Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 15: Latest Fantasy Football Lineup Advice for Sunday

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2018

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson warms-up before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

A fun mixture of stars and unexpected names have already put on a show from a fantasy football slant in NFL Week 15. 

The Thursday showing between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs lived up to expectations, with star names like Philip Rivers and Patrick Mahomes sitting near the top of the overall leaderboard. 

But so too are guys like Kansas City running back Damien Williams and his Los Angeles counterpart Justin Jackson. 

Whether playing in consolation brackets or a late league title game, fantasy football owners have plenty of stars and underrated names to consider over the rest of the Week 15 slate, which includes two games Saturday. Here are some matchup comparisons and start-sit evaluations. 

       

QB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Cam Newton (vs. NO) vs. Kirk Cousins (vs. MIA)Cam Newton
Jared Goff (vs. PHI) vs. Ben Roethlisberger (vs. NE)Ben Roethlisberger
Andrew Luck (vs. DAL) vs. Tom Brady (at PIT)Tom Brady
Drew Brees (at CAR) vs. Russell Wilson (at SF)Drew Brees
Dak Prescott (at IND) vs. Deshaun Watson (at NYJ)Deshaun Watson
Author's opinion

Start: Russell Wilson, SEA (at SF) 

Believe it or not, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was a massive sit option last week

Right on cue, Wilson struggled his way to 9.98 points, which is a good example of why the big-name status of players goes out the window at the quarterback position. While Wilson struggled, someone like Josh Johnson nearly topped the scoring board at the position. 

Anyway, Wilson should get back on track despite being on the road in Week 15 in large part thanks to a matchup against a San Francisco 49ers defense surrendering the ninth-most points to opposing quarterbacks this year on average. 

This includes Wilson himself, who in Week 13 totaled 24.8 points against the unit with four touchdowns. It isn't unreasonable to expect multiple touchdowns and a similar scoring output in the rematch. 

       

Sit: Jameis Winston, TB (at BAL)

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Now is the perfect time to jump off the Jameis Winston train. 

Since taking over in Week 11, Winston has quietly been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks out there, scoring 20-plus points in three of four outings, throwing eight touchdowns and two interceptions in the process. 

But with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15, the feel-good vibes around Winston should careen off the side of a cliff. 

Those Ravens only permit the fifth-fewest points to opposing passers on average, which includes two of their last four quarterbacks encountered scoring less than 10 points. Winston's problem with interceptions could return as he looks to overcome the unit. 

       

RB

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Ezekiel Elliott (at IND) vs. Lamar Miller (at NYJ)Ezekiel Elliott
Saquon Barkley (vs. TEN) vs. Derrick Henry (at NYG)Saquon Barkley
Christian McCaffrey (vs. NO) vs. Phillip Lindsay (vs. CLE)Phillip Lindsay
Joe Mixon (vs. OAK) vs. David Johnson (at ATL)David Johnson
Alvin Kamara (at CAR) vs. Nick Chubb (at DEN)Alvin Kamara
Author's opinion

Start: Dalvin Cook, MIN (vs. MIA) 

It seems the Minnesota Vikings are finally remembering what they have with running back Dalvin Cook. 

Cook has totaled 14 or more points in three consecutive games now despite only seeing a maximum of 13 carries. But last time out, Cook tied for the team-high in targets with seven, going for 28 yards and a score. 

In other words, the Vikings are starting to shy away from hoping Kirk Cousins can elevate the roster and are putting the ball into the hands of elite skill-position players, which Cook is when healthy. 

Surefire, versatile usage pairs with a dynamite matchup here as Cook gets to take on a Miami Dolphins team allowing the seventh-most points to opposing rushers this season. It equates to a strong chance Cook has his best outing of the year when owners need him most. 

      

Sit: Jordan Howard, CHI (vs. GB) 

David Banks/Associated Press

Don't get too excited about the idea the Chicago Bears will lean on Jordan Howard to keep the Green Bay Packers offense off the field over the weekend. 

Those Packers look improved already after a coaching change, putting up 34 points last time out. Chicago, elite defense or not, might have a hard time avoiding falling behind, which would effectively remove Howard from the game flow. 

And even if it doesn't, it is important to keep in mind that Howard has had 16 and 19 carries over his last two outings, which sounds great but resulted in a maximum of 10.8 points.

Those Packers also happen to allow the 12th-fewest points to backs, so the risk of bad game flow and touchdown-based upside signals Howard is too risky for an investment. 

       

WR

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
T.Y. Hilton (VS.DAL) vs. Jarvis Landry (at DEN)T.Y. Hilton
Michael Thomas (at CAR) vs. Robert Woods (vs. PHI)Michael Thomas
DeAndre Hopkins (at NYJ) vs. Davante Adams (at CHI)DeAndre Hopkins
Amari Cooper (at IND) vs. Stefon Diggs (vs. MIA)Amari Cooper
Josh Gordon (at PIT) vs. Tyler Lockett (at SF)Tyler Lockett
Author's opinion

Start: Brandin Cooks, LAR (vs. PHI) 

Some owners are going to despise seeing his name given the last two weeks, but Los Angeles Rams wideout Brandin Cooks is a money start in Week 15. 

Cooks fell flat on his face his last two times out, scoring 8.2 and 3.7 points right in the middle of the fantasy playoffs. But for those still alive, he should be able to exploit the Philadelphia Eagles for massive gains. 

After all, those Eagles allow the second-most points to Cooks' position outright, which includes 44.7 outright to one player a week ago (Amari Cooper). 

The Rams' spread-it-around attack won't let Cooks hit those heights, but it should also mean a big day in what could devolve into a high-scoring game quickly.

      

Sit: Calvin Ridley, ATL (vs. ARI) 

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The fun times seem over for Calvin Ridley owners. 

While electrifying at times, the Atlanta Falcons rookie has just 3.7 and 1.5 points over his last two outings, which is disappointing, to say the least, after his 17.3-point outburst three games ago and his five double-digit performances overall. 

A downward trend in usage even in solid matchups is a red flag as Ridley heads into a game against an Arizona Cardinals defense that only allows the ninth-fewest points to wideouts—mostly because offenses run all over them. 

Don't count on a touchdown elevating Ridley to viable status, either, as the Cardinals have only allowed five scores to the position all season.

      

TE

Matchup ComparisonVerdict
Ryan Griffin (at NYJ) vs. C.J. Uzomah (vs. OAK)Travis Kelce
Zach Ertz (at LAR) vs. Jared Cook (at CIN)Zach Ertz
Eric Ebron (vs. DAL) vs. Evan Engram (vs. TEN)Eric Ebron
George Kittle (vs. SEA) vs. Jaylen Samuels (vs. NE)George Kittle
Rob Gronkowski (at PIT) vs. Jimmy Graham (at CHI)Rob Gronkowski
Author's opinion

Start: Jared Cook, OAK (at CIN) 

Don't step on the brakes when it comes to Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook. 

Part of what makes an owner successful is knowing when to finesse away from the hot hand before the eventual dip in production. And Cook looks like a candidate considering he has four consecutive double-digit outings in a row with a high of 19.5 points. 

But Cook's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals pits him against a team that has traditionally struggled against the position for years. That includes this year, where the Bengals have allowed the 12th-most points to the position. 

Even on the road, Cook should have another double-digit day given the matchup and the fact his offense doesn't have much of anyone else to throw at these days. 

        

Sit: Jimmy Graham, GB (vs. CHI) 

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Those praying for a Jimmy Graham resurgence aren't likely to get what they want. 

Graham has been a massive bust compared to expectations—and his linking up with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay coming off a 10-touchdown season in Seattle were gigantic. 

Through 13 appearances, Graham has scored just two touchdowns this year and hasn't hit double-digit production since Week 9. 

Now Graham has to deal with a Bears defense permitting the ninth-fewest points to his position, which includes holding him to 1.8 points at the start of the season. 

             

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

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