Each week our gaggle of Yahoo analysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks in the comment section below.
Among non-obvious starts in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM in Week 15 will come from ________.
Brad — KENNETH DIXON. Repeatedly seduced. Repeatedly burned. That’s been the ebb and flow of my relationship with Dixon. Still, it’s hard to ignore his 80-1 line against KC and the “expected-to-grow” talk mouthed by John Harbaugh. His matchup, too, is awfully enticing. Tampa has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points, 4.61 yards per carry, 144.7 total yards per game, 20 touchdowns and 5.8 receptions per game to rushers. On 12-14 touches, the former LA Tech standout matches his Week 14 production.
Dalton — CURTIS SAMUEL. He has a team-leading 19 targets over the last two weeks after scoring the previous two games before that, as the sophomore wideout is breaking out. Samuel ranks second in fantasy points per pass route and sixth in fantasy points per target. He gets a Saints secondary Monday night that’s been burned for the most fantasy points to his primary side over the last month. I have Samuel as a top-20 WR this week.
Scott — IAN THOMAS appeared lost earlier in the year; standard for a rookie tight end. There’s a major learning curve at the position. But Thomas has snagged 14-of-16 looks over the last two weeks, and it’s come at a time when the Panthers desperately needed a size target to step forward. Welcome to the TE1 executive room, rookie. Gatorade is free at the bar. New Orleans has been stout in tight-end coverage this year, but given how Christian McCaffrey and others are producing of late, I can’t imagine Thomas will be a primary point of focus for the defense.
Conversely, the brand name set to be the biggest Week 15 BUST is ________.
Brad — AARON JONES. Relentless Bear sloths will soon haunt Jones’ nightmares. Chicago, off its brilliant containment of Todd Gurley, is sure to treat the Packer back similarly. On the season, the Bears have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points, 3.60 yards per carry, 108.1 total yards per game and seven total touchdowns to RBs. Jones, when netting bulk touches, has performed wonderfully, but the road environment and current state of the franchise suggest he falls short of 90 combined yards without a score.
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Dalton — AARON RODGERS. The Packers won easily last week, but Rodgers’ play wasn’t suddenly fixed with Mike McCarthy gone as hoped, as the problems in Green Bay appear to run deeper. Rodgers has just four touchdowns over the past three games and has gotten only 6.7 YPA over the last six contests. He’s also running less than usual thanks to his knee injury. He now gets the No. 1 ranked defense in DVOA while on the road, where the Packers are one of only two teams in the NFL yet to win this year. I don’t have Rodgers as a top-15 QB during this crucial week of the fantasy playoffs.
Scott — I can’t remember the last time I had MIKE EVANS outside my Top 20 at the wide receiver position, but Baltimore’s defense is a steamroller, crushing most passing production in its path. Baltimore’s offense could also mess things up, aiming to run liberally and shorten the game. If you have reasonable WR depth, you could consider sitting Evans here. At minimum, fade him in DFS and bring those expectations way down. And other Tampa Bay options that we generally trust this year (Winston, Godwin, Humphries) become non-starters for fantasy purposes.
Chuck a Hail Mary, one deeper player you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 15 is ______.
Dalton — ROBERT FOSTER. He’s eclipsed 90 yards in three of the past four games, saw eight targets last week and continues to develop good chemistry with Josh Allen, whose big arm works well with Foster downfield. Darius Slay should be lined up mostly across Zay Jones on Sunday, leaving Foster matched up with Mike Ford, who’s allowed NFL-highs both in catch% and yards per route covered. The rookie wideout (who was once a top recruit at Alabama before injuries struck) is an intriguing flier this week who’s also cheap in DFS.
Scott — MICHAEL GALLUP gets behind defenders most weeks (I know I’ve stumped for him before), but Dak Prescott keeps missing him. The Colts did a reasonable job on DeAndre Hopkins last week and will likely steer that way again. Dallas will have Gallup in single coverage if it wants it. Above all else, promise me you’ll have some Gallup shares next year. I also love the Noisy take, below.
Brad — ANTHONY FIRKSER. With Jonnu Smith done for the season, the Harvard product assumes TE1 duties in Tennessee. He’s flashed at times this season, which lends to back-end TE1 upside this week against New York. The Giants rank middle-of-the-pack in fantasy points allowed to the position, but have given up 5.2 receptions and just over 53 yards per game to oversized targets. On a likely 5-7 looks, the mammalian TE could accumulate 40-50 yards and a score. At a decimated position, you could much worse.
Handicapping Lounge: If I had to go to the window to punch a Week 15 against-the-spread ticket, my jelly beans would be on ______.
Dalton — BUFFALO -2.5. The Bills defense has allowed the third-fewest yards per play this season and should dominate at home against a struggling Lions offense.
Scott — MINNESOTA -7. The Vikings are the fourth-grade bully, stealing lunch money from the easy targets but cowering to a real challenge. This is a lunch-money week. I also agree with Dalton’s Buffalo Stance.
Brad — PITTSBURGH +1.5. According to Sports Insights nearly 80 percent of public spread tickets are on the Pats. Big Ben, who is money at home and desperate to get the Steelers back on track, guides his club to a three-point victory. Fade the majority. Score some cash.