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START/BENCH: Week 15

It’s Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season. That means that in the majority of fantasy football leagues, we’re down to just four teams. Only four fortunate fantasy franchises will play on this week.

Those four teams are all chock full of talent. Loaded with upside. All of that good stuff. At this point there are no easy outs. Every game is a battle. Every lineup decision is vitally important. A handful of yards or a couple of catches here or there can be the difference between advancing to the championship game and calling it a season.

Is your blood pumping yet?

This time of year, there are a couple of lineup philosophies. The first is as old as fantasy football itself — “Always Start Your Studs.” Don’t overthink things. Dance with who brought you. Sure, Seattle’s DK Metcalf might have a tough matchup in Week 15 with a Washington team allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to receivers in Sharks League Scoring. But you don’t sit a player like that. Ever. No matter who he plays.

The second school of thought is essentially that there is no such thing as a “stud” this time of year. You need to be prepared to take best advantage of that week’s matchups. To milk the schedule for all it’s worth. To attack the slate and be aggressive in decision-making.

As is usually the case, the best course of action lies in-between.

There’s zero chance I’d consider sitting Metcalf — this week or any other. He has as much matchup-busting ability as any wideout in the game. He lives in a world where he’s perpetually one long touchdown from a huge stat line.

But there’s also something to be said for being flexible this time of year. Given their respective matchups (which we’ll get to shortly), an argument can be made for starting Baltimore’s J.K. Dobbins over Seattle’s Chris Carson at running back this week.

Whatever you decide, just make sure that you decide it. Win or lose, the only person who has to live with the lineup decisions you make this week (and next) is you.

If you do decide to make a bold call, be sure it’s one you can live with.

The offseason is long enough without filling it with regret.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (at New Orleans)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Washington)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (vs. Philadelphia)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (at Denver)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Carolina)

Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Indianapolis)

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at Las Vegas)

ROLL THEM OUT

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (at Atlanta): Brady has been up-and-down this season, including a less-than-stellar stat line in Week 14 against Minnesota. But no team in the league has given up more fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020 than Atlanta.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New York Jets): Last week against the Jets “defense,” Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 206 passing yards and four touchdowns — in three quarters. Goff and the Rams are plenty motivated to go all-out this week to keep pace with Seattle in the NFC West.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. Jacksonville): Jackson’s late-game heroics (and 124 rushing yards and two scores) may have saved Baltimore’s season last week against Cleveland. Now the 2019 NFL MVP gets a Top 5 fantasy matchup for quarterbacks with lowly Jacksonville.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (vs. Detroit): Tannehill didn’t do a lot last week — just 212 passing yards and two scores against Jacksonville. But two weeks ago, he flirted with 400 passing yards against Cleveland, and Detroit is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

SIT THEM DOWN

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (vs. Chicago): Cousins had been on a hot streak, but last week he cooled off considerably — just 225 passing yards and one score against Tampa Bay. Chicago has given up the ninth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (at New York Giants): Some streamers may be considering Mayfield in Week 15 after his recent hot streak. But the Giants haven’t been a great fantasy matchup for quarterbacks, and they held Kyler Murray mostly in check in Week 14.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (vs. New England): Tagovailoa is coming off the first 300-yard passing effort of his career, but New England hasn’t been kind to fantasy quarterbacks in 2020 — 28th in fantasy points per game surrendered to the position.

Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Indianapolis): Among the “stud” quarterbacks, Watson is the most likely to garner serious consideration as a “sit.” His receiving corps has been decimated by injury and suspension, and Indianapolis has been a Bottom 5 fantasy matchup for quarterbacks.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.