Fantasy Football Week 15: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonContributor IDecember 16, 2022

Fantasy Football Week 15: Biggest Sleepers at Every Position

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    Chuba Hubbard
    AP Photo/Gregory Bull

    In most fantasy football leagues, it's either playoff time, or you need a win and maybe some help to keep your title hopes alive. Fortunately for you, we have our eyes on several potential clutch performers who are widely available on the waiver wire.

    This week, remember to set your lineups before Saturday's tripleheader. Managers can find a sleeper stack in one of those matchups, which may yield scores in the high 20s or low 30s.

    Two veterans who may not excite you on a normal week could have big roles because of injuries, add them as potential high-floor contributors.

    As usual, we added a couple of rookies to spice up the list. They're viable pickups with decent or highly favorable matchups.

    Now, let's get to the eight sleeper options who are available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues—all of them recommended for point-per-reception scoring formats.

QB Taylor Heinicke vs. New York Giants (13 Percent Rostered)

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    Taylor Heinicke
    Taylor HeinickeMike Stobe/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $5,100

    In Week 13, Taylor Heinicke finished just outside the top 10 in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks as QB11 with 17.6 points. He threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Giants. Managers should roll the dice with him against Big Blue on Sunday.

    Heinicke had an extra week to prepare for the slumping Giants, who have allowed at least 246 passing yards in three of their last five games and rank 17th in yards allowed through the air. In his previous two games, he's thrown for four touchdowns and just one interception.

    Also, keep in mind that Heinicke had a solid rapport with each of his top three wideouts in the first meeting with the Giants. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and rookie first-rounder Jahan Dotson all had at least five catches and 54 receiving yards in that game. McLaurin and Dotson scored touchdowns.

    With a talented wide receiver trio, Heinicke can post a decent fantasy stat line. Managers shouldn't be surprised if he cracks the top 10 in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks in his second matchup with the Giants.

QB Matt Ryan at Minnesota Vikings (13 Percent Rostered)

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    Matt Ryan
    AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

    DraftKings DFS Price: $5,200

    The Indianapolis Colts had an extra week to prepare for the NFL's most generous pass defense. At 37 years old, Matt Ryan can still carve up a unit that's allowed 307-plus yards through the air in five consecutive games leading up to Saturday's contest.

    This season, Ryan has taken two or fewer sacks in three games and threw for 352-plus yards in two of those outings. He may have enough time to deliver accurate strikes downfield because of Minnesota's mediocre pass rush. The Vikings rank 25th in quarterback pressure rate, and they're 17th in sacks.

    If interim head coach Jeff Saturday, who's a former offensive lineman, has a good plan to keep Ryan upright, the Colts should be able to move the ball through the air against a porous secondary.

    Any manager in desperate need of a 20-plus-point quarterback performance should consider Ryan, who faces a defense that's allowed the sixth-most fantasy points (20.4) to signal-callers this season.

RB Chuba Hubbard vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (37 Percent Rostered)

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    Chuba Hubbard
    Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $4,900

    The Carolina Panthers have a defined offensive identity. They lean on the ground attack with a two-man backfield that features D'Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard.

    Carolina has rushed for at least 185 yards in three of its last four games, which is enough volume to keep two running backs in the RB2 and flex discussions. Even though Hubbard has served as Foreman's backup, he's recorded 31 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks.

    In Week 14, against the Seattle Seahawks, Hubbard tacked on three receptions for 25 yards, which is an added touch that should entice managers in PPR leagues.

    If Hubbard gets 12-15 touches, he'll maintain his flex appeal with a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers' 15th-ranked run defense. The unit has allowed an average of 157 rushing yards per game over the past three weeks.

    Also of note, Foreman popped up on the injury report with a foot injury last week, and Hubbard had a more efficient rushing performance, averaging 5.3 yards per carry compared to 3.5 yards per rush attempt for the former. Both running backs should be rostered in most leagues.

RB Rex Burkhead vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8 Percent Rostered)

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    Rex Burkhead
    AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

    DraftKings DFS Price: $4,600

    Fantasy managers won't have a rookie gem in running back Dameon Pierce. He'll miss at least one game with an ankle sprain, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston.

    If you're on the lookout for a replacement on the Houston Texans roster, Rex Burkhead could emerge as the lead running back. Though he's only recorded more than three carries in a single game once this season (Week 1), the 10th-year veteran may have a big role in the passing game in Week 15.

    For starters, the Texans have utilized Burkhead in the short passing game. He's hauled in 29 of 38 targets for 169 yards and a touchdown.

    Second, the pass-catching running back could see an increased role with wideouts Brandin Cooks (calf) and Nico Collins (foot) working their way back from injuries. Both receivers missed last week's game with the Dallas Cowboys and practice on Wednesday. Cooks has missed the previous two outings.

    Finally, the Texans may have to play catch up with a negative game script in a contest with the Kansas City Chiefs' No. 2-ranked scoring offense. If that's the case, regardless of who starts under center, the quarterback would have to push the ball with the passing game.

    Burkhead is probably the least appealing sleeper on this list, but he's a practical option this week.

WR Alec Pierce at Minnesota Vikings (13 Percent Rostered)

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    Alec Pierce
    AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,900

    The Indianapolis Colts have struggled to move the ball and score points in their last three outings with 19 or fewer points and no more than 309 total yards in those contests, but they draw a favorable matchup with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15.

    As noted above for our suggestion to start Matt Ryan, the Vikings have allowed the most passing yards per game, giving up 307-plus yards through the air in five consecutive weeks. Managers can build a stack with the Colts quarterback and one of his top pass-catching targets in Alec Pierce.

    Pierce is a better option than fellow Colts wideout Parris Campbell because he's a big-play receiver. The former averages 15.9 yards per reception compared to 9.9 yards per catch for the latter.

    Furthermore, Pierce had his most productive performance in Week 13 against the Dallas Cowboys' second-ranked pass defense before the Colts' bye week. He recorded four receptions for a season-high 86 yards and a touchdown. The rookie second-rounder has WR3 and flex appeal in a matchup with the Vikings, who allow the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

WR Nelson Agholor at Las Vegas Raiders (2 Percent Rostered)

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    Nelson Agholor
    Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,400

    While everyone focuses on the storyline that involves New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who's the lead skipper for the Las Vegas Raiders, fantasy managers should consider the possibility of Nelson Agholor lighting up his former team.

    In 2020, Agholor had one of his most productive years as a deep threat for the Raiders, catching 48 passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns. Though his production has dipped significantly with the Patriots, he could see a high number of targets with wideout DeVante Parker (concussion), Jakobi Meyers (concussion) and running back Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) banged up.

    Even if Meyers returns to action after a one-game absence and Stevenson suits up, Agholor may see double-digit targets. He's had at least eight looks in a game twice in the last three weeks—that's with Meyers and Stevenson healthy in Week 12.

    Last week, Nelson didn't have an efficient outing, hauling in five out 10 targets for 32 yards, but he's capable of going over the top for some big plays with those opportunities, especially against a Raiders pass defense that ranks 29th in yards allowed.

TE Tyler Conklin vs. Detroit Lions (29 Percent Rostered)

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    Tyler Conklin
    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,100

    The New York Jets promoted Zach Wilson to the No. 2 spot over Joe Flacco on their quarterback depth chart, so if Mike White doesn't play, the second-year signal-caller would likely take over the offense in Week 15.

    Whether it's White or Wilson in the huddle, tight end Tyler Conklin could be in line for a big game against the Detroit Lions.

    Conklin had his most productive game with Wilson in the starting role. In Week 8, the pass-catching tight end hauled in six out 10 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

    Over the past two weeks, White has warmed up to Conklin in the passing game. The Jets tight end saw 15 targets over the previous two outings. Last week, he caught five passes, which is his highest number of receptions since his standout performance with Wilson under center.

    The Lions have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, which means Conklin can become a solid No. 2 or No. 3 target in the Jets' passing game this week.

TE Chigoziem Okonkwo at Los Angeles Chargers (23 Percent Rostered)

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    Chigoziem Okonkwo
    AP Photo/Peter Joneleit

    DraftKings DFS Price: $3,100

    Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has a budding rapport with tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo, and they didn't just start to connect while wideout Treylon Burks missed the previous game with a concussion.

    Okonkwo has seen at least five targets in each of the last three weeks, hauling in 13 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown. Even though he's not a consistent starter, the rookie fourth-rounder played a season-high 58 percent of the snaps in Week 13, so his involvement in the offense has trended up.

    Even if Burks passes concussion protocol to suit up for Week 15, Okonkwo should maintain a role in the Titans' 29th-ranked aerial attack. Tennessee will need pass-catchers on the field to keep pace with the Los Angeles Chargers' third-ranked passing unit, which is a lot healthier with wideouts Keenan Allen and Mike Williams getting over hamstring and ankle injuries.

    Okonkwo and Burks (if healthy) could become a solid one-two pass-catching combination over Robert Woods, who's posted underwhelming receiving numbers this season (38 receptions for 406 yards and a touchdown).

    The Chargers rank 15th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends, though they've also surrendered 21 passing touchdowns (ranked 25th) in 13 games.

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    Fantasy points scored against statistics are provided by FantasyPros.

    Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.