Loading scores...
DeAndre Hopkins
AP
Fantasy Forecast

Week 15 Fantasy Football Forecast

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: December 13, 2019, 11:30 am ET

 

PaceWeek15

 

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you're playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props. If you're just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the "Forecast" sections below where I project each player's PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. 

 

Teams are listed in order of their Vegas projected team points.

Page 1: SF, KC, SEA, NO, TEN, OAK, NE, NYG, CLE

Page 2: LAR, DAL, MIN, HOU, GB, ARI, PHI, MIA, DET, CAR

Page 3: LAC, JAX, PIT, TB, IND, CHI, DEN, WAS, BUF, ATL, CIN

TNF: BAL, NYJ

 

49ers (29 projected points, -11.5 spread) vs. ATL

Forecast: Jimmy Garoppolo QB1, Raheem Mostert RB1/2, Matt Breida RB3, Tevin Coleman RB4, Deebo Samuel WR3, Emmanuel Sanders RB3, George Kittle TE1

 

SFATL

Jimmy Garoppolo is averaging 9.2 fantasy points more with Emmanuel than without him, but that also includes the two four-touchdown games against the Cardinals. Jimmy G is undoubtedly better when he has Sanders, Kittle, and Samuel healthy and when he faces a weak opponent. This week, he checks both boxes, making him a low-end QB1. 

Week 14

Mostert

Breida

Coleman

Carries

10

6

3

Targets

2

1

0

Snaps

38

12

10

Following last week’s game, coach Kyle Shanahan said, “I mean, we keep trying to balance it out, but what Raheem has done these last few weeks and has continued to do, we need to give him more opportunities. He’s given us no choice.” I expect Mostert to handle at least 10-15 touches as the clear-cut No. 1 back this week, making Mostert a high-end RB2 with the Niners projected to score 29 points as 11.5-point favorites… Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman are boom-or-bust RB3/4s.

SFAY15

 

Already a below-average secondary, the Falcons will now be without Desmond Trufant and face two capable receivers in Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel. Emmanuel has more usage and production than Samuel over the last two weeks but that trend can switch at any moment. Both Sanders and Samuel are WR3s with upside against a defense that’s in the bottom 11th percentile at creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks… George Kittle showed why he’s the best tight end in the NFL last week (see video below). The weekly top-three tight end has consistently been targeted 4-8 times.

 

Chiefs (27.75, -10) vs. DEN

Forecast: Patrick Mahomes QB1, Damien Williams (questionable) RB3, LeSean McCoy RB3/4, Tyreek Hill WR1, Sammy Watkins WR5, Demarcus Robinson WR5, Mecole Hardman WR5, Travis Kelce TE1

KCDEN

Patrick Mahomes has three-straight games with one passing touchdown while working at less than 100% health. The Broncos won’t make things easier, but Mahomes did have 300 yards in both of his games against them last year. Mahomes’ upside is way too high to keep out of the top three even with the recent dip in production.

Week 14

McCoy

Ware

Thompson

Carries

11

5

4

Targets

3

2

5

Snaps

24

30

21

This is a three-back committee led by LeSean McCoy whenever Damien Williams (ribs) misses. Williams has been limited in practice this week and will likely be a game-time decision. If Williams is out, McCoy will be on the RB2/3 borderline with a 10-15 touch projection. If Williams returns, McCoy will drop to the RB4 range because Williams was the lead back when he last played. Williams would be a boom-or-bust RB3 in a so-so matchup. 

KCAY15

As Ian Hartitz notes in his WR/CB column, Tyreek Hill should avoid stud CB Chris Harris by moving into the slot, a place Harris rarely travels to. Hill would be a WR1 with a ceiling even if Harris was shadowing him, but the fact that he dodges Harris makes a ceiling game even more likely. Hill is due for a high air yard game after three weeks of limited opportunities… Sammy Watkins (48 routes last week), Demarcus Robinson (41 routes), and Mecole Hardman (14 routes) are pure WR4/5 dart throws with Watkins being the most utilized of the bunch. The Broncos’ top 13th percentile defense at preventing 20+ yard plays makes this a semi-difficult matchup for these one-trick ponies, but Mahomes can make things happen against anyone… Travis Kelce has 6-10 targets in every game this season and is the TE1 overall in most weeks. Kelce has a touchdown or 100 yards in five of his six games against Denver with the only miss coming in Mahomes’ knee cap game.

Editor's Note: Looking for an added edge? Dominate all season long with our DFS Toolkit. Use our Lineup Optimizer to come up with winning lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo! Click here for more!

 

Seahawks (27.25, -6) @ CAR

Forecast: Russell Wilson QB1, Chris Carson RB1, DK Metcalf WR3, Tyler Lockett WR3, Jacob Hollister TE2

SEACAR

Russell Wilson is always at the mercy of play calling, and the Seahawks are likely to run the ball a lot against this porous Carolina run defense. Another potential issue is the Panthers’ elite pass rush going up against the Seahawks’ awful pass protection. With that said, Wilson’s ceiling is far too high to drop out of the top-six. There are just more paths to “failure” this week… Chris Carson is back in the every-week RB1 club with Rashaad Penny (ACL) out for the season. Carson will see 15-25 touches per game down the stretch and gets the league’s worst defense against fantasy running backs this week. Carson is a top-five RB1.

SEAAY15

Usage has been a major issue for Tyler Lockett in recent weeks. He has seen just 4, 2, 3, and 6 targets since his monster 18-target game. Lockett is clearly a boom-or-bust play, but he is at least nearing full healthy after leg and illness issues have limited him. Carolina’s bottom 35th percentile defense against 20+ yard passes increases his odds of a “boom”... DK Metcalf’s usage has been far better but that could take a dip if Lockett’s health cooperates. Another concern is a potential matchup with CB James Bradberry, although Ian Hartitz believes it’s more likely that Metcalf won’t be fully shadowed. Metcalf is a boom-or-bust WR3… Jacob Hollister is averaging 4.8-40-0.6 over the last five games but may lose a target or two per game if Luke Willson (hamstring) returns after getting in a limited practice this week. This paired with a tough individual against a top 13th-percentile defense versus fantasy tight ends make Hollister a TE2.

 

Saints (27.25, -8) vs. IND

Forecast: Drew Brees QB1, Alvin Kamara RB1, Latavius Murray RB4, Michael Thomas WR1, Ted Ginn WR5, Jared Cook (questionable) TE1

NOIND

After last week’s unpredictable six-touchdown game against the Niners, Drew Brees is averaging 300 passing yards and 2.57 total touchdowns in his seven healthy games. Another home game awaits, and it’s against a far worse defense. Brees’ football IQ is a mismatch against Indy’s zone defense, so I’m expecting a very efficient passing game. The only potential concern is passing volume given the Colts’ bottom five offensive pace, but that’s not enough to move Brees out of the top six at the position.

I can’t project elite efficiency from Alvin Kamara while he’s battling through an injury. That’s one issue. Another issue is his lack of goal-line work. Kamara only has four inside-the-five carries this season, which partially explains his rushing touchdown decline (14 last year to one this year). Kamara is still due for some positive touchdown regression and is seeing 10 carries and seven receptions since his return from injury, but he isn’t in the elite RB1 tier right now. Kamara is closer to the RB6-10 range.

NOAY15

Michael Thomas is the WR1 overall every week. He only needs 23 more receptions to set the single-season record (143, Marvin Harrison)… Ted Ginn (8-102-1) and Tre’Quan Smith (6-69-2) have done nothing in their last five games. Ginn is the slightly better WR5 dart throw… Jared Cook is the TE2 overall on the second most air yards since returning in Week 10. If he’s healthy (concussion), he’s a top-five TE1 with touchdown equity. The Colts’ bottom 29th-percentile defense against fantasy tight ends is the cherry on top. 

 

Titans (26.5, -3) vs. HOU

Forecast: Ryan Tannehill QB1/2, Derrick Henry (questionable) RB1, Dion Lewis RB4, A.J. Brown WR3, Corey Davis WR5, Jonnu Smith TE2

TENHOU

Ryan Tannehill is playing at an unsustainable rate right now, but it’s reached the point where I believe Tannehill is a legit starting-level quarterback. His completion percentage above expected is at the top of the league. The main issues here are volume (27 attempts per game) and a previous reliance on yards after the catch -- 47% of his passing yards are YAC yards. A soft home matchup with shootout potential makes Tannehill a top-10 fantasy option… Derrick Henry’s hamstring issue is a concern even if he’s practicing this week, but when he’s fully healthy, Henry is a top-five RB1. The Texans’ bottom 16th percentile defense against fantasy backs improves his outlook. Henry is looking to extend his 100-yard streak to five games. The Titans’ 26.5-point team total suggests that’s certainly in play if his health cooperates… Dion Lewis is worth a pickup in deeper leagues just in case Henry suffers a setback.

TENAY15

A.J. Brown has superstar upside. He’s been the most efficient receiver in Mariota’s and Tannehill’s careers and is fourth in PFF’s predictive yards per route run metric. A home matchup against a bottom 16th percentile pass defense improves his outlook further, but I do want to temper expectations a little bit. Targets with Tannehill as the starter: 8, 3, 7, 4, 5, 4, and 7 (5.4 average). That usage forces me into ranking Brown as an upside WR3… Corey Davis has 1, 2, and 1 receptions since coming back from his injury. More usage should come his way, but he’s a WR5 dart throw for the time being… Jonnu Smith is a touchdown-dependent TE2 in an above-average matchup.

 

Raiders (26, -6.5) vs. JAX

Forecast: Derek Carr QB2/3, Josh Jacobs (questionable) RB1/2, DeAndre Washington RB4, Tyrell Williams WR4, Hunter Renfrow (questionable) WR5, Darren Waller TE1

OAKJAX

The Jaguars are ranked 1st in my “Given Up” rankings. That’ll help Derek Carr, but he’s been way off the one-quarterback league radar with Oakland 25th in pass attempts. With Jacksonville playing at the second-slowest pace, volume will be a major issue for Carr’s streaming outlook… Josh Jacobs is best viewed as a boom-or-bust RB1/2. On one hand, Jacobs could bust with his worrisome fractured shoulder, but he can also smash the Jaguars if he can play a full game. Jacksonville is now the No. 30 defense against fantasy running backs after allowing at least 195 rushing yards in four of the last five games, not to mention Ekeler’s 100-yard receiving game. In most season-long cases, I’d start Jacobs and chase his ceiling unless weekend news changes his outlook. If Jacobs is ultimately ruled out or severely limited, DeAndre Washington is the plug-and-play option after dominating snaps and touches over Jalen Richard last week.

OAKAY15

Volume and scheme fit have plagued Tyrell Williams all year. Facing a bottom 19th percentile defense at preventing 20+ yard passes this week is a reason for optimism, but Williams remains a no-floor WR4… Hunter Renfrow (ribs) practiced Thursday and will be questionable for Week 15. He’s a low-ceiling WR5 whenever healthy, averaging 3.3 receptions and 36 yards on 7.5 YPT… Renfrow’s return would be a negative for Darren Waller. In the eight games with Renfrow seeing more than four targets, Waller averaged 11.3 PPR points. In the other five games with Renfrow out or limited, Waller averaged 17.6 PPR points. That’s the difference between a top-four TE1 and a mid-range TE1. But Waller’s outlook was improved with Foster Moreau (team-high five red-zone touchdowns) heading to injured reserve. Waller’s touchdown equity is improved, making him a borderline top-five TE1.

 

Patriots (25.25, -10) @ CIN

Forecast: Tom Brady QB2, James White RB2/3, Rex Burkhead RB4, Sony Michel RB4, Julian Edelman WR1, Phillip Dorsett WR5, Jakobi Meyers WR5, Mohamed Sanu WR5, N’Keal Harry WR5

NECIN

The only thing that can save Tom Brady right now is some illegal sideline filming. Luckily for Brady, he plays for the Patriots, so his prescription has been filled. Brady is averaging 254 yards and 1.1 touchdowns over his last eight games, and that includes garbage-time production against the Texans two weeks ago. The matchup keeps him in the QB2 mix, but Brady is no longer elite. In fact, I’d argue he’s a below-average starting quarterback.

Week 14

White

Burkhead

Michel

Carries

6

7

5

Targets

7

1

1

Snaps

40

18

9

James White’s role as a reliable pass-catching option is secure. He’s the “lead back” if you will and is the only Patriots’ back I’d throw into the flex with any confidence. That’s because Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are splitting rushing reps, something I’ve been calling for since October with Michel clearly washed/injured. A 25.25-point total gives these back a path to a mini-ceiling but the muddiness of the backfield gives them all low floors. 

NEAY15

Julian Edelman is the WR3 overall since Week 6. He’s a locked-in WR1 with an elite floor given his league-leading targets over that span. Edelman is one of two pass-catchers that Brady trusts, so he’s going to see 9-13 targets most games… Here are the receptions and targets for New England receivers since Week 11 when Harry made his debut: Julian Edelman (27, 45), Jakobi Meyers (9, 21), Mohamed Sanu (6, 10), Phillip Dorsett (5, 13), and N’Keal Harry (5, 10). There isn’t a reliable No. 2 right now. If forced to take a flier, I’d roll the dice on Dorsett, who is the best bet to take advantage of the Bengals’ bottom 6th percentile defense against 20+ yard passes… Ben Watson was cancelled long ago.

 

Giants (25, -3.5) vs. MIA

Forecast: Eli Manning QB2, Saquon Barkley RB1/2, Golden Tate WR3/4, Sterling Shepard WR3/4, Darius Slayton WR3/4, Evan Engram (questionable) TE1/2, Kaden Smith TE2/3

NYGMIA

Eli Manning wasn’t awful last week, partially because the Eagles blew a few coverages that led to touchdowns. A similar performance is possible with Miami coming to New York. The Dolphins are the worst pass defense per DVOA and the third worst against fantasy quarterbacks. Manning has 300-yard upside as a QB2 streamer. This game will determine if Manning finishes with a sub-.500 career record. He has a lot to play for… Saquon Barkley is now averaging just 3.19 yards on his 117 carries since returning from his ankle injury. He’s clearly a little slowed down, but this is also regression at its finest. His breakaway percentage -- the percentage of rushing yards that came on 15+ yard runs -- has dropped from 55% last year to just 15% since his ankle injury. The home run plays haven’t been there this season. Perhaps that changes against the Dolphins this week. The matchup and his usage still keep him inside the top 10 even if he’s a little slower right now.

NYGAY15

Here are targets and air yards in the two recent games with all three receivers healthy: Darius Slayton (15, 180), Sterling Shepard (16, 107), and Golden Tate (12, 153). All three are in the upside flex mix, but it’s impossible to be confident with their floors since volume is spread pretty evenly… Evan Engram was limited in practice and could be a game-time decision. If he starts, he’ll be on the TE1/2 radar but carries a low floor given his worrisome injury. If he sits again, Kaden Smith will be a near-full time player as a punt TE2/3.

 

Browns (25, -2) @ ARI

Forecast: Baker Mayfield QB1/2, Nick Chubb RB1/2, Kareem Hunt RB2/3, Jarvis Landry WR1/2, Odell Beckham WR2/3, David Njoku TE1/2

CLEARI

The Cardinals are allowing 2.0 more fantasy points per game to quarterbacks than the second worst defense. They’re truly awful, but so is Baker Mayfield with this coaching staff. Mayfield has one or fewer total touchdowns in 9-of-13 games and has hit three touchdowns just twice (PIT, MIA). Vegas’ 25-point team total puts Mayfield in the top-12 quarterback conversation this week, but he’s by no means a must play…

2019 Stats

Chubb (w/o Hunt)

Chubb (w Hunt)

Hunt

PPR

19.7

14.0

14.2

Carries

19.1

19.8

6.8

Targets

4.0

2.4

5.6

Since Kareem Hunt was activated, Nick Chubb has gone from being a bellcow back to being a one-dimensional runner. His receiving volume has been slashed in half, which makes him more game script-dependent than ever. That’s concerning because we’ve already seen a 5.7 PPR point drop in Chubb’s production even though the Browns have won four of their last five games. Chubb’s floor will be tested if Cleveland ever trails. A matchup with the Cardinals alleviates some of my concerns, however. Arizona is second in offensive pace and is in the bottom 35th percentile against running backs. Chubb should see 15-25 touches as an RB1/2, while Hunt chips in an additional 10-15 as a flex play.

CLEAY15

Odell Beckham is reportedly playing through a sports hernia, which definitely explains his 2019 season. His usage has been strong almost every week, but he is the WR27 on the season. In another matchup, I’d stop calling Odell a positive regression candidate, but the Cardinals are seriously awful defensively. Even an 80% Odell can reach a ceiling here, which keeps him in WR2 mix despite a year’s full of disappointment… Jarvis Landry is now up to the WR13 overall while operating as Mayfield’s true top option. Landry’s 7-12 target projection gives him a high floor and ceiling as a locked-in WR1/2. Betting against the Cardinals’ bottom 16th-percentile defense against fantasy receivers has been profitable all year long… David Njoku returned last week but only saw three targets. Volume will be a major concern for Njoku with Landry, Odell, Chubb, and Hunt as the main options, but Njoku is on the TE1/2 radar with Arizona allowing 6-74-1 per game to fantasy tight ends.

 

Defensive Coverages

SlotCoverage
DefensiveHeatMap
DefensiveDensity
DefensiveDots