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Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Matchups We Love for Fantasy Playoffs

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2017

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 10:  Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It all comes down to this for many fantasy football owners. 

A grueling season marred by breakouts like Kareem Hunt and Robby Anderson, not to mention major injuries like Carson Wentz and countless others, has finally reached a conclusion in most leagues. 

Those able to successfully navigate to this point saw Week 15 kick off in odd fashion on Thursday with the highest scorer being, like everyone predicted, Brock Osweiler. 

It's going to be another tough week for owners, so let's outline projections for every position based on standard Yahoo leagues. 

       

Week 15 Schedule

Chicago at Detroit 

L.A. Chargers at Kansas City

Arizona at Washington 

Baltimore at Cleveland

Cincinnati at Minnesota 

Green Bay at Carolina 

Houston at Jacksonville 

Miami at Buffalo

N.Y. Jets at New Orleans 

Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants

L.A. Rams at Seattle 

New England  at Pittsburgh 

Tennessee at San Francisco 

Dallas at Oakland 

Atlanta at Tampa Bay 

        

Quarterbacks

PlayerProjected Points
Russell Wilson21
Tom Brady20
Philip Rivers20
Ben Roethlisberger19
Cam Newton18
Dak Prescott17
Drew Brees16
Aaron Rodgers15
Blake Bortles15
Matt Ryan14
Case Keenum13
Kirk Cousins13
Matthew Stafford12
Jimmy Garoppolo11
Jameis Winston11
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Owners had to know this was coming—other than the whole Osweiler thing, this is a week to lean on the recognizable veterans. 

Look at Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers. He's turned it on when owners need him most, posting 16.3 or more points in five consecutive games out of a bye and thrown one interception in the process, throwing himself in the MVP conversation as well. 

Rivers shouldn't slow at all in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs, a team allowing the seventh-most points to opposing quarterbacks on average this year. He knows them well and they've fallen off the proverbial cliff since their last encounter back in Week 3. 

Also feel free to count on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. This hasn't always been the case considering he has outings of 7.58 and 11.54 points this year, yet Big Ben is also red hot out of a bye and sitting on outings of 18.94 or more points in four consecutive appearances. 

Obviously, most will point to Week 14 for proof Big Ben is on fire. There, he attempted 66 passes and hit the 506-yard mark. He's a candidate for regression, though by how much against the New England Patriots and a defense coughing up the fifth-most points to quarterbacks is worth wondering. 

          

Running Backs

PlayerProjected Points
Le'Veon Bell19
Todd Gurley18
Alvin Kamara18
Jordan Howard17
DeMarco Murray17
Devonta Freeman17
Melvin Gordon17
Mark Ingram15
Leonard Fournette*14
LeSean McCoy13
Kareem Hunt12
Alex Collins12
Mike Davis11
Kenyan Drake11
Marshawn Lynch11
Rex Burkhead11
Samaje Perine11
Latavius Murray11
Christian McCaffrey10
Lamar Miller10
Alfred Morris10
Jay Ajayi10
Dion Lewis10
Carlos Hyde9
Jamaal Williams9
Author's projections. *If he plays.

As usual, it's a mix of names who will help fantasy owners the most at running back. 

One of the newer names on the block is Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard, a breakout rookie a year ago who remained consistent all season and likely lifted owners to fantasy titles. 

Howard is at it again this year with seven double-digit outings to his name and is even turning it on when it matters most, entering Week 15 off a 27.5-point outburst. While a regression candidate as well, Howard should still have a big outburst against a Detroit Lions defense permitting the fifth-most points to backs. 

On the veteran side of things, DeMarco Murray of the Tennessee Titans should be in for a return to form against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Murray has disappointed over the past two weeks with single-digit performances while his entire offense has suffered, but it's impossible to ignore a matchup against a 49ers team allowing the third-most points to backs. 

In what should be a run-first affair, Murray will have plenty of room to get upfield and produce even while seeing some of his snaps go to Derrick Henry.  

     

Wide Receivers

PlayerProjected Points
Antonio Brown17
Julio Jones17
Keenan Allen16
A.J. Green16
Devin Funchess 15
DeAndre Hopkins14
Michael Thomas14
Doug Baldwin14
Brandin Cooks13
Adam Thielen13
Dez Bryant12
Davante Adams12
Larry Fitzgerald12
Nelson Agholor11
Michael Crabtree11
Jordy Nelson11
Marvin Jones11
Josh Gordon11
Mike Evans10
Dede Westbrook10
Tyreek Hill10
Alshon Jeffery10
Jarvis Landry9
Marquise Goodwin8
Stefon Diggs8
Jamison Crowder8
JuJu Smith-Schuster8
Marqise Lee8
Mohamed Sanu8
Golden Tate8
Author's projections. *If he plays.

Wideout will be a mix of old and new as well. Guys like Antonio Brown are obvious starts in great situations. 

But don't forget about a guy like the veteran Keenan Allen, Rivers' favorite target. Fully healthy, Allen has been on an absolute tear this year and has outings of 23.2 and 28.2 points over his last four. 

It wouldn't register as much of a surprise to see Allen do similar damage in Week 15 against the Chiefs, a team allowing the second-most points to wideouts on average. Rivers likes to spread the ball around, but it's Allen with 13 or more targets in three of his last four games and more than 100 yards in each. 

In the new faces department, owners should take a look at Devin Funchess of the Carolina Panthers. He's quickly become one of Cam Newton's favorite targets after the team either traded away or saw talent get hurt. 

Funchess has seven or more targets in each of his last three outings and has strung together four double-digit outings in a row. The usage and production are great trends going into a game against the Green Bay Packers, owners of a defense allowing the third-most points to Funchess' position. 

The Panthers showed faith in Funchess' development when trading away Kelvin Benjamin. Owners, clearly, should do the same. 

      

Tight Ends

PlayerProjected Points
Zach Ertz13
Travis Kelce12
Rob Gronkowski12
Kyle Rudolph*10
Delanie Walker10
Hunter Henry9
Evan Engram9
Jack Doyle8
Jimmy Graham7
Jared Cook7
Jason Witten7
Eric Ebron7
Vernon Davis7
Greg Olsen7
Charles Clay6
Author's projections. *If he plays.

It isn't often one sees Rob Gronkowski get knocked from the top of the rankings, yet here is Week 15. 

Gronk is an obvious must-start, but he doesn't boast a matchup like the one belonging to Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, who gets to take on the New York Giants—owners of the defense allowing the most points overall to tight ends this year. 

Ertz, finally healthy, should see something similar to the 10 targets and 9.5 points he did against the Giants back in Week 3. Except this time, the Giants are worse, and he'll be an even bigger safety blanket with Wentz out. 

Also of note is Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. He's iffy for the game, but a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals is a huge ordeal. Not only do the Bengals have every starting linebacker on the injury report, they already allow the 17th-most points to the position. 

Rudolph has five or more targets in eight of his last nine games and at least 9.6 points in three consecutive games and counting. He's consistently one of the tight ends with the best floor, though the ceiling is so far up this week it's almost hard to see. 

             

Defense/Special Teams

UnitProjected Points
Jacksonville Jaguars13
Baltimore Ravens13
Philadelphia Eagles10
Minnesota Vikings9
New Orleans Saints8
Buffalo Bills7
Los Angeles Chargers7
Atlanta Falcons7
Detroit Lions6
Seattle Seahawks6
Author's projections

The Jacksonville Jaguars are an obvious start here every week, so let's take a hard look at the Baltimore Ravens. 

Those Ravens are this week's must-play option because they get a shot at the Cleveland Browns. Granted, they'd be a start either way because they only allow an average of 18.9 points per game and have 36 sacks, 20 interceptions and 14 forced fumbles. 

But this week looks especially great because the Browns allow the second-most points to opposing defenses this year, including seven allowances of double-digit outings with a high of 25. 

Back in Week 2, the Ravens hit the 17-point mark against the Browns. 

        

Kickers

PlayerProjected Points
Stephen Gostkowski11
Greg Zuerlein10
Jake Elliott9
Matt Bryant9
Justin Tucker8
Will Lutz7
Chris Boswell7
Harrison Butker7
Kai Forbath6
Matt Prater6
Author's projections

Owners shouldn't hesitate to rely on a rookie like Jake Elliott. 

The Eagles' kicker has been a star since joining the team, boasting eight double-digit performances and 14 points his last time out. With Wentz out, his offense might be getting him in field-goal range often before stalling out. 

Adding to this is a matchup with the Giants, a team allowing the 10th-most points to the spot. Back in Week 3, Elliott capitalized on this encounter with 12 points. It's something close to a floor for this week with so much at stake for all involved. 

        

All scoring info, points-against info and ownership stats courtesy of Yahoo standard leagues. 

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