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Fantasy Football Week 15 Recap: Surprises, Disappointments, Key Stats & Takeaways

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Dec 20, 2021
MVS - Marques Valdez-Scantling

Week 15 of the fantasy football season was an ugly reminder that, ultimately, our fantasy football fortunes are mostly out of our hands.

The week started with COVID-19 impacting practically every game on the schedule and creating a large amount of uncertainty. It ended with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers getting shut out and losing three key players to injuries. It was ugly, and it seemed like every playoff game I was in was a low-scoring rock fight.

With four games still to play in this wacky Week 15, I hope your team is in position to advance to the next round. And if your team suffered a loss this week, don’t be too hard on yourself.

As we embark on the home stretch of this fantasy season, remember that all we can do is stay informed, prepare the best we can and hope it all works out.

Best of luck in Week 16.

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The Surprises 

Tyler Huntley 

Obviously, there are still a few more top-end quarterbacks still to play in Week 15. But I’m sure nobody expected Tyler Huntley to be sitting atop to quarterback fantasy scoring leaderboard Monday morning. Huntley played really well in Baltimore’s 1-point loss to Green Bay. He kept the Ravens offense moving and threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 73 yards and another two scores. It was as close to a Lamar Jackson performance as you could ask for.

What should we do from here? If Jackson misses Week 16, I’m not opposed to giving Huntley a shot in 2QB formats. He offers a similar skill set to Jackson and the offense clearly operated fine with Huntley under center.

The Leading Running Backs 

Take a look at the top rushers from Week 15: Jonathan Taylor, Craig Reynolds, Jeff Wilson,  D’Onta Foreman, Duke Johnson.

It’s been a rough go for top-end running backs this year, but kudos to you if you started any of these obscure names in your fantasy playoff matchups. It was a really tough day for the stars that got you here, which is why depth is just as important.

What should we do from here? I’m not going to pound the table for Craig Reynolds or Duke Johnson. But let this serve as a reminder to leave no stone unturned when it comes to assembling your playoff lineups. I’m not saying bench a stud for Justin Jackson, but at the very least stash these guys on your rosters so other players can’t get them. If there’s a player from this list who could deliver serious fantasy value, it’s probably Foreman, as he has the best shot of being the team’s starter for the rest of the season.

The Leading Wide Receivers 

It was a similar story for the wideouts in Week 15, as many star players were left out of the WR1 running. Tyreek Hill and Deebo Samuel were the only players who weren’t surprising WR1s. The rest of the names? Brandin Cooks, Gabriel Davis, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Tyler Boyd, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Christian Kirk, Russell Gage, Keenan Allen and Josh Reynolds.

What should we do from here? The advice I provided regarding the running backs holds true for the wideouts too. But one guy who should be added in every league is Gabriel Davis. With Emmanuel Sanders hurt, Davis is starting to heat up. He’s caught a touchdown in three straight games and has garnered 15 targets in his last two outings. I’m also willing to get St. Brown on my rosters as an injury replacement with upside.

The Disappointments

The Cardinals 

There were a lot of disappointments in Week 15, but we have to start with the Cardinals, who appear to be regressing. Arizona struggled to get anything going against a miserable Lions defense. Kyler Murray is currently the QB11, but that likely will change once the final four games of Week 15 are played. The loss of DeAndre Hopkins is clearly hurting this passing game, as Murray looked out of rhythm all day. Chase Edmonds came back and ran for 53 yards on six carries, but he ate into James Conner‘s workload.

What should we do from here? I’m pretty scared of the Cardinals right now. Murray just doesn’t seem right, and this passing game might not get out of its funk with Hopkins sidelined. You’re starting Murray in every league because his rushing ability gives him a higher floor. But I’m nervous. As for the skill positions, Conner is probably still worth starting for his touchdown upside. But everyone else, I’m willing to sit until I see improvement.

The Buccaneers 

It was an awful night for Tampa for a variety of reasons. First of all, the Bucs were shutout. But even worse is star playmakers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette all exited the game with injuries. Godwin is out for the rest of the regular season with a sprained MCL. Meanwhile, Evans and Fournette could miss time with hamstring injuries. Suddenly, Tampa Bay’s loaded offense is devoid of playmakers.

What should we do from here? The first thing you should do is see if Antonio Brown is available in your league. The Buccaneers seem to be bringing him back into the fold, and he would be the top option by far if he returns. Then, go get Ronald Jones, as he’ll most likely be the next man up in the backfield. Otherwise, ancillary weapons like Tyler Johnson, Jaelon Darden and Scotty Miller all saw increased work after Tampa’s star receivers went out. Depending on who’s healthy, you may even want to consider an alternative to Tom Brady this week against Carolina.

The Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons exist to make us angry. Atlanta went 1-for-5 in the red zone during Sunday’s pathetic loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Matt Ryan was awful and crumbled under pressure, per usual. The only Falcon to score a touchdown was Russell Gage. Cordarrelle Patterson netted only 23 total yards. Anyone relying on Falcons probably lost because of their ineptitude in the red zone.

What should we do from here? The Falcons face the rejuvenated Lions at home this week, a matchup that feels like gold on paper. However, trusting Ryan with a spot in the fantasy championship on the line feels like risky business.

Week 15 By the Numbers 

1: As of Monday morning, only one quarterback has thrown for 300 yards in a game in Week 15. It was Patrick Mahomes on Thursday.

6: Number of times Zach Wilson was sacked by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

112: Marquez Callaway‘s receiving yards in Week 15. Perhaps he and Taysom Hill are developing some chemistry?

136: Mark Andrews‘ receiving yards in Week 15, the third-most leaguewide. Andrews has been a beast recently and should be an anchor for your playoff run.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato

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