Onto week 15, which is, as we all know, the fantasy playoffs! If you have made it to this point, then congratulations are in order. I know I say this often, but this fantasy season certainly had its share of tribulations that most fantasy owners had to navigate through. Through injuries, mid-season trades, and rookies coming on strong down the stretch, there was a little bit of everything. Now it’s time to really crack down and evaluate your lineups. I know most people advise you to “start your studs” which I agree with, to a point. Assuming you made it this far, there’s probably at least 3-5 guys that are set it and forget it types of players. The others? Well, it should be a balance of “what have you done for me lately?” and “what are you doing for me NOW?” For example, if you’ve been consistently rolling out Mike Evans, are you really confident that he’s going to deliver THIS week for you? There are plenty of other examples as well. As we always do in this article, we’re getting BOLD with our predictions. First let’s recap Thursday night’s game, then discuss some of the predictions from last week (can we not talk about some of them, please?), and then dive into this week’s predictions. Is the talk legit? Or am I just talkin’ crazy?
49ers 21, Seahawks 13
49ers top performer(s): Another incredible performance from CMC in this one, and it seemed like he touched the ball just about every other play. CMC rushed for over 100 yards with a score and added another 6 catches for 30 yards. Solid start to your playoffs if you have CMC. Elsewhere, most had an idea George Kittle would receive additional volume with the injury to Deebo Samuel, and boy did Kittle deliver. He scored twice and showed off that Kittle-esque elusiveness on his way to the end zone both times. He’s been hit or miss for most of the season, but which TE hasn’t other than Travis Kelce? Being a Kittle owner myself and in the playoffs, I was thrilled to see it. The Niners are rolling right now, and their offense should continue to provide fantasy value.
Seahawks top performer(s): The Seahawks were faced with a tough task this week against San Fran’s top rated defense. If you follow us on social media, we were imploring you to seriously consider starting Kenneth Walker III. I understand some don’t have many better options, but if there was a chance you could have sat him, I sure hope you did. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf still managed to top 10 fantasy points (½ and full PPR) which were the big performers in this one, as well as Noah Fant (but who started him??), who scored. The Seahawks are slumping at the absolute worst time.
Last Week’s (Week 14) Predictions
If you read this column frequently, you know that I switched it up a tad last week. I reviewed the standings as they were entering week 14 and took my bold stab at how I think the final standings will shake out. For review:
1. Chiefs (14-3) first round bye, AFC West winner
2. Bills (13-4) AFC East winner
3. Cincinnati (12-5) AFC North winner
4. Tennessee (10-7) AFC South winner
5. Miami (11-6) wild card
6. Baltimore (10-7) Wild card
7. Jets (9-8) Wild Card
8. Chargers (9-8) Just missed
I’m already regretting some of these decisions. I think Tennessee will still win the division, but I could see Jacksonville making a push to the finish here, as Dougie P has those guys playing some solid ball (other than getting blown out by the also hot Lions). I also think the Chargers sneak in and the Jets just miss out, but I’ll stick with my initial prediction.
1. Philadelphia (14-3) first round bye, NFC East winner
2. Minnesota (13-4) NFC North winner
3. San Francisco (11-6) NFC West winner
4. Tampa Bay (9-8) NFC South winner
5. Dallas (13-4) Wild card
6. Seattle (9-8) wild card
7. Detroit (9-8) Wild card
Regretting some of these as well, but as Scotty P once said in We’re the Millers “NO RAGRETS, that’s my credo.” You win some and lose some, and when the predictions are bold you’re bound to get burned a LOT. So, while I’m not feeling great about my Tampa Bay & Seattle predictions, I’ll stick to my guns. For what it’s worth, I think Seattle will miss out and be replaced by either the Giants/Commanders.
Miscellaneous Quick Hits of Week 14
1. Joe Burrow gets his first W over the Browns in his career.
Not very bold, but a prediction nonetheless.
2. Lions top the Vikings at home
If you come here often, you know I’ve been on this Lions train for a good minute.
3. Tyler Huntley does his best Lamar impression and the Ravens win an ugly game vs Pittsburgh
Huntley was playing well prior to his concussion, and the Ravens did win an ugly one.
4. Tom Brady goes to his hometown and beats the 49ers
This has to be about the fifth or sixth time the Bucs have burned me this year. Eventually I’ll learn my lesson.
5. Panthers cover (+4.0) vs the Seahawks
Another team that has been playing pretty solid ball over the last few weeks, Carolina is being overlooked each week.
6. Herbert tops Tua in primetime
Now that Justin Herbert has a healthy arsenal at his disposal, watch out AFC.
This Week’s (Week 15) Predictions
JK Dobbins has another big game at Cleveland in the Ravens win.
If you saw any of the Ravens game last week, you probably saw JK Dobbins’ huge run. He had a really good game, although his running mechanics certainly looked off. It’s clear Dobbins isn’t fully recovered from his knee surgeries, and he even acknowledged so this week. However, each week Dobbins will get stronger, more confident in his knee, and better. I think Dobbins has another massive game this week against the Browns suspect run defense. Chalk up Dobbins for over 100 yards and a tuddy.
Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs Disappoint
Let me clarify, JJ and Diggs are two of the top WR’s in the game. There’s no doubt about that. But, each are faced with a challenge this week. Jefferson will likely be shadowed by Stephon Gillmore, who is having a strong season in Indy. On the other hand, Diggs and the Bills are facing Miami in likely inclement weather conditions. If you have either on your team, you’re obviously going to play them, and I’m not advising you not to. I just think that both, who are currently top 4 in PPR scoring, will finish OUTSIDE of the top 5 WR performances this week. Which would classify as a disappointment in my book.
The Panthers Use Ground Game to Another Win
What a wild year for the Panthers. Fire their coach, trade CMC, yet they still find themselves very much alive for the playoffs. Just another typical NFL season. Their recipe has been pretty simple, and that's to run the ball into submission. I think D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard each top 75 yards in this one. If you were able to scoop up either this year on the waiver wire, kudos to you. Play either as a flex option this week.
Miscellaneous Quick Hits
1. Lions win again over the Jets. Yes, I’m riding with the Lions, and I will die on this hill. The news of Zach Wilson starting for the Jets makes me feel better about this one, too.
2. Desmond Ridder looks capable in the Falcons-Saints game, but the Saints win (although I think the Falcons will cover +4).
3. The Jags (+4) cover at home versus Dallas. Are the Cowboys looking ahead to their Christmas Eve matchup against Philly? This game will give us that answer
Let’s check those receipts next week! Also feel free to reach out on social media @DLorenzDPT (Twitter) and @TheFantasyDoctors (Twitter) and follow/subscribe to our YouTube channel. I can handle the heat.