Each week there are some obvious starts and sits in fantasy football. Other decisions are not quite so simple. With that in mind, I offer up some not-so-obvious picks with my weekly Studs, Duds & Sleepers. Here are this week’s picks.
QB: Justin Herbert (LAC) vs. TEN: Herbert has bounced out of his mid-season slump nicely with four straight games on 21+ FP. His weapons are all back and the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives. Look for the young gun to be shooting on all cylinders at home vs. a Titans’ team that has been torched for 71 points over the last two weeks and are losers of three straight.
RB: Derrick Henry (TEN) at LAC: It’s fantasy playoff time and that is when Henry shines. Only three teams have let running backs put up more fantasy points this season than the Chargers and the Titans path to victory is moving the chains with Henry and keeping Herbert and company on the sidelines. Six fantasy backs have eclipsed 20 PPR points this season on L.A. and fantasy managers should expect Henry to become the seventh player to do so.
WR: Michael Pittman (IND) at MIN: Pittman is in a smash spot coming out of his bye week with a Saturday matinee on tap vs. the Vikings. The veteran wideout needs something positive. He’s only scored once since Week 1 and has broken 100 yards receiving since Week 6. Minnesota has let 11 different wideouts hit 15+ fantasy points already in 2022.
TE: Dalton Schultz (DAL) at JCK: One of my favorite tight ends coming into the season, Schultz has rebounded nicely since Dak Prescott has returned to the lineup and he is red hot at the best time. He’s reached at least 13.4 FP in four of his last six games and now he gets to face Jaguars’ secondary that has ceded the most yards (819) to tight ends this season.
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QB: Derek Carr (LV) vs. NE: Carr is coming off one of his worst efforts of the year (137/0/2) vs. the Rams last week and now has the daunting task of facing a tough Patriots’ D. The unit has held opposing quarterbacks to under 15 FP in three of their last five outings and has only allowed five passes to throw for multiple scores all season.
RB: Rachaad White (TB) vs. CIN: The Bucs’ offense is struggling, especially up front and with Leonard Fournette back White no longer possesses the elite upside he carried a few weeks back. He’s hit double digit PPR points in four straight games, but since getting DJ Reader back Cincinnati has held both Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb to under 40 yards rushing. White is a flex play at best in Week 15.
WR: Josh Palmer (LAC) at TEN: With both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams back in the lineup, Palmer saw his lowest number of targets (6) thrown his way since Week 5. He has the potential to have a big statline, but his floor hasn’t been this low since September.
TE: Evan Engram (JCK) vs. DAL: After exploding last week Engram may find fantasy points tough to come by as the fantasy playoffs open as he faces a Cowboys’ defense ceding the fewest fantasy points to the position. Only one touchdown has been scored by TE vs. Dallas all year.
QB: Mac Jones (NE) at LV: With both of the Patriots top two runners banged up look for New England to land on its passing game vs. a Las Vegas defense that sits dead last in DVOA against the pass and just let Baker Mayfield light them up in a game they had to win to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
RB: Jerick McKinnon (KC) at HOU: The veteran continues to see a consistent number of snaps in the Chiefs’ high-powered attack and he’s turned in his best two outings of the season the last two weeks as he’s finally near 100 percent. He’s a high-end flex this week based on that volume and a matchup with the Texans, who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
WR: Brandon Aiyuk (SF) at SEA: The 49ers are dropping like flies and there are even questions of who will be under center less than 48 hours before their Thursday meeting with the Seahawks. No matter the quarterback, Aiyuk is the top option in the team’s passing attack with Deebo Samuel sidelined which gives him top 20 potential for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
TE: Tyler Conklin (NYJ) vs. DET: As long as Mike White (ribs) is able to go, Conklin should be a viable fantasy option in Week 15. He is running routes on about 70 percent of Jets’ drop backs and faces a much easier matchup than a week ago with the Lions on tap.
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