Week 15 Fantasy Wrap: Derrick Henry does it again
Tennessee Titans vs. New York Giants
Hopefully you weren’t too worried about chasing points and used Derrick Henry in a plus matchup Sunday, because he dominated for the second straight game. In fact, Henry has run for 408 yards and six touchdowns over the last two games. He’s up to 11 scores on the year. He remains an afterthought as a receiver but has clearly emerged as Tennessee’s lead back (who dominates at the goal line), and he’s second in the NFL in YPC after contact. Henry will be a top-10 RB in Week 16 of the fantasy playoffs at home versus Washington (and he’s shooting up 2019 draft boards too).
He joins other backs such as Damien Williams, Marlon Mack, Tevin Coleman and Jaylen Samuels as unlikely fantasy difference makers when it matters most. And in the year of the passer, of course Sunday saw nine rushers go for 100 yards and no QBs throw for 300 until Jared Goff in the night game. Running backs remain as important as ever in fantasy.
Saquon Barkley was given just 14 touches as the Giants were too frequently more interested in throwing 20-yard outs to Russell Shepard on third-and-three and having deep drops from short-and-goal rather than calling Barkley’s number. At least he saw 10 targets, but Eli Manning is a real (and the only?) concern not to make Barkley the first pick in fantasy drafts next year. Regardless, you’ll want him in your DFS lineup next week when he bounces back in Indy.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan hasn’t reached 6.5 YPA in any of his last three games but recorded his third rushing score of the year after totaling zero over the previous five seasons. Josh Rosen has a 3:6 TD:INT ratio over six road games and gave way to Mike Glennon in yet another discouraging performance. And to think some thought taking Saquon Barkley ahead of Rosen was criminal…Tevin Coleman finally took advantage of a favorable matchup, likely going off on many fantasy owners’ benches.
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Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen entered second in the NFL in rushing yards over the last three weeks but was held to just 16 yards on the ground. He did score there and got 7.8 YPA. It was the kind of game that featured Keith Ford, Marcus Murphy and Zach Zenner at running back…Kenny Golladay outplayed tough coverage and had a quiet dominant performance making tight catches. Robert Foster has now cleared 90 yards in four of his last five games, including 108 with a nice score Sunday (when he also drew a 50-yard PI and hauled in another long throw just out of bounds).
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Mitchell Trubisky looked healthy again and played well, while Aaron Rodgers saw his TD and INT-free streaks both come to an end. Rodgers has gotten just 5.7 YPA over the last three games, and the Packers remain one of only two teams yet to win on the road this season…Aaron Jones not only left hurt but did so immediately, although hopefully the tough matchup scared owners into sitting him (and thankfully, for next year, it sounds like he avoided an ACL tear). Jamaal Williams will be an RB2 option against the Jets in Week 16…It’s pretty wild that Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Allen Robinson could all reasonably be called fantasy busts for the 10-4 division-winning Bears.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals scored 30 points and won handily despite Jeff Driskel throwing for 130 yards (3.9 YPA) and Derek Carr not throwing a pick for the ninth straight game…Tyler Boyd scored but left injured in a plus matchup, while Joe Mixon ran for 129 yards and two scores. He’s come up huge for his owners during the fantasy playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Indianapolis Colts
Coming off five straight wins, including in overtime last week (and essentially clinching their division), a letdown game was hardly unexpected from the Cowboys. A shutout, however, was. Ezekiel Elliott hasn’t recorded a rushing TD in any of his past three games, so you’ll want him in your DFS lineup next week when he goes nuts at home versus the Bucs.
Dallas had been the stingiest team against fantasy backs over the previous five weeks by a wide margin, but Marlon Mack ran for 139 yards and two scores, much to the chagrin of Andrew Luck owners (the QB entered with 19 TD passes over six home games this season)…Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper frustratingly couldn’t even capitalize on garbage time late, and Michael Gallup was just the latest perimeter receiver to be shut down by the Colts.
Blake Jarwin finished with the fifth-most air yards among tight ends in Week 15, while T.Y. Hilton played well through his ankle injury, although Luck missed him on a short end zone throw, costing him a TD.
Miami Dolphins vs. Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook totaled 163 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches with two scores and was one of the best players on the field Sunday. Latavius Murray also got into the mix, as new OC Kevin Stefanski made good on his word of emphasizing the ground game. Minny ultimately beat its first opponent with a winning record this season…Tyler Conklin led Minnesota with 53 receiving yards…Adam Thielen saw just two targets (19 scoreless yards) against a secondary that had allowed the second-most fantasy points to the slot over the past month…Frank Gore lasted longer than I expected, and Kalen Ballage is a must-add as Miami’s new lead back. The rookie took the opening play of Sunday’s second half 75 yards to the house.
Washington Redskins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I ranked Leonard Fournette aggressively and used him in my main DFS lineup and had the Jaguars as my lone loser in a five-team teaser, but other than that this game went swimmingly. I’m not bitter at all.
Washington entered as TD underdogs on the road with a league-high 18 players on IR and starting Josh Johnson at quarterback against a desperate Jacksonville defense coming off extra rest. What a disaster, as a special teams score was the Jaguars’ only TD. Cody Kessler managed an anemic 3.4 YPA during the team’s loss. Fournette had 21 yards on 10 carries before a late 25-yard run against a front seven that entered ranked 25th in run defense DVOA, and he even ceded touches to David Williams at times. Fournette has not been a good return on investment this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson added another 95 rushing yards, while Kenneth Dixon’s workload stayed the same (11 carries) despite Ty Montgomery being inactive…Mike Evans got 121 yards against a tough Baltimore secondary, but this was predictably low-scoring with Chris Moore snaring the only TD through the air…Chris Godwin was held catchless one game after he recorded just one reception for 13 yards despite seeing 10 targets and leading the NFL in air yards in Week 14. He hasn’t exactly taken advantage of DeSean Jackson’s absence.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
Nick Mullens just threw for the most yards against the Seahawks in a season since Pete Carroll took over and has gotten 9.1 YPA at home this year. He missed George Kittle on a couple of open would-be big plays, but Mullens will enter 2019 as the backup quarterback with the most fantasy upside…The 49ers lost any hope of having the draft’s first pick with the win, as Garrett Celek more than doubled his season yardage total by halftime…Doug Baldwin has three touchdowns versus San Francisco this season and one against the rest of the league, while Chris Carson ran hard…Former track athlete Marquise Goodwin oddly finished with negative five air yards.
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
In a game that featured this week’s highest over/under (56.5 points), the Steelers won 17-10, killing fantasy owners hoping for a high-scoring affair…Joe Haden silenced Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski was quiet again. Chris Hogan’s 63-yard TD catch was New England’s longest play from scrimmage this season…The Patriots finish the regular season 3-5 on the road, and it was a bit crazy to see this line move to them -3 before kickoff…Jaylen Samuels had 172 YFS on just 21 touches, looked impressive and was unlucky his day wasn’t even bigger.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Rams
Nick Foles got 8.7 YPA while Jared Goff had his third straight poor game, as the previously undefeated at home Rams ended the third quarter down 30-13 before making a run late. Goff entered the Rams bye getting 9.3 YPA with a 26:6 TD:INT ratio. He’s gotten 5.5 YPA with a 1:7 TD:INT ratio over three games since and travels to face a Cardinals defense in Week 16 that’s allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Zach Ertz was held to just 22 yards while Alshon Jeffery enjoyed the reconnection with Foles and erupted for a season-high 160 yards. Wendell Smallwood had an unlikely two touchdowns, while Todd Gurley totaled 124 yards with two scores of his own. He saw a team-high 13 targets but was given a modest 12 carries and had his knee checked at one point before gingerly exiting on the game’s final play. His Week 16 status against an Arizona defense that’s been gashed for the third-most fantasy points this season will obviously be of the utmost importance during fantasy championships.
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