If your league has not already started the playoffs, you almost surely will this week. With a number of prominent injuries around the league, there will be more than a couple of owners in full scramble mode for week 15. This article is going to focus on quarterbacks and DST plays for the next two weeks. If you lost Andy Dalton or Brian Hoyer, this is the place to find your new QB. Even if you have a stud QB, locking up a top streamer to block your opponent is a wise move if you have the roster space to pull it off.
On the defensive side, don’t let the old school thinkers talk you out of rostering a second DST unit. Using two roster spots allows you to play a week ahead and grab the top matchup plays. At this point of the season, unless you own an elite unit, you will likely get a lot more value out of your second defense then you will out of your sixth running back.
All of the players listed here are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues as of 12/14.
Week 15 Quarterback
Last week, I made 4 recommendations looking ahead. Tyrod Taylor still makes a great play, but he is owned in over 65% of leagues now. Andrew Luck does not look like he will return in time for week 15, Brian Hoyer is unlikely to play after sustaining another concussion and Brock Osweiler played like hot garbage. It is back to the drawing board for week 15!
Alex Smith – @BAL, owned in 43% of leagues: Although not very exciting, Smith is a great bet for 15-20 fantasy points. He has a nice matchup against the Ravens who just got torched by Russell Wilson and tend to play very tough against the run. Smith is the safe streamer.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – @DAL, owned in 45% of leagues: Fitzpatrick does not have a good matchup. He faces the Cowboys who are more vulnerable against the run than they are the pass. What Fitzpatrick does have is two dynamic receivers to throw the ball to and a running back who has really struggled lately. You could do worse than Fitzpatrick this week.
T.J. Yates – @IND, owned in 0% of leagues: This is why it is so important to lock up your streamer choices in advance. If not, you get stuck with guys like Yates. Both Yates and McCarron have favorable matchups this week. I am recommending Yates because he has a good matchup and had some success in his first start. The game plan will surely be on the conservative side, but all he needs is one short play to Hopkins to return a decent value.
Week 16 Quarterback
Jay Cutler – @TB, owned in 27.5% of leagues: Tampa Bay is very good against the run and suspect against the pass. Cutler has been very mediocre lately, but now that he is coming off a 315 yard, 2 TD performance against the Redskins, he will be back on the streamer radar.
Alex Smith – vs. CLE, owned in 45% of leagues: What is the world coming to? I am recommending Smith in back to back weeks. You know the drill here. Smith is best used if you need a safe play with limited upside. KC may dial up a ton of running plays in this one, so the hope is that Smith hits on a couple of play action passes for touchdowns.
Kirk Cousins – @PHI, owned in 22% of leagues: This one is not for the faint of heart. Cousins has been pretty bad on the road this season. Still, he has a plus matchup against a team that has been terrible defending the pass. This game may end up deciding the NFC East, so do you have the courage to use Cousins in this spot?
Week 15 Defense/Special Teams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – @STL, owned in 19.2%: Tampa Bay has been stout against the run all season long, and the Rams don’t have much offensive firepower behind Gurley. Tampa Bay is the top streamer pick in week 15.
Minnesota Vikings – vs. Chicago, owned in 47.7%: Despite missing a number of key starters against the high-powered Cardinals, they managed to hold Arizona to 23 points. In week 15, they will be heavily favored against the visiting Bears.
Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Denver Broncos, owned in 37.5% of leagues: Denver has not been able to run the ball consistently and Osweiler’s play has gotten worse by the game. The Steelers are normally pretty generous to opposing quarterbacks, but I am not sure that the Broncos will be able to take advantage.
Week 16 Defense/Special Teams
Pittsburgh Steelers – @BAL, owned in 37.5% of leagues: Divisional games are usually on the ugly side. In this one, the Steelers figure to be heavy favorites whether they face Schaub or Clausen. Schaub has thrown pick 6’s in six consecutive starts, so I am pulling for him.
Detroit Lions – vs. SF, owned in 25% of leagues: After a mildly disappointing performance against the Rams, the Lions will be very much in play during championship week. A home date against Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers is just what the doctor ordered.
Tennessee Titans – vs. HOU, owned in 21% of leagues: This one depends on who is under center for the Texans. If Hoyer makes it back, I would find somebody else. If Yates is playing, this makes for a sneaky pick. The Titans can generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks and are capable of posting strong DST totals.
Week 15 Tight End
Vernon Davis – @PIT, owned in 27% of leagues: This one is a bonus pick. Davis faces the Steelers in a game where Osweiler will have to throw the football. The Steelers coverage against the tight end are not very good against and Davis is coming off of a 7 catch, 74 yard game. Eifert and Olsen owners should grab VD just in case their stars can’t go. Delanie Walker owners might want to consider this one also. You know what New England does against the opponents’ primary weapon.
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