Saturday, December 19, 2020

Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Jared Goff is listed below as a "start" for Week 15. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 15 with him as my starting quarterback.

Then again, Goff may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you own both Patrick Mahomes and Goff, you should start Mahomes and, in turn, bench Goff.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Start'em

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (vs. NYJ)

His most recent six games highlight the type of up-and-down season that Goff has had. While he has finished as the QB7 (or better) twice, he has finished outside the top 20 quarterbacks in four other weeks. Over that six-game span, Goff has four 300-yard passing games including three with more than 350 yards, but he has zero or no passing touchdowns in five of six.

This week sets up to be one of his "up" weeks, however. Only the Atlanta Falcons have allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than the New York Jets.

In fact, the Jets have allowed six consecutive top-eight fantasy quarterbacks and an average of 27.65 fantasy points to the position over that stretch. During that eight-game span, the Jets have allowed 20 touchdowns -- 17 passing and three rushing.

As a 17-point favorite, the only real concern with Goff this week is that the Rams could take their off the gas early if this game turns into a laugher. Then again, the Tennessee Titans are the only team with a higher implied total than the Rams this week.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (vs. DET)

Cruising to a 31-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, Tannehill wasn't required to do much as Derrick Henry ran all over their AFC South divison rivals. Tannehill was efficient with his second-highest passer rating (131.2) of the season, but fantasy managers had expected more than 16.48 fantasy points (212 yards passing and two touchdowns).

Before last week's QB19 performance, Tannehill finished the week as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in three consecutive weeks. While Henry should feast (again), no team has a higher implied total (as noted above) and the Detroit Lions have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at ATL)

Only five quarterbacks have more QB1 finishes than Brady (seven) this season, but he's been inconsistent as his six other starts landed him outside the top 18 weekly quarterbacks. On a positive note, Brady has thrown the fourth-most touchdowns (30) in the NFL and his 6.0 TD% is a four-year high. He has thrown multiple touchdowns in four consecutive games .

Given that no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than the Atlanta Falcons, Brady is set up to have his eighth top-10 finish of the season.

Week 15 Fantasy Football QB Sit'em

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (at NYG)

Few, if any, quarterbacks have been playing as well as Mayfield over the last three weeks. During that span, only Aaron Rodgers has scored more fantasy points than Mayfield. Not only does Mayfield have back-to-back 300-yard games, but he has accounted for nine touchdowns -- eight passing and one rushing -- since Week 12. Over the past two weeks, Mayfield has scored nearly 60 fantasy points combined (59.48).

The Giants have been playing good defense and they have limited opposing quarterbacks to the fifth-fewest fantasy points this season. They haven't allowed multiple passing touchdowns or a top-12 weekly finish to a quarterback since Brady in Week 8 including Russell Wilson (QB21) and Kyler Murray (QB14) over the past two weeks, respectively.

Although the matchup has improved ...

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (vs. TB)

Given that Julio Jones (hamstring) will miss another week, it doesn't bode well for Ryan. Since Week 7, Ryan has only one week with 20-plus fantasy points (Week 9) and he's barely averaged over 15 per game over that stretch. Over the past four weeks, he has thrown for 232 yards or less in three games and he has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (four).

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (vs. CHI)

Cousins was playing extremely well heading into last week's mediocre performance against the Bucs. Before throwing for 225 yards and one touchdown in Week 14, Cousins threw 14 touchdowns to only two interceptions in his previous five games combined.

With a difficult matchup on tap in Week 15, it's likely that Cousins has another modest outing this week. The Chicago Bears have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Cam Newton, New England Patriots (at MIA)

Benched in last week's game against the Rams, Newton remains the team's starter in Week 15. Before the benching, however, Newton completed nine-of-16 for 119 yards, a three-game high, and he's reached the 175-yard passing mark in only three of 12 games this season.

Of course, Newton's fantasy success has mostly been derived by his 11 rushing touchdowns. The former league MVP has scored single-digit fantasy points in four of five games where he did not rush for a touchdown. The Miami Dolphins have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

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