Hot Fire Fantasy Football Questions: Week 15

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Our “Hot Fire Fantasy Questions” series takes a look at Week 15 following up recent news, fantasy performances, and implications for owners moving forward. Our Hot Fire contributors from our Fantasy Footballers writing staff includes Matt Okada (@FantasySensei) Michael Wenrich (@mpw270) and Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg).

Make sure you listen to today’s podcast to get Andy, Mike, and Jason’s reactions from all the Week 15 action.

1. Which surprise Week 15 QB is most startable next week: Nick Foles, Blake Bortles, or Eli Manning?

Nick Foles

I think Bortles is the typical go-to, but honestly, give me Foles. I’m one of the unappreciated few who thinks Wentz was more of a product of a great team than an MVP candidate. Foles’ TD-heavy performance on Sunday went a long way towards proving that point. Granted, it was against the Giants, but next week’s game is against the Raiders. With the weapons, the matchup, and Foles’ track record, he has the most upside — something you’ll need in the championship matchup. –Matt Okada

Eli Manning

If I’m forced to start one of these QBs next week, I’m rolling with Eli Manning. Eli Manning is one of the last QBs you’ll want to tie your championship to, but two other names lower on that list are Blake Bortles and Nick Foles. With the Jaguars locking up a playoff spot and the Eagles locking up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, there is the chance that those two QBs do not play a full complement of snaps. Meanwhile, Eli Manning could be trying to showcase his remaining abilities for a possible new team next year. –Michael Wenrich

Al Bello/ Staff

After slicing and dicing the Philadelphia defense for 434 yards and making Eagles fans hold their breath, Manning deserves another start even on the road. The Giants play at Arizona, who has given up the 8th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. You can’t find this type of volume (57 passes) especially on your waiver wire. I will personally be starting Manning in a fantasy championship and personally biting my teeth hoping good Eli comes to play again. –Kyle Borgognoni

2. Rank these top 5 RBs from Week 15 (Gurley, Hunt, Ingram, Gordon, Bell) in terms of their championship Week 16 matchup.

Without question, Gurley is the top dog. He’s currently No. 1 overall in PPR formats (that’s right, even over QB1 Russell Wilson). The Titans don’t scare me considering Gurley’s massive usage, and he has more TD-potential than anyone on this list by probably double. After that, I’ll take Bell, whose similar mixed usage in a game the Steelers will likely own from the start offers 30-touch potential. Then it’s Hunt against the poor Miami defense, Ingram in a potential shootout the Saints figure to win, and Gordon against the decent Jets front. –Matt Okada

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Bell, Gurley, Ingram, Gordon, Hunt. Bell without Antonio Brown should be the top play. Todd Gurley and the Rams are on a tear and both get all the volume. The next three RBs are seeing some reduced snap share compared to the top two, so I’d rank in them terms of offensive potential. –Michael Wenrich

Bell, Gurley, Hunt, Gordon, Ingram. The volume is what is key especially heading into championship week. Without AB, Bell is basically guaranteed for 30 touches against Houston. Gurley is locked in while Hunt should not be overlooked in a juicy matchup against a Dolphins defense that was shredded by LeSean McCoy. If you are fortunate enough to be rostering two of these guys, congratulations. –Kyle Borgognoni

3. Which breakout WR would you rather FLEX next week: Keelan Cole or Marquise Goodwin?

This one is extremely tough. Normally I would go Goodwin in a heartbeat, as he is the clear No. 1 for the legendary Jimmy G, while Cole is a cog in an ever-rotating wheel of JAX receivers. The problem is the matchup (in the same game). Goodwin is likely to be smothered by the elite Jaguar corners, while Cole is free to gallop all over the porous 49ers secondary. In the end, I think it comes down to team need. If things are looking good and you just need a safe floor, I’d rather go Cole. But if you need 75-yard-TD type upside, I’d take Goodwin. -Matt Okada

Don Juan Moore/ Contributor

Since Week 12, these two WRs are very similar in fantasy PPR scoring. However, Marquise Goodwin has 17 more targets, 13 more receptions and 63 more yards. That’s The big difference in fantasy points is Keelan Cole’s 3 TDs compared to 0 Goodwin TDs. Removing TDs, Goodwin has outscored Cole by almost 5 PPR pts per game.
If you’re the favorite and need the floor, I want Goodwin, but if you’re the under-dog and need TD upside, start Keelan Cole. –Michael Wenrich

Goodwin’s consistency is somewhat unexpected given his “boom/bust” caricature by most. Over his last five games, he’s averaged 17.2 fantasy points in PPR leagues. That’s essentially rolling out Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham on a per game basis. Goodwin has the eyes of Jimmy G and that is enough for me. I know a couple of Cole truthers out there that have been pounding the table for him all year long just so he could be given the opportunity to shine. Next week could easily be a Dede Westbrook week so I pump the brakes slightly. –Kyle Borgognoni

4. Which player(s) pooped their pants and cost their teams the most in Week 15?

I was considering A.J. Green (two-for-30) or Lamar Miller (10 touches for 33 total yards), but it has to be the Seattle combo of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. In a game Seattle should have been throwing willy-nilly, Russell Wilson completed only 14 passes, and a grand total of two of them landed in the hands of Baldwin and Graham. For a combined five yards. Graham has been a top-tier TE1 and Baldwin was a locked-in starter, and both left owners with a heavy, smelly load of nothing in the knickers. Both have a great shot at a bounce-back next week against the Cowboys, but trust will certainly be thin after this performance. –Matt Okada

While an injury is not exactly pooping their pants, a lot of fantasy teams including mine, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were all let down by the early exit of Antonio Brown. Since I will lose my semi-final game by Brown’s weekly fantasy point average, he will get my vote. –Michael Wenrich