Today we mourn the loss of a great DST matchup. For three glorious weeks, the Broncos thought it prudent to start Brandon Allen for some reason, leaving rookie Drew Lock on the bench. They finally came to their senses in Week 13, and two games in, Broncos fans are ready to declare him the second coming of Andrew Luck. That’s too hasty by a mile – it is just two games – but Lock has played well. Importantly for us, he hasn’t been close to the type of dumpster fire you would start any defense against. Vegas is bearish – the Broncos implied point total this week is just 17.5 against Kansas City. That would typically be low enough for me to rank KC as a startable defense, but I think that line is crazy. I don’t expect Lock and the Broncos to go beat the Chiefs, but they’ll put up points chasing Mahomes. With Ryan Fitzpatrick playing reasonably for the Dolphins and Andy Dalton starting again for the Bengals, and other backup-led offenses like the Steelers and Jaguars limiting turnovers well, the Detroit and Washington might be the only truly bottom-of-the-barrel offense left.
Week 15 Ranks
As has generally been the case since bye weeks ended, there are several good options this week. In fact, I have no underdogs ranked as starters. Ownership numbers are from Yahoo. Feel free to find me on Twitter with questions.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
- BAL vs NYJ: The Jets have come back to earth. After three excellent weeks, they scored just six points against the Bengals in Week 13. Managing 22 points in Week 14 sounds better, but it was at home against the worst defense in the league (by a decent margin), Miami. Now they face one of the best defenses, on the road in Baltimore.
- NE @ CIN: The New England defense hasn’t recently put up the kind of ridiculous numbers that they did to start the season, but that’s because they haven’t had a defensive touchdown in six weeks, and have faced some reasonably strong offenses, including Kansas City last week. Don’t let that fool you – they’re still the best defense in the league, and this week they get one of the best possible matchups – the Bengals.
- TB @ DET: Lions third-string QB David Blough was expectedly bad in his second start last week against Minnesota. With Matthew Stafford unlikely to play, and Jeff Driskel on Injured Reserve, they should Blough up again this week, unless Detroit decides to dig even deeper on their depth chart. Blough was sacked five times last week, and with Shaquil Barrett leading the charge for Tampa Bay, a similar number is realistic this week.
- PHI @ WAS: In five starts since Week 9, Dwayne Haskins has thrown just three touchdown passes, and been sacked 22 times – more than four per game. Waskington fans should hope this is part of some sort of master plan to develop Haskins into a real starter, because right now he’s Bill Callahan’s gift to opposing defenses. The Eagles aren’t amazing on defense, but they’re on the good side of average, which is certainly enough to take advantage of Washington.
- SEA @ CAR: The Panthers are one of a few teams to lose their season to a quarterback injury. Unlike the Steelers, though, they reacted by burning it to the ground. They blamed their excellent head coach, Ron Rivera, for the fact that Kyle Allen is Kyle Allen, and fired Rivera. The Panthers have lost five in a row, and they’ll lose a sixth against the playoff-bound Seahawks.
- PIT vs BUF: This game has the lowest total of the week at 37. In a bye week both teams might end up as starters, but the wealth of options this week means you don’t need to start an underdog. Josh Allen has done a good job of avoiding interceptions, but he’s hasn’t thrown many TDs either, and still gets sacked at decent rate. Consider this a high floor/low ceiling play, with a very low points projection, but limited turnover opportunity.
- CLE @ ARI: Kyler Murray continues to be an excellent target for opposing defenses. He threw a season-high three interceptions last week, and leads the league with 46 sacks taken. Murray’s play style and the Cardinals’ high pass rate have made him a good target all year.
- GB vs CHI: Mitchell Trubisky has actually played reasonably well since Week 10, but none of those games have been as serious a challenge as the Packers defense in Green Bay.
- SF vs ATL: The 49ers are done with the nightmare matchup in New Orleans, and will be usable for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs, facing Atlanta this week and the Rams next week, both at home.
- NO vs IND: New Orleans participated in an incredible shootout with San Francisco, but a Vegas implied point total of just 18.25 suggests that last week’s numbers were more about two of the best teams in football meeting, and less about a real weakness in the New Orleans defense.
Jacob Herlin is a Senior Data Analyst for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, follow him @jacoblawherlin.