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Week 15 Panic Room: Outlooks for Slumping and Injured Players

As you set your Week 15 fantasy football playoff lineups, there may be some players who make you feel very uncomfortable about starting them.

Based on recent lackluster performances, injuries, or just an intangible bad vibe, it's a struggle to insert them into your lineup in a do-or-die week. But you may also nervous be that if you sit these same players, you’ll miss out on a huge performance that could send you into your league's championship.

Well panic no more, RotoBallers. We're here to help you figure out what to realistically expect from these puzzling players that currently have you on the fence.

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Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Running Backs

Derrick Henry: Henry has not practiced all week as the Titans are carefully monitoring him ahead of their big AFC South showdown with the Titans. You should roster Dion Lewis as a handcuff if you can just in case, but Henry soldiered through the issue last week and it’s hard to envision the Titans not turning to him frequently in a must-win game. If he plays as expected, you have to start him.

Josh Jacobs: The Oakland rookie told reporters he plans to play, but Jon Gruden would not fully commit to confirming he will be active for a 4:05 pm ET start with Jacksonville. The Raiders do have some flickering playoff hopes, but we cannot be certain of Jacobs’ status. Keep a late-game pivot ready or use an alternative at 1 p.m. ET if you would rather play it safe.

James Conner: The oft-injured Steelers running back may finally return to action this week, but could also be part of a committee. Conner's backfield mates have performed well in his absence, so it's possible the coaching staff eases him back into action and lets Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels take some work off his hands. Don’t count on Conner to help you advance this week.

Joe Mixon: He is coming off a career game but now faces the Patriots. Mixon has been playing admirably well, but should be viewed more as an RB2/flex play this week.

Miles Sanders: He saw his workload cut into by Boston Scott last week when he started battling cramps, and Scott looked much more explosive than Sanders did before he left the game. There are better options for upside this week, as Sanders may have lost his chances to dominate backfield touches.

Sony Michel: The matchup looks very appealing against the Bengals, but Michel doesn’t look like he can take advantage of any matchup right now. He has not been useful since Week 7 and flopped when some still turned to him against the Chiefs last week. Don’t consider Michel for fantasy usage when it really counts this week.


Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Wide Receivers

Julio Jones: It seems like Chris Miller was playing QB for the Falcons last time he scored. You’re not going to bench Jones, but we are here to reassure you that he can produce another quality line. You may be worried about the matchup with the 49ers, but injuries are an issue in the secondary this week, especially with Richard Sherman out.

Adam Thielen: He is trending towards finally returning from a hamstring injury this week. The Vikings need him back as they continue to make their playoff push, and you should anticipate being able to use him.

Devante Parker: He was able to practice in full on Friday, so you should expect him to play against the Giants on Sunday. Parker plays in an early kickoff game, so you will be able to pivot off Parker if he is not available.

Tyler Lockett: The run of disappointing performances continued last week. Just when we thought Lockett had moved past a recent leg injury and a bad case of the flu, he still put up a bummer of a stat line. But you should be expecting Russell Wilson to get him back involved in the flow of the offense this week, as it has become apparent Seattle needs to open up the passing game more and return to making big plays downfield. Take the shot to start Lockett this week.

John Brown: He has only 91 receiving yards in his past three games and has another challenging draw against the Steelers. But Josh Allen simply must get him the ball in a very important game, and I think he will find ways to do so after being unable to last week. Call it a gut feeling, but I believe Brown gets in the end zone this week and should be started as a WR3.

T.Y. Hilton: He may be able to return for Monday’s game with the Saints, but you likely cannot wait until then to use him, unless you have Zach Pascal, Marlon Mack, or Latavius Murray to pivot to. Don’t play the injury guessing game if you don’t have to, and go with a certain healthy alternative on Sunday.


Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson: He has four TD passes in his past four games, has not thrown for 250 yards once in that span and was held without a TD for the first time this season just last week. But as previously indicated, the big plays should return to the Seattle offense this week in the passing game, so lock him in for a better outing.

Tom Brady: The matchup looks good, but you cannot be certain Brady can take advantage of it. He’s not a Top 12 start this week. Brady lacks upside in any matchup right now.

Jameis Winston: Published reports indicate he was throwing well in practices late in the week. You should start him given the reassuring news and the obviously fine matchup with Detroit.

Carson Wentz: His receiving corps is depleted, and Washington is no cake matchup. Divisional games can often be lower-scoring than expected. You are likely better off sitting Wentz this week, as Washington's defense is respectable against the pass.


Fantasy Football Outlooks - Slumping Tight Ends

Austin Hooper: He was quiet in his return to action last week and gets a matchup with the 49ers. But as we already indicated, the 49ers pass defense is thinned out this week, and Hooper has often performed well this season when Atlanta has played catch-up.

Jack Doyle: He totally flamed out last week when he was expected to take advantage of a matchup with the Buccaneers. But you have to go back to him, because Jacoby Brissett still needs to get him the ball even if Hilton returns.

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