15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 15
You may have had a rough week in fantasy football, but at least you weren't Tim Howd.
You'd think a fantasy football playoff team wouldn't be starting Derrick Henry. That's because, entering Week 14, Henry's highest single-game rushing total in 2018 was 58 yards. Throughout the season, he'd been nothing more than a touchdown-dependent fantasy asset who could sink your RB2 spot in any game, no matter the matchup.
Not this past week. Not in the first round of the fantasy football playoffs. In one of the toughest matchups you can find for a running back, Henry ran for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He scored 47.8 PPR points, the highest total from a running back all season long.
And Howd -- with a fairly stacked team -- was facing him. But it wasn't just him. Howd was also going up against Dede Westbrook, who had the best game of his season. And he faced Randall Cobb, who scored for the first time since Week 1. And he also was going up against this wide receiver named Amari Cooper, who, on Sunday, happened to post the best fantasy performance by a wideout in 2018.
Can it get any worse? Yes, it actually can. Howd's team -- one filled with studs like Patrick Mahomes, Alvin Kamara, and Zach Ertz -- also had Odell Beckham, who was inactive out of seemingly nowhere this past week.
Sometimes fantasy football is so cruel. But for every Tim Howd story, there's a winner on the other end. And those winners may need some help over the next two weeks.
That's where I come in.
Add DaeSean Hamilton
Emmanuel Sanders' unfortunate Achilles injury opened the door for rookie DaeSean Hamilton, who played over 97% of Denver's snaps on Sunday, tops among the team's wideouts. Aside from sheer talent, a big reason for Sanders' strong performance this year in fantasy was the fact that the Broncos were utilizing him more in the slot. According to Pro Football Focus, through Week 13, Sanders was running 62.6% of his routes from that area of the field, when his rates in 2017 and 2016 were 28.3% and 23.3%, respectively.
That's where Hamilton played two-thirds of his snaps on Sunday, essentially filling in directly for Sanders. He finished the game with 7 catches on 9 targets for 47 yards and a score, and with plus matchups against Cleveland and Oakland over the next two weeks, Hamilton could be a legitimate option in your pivotal fantasy matchups.
Drop Peyton Barber
Peyton Barber is rostered in nearly 70% of ESPN.com leagues, but I'd have a hard time playing him over Tampa Bay's final two games of the fantasy season. In Week 15, they'll face Baltimore, who are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs. Then, in Week 16, the Bucs get the Cowboys in Dallas -- the Cowboys are fourth-best at preventing fantasy points to opposing backs. You're really banking on a touchdown for Barber to be worthy of a start, and those will be tough to come by given the matchups. If you have reasonable options in better spots, you can safely drop Barber.
Add Curtis Samuel, Drop Devin Funchess
The emergence of Curtis Samuel isn't new, and this isn't the first time he's been brought up in this column. But he's still out there in about two-thirds of fantasy leagues, and that should change after three consecutive games of seeing at least 83% of Carolina's snaps. During this three-game stretch, Samuel has 21 targets, with 19 of those coming over the last 2 weeks. He's here to stay.
And Devin Funchess is not. As Samuel has seen an increase in snaps, Funchess has seen the opposite happen. In Week 11, Funchess had an 83% snap rate. Over the last two weeks, his single-game high is 46%. In that Week 11 game, Funchess saw eight targets. Over his last two? A combined six looks.
Samuel is the one you want of the two, and ownership isn't reflecting this across fantasy platforms.
Hold Justin Jackson
No, Justin Jackson didn't see the workload some of you (and I) were hoping for in Week 14. But Austin Ekeler's now banged up, and there's a chance he's unable to go against the Chiefs on a short week. With Melvin Gordon sidelined and also not locked in to play, that would leave Justin Jackson as the team's lead back. So don't go dropping Jackson after his mediocre Week 14 fantasy outing.
Add Keke Coutee
Now, you more than likely can't trust him even if he plays in Week 15 against the Jets. But if he does find the field and sees his usual workload, he could be a PPR flex option for teams in Week 16 against a porous Eagles secondary. Let's not forget, in his most recent completed game, Coutee saw nine targets. And he has five-plus looks in four of six games played this year. He's a deeper option, but one to consider nonetheless.
Drop the Miami Passing Attack
This transaction is mostly directed at Kenny Stills, someone you may be thinking about adding after back-to-back games with six or more targets and a touchdown. As much as I like Stills, it's hard to ignore Miami's matchups against the Vikings and Jaguars in Weeks 15 and 16. Minnesota's been one of the best teams against opposing wide receivers this year, and while Jacksonville has had bumps in the road defensively this season, they're actually the number-one team against the position, even better than Minnesota. I wouldn't be trying to get anyone from this passing attack, and that includes Stills.
Add Kenneth Dixon
Dixon saw 8 of a possible 26 Ravens running back carries on Sunday against the Chiefs, which doesn't look great (and it's not), but he played 32.4% of Baltimore's snaps, about 11% higher than what he saw in Week 13. That positive trend should put him on your radar, especially on a Ravens team that's been the most run-heavy in football by far since Lamar Jackson took over as quarterback. Like some of the other players on this week's list, he's not a must-add, but he's someone to target in deeper formats.
Hold Tevin Coleman, Add Ito Smith
Rostering Tevin Coleman in fantasy football this year has been frustrating to say the least. When Devonta Freeman was placed on IR, the thought was that Coleman would thrive, with Ito Smith getting involved as a complementary piece. The latter's been true, but as a running back group, the Falcons have scored the fifth-fewest fantasy points in the NFL this season.
In Week 14, Smith ended up playing just one fewer snap than Coleman, and he out-carried the "starter" 11 to 10. That's why you're adding Smith this week -- perhaps this was a sign that things are starting to change. But still, hold onto Coleman, because in Week 15, Atlanta's hosting Arizona in a game where the Falcons are big favorites. A positive game script could make Coleman appealing as a flex option against a team that's given up the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Add Dante Pettis
Touchdown regression will hit Dante Pettis eventually. He's now scored four times over his last three games -- he won't keep up that pace. But his peripheral numbers continue to look great, and that's why he continues to be an add in fantasy football. He's seen six, seven, seven, and seven targets over his last four, and during this time, his snap rate has risen from 56.2% in Week 10 to about 85% this past week. No 49ers wide receiver came close to playing as many snaps as Pettis did on Sunday. He's most definitely worth an add, even with tough matchups upcoming.
Add Damien Williams
Spencer Ware missed part of Sunday's game with a shoulder injury, and that's part of the reason Damien Williams played more snaps than him against the Ravens. Williams still needs to be considered an add off the wire this week, though. He carried the ball eight times while seeing five targets through the air, but most importantly, Williams had a target and a rush within the Baltimore five-yard line. On Sunday, he was sort of their goal-line back. Whether that's something that will carry over into future weeks or not remains to be seen, but in a high-powered offense like Kansas City's, he's roster-worthy.
Add Ian Thomas
With Greg Olsen out for the year, Ian Thomas stepped in for Carolina and played 82.4% of the team's snaps while hauling in 9 of 11 targets for 77 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, only Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron ran more routes than Thomas in Week 14. That's it. That's enough to warrant an add this week at a position that has absolutely zero depth.
Add Elijiah McGuire
The Jets backfield became a little clearer when Isaiah Crowell left Sunday's game with a foot injury, allowing Elijah McGuire to take on a lead back role in the offense. And he did pretty well, running the ball 17 times for 60 yards and a strong 47% Success Rate. (Success Rate measures the percentage of positive expected point runs made by a back, per numberFire's Net Expected Points model.) He also had four targets in the passing game. If Crowell misses time, McGuire should take on a big workload. Do note that, unfortunately, they've got a tough matchup against Houston in Week 15.
Drop Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson has 19 carries for 114 yards over his last 2 games. That seems fine, but when you remember he had 90 of those yards on one carry 2 weeks ago, it becomes frightening. Washington is a mess with no real quarterback threat, and the negative game script scenarios that they're likely to face is a huge blow to Peterson. In wins this year, he's averaging nearly 105 rushing yards per game. In losses, that drops to about 35. And with Chris Thompson back in the mix, when the script goes south, there's even less reason for Peterson to be on the field. In fact, in Sunday's loss, Peterson played only 30.6% of Washington's snaps, his lowest rate since Week 5. Jacksonville's up next for Washington, and I can't imagine a scenario where you're starting Peterson against the Jags in any normal fantasy format.
Add Josh Allen
The top streamer from last week has to be the top streamer again in Week 15. Part of that is because ownership percentages are flat at the quarterback position and finding a viable streamer is tough to do, but a large chunk is due to the fact that Josh Allen is a cheat code -- a Konami Code, if you will -- as a fantasy quarterback. He's tallied 335 rushing yards over his last three games, and he now leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing despite only starting eight games.
This week, he'll face a Lions team that entered Week 14 with the fourth-worst schedule-adjusted secondary according to numberFire's expected points model. That secondary looked fine this past Sunday, but they were also facing Josh Rosen and the pitifully-bad Arizona passing attack. Allen should give fantasy managers a floor with his rushing, but the ceiling is there if he's able to put a good passing performance together. And that's possible against a beatable secondary.
Add the Atlanta Falcons Defense
The Falcons haven't been good defensively this year, but that also shouldn't matter a lot against the aforementioned Cardinals. Arizona's scored 20 or more points just 3 times this year, and since Josh Rosen took over, opposing defenses are averaging 3.0 sacks and 1.2 interceptions against them per game. This one's in Atlanta where we saw the Falcons post a reasonable defensive outing a couple of weeks back against the Ravens, so it's not like the Falcons are incapable of being a good fantasy defense. The Falcons are also big favorites. You're playing the matchup here, and it's arguably the best one you'll find across the NFL.