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THE FIRE SALE: Week 15

The end is here. We’re into the fantasy semifinals after two of the worst primetime offensive games in recent memory sent many owners home last week.

If you happen to be hanging on in one league like me, there is still reason to set a lineup this week. Regrettably for the six people reading my column, will be final Fire Sale of the season. I usually go until Week 16 but obligations for my job as a sports betting writer will require me to be on the road most of next week. Then it’s Christmas and Week 17. If you’re still playing fantasy in Week 17, I don’t want anything to do with you in the first place, so it all works out in the end.

I’ll likely be back for one more season with the Fire Sale. I mean, O.J. Howard is still the seventh highest scoring tight end and he hasn’t played in a month. When you give out calls that good, it’s hard to retire. Now if Trent Taylor can close the year out strong, we’ll really have something. Of course, strong for Taylor is catching two passes.

Good luck this week and next if you get to the finals. I’ll still be available on Twitter if you have any questions. Hopefully I was able to give some advice this season that will help you to a fantasy title. I’ll see you again next August for one final run. Enjoy the offseason.

If you like fantasy football, gambling or Chicago sports, follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. Besides writing the Fire Sale, I’m an editor @BetChicago1. I respond to all questions/comments because I’m a remarkable human being.

Now, on with the Fire Sale

Fantasy Playoff Starts: Week 15

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

Owners still alive in fantasy playoffs likely aren’t scrambling for a quarterback. However, if you play in a two-quarterback or SuperFlex league, Carr is worth a look this week.

In his last two games, Carr has thrown for 607 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s topped 20 points both times in most scoring systems. This week Carr faces a Bengals defense that entered last week giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Listen, I understand most owners aren’t pinning their fantasy title hopes to the quarterback of the Raiders. However, Carr has the best matchup of the week and he’s playing well. That should add up to a strong fantasy performance from him in Week 15.

Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets

Is it finally McGuire time? McGuire replaced the injured Isaiah Crowell on Sunday and rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. He also added three receptions.

Crowell’s status for Week 15 is up in the air. McGuire be in line to start Sunday if Crowell misses time and he’s a good bet to see 20+ touches against the Texans.

McGuire has the feel of a late-season back that could help lead fantasy owners to a title. I’d have him as a low-end RB2 if McGuire can’t go. Oh, and so long Todd Bowles. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. He doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the worst head coaches of all-time.

Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers

Samuel has come on in the last two games. He’s put up at least 80 yards each time with a total of 10 receptions on 19 targets. The Panthers’ defense is bad and getting worse, so Carolina is likely to be in shootouts with the Saints and Falcons in its next two games.

Samuel has scored at least 10 points in four straight games in PPR leagues with 28 targets over that span. I’m looking hard at the OVER in the Panthers/Saints game this week. Drew Brees should be able to name his score and Cam Newton will need to keep up. Samuel is in the WR3 discussion for the rest of fantasy playoffs.

Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers

Obviously, I expect the Panthers to throw a lot this week, which puts Thomas on the fantasy radar as well. The pickings are slim at tight end but if you’re still looking to add someone, Thomas is your best bet. Thomas caught nine balls for 77 yards on 11 targets against the Browns. With Greg Olsen out for the year, he should continue to see a healthy number of targets moving forward.

Thomas gets a Saints team on Sunday that has been tough against tight ends overall but just gave up two touchdowns to Cameron Brate. Listen, you can either roll with Thomas or keep starting Kyle Rudolph. Your choice.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.