Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 15

December 16, 2021

As if roster setting isn’t stressful enough in the fantasy playoffs, everyone is on edge with about a quarter of the league having issues with COVID this week. Who will/won’t play by the time the games start is anyone’s guess at this point, so the staff here at ‘Studs, Duds, and Sleepers’ is encouraging all our readers to make sure to check for game statuses early and often this week, including right before kickoffs. Assuming all the players below stay off the COVID list and play, our staff has compiled yet another week of ironclad, foolproof fantasy football knowledge!



Patrick Mahomes, KC: 

After two straight games of zero touchdowns, Mahomes tossed two last week while completing 83.3% of his passes. I look for this Chiefs/Chargers matchup to turn into a shootout and that means good things for Mahomes owners. 

Aaron Rodgers, GB:  

Rodgers continued his ownership of the Bears, throwing for 341 yards, four touchdowns and no turnovers. He gets a depleted Ravens secondary, and right now, it doesn’t look like playing with nine toes is bothering him. 

Others receiving votes:

Matthew Stafford, LAR: 

After torching a top-five pass defense for nearly 300 yards, three touchdowns and no picks, he gets the league’s worst pass defense. Stafford and the Rams offense should find plenty of success this week against the Seahawks. 


Running backs:

Nick Chubb, Cle: 

The way things are going in Cleveland, Chubb may be playing quarterback, receiver, tight end and running back this week. As long as he has a line to block for him, Chubb should get plenty of opportunities this week.

James Conner, AZ: 

He only ran for 31 yards last week, but he found the endzone twice and caught all nine – that’s right, nine – targets for 94 yards. With a matchup against the Lions and no DeAndre Hopkins, I expect another heavy day of work for Conner.

Others receiving votes:

Dalvin Cook, Min:

Apparently Cook only needs one good shoulder – as the Pittsburgh Steelers found out last week. The Bears run defense may not be as bad as the Steelers run defense, but it isn’t much better. Cook should find plenty of space against this defense. 


Pass Catchers:

George Kittle, SF: 

For the third week in a row, Kittle is on the ‘Studs’ list and for the second week in a row, I nailed this one! Over the last two weeks, Kittle has caught 22 of his 25 targets for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Right now, no one can cover Kittle and I don’t expect the Falcons to do much better this week.

Davante Adams, GB: 

Rodgers and Adams are going to carry a number of teams to fantasy glory this season. After a 10 reception, 121 yard and two touchdown performance last week, I expect another big game this week against a beat up Ravens secondary.

Others receiving votes:

Cooper Kupp, LAR: 

All three receiving ‘Studs’ stayed the same this week! Stafford keeps looking to Kupp and Kupp keeps delivering – to the tune of 13 receptions, 123 yards and a touchdown last week. As long as Stafford and Kupp can stay away from the COVID this week, I expect another big game for both.




Matt Ryan, Atl:  

Ryan finds himself on the ‘Duds’ list for a record third straight week. Ryan did throw a touchdown pass last week – just his second in his last five games – but he failed to break 200 yards for the fourth time in five games and fifth time in seven games. I don’t expect things to get better this week against the 49ers, even if they do have a suspect secondary. 

Carson Wentz, Ind:

With 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions, Wentz is having an incredible bounce back season, but Wentz v Belichick is just not a good matchup. Belichick has an innate ability to: 1) take away what offenses do best, and 2) confuse quarterbacks. I look for the Patriots to take away Jonathan Taylor and force Wentz to try and beat them…and then confuse the hell out of him. 

Others receiving votes:
Derek Carr, LV:  

If the Browns can’t field a defense this weekend, Carr may go from ‘Dud’ to ‘Stud’, but assuming the Browns defense is mostly on the field, I expect the Raiders offensive line to struggle to protect Carr and when Carr is pressured, bad things happen. 


Running backs:

Miles Sanders, Phi: 

Prior to their bye, Sanders put up 144 all-purpose yards on 27 touches, but that was against the Jets – a bottom five run defense. The Football Team on the other hand, is a top-five run defense, and as long as they can field a defense (COVID), this could be a tough matchup for Sanders. 

Najee Harris, Pit: 

Believe it or not, last week was Harris’s first multi-touchdown game of the season – and overall, one of his best games of the season. But the Titans only give up 90 yards rushing per game and have 32 sacks. The Titans will be able to shut down Harris and get to Ben this week.

Others receiving votes:

Rashaad Penny, Sea: 

I nailed Penny last week as a ‘Sleeper’. Penny put up 137 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 touches. But that was against the Texans. This week the Seahawks have the Rams, a completely different beast. Penny will get the bulk of the carries, but don’t expect a similar performance. 


Pass Catchers:

Michael Pittman, Jr., Ind: 

The Colts number one receiver lands on the ‘Duds’ list this week because I don’t like the matchup of his quarterback against Bill Belichick. No other reason.

Stefon Diggs, Buff: 

As a Diggs owner myself, this hurts, but Diggs hasn’t gone over 75 yards now in five straight games and the Bills scored 30+ in three of those games. The Panthers may not be a good team this year, but they have the top ranked pass defense, and the Bills have struggled against worse teams. 

Others receiving votes:

DJ Moore/Robby Anderson, Car: 

This should just be any Panthers players really. The Panthers quarterback situation is a mess and struggled against a Falcons pass defense which is in the bottom half of the league in most categories, and dead last at sacking the quarterback. This week they get a Bills defense that gives up less than 180 yards per game through the air. 




Ryan Tannehill, Ten: 

Tannehill is having a less than impressive season and is struggling without Derrick Henry, but the Steelers defense has been terrible this season and they may be down some key pieces. If there is a week Tannehill may breakout, this could be the week. 

Taysom Hill, NO: 

Hill isn’t doing much with his arm, but his legs are making him worthy as a potential starting fantasy quarterback. Hill has two rushing touchdowns in each of his last two games and is averaging 90 yards rushing in those two games. I wouldn’t expect a big game against the Bucs, but another solid running performance is not out of the picture. 

Gardner Minshew, Phi:

If Jalen Hurts (ankle) can’t go – and it is up in the air at this point – it actually could be a good thing for the Eagles. The Football team is good against the run, and not so much against the pass. That plays into Minshew’s strengths, so if he starts this week, he may have some value.


Running backs:

James Robinson, Jax:

Boy, I swung and missed on Robinson last week, and as a result of his terrible week, I can see a lot of owners sitting him this week… but that may be a mistake. The Texans give up a league worst 147.9 rushing yards per game and Robinson – despite his last two weeks – is still averaging 4.8 yards per carry. 

D’onta Foreman, Ten: 

Foreman found the endzone once last week while putting up 62 all-purpose yards on 15 touches. While that was against the Jaguars, believe it or not, the Jaguars run defense ranks almost 10 spots above the Steelers in terms of yards per game and yards per carry.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC: 

He only saw 10 carries last week, but that is because the Chiefs had such a large lead on the Raiders, they were resting him. CEH was effective – finding the endzone twice in those 10 carries. The Chargers have a bad run defense and this game should be high-scoring, a win for all Chiefs fantasy players 


Pass Catchers:

Allen Lazard, GB:

Aaron Rodgers is the tide that lifts all boats…or something like that. While Lazard barely had half the targets of Adams last week (13 to 7), he made the most of his chances – six catches, 75 yards and a touchdown. Given the Ravens issues in the secondary, they are likely to throw every they have at Adams, which should mean a big game for Lazard.

Brandon Aiyuk, SF: 

Aiyuk may be the 49ers third offensive option, but he is getting enough work to have value. Last week, Aiyuk saw 10 targets, pulling in six for 62 yards and a game-winning touchdown. 

Brandin Cooks, Hou:

Starting anyone on the Texans is a risk, but Cooks is coming off a game of 11 targets, eight catches and 101 yards. Yes, it was against the Seahawks bad passing defense, but the Jags are a mess both on and off the field right now, so if you are in a pinch and need a receiver or Flex play, Cooks could be worth a flyer. 


  • Categories: NFL

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