Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).
Good luck with your Week 15 lineups.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions
Start: O.J. Howard, Danny Amendola
Howard is one of this season’s biggest busts and obviously isn’t without risk, but he’s been busier lately and saw his snaps increase even further after Mike Evans left last week’s game (only a handful of tight ends ran more routes last week). Evans is out again Sunday, and the Bucs’ setup usually calls for a ton of passes. This week should be no different in a dome against a Detroit secondary that’s been ripped for 7.8 YPA and a 26:5 TD:INT ratio this season. Howard still has the talent that saw him finish third among all tight ends in yards per route run as a sophomore last year, and he’ll help fantasy managers reach their championship with a big Week 15.
Amendola is set for increased looks with Marvin Jones out and faces a pass-funnel Tampa Bay defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers this season (and ranks No. 1 against the run in DVOA), so he’s a sneaky strong FLEX play this week.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Start: Dallas Goedert, Adrian Peterson
Goedert has seen at least six targets in four straight games and should be even busier than usual Sunday with Alshon Jeffery out, and he gets a Washington defense that’s been the most favorable to fantasy tight ends over the last five games.
Peterson is looking at a bunch of volume with Derrius Guice out and on a run-heavy team trying to hide its quarterback (for good reason). I’m as surprised as anyone, but I have the 34 year old as a top-20 RB during the crucial Week 15 of the fantasy playoffs.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers
Start: Anthony Miller
Sit: Aaron Rodgers
Mitchell Trubisky is playing better, the Bears struggle running the ball, and Miller has averaged 9.3 targets over the last four games, so he’s worth starting Sunday.
Since October ended, Rodgers has gotten just 5.9 YPA over five games, and the offense continues to run best through the running backs. Chicago is stingy against fantasy QBs, and temperatures will be in the teens, so Rodgers shouldn’t be considered a QB1 this week.
New England Patriots @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sit: Sony Michel
Start in DFS: Bengals defense ($10)
My apologies for recommending Michel last week, as he saw a season-low in snap percentage and was benched for good in the first quarter of a matchup against arguably the league’s worst run defense. So it’s curious his “expert consensus rank” (RB24) still pegs him as a borderline RB2 this week against a resurgent Bengals defense that’s been tough on backs lately. Don’t even think about trusting Michel in your Week 15 fantasy lineup.
Cincy D might seem crazy as big underdogs against New England, but if you want to punt defense in DFS this week, the Bengals ($10) are playing much better lately, and the Patriots’ struggles on offense are real (Tom Brady has gotten just 6.3 YPA away from home this season, although his comedic skills remain on point).
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Start in DFS: DeAndre Hopkins ($32), A.J. Brown ($15)
There have been optimistic reports regarding Will Fuller, but he remains an extremely risky bet to suit up and play a full complement of snaps this week, which should again result in increased looks for Hopkins against a pass-funnel Tennessee defense that ranks fifth against the run and 23rd versus the pass in DVOA.
Brown hasn’t seen elite volume, but he’s having a special rookie season, ranking No. 4 in yards per route run among all wideouts. He should be extra busy Sunday in a projected high-scoring affair with this week’s highest over/under and with Derrick Henry playing compromised (Adam Humphries will likely be sidelined again as well).
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Start in DFS: Chris Carson ($34), Christian McCaffrey ($44)
Carson will return to being Seattle’s workhorse with Rashaad Penny out for the season, and Sunday he gets a Carolina rush defense that ranks last in DVOA and has been shredded for the most fantasy points by running backs this season.
There are many bargains in DFS this week, so it’s feasible to pay up for CMC coming off a couple of down games. McCaffrey simply never leaves the field (including at any point during last week’s blowout), has averaged 5.7 YPC at home this season and faces a middling Seattle defense that will be playing a 10 a.m. body clock game Sunday morning.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Start: Noah Fant
Sit: Chiefs running backs
Be sure to check his status, but Fant was having a big game before leaving with an injury last week, as he’s shown good chemistry with fellow rookie Drew Lock. He has a matchup versus a Kansas City defense that’s been among the most favorable against fantasy tight ends over the last five games.
Damien Williams returned to practice this week, and LeSean McCoy’s snaps will be limited as part of a committee regardless. The Chiefs also enter with a big disadvantage up front, so you can do better during the fantasy playoffs than the KC backs despite their team being double-digit home favorites.
Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants
Start: Isaiah Ford, Giants defense
If you’re in a super-deep league looking for a flier, Ford has talent and could easily lead Miami in targets this week should DeVante Parker not be ready to return from his concussion (Albert Wilson is also highly questionable). The Dolphins can’t run the ball, and this matchup is favorable on paper, so Ford is a sleeper this week.
New York’s defense hasn’t been great this year, but their suddenly healthier offense could put up a bunch of points against a disastrous Miami defense (fire up Saquon Barkley in DFS), resulting in many pass attempts in the windiest game of the week from a Dolphins offense that may be relegated to starting its fifth and sixth string receivers. Ryan Fitzpatrick has gotten just 6.3 YPA with a 5:7 TD:INT ratio over six road games this season (with seven fumbles), so the Giants’ defense is a strong start in Week 15.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders
Start: Dede Westbrook
Start in DFS: Raiders defense ($11)
Westbrook should see added volume with D.J. Chark unlikely to play, and he’ll face an Oakland defense that’s allowed an NFL-high 8.6 YPA this season.
The Raiders’ defense is not usually a target, but it’s also not often that near-touchdown favorites at home are so cheap in DFS, and this Jacksonville team has ostensibly packed it in (and could be missing Chark). Gardner Minshew has taken 13 sacks (with eight fumbles) over four road games this season, and you can expect the Black Hole to be extra fired up Sunday during the team’s last game ever in Oakland.
Cleveland Browns @ Arizona Cardinals
Start: Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray
In a controlled environment in a game featuring two struggling defenses with one of this week’s highest totals (49.5 points), both quarterbacks make for top-eight QB starts on my board this week. Mayfield suddenly has a bunch of weapons with Kareem Hunt and David Njoku joining Jarvis Landry (a strong DFS start this week), Odell Beckham Jr. and Nick Chubb, and he’ll benefit from facing an Arizona defense that’s easily been the most favorable to fantasy quarterbacks.
Murray should be healthier another week removed from his hamstring strain, has recorded 13 touchdowns over seven home games this year and is coming off an extremely tough six-game stretch in the schedule. I have Murray as a top-five QB against a middling Cleveland defense that’s especially vulnerable to running quarterbacks and badly misses Myles Garrett.
Minnesota Vikings @ Los Angles Chargers
Sit: Kirk Cousins
Start: Mike Williams
Cousins is having a terrific year, but his YPA drops from 9.3 indoors to 7.4 outdoors, and he enters Sunday on the wrong side of one of the bigger mismatches of the week up front. The Chargers have held QBs to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season, and this game projects to be one of the more slower-paced of the week.
Williams finally scored for the first time this season last week (despite having the 12th-most air yards and a similar WOPR to Chris Godwin and Amari Cooper), and he faces a Minnesota secondary that’s ceded the third-most fantasy points to outside receivers this year.
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers
Sit: Devonta Freeman
Start: Raheem Mostert
Freeman is coming off a nice game, but it came against arguably the league’s worst run defense, and he gets one in San Francisco this week that’s been by far the stingiest against fantasy backs over the last five games. He’s also been limited throughout practice with a knee injury, so Freeman isn’t a great start in Week 15.
Mostert has given San Francisco “no choice” but to hand him more opportunities coming off another impressive performance. He now ranks top-five in elusive rate, No. 2 in yards per touch and No. 1 in breakaway run rate and true yards per carry. He’s not guaranteed a workhorse role, but he’s been historically efficient and should be plenty involved in a 49ers offense that has the highest implied total of the weekend, making Mostert a borderline top-10 RB start during the fantasy semifinals.
Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys
Start: Tyler Higbee, Dak Prescott
Higbee has seen 19 targets over the last two games and led all tight ends in air yards and WOPR last week. Gerald Everett looks likely to miss another game Sunday, which could easily turn into a high-scoring one, so Higbee is a top-three tight end on my board this week.
Prescott is coming off a tough three-game stretch in the schedule, and he’s performed far better at home this season (9.2 YPA with 16 touchdowns over six games). The Rams also sport the No. 3 ranked run defense in DVOA, so Dallas may have to rely on Prescott’s arm to keep pace with a resurgent Rams offense.
Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sit: John Brown, Steelers wide receivers
After surpassing 50 receiving yards in each of his first 10 games this season, Brown has failed to reach 40 in any of his last three, when he’s faced a challenging group of corners. That doesn’t change Sunday night when he’s up against a Pittsburgh secondary that’s been among the stingiest versus fantasy wide receivers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster isn’t expected to play, and while James Washington and Diontae Johnson have shown good promise (the latter continues to draw Antonio Brown comparisons), they have a QB who never looks downfield on the rare occasion he throws. All should be benched by fantasy managers against a strong Buffalo secondary in a game with one of the lowest totals (36 points) you’ll see in today’s NFL.
Indianapolis Colts @ New Orleans Saints
Start: Zach Pascal
Start in DFS: Alvin Kamara ($23)
T.Y. Hilton returned to a limited practice this week, but he’s far from a sure thing to play Monday night (and would see limited snaps if he does), and Pascal has racked up 19 targets over the last two weeks. He should remain busy against a Saints defense that defends the run well but has allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
The Saints have a narrow target tree, so it’s not easy coming up with a flier, and Kamara is a must-start if playing this two-game DFS slate. He’s been unlucky in the touchdown department, as he’s been scoreless despite 13 carries/targets inside the red zone over the last month (he had two carries inside the five and another target inside the 10 just last week alone), but expect that to change when Kamara hits pay dirt twice in a much easier matchup at home Monday night. He’s an easy top-five RB on my board this week.