Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 15 Start or Sit

The NFL never disappoints, as Week 14 showcased some rising talent. Tua almost led a band of no-names past Patrick Mahomes. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles beat New Orleans, and Josh Allen outdueled Big Ben on Sunday night. In a bit of a throwback, it was Monday Night Football that gave us the best game of the week. Baltimore and Cleveland set a record for rushing TD’s and Lamar had to release some steam prior to leading the Ravens to a comeback victory. There was tons of scoring during the week and I wish the same could be said from a fantasy perspective in Week 14 start or sit.

Collin Johnson was relegated back to College prior to his game against Tennessee. Michael Pittman watched T.Y. go bananas for the second consecutive week, and Todd Gurley is dead to me. And Miles Sanders showed that game changing ability with another long TD run against the Saints. If you were lucky enough, or should I say, smart enough to fade my takes last week, let’s get to that championship game. Here is Week 15 start or sit..

Time to Shine

D’Andre Swift ([email protected] 1pm est)

He made his much awaited return last week against the Packers. Although his playing time was scaled back, Swift led Lions’ backs with 36 snaps (53%). He led the team in carries (7), and had 5 targets to just 2 for AP and Kerryon. Now, a week further removed from his concussion, D’Andre gets a matchup suited for his skill set.

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Swift and the Lions are facing the Titans in Week 15 and may be without their starting QB. That may not be great for the outcome but it’ll be fantastic for fantasy purposes. Tennessee has struggled defending RB’s in the passing recently. They have allowed an average of 6 receptions/gm over their last 6 games and 55+ receiving yards in 4 of their last 5. Swift is averaging 3-4 receptions/game this year and best utilized in space. With Kenny G. looking iffy once again, expect Detroit to elevate D’Andre’s playing time and swiftly get him involved.

Prediction: 11 car 49 yards 1 TD, 5 rec 45 yards: 17.9 pts

Irv Smith Jr. ([email protected] pm est)

Smith returned to the Vikings’ lineup last week and made an instant impact. He put up 4 receptions for 63 yards and had 1 of the Vikings 2 touchdowns. He did this while playing a season low 35% of the team’s snaps but as he’s a week healthier, this should increase dramatically. His increased playing time should lead to some nice production against a Chicago defense allowing TE’s to leave a path of destruction against them.

The Bears have allowed an average of 6 receptions for 68 yards per game over their last 7 games. They have given up 6 touchdowns over this time, and a total of 9 on the year. Overall l, they rank bottom 10 in receptions, yards, and scores to the position in 2020. The Bears’ offense has been playing well recently and should keep Minnesota having to push the pace. Irv will be a featured target for Kirk Cousins this Sunday and should produce his best game of the 2020 season.

Prediction: 5 rec 72 yards 1 TD: 15.7 pts   

Christian Kirk ([email protected] 4:05pm est)

I hope you’re a believer because it’s gonna take a lot of faith to trust Christian Kirk in Week 15. Over his last 3 games, Kirk has a total of 7 receptions for just 35 yards and obviously zero touchdowns. He is, however, playing over 84% of the team’s snaps in 4 straight games while also seeing 25% of the team’s air yards. Christian leads the team in aDot over this span and is tops on the team for the 2020 season. This big play ability will be paramount in Week 15 against the Eagles.

Philly has allowed over 190 receiving yards, or a TD to opposing WR’s in 3 straight and 4 of their last 5 games. Since Week 10, they’re giving up a catch rate of 75% (30th), and have allowed 943 yards (30th) on just 68 receptions. Their aggressive defensive style leaves their corners on islands and susceptible to big plays. The Eagles will no doubt focus their attention on DeAndre Hopkins, leaving Christian Kirk in multiple one on one matchups. All Kirk needs is one to pay off and he’ll get at least that in Week 15.

Prediction: 1 car 11 yards, 5 rec 84 yards 1 TD: 18 pts  

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ride the Pine

Jakobi Meyers ([email protected] 1pm est)

Jokobi was a hot commodity after posting consecutive games of double digit targets way back in Weeks 8 and 9. In those games, he accumulated 18 receptions for 227 yards and was the clear number one target for Cam. Since then however, the Patriots’ passing offense has struggled. Cam has thrown just 3 touchdowns and minus Week 11 at Houston, is averaging an abysmal 97.5 yards/game, yes, per game. Meyers has subsequently struggled to produce as well with 5 straight games under 60 receiving yards and 3 under 50. 

His numbers are not helped by the Patriots play calling either. They have resorted to old school football having attempted 141 runs versus just 81 passes (excludingWweek 11 @ Houston) since Week 10. This week’s game doesn’t forecast as a get right game for New England’s passing game either. Miami hasn’t allowed multiple TD’s to receivers since week 2, and is surrendering only 10-11 receptions a game to the position since week 9. They’re dealing with a plethora of injuries to their own receiving corps as well as other key offensive pieces making Vegas give this game the 2nd lowest total on the board of 41.5. The Patriots will avoid the ball hawking Miami defense and once again lean on the running game. Avoid Jakobi and all other Patriots receivers in Week 15.

Prediction: 4 rec 43 yards: 6.3 pts 

Jets RB’s ([email protected] 4:05pm est)

If you were contemplating getting cute in the playoffs, DON’T! The Jets are averaging only 13 points/game with Sam Darnold as their starting QB this season. Since Sam returned in Week 12, the Jets have scored 3 points twice against Miami and Seattle while also not reaching 90 rushing yards in either of those contests. This week, they get a Rams’ defense which has allowed only 4 RB groups to eclipse 100 yards in 2020 and only the 49ers did so since Week 6. Making matters worse is that there are now 3 guys receiving carries in Josh Adams, Frank Gore, and Ty Johnson. This team’s offense is absolutely horrible, especially against teams with good defenses. Avoid all their players this week, especially the running backs.

Prediction: Under 90 rush yards, Under 30 receiving yards, Zero Tds

James Conner/Benny Snell ([email protected] MNF 8:15pm est)

The Steelers running game has been pretty much non-existent over their last 7 games. During this span, Pittsburgh is averaging just 19 carries for 54 yards/game and have eclipsed 100 just once. Also during this stretch, James Conner has ran for more than 50 yards once, and only scored 1 touchdown. When he missed weeks 12 &13, Benny Snell stepped into the lead role, accumulating 60 yards against Baltimore and only 5 yards on 8 carries against Washington. Pittsburgh gets a supposedly inviting matchup against the Bengals in Week 15, but even Cincy kept the Steelers ground attack in check.

Back in Week 10, the Bengals held Conner to only 36 rushing yards (2.77 ypc), and limited the team to just 44 total. Cincinnati has also been surprisingly stingy against RB’s having allowed only 7 rushing td’s this year and none in the last 2 games. Regardless of who plays or doesn’t in the Steelers backfield, there just isn’t enough volume for either of these guys to put up start worthy numbers. Stay away from Pittsburgh’s backfield in Week 15.

Prediction: Neither over 50 rush yards or 20 receiving. Possible TD but don’t count on it.

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