15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 15
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that fantasy football, at its core, is supposed to be fun. Because it sure can make you feel like crap.
Good fantasy teams were decimated this week. Drew Brees helped you all season long, and in what looked like a plus matchup back in October, he gave you the 28th-best fantasy performance during one of the most important weeks of the fantasy football season. He wasn't the only stud to disappoint, though: Russell Wilson threw 5 interceptions, Ben Roethlisberger had 3, Mike Evans had just 42 yards, Dez Bryant scored negative fantasy points, and Devonta Freeman rushed for 6 yards.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, too.
If you survived the fantasy football apocalypse this week, good on you. I'm going to assume Le'Veon Bell had a lot to do with it. Nevertheless, it's important to set yourself up well for the stretch run. Let's take a look at 15 ways to do that.
Add Bilal Powell
Matt Forte was in a pretty good spot against one of the league's worst rush defenses this weekend, but he went down early with a knee injury. After the game, Forte said that he heard "cracking and popping" in the knee. That, uh, doesn't sound good.
The 1B in the Jets' backfield, Bilal Powell, stepped in and ran the ball 29 times for 145 yards in Forte's absence. Powell has been a guy all season long who steps in during negative game scripts (he's their hurry-up and third-down back, having seen the ninth-most targets at the running back position this year), but with this cracking and popping, he could have an opportunity to see a lot of early-down work, too. Anytime you can get a potential three-down back this late in the season, you do it.
Add Kenneth Farrow
Melvin Gordon went down early in their contest against the Panthers, and it didn't look good as he was carted off. Fortunately, today, reports are saying that he's day-to-day with hip and knee injuries -- it wasn't a complete ACL tear.
Even if he miraculously plays this week, backup Kenneth Farrow is worth an add. The Chargers' lack real depth (unless you call Ronnie Hillman depth) at the running back position, which could lead to a decent number of touches for Farrow down the stretch. In Sunday's loss, he saw 85% of the team's snaps while toting the rock 16 times and snagging 6 targets through the air. If that continues, he'll be in the RB2 discussion.
Hold Ladarius Green
My mentions on Twitter told me that folks are ready to give up on Ladarius Green, but let's look at why you shouldn't.
Sunday's game against Buffalo saw the Steelers in an ultra-positive game script where they ran the ball more than they passed it. That's not very common for Pittsburgh, as they had the 10th-highest drop-back-to-run ratio in football entering Week 14 at 1.65.
The snow didn't help Big Ben's efficiency, so passing numbers were down overall. Green, though, did see 6 targets while playing 37% of the team's snaps. That first number means he had a strong 19.4% target market share, but the second one means he wasn't on the field a whole lot.
Why? It's pretty simple, actually. The Steelers use him strictly as a pass-catcher -- he's being targeted on well over 26% of his snaps, which is by far the most in the NFL at the tight end position. In contests like yesterday's, Green isn't needed as much. He actually played 26 of his 28 snaps in the first half because, once the second half hit, the Steelers generally had control of the game.
So, no, his 2-catch, 25-yard stat line wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. When the Steelers find themselves in situations where they need to throw the ball -- or situations where there's at least a neutral game script -- things should go in Green's favor.
Add Justin Forsett
As I mentioned in last week's 15 Transactions column, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Broncos were wanting to move on from Devontae Booker. If not for Kapri Bibbs' season-ending injury sustained last week, we'd more than likely be talking about him -- not Booker -- being the Broncos' lead back.
But Bibbs' injury opened up a roster spot for Justin Forsett, who ended up out-touching Booker in their Week 14 game against Tennessee. You read that right -- a 31-year-old running back who was signed to the team just days before playing on Sunday actually saw more touches than Booker did.
If the trend continues, Forsett could easily become the Broncos' lead back through the rest of the season.
Drop Devontae Booker
Speak of the devil.
Booker, despite seeing 17 or more carries in five contests this year, has yet to rank inside the top 12 in a given week at the running back position in PPR leagues. With Forsett now in the picture (or, really, it could've been any other running back), Booker can find your waiver wire. You really, really don't want to trust a back who's losing his gig to a free agent veteran after rushing for 3.4 yards per carry. Trust me.
Add Robby Anderson
Petty has now played in three games where he's thrown significant passes (two starts), and in those three games, Robby Anderson has 6, 12, and 11 targets. That equates to a target market share of 31.52%, which is higher than what Mike Evans, the leader in market share this season, has seen all year long.
Whether or not this is a trend, it's worth adding Anderson -- especially in deeper leagues -- because volume is king in fantasy football.
Hold Derek Carr
After Derek Carr's Week 14 performance, I'm sure plenty of fantasy owners are nervous moving forward. Well, the good news is that Carr was on the road against a team that has beat him up over his brief career, and there's still one very important team on the Raiders schedule before the fantasy football season is done: Indianapolis.
That'll come in Week 16, but if you were thinking about dropping him because of his outing this past week and an average matchup against San Diego in Week 15, wait. Week 16 should feature a lot of scoring against a Colts' secondary that's surrendered the fourth-most points to the quarterback position.
Add Alex Smith
If you're streaming the quarterback position, Alex Smith is in a fantastic spot this week. The Chiefs are at home as 5.5-point favorites against the Titans, a team with the second-worst secondary in football, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Tennessee's been awful against the pass during the second half of the season: over their last eight games, signal-callers are averaging 22.77 points scored versus the Titans, with every single passer scoring at least 17.36 points. And the Titans have faced passers like Matt Barkley, Trevor Siemian, Blake Bortles, and Cody Kessler during this stretch.
It's a perfect matchup for Smith, and a great one for folks looking for a quarterback on the waiver wire.
Add Dontrelle Inman
Dontrelle Inman is owned in 27% of ESPN.com leagues, but I'd assume that rises quite a bit this week. Since Week 7, he's seen an average of 7 targets per game, consistently playing either the most or second-most snaps among Chargers' wide receivers. San Diego, too, has a really nice Week 15 and 16 schedule -- they'll get Oakland this week, a team that's allowed the 15th-most points per game to wide receivers, followed by Cleveland, who's given up the 5th-most. If you need a flex spot to fill, he could be your guy given his consistent volume and playing time.
Add Ty Montgomery
Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy said yesterday that Ty Montgomery "hasn't been in a wide receiver meeting for months." I guess the whole making him running back-eligible in fantasy football made sense, after all.
Montgomery has seen 15 carries over the last two weeks, and he actually found the end zone on a goal line carry this past week against Seattle. While Christine Michael saw one more carry than he did, TyMont played 51% of Green Bay's snaps versus Michael's 29%.
On the year, Montgomery has easily been the superior running back in Green Bay. His 43.18% Success Rate -- or positive plays made, per our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric -- is better than any other Packers running back, and it is actually above the league's average of 40.11%. Even though he didn't start the year as a back, he's certainly playing like one.
If he's still on your waiver wire, snatch him up this week.
Add Marqise Lee
Across the entire season, Marqise Lee has scored just 18 fewer PPR points than teammate Allen Robinson. No, that's nothing to write home about considering A-Rob's been a colossal bust for fantasy owners, but Lee's gotten very little love this season. He's seen six or more targets in all but two games this year, and without teammate Allen Hurns over the last two weeks, Lee's combined for 17 targets. He hasn't done a whole lot with them because -- aside from the trainwreck of a quarterback he has throwing him the ball -- the Jags have faced Minnesota and Denver, the top two teams at stopping wideouts in fantasy football.
Robinson will continue to see number-one wide receiver coverage, and if Hurns misses more time with his hamstring injury, Lee should benefit from better matchups in Weeks 15 and 16.
Hold Blake Bortles
One of those two aforementioned matchups is against the Titans in Week 16, a spot where you could legitimately trust Blake Bortles. (Yes, I'm telling you to trust Blake Bortles in the fantasy football championship. Please don't throw fire to my mentions.)
As I mentioned above with Alex Smith, the Titans have been horrendous over the last eight weeks, surrendering over 22 points per game to the quarterback position. They've faced some bad quarterbacks, too, like I said.
And while Bortles has been horrendous on the real-life field, he hasn't been that bad in fantasy. He's currently tied with Andy Dalton and Tyrod Taylor for 13th in points per game at the position, and he is just one point per contest behind Ben Roethlisberger for 10th. If you assume, from a projection standpoint, that he hits his average and may get a boost due to the matchup, it's easy to see why his Week 16 could be money.
Add Dwayne Washington
Theo Riddick was a surprise inactive in Week 14, and it led the Lions to using rookie Dwayne Washington quite a bit in the backfield. He ended the day against Chicago with 16 of a possible 23 running back carries and a pair of targets, good for 8.4 PPR fantasy points. He's worth a flier off the waiver wire in deeper leagues for folks needing any sort of running back help -- who knows if Riddick misses Week 15.
Add the Buffalo Bills Defense
The Bills have been mentioned in the last two 15 Transactions columns for this moment. For this stretch. For this schedule.
This week, Buffalo will host Cleveland -- the Browns have allowed a top-13 defensive performance in all but two games this year, including seven top-10 ones. In other words, Cleveland's letting opposing defenses rank in the top-10 in fantasy scoring more often than not this season. They're a perfect matchup.
But there's more.
In Week 16 -- championship week -- Buffalo will face Miami. The Dolphins are now without quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and they've actually been a decent matchup for defenses all season, having surrendered the 15th-most fantasy points to opposing D's.
Add the Miami Dolphins Defense
If you're looking for a one-week rental, Miami's in a great spot this week against the Jets. New York ranks as the third-best matchup in the fantasy points allowed department to defenses, and they'll have the inexperienced Bryce Petty under center once again. In Sunday's game against San Francisco, Petty was dropped behind the line of scrimmage six times. That was the first time the 49ers sacked a quarterback more than three times in a given game this season. It'd be surprising if Miami doesn't return a decent floor for you.