7 Fantasy Football Sleepers for Week 15

Sleeper is an ambiguous term. I'm defining anyone on less than half of Yahoo! rosters as a sleeper in the interest of providing clarity. Typically, I'll aim to feature players on fewer than 40 percent of rosters. However, this provides me some wiggle room.

Don't worry, deep-league gamers, this piece is intended to help folks in leagues of all sizes. With that in mind, I'm following my predecessor's lead, including honorable mentions. If the featured players are already rostered in your league, the honorable mentions should provide you with players to consider filling in for an injured starter or player on bye on your roster -- or for whatever other reason you're diving into the free-agent pool for a sleeper.

While it should go without saying, the featured players at each position are my favorite sleepers for the given week. The honorable mentions are listed in descending order of the percentage of rosters they're on.


Tua Tagovailoa (34%) - Tagovailoa has made seven starts that weren't abbreviated by injury this year. According to Sharp Football Stats, when the offensive scoring margin is between trailing by seven points and leading by seven points in those games, the Miami Dolphins have passed at a 61 percent clip. Meanwhile, the league average passing rate in that scoring range this year is 57 percent. So, Miami passes at an above-average rate in neutral game scripts with Tagovailoa at quarterback.

This week, he'll get a lift from the matchup in addition to Miami's pass-heavy tendency. According to our team power rankings, the New York Jets are last in pass defense. Facing Gang Green in Week 11, he passed for 273 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. Moreover, he's excelled in plus matchups this year.

As a result, he's projected to be the QB10 this week.

Honorable Mentions: Taysom Hill (51%), Mac Jones (33%), Jimmy Garoppolo (30%), and Justin Fields (19%)

Running Backs

Rashaad Penny (23%) - Penny is head and shoulders above the other running back sleepers. He's the priority waiver claim this week on the heels of a blow-up performance. In Week 13, he rumbled for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 attempts, securing his only target for 1 yard.

In addition, according to our snap counts, he's led the Seattle Seahawks' backfield in playing time in the previous two games. Of course, there's a caveat. Penny's 43.21 percent snap share wasn't close to a bell-cow caliber threshold.

Nonetheless, he made the most of his opportunity, possibly commanding more chances this week. According to Pro Football Focus, Penny was tied for the fourth-most missed tackles forced rushing (five) and was tied for the third-most 10-plus-yard rushes (three).

In addition, per Pro Football Focus, he led Seattle's running backs in routes (13). So, Penny shouldn't be game-script dependent. He is projected to be the RB37 this week in FanDuel's half-PPR scoring format.

Malcolm Brown (2%) and Duke Johnson (0%) - I haven't done this yet this year. Usually, I don't feature teammates together as the top sleepers at their respective position. However, I prefer Brown in standard-scoring formats and Johnson in half-point or full-point PPR formats.

Miami's backfield is in flux with Myles Gaskin, Phillip Lindsay, and Salvon Ahmed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, casting doubt on the availability of any of them this week.

Brown is on injured reserve but could return this week, and Johnson has been elevated from the practice squad.

Given their skill-sets, Brown is my guess for the primary ball-carrier, and Johnson is my guess for the pass-catching role in a committee if none of Miami's other backs are cleared to play this week.

Thankfully, both can have value because of an elite matchup. Gang Green is the fifth-worst rush defense in our power rankings. Further, according to Pro Football Reference, the Jets allow the most FanDuel points per game to running backs.

Honorable Mentions: Boston Scott (22%), Kenneth Gainwell (13%), and Jordan Howard (8%)

Wide Receivers

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (50%) - MVS is the number-two receiver for the Green Bay Packers. According to Po Football Focus, since Week 10, Valdes-Scantling has been third in receptions (12) and second in routes (129), targets (21), and receiving yards (234) with an average depth of target of 17.5 yards downfield. MVS's downfield usage has resulted in the most air yards (495) for the Packers in that four-game stretch.

The speedy wideout's usage is tailor-made for a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore's backfield lost cornerback Marcus Peters for the season in Week 13. Also, they're coughing up explosive pass plays at an eye-catching rate lately. According to Sharp Football Stats, since Week 5, Baltimore allows the second-highest average explosive pass rate (13 percent). Valdes-Scantling is a boom-or-bust receiver with a slightly elevated floor based on recent usage that projects as the WR46 this week.

DeVante Parker (46%) - Health has been Parker's bugaboo this year. However, he and Tua have played three games together. Parker has produced 81 yards, 85 yards, and 62 yards with 4 receptions, 8 receptions, and 5 receptions in those contests. In those games, the physical wideout has ranked second in routes (102), targets (24), and air yards (240), while tied for first in receptions (17) and first in receiving yards (228).

Parker's chemistry with Tagovailoa elevates his floor and ceiling in the mouthwatering matchup with the Jets. Beyond the Jets' rank in the basement for pass defense, as I noted above in Tagovailoa's write-up, they allow 13.58 yards per reception to wideouts. Also, they allow the highest average explosive pass rate (13 percent) since Week 15, meshing well with Parker's rock-solid 10.8-yard average depth of target on Tagovailoa's passes this year.

He projects as the WR40 this week. I'm a bit more bullish, expecting a top-36 finish. Finally, gamers who need a blow-up week in a tough fantasy matchup to advance should consider stacking Tagovailoa and Parker -- namely if the team in question is weak at quarterback and receiver/flex.

A.J. Green (40%) - After last week's Monday Night Football game, we now have four games with Zach Ertz on the Arizona Cardinals with Kyler Murray starting and his full complement of receivers active. In those four games, Green has run the most routes (124), ranked second in targets (22) and air yards (290), and tied for first in receptions (16) and leading in receiving yards (232).

I'm shocked by his resurgence this year. Still, at this point, he's clearly an integral part of Arizona's offense and a fairly reliable fantasy option. The veteran receiver has an excellent matchup this week, bolstering his fantasy outlook in Week 15. The Detroit Lions are third-worst in pass defense, allowing a blistering 14.06 yards per reception to receivers.

Unfortunately, there's a game-script risk with Green. The Cardinals are the biggest favorites this week, laying 13.5 points. On the flip side, Green has touchdown potential, as Arizona has the highest implied total (30.50 points).

Honorable Mentions: K.J. Osborn (38%), Kendrick Bourne (31%), Amon-Ra St. Brown (12%), Donovan Peoples-Jones (10%), Gabriel Davis (3%), and Nico Collins (1%)

Tight Ends

Tyler Conklin (47%) - I sandbagged and withheld Conklin from the 3 Fantasy Football Tight End Streaming Options for Week 15. He's been a mainstay in that column. So, I opted to hold him out for this piece.

Among tight ends this year, Conklin is 11th in routes (361), 12th in targets (64), 10th in receptions (49), tied for 12th in receiving yards (489), and tied for 15th in receiving touchdowns (3). As a result, he epitomizes a fringe starting tight end in 12-team leagues. However, he should get a slight lift in value this week with Adam Thielen nursing an ankle injury that might sideline him again this week.

Less competition for targets is a plus for Conklin. Nevertheless, he's still only a fringe starter, evidenced by projecting as the TE14 this week.

Honorable Mentions: Cole Kmet (27%) and Josiah Deguara (0%)

Joshua Shepardson is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Joshua Shepardson also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username bchad50. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.