He is a QB2 in the Week 15 rankings.

Carolina will have D.J. Moore back this week, which kind of muddies the water here a little bit. Last week with Moore sidelined, Robby Anderson saw 12 targets and Curtis Samuel had nine. But prior to last week, all three were averaging between 5.7 and 8.4 targets per game. Even worse is they've been up and down week to week. It could be one week with Moore seeing nine targets, the next it could be Anderson and then Samuel. I rank these three receivers Moore, Anderson, Samuel this week, but all come in somewhere between WR25-34, meaning that each is a WR3 this week. Just know, there is a chance one is left holding the bag while the volume goes to the other two.

The Packers have allowed the second-fewest sacks and the fewest giveaways per game. There is no reason to even consider playing the Panthers defense this week.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are the easiest team to figure out this week. Why? Cause they are a pretty predictable offense (in a good way), which is great for fantasy. Let me explain it like this -- the Panthers allow the 13th-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season, but it doesn't matter. Aaron Rodgers has finished as a top-10 fantasy QB in eight straight games, scoring over 22 fantasy points in each of those games. Oh, and he leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (39). You start him weekly regardless of the matchup.

The same can be said about Davante Adams, who has scored over 18 fantasy points in eight straight game, the second-longest streak in NFL history. He has a TD in each of those games as well. He is a no-brainer start regardless of the matchup. You should also be starting Aaron Jones, but if you need to be sold after he disappointed last week, just know that the Panthers have given up the sixth-most fantasy PPG to RBs this season (25.22). That includes 6.2 catches per game allowed to the position, the third most in the NFL. These three are must starts each week, so do not get cute in the fantasy playoffs.

The other Packers player you should be starting is tight end Robert Tonyan. Big Bob Tonyan has scored over 13 fantasy points and a touchdown in each of his last four games. His nine touchdowns ties Travis Kelce for the most among tight ends. But he also has a good matchup, as the Panthers allow the seventh-most fantasy PPG to tight ends (14.47), including allowing seven top-11 fantasy TEs in their last seven games. He is a TE1 due to his production and the matchup, let alone the state of the tight end position.

The Panthers rank in the middle of the pack against WRs, allowing 36.81 fantasy PPG to the position, which ranks 18th in the NFL. Neither Marquez Valdes-Scantling nor Allen Lazard has seen more than six targets since Week 4, and they've both been up and down, so neither is a lock to see even six this week. Both are high-upside, dart throws, as it only takes one long catch for them to finish with a solid day. If you have to dive deeper here, MVS is the preferred play, but you should be staying away from both in 12-team leagues or shallower.

The Panthers have allowed just one top-10 fantasy defense finish since Week 7. You can likely find a better option on the waiver wire this week than the Packers defense.

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