The Fantasy Footballers’ Starts of the Week for Week 15
T’was the week before Christmas, and all through the house, the fantasy managers were panicking with the playoffs in the house. If you are anything like me, this is the time of the season when overthinking happens the most. There are so many decisions to be made, and the wrong choice ends your season at this point. That pressure makes me overthink my choices more and sends me down a spiral of crippling indecisiveness. Enter the Fantasy Footballers. Thank goodness for Andy, Mike, and Jason to help give us all a bit of guidance and a crutch to lean on in this pressure cooker area of the season. We got another rendition of the Starts of the Week on Thursday’s episode, just in time for this playoff party. To check out the full episode on Youtube, see below.
The breakdown of the Starts of the Week is below. If you are looking for more assistance or want to stay up to date in the world of Fantasy Football, go to jointhefoot.com and become part of the #FootClan. Now, on to the breakdown.
Andy’s Starts of the Week
QB- Mike White vs. DET
The quarterback position is challenging this week, so you have to find advantageous matchups. That is the Detroit Lions every week. The Jets, with Mike White as the starter over the last two years, have averaged 74 offensive plays per game. That is number one in the NFL. The Lions are dead last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. White could be a player where you hang his picture in your home because he could lead you into a fantasy championship after being picked up late on the waiver wire.
RB- Isiah Pacheco vs. HOU
Houston is the best matchup for all running backs. Houston has allowed the most running back fantasy points, rushing yards per game, and 15+ yard runs. Houston is a great matchup, and Pacheco has been very good lately. Over the last month, he has been the RB11. He has averaged 17.5 opportunities per game and 4.9 yards per carry. His fantasy finishes have been RB21, RB16, RB11, and RB19. This game could be where he breaks out a bit and, at the least, should provide you with a high floor.
WR- Keenan Allen vs. TEN
Thank you for the good ole pass-funnel defense of the Tennessee Titans. Since Allen returned from injury, he has averaged 11.7 targets per game and 76 receiving yards. He is just absolutely solid as a WR2 option this week. The Titans’ defense ranks 31st in passing yards per game and dead last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points to the wide receiver. Allen gets tons of volume, and the Titans can’t figure out how to stop a passing game. Keenan should put up great numbers in this game.
TE- Greg Dulcich vs. ARI
He saw eight targets last week and should again be the number two target in the offense. Andy doesn’t care if it’s the stinky Russell Wilson or Brett Rypien. The Cardinals are historically wrong, and we have targeted them all year with our tight ends. They allow 14.8 fantasy points per game to the tight end, which ranks dead last in the NFL. Since 2014 that ranks 285th out of 288 possible teams. Every Baller has him ranked as a top-10 tight end this week. Let’s ride!
Jason’s Starts of the Week
QB- Dak Prescott vs. JAX
Last week was terrible for Dak, but you knew it was coming. Guess what? You should know what is coming this week. It is going to be good. Since Week 8, Dallas ranks first in points per game, second in yards per game, and second in expected points per play. Over the last eight weeks for Jacksonville, their defense ranks 31st in EPA per pass attempt, 29th in points per game allowed, and 29th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks. Dak is here in the playoffs to get you into the next round.
RB- Alvin Kamara vs. ATL
He has been the RB39 over the last five weeks. This week he should be Super Kamario again. Mark Ingram has gone on IR, and the backups behind him are not very good. Atlanta is 22nd versus fantasy running backs and 28th in expected points per rush attempt. The Saints are four-point home favorites in this game. It has been a rough stretch for Kamara, but the pendulum should swing back the other way this week. He could propel you into the next round of your fantasy playoffs.
WR- Mike Williams vs. TEN
Everything Andy said about Keenan rings true for Mike Williams. Williams returned last week and had six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He only played 65% of the snaps. The hope is that the workload returns to normal, meaning Williams has even more chances to be great. If you take out Week 11, when he only played 9% of the snaps, Williams is averaging 13.3 fantasy points per game and 76 receiving yards. You can start him with massive confidence this week.
TE- David Njoku vs. BAL
Last week he played 96% of snaps. He went for nine targets, equating to seven catches, for 58 yards and a touchdown. He finished as the TE3 on the week. Earlier in the year, Njoku had seven catches for 71 yards against the Ravens. Njoku should be as good as any other lower-tier option as a safe floor for your playoffs in the barren landscape of tight ends.
Mike’s Starts of the Week
QB- Matt Ryan vs. MIN
Mike wanted to give to those teams who have limped into the playoffs and are desperate for someone to play. He is titling these Starts of the Week “the Unobtanium Underpants.” If you have listened for a while, you know Mike is not big on Jeff Saturday as a coach, so he has to be playing this matchup to go in this direction. The Vikings have been the second-best matchup for quarterbacks for the past five weeks. They allow the most passing yards and the second-highest rate of 15-plus-yard pass plays. Don’t forget Matt Ryan has two top-five finishes this year. That is as many as Justin Herbert. So, Matt Ryan in this plus matchup in a deep league where you are desperate could work for you.
RB- Latavius Murray vs. ARI
I warned you Mike’s Starts are gross. Since Week 8, Arizona is 28th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Last week when Rhamondre Stevenson went down, two rookie running backs came in and put together solid fantasy performances. There is no Mike Boone, maybe Marlon Mack being the backup. That could mean Murray sees 15+ touches and has a great chance to get into the end-zone this week. There are worse plays this week.
WR- Michael Pittman vs. MIN
If you believe in Matt Ryan, you must believe in Michael Pittman. Ryan won’t get there without Pittman. Lately, the Vikings have been terrible at stopping the pass. The stats laid out for Matt Ryan are the same ones used to argue for Pittman. Plus, you can add that the Vikings are the best matchup for wide receivers over the last five weeks by two whole points. According to Ian Hart of PFF, the Vikings’ defense versus wide receivers lined up on the outside ranks 32nd in passing yards allowed, 32nd in explosive pass play rate, 32nd in yards per attempt, and 32nd in passing rating. The Vikings have been b.a.d. So, fire up Pittman and know there could be some sneaky upside this week.
TE- Tyler Conklin vs. DET
The output wasn’t good last week against Buffalo, but it was in the freezing rain. Now he gets the Lions, the third-best matchup for tight ends this year. Despite the weather, Conklin still saw eight targets. That followed seven targets the week before, which shows Mike White is targeting Conklin. He is definitely in streaming contention this week and could provide you with a solid score for your playoff roster.