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Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Top Players and Matchups for All Positions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the fist half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The fantasy football playoffs are all about living on the brink.

Catch a break here, and you might soon soak your living room during a celebratory champagne shower. Get a bad bounce there, and you could be in the market for a new hobby.

This is the championship-or-bust portion of the schedule. You play for league titles—and championship-validated bragging rights—and this is your chance to go get one.

We're here to nudge you in that direction with our complete positional guide to Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season.

                

Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterback

1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

3. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans

4. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

6. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

7. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

8. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams

10. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

              

Top Matchup: Baker Mayfield at Arizona Cardinals

A frustration-filled season still has the chance to end on a high note for the Cleveland Browns. Even if they can't sneak into the playoff picture, they can at least carry momentum into the offseason.

The Browns have won four of their last five, and their hot streak has coincided with some of Baker Mayfield's most productive stretch. While far from a juggernaut stretch, he still has eight passing touchdowns and two rushing scores against four interceptions over this stretch.

He could build on that success in a big way this weekend.

The Cardinals pass defense is as exploitable as they come. Over their last eight games, they've allowed all quarterbacks not named Devlin Hodges or Daniel Jones to pass for at least 317 yards and two scores. Four of the six had three-plus touchdown passes and two cleared the 400-yard mark.

Arizona's defense ranks dead last in passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed. Mayfield must be salivating during his film sessions.

                       

Running Back

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

2. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers

3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans

4. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins

5. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams

6. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

7. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals

8. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

9. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

10. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers

                   

Top Matchup: Chris Carson at Carolina Panthers

You might think Carolina's run defense would be improved just by battling against Christian McCaffrey every week. That couldn't be further from the case.

Maybe he's just wearing them out?

The Panthers allow more fantasy points to the position than anyone, per Yahoo Sports; no one else comes within a point per game. Carolina is 29th in rushing yards per game, tied for 31st in rushing yards per carry and 32nd in rushing touchdowns allowed. The Panthers have surrendered 24 rushing scores; the Jaguars are the next most generous at 19.

All of this is great news for Chris Carson, who was already looking at a massive workload with Rashaad Penny lost for the season. Penny had been cutting into Carson's carries of late, but Seattle's top rusher should return to weekly allotments of 20-plus rushing attempts.

               

Wide Receiver

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

2. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

4. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

5. Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

6. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

7. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

8. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers

9. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams

10. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

                    

Top Matchup: Kenny Golladay vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Detroit Lions are hurting.

Matthew Stafford hasn't suited up since the first week of November. His replacement, Jeff Driskel, landed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. That's also the home of running back Kerryon Johnson, tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Marvin Jones.

The Lions could really use a break, and the football gods scheduled them one with Tampa Bay's porous pass defense coming to town.

The Bucs have allowed the league's most fantasy production to wideouts, and it isn't close. They've coughed up an average of 38.92 points to wide receivers. No one else has allowed more than 33.69.

The matchup alone gives Kenny Golladay a chance to be special, even if he's catching passes from undrafted rookie David Blough again. He quarterbacked the last two weeks, and Golladay totaled 10 receptions for 216 yards and two touchdowns across them. He might actually up his average against Tampa.

                 

Tight End

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

4. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

5. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Minnesota Vikings

6. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers

7. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets

8. Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins

9. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals

10. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

                

Top Matchup: David Njoku at Arizona Cardinals

It would take a special kind of matchup to restore trust in David Njoku.

Cleveland's talented tight end made his first appearance since mid-September on Sunday (broken wrist), and the rust was evident. The first target to come his way hit him in the hands and still wound up intercepted. He only saw two more on the day, catching one for a whopping four yards.

That was it.

But we still have faith, due almost entirely to Arizona's generosity. The Cardinals are atrocious against tight ends. The gap between the average points they surrender and the team allowing the second-most (3.56) is bigger than the one separating that team allowing the 16th-most (3.5).

Arizona has allowed 13 touchdown receptions to tight ends already. There have only been three weeks in which the opponent's tight end didn't find the end zone. Given Njoku's physical gifts and the fact Mayfield typically looks his direction a lot, Njoku's scoring chances seem as good as anyone's at the position.

                

Defense

1. New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

2. Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets

3. San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

4. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills

5. Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

6. Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers

7. Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

9. Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

10. Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders

                   

Kicker

1. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

2. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts

3. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys

4. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

5. Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins at New York Giants

6. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

7. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets

8. Matt Gay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions

9. Nick Folk, New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

10. Austin Seibert, Cleveland Browns at Arizona Cardinals