Week 15 is here and it’s the second week of the playoffs and opening round for others. When it comes to roster plays during the playoffs you want to find good situations, players with a decent floor and above all else, minimize your risk factor. There are some good matchups that have the potential to produce points and some others with key players who might be worth avoiding as we dissect game scripts. The intent of this article is to highlight players who will outperform or under-perform their weekly ranking and give you confidence while you’re making tough lineup choices.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee (vs. Houston)
Tannehill has been on fire since taking over the starting quarterback job in Week 6. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in all but two starts, including a three-touchdown performance last week against Oakland. This week he gets a home matchup with Houston, who has given up more than 300-yards through the air in back-to-back games, and is allowing the fifth-most points to the quarterback position. Tannehill can extend plays with his legs and has upside rushing potential in this one, which is always a great bonus for quarterbacks. Tennessee is favored this week as it looks to extend its four-game winning streak and inch closer toward the playoffs.
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle (at Carolina)
Carson has shown flashes of brilliance this year but at times has also been a complete letdown. This week he gets a juicy matchup against Carolina, the second-worst run defense in the league. Carolina has given up more than 115 yards in three consecutive games and has allowed six touchdowns to the running back position during that span. Carson no longer has to worry about Rashaad Penny poaching touches as he was unfortunately ruled out for the rest of the year after sustaining an ACL injury this past week. Seattle is a run-first team and should handle floundering Carolina with ease this week. Fire up Carson in all formats.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville (at Oakland)
The lack of touchdowns this season is hurting his value, but the workload has been there. He is averaging 18 carries per game with a 4.4 yards per carry but has just three touchdowns on the year. This week Jacksonville is traveling to take on Oakland, who was just gashed on the ground by Tennessee to the tune of 161 yards and two scores. This game is less appealing from an entertainment perspective as Oakland has lost three in a row and Jacksonville has been losers of its last five. With that said, neither team is very good defensively so this matchup could be a surprise point producer for fantasy teams.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland (at Arizona)
Landry has been as steady as they come the past few weeks as the lone bright spot in the Cleveland passing game. This week Cleveland is traveling to Arizona in what could be a surprise shootout as the former No. 1 overall picks try to outdo each other. Arizona has given up more than 400-yards through the air in two of its last three games and has given up 14 touchdowns on the year to wide receivers. Arizona is the fourth-worst team defending the wide receiver position and even with Cleveland’s offensive struggles at times, Landry should be able to put together a solid effort in this one.
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (vs. Miami)
Having to start Shepard in your playoff matchup seems daunting, but frankly, the matchup is gold for what is probably your WR3/FLEX option. The Giants will host Miami, and as unexciting as this game appears on paper, both teams are awful against the pass so we could see some long touchdowns in this one. Shepard will get a matchup with Nik Needham, who is allowing and an average of 3.4 receptions per game while surrendering 11.5 fantasy points. Shepard should be able to get a leg up on him all afternoon. Shepard was rolling before he was injured and hasn’t really found his stride since he has returned; however, he makes for a great upside play this week against a Miami team which struggles to cover anyone.
Darren Waller, TE, Oakland (vs. Jacksonville)
Waller is averaging five catches and 68 yards per game this year which is as steady production as you can get given how shallow the tight end position is. Jacksonville is only giving up 43 yards on average to the tight end, but has surrendered seven touchdowns on the year, tied for third-most in the league. He’s going to get a matchup with Jarrod Wilson, who is giving up an average of 18 fantasy points to opposing players. Waller is a TE1 this week and should be able to put up points this week.
Other Players to Like
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco (vs. Atlanta)
Coming off a four-touchdown performance and the Atlanta secondary is much weaker than New Orleans last week.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver (at Kansas City)
Kansas City is giving up the third-most yards to running backs. Denver should try to control the clock in this one.
Sony Michel, RB, New England (at Cincinnati)
Can never truly trust a New England backfield, but this matchup is too good to pass on. New England should be running out the clock for most of this one.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit (vs. Tampa Bay)
Marvin Jones was placed on Injured Reserve earlier this week. Tampa Bay has given up the most yards and the second-most touchdowns to opposing receivers this year.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Tampa Bay (at Detroit)
Mike Evans is gone for the year. Perriman gets an opportunity and is a sneaky play with upside this week.
Another must-win game for Philadelphia, which is down pretty much its whole receiving corps at this point. Either one can be slotted in for this week with both having the chance to catch passes.