NFL Scores Week 15: Results, Playoff Picture and Top Fantasy Performances

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2021

NFL Scores Week 15: Results, Playoff Picture and Top Fantasy Performances

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    The Sunday games on the NFL Week 15 slate produced some results that no one would come up with in their wildest dreams.

    The Detroit Lions threw a wrench into the NFC playoff picture and the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft with a double-digit win over the Arizona Cardinals.

    Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown continued to show off the chemistry they have built over the last few weeks. Detroit's quarterback-wide receiver duo were two of the top fantasy stars of the early window.

    Detroit's win moved it out of the No. 1 overall pick and allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars to occupy that space.

    Arizona's loss was just the start of a bad day for teams hunting the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were held scoreless by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night. Those defeats handed the Green Bay Packers a full one-game lead atop the NFC. 

    The Lions were not the only source of a surprising fantasy football performance. Miami Dolphins running back Duke Johnson stole the fantasy football spotlight with a two-touchdown performance that helped the AFC East side improve its stock in the wild-card hunt.

    The AFC North gave us the biggest surprise in playoff movement in the AFC standings. The Cincinnati Bengals jumped into first place, while the Ravens fell all the way out of the wild-card race with their loss to Green Bay.

Week 15 Sunday Scores

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    Joshua Bessex/Associated Press

    Buffalo 31, Carolina 14

    Detroit 30, Arizona 12

    Miami 31, New York Jets 24

    Dallas 21, New York Giants 6

    Pittsburgh 19, Tennessee 13

    Houston 30, Jacksonville 16

    Green Bay 31, Baltimore 30

    San Francisco 31, Atlanta 13

    Cincinnati 15, Denver 10

    New Orleans 9, Tampa Bay 0

AFC Playoff Picture

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    John Cordes/Associated Press

    Division Leaders 

    1. Kansas City (10-4)

    2. New England (9-5)

    3. Tennessee (9-5)

    4. Cincinnati (8-6)


    Wild-Card Race

    5. Indianapolis (8-6)

    6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)

    7. Buffalo (8-6)

    8. Baltimore (8-6)

    9. Cleveland (7-6)

    10. Pittsburgh (7-6-1)

    11. Miami (7-7)

    12. Denver (7-7)

    13. Las Vegas (6-7) 

NFC Playoff Picture

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Division Leaders

    1. Green Bay (11-3)

    2. Dallas (10-4)

    3. Tampa Bay (10-4)

    4. Arizona (10-4)


    Wild-Card Race

    5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

    6. San Francisco (8-6)

    7. New Orleans (7-7)

    8. Washington (6-7)

    9. Minnesota (6-7)

    10. Philadelphia (6-7)

    11. Atlanta (6-8)

    12. Seattle (5-8)

    13. Carolina (5-9)

    14. Chicago (4-9) 

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Jared Goff produced one of his best games in a Detroit Lions uniform.

    The former Los Angeles Rams signal-caller beat one of his old divisional foes with an accurate day in the pocket. He threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns while completing 21 of 26 passes.

    Goff had his second-best game in terms of completion percentage at 80.3 and hit the three-touchdown mark for the third time in 2021 and the second time in three weeks.

    His fantasy football impact may not have been felt across most leagues since he has been an afterthought as a Detroit quarterback.

    His newfound confidence and chemistry with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds might give him waiver-wire potential as the fantasy semifinals and finals come around.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Another week, another multi-touchdown showing from Aaron Rodgers.

    Rodgers produced 268 passing yards and three touchdowns in the slim victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

    Rodgers has been one of the most reliable fantasy football players in the last month. He has 13 touchdown throws in his last four games.

    The Green Bay quarterback spread the ball around more on Sunday. Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished as his top receiver, and Davante Adams only had 44 receiving yards.

    Rodgers and the Packers became the first NFL team to clinch a playoff berth with the victory. They have the inside track to the No. 1 seed over Tampa Bay because of a better conference record.

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    No one expected Duke Johnson to emerge as the early fantasy star of Week 15.

    Johnson was given the reins of the Miami Dolphins rushing attack after Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were removed from the COVID-19/reserve list late in the week.

    Johnson wreaked havoc on the New York Jets defense with 107 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

    Prior to Sunday, Johnson had four carries all season, all of which came against the Jets in Week 11.

    Johnson was viewed as an emergency pickup at best in fantasy circles going into Sunday, and he may be a one-week wonder if Gaskin and Ahmed feel better in Week 16 at New Orleans.

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, San Francisco

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers' rushing machine kept chugging along Sunday.

    Jeff Wilson Jr. took over the lead role again and finished with 21 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

    Wilson's play headlined a rushing attack that totaled 162 yards in the 18-point victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

    San Francisco has now run for more than 150 yards in five games this season. The 49ers are 4-1 in those contests.

    The dominant rushing performance allowed the 49ers to remain clear of the wild-card mess below the No. 6 seed.

    San Francisco should be either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed along with the Los Angeles Rams. A handful of other teams will be left to battle for the final NFC playoff spot.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit

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    Lon Horwedel/Associated Press

    Amon-Ra St. Brown is making his case to be the top breakout star of the second half of the NFL season.

    The Detroit wide receiver impressed yet again Sunday with eight receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.

    St. Brown has 26 catches on 35 targets over the last three weeks. He scored his second touchdown in that span on a 37-yard pass from Goff in the second quarter.

    Like Goff, St. Brown might not have had a major impact on the fantasy football playoffs that mostly began this weekend.

    However, he could be an important piece as a No. 2 or No. 3 wide receiver if he continues to receive an abundance of targets from Goff.

Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    Gabriel Davis took full advantage of Emmanuel Sanders' absence in the Buffalo Bills passing game.

    Davis caught a pair of touchdowns from Josh Allen in the 31-14 win over the Carolina Panthers.

    The Buffalo wideout was a red-zone target of Allen in previous weeks, but he did not have a high catch volume because of the crowded wide receiver depth chart in Buffalo.

    Davis tied his single-game high of five receptions and earned his second performance over 80 yards this season.

    The late fourth-quarter touchdown scored by Davis might be a difference-maker in some fantasy football playoff matchups.

    Davis was on a lot of waiver-wire radars going into Week 15, and his two-touchdown day provided a boost to fantasy players that picked him up ahead of Sunday.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston

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    Brandin Cooks also used a late touchdown to boost his status among the best fantasy point-earners in Week 15.

    Cooks caught a pair of scoring throws from Davis Mills to help the Houston Texans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-16.

    Cooks' 102-yard outing gave him back-to-back 100-yard outings for the first time this season, totaling 15 catches on 21 targets from his rookie quarterback during that span.

    The veteran wide receiver should be a viable No. 1 or No. 2 in fantasy football lineups for the rest of the season since he and Mills have built up a nice rapport in the Texans' passing game.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Dalton Schultz was Dak Prescott's second favorite target in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the New York Giants.

    Schultz hauled in all eight of his targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. Only CeeDee Lamb was targeted more (nine).

    The high production level was a welcome sight for fantasy players that have stuck with Schultz throughout an inconsistent last month.

    Schultz did not have more than five receptions and 46 yards in his last three games. His receiving yard total on Sunday was his highest since Oct. 17.

    Dallas' win moved it one step closer to clinching the NFC East title, and it now has a chance to earn the No. 3 seed in the NFC thanks to Arizona's unexpected defeat in Detroit. 

Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Mark Andrews just had his best two-game stretch of the 2021 season.

    The Ravens tight end was a constant target of Tyler Huntley in the one-point loss to the Packers.

    Andrews finished with 10 receptions on 13 targets for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Baltimore tight end has 251 yards and three scores off 21 catches in the last two weeks.

    Andrews' production was not enough to help the Ravens win at home. They dropped from No. 4 to No. 8 in the AFC with the defeat.