Fantasy booms, busts, breakouts: Week 15 bold predictions

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, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below.

Among players around 50 percent started in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM from Week 15 comes from ________.

Dalton STERLING SHEPARD. He was a huge disappointment in a plus matchup last week but has typically been targeted heavily when healthy this season thanks to all of the Giants’ other WR injuries. Shepard scored eight touchdowns as a rookie last season, is acting as the team’s No. 1 wideout, and New York figures to have to throw a lot entering as more than touchdown underdogs. Giants quarterbacks have recorded a 105.4 Passer Rating when throwing to Shepard (top-20 in the NFL) this season, and he should see good volume Sunday.

Liz JIMMY GAROPPOLO. With Josh McCown (hand) and Carson Wentz (knee) going down, fantasy managers are searching high and low for fill-ins. Garoppolo is still available in 74 percent of Yahoo leagues and has an exploitable matchup in Week 15. He’ll host the Titans’ bottom-ranked pass defense that’s managed just one interception over the last month.

Averaging 313 passing yards and a YPA of 9 over his past two starts, Garoppolo is bringing much optimism to the 49ers fan base (amirite, 3D?). Admittedly, the Niners don’t exactly have a robust red zone offense, but the former Patriot is building rapport with his pass-catchers and will face a Titans defense that’s given up seven scores to the position over the last four weeks. He’s a top-twelve play this weekend.

Scott – It is the dawning of the age of Latavius, the age of Latavius . . . La-ta-vi-us . . . La-ta-vi-us. Okay, perhaps LATAVIUS MURRAY isn’t worthy of song and dance, but put him back in your circle of trust after last week’s fluky loss at Carolina. Murray racked up 505 total yards and five touchdowns over his six prior games, and the Bengals rushing defense has been abysmal the last five weeks (second-easiest RB mark for fantasy purposes) as the injuries pile up. Minnesota is also an 11-point favorite in this game, and we know rushing production correlates nicely to big favorites.

Conversely, among players commonly started in Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 15 BUST will be ______.

Liz – A.J. GREEN. The Bengals WR1 has found the end zone eight times this season, making him the fourth most scoring wideout of 2017. Interestingly, five of those TDs have come against five of the league’s most generous secondaries (GB, CLE, BUF, IND, and TEN). In Week 15, he’ll face the Vikings top-five ranked pass defense.

Likely to be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes, Green will have his work cut out for himself, as Rhodes is allowing an average of 3 catches and 37 yards per outing. Save Marvin Jones’ Thanksgiving Miracle, Minnesota’s stud CB has kept every single receiver in his assignment out of the end zone. Green is good, but I wouldn’t count on him to carry your squad this Sunday.

Dalton DEMARCO MURRAY. After having arguably the NFL’s best offensive line last season, the unit has been mere average for Tennessee this year, and Murray has struggled mightily in his own right (ranks #51 in Juke Rate), averaging an anemic 3.5 YPC against light fronts. He’ll soon turn 30, and the aging back has been playing banged up for most of the season. Moreover, after being among the league’s worst run defenses in the beginning of the year, San Francisco has played much better of late, and Derrick Henry has been given more red-zone work recently. Murray is setup to fail in Week 15.

ScottFRANK GORE was one of Week 14’s best stories, handling 37 touches in the glorious snow game at Buffalo. Indy didn’t score a victory, but Gore racked up 140 total yards and added to his legacy. But now he has to play a short-turnaround game against a Denver defense that parcels out a scant 3.3 YPC. Don’t chase last week’s production or last week’s snow drift; Gore is going to deflate you in the dome. (I’m also expecting Jay Cutler to revert to previous form in Buffalo; other than Jarvis Landry, there’s nothing from Miami’s passing game that I like there. Please stop playing DeVante Parker, amigos.)

Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 15 is ______.

ScottIf you need to get frisky with that final flex spot, perhaps WAYNE GALLMAN can be of assistance. He’s been more efficient than Orleans Darkwa for three straight games, and Gallman is also coming off a 99 total yards against Dallas (along with seven receptions). The Giants figure to be in evaluation mode for the final three weeks, which could lead to Gallman, a rookie, seeing an increased role. The Eagles front seven has played well all year, but it’s also allowed five touchdown catches to running backs. If Gallman keeps the shape of last week’s usage, this is a sneaky spot for him.

And if you need a super sleeper, consider Garrett Celek in San Francisco; another path to the goodness of Jimmy OMG. Celek has a solid 171 yards and two scores over his last four games, useful stats for a tight end, and he tripled the snap count of George Kittle last week.

Liz – BEN WATSON. It’s hard to trust any of the pass catchers in Baltimore and Ben Watson’s opportunities have been far from voluminous, but he did find the end zone against Detroit in Week 13 and his matchup in the second round of the playoffs is hard to beat. He’ll face a Browns squad that he ripped for over 90 yards earlier in the year and that’s allowed 9 scores to the position so far in 2017. FF: 4-47-1

Dalton – DEDE WESTBROOK. The rookie has averaged 9.0 targets over the past three games, topping 80 yards with a score last week. Allen Hurns looks likely out again, and the Jags are at home up against a Houston defense that’s allowed 8.0 YPA (second-most in the NFL) and gets routinely beat by receivers. Westbrook ranks No. 21 among wide receivers in fantasy points per route, so there’s upside here.

Crash the pocket on Dalton (@DaltonDelDon), Scott (@Scott_Pianowski) and Liz (@LizLoza_FF) on Twitter

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