FANTASY PLAYS: Burning questions for NFL fantasy semifinals
A look at some key fantasy football questions and answers for Week 15:
WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR BIG GAMES THIS WEEK?
We don’t recommend making many wholesale changes to your lineup in the fantasy playoff semifinals that typically happen this week.
However, if you’re looking for a little magic at the QB position, Derek Carr of the Raiders has averaged 303 passing yards over the past two weeks with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He faces the Bengals, who allow the second most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs.
The Bengals have also allowed at least one rushing TD to running backs in eight straight games and given up the most FPPG to the position. Raiders RB Doug Martin is averaging just 54 rushing yards per game in his last seven starts but has TDs in three straight.
The Jets have allowed the third most FPPG to WRs. Bills WR Robert Foster has at least 94 receiving yards in three of his last four games and with Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes no longer on the team he’s likely to be heavily targeted by QB Josh Allen.
Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah has a plus matchup against the Raiders, who’ve given up the most FPPG to TEs. Panthers TE Ian Thomas has a tougher matchup against the Saints but has 14 catches over the past two weeks including nine in Week 14.
CAN CAM NEWTON BE TRUSTED THIS WEEK?
Newton has been on the Panthers injury report for the past few weeks due to a shoulder injury but has been able to play. His shoulder woes may be more serious than the Panthers are letting on. His average yards per pass attempt has decreased from a high of 9.65 in Week 11 to just 6.31 this past week. Even Newton’s rushing yards have decreased in each of the past three weeks. In addition, he’s failed to reach 200 passing yards in his last three games against the Saints, his Week 15 opponent. Combine those factors and you’ll be better off keeping Newton on your bench if you have a viable alternative.
IS JOSH ALLEN A BETTER START THAN AARON RODGERS OF CAM NEWTON THIS WEEK?
Allen has scored the second most fantasy points among QBs over the past two weeks. During that time Rodgers has been a QB12 and Newton has been QB 21 in total fantasy points scored. Since Week 12, Allen has averaged 112 rushing yards per game. That’s 11 fantasy points in standard scoring systems. His rushing provides a nice floor to his fantasy production. Rodgers has averaged 209 passing yards over the past three weeks and visits Chicago this week. The Bears have allowed the second fewest FPPG to QBs.
Recent history suggests the answer is no. Including the playoffs, Henry has rushed for at least 109 yards three times in his career. His rushing totals in the weeks following those games were 13, 20 and 28 yards. Henry takes on the Giants on the heels of a tremendous 238-yard rushing performance. The Giants gave up just 43 rushing yards to Redskins RBs last week but in their previous five games RBs torched them for an average of 130 rushing yards. Henry’s 17 carries in Week 14 were his most since Week 3 and Dion Lewis is still playing significantly more snaps than Henry every week.
WHICH BRONCOS WR IS THE BEST FANTASY START?
Fade Courtland Sutton. He’s averaging just over two catches per game and he’s been dealing with a quad muscle injury that could limit him. Tim Patrick and DaeSean Hamilton are two Broncos WRs who are both in play this week.
Hamilton plays most of his snaps from the slot, and slot receivers have enjoyed success against the Browns. He led Broncos wideouts in routes run, caught a TD pass and had seven catches for 47 yards last week.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE PATRIOTS BACKFIELD?
Earlier in the season Sony Michel and James White were both startable in fantasy every week. Michel got the majority of carries and goal line opportunities and White was a reliable change-of pace-option whose specialty was catching balls out of the backfield. Fast forward to Week 14 and FB James Develin scored his third TD in two weeks, and he, Michel and White all have snap percentages north of 40 percent. Even Rex Burkhead’s snap percentage is over 20 percent. You obviously can’t start Develin or Burkhead but they do cut into Michel and White’s fantasy production. Continue to start Michel, but lower your expectations. He’s not the RB1 we expected him to develop into based on his early-season usage. White is still valuable in points per reception (PPR) scoring formats, but his production isn’t as consistent as it was earlier in the season.