Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 15

December 16, 2020

Every league is in the playoffs at this point, and whether you are playing for the Championship, playing to reach the Championship, or just playing to keep that last place trophy off your shelf for 2021, we are here to help guide you home.

So sit back and indulge yourself in the Week 15 playoff edition of my 100% guarantee, can’t possibly miss, stone cold/room temperature ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers.’




Aaron Rodgers, GB:

All the talk about Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson, and with three games left, the NFL leader in touchdowns (39), interceptions (4), QBR (84.8) and rating (112.3) is none other than old man Rodgers. He has thrown multiple touchdowns in 12 of Green Bay’s 13 games, thrown three or more in 10 of their thirteen games and accounted for three touchdowns in 11 of those 13 games.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pit:

Roethlisberger is no longer the player he once was, but he is fifth in the NFL with 29 touchdown passes, on pace for a career high 36. What I like most is his matchup this week against a Bengals defense which can’t get any pressure on the quarterback.

Others receiving votes:

Patrick Mahomes, KC:

After throwing just two interceptions in his first 12 games, Mahomes threw three last week. I wouldn’t be worried that this carries over to a second week, even against a really good Saints defense. 

Tom Brady, TB:

Speaking of old guys, Brady is fourth in the league with 30 touchdowns, is on pace for his highest touchdown total since 2011 (39), and gets a Falcons pass defense which gives up more than 280 yards per game (30th).


From The GetSportsInfo Podcast:



Running backs:

Derrick Henry, Ten:

Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,532), rushing attempts (297), yards per carry (5.2) and is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with Dalvin Cook (14). He is also coming off a 215 yard, two touchdown game…his second 200+ yard and two touchdown game of the season. He should have another big day against a Lions defense which is 29th in terms of yards per game (132.8) and tied for last (Raiders) with 21 rushing touchdowns surrendered

Nick Chubb, Cle:

The Cleveland offense is rolling, scoring 83 in their last two games and Chubb has been a big reason why. Despite missing four games and sharing the backfield, he ranks fifth in the NFL with 881 yards, t-7th in rushing touchdowns (9) and first in yards per carry (5.9). Chubb has surpassed 100+ all-purpose yards in each of his last five games, finding the endzone five times in that stretch.

Others receiving votes:

Dalvin Cook, Min:

Cook is second in the league with 1,352 yards and is tied with Henry for the league lead in rushing touchdowns (14).  Despite missing two games, Cook has already set career highs in carries (273), yards (1,352) and touchdowns (14). He should have another good day against a middle of the road Bears rush defense. 

Austin Ekeler, LAC:

Ekeler doesn’t have a touchdown in his three games since returning from the IR, but he has seen 34 targets in the passing game, pulling in 24 of those for 184 yards. In PPR leagues, he is definitely a RB2 this week against a Raiders team which ranks in the bottom eight against the pass and the run. 

Pass Catchers:

Davante Adams, GB:

Adams has seen nine or more targets and caught six or more passes in 10 of the 11 games he has played in, including each of his last nine games. He also has 14 touchdowns, scoring in nine of his 11 games, and is riding a streak of eight straight games with a touchdown. That streak should continue against a bottom ten Panthers pass defense.

Keenan Allen, LAC:

Allen only had 52 yards last week, but he had a touchdown and saw a team high 11 targets while on his way to nine catches. Allen has seen 94 targets in his last eight games – seven or more in each of those games – pulling in 65, or more than eight per game. He should have another nice game against the Raiders Thursday night.

Others receiving votes:

Stefon Diggs, Buf:

Going against the second ranked pass defense (Pittsburgh), Diggs pulled in 10 of his 14 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown. He has seven or more catches in each of his last five games and nine or more catches and 90+ yards in four of those games.

Darren Waller, Oak:

Waller had a team high seven catches and a team high 10 targets while putting up 75 yards against the Colts fifth ranked defense. Over his last two games, Waller has 20 catches on 27 targets, for 275 yards and two touchdowns. 



Matt Ryan, Atl:

Ryan has thrown for multiple touchdowns in just five of the Falcons 13 games and zero touchdowns in three of their games. In fact, 13 of his 19 touchdown passes have come in four games. The other nine games, he has six touchdown passes. Given the weapons he has, I have no idea how that happens, but he is hot off a one touchdown, three interception performance against the Chargers…things aren’t going to be pretty against the Bucs this week. 

Tua Tagovailoa, Mia:

Tua had a season high 316 yards passing and two touchdowns last week against the Chiefs, but he needed 48 pass attempts to get their, and he only completed 50% of those passes. To make matters worse, he plays against Bill Belichick this week, and may be doing so without his top wide receiver (DeVante Parker) or his top tight end (Mike Gesicki). I wouldn’t touch Tua this week.

.Others receiving votes:
Daniel Jones, NYG:

Jones played last week with a bad hamstring, but didn’t play well. He went 11/21 for 127 yards, and no touchdowns. He was also sacked six times for 52 yards, meaning his Net passing was 75 yards…and not a single rush attempt. The Giants may play him this week, but you shouldn’t. 

Teddy Bridgewater, Car:

Bridgewater has had a solid year, but doesn’t give you much from a fantasy perspective. With just 14 passing touchdowns on the season, he is barely averaging a touchdown per game. Last week, he threw for 283 yards and no interceptions, but zero touchdowns (he did have a running touchdown). I don’t see him having a much better day this week in Green Bay, and if Christian McCaffrey is back, the Panthers likely will not be throwing the ball 40 times this week. 

Running backs:

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

I had Elliott on the ‘Studs’ list last week because he was going up against a Bengals run defense which ranked 29th in the league. Thanks to Elliott’s pedestrian 12 carry 48 yard performance (zero touchdowns), the Bengals defense moved up two spots to 27th! That marks Elliott’s fifth game this season where he has failed to rush for 50 yards, and his ninth game without a rushing touchdown. With a tough matchup this week against the 49ers, don’t expect much from Elliott.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC:

I have CEH in one of my leagues and he has been beyond frustrating! Last week was the six time this season he has failed to rush for more than 40 yards and 10th time in 12 games he has failed to rush for 70 or more. Last week, he at least caught five passes for 59 yards, but that was his first time with more than 20 yards receiving in his last seven games. Depending on your running back situation, you may want to sit CEH this week against the Saints second ranked run defense. 

Others receiving votes:

Giovani Bernard, Cin:

I keep predicting big things for Gio, and he and the Bengals keep letting me down. After toting the ball for just eight yards on three carries last week – and adding a fumble – Gio is a ‘Dud’ until he shows us otherwise. I don’t see him – or this Bengals offense – doing much this week on Monday night against the Steelers. 

James Robinson, Jax:

What a story Robinson has been! The 5’9″ undrafted rookie from Illinois State is third in the NFL with 1,035 yards rushing – one of only three running backs to have eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing at this point. That being said, he has only carried the ball 30 times in the Jags last two games, including just 12 carries last week against the Titans. I don’t like the matchup this week of a Jags team with nothing to play for going up against a Ravens team with their playoff hopes on the line. 

Pass Catchers:

All Pass catchers wearing Bengals stripes:

Just like the last few weeks, no one catching passes in Bengals stripes is worth playing. This week, the Bengals may be forced to start Ryan Finley, against the Steelers top ranked pass rush, with one of the league’s worst offensive line. If Finley is indeed the starter, the Bengals may not surpass 100 yards as a team. Even with Brandon Allen starting, they likely won’t fair much better. Sit all your Bengals players again. 

Darius Slayton, NYG:

This is the second week in a row for Slayton, but for good reason. The Giants had just 81 Net yards passing last week! Though Slayton accounted for nearly a quarter of their passing yards (31 yards on three catches), he now has four catches for 45 yards in his last three games combined. 

Others receiving votes:

Terry McLaurin, Was:

In his last two games, McLaurin has just four catches for 38 yards and no touchdowns, and while going up against the league’s worst pass defense (Seattle) might be just what he needs to get back on track, he may be doing so with Dewayne Haskins throwing him the ball – or a hobbled Alex Smith. Last week in relief, Haskins completed seven of his 12 attempts for just 51 yards.

Marquise Brown, Bal:

 Hollywood may have caught the only one that counted, but don’t let that and his three game touchdown streak fool you into starting him this week. He had what seemed like 10 drops this week and had just one catch for six yards before the big 44 yard touchdown. Hollywood hasn’t surpassed 100 yards receiving since Week 1 and has put up eight games of 50 yards or less…including three games of less than 15 yards. 



Jared Goff, LAR:

Goff didn’t do much last week, but going up against Belichick, I didn’t expect him to (hence his ‘Duds’ designation last week). I like his matchup this week against the winless Jets though. The Jets rank second to last in passing yards allowed per game (286.8) and no one has given up more touchdowns through the air than the Jets (28). 

Derek Carr, LV:

Carr has been flip flopping between my ‘Studs’ and ‘Duds’ list and now finds himself on the ‘Sleepers’ list because of his inconsistency. While the Chargers don’t give up a lot of yards in the air, they have given up 26 passing touchdowns and they struggle to get pressure on the quarterback. I think Carr will have a solid outing this week.

Matthew Stafford, Det:

Stafford has had a pretty quiet year, but the Titans pass defense is terrible. They rank dead last in sacks (14), are tied for last in passing touchdowns allowed (28), and sit in the bottom four in passing yards allowed per game (273.6). I look for Stafford to put up about 300 yards and two or more touchdowns this week.


Running backs:

Cam Akers, LAR:

If you gambled and started Akers last week against the Patriots, you were rewarded with 194 all-purpose yards – 171 on the ground. I don’t expect a repeat performance with those kind of numbers, but against the Jets, he and the Rams offense could have a good day.

Jonathan Taylor, Ind:

The Colts backfield has been tough to figure out this year, but over the last three weeks, Taylor has 331 yards on the ground, 414 all-purpose yards, and three total touchdowns. Those are RB1 numbers, and this week, he gets the second worst run defense in the league. The Texans are giving up 152.3 yards per game on the ground. 

James Conner, Pit:

The Steelers have struggled to run the ball all year, putting up just 89.1 yards per game on the ground – ranking them 31st. But they get a Bengals defense which struggles against the run and the Steelers seem to always find success on the ground against the Bengals.


Pass Catchers:

T.Y. Hilton, Ind:

He may not be much of a ‘Sleeper’ after his past three weeks (17 catches, 277 yards, 4 touchdowns), but as quiet as he has been all year, I am putting him here one more time. He and Rivers seem to finally be clicking and they get a Texans defense this week which struggles against just about everything. 

A.J. Brown, Ten:

Brown pulled in seven of his nine targets last week for 112 yards and a touchdowns on one of the best catches of the year. Brown now has put up 87 or more yards in each of his last three games and has scored a touchdown in three of his last four. I like the matchup this week against the Lions.  

Allen Robinson, Chi:

Mitchell Trubisky played well last week and Robinson was the big benefactor – to the tune of 13 targets, nine receptions, 123 yards and a touchdown. And, believe it or not, but the Vikings pass defense is worse than the Texans in almost every category. 

Bonus Sleepers:

Brandon Aiyuk, SF:

If you listened to me on this one last week, you were rewarded. Aiyuk had a team high 16 targets, pulling in a team high 10 receptions for 119 yards. That is now five straight games of five or more catches and 75 or more yards for this rookie. 

Logan Thomas, Was:

Another one where if you listened to me last week, you were probably happy. Thomas didn’t put up huge numbers, but his team high six catches for a team high 43 yards netted those brave enough to start him (me) 10+ points in PPR leagues. That is not two straight games of seven or more targets and six or more catches for Thomas.

Jonnu Smith, Ten:

The Bengals are terrible against tight ends, and my ‘Sleeper’ pick of Mike Gesicki panned out last week (nine catches, 81 yards, one touchdown). If you are looking for a sleeper tight end, Schultz could be your guy against the Bengals this week.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cle:

This is a deep sleeper, but if you are in a pinch and need a starter, DPJ may be worth a flier. Over the Browns last two games, he has eight targets, five catches, 166 yards and a touchdown.  

  • Categories: NFL

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