Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 15: Reviewing Fantasy Football's Top Fringe Starters

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 11, 2019

DUPLICATE***San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd (17)***San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (17) carries against New Orleans Saints strong safety Vonn Bell (24) in the first half an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

It can be difficult to make the right decisions in fantasy football, especially so in the playoffs.

You may want to stick with a player who has performed well and helped get you this deep into the fantasy season, but if it's a bad matchup, you may need to bench him and find a better streaming option off the waiver wire or on your bench.

Heading into Week 15, here are some players you'll want in your fantasy lineups this week, as well as some that you'll want to avoid.



Start 'Em: Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill (vs. Houston Texans)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans passes the ball in the second half against the Oakland Raiders at RingCentral Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Gett
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Tannehill and the red-hot Titans are on a roll. They've won six of their last seven games, and Tannehill has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of those victories, including three in a win over the Raiders this past Sunday.

Tannehill also had a season-high 391 yards in that victory at Oakland, while completing 21 of his 27 pass attempts. Since taking over Tennessee's starting job in Week 6, the 31-year-old has been a reliable fantasy option, and he's taken it to a new level of late.

This week should be a prime opportunity to start Tannehill, as the Texans rank 27th in the NFL in passing defense (265.8 yards allowed per game). Expect him to put up more big numbers.


Sit 'Em: Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

Allen struggled at home against the Ravens, as he went 17-for-39 for a season-low 146 yards and a touchdown. It was also his lowest completion percentage in a game this year.

This season, Allen has been an inconsistent fantasy option. Some weeks, he puts up big numbers and is a must-start quarterback, but other weeks he gets shut down.

Don't expect a bounce-back game for Allen this week. He has a tough Sunday night road matchup against the Steelers, who rank fifth in the NFL in passing defense (209.8 yards allowed per game) and may need a win to hold off the Titans for the second AFC wild-card spot.


Running Back

Start 'Em: Oakland Raiders RB DeAndre Washington (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: DeAndre Washington #33 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at RingCentral Coliseum on December 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Josh Jacobs missed the Raiders' game vs. the Titans this past Sunday with a shoulder injury, and he may be out again this week. If that's the case, Washington instantly becomes a must-start player at either running back or in the flex spot.

Washington had a solid fantasy performance last week, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown and notching six receptions for 43 yards. Because of his pass-catching ability, he's an even better play in points-per-reception leagues.

Even if Jacobs plays, he could be limited. So, start Washington against the Jaguars, who allow 141.1 rushing yards per game, tied for second-worst in the NFL.


Sit 'Em: Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)

Derrius Guice is injured again, which means Peterson may have a bigger workload in the Redskins' home matchup against the NFC East-rival Eagles. But that doesn't mean he's a good fantasy play this week.

Peterson has played well the past two weeks, rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers and 76 yards and a score vs. the Packers. But the Eagles rank third in the NFL in rushing defense (89.6 yards allowed per game), and they're trying to make a push to win the NFC East title over the final three weeks of the season.

Peterson should get shut down by a tough Philadelphia defense, so it's worth finding a better running back to stream this week.


Wide Receiver

Start 'Em: San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders (vs. Atlanta Falcons)

The 49ers have a lot of talented players on offense, and that includes Sanders, who has had no problem getting in the mix since getting traded by the Broncos.

Sanders had his best game since joining San Francisco this past Sunday, as he had seven receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown in a win at New Orleans. He also threw a 35-yard touchdown pass in a huge day for the 49ers' offense.

San Francisco should put up a lot of offense again this week as it returns home to take on Atlanta. And Sanders will continue to be one of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's top targets.


Sit 'Em: Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd (vs. New England Patriots)

Despite the Bengals' struggles, Boyd has been a solid fantasy receiver throughout most of the season. But this is not the week to stick with him and keep him in your lineup.

The Patriots have an elite defense this season, as they're allowing only 171.8 passing yards per game, which ranks second in the NFL behind only the 49ers. They've shut down top players all season, and Boyd is likely to join that list.

With some decent streaming options at receiver this week, there are better matchups than this one for Boyd.


Tight End

Start 'Em: Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (at Dallas Cowboys)

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 01: Tyler Higbee #89 of the Los Angeles Rams runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Higbee is going to continue to benefit from the absence of Gerald Everett, who could miss his third straight game with a knee injury. But even if Everett returns on Sunday at Dallas, Higbee has proved that he should be an integral part of Los Angeles' offense.

In the past two weeks, Higbee has recorded more than 100 yards in each of the Rams' games. He had seven receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, then he had seven catches for 116 yards vs. the Seahawks.

Although the Cowboys have a solid pass defense, they'll likely be focused on the Rams' talented group of wide receivers, giving Higbee a decent number of passes that will come his way from quarterback Jared Goff, which he should capitalize on.


Sit 'Em: New York Jets TE Ryan Griffin (at Baltimore Ravens)

After having some solid fantasy performances earlier in the season, Griffin hasn't been worthy of starting the past two weeks. This past Sunday, he had only one reception for eight yards before leaving with an ankle injury against the Dolphins.

There's concern that Griffin won't play on a short turnaround as the Jets travel to play the Ravens on Thursday night. But even if Griffin is in New York's lineup, he shouldn't be in fantasy lineups.

Baltimore is one of the best teams in the NFL for multiple reasons, and one of those is solid defensive play. It does a great job limiting opposing tight ends, and that will continue this week.