Rich Hribar

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The NFL Week 15 Worksheet

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Week 15 is here and hopefully you’re moving on in your fantasy playoffs for a chance to play in the championship game. If by some poor fortune you’ve already been eliminated from your postseason, then you can still dabble into daily fantasy games to keep your fantasy fix satiated.  This week begins the yearly tradition of late season games on Saturday, so make sure that you have players in those games set in lineups before waiting until Sunday morning.


As for the token disclaimer, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.


Lastly, as the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is NOT a start/sit column, rather an expectations column. The labels for each subset of players for each game are simply a vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player that you can find at the end of the column. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process. Remember, you control your own team. With that out of the way, let’s hit all the Week 15 games with a PPR light…


Broncos @ Colts


-2.5   Spread 2.5  
21.8   Implied Total 19.3  
17.6 26 Points/Gm 16.3 30
26.2 31 Points All./Gm 27.5 32
66.5 7 Plays/Gm 63.0 16
59.1 2 Opp. Plays/Gm 63.7 16
40.8% 18 Rush% 45.1% 8
59.2% 15 Pass% 55.0% 25
45.6% 30 Opp. Rush % 46.3% 31
54.4% 3 Opp. Pass % 53.7% 2


  • The Colts rank last in the league in yards per play (4.6) while the Broncos rank 31st (4.7).
  • Indianapolis (37.5 percent) ranks last in the league in touchdown conversion rate in the red zone while Denver ranks 31st (40 percent).
  • Denver has just two pass plays of 40 or more yards on the season, last in the league.
  • The Colts are the only team in the league with fewer red zone touchdowns (12) than games played on the season.
  • The Broncos are allowing 16.5 passing yards per possession, second behind Jacksonville.
  • Jacoby Brissett is averaging 19.1 passing yards per drive, 32nd for all quarterbacks.
  • Frank Gore's 130 rushing yards last week were the most by a player 34 years or older since Earnest Byner's 149 yards rushing in Week 5, 1996.


Trust: Demaryius Thomas (he’s still prone to becoming a victim of poor quarterback play, but this is as good of a setup that he's had. He’s still receiving 9.1 targets per game and the Colts are just decimated at the cornerback position, rolling out rookie starters Kenny Moore and Quincy Wilson alongside Nate Hairston)


Bust: Jacoby Brissett (after a mid-season surge, Brissett has fallen back into the bottom of the position and although Denver has allowed a handful of passing scores this season, Brissett isn’t throwing them and Denver isn’t allowing high yardage), T.Y. Hilton (his spike weeks have been identifiable and this is not one against a defense that is allowing the fewest receptions per game to opposing wide receivers), Frank Gore (coming off 37 touches on a short week should have him with a reduced workload and he only holds low-ceiling flex appeal against a defense that has allowed just five backs to hit 75 yards from scrimmage in a game this season)


Reasonable Return: Jack Doyle (he’s had fewer than 20 yards receiving in three of his past four games, so the floor is low here, but he’s been the only reliable target in this offense while opposing teams against Denver target their tight ends 25.7 percent of the time, the second highest rate in the league), Emmanuel Sanders (he has just 54 yards total over his past four games while averaging just 16.5 percent of the team targets per game over that span, so he still only holds flex expectations, but as mentioned with Thomas, the Indy secondary is on its last legs), Trevor Siemian (he’s low on the list of streaming options for leagues that play just one quarterback because he’s struggled mightily even in soft matchups, but the Colts have allowed the most QB1 scoring weeks to non-QB1 passers on the season if you really want to chase a rainbow), C.J. Anderson (he has RB2 flex appeal as he’s had 19 and 24 touches over the past two weeks while running into an elusive setup for positive game script)


Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting their Super Duel for a Difference contest this Sunday, where you can win tickets to the Big Game in Minneapolis! Support a good cause and compete for an unforgettable grand prize.


Bears @ Lions (Saturday)


6   Spread -6  
19.0   Implied Total 25.0  
17.2 29 Points/Gm 26.0 5
22.2 14 Points All./Gm 25.7 27
58.4 31 Plays/Gm 62.3 22
63.2 14 Opp. Plays/Gm 64.1 20
47.6% 3 Rush% 36.8% 32
52.4% 30 Pass% 63.2% 1
43.3% 20 Opp. Rush % 42.7% 18
56.7% 13 Opp. Pass % 57.3% 15


  • Detroit is allowing 3.4 offensive touchdowns per game over the past five weeks, the most in the league.
  • The Lions have allowed a rushing touchdown in eight straight games, their longest streak as a franchise since 2008.
  • Jordan Howard is tied with Todd Gurley for the most runs of 10 or more yards (30) on the season.
  • Howard's 12 100-rushing games are the most over a player's first two seasons since Chris Johnson's 16 over 2008-2009.
  • The Bears have just 20 pass plays of 20 or more yards on the season, the fewest in the league.
  • Detroit has 53 pass plays of 20 or more yards, tied for second in the league.
  • Chicago has allowed just two passing touchdowns of 20 yards or longer, the fewest in the league.
  • Just 22.2 percent of the yardage gained by the Lions this season has been rushing -the lowest rate in the league- and just 17.2 percent over the past four weeks.
  • In the nine games in which Theo Riddick has played at least 50 percent of the team snaps over the past two years, he's averaged 14.4 points per game and has been a top-24 scorer in seven of those nine games.


Trust: Marvin Jones (he had a quiet week last week, but lead boundary receivers have given Chicago more trouble than interior options on the season as five of the past six lead wideouts on the outside versus the Bears has posted 14.7 points or more, including Jones himself when he had 4-85-1 in Week 11)


Bust: Mitchell Trubisky (he’s coming off the best game of his young career and the matchup is right as Detroit is allowing 18.6 points per game to opposing passers over the past seven weeks, but Trubisky was just the QB18 when these teams last met and that was on the strength of 53 rushing yards), CHI WRs (there’s marginal volume here to be spread around while Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman have low floors to go along with limited ceilings), Eric Ebron (last week’s box score appeared out of thin air, but we’re not going to chase it as the Bears have allowed just three TE1 weeks on the season and just three touchdowns to the position), Golden Tate (he’s more of a WR3 this week as he’s put up 62 yards or fewer in six of seven games against the Bears while with Detroit while being a top-30 scorer in just two of those games)


Reasonable Return: Jordan Howard (he’s pulled the rug out on us all season long as he’s followed up all his big games on the season with duds and this is a game where he’s a road dog, but the matchup is still strong as Detroit is handing out rushing touchdowns weekly and have allowed an RB1 in four of their past five games, including 15-125-1 to Howard himself over that span, the second time in three games that Howard has hit 100 yards against them), Tarik Cohen (he’s back on the radar as a low-end flex option as he had 13 touches when these teams last met and the matchup is still strong against a defense 21st in yards from scrimmage allowed to backfields), Matthew Stafford (his hand was fine last week and being at home and attached to a relatively high total are attractive, but I’m still entering with lower-end QB1 expectations for Stafford as the Bears are in the top-10 in yardage and touchdowns allowed to opposing passers on the season), Theo Riddick (you can’t keep banking on him to find the end zone on the ground like he has in each of the past two weeks, but he has 15 targets over the past two weeks, so as long as Ameer Abdullah remains out, Riddick will remain a  viable option)


Editor's Note: Play these two WRs in your FanDuel lineups this week. Find out who here!

Chargers @ Chiefs (Saturday)


LA ChargersRank@Kansas CityRank
-2   Spread 2  
24.3   Implied Total 22.3  
22.9 15 Points/Gm 25.3 7
17.7 4 Points All./Gm 22.8 15
63.2 15 Plays/Gm 60.2 28
63.1 12 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.5 30
41.0% 17 Rush% 39.9% 23
59.0% 16 Pass% 60.2% 10
42.1% 14 Opp. Rush % 43.5% 21
57.9% 19 Opp. Pass % 56.5% 12


  • Since their Week 9 bye, the Chargers are second in the league with 20 red zone possessions after ranking 26th in the league with 17 prior.
  • Over that span, the Chargers average 6.3 yards per play, fourth in the league.
  • The Chiefs have allowed 20 or fewer points in 11 straight games at Arrowhead, the longest such streak at home since the Panthers over the 2012-2014 seasons. If they reach 12 games, they will match the Browns from 1993-1995.
  • The last time Philip Rivers was a QB1 versus the Chiefs was Week 17, 2013 and he's been the QB21, QB27 and QB30 over his past three starts in Arrowhead over that span.
  • Rivers has been in the bottom-half of QB scoring just twice on the season, matching Russell Wilson for fewest times in the league for quarterbacks to play at least half of the season.
  • The Chargers are allowing just 2.2 red zone attempts per game (second) and opponents to convert just 37.9 percent of those opportunities into touchdowns (second).
  • 40.8 percent of Alex Smith's passing yards have come on throws 15 yards or further downfield, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Chargers have allowed 27.3 percent (24-of-88) of passes 15 yards or further to be completed, the lowest rate in the league.
  • The Chargers have allowed 109.4 yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields since their Week 9 bye after allowing 174.9 yards per game prior.


Trust: Keenan Allen (he’s riding a ridiculous tear where he has over 100-yards receiving in four straight games with buckets of receptions while facing the secondary that has allowed the most 100-yard receiving games to wide receivers on the season)


Bust: Tyrell Williams (he’s still dependent on hitting a money ball as he’s had just 11 targets total over his past four games), Alex Smith (he’s been the QB21 or lower in three of his past four games as his ceiling goes along with when he can connect on the long ball, something the Chargers are shutting down on the season), Tyreek Hill (he’s averaging 44.3 yards per game at home and his outlook dovetails into the one for Smith as the Chargers have stifled big plays in the passing game), Travis Kelce (you're obviously playing him because the position is borderline awful this week lik emost, but he’s never scored a touchdown against the Chargers and has had three or fewer catches in three of his past four games facing them while the Chargers have allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends this season)


Reasonable Return: Philip Rivers (the Chiefs have had his number and they have limited everyone at home dating back to last year, but Rivers has had one of the best fantasy floors of all quarterbacks), Melvin Gordon (since the bye he’s lived in RB2 land and he’s had one or fewer receptions in four of his past seven games, but the volume has still been steady to hold his floor, having 20 or more touches in five straight), Hunter Henry (he’s had five or more targets in four straight and he’s been a TE1 in seven of the eight games in which he’s gotten to five targets), Kareem Hunt (he had 28 touches last week after just 24 total over the previous two weeks, so he’s still prone to losing opportunities, and while the Chargers have gotten better in terms of limiting yardage to backfields, they are still allowing 5.1 receptions per game to the position to keep Hunt in the RB2 mix)


Eagles @ Giants


PhiladelphiaRank@NY GiantsRank
-9   Spread 9  
24.5   Implied Total 15.5  
31.1 1 Points/Gm 15.3 31
17.9 6 Points All./Gm 24.2 23
68.5 1 Plays/Gm 62.6 19
59.2 4 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.6 31
45.7% 7 Rush% 37.7% 27
54.3% 26 Pass% 62.3% 6
32.4% 1 Opp. Rush % 45.5% 29
67.6% 32 Opp. Pass % 54.5% 4


  • 26.8 percent of Alshon Jeffery's fantasy output has come from touchdown production while 25.9 percent of Nelson Agholor's has, the first and third highest dependency of all top-30 scoring receivers on the season.
  • The Giants allow .512 passing points per attempt and 17.8 passing points per game, both the most in the league.
  • The Giants have allowed a league high 12 passing touchdowns of 20 or more yards and league high seven passing touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.
  • Jay Ajayi's snap share since the Eagles' Week 10 bye each week has been 20 percent, 28 percent, 41 percent and 47 percent.
  • The Giants have allowed over 100-yards rushing in seven straight games, their longest streak in a season since 2004.
  • The Giants have scored 17 points or fewer in eight games this season, their most in a season since 2007.
  • The Giants have scored 17 points or fewer points in four straight games, their longest streak in a season since 2004.


Trust: Zach Ertz (he’s expected back this week and although he does lose Wentz, he still has a terrific matchup against a defense that is the worst in the league at defending tight ends while they also could be missing Landon Collins)


Bust: Eli Manning (he’s been QB21 or lower in six of his past seven games), NYG RBs (with Wayne Gallman attempting to get back in the mix late in the season as the Giants see what they have entering the offseason, this backfield is avoidable against the defense allowing the fewest yards from scrimmage to opposing backfields), Sterling Shepard (he’s returned to just nine targets over the past two weeks and the quality of the offense isn’t good enough to elevate him past flex status),  Evan Engram (he’s averaging 8.3 targets per game over the past eight weeks to try and keep him afloat in poor matchups and he has another one here as the Eagles have allowed just three TE1 weeks on the season and just three to reach 50-yards receiving in a game this year)


Reasonable Return: Nick Foles (he doesn’t have be the 2013 version of himself nor even a proxy of Wentz this season to be a streaming option this week against a Giants defense that ranks 30th in passing yardage allowed per game and will be without Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins), Alshon Jeffery / Nelson Agholor (in an extremely small sample of 14 targets from Foles this year, Agholor has five of them, but both receivers take a step back with the transition to Foles as they both were options inflated by touchdown production. The Giants can aid their cause to remain usable options as they rank 25th in yardage allowed to wideouts and 27th in points per target to the position), Jay Ajayi (the looming threat of a committee is still present, but he’s averaging 6.4 YPC since joining the Eagles and his usage is on the rise while the Giants have been getting gashed regularly on the ground)

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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
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