15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 15
Managing your fantasy football roster in the playoffs is completely different than how you work things during the regular season. We've only got two weeks left, so you can think -- you should think -- with a short-term mindset. If a player has a pair of tough matchups in Weeks 15 and 16, then replacing him shouldn't be an issue.
If a player's no longer going to be usable for you, and if you don't care if that player is on someone else's team, then he should be dropped. You don't get a prize for having the best bench after Week 16's over.
Are you hearing this, Josh Allen managers?
Reminder: Any buy or sell recommendations mean that you should or shouldn't have confidence in that player moving forward.
Drop Josh Allen
In Week 14, Josh Allen faced a really tough matchup against the Ravens. Expectations weren't super high from a fantasy football perspective, but given Allen's performance this year (he entered the week as the fifth-best quarterback in fantasy football), he was still started in plenty of leagues. In fact, according to Yahoo!, 33% of leagues saw Josh Allen as a starter.
Allen only scored 10.7 fantasy points. And things don't get a whole lot better matchup-wise over the next two weeks. Week 15 features a game against Pittsburgh, a team allowing 3.3 fantasy points below expectation to opposing quarterbacks this season. In Week 16, they get New England. No team has been better at stopping opposing passers in fantasy football than the Patriots.
And both games are on the road.
Could Allen come through with a big-time performance? Sure, it's possible. The issue is that the New England matchup -- the tougher one -- comes second. You likely can't trust Allen against the Steelers given what we saw this past Sunday, so if you were to hold him through his Week 15 contest in Pittsburgh, then you're just doing so for an insanely difficult matchup in New England. At a replaceable position, there's no need to do that.
Add A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown's been featured in this column in the past, but after his monster Week 14 performance, the transaction needed to be repeated: freaking add A.J. Brown.
Since Ryan Tannehill took over the Titans offense in Week 7, only five teams have averaged more yards per drive, and only the Ravens have scored touchdowns at a higher rate per drive. The Tennessee offense is rolling, which has made the offense fantasy relevant outside of Derrick Henry.
Naturally, that includes Brown. Since Tannehill's takeover, Brown's averaged a 22% target share per game and 14.4 PPR points per game. With decent matchups against the Texans and Saints over the next two weeks, he should be usable for your roster.
Hold or Add Ryan Fitzpatrick
It wasn't the best outing in the world for Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday, but he did lose his top receiver, DeVante Parker, to a concussion in the second quarter, leaving him with pretty weak options to throw to. Assuming Parker can get back for Week 15, Fitzpatrick should continue to be a relevant quarterback streamer. The Dolphins get a plus matchup against the Giants this week, and then they'll finish off the fantasy football season with a game against Cincinnati. Considering both teams have played below expectation against opposing signal-callers, you could make the case that Fitzpatrick's good to go even without a healthy Parker.
Add DeAndre Washington
Josh Jacobs was a true game-time decision on Sunday, and as you know, he didn't end up playing against the Titans. Instead, we got a healthy dose of DeAndre Washington, who saw the field on 63.5% of Oakland's offensive snaps while hitting really strong market share numbers -- he had 63.6% of the team's running back rushes and an elite 23.3% target share. To be honest, those numbers are better than what we often see from Jacobs himself.
If Jacobs misses more time, Washington should be in store for good fantasy production.
Sell the New York Jets Offense
The Jets have faced a really easy schedule over the past month and a half. Back at the end of October, they went up against the Jaguars. Then it was the Dolphins. And then they faced the Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and Bengals. This past Sunday, they battled the Dolphins again.
We know that the assets on the Jets have only been moderately relevant in fantasy football despite that schedule. Now they face the Ravens and Steelers to close out the fantasy season. You can go ahead of drop Sam Darnold, and if you have to rely on Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, or Le'Veon Bell...good luck.
Drop Brandin Cooks
The Rams have moved the ball well over the last couple of weeks, but Brandin Cooks has 4 combined targets for 24 receiving yards. LA gets a slightly below-average matchup against Dallas this week, and then they close things out (for fantasy purposes) against San Francisco. This is pretty similar to the Josh Allen logic mentioned earlier: if you were to hold onto Cooks to see how he does against the Cowboys, are you really going to play him against one of the toughest defenses in football during your fantasy football championship? After what he's done this year? You can safely drop him.
Buy Phillip Lindsay
When Joe Flacco went down for the season and Brandon Allen stepped in as quarterback for the Broncos, things changed for Phillip Lindsay (and Royce Freeman). Through eight games with Flacco, the two running backs had combined for a 26.4% target share in the Denver offense. During their three games with Allen, that number dropped to just 11.5%. But with Drew Lock over the last two weeks, things have become more favorable again, with Lindsay and Freeman combining for a 20.9% target share in the offense.
Now, this hasn't led to huge fantasy days or target totals. The backs have been better for fantasy purposes, but they've combined for 11 targets over their two games with Lock. That's nothing to write home about.
The thing is, those contests have seen the Broncos with strong positive game scripts. Drew Lock didn't hit the 30 pass attempt mark in either start. That's because when a team is leading, they tend to run the ball more. And while that's not a totally bad thing for a running back, targets are actually more valuable than attempts at the position.
To put this all another way: if Denver faces a negative script, we should expect Lindsay (and Freeman) to see a nice uptick in receiving volume given their target share numbers with Drew Lock.
And fortunately for them, they should be able to run well in Weeks 15 and 16, too. Denver gets Kansas City and Detroit over their next two games. Not only are both teams in the top-10 in rushing yards allowed to running backs, but they're two of the friendliest defenses for running backs to face in fantasy football.
Add Patrick Laird
Over the last two weeks, the Dolphins have given Patrick Laird the most snaps in the team's backfield. In Week 13, his snap share was 59.7%, which led to a top-20 fantasy performance. It was up to 81.9% this past week, and he scored 12.6 PPR points. Considering the Dolphins get strong matchups against the Giants and Bengals to close out the year, Laird should be rostered.
Drop Tyrell Williams
The start of Tyrell Williams' 2019 campaign was pretty strong, where he was averaging almost 16 PPR points per game over the first four weeks of the season. Then he got hurt, and since his return in Week 8, that number's been cut in half, and he's had just two top-40 performances. His target share's been a mediocre 16% over this time, too. And it's not like the Raiders have just had poor matchups -- he's failed to come through in good ones as well. He's not someone you can trust regardless of matchup.
Add Chris Conley
Jacksonville's breakout wide receiver, D.J. Chark, was seen in a protective boot after the team's Week 14 loss, and he also "left the locker room using a scooter." That's a big deal for the passing attack, since he's not only caught 44.4% of the team's passing touchdowns this year, but he's seen about 23% of the team's targets through 13 games.
If Chark doesn't go, Chris Conley's likely to get more run. Or, at least, he's got a much higher target floor. That could come in handy, too, because the Jags get the Raiders and Falcons -- two good wide receiver matchups -- through the end of the fantasy football season.
Sell Tevin Coleman
Dropping Tevin Coleman is in play this week, but the San Francisco backfield is pretty unpredictable, and it's not easy to find usable running backs on the waiver wire. Though, to be fair, Tevin Coleman hasn't exactly been usable.
For a second straight week, Coleman was out-snapped, out-produced, and out-played by teammate Raheem Mostert. Coleman had even bigger issues in Week 14 because Matt Breida returned, and Breida ended up playing more snaps, too.
As it stands, this is Raheem Mostert's backfield. Today. Tomorrow, as we've seen all year, it could be someone else's. So it's probably worth holding Coleman if you've got the bench space, but the only way you'll be able to rely on him in Week 16 is if there's an injury, or if the snap share is clearly in his favor in Week 15 against his old team.
Add David Njoku
It may take a lot of guts to play David Njoku in your fantasy football semifinal, but there's reason to believe he can come through. The first point to make is obvious: the Browns get the Cardinals this week. No team has allowed more tight end points this year, and it's not even close. So Njoku's certainly got the matchup in Week 15.
Will he get the snaps? Well, in his return to action in Week 14, he played 37.5% of Cleveland's snaps while running just 9 routes (per Pro Football Focus). So maybe not. In order to have enough faith in him as a starter next week, you're going to have to see confirmed reports that he'll be getting more run. And even that's tough to trust.
Tight end can be rough, though, and there's a lot of upside if Njoku ends up playing more snaps. Adding him early in the week to see if we can get an idea of his playing time isn't the worst idea.
Add Breshad Perriman
It's not sounding good for Mike Evans, who scored a touchdown on Sunday and immediately grabbed his hamstring in the end zone. Head coach Bruce Arians has already said that he'd be "shocked" if Evans played again this year, which means we're looking at Breshad Perriman -- yes, that Breshad Perriman -- as the number-two option for Tampa Bay.
As long as Jameis Winston is healthy (he's got a thumb injury), Perriman could be a worthwhile desperation start down the stretch. As I've mentioned in this column over the last month, the Buccaneers will continue to have a soft playoff schedule, with matchups against the Lions and Texans over the next two weeks. When adjusted for strength of opponent, both teams are well above-average matchups for opposing wideouts. You can look to add Justin Watson, too.
Add Mitch Trubisky
Over the last five weeks, Mitch Trubisky ranks fifth in fantasy points per game at the quarterback position, behind only Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, and Josh Allen. (Late-round quarterback, anyone?) He's been a top-10 quarterback in four of these contests, and best of all, the Bears are letting him be him. That means less game managing and a little more risk-taking. He's averaged seven rush attempts per game over his last three, resulting in 28 rushing yards per game and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
The matchup against Green Bay this week isn't ideal, but Trubisky's done enough in fantasy over the last month to warrant a start for those of you who are desperate at the position.
Add the Detroit Lions Defense
If you failed to properly plan for a playoff defense, you could look at Detroit. They're playing at home this week, and according to FanDuel Sportsbook, they're just 3.5-point underdogs. They're going up against the Buccaneers who will likely be without the aforementioned Mike Evans. And with Jameis Winston's thumb injury, there's even a chance that he doesn't play. Even if Winston goes, the Bucs are a plus matchup -- they've allowed defenses to score 2.6 more points per game than their season-long averages, one of the higher marks in the NFL.