With fans in San Diego voicing their disappointment and even anger for the team leaving combined with an 0-4 start, the beginning of the Los Angeles Chargers’ season was an absolute nightmare. Fast forward to Week 15 and the Los Angeles Chargers are the talk of the NFL as they won their 4th straight and sit tied with the Kansas City Chiefs atop the AFC West standings. During the impressive win streak, their offense has averaged 32 points-per-game and their defense has limited opponents to just over 13 points per game. With the team now running on all cylinders, the Los Angeles Chargers have become the team opponents would prefer to avoid!
The AFC West is not the only key divisional battle to watch this weekend. The Los Angeles Rams defend their lead in the NFC West standings against the Seattle Seahawks, and the New England Patriots will attempt to rebound after a tough Monday Night Football defeat when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers with hopes to win back home field advantage for the playoffs!
Week 15 is the semi-final or second playoff round in most leagues. If your team is still alive, then take a dive with me as we review several players and a defense that will help you advance to the finale! Consider the weather forecast this weekend as frigid (and even potentially snowy conditions are expected) in Cleveland, Buffalo, Washington DC, New York, and Pittsburgh.
QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
“Matty Ice” has failed to replicate or even earn remotely comparable numbers to his 2016 MVP performance. Despite upsetting the New Orleans Saints’ in Week 13, Ryan threw three picks and has only thrown two touchdowns over his last three games. Sure, it’s been a rough go this season, but don’t dismiss Ryan for Week 14 when Atlanta visits Tampa Bay. He torched them for 317 passing yards and a score in Week 12, and has actually performed better on the road this season. Tampa Bay has also allowed the most passing yards than any other team. Start Ryan this week!
Week 15 forecast: 275 passing yards; 2 TD
RB Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
If Jordan Howard has been on your team this year, then congratulations on surviving the roller-coaster ride! Although he has four performances over his last eight games surpassing 121 total yards, he also has three games with 54 total yards or less. The Chicago Bears welcome the Detroit Lions who have given up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing running backs including five straight performances of at least 100 rushing yards. In Week 11, Howard ran for 8.3 yards per carry for a total of 125 rushing yards and a score against Detroit. Look for an encore this weekend!
Week 15 forecast: 100 total yards; 1 TD
WR Sammy Watkins, Los Angeles Rams
Sammy Watkins’ chemistry with quarterback Jared Goff has been on the rise lately, especially in the red zone. The Rams’ wideout has scored in three straight games, and five of the last six. His yardage has varied and disappointed at times, but also faced off against several tough secondaries. With a matchup against the “Legion of Boom-less” Seattle Seahawks’ secondary who have surrendered the 7th most fantasy points to opposing wideouts including more than 27 points over the last seven games, don’t think twice about starting Watkins this weekend.
Week 15 forecast: 60 receiving yards; 1 TD
TE Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
If you have been fortunate enough to find your team in the semi-final round of playoffs, then starting players with consistency and a solid track record of performance is key. Enter Jason Witten. Although he only received two targets last weekend, he did score for his 2nd week in a row. With Dak Prescott looking better lately, Witten should see at least five targets next game and have a shot at another touchdown. With Greg Olsen not at full strength and several other tight ends facing difficult matchups or healing from injury, consider Witten this weekend. The Dallas Cowboys will visit the Oakland Raiders who allow the 7th most fantasy points to tight ends including over an average of 100 yards in the last two games.
Week 15 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
D/ST Buffalo Bills
With playoff hopes still alive and another cold, potentially snowy game in the forecast, consider the Buffalo Bills’ defense this week when they welcome the Miami Dolphins. Miami is coming off a huge upset win on Monday Night Football, so will be playing on a short week and in weather they are not accustomed to. Whether Tyrod Taylor or Joe Webb potentially starting with Nathan Peterman in concussion protocol, the Buffalo Bills’ offense should be solid and defense should be ready for Week 15.
Week 15 forecast: 11 points