Fantasy Football Studs & Duds: Week 15 (2019)
The 15th NFL Sunday is in the books, so let’s take a moment to reflect on the good (Miles Sanders), bad (Julian Edelman), and ugly (Emmanuel Sanders) from a fantasy football point of view. Take note that fantasy scores are listed in terms of half PPR scoring, and you can see the complete player results over at the nifty FantasyPros sortable results page.
Kenyan Drake (RB – ARI): 39.1 FP
It’s crazy how different things can get compared to fantasy draft day. Cardinals’ RB David Johnson was a de-facto “safe” first-round fantasy selection back then, but he has been phased to make room for Kenyan Drake, who was traded from Miami in the middle of the season. Drake was brilliant in Week 15, picking up 137 rushing yards and four (!) touchdowns against the Browns. He’ll continue to be an RB1 play vs. the Seahawks next week.
Lamar Jackson (QB – BAL): 37.1 FP
What’s new here? Jackson is favored in the MVP race, and he already has the award in the minds of several fantasy enthusiasts. Jackson was questionable (quad injury) heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Jets, but he looked just fine with 212 passing yards, 86 rushing yards, and five touchdowns through the air. The Browns are up next, which is the same team that let Drake run all over them.
Julio Jones (WR – ATL): 31.9 FP
Finally! Jones came through in a huge way for fantasy backers, as he saw 20 targets (!) with 13 receptions, 134 yards, and two touchdowns against a tough 49ers’ defense. Julio saw an insane boost in targets with Calvin Ridley sidelined, and that could continue against the Jaguars next week.
Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL): 29.5 FP
The Cowboys ran their way to a much-needed bounce-back victory over the Rams. Elliott led the way with 160 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. His next matchup, at Philadelphia, looks tough on paper, but “Zeke” is essentially matchup-proof while seeing 20-25 touches on any given week.
Out of Nowhere
Miles Sanders (RB – PHI): 32.2 FP
It’s not exactly surprising that Sanders had a good game, as he was playing a defeated Washington defense. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to be one of the best fantasy running backs of the week while piling up 170 total yards and two touchdowns. Sanders will keep benefitting from an established workload if Jordan Howard misses more time.
Breshad Perriman (WR – TB): 32.1 FP
Perriman has been somewhat of a bust since getting drafted in 2015. Scouts loved his size/speed combination, but that hasn’t really translated to much success in the NFL. Well, not until Sunday. Perriman had a career game with five catches, 113 yards, and three touchdowns in Detroit. Mike Evans was out, while Chris Godwin and Scott Miller both left early. That put Perriman in a heightened role to showcase his raw talent.
Anthony Miller (WR – CHI): 22.3 FP
Miller caught nine passes for 118 yards and touchdown Sunday against the Packers. Chicago was trailing for most of the game, deploying a pass-heavy approach that ended up padding Miller’s stat-line. However, this is more than an outlier, as Miller has caught nine passes for 100+ yards in two of his last three now. The Bears will likely need to keep throwing in order to stay competitive vs. Kansas City next Sunday night.
Tony Pollard (RB – DAL): 21.3 FP
This is how good the Cowboys’ rushing attack was on Sunday, as Elliott and Pollard both topped 20 fantasy points. Credit the offensive line for dominating up front, as Pollard ripped off 131 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Pollard’s fantasy value remains murky moving forward, as he would only become reliable if Elliott succumbs to an injury.
Melvin Gordon (RB – LAC): 2.4 FP
Nothing went the Chargers’ way in a 39-10 loss vs. Minnesota. Gordon fumbled twice, LAC fell behind, and he didn’t get too many opportunities after that. That explains the low fantasy output, as losing two fumbles is an absolutely brutal hit from a real-life and fantasy perspective. Gordon’s fantasy viability was trending upward before this disappointment, so there’s a good chance he’ll get back on track against the Raiders next week.
Julian Edelman (WR – NE): 0.9 FP
The Patriots didn’t really need Edelman in a 34-13 victory over the Bengals. New England QB Tom Brady only had 15 completions in the game, and RB James White led the team with three receptions for 49 yards and a score. The Patriots built a healthy lead and then got away from the passing game, leaving Edelman with only two catches for nine yards. He should be more involved against the Bills next week.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – SF): 0.9 FP
Sanders was on the “stud” list last week, but he was pretty much non-existent in the 49ers’ 29-22 loss against the Falcons. He caught two of four targets for only nine yards, which is confusing when taking into account a well-aligned draw with Atlanta. Sanders and his teammates will look for redemption against the Rams next week.
Amari Cooper (WR – DAL): 1.9 FP
The Cowboys didn’t need Cooper in their blowout victory, as the rushing attack did all of the heavy lifting. The Cowboys’ WR finished with only one catch for 19 yards, which was a product of game flow. Dallas will need their star receiver to contribute much more next week against a Philadelphia team that is tougher on the run than the pass.