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Lose one elite QB, gain another back. There was a seismic shift in the fantasy values of several players in Philadelphia and Green Bay this week with the unfortunate injury by Carson Wentz and the joyful return of Aaron Rodgers. The rankings will reflect as much, but also must take into consideration what position each team finds itself in. With just three games left, the playoff race is shaping up and certain teams have a lot more to play for than others. Keep this in mind when deciding between players for those flex spots.

As an expert ranker for RotoBaller and FantasyPros, I'll put my own personal rankings out on the table for you here and show you how they stack up against the consensus of the other 100+ experts at FantasyPros. Each week, I'll list my Top 10 per position, plus a few notable players that have risen or fallen in my rankings more than the expert consensus this week. In other words, it's where I zig when the others zag.

Note: all rankings are for standard leagues and all opinions are my own. If you have questions, comments, or incoherent ramblings related to fantasy sports, hit me up on Twitter @pfunk00 to continue the conversation.

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Week 15 Quarterbacks - Rankings Analysis

My Top 10 

I remember not too long ago when Ben Roethlisberger wasn't even in my top 10! That's because it was two weeks ago. Ben seems to not be completely done and ready to be put out to pasture, as many thought after his five-interception game against Jacksonville in Week 5. He is averaging 362 yards and three touchdowns per game over the last four contests and now gets to feast against a hurting Patriots defense that was lit up by Jay Cutler. Yeah, he's the QB1 this week.

Aaron Rodgers should immediately jump into the top tier of quarterbacks because he appears healed and as an upper-body injury, it won't affect his mobility in any way. He resides just outside the top-five because of a somewhat tough matchup on the road in Carolina. That said, if you have him then don't hesitate to play him because of the long layoff.

Blake Bortles now jumps into the starting QB conversation come fantasy playoff time, just as Tom Brady is exiting it. How poetic. The Texans aren't forcing turnovers (four in the last five games combined) and shouldn't impede Bortles on the path to fantasy stardom this week. This shouldn't be a surprise if you were checking strength of schedules months before the season began. Bortles gets the Texans, 49ers, and Titans to close the year and could be even better next week than he is in Week 15.

Deviation from expert consensus

This isn't the time to get cute at the QB position, so you're going to stick with your stud if you have one. Dak Prescott has recaptured that status as the Cowboys finally figured out how to play without Zeke. Prescott's opponent, the New Vegas Raiders, are 25th in pass yards allowed per game, even though they haven't faced many top QBs this season. He gets a slight nod over Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers since he has the least tough road matchup by far.

I'm down on Cam Newton this week for a couple reasons I've already broken down. First, I just don't trust him. He's been boom or bust all year; as I said earlier, this isn't the time for risk-taking at the most important position. Second, he's actually played far worse at home this season. Some expect this to suddenly become a shootout now that Rodgers is back (only three others game currently have a higher over/under), but that's not necessarily going to be the case. The Panthers may try to slow things down offensively by leaning more on Jonathan Stewart, who has been vulturing Newton's goal-line rushes the last couple of weeks anyway.

The Chargers haven't allowed more than 220 passing yards to a team in the last month. I don't see Alex Smith being the one to top that mark against a defense that has turned into one of the elite units in the league.

 

Week 15 Running Backs - Rankings Analysis

My Top 10 

I believe I will be the highest expert on Jay Ajayi this week, but upon calling him a top-1o back for Week 15 before Week 14 was even over, I have to stick to my guns. The theory is that a more-involved Ajayi, who saw 15 carries last week, will finally run the ball 20+ times in an Eagles uniform and have his way with the most generous run defense in the land, the New York (insert derogatory expletive here) Giants. If that's the case, why shouldn't he leapfrog inconsistent players like Carlos Hyde, Christian McCaffrey, and even Kareem Hunt?

Deviation from expert consensus

DeMarco Murray is another once-great fantasy RB from a year ago that has largely been dismissed. The 49ers allow the highest percentage of passing yards to running backs, which works in Murray's favor as the pass-catching back. Game flow should definitely benefit him as well, unless Jimmy Garoppolo suddenly proves to be much more than we bargained for.

Jamaal Williams will still be the starter in Green Bay, but there should be some legit concerns as to how often they will stick with the run now that their gunslinger is back. The Packers were notorious for abandoning the run until they had no choice but to keep it on the ground to protect Brett Hundley. I still consider Williams a low-end RB2, but project him to do far worse than the previous couple of weeks.

Samaje Perine is the starting RB by default--let's not forget that. He had a nice two-game stretch, but has been miserable otherwise. This team looks headed the way of the (insert ridiculous comparison here) Giants, with players calling out their coach in public and letting down on the field. I'd steer clear unless you have no better options.

Frank Gore was a hero last week in the snow, but he's just gotta be exhausted. That, and he faces a Denver defense that hasn't been too bad against the run. He's a lower-end flex consideration, but that's it.

 

Week 15 Wide Receivers - Rankings Analysis

My Top 10 

Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins swap places this week, as Jones faces the team he torched for 253 yards in Week 12, while Hopkins goes up against the best pass defense in the NFL. You can't bump Hopkins out of the WR1 ranks, especially considering he went for 55 yards and a touchdown earlier this year versus the Jags.

Jordy Nelson is a sight for sore eyes, as many fantasy owners will rejoice in Rodgers' return. Nelson should have a field day against CB James Bradberry, who has yielded more total yards than any other corner this season.

Deviation from expert consensus

It's not particularly controversial to list Larry Fitzgerald or Jordy Nelson in the top 10, so let's focus on the sleepers. Emmanuel Sanders has suffered from horrible quarterback play all year. That hasn't necessarily changed, but Trevor Siemian at least has been competent most of the time, with the exception of two horrible games. Indianapolis is a mess all around, but has a glaring weakness in the secondary most of all. Sanders figures to have a choice matchup with Kenny Moore this weekend and could be a value play in tournaments, as well as a WR3 in PPR leagues.

I like Nelson Agholor to serve as an outlet valve for Nick Foles, who will not need to press the issue downfield against the (insert insulting adjective here) Giants. Just because Carson Wentz is out and they won't need to pass much this weekend doesn't mean the receivers lose all value. Keep Agholor plugged in for your playoff run, at least for Week 15.

Brandin Cooks' value is inexorably tied to Tom Brady. So, if the theory is that Brady isn't putting forth his best effort in December as the Pats cruise to another division title, then doesn't that hurt Cooks? He's only caught three passes the last two games against mediocre division opponents Miami and Buffalo. Pittsburgh's once-great defense is yielding far more points to opponents the last three games, but they aren't doing worse in terms of passing yards, giving up an average of 237 pass yards per game in that span. Cooks doesn't read as an WR1 to me this week, especially with Chris Hogan a full go.

 

Week 15 Tight Ends - Rankings Analysis

My Top 10 

Yes, that is Ricky Seals-Jones at TE10. Told you I was going bold. The Skins are trying to join the Giants and Broncos as worst defense against tight ends and RSJ is only real pass-catching threat at the position in Arizona. In fact, Washington is second in terms of percentage of passing yards going to tight ends. He disappeared last week, but has remained efficient when involved, averaging 19 yards per reception. With no Adrian Peterson again, facing a team with a decent offense on the road, I expect Arizona to have to air it out more than they have been lately; Seals-Jones could be one of the main beneficiaries.

Deviation from expert consensus

Jack Doyle gets to face the TE-friendly defense of the Broncos and this time he'll be in the cozy indoor comforts of Lucas Oil Stadium with a 0% chance of snow. He managed to score the only touchdown of the game for Indy last week, but should see a much higher number of receptions this week.

I'm sticking with David Njoku as a streaming option after the Packers bottled him up last week. He is nursing some injuries, so this is definitely subject to change.

Who's going to score at TE for the Bucs this week, Cameron Brate or O.J. Howard? Who knows? I'm not playing the guessing game with that team any more and can't trust Howard, even though he brought in 54 yards and a score against the Lions. This week's opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, have only ceded three touchdowns to tight ends all year.

 

More Week 15 Lineup Prep


Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.