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Week 15 Start-Sit: Know Which Studs to Start, and Which Studs to Fade

Week 15 Start-Sit
Mike Morbeck

If you are reading this, then congratulations! You are either still alive in your Fantasy Football playoffs, or you are sadistic and like to wonder what could have been if Alvin Kamara does not get a concussion on the first drive last week. Either way, welcome to the Week 15 Start-Sit predictions!

Now that virtually every single Fantasy Football league has entered playoff-mode, decisions are more important than ever. While I am not fully on board the “Don’t Always Start Your Studs” boat, I am within the same lake.

Just because the guy is a big name that has performed well for you before and you drafted him highly, does not mean he warrants a spot in your starting lineup. Furthermore, game-flow is even more crucial now as the whole upper half of the NFC is already in a mini-playoff to get into the playoffs. The games will be tighter and could be lower-scoring.

So with the Week 15 Start-Sit plays, you will see that most of the “Sits” would be arguably classified as “studs” while most of the “Starts” are guys that almost no one would consider that moniker.

I had a great showing last week, with a 12-4 record on my plays including 6 major wins. I gave you the top-scoring quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who even facing a tough defense put up 500+ yards.

As always I am keeping track of my predictions. Going into the Week 15 Start-Sit picks I am 143-83-6 with 92 major wins. Just a reminder, a “win” is correctly picking a start that out-performs his rankings and under-performs as a sit. A “loss” is the opposite happening. A major win is when a guy over- or under-performs by 12 or more spots.

So let’s get to the Week 15 Start-Sit plays. For our Week 15 Start-Sit projections, I am going to focus on guys ranked outside of the Top-24 RB/WRs and Top-10 QB/TEs for my Starts. I will focus on guys inside the Top-20 RB/WRs and Top-8 QB/TEs for my Sits.

Week 15 Start-Sit

(All rankings based off of the Fantasy Pros consensus PPR rankings as of 12/14)

Start

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Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans (QB15)

Jimmy G has 627 yards over his two starts and gets his first home game for San Francisco this weekend. The Titans look to be above average against quarterbacks in Fantasy Football, but a closer look at their schedule reveals a different story. They have faced SIX back-up quarterbacks in their fourteen games. They have only three games against Top-15 Fantasy QB’s (in per-game points) and in those games there has been an average of 32 Fantasy Points allowed with all three signal callers throwing FOUR touchdowns. Jimmy G is by far my top pick for the Week 15 Start-Sit predictions.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans at San Francisco 49ers (QB22)

I also like the other sideline in that game. Mariota absolutely screwed many of us over in the first round of the Fantasy Playoffs last week. I think he will be 100% and he gets a defense that has given up the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks this season. The 49ers have given up either multiple touchdown passes or 300 yards passing in every game except two: two weeks ago against rookie Mitchell Trubisky and a weird Week 2 matchup with Seattle.

Latavius Murray, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals (RB27)

The Bengals allowed the struggling Jordan Howard to rush for 147 yards and a couple of touchdowns last week. I think that Murray will be the beneficiary of their weak rush-defense this week. Cincinnati has given up at least 22 PPR points to opposing running backs every game since their Week 6 Bye and there is only one occurrence of less than 20 Fantasy Points allowed. Only two teams in the league have given up more rushing yards to running backs.

Alfred Morris and Rod Smith, RB’s, Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders (RB29/41)

I think the Cowboys grind the Raiders down on the ground. Morris has shown that he can bring you about 85% of what Ezekiel Elliott brought to the table averaging almost 75 yards rushing a game on 4.2 YPC in his absence. Smith had a career day last weekend against the Giants with two touchdowns and 160 total yards. I think both will be heavily utilized against a terrible Raiders defense so that Dak does not make mistakes on the road.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (WR33)

The Texans have had their issues with speedy receivers this season.


Westbrook has been a late-season epiphany. He has at least five catches in three straight games. He has increased his yardage total in every game of his career. I know, it’s just four games, but that is still an impressive trajectory.

Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (WR47)

As the Steelers showed last week, with the amount of injuries the Ravens’ secondary has had they can now be thrown on. Now that Josh Gordon is starting to resemble Josh Gordon of four years ago, Coleman should end up benefitting.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys (WR50)

If he plays, then he will be worth it. I know, the goose-egg last week probably killed you. But the Dallas secondary is prone to missing tackles and getting beat for explosive plays. If Cooper is healthy, he will produce like a WR3 at the bare minimum.

David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (TE26)

I know, I missed this one pretty badly last week. However, Jesse James picked the middle of the Ravens’ defense apart last week to the tune of 10 catches. With the injuries sustained there, Baltimore is having to help out over the top more (especially against Josh Gordon) meaning Njoku should have a solid day.

Miami Dolphins D/ST at Buffalo Bills (DST24)

Miami’s defense looked like one of the best units in the league against New England last week. They were getting massive amounts of pressure while their DB’s were playing the ball perfectly in the air. Every year in the Fantasy Playoffs a defense comes out of nowhere to steal the show. The best example is the Seattle defense before they were known as the Legion of Boom (13 turnovers, 4 sacks, 4 touchdowns, only 10 pts/game with a shutout in Weeks 14-16). I think the Dolphins will be that team this year, especially if Nathan Peterman starts for Buffalo.

Sit

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Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (QB5)

This is tough, but I mean the guy has not played in two months. This is basically a de facto playoff game for both teams as Carolina has five teams now nipping on their heels and almost no tie breaker help. I can see this being a grind-it-out, low-scoring game and Rodgers just will not have the volume to produce.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders (QB7)

Last week, Dak threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. It looks like a phenomenal day on the surface. However, he had three completions that totaled 186 yards to Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and Rod Smith. The air yards on those passes totaled about 15 yards and the skill positions took it the rest of the way. Do not expect these huge passing days to be the new normal. Dallas will pound the rock with Alfred Morris and Dak will not reach elite-level production.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys (RB15)

Beast Mode is 100% touchdown-dependent. In games he has not score a touchdown this year he has not cracked 10.3 PPR points. He averages barely a single catch per game. The Cowboys have not given up a rushing touchdown in almost a month. In fact, in games Sean Lee has played this season, they have given up a single rushing touchdown. No TD for Beast Mode=Bench Mode.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (RB14)

As I said with Rodgers, I think this game has less scoring than many people believe. The Panthers also have given up the fourth fewest rushing yards to running backs on the season.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders (WR9)

Even with his long catch-and-run touchdown against the Giants, Dez did not crack the Top 20 at the position for Week 14. He is just not a guy that will have 8 catches for 115 yards anymore. You are banking on multiple touchdowns to live up to this ranking and it is not happening.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers (WR17)


It seems like I am just picking on the Green Bay offense, I just think that people are over-ranking what Rodgers can do in his first game back. It’s not like Green Bay is playing some awful team. Carolina is a strong, playoff-caliber team. Nelson has been FAR from a high-end WR2 since the Rodgers injury, so to think he will immediately bounce back is too much risk for my Fantasy Playoff Life.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers vs. Green Bay Packers (TE12)

I know, I am cheating a little bit on my rules. I just really agree with the consensus Top-10 tight ends. Olsen has been my Fantasy Kryptonite this season, as I have him in more than half of my 16 leagues. I’ve held on to him waiting for this moment and I think the moment has passed him by. He is DEFINITELY not 100% and Cam Newton knows it. I would not feel comfortable starting him in a playoff matchup.


That’s it for the Week 15 Start-Sit predictions! Good luck in the Fantasy Playoffs and if you have any other questions, shoot them at me on Twitter @Tomlin3 !

Michael Tomlin
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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
Michael Tomlin
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