Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 15 Matchups to Consider
Well, friends, we made it. The fantasy football playoffs aren’t for everyone, but getting through to the semifinals can be won or lost with one adjustment to your lineup. The Ballers’ Week 15 rankings are out and your best friend is here to take a closer look at a few matchups before you lock in your rosters.
Mike White (NYJ) vs Detroit
The change at QB has been a great opportunity for Mike White to show he can produce as an NFL starter. New York has put a ton of trust in White from the jump, allowing him to throw the ball an average of 43 times per game. What’s more impressive is White finished as QB6 and QB7 in his first two starts before falling to QB22 last week.
Through three starts, White has taken advantage of great matchups for fantasy QBs which contributed to both top-seven QB finishes. The Detroit defense presents a third such opportunity that fantasy managers should expect another strong finish from White. The Lions’ defense has allowed at least 25 fantasy points to opposing fantasy QBs in five of their last six games. Detroit allows the third-most passing yards per game in the league and has allowed the fifth-most passing TDs on the season.
Kurt would play White over: Tua Tagovailoa (QB9)
Joe Burrow (CIN) at Tampa Bay
It has been feast or famine for fantasy managers trusting Joe Burrow since the Bengals’ bye week in Week 10. In the four games since Cincinnati’s break, Burrow has finished inside the top two QBs twice but has also been outside the top 12 twice as well. What should be encouraging going forward is that Burrow has continued to throw at a high volume, averaging 35 attempts per game in his last four starts.
While the Tampa Bay defense hasn’t played to the caliber that took them to a Super Bowl just two years ago, they’ve been effective against opposing QBs. In their last six games, the Buccaneers’ defense has allowed three top-10 QB finishes but also forced three QB finishes outside the top 20. On the season, Tampa Bay’s defense has only allowed an opposing QB to score more than 20 points three times, a mark that Burrow has hit six times.
It’s tough to consider sitting Burrow, but in such an important week, I wouldn’t want to risk a sub-20-point week.
Kurt would prefer to play: Kirk Cousins (QB7)
Travis Etienne Jr. (JAX) vs Dallas
Travis Etienne Jr. may be the toughest decision in fantasy football currently. Fantasy managers know what the ceiling can be for Etienne, but since Week 10 we haven’t seen the high-end upside we grew accustomed to in Weeks 5-9 when he finished inside the top 24. Since Week 12, Etienne hasn’t finished above RB39 despite seeing 16 opportunities in the last two weeks.
The path back to a top-24 RB finish for Etienne doesn’t get any easier in Week 15. Through 14 games, Dallas’ defense has been the fourth-best against opposing RBs. Still, in their last six games, Dallas has allowed a top-24 RB finish five times including in three straight games. If Etienne is going to get back into the top 24, he’ll have to rely on yardage. The Cowboys’ defense has allowed the third-fewest rushing TDs on the season.
Kurt would prefer to play: David Montgomery (RB19)
Rachaad White (TB) vs Cincinnati
Since taking over the lead back role for the Buccaneers’ offense in Week 10, Rachaad White has finished inside the top 25 RBs each week. What’s most impressive about that run of strong fantasy output is that White has only scored one TD during that stretch, which means he’s seeing plenty of rushing and receiving work to provide a solid baseline for fantasy managers.
Cincinnati presents a strong opportunity for White to finally produce a truly big game for fantasy purposes. The Bengals’ defense presents itself as one of the best against the run in the league, allowing just over 100 rushing yards per game. However, over their last four games, Cincinnati’s defense has given up three top-24 RBs.
Kurt would play White over: Najee Harris (RB20)
Jerick McKinnon (KC) at Houston
The hotness at RB in fantasy football is certainly coming from Jerick McKinnon’s RB1 finish from Week 14. McKinnon capped his second-straight top-20 RB finish with 134 total yards and two TDs against Denver. While his rushing chances haven’t cut into Isiah Pacheco’s workload, in the Chiefs’ last six games McKinnon has seen six or more targets four times so there’s a baseline of work being established.
Having your RBs play the Texans’ defense has typically been a green light for fantasy managers to lock them in. However, McKinnon is in a different situation since most of his work is done through the passing game. On the season, Houston’s defense hasn’t given up a ton through the air to opposing RBs. Through 13 games, the Texans’ defense allowed just four receptions and 29 yards per game to the position. What could be encouraging for fantasy managers needing to rely on McKinnon this week is Austin Ekeler’s Week 4 stat line of six receptions for 49 yards and a TD. Of course, that’s the sole outlier on the year, so fantasy managers should proceed with caution.
Kurt would prefer to play: Chuba Hubbard (RB41)
Brandon Aiyuk (SF) at Seattle
Any fears of Brandon Aiyuk’s production taking a downgrade after the 49ers added Christian McCaffrey can be put to rest. Since Week 7, Aiyuk has averaged 11 fantasy points per game and finished as a top-24 WR in five of eight weeks. Aiyuk’s opportunity could only increase down the stretch of the fantasy playoffs since Deebo Samuel has been sidelined with an MCL and ankle sprain.
Seattle’s defense has a Houston Texans feel to it of late. While the Seahawks have been great against opposing WRs, not giving up a top-24 finish in their last three games, they’ve also allowed teams to run at will, allowing an average of 225 yards on the ground in that same stretch. Fantasy managers will have a tough time not playing Aiyuk given the increase in opportunity, but without getting into the end zone this week there may be some disappointment in store.
Chris Moore (HOU) vs Kansas City
Week 14’s Targets Per Route Run darling was easily Chris Moore who posted a 40.7% mark. Moore had his second top-20 WR finish of the season behind 10 receptions for 124 yards in Houston’s upset threat in Dallas. A lot of Moore’s value going forward will really rely on the availability of Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins who are both questionable for Week 15.
The Chiefs’ defense presents another great opportunity for Moore to provide fantasy value as a FLEX play with upside. Kansas City is currently giving up the third most points per game to opposing WRs and has allowed at least 27 points in three of their last four games. Questions regarding who’s going to be throwing the ball for Houston may be a cause for concern for fantasy managers in such an important week, but Moore should be played, especially if he’s the only WR option available for the Texans.
Terry McLaurin (WASH) vs NY Giants
It’s been an up-and-down season for Terry McLaurin in fantasy, but he’s still sitting as the WR17 on the year and has finished inside the top-30 WRs in all but five weeks. We last saw McLaurin in Week 13 against the New York Giants when he posted a WR8 finish behind a season-high 12 targets. What’s been missing from McLaurin’s fantasy finishes has been getting into the end zone, where he’s only landed three times this season, so there’s a chance there could be some positive regression on the way.
The Giants have regressed as a team after starting the season 6-1. That’s partially due to their defense allowing an average of 25 points per game since Week 8. At first glance, it looks like New York’s defense has been tough against opposing WRs, but that’s where looking at the most recent weeks really matters. The Giants have allowed nine top-24 WR finishes in their last six games, including McLaurin just two weeks ago.
Fantasy managers should confidently be able to depend on McLaurin this week.
Kurt would play McLaurin over: DeAndre Hopkins (WR15)
Chigoziem Okonkwo (TEN) at LA Chargers
Tricky name to say, but putting Chigoziem Okonkwo shouldn’t be tricky to work into your lineup for Week 15. Over the last two weeks, Okonkwo has been TE9 and TE2 and could still be on your waiver wire as he was only rostered in 23% of leagues after Week 14. The name of the game for Okonkwo is “opportunity” with Treylon Burks and Robert Woods both listed as questionable heading into Week 15.
The Chargers have been stout against opposing TEs, only allowing more than 10 points in a week to the position once in their last six games. Luckily for Okonkwo, he’s being treated as more of a WR for the Titans after running 53 snaps out of the slot in Week 14. As long as the receiving options for Tennessee are limited and Okonkwo’s snaps continue to increase, fantasy managers should consider him an easy choice at TE with a huge upside.
Kurt would play Okonkwo over: Cole Kmet (TE12)
Dawson Knox (BUF) vs Miami
This article has rarely suggested playing Dawson Knox this season, due to the extremely low floor he’s shown. Over the last four weeks though, Knox has two top-six TE finishes. In each of those weeks, Knox saw seven targets, so when he’s involved in the offense he can be a great option for fantasy managers.
Miami’s defense has been better of late against opposing TEs, only allowing 12.7 points to the position over the last two weeks combined. That comes after allowing at least 11 points to TEs in five-straight games. Sometimes having a good TE play is based solely on getting into the end zone and the Dolphins have allowed four TE TDs in their last five games. Knox provides enough upside with this matchup to be in fantasy lineups this week.
Kurt would play Knox over: Pat Freiermuth (TE8)