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Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 15 Lineups


The trend of fresh faces being among the tops of the fantasy scoring leaderboard continued in Week 14. Across the skill positions, we saw players that took advantage of plus matchups and excelled for fantasy owners during the first week of the playoffs. Mitchell Trubisky and Drew Lock came out of nowhere to finish inside the Top 10 at the position. Meanwhile, for the first time in several weeks, Lamar Jackson failed to finish as a QB1. At running back we did see the household names among the leaders on the week. But Raheem Mostert continued his hot streak with a Top 5 finish, while Boston Scott took advantage of an increase of reps en route to a Top 10 finish.

Emmanuel Sanders, A.J. Brown, and Darius Slayton were the Top 3 scoring receivers for Week 14. Not exactly names we are accustomed to putting into our starting lineups, but the 2019 season has proven that this can be the case on a week in week out basis. These exceptions can be caught beforehand if you are paying attention to the matchups and being mindful of players showing a positive track record. Heading into Week 15, it is crunch time for many fantasy owners. In most leagues, you are down to the semifinal matchups and it is a win or go home situation. Now is not the time to get cute with your lineups. No need to stick with the "start your studs" narrative when it has been proven throughout the season that playing the better matchup is pivotal.

So let's jump into the numbers as I present to you my Woo's and Boo's for Week 15 to help you with those tough lineup decisions you may be facing.

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Woo! - Week 15 Starts

Baker Mayfield @ Arizona Cardinals

This is the ultimate gamble play heading into Week 15 with Mayfield. He has a great matchup against a Cardinals Defense that is bottom five over the last month (22.41 FPPG). But going into this game he has totaled under 200 yards passing in three of his last four games. The Cardinals have allowed over 300 yards passing in five out of their last six games, so something will have to give here. In what could become a back and forth affair, Mayfield may see plenty of opportunities to score in this matchup. If you are on the fence at the position this week on who to start, Mayfield is more likely to win you the week as opposed to losing it for you.

Nyheim Hines @ New Orleans Saints

On paper, this could be looked at as a tough matchup for Hines as the Colts go on the road to play the Saints. But over the last four games, the Saints are among the league's worst in points allowed to the position (27.63 FPPG). With the Colts continuing to play in tight games, Hines snap percentage has risen in each of the last three games with his highest on the season coming in Week 14 (56%). Look for this to be much of the same in this game as the Colts will likely be playing from behind. He may not be much of a factor as a rusher, but his receiving skills could prove useful as a Flex play. Look for five receptions out of Hines in this game with a likely trip to the end-zone.

Sterling Shepard vs. Miami Dolphins

With the breakout of Darius Slayton, many owners are overlooking the potential value of Shepard in this plus matchup. Facing a Dolphins secondary that is in the bottom three in points allowed to the position (26.8 FPPG), he could be in store great game during the semifinal week of the fantasy playoffs. He was on the field more than any of the Giants receivers in Week 14 (92% snap rate) and is still the leader in end-zone targets for the team (7). With this game as a potential shootout with two bad defenses, look for Shepard to be a player to consider as a WR3 this week.

Ian Thomas vs. Seattle Seahawks

With Greg Olsen continuing to battle concussion symptoms, Ian Thomas has stepped in and performed admirably. With nine catches and a touchdown over the last two weeks, Thomas has been a fringe TE1. Assuming that Olsen will again be out in Week15, Thomas will undoubtedly finish inside the Top 10 facing a Seahawks Defense that has been the worst in fantasy over the last four games in points allowed to the position (24.43 FPPG). So while everyone continues to chase the points against the Cardinals defense, plugin Thomas as your TE this week as he should excel.

 

Boo! - Week 13 Sits

Josh Allen @ Pittsburgh Steelers

After four straight games with over 20 FP, Allen came back to Earth in Week 14 against a tough Ravens Defense. He could likely be in store for yet another down game statistically as he faces a Steelers Defense that ranks 24th on the season (15.2 FPPG). The Steelers have only allowed six passing touchdowns since Week 9 and will look to limit Allen's rushing capabilities as well. In what could be a potentially low-scoring game, it would serve you well to look elsewhere for your starting QB in a meaningful fantasy playoff game.

Todd Gurley @ Dallas Cowboys

Gurley has finally started to be utilized yet again in the Rams offense with double-digit scoring games in three of his last four. But in Week 15 the Rams go on the road to play a Cowboys Defense that has been fairly tough throughout the 2019 season in terms of points allowed to RBs (18.1 FPPG, ranking 19th). I expect to see the Rams focus on the real weakness of the Cowboys defense lately, the secondary. Gurley will not likely exceed 20 carries in this game as he has in two of his last four games. If his touches are limited, his scoring will be two. You will be starting him, of course, but temper your expectations.

Stefon Diggs @ Los Angeles Chargers

Diggs has hit a bit of a rough patch recently as he has been under 10 points in four of his last five games. In Week 15, he will see a very tough matchup as he is likely to face off against Casey Hayward and a Chargers secondary that is one of the league's best in points allowed to the position (16.7 FPPG). With the expected return of Adam Thielen in this game also, Diggs's target share could decrease limiting his opportunities. He will be in most starting lineups as a WR2, but expect his scoring to err on the side of a WR3 this week.

Hunter Henry vs. Minnesota Vikings

Staying in that same game, Hunter Henry could be a player that disappoints in Week 15 as well. If not for the touchdown he scored last week, he would be on a downward trend that has seen him score under 10 FP in five out of his last six games. This week he faces a Vikings Defense that ranks near the bottom in points allowed to the position (6.2 FPPG). With Philip Rivers's recent struggles with consistency, Henry could be a player that you are starting but could also find a better matchup elsewhere as you look to keep your title hopes alive.

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