Week 15 was absolutely nutty. No other way to describe it. Crazy finishes, the largest comeback in NFL history, and three games going into OT, it truly gave us all. It was also the first round of the fantasy playoffs. Who else advanced to the semis with me?! The celebration is short-lived, as we’re now onto the semi-finals. Time to get serious. Like Belichick “We’re onto Cincinnati” serious. Let’s discuss the fantasy performances of the past week and how they impact week 16. Let’s Overthink This.
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.
Vikings 39, Colts 36
Vikings top performer(s):Just an insane game. I won’t bore you with all the factoids of this one being the biggest comeback in NFL history & such. Bottom line is this: the Minnesota Vikings offense is, and has been all season, ELITE when it comes to fantasy football. This game was no different. Well, it kinda was for the first half. I for one was frustrated as anything when Dalvin Cook had a measly 3 points at halftime. But, then the Vikings woke up. The usual suspects erupted for monstrous fantasy days. Kirk Cousins had 460 yards passing, Cook had 95 yards rushing and receiving and had that score off the screen pass, Justin Jefferson went for 12/123/1 and KJ Osborn was equally impressive with 10/157/1. Adam Thielen got a score as well. All of these players, with the exception of Osborn, are clear cut fantasy starters. Although, one could argue that Osborn/Thielen is a toss up, and both could be worthy of flex play. Colts top performer(s): The defense/special teams. Congrats to those that started them in this one! Probably not a whole lot of folks that did. But, hey, if you did you look like a genius. On the other hand, Jonathan Taylor suffered another ankle injury, and will probably be shut down for the year. The only Colts player I would even consider playing at this point is Michael Pittman Jr, and his value right now is a low WR2/WR3.
Browns 13, Ravens 3
Browns top performer(s): An ugly, old-school, AFC North battle that we all should be used to seeing this time of the year. Deshaun Watson continues to struggle as he gets acclimated to his new team/offense. The lone score in this one went to Donovan Peoples-Jones, who finished with 4/31/1. Nick Chubb finished with 99 yards rushing, but failed to score. Chubb is still a RB1, and Amari Cooper remains a must start as well. Peoples-Jones is a risky flex play each week. David Njoku remains a mid-tier starter at TE due to the shallow options available. Ravens top performer(s): If you read my weekly Talkin’ Crazy/Bold Predictions column, I advised you to start JK Dobbins, as he was in line for a monster day against the suspect Cleveland rush defense. How did Dobbins do? Just a casual 125 yards rushing on 13 carries, which amounts to 9.6 YPC for the math whizzes out there. The rest of the Baltimore offense was stuck in neutral all game. Continue playing Dobbins as a RB2, and once Lamar is active, play him.
Bills 32, Dolphins 29
Bills top performer(s): Josh Allen did everything in his power to will his team to this victory, and his fantasy owners rejoiced as he put up 4 passing TDs and added 77 yards rushing with no turnovers. Dawson Knox went off for 6/98/1, and Stefon Diggs disappointed with 5/60. But, Diggs is clearly a starter and high level WR1. You weren’t doubting that, were you? I understand he has been on a rough stretch, but which high level fantasy player doesn’t go through a mini drought from time to time? Outside of Diggs, Allen, and Knox, I would have trouble playing any other Bills players. Dolphins top performer(s): The Dolphins are in a slump, but overall they’ll be fine. They continue to put up numbers, which is what you want as it pertains to fantasy football. Raheem Mostert had 136 yards rushing, but I have no idea how this backfield will shake out on a weekly basis. Best to view both Wilson Jr and Mostert as flex plays. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle each scored in this one, and both are WR1 options. Keep trusting your Dolphins players!
Eagles 25, Bears 20
Eagles top performer(s): Jalen Hurts just continues to put up MONSTER fantasy numbers. Another 30 burger thanks to 3 rushing scores. He bounced back nicely after his two early interceptions, and AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith both went over 100 yards again. The bad news is that Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain, and while it’s most likely mild, he’s probably going to sit this week versus Dallas. But, don’t overthink this one. If Minshew is available, you snag him to replace Hurts. Oh, and continue to play Smith, Brown, Sanders, and toss in Goedert in his return to game action as well. Bears top performer(s): Justin Fields is special. If the Bears find a way to bolster their offensive line and get some playmakers on the perimeter, the Bears could have a similar offensive ascension like the Eagles did this year. Fields is a must start (and has been for weeks). David Montgomery scored twice, but Khalil Herbert is back this week, lowering Monty to the flex tier. Hold off on plugging Herbert in for now. Saints 21, Falcons 18
Saints top performer(s): One of the most surprising fantasy developments this year has been the play of Juwan Johnson. He’s been a top 8 TE! I know the TE position has been ultra thin, but Johnson has been the definition of boom or bust. Johnson put up two scores, and he’s a clear favorite of Andy Dalton. Alvin Kamara had a solid game, but failed to score. Sound familiar? Chris Olave has a hamstring injury and has been limited thus far, which is worth monitoring. Outside of Kamara, Olave, and Johnson (if you’re feeling bold), all other Saints belong on benches. Falcons top performer(s): When Desmond Ridder was named QB1 for the Falcons, all Drake London owners hung their head in disappointment. Makes sense from an organizational perspective to see what they have in Ridder, but it absolutely kills fantasy value for other skill players. Except Tyler Allgeier who had over 100 yards and a score. I would have a hard time placing any Falcons into my lineup at this point, but Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson could be serviceable flex options.
Lions 20, Jets 17
Lions top performer(s): Most of us knew this was going to be a low score defensive affair, and it was. Jared Goff played well but was limited to 250 yards passing. The Lions grinded it out to top 100 rushing yards with a 3.8 YPC. Their top fantasy perform was Amon-Ra St Brown who finished with a 7/76 line. ARSB is a no doubt about it starter. Jamaal Williams continues to slide and is hard to trust in lineups at this time. I would take a gamble and play D’Andre Swift as a low RB2/flex play. Jets top performer(s): Zach Wilson did not play bad. Looked better than he did earlier in the season. And, most important, he fed Garrett Wilson! Garrett Wilson is a stud and is showing he is QB proof. Continue rolling him out there this week against Jacksonville on Thursday night. I would shelf all other Jets, with the exception of Bam Knight, assuming he plays.
Steelers 24, Panthers 16
Steelers top performer(s): In a week where Diontae Johnson voiced his support for Mason Rudolph over Mitch Trubisky, Trubisky peppered Johnson with volume and he finished with a 10/98 stat line. Not bad. Not sure it’ll continue though. Outside of Najee Harris, who scored and had over 80 rushing yards, I’m not playing any Steelers, especially when the stakes are this high. Panthers top performer(s): Well, in my Talkin Crazy Bold Predictions column, I predicted both D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard would have over 75 rushing yards. *Insert Michael Scott yikes gif here.* Cause boy was I dead wrong there. The Panthers had 21 rushing yards AS A TEAM. DJ Moore was the lone bright spot with over 70 yards and a score. Play Moore as a flex play against a weak Lions secondary. Bench all other Panthers.
Jaguars 40, Cowboys 34
Jaguars top performer(s): Zay Jones went absolutely bananas with over 100 yards and 3, yes 3, scores. Travis Etienne had over 100 yards rushing, and both Christian Kirk and Evan Engram had strong performances. Trevor Lawrence has shown the growth you expect out of a number one overall pick in his second year. Unfortunately they play the stout Jets defense on a short week. I would still start Kirk, Engram, and Etienne, but all Jags offer some added risk this week. Cowboys top performer(s): Not how the Cowboys drew that one up, to say the least. They were up big early but couldn’t finish when it mattered most. Noah Brown had two scores and Ceedee Lamb had another game over 100 yards. This week, as we all know, is the massive matchup in Dallas versus Philly’s top defense and their vaunted pass rush. You’re still likely playing Lamb, Zeke, Pollard, and Schultz, but the elevated risk is there for a dud.
Chiefs 30, Texans 24
Chiefs top performer(s): Jericho McKinnon continues to be a PPR monster, Travis Kelce had over 100 receiving yards, Mahomes threw for over 300 and rushed for a score. All is well in Chiefs kingdom, even with a close affair against the Texans. Start all the Chiefs this week against Seattle. Mahomes, Kelce, McKinnon, Pacheco, and Juju are all fine plays and should put up some points in an exciting matchup. Texans top performer(s): Ideal situation for the Texans. Play hard, show that you’re not going to quit on your coach/team, still lose to secure that number one overall pick. I’m not sure why you would even consider playing any Texans in your lineup in such a crucial week, so try to avoid at all costs. However, I do like Chris Moore’s prospects this week in what should be a low scoring game against Tennessee.
Broncos 24, Cardinals 15
Broncos top performer(s): In what was a relatively mundane game, Latavius Murray (130 yards and a score) and Jerry Jeudy (7/76) had strong efforts in the Broncos win. Russ should be back this week in what could be another low scoring affair versus the Rams. I would fade all players from that matchup. Cardinals top performer(s): James Conner had the lone offensive score in this one in what was an uphill battle for the Cardinals as they lost Colt McCoy early to a concussion. DHop finished with a very blah 7/60 line. If you have Conner and Hopkins, you keep playing them, unless you have other options, due to their heightened risk this week with Trace McSorley starting his first NFL game.
Raiders 30, Patriots 24
Raiders top performer(s): The three offensive scores in this one came from Darren Waller (hey, welcome back!), Keelan Cole (he was out of bounds), and Mack Hollins. Just what we all predicted. But seriously, if you had Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams and didn’t win this past week, I offer my sincere condolences for the fantasy gods being so cruel to you. Jacobs and Adams remain must starts versus Pittsburgh this week. Patriots top performer(s): Rhamondre Stevenson, in a week that deemed him questionable with an ankle injury, ran for 172 yards with a score. He was the entire offense as Mac Jones struggled again. Outside of Stevenson, who has now reached the RB1 tier, I would advise against all Pats.
Chargers 17, Titans 14
Chargers top performer(s): In what most were expecting to be a high scoring contest, the lone offensive scores went to Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, in addition to Ekeler and Herbert, are clear cut lineup locks. Did you see what the Minnesota offense did to the Colts defense in that second half? Don’t overthink it, and start all Chargers with confidence. Titans top performer(s): Ryan Tannehill got banged up, returned, struggled, and now may be out for the year. Rough development for Tennessee. When all else fails, feed King Henry. He had over 100 yards and a score. I could see him topping 30 carries this week. Must start in the semis.
Bengals 34, Buccaneers 23
Bengals top performer(s): The Bengals were down 17-3 at half, and then the offense broke out. The big three of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd all scored. Joe Mixon disappointed yet again, which is an alarming trend. You probably have to continue to start him, however. Chase, Higgins, and Burrow are all no doubt starts. Bucs top performer(s): Chris Godwin found the endzone, as did Russel Gage, who did twice. Tom Brady topped 300 yards with 3 scores but also had 2 INTs and a fumble. This Bucs offense is infuriating. Not sure how you can start anyone outside of Godwin with confidence. The rest offer significant risk, but I would DEFINITELY play Godwin, Evans, and Otton (sneaky play) this week.
Giants 20, Commanders 12
Giants top performer(s): If the offense is struggling, feed Saquon. Barkley finished with over 80 yards and a score. He continues to be a must start due to the volume of work he receives. Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton are solid streaming candidates this week due to Minnesota’s weak secondary. Commanders top performer(s): Jahan Dotson and Brian Robinson Jr look like two solid young pieces for the Commanders offense. They each had strong performances in this one, and remain flex plays, but not this week against San Fran. I would play Terry McLaurin, but that’s about it.
Packers 24, Rams 12
Packers top performer(s): The Packers running backs stole the show as Aaron Jones had a receiving score and AJ Dillon rushed for 2 more. I would start Jones, Dillon, Rodgers and Watson this week versus the Dolphins in what could be the highest scoring game of the week. Rams top performer(s): The entire Rams offense struggled, which is consistent with their 2022 theme. Cam Akers had 65 yards rushing. As I’ve been saying for over a couple months now, FADE ALL RAMS.