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Target Analysis: Week 15 (2020 Fantasy Football)

Dec 23, 2020

Brandon Aiyuk was able to manage double-digit targets for yet another game.

We’ve seen it time and time again. Volume is the clearest indicator of fantasy success, as it’s rare for a player to be a fantasy football stud without the opportunity to convert touches into points. Pass-catching opportunities, especially in PPR leagues, are often a bigger determinant of fantasy success than a player’s talent or circumstances.

So, every week of this fantasy season, I will diagnose the target landscape in the NFL. Who’s seeing the highest share on a team? Who’s trending downward? And most importantly, what takeaways can we draw from this data to ultimately help you make better fantasy lineup and roster decisions?

Here is your Week 15 Target Analysis.

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Arizona Cardinals

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
DeAndre Hopkins 11 35 11.67 138 9.86
Chase Edmonds 5 16 5.33 63 4.50
Dan Arnold 5 12 4.00 37 2.64 ⬆️
Christian Kirk 4 11 3.67 69 5.31
Larry Fitzgerald 4 7 2.33 64 4.57 ⬆️
KeeSean Johnson 3 9 3.00 18 1.29 ⬆️

 
Vintage Kyler Murray showed up just in the nick of time for the Arizona Cardinals, as his team needed to capitalize on the recent losses of the Vikings and 49ers in order to sure up a playoff spot. Murray finally looked more mobile than he had in the past few weeks, but he did most of his damage with his arm, as the sophomore quarterback completed 27 of his 36 attempts for 406 yards and a touchdown. Despite his tremendous performance, only one Cardinals pass-catcher caught more than three passes or accumulated more than 55 receiving yards. Guess who that was?

DeAndre Hopkins put up a long-awaited “boom” performance, catching nine of his 11 targets for 169 yards and a touchdown. The key difference for Hopkins in this game was that he was finally getting targeted down the field, as he had done most of his work near the line of scrimmage while Murray rehabbed from his shoulder injury. With Murray looking like his old self once again, Hopkins may be the overall WR1 next week against a 49ers defense that was obliterated by the Cowboys.


Atlanta Falcons

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Calvin Ridley 14 36 12.00 122 9.38 ⬆️
Russell Gage 10 25 8.33 94 6.71 ⬆️
Hayden Hurst 5 12 4.00 76 5.43 ⬆️
Brandon Powell 4 6 2.00 16 1.14 ⬆️
Keith Smith 3 5 1.67 13 0.93 ⬆️
Ito Smith 3 6 2.00 21 1.50 ⬆️

 
Matt Ryan had likely his best game of the season, and the Falcons still managed to blow a 17-point lead. The veteran quarterback completed 34 of his 49 attempts for 356 yards and three touchdowns, doing so without his All-Star wideout Julio Jones in the lineup. Calvin Ridley was once again the main beneficiary, catching 10 of his 14 targets for 163 yards and a touchdown; Russell Gage put together another viable fantasy performance, as he logged five receptions for 68 yards and a score.

Jones and Ridley are auto-starts so long as they are healthy, while Gage becomes a relevant FLEX option should Jones miss the next game. Tight end Hayden Hurst managed to get in the end zone, but he is not a viable tight end streamer; this was his first performance in weeks in which he scored more than 10 PPR points.


Baltimore Ravens

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Marquise Brown 7 21 7.00 87 6.21 ⬆️
Mark Andrews 5 11 3.67 71 5.92 ⬇️
Patrick Ricard 3 5 1.67 12 0.86 ⬆️
Dez Bryant 3 3 1.00 10 5.00 ⬆️
Miles Boykin 2 6 2.00 29 2.07 ⬆️
Gus Edwards 2 3 1.00 11 0.79 ⬆️

 
Through the first 11 weeks of the season, sophomore wide receiver Marquise Brown only logged two games with double-digit PPR performances; in the last four weeks, he’s done it four times. However, let’s not let the outcome take away from the process; nearly 30 percent of his fantasy points have come due to touchdowns. He’s a deep play threat who has finally been connecting with his quarterback on vertical plays, but he’s still extremely volatile and just as likely to bust in any given week. In my opinion, Brown still belongs on your waiver wire.

Mark Andrews, on the other hand, has finally gotten back into a rhythm. The Ravens’ tight end caught all five of his targets for 66 yards and a score. He may not be a top-five tight end like we had all hoped he would be entering the season, but he is still a top-12 tight end.


Buffalo Bills

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Stefon Diggs 13 38 12.67 149 10.64 ⬇️
Cole Beasley 10 31 10.33 102 7.29
Gabe Davis 5 17 5.67 52 3.71 ⬇️
Dawson Knox 4 15 5.00 31 3.10 ⬇️
Devin Singletary 3 8 2.67 49 3.50 ⬆️
Isaiah McKenzie 1 4 1.33 21 1.50

 
For the first time since 1995, the Buffalo Bills have won the AFC East. This was due in major part to Josh Allen’s MVP season and Stefon Diggs’ career year. Allen torched a decimated Denver secondary, completing 28 of 40 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns, with his No. 1 wideout Stefon Diggs caught 11 of his 13 targets for 147 yards. Cole Beasley also surpassed 100 receiving yards, as he logged eight receptions for 112 yards. Even though a matchup against Bill Belichick’s defense is on tap for Week 16, I would not be concerned at all regarding the ceilings of these Buffalo wideouts.

Diggs did leave the game late due to a foot injury, the Bills have said that this was minor and should not affect his availability heading into Monday Night. If he is active, you need to start him. The same goes for Beasley, as the former Cowboy has had a career season in Buffalo and will continue to be utilized over the middle of the field. Start your Bills wideouts with confidence in Week 16.


Carolina Panthers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Curtis Samuel 9 18 6.00 81 6.23
D.J. Moore 8 8 2.67 97 7.46 ⬆️
Robby Anderson 5 17 5.67 121 8.64 ⬇️
Ian Thomas 4 8 2.67 28 2.00
Rodney Smith 4 6 2.00 8 0.57 ⬆️
Mike Davis 2 8 2.67 70 5.00 ⬇️

 
Where has this D.J. Moore been all season long? After consistently operating as the No.2, if not No. 3, receiving option in Carolina for the entire season, Moore had a spectacular game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday Night. He caught six of his eight targets for 131 yards, while assumed No. 1 option Robby Anderson managed to log just two receptions for 21 yards off of five targets. Curtis Samuel saw a great deal of volume, with nine targets heading his way, but he converted his opportunity into just four catches for 42 yards.

Honestly, I can’t recommend starting any Panthers wideout in Week 16. I am not saying that at least one won’t have a fantasy-relevant game, but how could even predict which one it will be? Anderson had been the clear fantasy start all season, but he has done very little over the past few weeks. The last thing I would want is to have my Championship hopes riding on the back of a Panthers wide receiver.


Chicago Bears

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Allen Robinson 5 25 8.33 133 9.50 ⬇️
Darnell Mooney 5 13 4.33 78 5.57 ⬆️
Jimmy Graham 3 8 2.67 69 4.93 ⬇️
Cole Kmet 2 16 5.33 29 2.07 ⬇️
David Montgomery 2 10 3.33 57 4.38 ⬇️
Anthony Miller 1 8 2.67 71 5.07 ⬇️

 
This week was a David Montgomery week. The sophomore running back was the focal point of the Bears offense this past Sunday, as he ran the ball 32 times for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Nonetheless, Allen Robinson continues to give you a solid fantasy floor. The soon-to-be free agent caught four of his five targets for 83 yards, making this his 14th such performance with at least ten PPR points this year.

Darnell Mooney was the only other Chicago wideout to score more than five PPR points, as he ended his day with four catches for 49 yards and a score. With a game against the one-win Jaguars on tap for Week 16, I would expect a run-dominated game-script and minimal passing volume for Mitch Trubisky. As usual, Robinson is the only Bears pass-catcher you can start.


Cincinnati Bengals

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Tee Higgins 6 21 7.00 97 6.93 ⬇️
A.J. Green 3 11 3.67 91 6.50 ⬇️
Tyler Boyd 1 14 4.67 107 7.64 ⬇️
Drew Sample 1 12 4.00 49 3.50 ⬇️
Gio Bernard 1 6 2.00 50 3.57 ⬇️
Alex Erickson 1 4 1.33 7 0.50

 
Even though the Cincinnati Bengals were able to pull off the second-biggest upset of the week, they didn’t do so through the air. Ryan Finley only attempted 13 passes on Monday Night, of which he completed seven of them for 89 yards. The Bengals somehow dominated on the ground for the entire game, with Gio Bernard and Ryan Finley combining for 35 carries and 130 rushing yards. That meant nothing was coming towards the likes of Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, or A.J. Green.

Higgins was the highest-scoring receiver for Cincinnati with a whopping 6.1 PPR points. Boyd missed most of the game with an injury, while Green managed just two catches for 40 yards. There is no reason to start any Bengals pass-catcher headed into Week 16, but if you must, Higgins will be the best of the bunch. Seriously, though, avoid this passing offense at all costs.


Cleveland Browns

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Jarvis Landry 8 27 9.00 94 6.71 ⬇️
Austin Hooper 6 8 2.67 50 4.55 ⬆️
Rashard Higgins 5 24 8.00 50 3.57 ⬇️
Kareem Hunt 3 13 4.33 45 3.21 ⬇️
Donovan Peoples-Jones
3 11 3.67 17 1.21 ⬇️
Harrison Bryant 2 8 2.67 31 2.21 ⬇️

 
The Browns were able to do pretty much whatever they wanted in their Sunday Night matchup against the Giants. Baker Mayfield was on fire, completing 27 of his 32 attempts for 297 yards and two touchdowns against a New York defense that had been stout for most of the season. Jarvis Landry saw eight targets in this game and came away with seven receptions for 61 yards and a score. Austin Hooper put up 16.1 PPR points in his return to the lineup, catching five of his six targets for 41 yards and a touchdown.

The Browns play the one-win Jets next week, so I imagine there will be multiple fantasy-relevant players on Cleveland’s side of the ball. While the Browns could easily handle the Jets by simply giving the ball to Nick Chubb 40 consecutive times, I think Mayfield will want to pad his numbers and come out throwing. Landry is a clear-cut start in Week 16, while Rashard Higgins is a high floor FLEX option.


Dallas Cowboys

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Tony Pollard 9 12 4.00 33 2.36 ⬆️
CeeDee Lamb 7 18 6.00 97 6.93 ⬆️
Noah Brown 6 10 3.33 23 1.64 ⬆️
Michael Gallup 5 22 7.33 90 6.43 ⬇️
Amari Cooper 3 17 5.67 115 8.21 ⬇️
Dalton Schultz 2 9 3.00 75 5.36 ⬇️

 
If you started Amari Cooper this week, thinking that he would give you a solid floor like had all season, you had to be immensely disappointed. In a game in which the Cowboys scored 41 points against the 49ers, the $100 million wideout logged just two receptions for 10 yards. Meanwhile, CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, and Michael Gallup all scored at least ten PPR points and saw at least five targets. It was a disappointing outing for the only reliable receiving option in Dallas.

I wouldn’t let this poor performance from Cooper prevent you from starting him in Week 16. Cooper is still incredibly consistent and will likely bounce-back in Week 16. Lamb is the only other option I would consider, but he’s still a risky start given the volatility of the Dallas passing offense.


Denver Broncos

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Noah Fant 11 18 6.00 78 6.50 ⬆️
Jerry Jeudy 5 13 4.33 91 6.50 ⬆️
Tim Patrick 4 13 4.33 71 5.07 ⬇️
KJ Hamler 4 12 4.00 56 4.31 ⬆️
Melvin Gordon 4 9 3.00 38 2.92 ⬆️
Phillip Lindsay 3 6 2.00 14 1.40 ⬆️

 
It wasn’t a pretty afternoon for Drew Lock, but at least he was able to resurrect Noah Fant from the depths of fantasy irrelevance. Fant had one of his best, if not his best, performance of the season; the second-year tight end caught eight of his eleven targets for 68 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo. He was the only pass-catcher to log more than 20 receiving yards or get into the end zone. If you had held on to Fant despite his poor play, you were rewarded in Week 15.

Fant is the only Broncos pass-catcher I would feel comfortable starting next week. Tim Patrick had been extremely consistent prior to last Saturday, but that was where his entire value had lied. If Patrick doesn’t have a safe floor, then it is too risky to start him. Also, it looks like we will have to wait until next year for Jerry Jeudy to break out, as the first-round pick has underwhelmed compared to his fellow 2020 draft classmates.


Detroit Lions

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Marvin Jones 12 32 10.67 101 7.21 ⬆️
D’Andre Swift 5 10 3.33 49 4.45
Mohammad Sanu 5 9 3.00 13 3.25 ⬆️
T.J. Hockenson 4 24 8.00 92 6.57 ⬇️
Danny Amendola 4 16 5.33 60 5.00 ⬇️
Quintez Cephus 3 9 3.00 30 2.14 ⬆️

 
Matt Stafford’s bones must be made of adamantium. The fact that he has been able to play through all of his mounting injuries is a testament to his toughness, especially given he performed quite well. The Lions long-time quarterback completed 22 of his 32 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. He hit his favorite receiver, Marvin Jones, ten times for 112 yards and a touchdown. However, his young tight end was barely involved, as T.J. Hockenson only managed to catch two balls for 18 yards.

Jones has proven to be a reliable WR2 with WR1 upside. I was concerned that his upside would be short-lived with Kenny Golladay’s return being imminent, but it appears Golladay won’t be back for the Lions this season (or next season for that matter). Jones and Hockenson will be viable starts in Week 16, especially as a shoot-out with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers is likely.


Green Bay Packers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Davante Adams 10 32 10.67 128 10.67
Allen Lazard 6 13 4.33 40 5.00 ⬆️
Aaron Jones 4 10 3.33 55 4.58 ⬆️
Robert Tonyan 3 13 4.33 55 3.93 ⬇️
Jamaal Williams 2 4 1.33 35 2.50 ⬆️
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 1 9 3.00 60 4.29 ⬇️

 
Allen Lazard had more receptions, receiving yards, and fantasy points than Davante Adams. That was certainly something I did not see coming, as Adams has had the highest floor of all fantasy wideouts this season. Yet, he caught just seven of his 10 targets for 42 yards. You will obviously start him next week against Tennessee, but this was a disappointing outing if you were playing the Aaron Rodgers – Davante Adams stack.

Despite Lazard catching five balls for 56 yards, I don’t trust the Packers’ No. 2 wideout enough to consider him a worthwhile start. He and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have been used interchangeably for most of the season, so it will be nearly impossible to determine which one (if either) will have a fantasy viable performance. Every wideout aside from Adams is a clear sit heading into Championship Week.


Houston Texans

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
David Johnson 11 13 4.33 38 3.80 ⬆️
Keke Coutee 7 19 6.33 28 2.00 ⬆️
Brandin Cooks 7 15 5.00 93 7.15 ⬆️
Jordan Akins 6 15 5.00 43 3.07
Chad Hansen 3 17 5.67 17 5.67 ⬇️
Kahale Warring 2 3 1.00 4 1.00 ⬆️

 
David Johnson made his return to the starting lineup, and apparently, he felt like being a wide receiver on Sunday. Johnson only ran the ball eight times for 27 yards, but he caught all eleven of his targets for 106 yards against Indianapolis. Johnson’s targets, receptions, and receiving yards were all season-highs. I find it highly doubtful he replicates this performance next week, but you were probably starting him nonetheless given the state of the fantasy running back position.

Brandin Cooks and Keke Coutee each had solid fantasy days, with the former logging six receptions for 59 yards while the latter caught five balls for 53 yards and a touchdown. Coutee could’ve had an even better day, as he fumbled away what would be a game-tying touchdown reception in the closing seconds. Both receivers are viable starts for Week 16.


Indianapolis Colts

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
T.Y. Hilton 6 24 8.00 79 6.08 ⬇️
Zach Pascal 6 9 3.00 61 4.36 ⬆️
Jonathan Taylor 5 10 3.33 38 2.92 ⬆️
Michael Pittman 3 13 4.33 53 4.82 ⬇️
Nyheim Hines 3 10 3.33 65 4.64 ⬇️
Jack Doyle 2 6 2.00 24 2.00 ⬇️

 
T.Y. Hilton seemed like a near-lock to have a 20-point day against the Houston Texans, who he has dominated throughout his career. In his past three games, Hilton scored at least 18-PPR points and managed at least one touchdown. However, in Week 15, the touchdowns went to another wideout, as Zach Pascal scored two times off of five receptions. Even though he didn’t go nuclear, Hilton still gave you a solid floor with 11.1 PPR points.

Pittsburgh should be a really tough matchup for Indianapolis, so Hilton is by no means an auto-start. If you have an option with a relatively safe floor,  I would look to pivot, as Hilton will be highly volatile in Week 16. Also, even though Hines wasn’t used much against Houston, I feel he could be relied upon heavily as the Steelers pass-rush will pressure Philip Rivers often. Hines will be a low-RB2 next week.


Jacksonville Jaguars

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Laviska Shenault 6 20 6.67 63 5.25 ⬇️
D.J. Chark 5 21 7.00 87 7.25 ⬇️
Tyler Eifert 4 12 4.00 53 4.08 ⬆️
James Robinson 3 13 4.33 60 4.29 ⬇️
Chris Conley 3 5 1.67 51 3.64 ⬆️
Keelan Cole 2 16 5.33 75 5.36 ⬇️

 
How can a team that got blown-out 40-14 actually be among the biggest winners of the week? Well, the Jacksonville Jaguars have jumped the New York Jets in draft position after New York upset the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon. With two games against the 7-7 Chicago Bears and 10-4 Indianapolis Colts left on the schedule, the Jaguars are likely to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence this offseason. That, in itself, makes Jacksonville winners.

For fantasy purposes, you can’t trust any Jacksonville receiver. The Bears are one of the best teams against fantasy wideouts, and their offense will dominate time of possession. All Jaguars wideouts should be on your waiver, including D.J. Chark. However, for dynasty purposes, now is the time to buy.


Kansas City Chiefs

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Travis Kelce 12 35 11.67 132 9.43 ⬆️
Tyreek Hill 10 27 9.00 128 9.14 ⬆️
Mecole Hardman 9 15 5.00 54 3.86 ⬆️
Sammy Watkins 6 15 5.00 51 5.67 ⬆️
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 3 9 3.00 55 3.93 ⬇️
Demarcus Robinson 3 6 2.00 50 3.57 ⬆️

 
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill have been a cheat code all season. Leading up to Week 14, both Kelce and Hill were among the top-12 highest scorers in fantasy. That includes quarterbacks, who make up seven of the top-twelve players. Both players ended up in the end zone, logged at least six receptions, and managed 50 or more receiving yards. With the depleted Falcons secondary on the slate for next week, I wouldn’t be shocked if both Hill and Kelce finished as the No. 1 option at their respective positions Week 16.

Sammy Watkins managed to catch four of his six targets for 60 yards, while Mecole Hardman caught three of his nine targets for 22 yards and a touchdown. Either one of them could have a usable fantasy game next week, but it’s a shot in the dark as to which one that will be. If you need a Hail Mary at the wide receiver position, neither play is a bad option to put in your WR3 slot.


Las Vegas Raiders

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Darren Waller 12 39 13.00 130 9.29 ⬆️
Nelson Agholor 8 28 9.33 72 5.14 ⬇️
Josh Jacobs 3 8 2.67 42 3.23 ⬇️
Hunter Renfrow 2 15 5.00 64 4.57 ⬇️
Zay Jones 2 3 1.00 17 1.21 ⬆️
Jalen Richard 1 7 2.33 22 1.57 ⬇️

 
After Derek Carr left last Thursday’s game with a groin injury, I wondered how Marcus Mariota would distribute his attempts among the Las Vegas pass-catchers. Historically, he has always favored the tight end, as his former teammate Delanie Walker had some of his best years with Mariota. Well, that favoritism towards the position continued in Las Vegas, as Darren Waller once again was heavily relied upon.

Waller saw 12 targets in Week 15 and caught nine passes for 150 yards and a touchdown. Given his ADP differential compared to Travis Kelce and his comparable production, Waller may be the player on most people’s fantasy rosters. Nelson Agholor had a disappointing outing, catching just four of his eight targets for 49 yards; he should be benched next week as he faces a stout Miami secondary.


Los Angeles Chargers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Jalen Guyton 6 14 4.67 44 3.14 ⬆️
Tyron Johnson 5 13 4.33 21 1.50 ⬇️
Austin Ekeler 4 22 7.33 55 6.88 ⬇️
Keenan Allen 3 25 8.33 147 10.50 ⬇️
K.J. Hill 3 5 1.67 11 0.79 ⬆️
Mike Williams 2 11 3.67 68 5.23 ⬆️

 
Justin Herbert played with a hobbled Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and only threw one pass in the fourth quarter. Yet, he still threw for over 300 yards and two passing touchdowns. As Allen and Williams were on the field sparingly, we saw Jalen Guyton, Hunter Henry, and Tyron Johnson take advantage of the depleted Las Vegas defense. Guyton led the team in receiving yards with 91 yards on four receptions, while Hunter Henry was the highest fantasy scorer with five catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.

I fully expect Keenan Allen back to full strength with 10 days’ rest under his belt; even if you were able to survive your Divisional matchup with him in your lineup, you can’t let recency bias cloud your judgment. Allen has been an auto-start all season, and that remains the case for next week. I wouldn’t put Williams or any other receivers in your lineup, however; they are too volatile to consider worthwhile plays.


Los Angeles Rams

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Robert Woods 8 27 9.00 114 8.14
Cooper Kupp 5 19 6.33 116 8.29
Tyler Higbee 5 13 4.33 50 3.85 ⬆️
Gerald Everett 4 14 4.67 51 3.64 ⬆️
Cam Akers 3 7 2.33 10 0.83
Josh Reynolds 2 5 1.67 65 4.64

 
Last week, I thought the Rams may underwhelm for fantasy because New England had a dominant defense; they were underwhelming, but mostly because they had the game in hand very early on. The opposite occurred in Week 15; the overwhelming favorite Los Angeles Rams were stymied by the New York Jets early on, forcing Jared Goff to play catch-up. Tyler Higbee and Robert Woods each finished with solid stat-lines, but that was in part to their ability to land in the end zone.

Sean McVay is probably seething from the way his offense played against the 1-13 Jets, so I have no doubt he will pull out all of the stops against Seattle next week. I expect a huge bounce-back game from Jared Goff and the rest of the offense, so  I would start Woods, Kupp, Higbee, and Henderson with confidence.


Miami Dolphins

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Lynn Bowden Jr. 7 20 6.67 22 1.83 ⬇️
Durham Smythe 5 10 3.33 25 1.79 ⬆️
Mack Hollins 3 13 4.33 20 1.43 ⬇️
Salvon Ahmed 3 3 1.00 10 2.50 ⬆️
Isaiah Ford 3 3 1.00 32 2.29 ⬆️
Adam Shaheen 2 6 2.00 18 1.29 ⬇️

 
The Miami Dolphins were extremely short-handed in their matchup against New England, as DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Jakeem Grant were all out due to injury. Backup tight end Durham Smythe was the leading receiver on the day, while former running back turned wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. led the team in receptions with six catches. Still, no Dolphins pass-catcher scored double-digit fantasy points.

There isn’t much to take away from this target distribution. Miami ran the ball 42 times and only passed 26 times; they don’t have a passing offense this year that is conducive to fantasy production. If Gesicki can return next week, you should feel comfortable starting him; however, he’s the only Dolphin I would put in my lineup.


Minnesota Vikings

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Justin Jefferson 11 31 10.33 103 7.36 ⬆️
Dalvin Cook 5 18 6.00 52 4.00 ⬆️
Tyler Conklin 4 10 3.33 14 1.00 ⬇️
Irv Smith Jr 4 8 2.67 31 2.82
Adam Thielen 3 18 6.00 94 7.23 ⬇️
Chad Beebe 2 8 2.67 26 1.86 ⬇️

 
Justin Jefferson will likely lose out on “Rookie-of-the-Year” honors to Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, but he sure deserves heavy consideration. Jefferson has been nothing short of amazing this year, surpassing 1,000 receiving yards on the season and dominating on a run-first offense. He was spectacular yet again this past week, as he caught eight of his eleven targets for 104 yards against Chicago. Meanwhile, his veteran counterpart Adam Thielen saved his fantasy day with a touchdown; he only caught two of his three targets for 18 yards.

Even though they have a difficult matchup with New Orleans this Friday, Jefferson and Thielen should still remain in your lineups. As I have said all season, both wide receivers could be the WR1 any given week. Irv Smith Jr. is a decent tight end streamer if Kyle Rudolph were to miss another game, as the sophomore tight end will remain involved in the passing game as Kirk Cousins’ safety blanket over the middle of the field.


New England Patriots

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Jakobi Meyers 10 21 7.00 68 4.86 ⬆️
Damiere Byrd 4 15 5.00 70 5.00 ⬇️
James White 4 10 3.33 52 4.33 ⬆️
N’Keal Harry 2 9 3.00 52 4.33 ⬇️
Dalton Keene 2 2 0.67 3 0.30 ⬆️
Sony Michel 1 3 1.00 6 1.00

 
You probably heard it at least 20 times on Sunday, but the Patriots were eliminated from the playoff contention with their loss to Miami. It’s obvious their future quarterback is not in the building, and I am not even sure a majority of these pass-catchers return next season. Jakobi Meyers is a safe bet to remain in the team’s future plans, as he had been the only consistent part of the passing offense in 2020. Meyers caught seven of his 10 targets for 111 yards last Sunday. N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd were utterly disappointing, combining for four catches and 36 receiving yards.

You won’t be starting any New England Patriots next week against Buffalo. That doesn’t just apply to pass-catchers; Cam Newton, Sony Michel, James White, and anyone else who wears a Patriots uniform should be firmly on your waiver wire. I wouldn’t be surprised if Newton is benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham next Monday Night.


New Orleans Saints

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Alvin Kamara 6 19 6.33 102 7.29 ⬇️
Emmanuel Sanders 5 16 5.33 64 5.33
Jared Cook 5 14 4.67 51 3.92 ⬆️
Juwan Johnson 4 5 1.67 8 0.57 ⬆️
Lil’Jordan Humphrey 4 4 1.33 4 4.00 ⬆️
Latavius Murray 3 6 2.00 22 1.57 ⬆️

 
Drew Brees made his triumphant return to the lineup last Sunday, and he was forced to partake in a shootout with Patrick Mahomes sans his All-Star wideout, Michael Thomas. Given Thomas’ absence, one would assume that Alvin Kamara would return to his double-digit target average and go nuclear in the Divisional Round of the fantasy playoffs. While he did lead his team in targets, Kamara managed just three catches for 40 yards and a score off of six targets. Emmanuel Sanders, who saw one less target, out-gained him by 36 receiving yards.

The Saints get a plus-matchup against the Vikings on Christmas Day, as Minnesota just gave up 30 points to Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. Kamara and Sanders will both be solid plays and give you a high floor, but I can’t imagine anyone else on the Saints will receive enough volume to be a worthwhile start. Still, Kamara could easily finish as a top-five running back next week, if not the highest-scoring skill position player overall.


New York Giants

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Darius Slayton 9 18 6.00 85 6.07 ⬆️
Sterling Shepard 7 18 6.00 68 6.80 ⬆️
Evan Engram 7 19 6.33 95 7.31 ⬆️
Golden Tate 3 9 3.00 52 4.33 ⬆️
Dion Lewis 2 2 0.67 29 2.07 ⬆️
Kaden Smith 1 3 1.00 20 1.43

 
Colt McCoy made another start for New York on Sunday Night, and it wasn’t pretty by any means. McCoy finished the game with 19 completions and 221 passing yards, but much of that was achieved in garbage time. The Giants offense failed in large part due to the play-calling, as the team went for it on fourth down multiple times for no logical reason, including running the worst “fake punt” play we had seen since the infamous Indianapolis Colts “punt sneak” against the Patriots all those years ago.

Darius Slayton was the receiver of choice for McCoy, as he led the team in targets with nine opportunities. Still, he only came away with four catches for 74 yards. You can’t possibly start any Giant against Baltimore next week, regardless of who starts for Big Blue. You may *have* to start Engram at tight end, but you should be grateful if he manages anywhere close to eight fantasy points.


New York Jets

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Jamison Crowder 8 20 6.67 76 7.60 ⬆️
Ty Johnson 6 8 2.67 18 1.29 ⬆️
Chris Herndon 4 5 1.67 33 2.36 ⬆️
Denzel Mims 4 7 2.33 41 5.86 ⬆️
Braxton Berrios 3 10 3.33 48 3.43 ⬇️
Breshad Perriman 1 11 3.67 47 4.70 ⬇️

 
The New York Jets won a football game in 2020. I still haven’t been able to grasp how they beat the nine-win Los Angeles Rams, who were 17.5-point favorites at home. They gave their most valuable player, Frank Gore, 24 touches; he managed just 65 yards and a touchdown with his opportunity. Jamison Crowder led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, but he finished with just 12.6 PPR points. I think everyone is still in utter disbelief, especially the Jets fanbase who had their eyes set on Trevor Lawrence.

The Jets play Cleveland next week, who held the Giants without a touchdown last Sunday night. You shouldn’t consider starting any New York players heading into your Championship matchup, but if you are truly desperate, Crowder isn’t the worst option in the world. Nonetheless, you should avoid this team for fantasy the way this team has avoided making their fans happy for the last 10 years.


Philadelphia Eagles

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Dallas Goedert 8 21 7.00 62 6.20 ⬆️
Jalen Reagor 8 13 4.33 46 5.11 ⬆️
Zach Ertz 7 14 4.67 59 6.56 ⬆️
Greg Ward 5 15 5.00 73 5.21
Quez Watkins 4 4 1.33 4 4.00 ⬆️
Alshon Jeffrey 3 5 1.67 12 2.00 ⬆️

 
I know it has only been two games, but Jalen Hurts sure looks like the Eagles quarterback of the future. After doing most of his damage on the ground versus New Orleans last week, Hurts was able to carve up the Cardinals secondary in Week 15 to the tune of 24 completions, 338 passing yards, and three passing touchdowns. Despite Hurts’ incredible performance, no Eagles pass-catchers were able to score double-digit PPR points without the help of a touchdown.

Dallas Goedert and Jalen Reagor led the team in targets, but they both put up mediocre stat-lines. Goedert caught four passes for 39 yards, while the rookie Reagor caught five passes for 49 yards. Zach Ertz led the Eagles in receiving with 69 yards off of two catches, while Greg Ward caught two touchdowns despite managing just 15 receiving yards. The Eagles have a juicy matchup against the Cowboys in Week 16, but it is essentially a roll of the dice as to which player will put up a viable performance.


Pittsburgh Steelers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Diontae Johnson 13 32 10.67 126 9.69 ⬆️
Chase Claypool 8 18 6.00 92 6.57 ⬆️
JuJu Smith-Schuster 6 23 7.67 107 7.64 ⬇️
Benny Snell 4 7 2.33 14 1.00 ⬆️
James Washington 3 13 4.33 51 3.64 ⬇️
Eric Ebron 1 17 5.67 84 6.00 ⬇️

 
We are witnessing an epic collapse by the Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting the season 11-0, Pittsburgh has lost three consecutive games and Ben Roethlisberger looks like his deal with Father Time has expired. Roethlisberger finished the game with 20 completions for 170 passing yards and a touchdown, but he dug himself into a major hole at the start of the game; in some formats, he went into half-time with negative fantasy points.

Still, Dionte Johnson remained a consistent outlet for Big Ben, as he saw 13 targets and caught eight balls for 59 yards and a score. JuJu Smith-Schuster had the worst performance of his career, catching three passes for 15 yards and fumbling the ball early in the game. The Steelers have a tough matchup with Indianapolis on the schedule for Week 16, and I would be hesitant to start anyone other than Dionte Johnson. I think Smith-Schuster and Claypool can bounce back in a must-win game for Pittsburgh, but there’s no reason to take that risk.


San Francisco 49ers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Brandon Aiyuk 13 38 12.67 95 8.64 ⬇️
Richie James 7 10 3.33 29 4.83 ⬆️
Jordan Reed 5 14 4.67 44 4.89
Kendrick Bourne 4 17 5.67 67 5.15 ⬇️
Jeff Wilson 4 12 4.00 19 1.73 ⬆️
Kyle Juszczyk 2 6 2.00 25 1.79 ⬇️

 
It was a little dicey at first, but Brandon Aiyuk was able to manage double-digit targets for yet another game. The rookie first-round pick has seen 38 targets over the past three games and is averaging nearly nine targets per game on the season. Regardless of who is the quarterback for San Francisco, you are going to start Kyle Shanahan’s “X”-receiver in fantasy based on volume alone.

Aiyuk managed to catch nine passes for 73 yards and a touchdown against Dallas; he will be a clear-cut auto-start next week, especially if Deebo Samuel and George Kittle remain sidelined. Given the 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention with Arizona’s win over Philadelphia, I wouldn’t count on San Francisco rushing back their injured players. If you have Aiyuk, you need to let him carry you to a championship title.


Seattle Seahawks

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Tyler Lockett 7 21 7.00 113 8.07 ⬆️
D.K. Metcalf 6 22 7.33 112 8.00 ⬇️
David Moore 4 11 3.67 45 3.21 ⬇️
Chris Carson 3 14 4.67 41 4.10 ⬇️
Carlos Hyde 3 6 2.00 19 2.11 ⬆️
Jacob Hollister 2 7 2.33 31 2.21 ⬆️

 
Many of you were likely disappointed by the performances of D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett last Sunday. Neither wideout scored double-digit fantasy points, as the Washington defense held Seattle in check for most of the game. With Russell Wilson only passing for 121 yards in Week 15, you should be counting your blessing that neither receiver was a total bust (unless you were eliminated; then you can complain).

If you were able to survive the dud game by the Seattle pass-catchers, you will be rewarded in Week 16, as they battle the Los Angeles Rams in Seattle. You can bet the Rams will come out firing after losing to the Jets and giving the Seahawks the division lead for the time being. This game has the makings of a high-scoring affair, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Lockett and Metcalf score above 20 PPR points.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Mike Evans 7 12 4.00 93 6.64 ⬆️
Antonio Brown 7 12 4.00 41 6.83 ⬆️
Rob Gronkowski 7 9 3.00 71 5.07 ⬆️
Chris Godwin 5 8 2.67 68 6.80 ⬆️
Leonard Fournette 5 5 1.67 42 3.50 ⬆️
Cameron Brate 4 5 1.67 29 2.07 ⬆️

 
After a very slow start to the game, in which Tampa Bay trailed 17-0 after 30 minutes of play, Tom Brady caught fire in the second half. Brady finished the game completing 31 of his 45 attempts for 390 yards and two touchdowns. Each of Brady’s top-three wideouts had solid fantasy outings, while Rob Gronkowski was the odd man out.

Mike Evans caught six passes for 110 yards, Antonio Brown caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Godwin logged four receptions for 36 yards and a score. As has been the case, they are auto-starts each and every week. It’s rare that all Buccaneers pass-catchers will be fantasy viable in the same week, but the ceiling is sky-high for any one of them.


Tennessee Titans

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
A.J. Brown 6 22 7.33 87 7.25 ⬇️
Corey Davis 6 21 7.00 79 6.58 ⬆️
Jonnu Smith 5 7 2.33 56 4.31 ⬆️
Derrick Henry 2 5 1.67 31 2.21
MyCole Pruitt 2 4 1.33 8 0.62 ⬆️
Darrynton Evans 2 2 0.67 2 0.14 ⬆️

 
I wouldn’t have blamed you if you sat Corey Davis heading into Week 15. After all, it looked as though the Titans would run Derrick Henry into the ground against one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL. While Henry did run for 147 yards and a touchdown, the passing game was alive and well. Ryan Tannehill completed 21 of his 27 attempts for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Davis was the main beneficiary of Tannehill’s terrific day, as he caught four of his six targets for 110 yards and a touchdown. A.J. Brown was also solid as usual, catching five balls for 44 yards and a score.

With a Week 16 matchup against Green Bay on the docket, you should feel comfortable putting both Brown and Davis in your lineup. The Packers were torched by D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel this past week, and their defense will need to commit to stopping the run given that is their biggest area of weakness. I can see both Brown and Davis catching long touchdown passes off of play-action on Sunday Night.


Washington Football Team

PLAYER WEEK 15 LAST 3 AVG SEASON AVG TREND
Logan Thomas 15 31 10.33 92 6.57 ⬆️
Terry McLaurin 12 24 8.00 126 9.00 ⬆️
J.D. McKissic 10 24 8.00 92 6.57 ⬆️
Cam Sims 8 19 6.33 34 2.43 ⬆️
Steven Sims Jr. 2 11 3.67 30 2.14 ⬇️
Isaiah Wright 2 7 2.33 34 2.43 ⬆️

 
Dwayne Haskins returned to the starting lineup in a possible playoff preview for Washington. The 2019 first-round pick ended up throwing the ball 55 times on Sunday, as his team trailed 20-3 entering the fourth quarter. This pass-heavy approach may not have helped Washington win the game, but their pass-catchers sure did wonders for fantasy.

Logan Thomas caught 13 passes for 101 yards in a performance reminiscent of Jordan Reed in his prime. Terry McLaurin caught seven passes for 77 yards off of 12 targets, while J.D. McKissic was a check-down machine with nine receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Thomas and McLaurin should be sure-fire starts in Week 16, regardless of who is starting at quarterback. McKissic’s viability depends on Antonio Gibson’s availability; if Gibson is back in the lineup, I would be hesitant to start McKissic unless my roster was decimated at the running back position.

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Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.

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