Welcome back for your Studs and Duds Week 15 edition!
It’s week 15 of the NFL season and the NFL playoff picture is coming to fruition. The fantasy playoffs are either starting or well underway for you, so every game is critical. With injuries aplenty around the NFL, you’ll need some solid alternatives to get you through the week.
There’ll be plenty of lesser-known options, and a sprinkle of the elite, in this studs and duds week 15 edition. Best of luck to you in your playoffs, let’s get to it!
Kirk Cousins vs. Carolina Panthers
He continues to dominate the fantasy QB position, and I don’t foresee that changing this week. The Panthers have allowed the 7th most points to opposing QB’s, including 7 touchdowns over their last four games.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cincinnati Bengals
He wasn’t very much needed last week, in a game that saw lots of snow, and lots of Le’Veon Bell. His 3 interceptions was very much concerning, but I like him to recover in this divisional match-up vs. the Bengals. He put up a cool 259 and three touchdowns in their week 2 showdown.
Matt Ryan vs. San Francisco 49ers
No-brainer play of the week! Hey, even I deserve one of these once in awhile. There’s viable concern that there’ll be too many mouths to feed. Still, before facing Barkley and Petty in back to back weeks, the 49ers defense had allowed 11 touchdowns in four weeks to opposing signal callers. Ryan could very much help you move onto the next round of your playoffs.
Matthew Stafford vs. New York Giants
Stafford’s playing with a bum finger, and the Giants defense has been solid against opposing signal callers. I could see this being a very low-scoring game where both offenses struggle.
Drew Brees vs. Arizona Cardinals
Call me a disgruntled Brees owner, but back to back games with 10 points or less is not what you expect from your elite signal caller come playoff time. The Cardinals defense has been more lenient against QB’s as of late. Even so, there’s something off about this Saints passing game and I’m struggling to find a reason to stand by them.
Andy Dalton vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Of my duds calls, I would call this one the most likely to bite me in the rear. Dalton hasn’t been a great fantasy option this season, and this match-up vs. the Steelers top 10 fantasy defense against QB’s is a tough one. However, it’s a rivalry game, and it’s likely both offenses will be on point. I still wouldn’t trust him, it’s too risky.
Running Back Studs
Bilal Powell vs. Miami Dolphins
This may be the first time since earlier this season I’ve put a RB here vs. the Phins. While they allow a ton of yards to opposing backs, they’ve done a decent enough job holding them low on fantasy points. This Matt Moore vs. Bryce Petty match-up will rely heavily on defense and the running game. With how well Powell’s been playing, and Kiko Alonso still out, I love his play this week.
Jonathan Stewart vs. Washington Redskins
Loved him last week against the Chargers, and he didn’t disappoint. 66 yards and a score is a fine outing. Another juicy match-up vs. the Redskins 4th worst defense against opposing backs is too good to pass up. Keep riding that JStew train all the way to your championship!
Latavius Murray vs. San Diego Chargers
He’s truly one of the few bell-cow backs left in the NFL. While fantasy “experts” don’t like him much, he’s a must-start play and shouldn’t be on your bench in any circumstance. Over his last four games, he’s scored 4 times, breaking 100 yards just this last week vs. KC. The Chargers run defense is pure swiss-cheese, creating a beautiful match-up for Murray once again.
Running Back Duds
Spencer Ware vs. Tennessee Titans
He hasn’t been too impressive since his return from injury, scoring just twice since week 7, and averaging less than 3 yards per carry over his last two games. The Titans defense has been surprisingly stout against the run, allowingn less than 75 yards a game on the ground.
Frank Gore vs. Minnesota Vikings
I haven’t been a Gore fan all year, so perhaps I’m off my rocker. His 20 carries two weeks ago was the first time he achieved the “milestone” since week 6. The Vikings run defense has looked meak the past few weeks, but consider this. Two of those match-ups were vs. fantasy leaders David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott, greatly skewing their recent stats.
TJ Yeldon vs. Houston Texans
He’s had back to back flex worthy performances, so playoff teams looking for an edge may be tempted. The Texans defense has been great against the run as of late, allowing more than 50 yards on the ground just once since week 8. Yeldon himself managed just 59 yards in their last head to head.
Wide Receiver Studs
Tyreek Hill vs. Tennessee Titans
There’s been some talk of him as the waiver pick-up of the year, and it’d be hard to argue against that. We see a guy carry teams through the playoffs each year, and to me, that’s Tyreek Hill. The Titans defense allows the most points to opposing WR’s, leaving the door wide open for Hill to continue his dominant streak.
Mike Wallace vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Wallace has been perhaps one of the most consistent fantasy plays this year. He’s not a touchdown machine, never has been, but in PPR leagues he’s good for 10-points a game almost guaranteed. This week’s match-up vs. the Eagles porous secondary should confirm that guarantee.
Tyrell Williams vs. Oakland Raiders
While the targets haven’t been there over the past two weeks, he’s still one of Rivers favorite options in the redzone, pulling in a touchdown in four of his last five games. The Raiders haven’t exactly been a force against opposing receivers. They allow the 12th most points to the position, including a touchdown in 5 of their last 6 games.
Wide Receiver Duds
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite just two wins on the year, the Jaguars defense continues to dominate opposing receivers. Hopkins has been experiencing a horrific season, in fantasy and reality, so this may not come as much of a surprise. Still, with double digit fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games, and a match-up vs. the Jags, some players may be tempted.
Sterling Shepard vs. Detroit Lions
The Lions defense has been pretty solid as of late, and the Giants offense has… not. Shepard is extremely touchdown dependent, having not recorded more than 50 yards receiving since week 3. He has scored in 4 of his last 6 games though, so flip a coin, see what you get.
Donte Moncrief vs. Minnesota Vikings
Last week’s goose egg was a major blow to championship hopefuls. Even worse, he aggravated a hamstring injury that has already cost him five games this season. The Vikings defense ain’t too shabby either, allowing the 2nd fewest points to opposing receivers.
Tight End Studs
Charles Clay vs. Cleveland Browns
With Watkins hobbled and Woods still nursing an injury, Clay helped to pick up some of the slack last week. Pulling in 3 of 6 targets for 52 yards and his first touchdown of the year, any signs of life in the TE pool is eye catching. The Browns allow the most fantasy points to TE’s by far, so if you’re looking for a shot in the dark, take it with Clay!
Ladarius Green vs. Cincinnati Bengals
He was a hot play last week and disappointed, so many may be turned away. That would be a mistake, the Bengals have given up the most yards to opposing TE’s, allowing 7 touchdowns as well.
Jermaine Gresham vs. New Orleans Saints
With the ineptitude of Floyd and the absence of Brown over the last few weeks, Gresham has really stepped up as a viable option in the Cardinals passing game. Over his last 5 games, he’d pulled in 21 of 31 targets for 203 yards and 2 scores. The Saints are middle of the pack against the TE, so the match-up isn’t pristine. Still, I like Gresham’s chances for another double digit week.
Tight End Duds
Coby Fleener vs. Arizona Cardinals
On the flip side, Coby Fleener has his toughest match-up of the year. Perhaps one of the most frustrating TE’s to own this year, Fleeners TE1 status speaks volumes of the lack of a solid TE option. The Cardinals just allowed their first touchdown to a TE last week, and have yet to allow a double digit performance in standard formats.
Dennis Pitta vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Outside of his two-touchdown performance vs. Miami (his only TD’s this year), Pitta has been a wild card play at best. With just one 50 yard performance since week 5 and a brutal match-up against the Eagles 2nd ranked defense vs. the TE, he’s a big-time avoid this week.
Delanie Walker vs. Kansas City Chiefs
I had him here last week and some thought me insane, but I was right. His match-up vs. the Chiefs this week is no easier, hence his presence as a dud yet again. It’s a tough blow to his owners, given he’s been one of the more dependable TE’s on the market. Fact is, he’s not match-up proof, and his playoff match-ups scream “find another option”.
That’s all for your Studs and Duds Week 15 edition!
Whether you agree or disagree, reach out on Twitter @the1andonlypz and let’s discuss! As always, enjoy another week of great football action, and best of luck to you in your fantasy match-ups!