NFL Week 15: Thursday & Saturday Matchups
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Los Angeles Rams
Quarterbacks – Rookie Jerad Goff though four starts has averaged 186.0 passing yards and he has just four touchdowns against five interceptions and two fumbles. Now that he has lost his head coach and has to travel to one of the most difficult stadiums to play in on a short week. This is a recipe for a disaster.
Running Back – This is a difficult matchup for Todd Gurley against the Legion of Boom who even without safety Earl Thomas who is out for the rest of the season with broken leg are still a tough run defense. That said on the Thursday/Saturday mini-slate with most gamers focusing on Thomas Rawls, Jay Ajayi and Bilal Powell any Gurley backers will be limited in number, even with just four starting options to choose from.
Wide Receiver – Kenny Britt is still getting it done on full point per reception sites and last week was no different when he turned his team high twelve targets into seven receptions for 82 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. He is on pace for 78 receptions and 1,150 yards which are solid numbers making him a fine differentiation play in all formats at his low price, including even the full Thursday through Monday contests.
Tight End – Lance Kendricks has been a disappointment over the last two weeks with eight targets and just three receptions for 26 yards. The lack of an experience quarterback and with a new head coach on a short week in the Pacific Northwest make him an easy avoid.
Defense/Special Teams – Don’ think that the Seahawks have forgotten that the Rams held them to just a single solitary field goal in Week 3. Even though Russell Wilson’s five interceptions last week were the most since Jon Kitna threw five all the way back in 1999, Seattle should be loaded for bear on Thursday and ready to make a statement.
Quarterback – Essentially that was the worst game in Russell Wilson’s career last Sunday and it is hard to believe that the Seahawks won’t be ready to avenge their crushing defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers as well as return the favor to the Rams who bested them in Los Angeles 9-3 back in Week 2 in what was a battle of field goals. Over their last four games the Rams are allowing opposing quarterbacks the third most fantasy points in the league. This is a great matchup for Wilson & Co. even on the short week.
Running Back – Over the last four weeks, Los Angeles has also been gashed by running backs and they are allowing the third most fantasy points in the league to that position as well with an average of 24.3 carries, 119.5 rushing yards, 4.8 receptions and 36.3 receiving yards along with six combined touchdowns. While Thomas Rawls is not very involved in the passing game (just 8 targets, 5 receptions and 50 yards over his last four games) he is the main rushing option and could see heavy fourth quarter work if the Seahawks are salting away a lead. He should be in the mix for 17 combined touches and 80ish total yards with a 50/50 shot at a touchdown.
Wide Receivers – Once again Doug Baldwin lead the team with eleven targets and the next closest receiver was at six. He will continue to be the first option for Russell Wilson in the passing game and considering the Rams are allowing the second most fantasy points in the league to wide receivers over the last month, he is an easy top ten option at this position for the Thursday through Monday game sets and arguably the top option on the Thursday/Saturday special slate. On that short slate we can also consider Tyler Lockett who has a good chance to see a couple carries as well as kick returns and with just a four team player pool, we can leave no stone unturned when looking for touches.
Tight Ends – Jimmy Graham the obvious second option in the Seattle passing attack and there is quite a gap between him and Tyler Lockett with regards to opportunities. On the mini-Thursday/Saturday game set, Graham is going to be the most popular option since there is enough salary cap to go around. If you are feeling brazen, he is a solid “fade” in tournaments in the hopes that he doesn’t find the end zone and on the Thursday to Monday game sets, the perfect pivot is Greg Olsen in the Monday Night Game which so often goes overlooked on the full week contests.
Seattle Seahawks – Even without key defensive stalwart Earl Thomas the Seahawks are a fine play against a rookie quarterback and a replacement level head coach with the loss of Jeff Fisher to his own ineptitude.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Quarterback – Ryan Tannehill left last week’s game with a sprained ACL and will miss at least this Saturday’s prime time matchup with the Jets and most likely more games. In steps Matt Moore who holds a 13-12 record in games he has started in his career but he has not made a start since 2011. Moore makes for an interesting, but extremely risky, play this week. He is at the minimum price, or close to it, across the industry and has shown a propensity to make big plays in the past. He comes with huge downside as well though, as he has also been mistake prone in the past. He faces a vulnerable Jets secondary but Vegas only has the Dolphins with a 20.5 team total this week and we fully expect head coach Adam Gase to focus on running the ball against a Jets team that has allowed at least 91 yards rushing in each of its last five games capped off with a monster 248 yards rushing to the 49ers last week. Consider Moore an EXTREMELY risky GPP play only.
Running Back – Just five games Jay Ajayi faced this same Jets rush defense, although it was in Miami, and performed admirably running for 111 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He added an additional three receptions for 19 yards. The Jets rush defense has been nowhere near as good of late as they were earlier in the season. They have allowed at least 91 yards rushing to opposing teams in each of the past five weeks which accounts for five of the sixth highest rushing yards they have allowed in a game this season. Ajayi makes for a solid play this week in a game that Miami should be focused on the running game. Ajayi makes for an almost elite play on sites with dynamic pricing because his price is very good based on the Jets season long rush defense rating, but as we mentioned above they have not been good the past five weeks. Feel free to roll Ajayi out in both cash and GPPs as desired this week.
Wide Receivers – The Dolphins receiving corp is difficult to get a read on. They have very favorable matchups here but we expect Miami to limit Moore’s pass attempts as much as possible in a game that they are favored to win. Additionally the Jets pass defense has done an admirable job of limiting opponents passing yards of late. With that said Matt Moore is a bit of a gunslinger which makes these Miami receivers solid GPP plays. Jarvis Landry has an incredible matchup against slot corner Buster Skrine this week and should do very well on full point PPR sites. Both DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills make for almost elite GPP plays do to their big play ability, the Jets susceptibility to big plays, and Matt Moore’s history of going for the home run ball. They are both extreme boom/bust plays since we have almost no sample size to suggest whom Moore’s preferred target is. Parker is the preferred play for GPPs here but his price tag is much higher that Stills who can provide some salary relief. Landry is the only Miami wide receiver that can be considered in cash games but he has a pretty low floor with the uncertainty of a backup quarterback under center. Consider all three solid GPP options with extremely low floors.
Tight End – Dion Sims is almost exclusively touchdown dependent for fantasy purposes and should not be considered in any format.
Defense/Special Teams – The Miami Dolphins Defense/Special Teams makes for a solid play this week in both cash games and GPPs. They face off against a Jets team that has backup quarterback Bryce Petty under center and very likely will be without Matt Forte this Saturday. The Dolphins Defense/Special Teams has forced multiple turnovers and sacks in five of their last seven games and has scored a touchdown in two of their last five games. Petty has shown a propensity to hold the ball to long which bodes well for the Miami pass rush to generate multiple sacks and there is a strong possibility they force Petty to fumble at least once here. The Jets only have an 18 point team total, according to Vegas, so consider Miami’s Defense/Special Teams one of the top plays on the board this week.
New York Jets
Quarterback –Bryce Petty has taken over at quarterback for the Jets for the rest of the season but so far through two games he has been… underwhelming to say the least. Against a horrid San Francisco defense last week he was only able to generate 257 yards passing and failed to throw a touchdown pass. The Miami pass defense has only allowed three teams to throw for over 300 yards in a game against them so far this season. Petty should not be rostered in any format this week.
Running Back – Matt Forte is currently listed as day-to-day after leaving last week’s game due to injury. Monitor the news obviously, but if we had to guess we do not think he suites up for this matchup. Even if he goes we will not be rostering him with no guarantee he would be a full go. That means that Bilal Powell would take over as the lead back and he shined when filling in for Forte last week. Miami’s rush defense has allowed teams to rush for over 100 yards in five of the last six games which makes Powell an interesting play. We think it is very likely Miami stacks the box, since there is little reason to fear Petty, making Powell a risky GPP play only. He is more appealing on full point PPR sites, due to his involvement in the passing game, but should still be considered an extremely risky play in a game where Vegas has the Jets projected to score only 18 points.
Wide Receivers – Brandon Marshall was held to just five receptions for 46 yards against Byron Maxwell just five weeks ago. This is a revenge game for Marshall but we cannot see him exacting much revenge with Petty throwing him the ball. Quincy Enunwa should not be in consideration this week. Robby Anderson has an extremely low floor but at a very reasonable price tag we will be rolling the dice on Robby in GPPs this week based on his 23 targets over the past two weeks. He is obviously Petty’s preferred target and he came up just one yard shy of the century mark last week. He is firmly in consideration for both GPPs and cash games on targets alone at this price tag.
Tight End – This one is pretty cut and dry. Look elsewhere.
Defense/Special Teams – We would not hate the idea of playing the Jets Defense/Special Teams this week in a home game, against a backup quarterback, and vs a Miami team that has just a 20.5 point team total according to Vegas. The problems here are the Jets Defense/Special Teams has only generated one double digit fantasy point game all year and have only generated one turnover in their past five games. This is a divisional matchup at home and they are facing a backup quarterback so anything could happen but they have not been producing fantasy points at a high enough level for us to have much interest. Consider them a boom/bust GPP play only.