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Week 15 Heat Index (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Jim Colombo | @WideRightNBlue | Featured Writer
Dec 22, 2020

Salvon Ahmed returned to the field with full force in Week 15.

You’ve done it. It’s here. It’s happening.

You’re just a week away from getting a Gatorade bath in your living room. Are you ready? Let’s bring home that fantasy football championship together.

As always, here are some typically unowned, under-the-radar players who caught fire last week. Should you add them to your roster as you inch ever closer to fantasy football glory? Let’s take a look.

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Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
Tony Pollard handled 12 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ Week 15 win against the San Francisco 49ers. He also caught six of his nine targets for 63 more yards through the air.

Pollard got the start over Ezekiel Elliott who was sidelined with a calf bruise that has been described as “significant” and “not pretty” according to sources from CBS Sports. Pollard, who entered the Week 15 contest with a solid 4.5 yards per carry on 75 attempts this season, could get the nod in the team’s Week 16 tilt against the division-rival Eagles.

Pollard was a sneaky last-second start last week, but he’s still available in 45% of Yahoo leagues and 22% of ESPN leagues. If you lost a major running back such as Clyde Edwards-Helaire, James Robinson, or Raheem Mostert in Week 15-but still managed to escape with a winning ticket to the championship round-Pollard is definitely worth picking up and playing against Philadelphia.

Since Week 12, the Eagles are giving up 20.7 fantasy points per game to running backs, which ranks 22nd in the league. Sure, this stat seems to favor Pollard’s matchup, and that’s fine, but touches and targets are the stats that matter most. With Zeke out, Pollard collected more targets than any Cowboys player (let alone running backs) and his 90% snap percentage was easily his highest of the season.

If Zeke is out and you need a running back, Pollard could be the breakout player who brings home a first-place finish for your fantasy team.

Week 15 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥

Salvon Ahmed (RB – MIA)
We identified Salvon Ahmed as a breakout player in the Week 10 Heat Index, but that must have been a jinx because he injured his shoulder halfway through his very next game. Thankfully for the playoff-hungry Dolphins, Ahmed returned to the field with full force in Week 15. He rushed 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in a huge home victory over the New England Patriots. He also collected a five-yard reception.

Ahmed spelled Myles Gaskin who was absent from the contest due to COVID-19 restrictions, so the situation is worth monitoring, especially if you’re in dire need for a running back. Next week, the Dolphins face off against a Raiders defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs since Week 12. If Ahmed is expected to start, he should return RB2 value.

Week 15 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥

Greg Ward Jr. (WR – PHI)
Looking for a deep flex play in Week 16? Greg Ward might be worth a look. In Week 15, Ward collected four of his five targets for 15 yards and two touchdowns. While the yardage is nothing to get hyped about, the two red-zone touchdowns are a reason to take a second look.

Here’s the bad news about Ward. He’s reached double-digit fantasy points (half-PPR scoring) in only four games this season. He’s totaled just 19 targets since the Eagles’ Week 9 bye. His Week 16 matchup against the Cowboys is pedestrian at best-Dallas is giving up an average of 27.2 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers since Week 12, which ranks in the middle of the league at 14th overall.

Here’s the good news. Jalen Hurts is playing quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. In his two games as a starter, Hurts has completed 41 of 74 passes for 505 yards and four touchdowns. Since Week 12, Greg Ward Jr. has led all Eagles’ receivers with a 70.9% snap count. And now that fellow rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor is dealing with an ankle injury that caused him to exit the Week 15 game, Ward could be in line for even more action.

We’re dealing with some mixed signals from Greg Ward Jr. and the Eagles, but if you’re desperate at the position or looking for a crafty flex play, don’t be surprised if Ward finds the end zone for the Eagles in Week 16.

Week 15 Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥

Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI)
How many Bears fans are going to roll the dice on Darnell Mooney in their fantasy football finals? Probably a lot. But should you? In Week 15, the fifth-round rookie wideout caught four of his five targets for 49 yards and a touchdown. Mooney has now found paydirt in two straight weeks, and for what it’s worth, his Week 15 touchdown was the only passing score for the Bears in a game where they put up 33 points.

The Chicago Bears visit Jacksonville for a Week 16 matchup against the 1-13 Jaguars. Despite being in the basement of the league, though, the Jags’ D has performed fairly well against opposing fantasy wide receivers as of late. Since Week 12, the Jaguars are allowing 29.1 fantasy points per game to the position, which ranks 18th in the NFL. On the bright side for Mooney enthusiasts, perhaps, is the fact that the Vikings D ranks 21st and the Texans’ D ranks 17th against fantasy wide receivers in the same time span. Why does that matter? Because those are the teams Mooney has scored on in the last two weeks.

Since Week 12, Mooney’s averaging an 85% snap count which is second to only Allen Robinson among all Bears wide receivers. As far as targets are concerned, those numbers are trending in the same direction. Mooney is averaging a 13.6% target share which ranks second on the Bears’ offense over the last four weeks.

Are you convinced the Jaguars are tanking? Give Mooney a look as a deep flex play in your fantasy football championship. If you’d prefer to let the data speak for itself, well, you might be inclined to start him that way, too.

Week 15 Heat Index: 🔥🔥
Rest-of-season Heat Index: 🔥🔥

Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow. For those of you who’ve kept up with the Weekly Heat Index, I thank you for your readership and hope to have served you well. It’s been a wild and crazy year to say the least, and I wish you the best of luck in your future fantasy football endeavors. Stay tuned for more articles from me at FantasyPros in the future, and don’t forget to tell me how much you love me (or hate me?) on Twitter. Good night and good luck!

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Jim Colombo is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jim, check out his archive and follow him @WideRightNBlue.

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