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Let's start by addressing the fluffy, pink elephant wearing a tutu and dancing on your forehead in the room, which is the fact that you're here looking for QB advice because you've ridden Carson Wentz to the playoffs and now he's gone. Poof, just like that. Rather than another diatribe about how it's the worst season ever for injuries, let me just say "I feel ya." In three of my own leagues where I was still alive in the playoffs last week (notice the was part), Wentz was my QB. He lit it up in Week 14 and did his part to help me try to win, but now I must move on in one of those leagues without him. Luckily, he was actually my backup QB and I get my starter, Aaron Rodgers, back to replace him. As Nas famously said, you can hate me now... Just know that as someone who manages a team with Odell Beckham, Dalvin Cook, and Carson Wentz all on the same squad, I sympathize with your plight. Now get over it, add Nick Foles, and move on.

Now, let's get to my fantasy "heroes" and "zeroes" at each position for Week 15 of the NFL season. For a full set of rankings, look no further than our very own RotoBaller consensus weekly rankings.

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Week 15 Lineup Heroes

QUARTERBACK

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars - A strange thing is happening in northern Florida and not many have taken notice. Blake Bortles is becoming a fantasy-relevant quarterback once again--this time without the benefit of garbage time stats. Over the last three weeks, Bortles is the QB6 thanks to three consecutive two-touchdown games, the first of which came on the ground. An even more relevant stat: over the last three weeks, Leonard Fournette has been the RB13. He looked great last week, but injuries have hampered him and he comes into Week 15 with a quad injury. Bortles has shown the team he can be trusted by limiting turnovers, so he could very well get enough volume to make him a league-winner against a Texans defense that still ranks fourth-lowest against QBs. A matchup against the 49ers next week makes him look even better for prospective fantasy champs. Who woulda thunk it?

RUNNING BACKS

Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles - This is one of those picks that you live or die by. Last week, I had Ajayi ranked as the 36th running back in standard leagues, behind players like Peyton Barber and Austin Ekeler. It hurt more than you can imagine... Now, I will gleefully roll him out in all lineups, as he's sure to see a spike in touches. With Carson Wentz's unfortunate injury, it's only logical that the team will initially lean on the run game more near the red zone. This week, the Eagles have the tremendous fortune to play the New York Giants, who have become a doormat on the way out from 2017. They have given up more rushing yards than any other team and will give up plenty of chunk plays in this game. He already saw the most touches since arriving in Philly last week (16) and could be making his second trip to the end zone as an Eagle. Fire him up in all leagues.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers - If nothing else, you have to feel for Goodwin, who has had the worst year imaginable off the field. He already lost his infant son last month and now has to deal with the passing of his father. Chances are that he still plays this weekend, and if so he makes for a must-start. Goodwin faces a Tennessee defense that ranks 21st overall and 23rd against the pass. They've done a good job limiting big plays and not allowing huge games to the other team's WR1, which now happens to be Goodwin in SF. The insertion of Jimmy Garoppolo into the lineup only boosts his value further, but a funny thing has happened to Goodwin over the past year. He went from being a boom-bust receiver dependent on big plays down the field to a somewhat "safe" and reliable player who sees a steady stream of targets (26 over the last three games). Goodwin brings a high floor into this game and should be viewed as a steady commodity in PPR leagues.

TIGHT END

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals looked fairly inept on offense last week, but rather than facing a playoff-bound Titans team, they will face another reeling NFC East squad with a lame duck coach in Washington. The Skins are contending for the title of Most Generous to Tight Ends by allowing eight TD and a second-worst 841 yards to the position. Seals-Jones' instant success may have been discarded already as a short-term fluke by some, but he's performed better than you think. According to FootballOutsiders' positional values, he has a DVOA of 28.6%, which rates him better than Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, and a DYAR of 47, which is the highest among non-qualified TE and already ranks him higher than Jason Witten, Delanie Walker, and Jared Cook. Is he the next big thing at TE? Maybe. There are a lot of changes that could take place in Arizona between now and the 2018 season. For Week 15, an effective tight end in a great matchup could equal fantasy gold for those still streaming away.

 

Week 15 Lineup Zeroes

QUARTERBACKS

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers - At home versus Green Bay sounds like a pretty good matchup doesn't it? Here's the thing: there is no good with Cam, it's either tremendously awesome or horrifically bad. Hyperbole aside, owning Newton has been a roller coaster ride this year. He's finished as a top-five fantasy QB five times, but finished outside the top 12 on seven occasions. While he's capable of playing like the best player in the land, it just doesn't always happen. Green Bay does not have the best defense, but they're actually in the middle as far as fantasy points allowed to QBs, even when you factor in rushing stats. Newton is also playing much better away from home this season, throwing for nearly 400 more yards, completing 5% more passes and posting an 11:5 TD:INT ratio, compared to 6:7 at home. The bad Newton might resurface at the wrong time, making him a risky start in your semifinals. If you've been riding him as your starter all year, there's not much else you can do at this point. If you have the choice between him and another second-tier QB, it might be time to keep Newton shelved to be on the safe side.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans - Maybe he's just not healthy, but at no point this season has Mariota performed like a QB1. The last time he was ranked among the top 12 overall fantasy quarterbacks was after Week 3. Since then, he has posted a 7:13 TD:INT ratio and thrown more than one touchdown once in a game. He hasn't even passed for 200 yards in the past month! A matchup versus San Francisco might seem like a panacea, but the Niners D could prove to be fool's gold. Mariota enters this week with a knee sprain suffered last week, which will limit his mobility. He's hard to trust even in two-QB leagues and can be benched for the likes of Jay Cutler or Joe Flacco, who both have great matchups as well.

RUNNING BACKS

Samaje Perine, Washington Redskins - Perine has been sick and ineffective recently, but will be trotted out there in Week 15 regardless, as the Skins' backfield now resembles a M*A*S*H* unit. Fun fact: did you know that Kapri Bibbs is now the backup and third-down RB in Washington? You shouldn't touch either one, however. After a two-game stretch where Perine seemed to legitimize his draft selection (including a matchup with the Giants), he is back to averaging 2.8 yards per carry over the last two games. The Cardinals are actually playing better defense against the run than the pass this season, allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Feel free to bench him unless you are in a TD-heavy standard league and lack players with more upside.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings - Did you buy Diggs as an WR1 way back in the early portion of the season, when he looked like one? We've heard the warnings about injuries affecting his play, even when he is on the field, but by all accounts he's been healthy through the second half of the season. The problem is that Diggs is running a distant second in overall targets to Adam Thielen (136-82), so he needs more big plays or touchdowns to compensate for lack of volume. That isn't happening. He's gotten just two red zone targets over the last month and is running behind both Thielen and Kyle Rudolph in that category. He has only scored once since Week 3. The Bengals aren't a great defensive unit, but they do an adequate job limiting the other team's top receivers, allowing more damage to the other team's WR3 than WR2. He isn't a must-sit, but he looks more like a flex this week.

TIGHT END

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets - Maybe this goes without saying, but don't start any Jets player this week not named Robby Anderson. Bryce Petty falls under the "not good at professional football" category, having thrown seven picks versus three scores in his brief NFL career, completing 54% of his passes. ASJ had already started falling out of favor in the offense, seeing seven targets over the last two weeks and catching a total of five passes for 35 yards over the last three. His value is now rock-bottom in re-draft leagues and it's hard to justify even keeping him on rosters. That said, he could become a nice buy-low candidate in dynasty leagues, especially if the Jets actually address the QB situation in a positive way through the draft.

 

More Week 15 Lineup Prep