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THE DIVE: Week 15 – “Survival of the Fittest”

How did your team fare after the first round of the fantasy football playoffs? If your team advanced and remains healthy, then you are one of the lucky ones as many teams’ medical staffs were kept busy in Week 14! Some of the most notable injuries were suffered by wide receivers including Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley, D.J. Chark, DeVante Parker, and Alshon Jeffrey. Running backs Derrius Guice, Rashaad Penny and Bo Scarbrough as well as tight ends Mark Andrews, Noah Fant, Ryan Griffin, Jared Cook also joined the extensive list of injured players. In fact, a few of these wideouts have been confirmed as being done for the season. On a positive note, the San Francisco 49ers edged out the New Orleans Saints in a thrilling shootout, which was the 2nd highest scoring game of the season.

Let’s take a dive into Week 15 so you can prepare for the semifinals of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues. Weather continues to cool and should not play a major factor this weekend. However, beware that the Green Bay game forecast is close to single-digits and fog is also expected in Kansas City.

QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago

Is it too late to get on board? The Mitchell Trubisky “train” was under repair but is now running on all cylinders! In fact, the Bears’ quarterback has totaled seven touchdowns and averaged 291 passing yards over the last two games. If your starting quarterback is Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or just simply faces a tough matchup, then it may be worthwhile to consider Trubisky if he is available. His road matchup against the Green Bay Packers is not favorable, but his ceiling remains too high to be ignored!

Week 15 projection: 250 passing yards; 25 rushing yards; 2 TD

RB DeAndre Washington, Oakland

With star rookie running back Josh Jacobs a late scratch last Sunday, many attentive owners (as well as opponents) quickly scooped up DeAndre Washington. If you actually started Washington, you likely were not disappointed as he totaled 96 yards and scored a touchdown. He shared carries with Jalen Richard, but did out-touch him 20-9. Although it appears Jacobs may return this weekend, Washington will likely maintain an active role in the office and has a juicy home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars who have given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing running backs including three touchdowns to Los Angeles Chargers’ running backs last weekend. Consider Washington a low-end RB3 with high upside if he ends up starting this weekend!

Week 15 projection: 75 total yards; 1 TD

WR Emmanuel Sanders

Veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had a terrific start to the season with his new team, but then cooled off after battling an injury. He appears to be healthy again and had a highlight worthy 75 yard touchdown catch as part of 157 receiving yard total. Sanders should be heavily targeted again when the San Francisco 49ers welcome the Atlanta Falcons who have surrendered the 12th most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. If you are down a receiver or two this weekend to injury, see if Sanders is available and start him as a WR3 or Flex with a high floor and solid upside!

Week 15 projection: 80 receiving yards; 1 TD

TE Ian Thomas

With veteran tight end Greg Olsen out for Week 14, Carolina was expected to employ a committee of tight ends. However, Thomas stepped up with 5 catches from 10 targets for 57 yards and a score. Whether Olsen suits up for Week 15 or not, expect Thomas to play a major role in the offense especially since the Panthers will be hosting the Seattle Seahawks who have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. With several TE2 and TE3 potentially sidelined this weekend, you may need to check for Thomas in the free agent pool and start him!

Week 15 projection: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD

D/ST Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs’ defense hasn’t been great this season, but quite solid against the run most of the year. With a road matchup against the Detroit Lions, they may be a great plug-and-play if your defense has a touch matchup. Although they struggled against Indianapolis last weekend, the Bucs’ defense has totaled 12 sacks, 7 takeaways, and 1 touchdown over the last three games. Backup quarterback David Blough is likely to start again this weekend and should be vulnerable to Tampa Bay’s pressure. Consider the Bucs’ D this weekend!

Week 15 projection: 11 points

About Marc Griffis

Marc Griffis has competed in fantasy football, baseball, and basketball leagues since 2005. Marc has written "The Dive" for Fantasy Sharks since 2010. Additionally, his expertise is featured in David Gonos' E-books "101 Fantasy Baseball Tips" and "101 Fantasy Football Tips". Lastly, Marc competed in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association SiriusXM Fantasy Baseball experts' league from 2012-2014.