20 min read

33 Fantasy Takeaways From Week 15

fantasy takeaways from week 15

Below, you’ll find (at least) 33 fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 15. Advanced usage data is examined each week because usage is a much better indicator of future fantasy points than current fantasy points.

Essentially, NFL teams never look at fantasy points, so we shouldn’t focus too much attention on them either if we want to predict what teams will do moving forward.

49ers at Seahawks (21 - 13)

  • Brock Purdy now has two passing TDs and at least 15.3 fantasy points in every game. He remains on the streaming radar with the Commanders and Raiders his Week 16 and Week 17 matchups.
  • Christian McCaffrey was the 49ers offense in this game, with 26 of 30 RB carries, and a team-high eight targets (31% share). He totaled 138 yards and 25.8 fantasy points, and will be the weekly RB1 overall as long as Deebo Samuel is OUT.
  • George Kittle erupted for four catches (on five targets) for 93 yards and two TDs. That's still just a 19% target share, and much of that production came on a busted play. I wouldn't overreact to this massive fantasy performance. The Seahawks have struggled against TEs, and Kittle will not get there in fantasy most weeks on only five Brock Purdy targets.
  • Kenneth Walker only totaled 11.9 PPR points, but the usage was bell cow status. He took 92% of the RB carries, and ran 31 routes to Travis Homer's 12. Walker was targeted five times, catching four for 32 yards receiving. This salvaged his inefficient day on the ground (12 carries, 47 rushing yards, 3.9 YPC). Walker's pass game usage is encouraging for his Week 16 outlook against the Chiefs, as they've allowed many big performances to RBs through the air.
  • Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf both had nine targets (22% share) and seven catches, but Lockett was more productive with 68 yards to Metcalf's 55. This continued the trend of Lockett succeeding more against zone-heavy defenses — like the 49ers — while Metcalf eats against man coverage schemes.

Colts at Vikings (36 - 39)

  • Jonathan Taylor sprained his ankle on the first drive. Zack Moss didn't have a great fantasy day, but he did command a workhorse load, out-snapping, out-carrying, running more routes than, and out-gaining Deon Jackson. He's an excellent waiver wire pickup for Week 16, as he faces a Chargers run defense allowing the most YPC to opposing RBs in the entire NFL.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Zack Moss 53 24 (8/2) 14 1 81 8.1
Deon Jackson 15 13 (3/0) 9 1 56 12.6
  • Kirk Cousins now has 885 passing yards over his past two weeks. In this game, he set a new NFL record for largest comeback, as the Vikings were shut out 33-0 in the first half. Despite his gaudy stats, Cousins is still nothing more than a streamer next week, as the Giants are unlikely to push the Vikings enough for Cousins to throw 40+ times.
  • Justin Jefferson and KJ Osborn both received 16 targets (30% share), and Osborn was more productive, with ten catches for 157 yards and a TD. This was Osborn's first game above 41 yards since Week 3, so I wouldn't get too carried away with FAAB bids, as he's most likely still behind Adam Thielen rest of season.

Ravens at Browns (3 - 13)

  • The Ravens trotted out one of the more confusing game plans of the season. Tyler Huntley averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt, yet threw the ball 30 times. JK Dobbins (13 carries, 125 yards, 9.6 YPC) and Gus Edwards (seven carries, 55 yards, 7.9 YPC) were both lightly used against a bottom tier Browns run defense.
  • JK Dobbins is a solid RB2 rest of season, as he's gone over 100 yards in back-to-back games, yet should get healthier each successive week. He'll likely never get more than high-teens carries in any game, and is lightly used as a receiver, but his rushing efficiency and red zone/goal line work are Nick Chubb-esque.
  • The disappointing season for Mark Andrews continues, as he has under ten fantasy points in six of his past seven games. He's averaged seven targets per game the past five weeks, but this passing offense is among the league's worst, and he's suffered as a result. He's a starter every week, but continues to be nothing more than a mid-range TE1 for fantasy based on the usage.
  • Nick Chubb walks a dangerous line in fantasy football, as he doesn't get Derrick-Henry level carries, he's not involved in the passing game, and he splits red zone work in some capacity with Kareem Hunt. After running pure with TDs early in the season, Chubb now has fewer than ten fantasy points in four of his past five games.
  • While Donovan Peoples-Jones scored in this contest, Amari Cooper is still the WR you want to start every week in this offense. Cooper had a team-high six targets (23% share) to Peoples-Jones' four (15% share). This was a conservative passing game plan, as Cooper's 40 air yards were the team-high (no other WR had more than 25 air yards and DPJ had just 19 air yards). We'll need to continue being patient with Deshaun Watson and this passing offense, as they face the Saints in Week 16, a defense playing better as of late.

Dolphins at Bills (29 - 32)

  • With Jeff Wilson OUT with an injury, Raheem Mostert took on a major workload, and kept this game close for Miami. He handled 17 of 23 RB carries, and ran 23 routes to Salvon Ahmed's three. Mostert totaled 136 rushing yards thanks to a 67-yard scamper, and will be a borderline RB1 in Week 16 against the Packers run funnel defense.
  • Jaylen Waddle had a bounce back fantasy performance after two straight duds, as he caught three of seven targets for 114 yards and a TD (20.4 PPR points). However, Tyreek Hill was the focal point again of this passing attack, with 13 targets (43% share), catching nine for 69 yards and a TD (21.9 PPR). Hill is a WR1 next week against a difficult Packers pass defense, while Waddle will fall in the WR2 range, as he continues to lose pace with Tyreek Hill each week.
  • Josh Allen had averaged just 205 passing yards per game over his past four, before throwing for 304 yards (solid 7.6 Y/A) and four TDs against Miami. He ran ten times for 77 yards, and totaled 35.9 fantasy points. With Jalen Hurts possibly sitting — playing one half — in Week 17 if the Eagles beat the Cowboys in Week 16 (since that would clinch the #1 seed for Philly), Josh Allen is my QB1 rest of season again, ahead of Jalen Hurts.
  • Dawson Knox has found success in back-to-back games, with 15 targets over his past two weeks. He had a 26% target share in Week 14, and a 21% target share against Miami, finishing with a TD in each game. The Bills face a Bears defense that's allowed 8.7 yards per pass attempt since Week 8 (most in the NFL), via The Edge. Knox is a low-end TE1 for Week 16, given the matchup, and a decent player to grab off waivers for a small amount of FAAB.

Eagles at Bears (25 - 20)

  • Jalen Hurts now has at least 30 fantasy points in three straight games, but a sprained throwing shoulder definitely forces Hurts fantasy managers to make contingency plans for Week 16. Tyler Huntley against the Falcons, Daniel Jones against the Vikings, and Aaron Rodgers against Miami are all viable streaming pivots off of Hurts.

  • Miles Sanders didn't record a touch until partway through the second quarter. He finished with 11 carries and 42 scoreless rushing yards. He also had one reception for -13 yards. This was his most disappointing fantasy performance of the season given the easy matchup against the Bears run defense. He faces the Cowboys, and then the Saints, to close out the fantasy playoffs, neither of which is a plus matchup. He's just a low-end RB2-type for those advancing out of round one of the playoffs with Sanders on their roster, as he offers little in the receiving game. Sanders needs rushing efficiency and TDs, and both will be difficult to come by in Weeks 16 and 17.
  • DeVonta Smith quietly has at least eight targets in six straight games, averaging 15.8 PPR points per game during that stretch. He's a solid WR2 rest of season, and AJ Brown likely draws more of the Cowboys' defensive focus in their game next week.
  • David Montgomery has at least 14 fantasy points each of his past four games, but he may be little more than an RB3 in Weeks 16 (Buffalo) and 17 (Detroit) if Khalil Herbert is activated off IR for Week 16. Montgomery has seen a sizable increase in his opportunity share while Herbert's been on IR the past four games, and neither Buffalo nor Detroit should be viewed as a good matchup for a runner like Montgomery.

Lions at Jets (20 - 17)

  • D'Andre Swift has the slightly more valuable fantasy role, but Jamaal Williams' continued red zone/goal line involvement makes it difficult for Swift to reach a fantasy ceiling of 20 points. Their Week 15 usage demonstrates this is a 1A/1B situation for fantasy, with a slight edge towards Swift.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
D'Andre Swift 25 8 (1/0) 16 9 75 12.5
Jamaal Williams 21 13 (5/2) 7 0 33 3.3
  • Jameson Williams can be dropped for those who were stashing him. After two routes in Week 13 and six routes in Week 14, he once again ran only six routes in Week 15. He still has massive potential for his NFL career, but this is a lost season for any fantasy expectations.
  • Zonovan Knight disappointed, handling 13 of the 17 RB carries, but totaling just 23 rushing yards. However, he has better matchups upcoming which should keep him fantasy relevant, including Jaguars in Week 16 then the Seahawks in Week 17. Knight is at worst a high-end RB3 for each matchup, as he has the stranglehold on the Jets backfield.
  • Zach Wilson only completed 51% of his passes, which hurt the PPR value of all his WRs. Despite throwing for over 300 yards, only CJ Uzomah crested 14 PPR points due to catching both TDs. Garrett Wilson is the WR1 in this offense by  a large amount, as he led the team in targets (nine, 27% share), air yards (166), and receiving yards (98). Wilson is a mid-range WR2 against Jacksonville next week, as his role is WR1 worthy, but Zach Wilson is not a starting caliber NFL QB (Mike White is not expected to return for Week 16).

Steelers at Panthers (24 - 16)

  • Mitch Trubisky has now played at least 60% of the snaps in four games this season. Diontae Johnson has double digit targets in every game with him, and reeled in all ten of his Week 15 targets for 98 yards. Johnson is not fantasy viable with Kenny Pickett, but Trubisky has fed him at least 31% of his pass attempts in all four games with 60% or more of the snaps taken.
  • The Steelers have a good, but not great, run defense. Yet, they completely shut down both Panthers RBs. D'Onta Foreman averaged 0.9 YPC on his ten carries, while Chuba Hubbard averaged 2.5 YPC on his four attempts. While Hubbard had the far better fantasy day due to his three receptions for 57 yards, Foreman still gets the ultra high value carries, as both goal line carries went to him. This is a 1A/1B situation for fantasy, with little discernible difference between the two rest of season, as the Lions (Week 16) and Buccaneers are tough matchups for a grinder back like Foreman.
  • DJ Moore commanded 32% of the Panthers' targets, catching five of six for 73 yards and a TD (18.3 PPR points). He's tough to trust with Sam Darnold averaging 170 passing yards per game this season, but he'll be a decent start next week against Detroit. The Lions allow the most fantasy points per game to slot WRs this year, and Moore runs about half of his routes out of the slot.

Chiefs at Texans (30 - 24)

  • Patrick Mahomes is playing the best football of any QB in the NFL. He's now thrown for at least 320 passing yards in eight of his past nine games, which raises the floor and ceiling of all KC pass catchers for fantasy football. Mahomes himself has at least 19 fantasy points in 11 straight, showcasing his Josh Allen/Jalen Hurts floor, despite far less rushing equity.
  • Jerick McKinnon has the more valuable fantasy usage than Isiah Pacheco, despite receiving fewer carries per game. Their per game usage stats from the past three games are shown below, and McKinnon is dominating the red zone and receiving work in this backfield. Pacheco is primarily a two down grinder back on the NFL's best offense.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Jerick McKinnon 37 8 (2.3/0.7) 22 6.3 105 26.2
Isiah Pacheco 27 14 (1/0) 11 2 91 13.1
  • Kadarius Toney ran just three routes (JuJu Smith-Schuster ran 40 for context), and Toney can be dropped in fantasy football. I'm not interested in crossing my fingers that he can 8x-to-10x his involvement over the next two weeks.
  • As expected, Houston deployed a fantasy-unfriendly RB committee with Dameon Pierce done for the season with a high ankle sprain. However, I thought it would be Dare Ogunbowale in a 1A role, with Rex Burkhead in the 1B role. Instead, Royce Freeman was the 1B. No Texans RB is a priority waiver add, as this is a 50-50 committee on one of the NFL's worst offenses (the three Houston RBs totaled just 11.7 PPR points as a group against the Chiefs).
  • Chris Moore once again had WR3 usage with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins sitting with injuries. He had a team-high nine targets (33% share, one end zone target), catching four for 42 yards (91 air yards).

Falcons at Saints (18 - 21)

  • Desmond Ridder completed just 13 of 26 passes (50%), totaling an embarrassing 97 passing yards. However, there is optimism here for Drake London. London was targeted 11 times, catching seven for 70 yards. Marcus Mariota only topped 26 pass attempts in three of 13 games this year, so there's potential for London to receive more volume rest of season. London has a 29% target share this year, fourth highest in the NFL. London should be picked up off waivers as the Falcons face the Ravens and Cardinals (pass funnel defenses) over the next two weeks.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson returned from injury in Week 9. Since then, Tyler Allgeier appears to be the more productive half of a 50-50 committee. Their per game stats since Week 9 shown below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Cordarrelle Patterson 27 10.7 (2.3/0.8) 12 2 53 9.6
Tyler Allgeier 27 10.7 (0.8/0.2) 10 1 72 9.2
  • Alvin Kamara handled 21 carries and was targeted twice in Week 15. However, he ceded the lone red zone carry to David Johnson (seriously, that David Johnson), and ran only nine routes to Johnson's ten. The Saints face the Browns bottom-three run defense next week, so while Kamara hasn't hit 13 fantasy points since Week 8, he should be able to get back on track in Week 16. Kamara is no longer the locked-in RB1 of years past, but he's still a strong start given his usage. We just need to reset expectations for him and stop anchoring to his fantasy points of years past.
  • Juwan Johnson has scored seven TDs in his past seven games, topping 12 fantasy points in five of those past seven contests. But, there is cause for concern, as Johnson ran only 13 routes (Rashid Shaheed ran 20 routes for context). Johnson commanded six targets (nearly a target every other route), but he'll struggle to stay fantasy relevant when dozens of other TEs are running 10-20 more routes per game than him. I'm optimistic this was because he was returning from an ankle injury, but it's tough to trust anyone outside Chris Olave in this passing game.

Cowboys at Jaguars (34 - 40)

  • Ezekiel Elliott returned from injury in Week 11. Tony Pollard and Zeke have strong fantasy roles with their usage, and both are fringe RB1 types each week. Their per game stats over the past five games are shown below.
Player Snaps Carries (RZ/GL) Routes Targets Total Yards PPR
Tony Pollard 37 15 (2/0.8) 16 4.2 105 21.3
Ezekiel Elliott 33 16 (4/1.8) 12 2.4 77 16.9
  • Trevor Lawrence has thrown for at least 318 yards in three of his past four games, and has 11 TDs and only one interception in that span. He's a top-12 QB rest of season, despite a tough matchup with the Jets next week.
  • Travis Etienne was getting nearly all the team's RB touches the past few weeks, but hadn't delivered with the yardage or fantasy points. That changed in Week 15, even though he was facing a strong Cowboys defensive front. Etienne took 19 of 21 RB carries for 103 yards, and caught two of three targets for another 24 yards, finishing with 14.7 fantasy points in what was a brutal matchup on paper.
  • Zay Jones exploded for six catches, 109 yards, and three TDs (34.9 PPR) in Week 15, but his entire season has been fantasy relevant. He now averages 14 fantasy points per game, and has reached double digit fantasy points in more than half his games, while cresting 21 fantasy points in four games.

Cardinals at Broncos (15 - 24)

  • Colt McCoy was concussed in this game, and third-string QB Trace McSorley took over partway through this game. The two combined for 173 passing yards on 36 attempts (only 4.8 yards per attempt), and this killed the fantasy production for all the receivers. You cannot confidently start anyone other than DeAndre Hopkins in this passing game.
  • James Conner's role has been outrageous the past three games. He's handled 56 of 60 RB carries, and has run 104 of 122 RB routes. He's scored at least 18 fantasy points in all three, and should be a borderline RB1 (thanks to sweet, sweet volume) against the Buccaneers and Falcons to close out the fantasy season.
  • Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack both got there in fantasy this past week, as the team shifted to a run-heavy game plan without Russell Wilson (concussion). Murray handled 24 of the 31 RB carries, while Marlon Mack was targeted four times on just 11 routes. Murray is a low-end RB2 from volume, while Mack is a desperation flex play, who has carved out an actual role in this offense after back-to-back games with at least 63 total yards.

Patriots at Raiders (24 - 30)

  • Rhamondre Stevenson handled 19 of 28 RB carries, running for 172 yards and a TD. The ankle injury clearly wasn't affecting him, and he's a high-end RB1 rest of season.
  • The Patriots backup RB was Kevin Harris, until Pierre Strong out-played him in Week 14, then took over that role in Week 15. Strong out-snapped (16 - 7), out-touched (7 - 5), and out-gained (37 - 19) Harris, and he should be stashed on fantasy benches the next two weeks in case Rhamondre suffers another injury.
  • Jakobi Meyers has been under ten fantasy points in five straight games, and shouldn't be started in fantasy moving forward. On top of that, Bill Belichick may never let him see the field again (mostly kidding, but watch the below video).

  • Darren Waller ran 27 of 41 routes (66%) in his return from IR. He was targeted three times, catching all three for 48 yards and a TD (13.8 PPR). His role should increase the next two games, and he's back to being a mid-range fantasy TE1.
  • Hunter Renfrow returned from IR as well, and ran 24 of 41 routes (59%). He caught one of his three targets for 14 yards, and can remain on waiver wires. He's hit nine fantasy points in just one of seven games this season.

Titans at Chargers (14 - 17)

  • Derrick Henry took 21 of 22 RB carries for 104 rushing yards and a TD, while also catching all four targets for 59 receiving yards. RBs continue to gash the Chargers on the ground.
  • Chigoziem Okonkwo has at least five targets in four straight games, and is a top-12 TE rest of season. He has at least four catches and 45 receiving yards his past three games, and should have a secure pass game role even with Treylon Burks returning next week.
  • Austin Ekeler was banged up early, but still handled 12 carries and three targets on 22 routes. Josh Kelley was given ten carries, and was targeted twice on seven routes. Kelley was given three of the four goal line carries, which is a bad development for Ekeler's fantasy value. Ekeler is still a high-end RB1, but he was arguably THE RB1 when getting most of the red zone/goal line work.
  • Keenan Allen has at least 86 receiving yards in four of his past five games, while reaching 14 PPR points in each of his past five. He's a WR1 type again, as he's healthy again and running around 90% of the team's routes. He faces the Colts and Rams to close out the fantasy season, and should maintain massive target volume as the Chargers try to nab a Wild Card spot.

Bengals at Buccaneers (34 - 23)

  • Joe Burrow led the Bengals to a road win after going down by 17 points early on. He was a surgeon, completing 69% of his passes and throwing four TDs (23.8 fantasy points). Burrow's elite fantasy season continues, as he is averaging 23.1 fantasy points per game, via The Edge.
  • Joe Mixon was in a committee with Samaje Perine for the second straight week, as he carried 11 times to Perine's seven. Mixon did receive six targets, though he only ran 19 routes to Perine's 12. Mixon is just a middling RB2 for the fantasy playoffs, as he has tough matchups against New England and Buffalo upcoming.
  • The Bucs backfield is essentially a 50-50 committee on a team that struggles to put up points. Both are fine low-end RB2 types in PPR leagues, but neither is producing much yardage, nor does either have TD upside.
  • With Julio Jones OUT for Week 15, Russell Gage stepped up, leading the team with 12 targets (29% share), and bringing in eight for 59 yards and two TDs (25.9 PPR points). Gage is an interesting waiver add this week, as his season had been mired in injury troubles up until this point.

Giants at Commanders (20 - 12)

  • Saquon Barkley put up his most impressive fantasy performance of the season, rushing 18 times for 87 yards and a TD against a far superior Commanders defensive line. He also brought in five of eight targets for 33 yards, finishing his day with 23 PPR points. He gets far better matchups against the Vikings and Colts the next two games, and is set up to be a top-5 RB rest of season.
  • Brian Robinson handled 12 of 17 RB carries, and totaled 89 rushing yards (7.4 YPC). It's a head-scratcher why he wasn't more involved, as the Commanders' pass game struggled until the fourth quarter. The Giants continue to be a defense to target for RB efficiency.
  • Jahan Dotson had a massive game, with a team-high six targets (22% share), catching four for 105 yards and a TD. I wouldn't start him against the 49ers next week, but if he sees decent target volume, he'll be a sneaky (and quite good) fantasy start in Week 17 against the Browns.

We hope you enjoyed reading through these fantasy takeaways from Week 15. Stay tuned for my rankings, dropping Tuesday afternoon on The 33rd Team site.

WATCH MORE: How Will Jalen Hurts' Injury Impact Eagles' Fantasy Weapons?