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Quick Grades Week 15 (Fantasy Football Start or Sit Advice)

 
Welcome back, and thanks for joining me as we go through this week’s quick grades!

For most of you reading this, it’s the fantasy semi-finals, and I’d have to assume that if you’re reading, you’ve still got a fantasy championship within reach. Well done! Making it to this point in the season has been a challenge, as we’ve dealt with injuries, schedule changes, and limitations all year long. If your team is still vying for a title, I give you a round of applause!

It’s do-or-die time, win or go home, time to leave it all on the table, and other notable clichés. I’m going to forego the introduction this week and get right to the meat of the article – the grades!

Once the season begins, the most difficult part of any fantasy manager’s week is start or sit decisions. These lineup choices can make or break a week, but unfortunately, not everyone has time to sit down and read lengthy fantasy advice articles. That’s where Quick Grades comes in. Each week of the football season, I’ll be providing a condensed and easily digestible chart of grades for over 250 fantasy-relevant players based on the following four criteria:

Fantasy Ability
Despite a tough matchup, Derrick Henry broke through on a long run last week

Expected Volume
Travis Kelce is always heavily targeted as one of Kansas City’s top pass-catching options

Matchup
Tyreek Hill got loose for 200 yards against Cincinnati’s porous secondary

Surrounding Talent
Sam Darnold has one of the weakest receiving corps in the league

Each of those criteria will be graded on a scale of 1-25, with the cumulative total resulting in a final grade (A+ to F) and a recommendation based on that grade. The criteria are weighted differently based on position, so it’s not a direct 1-for-1 conversion. Surrounding talent refers to offensive line for RB, quarterback play for WR and TE, and skill-position talent for QB.

The players are sorted by grade in descending order with the highest grades at the top and the lowest at the bottom. The highest-graded players receive A+ (Must start), and the lowest receive F. However, there are varying degrees of the F grade, and some players with this grade are flex plays, desperation plays, Hail Mary plays, or should remain on your bench, depending on the grade and position.

I’ll also include DST grades, and just like the skill-position players, there will be four criteria used for grading on a scale from 1-25, and final grades will be from 1-100. The four criteria for a DST grade are: Matchup, Turnovers, Sacks, and Points Allowed.

The link to the original Quick Grades Google Document can still be found below. In addition to the player grades, I’ll provide:

  • Start of the Week: A player outside of the elite, weekly must-starts who could have a big week
  • Stream of the Week: The best player who will likely be available on your waiver wire
  • Deep-League Stream of the Week: The best player who is less than 5% rostered in Yahoo leagues
  • Fade of the Week: A notable player who could be in for a let-down performance

Link to Full Quick Grades Document

It’s easy to see that an ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grade makes a player a must-start, but it might not make sense at first glance why some players are rated ‘C’ or worse and still have ‘Start,’ ‘Strong Start,’ or ‘Flex’ attached to their names. Because of all the different variables that go into a player’s performance in any given week, only those players with the absolute highest potential, best matchup, and strongest talent get ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grades. Therefore, even solid plays will earn grades that may appear sub-optimal on the surface, but it’s all relative from position-to-position. The hard cutoff is 50 for every position, as grades lower than this will earn a ‘Desperation’ or ‘Hail Mary’ tag in every situation.

Now that I’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the grades. Best of luck in all your matchups this week, and if you have any questions, please hit me up on Twitter @ZaktheMonster.

Note: As always, remember to check back on FantasyPros ahead of kickoff to get the latest injury news. I’ll provide “what-if” grades in the event that an injured player doesn’t suit up, but otherwise, these grades assume full health at the time the article is published on Friday morning. 

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Running Backs

Facing the league’s worst run defense, Derrick Henry is easily the highest-rated back of the week, coming in with a perfect ‘100.’ The rest of the top-10 feature guys who have come on strong as of late, including Jonathan Taylor, David Montgomery, and Cam Akers. Dalvin Cook gets a slighly-lower grade than usual because of his matchup, while Mike Davis will be Carolina’s numero uno in a smash spot.

Start of the Week: Jeff Wilson Jr.

Stream of the Week: Gus Edwards

Deep-League Stream of the Week: LeSean McCoy 3% rostered

Fade of the Week: Todd Gurley II

Wide Receivers

In our WR grades this week, the usual trio of Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and DeAndre Hopkins sit atop the chart, but there are some newcomers to the top-10. In an excellent matchup with Seattle’s secondary, Terry McLaurin could be a top-10 option, and Brandon Aiyuk is on a hot streak that he’ll look to keep going in Week 15 against Dallas’ lackluster secondary.

Start of the Week: Corey Davis

Stream of the Week: Tim Patrick

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Willie Snead IV 4% rostered

Fade of the Week: D.J. Chark Jr.

Quarterbacks 

After some late-game heroics and a mid-game locker room trip that has discussed ad nauseum, Lamar Jackson is set up nicely against Jacksonville’s barely-there defense, earning him our highest grade at the position for Week 15. The usual cast of characters come in behind him, while Tom Brady makes an appearance near the top, thanks to a fantastic matchup with division rival Atlanta.

There is no recommended deep-league stream of the week here, as the quarterbacks who are less than 5% rostered do not have grades higher than ‘F Desperation.’

Start & Stream of the Week: Jalen Hurts

Fade of the Week: Baker Mayfield

Tight Ends

Travis Kelce won’t be any less than our highest-graded TE every week, but after him, a surprising name emerges as our second-highest graded option. Evan Engram gets the best possible matchup for TEs in Week 15, and he trails only Kelce for top honors here. “Big Bob” Tonyan, T.J. Hockenson, and Rob Gronkowski round out the top-5 in a not-so-shocking turn of events.

There is no recommended deep-league stream of the week here, as the tight ends who are less than 5% rostered do not have grades higher than ‘F Desperation.’

Start & Stream of the Week: Irv Smith Jr.

Fade of the Week: Dalton Schultz

DST

This week, there are two options clearly in their own tier. The Steelers lead the league in takeaways, sacks, and points allowed, and the matchup with Brandon Allen and Cincy’s banged-up offensive line is tantalizing. Pittsburgh DST gets a perfect grade, while the Rams come in just a hair behind, while facing a Jets team well on its way to an 0-16 finish.

Start & Stream of the Week: Minnesota Vikings 

Fade of the Week: Washington Football Team

Player Search, Find

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Quarterback

Tight End

DST

  • Pittsburgh Steelers A+ Must Start
  • Los Angeles Rams A+ Must Start
  • Buffalo Bills B+ Must Start
  • Cleveland Browns B+ Must Start
  • San Francisco 49ers C+ Strong Start
  • Baltimore Ravens C+ Strong Start
  • Miami Dolphins C+ Strong Start
  • Indianapolis Colts C Strong Start
  • Chicago Bears C Strong Start
  • Minnesota Vikings D Start
  • Seattle Seahawks D Start
  • Tennessee Titans D Start
  • Arizona Cardinals D Start
  • Dallas Cowboys D Start
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers F Desperation
  • New York Giants F Desperation
  • New England Patriots F Desperation
  • Washington Football Team F Desperation
  • New Orleans Saints F Desperation
  • Green Bay Packers F Desperation
  • Philadelphia Eagles F Desperation
  • Kansas City Chiefs F Desperation
  • Denver Broncos F Bench
  • Jacksonville Jaguars F Bench
  • New York Jets F Bench
  • Atlanta Falcons F Bench
  • Houston Texans F Bench
  • Carolina Panthers F Bench
  • Cincinnati Bengals F Bench
  • Detroit Lions F Bench

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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