Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 15 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

Between injuries and COVID outbreaks, the first round of the fantasy football playoffs is shaping up to be a battle of attrition. Until official active/inactive lists are released 90 minutes prior to kickoffs, it’s tough to bank on anyone even being available for start ’em, sit ’em decisions, but we still have to plan ahead. Fortunately, we’re here with Week 15 lineup advice to help you advance to the second round and eventually take home a title.

If you’ve been eliminated from postseason contention, we have you covered with some NFL DFS tips so you can still have a profitable end to the fantasy season.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

QB must-starts

  1. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at DET)
  2. Justin Herbert, Chargers (vs. KC)
  3. Josh Allen, Bills (vs. CAR)
  4. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at BAL)
  5. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (at LAC)
  6. Tom Brady, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  7. Matthew Stafford, Rams (vs. SEA)
  8. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at NYG)
  9. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (vs. WAS)
  10. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (if he plays, vs. GB)

Stronger starts

Taysom Hill, Saints (at TB). He keeps on running to put up strong QB1 numbers, and the Buccaneers couldn’t handle the all-out rushing of Josh Allen at home last week.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at CHI). He rebounds in prime time with a cleaner game against a secondary that can’t stop much away from Jaylon Johnson.

Joe Burrow, Bengals (at DEN). They lamented not letting him loose with his wideouts from wire to wire against the 49ers, and the overcorrection leads to a fine performance needed for a key reality win.

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. NYJ). Miami has a COVID-19 mess at running back and has been leaning toward passing more with him anyway. His weapons are also difficult to cover for the Jets.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. ATL). This is a juicy home matchup with his big three targets, but keep in mind the game script will limit his attempts and yardage a little.

Justin Fields, Bears (vs. MIN). He’s making a ton of mistakes but it doesn’t matter as he’s running big-time and making enough big pass plays to finish as a QB1 in his past three fully healthy games and the Vikings provide another great spot at home.

DFS Bargain/Streamer Special

Davis Mills, Texans (at JAX, $5,400 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel). Mills is a tournament-only play because of volatility, but he played very well last week at home and should feel it with his receivers again vs. a shaky back-end Jaguars defense.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 15 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (at LAR). Russ has provided more danger in fantasy of late, but this isn’t a great road matchup. Seattle has also become relentless in running the ball.

Derek Carr, Raiders (at CLE). The Browns’ defense is red hot again, and there’s no good feeling Carr will get back on track against Myles Garrett and friends.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. TEN). This has the feeling of a physical, low-scoring slugfest with a lot of running and attrition.

Ryan Tannehill, Titans (at PIT). This has the feeling of a physical low-scoring slugfest with a lot of running and attrition.

Taylor Heinicke, Washington (at PHI). The roller coaster ride is headed to another quick drop opposite Jalen Hurts.

Carson Wentz, Colts (vs. IND). The Colts would be smart to stay run-heavy to try to beat the Patriots because of their limited receivers New England’s pass defense.

Cam Newton, Panthers (at BUF). He’s not baaaaaack!

Quarterback | Running back | Wide Receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 15 Start ‘Em: Running backs

RB must-starts

  1. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at CHI)
  2. Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. NE)
  3. Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. LV)
  4. James Conner, Cardinals (at DET)
  5. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (if he plays, vs. KC)
  6. Alvin Kamara, Saints (at TB)
  7. Aaron Jones, Packers (at BAL)
  8. Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  9. David Montgomery, Bears (vs. MIN)
  10. Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (at SF)
  11. Antonio Gibson, Washington (at PHI)
  12. Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. TEN)
  13. Joe Mixon, Bengals (at DEN)
  14. Javonte Williams, Broncos (vs. CIN)
  15. Melvin Gordon, Broncos (vs. CIN)
  16. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (at LAC)
  17. Saquon Barkley, Giants (vs. DAL)
  18. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (at CLE)
  19. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (at NYG)

Stronger starts

Sony Michel, Rams (vs. SEA). He’s looking good with the lead role while Darrell Henderson (reserve/COVID) has missed two games and has a good chance to stay featured given how he’s boosted their rushing effectiveness.

Elijah Mitchell, 49ers (if he returns, vs. ATL). Mitchell (knee) has been the only trusted back this season because the 49ers tend to pass more and get more committee-like when he’s not active, but he can smash the Falcons if healthy again.

Damien Harris, Patriots (at IND). Harris (ankle) should get high volume in this game if healthy. If not, Rhamondre Stevenson would be an easy plug and play.

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (at LAR). He looks like the featured guy now even though he’s hard to trust as a volume play.

Darrel Williams, Chiefs (at LAC). He’s maintaining a key role of touches despite CEH and Derrick Gore doing some nice things.

Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (at DET). They might be careful for one more week, but if Edmonds (ankle) is activated, he should get in on the fun with James Conner.

Some Dolphin (vs. NYJ). The Jets give up the most fantasy points to running backs. It could be Myles Gaskin. It could be Salvon Ahmed. It could be Philip Lindsay. It could be Malcolm Brown (quad). It could be Duke Johnson. It all depends on who is cleared and isn’t cleared from the reserve/COVID list.

DFS bargains

D’Onta Foreman, Titans (at PIT, $5,200 on DraftKings, $5,800 on FanDuel). Foreman was the leader of the backfield last week despite limited numbers, and the Steelers have been awful up front of late.

James Robinson, Jaguars (vs. HOU, $5,400 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Robinson didn’t get the overcorrection in Week 14, but it could come on delay against a Texans defense that let Rashaad Penny put up career numbers.

WEEK 15 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | FanDuel | Yahoo

Fantasy Football Week 15 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

Devonta Freeman, Ravens (vs. GB). The Packers have good numbers against the run, and Latavius Murray suddenly popped back up scoring last week.

AJ Dillon, Packers (at BAL). This is a tough rushing matchup, and if he’s not scoring and catching passes, it would be hard to extract starting value behind Aaron Jones.

Miles Sanders, Eagles (vs. WAS). It’s unclear how healthy Sanders (ankle) is and what touches he might get anyway with Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell available. Washington has also been sturdy against the run of late.

Chuba Hubbard, Panthers (at BUF). Newton and Ameer Adullah combined with what should be a negative game script makes one wary.

All Bills (vs. CAR). They simply quit trying with these guys, instead making Josh Allen their top runner.

All Lions (vs. ARI). Craig Reynolds? Really? The matchup is bad, and the backfield has become cloudier should Jamaal Williams (reserve/COVID) return.

All Texans (at JAX). It could be Rex Burkhead (groin). It could be Royce Freeman. It could be David Johnson. It’s a situation to avoid.

Mike Davis, Falcons (at SF). There’s no extended revenge-game magic here.

D’Ernest Johnson, Browns (vs. LV). He’ll get some run with Kareem Hunt (knee) out but this feels like a Nick Chubb smash game.

Dontrell Hilliard, Titans (at PIT). You can’t go here not knowing his role with Jeremy McNichols fully back in the mix.

MORE Week 15 DFS: Best stacksLineup Builder

Fantasy Football Week 15 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

WR must-starts

  1. Cooper Kupp, Rams (vs. SEA)
  2. Davante Adams, Packers (at BAL)
  3. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (at CHI)
  4. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. ATL)
  5. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (at LAC)
  6. Stefon Diggs, Bills (at TB)
  7. Diontae Johnson, Steelers (vs. TEN)
  8. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  9. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at LAR)
  10. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (at DEN)
  11. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  12. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (at CLE)
  13. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. NYJ)
  14. Keenan Allen, Chargers (if he returns, vs. KC)
  15. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (at NYG)
  16. Amari Cooper, Cowboys (at NYG)
  17. Tee Higgins, Bengals (at DEN)
  18. Brandin Cooks, Texans (at JAX). 
  19. Mike Williams, Chargers (vs. KC)
  20. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at DET)
  21. D.J. Moore, Panthers (if he plays, at BUF)
  22. Terry McLaurin, Washington (if cleared, at PHI)

Stronger starts

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. ATL). He keeps getting in on the passing and scoring fun, and that doesn’t change in this primo matchup.

Chase Claypool, Steelers (vs. TEN). He got warmed up a little more and will have a strong yardage day against this secondary. Think something like seven catches and 75 yards.

Darnell Mooney, Bears (vs. MIN). He wasn’t involved enough last week, and that gets corrected against a weak secondary on Monday night.

Van Jefferson, Rams (vs. SEA). The Seahawks have been better than you think vs. wideouts, but Jefferson is feeling it locked in with Matthew Stafford.

Michael Gallup, Cowboys (at NYG). Dak Prescott is trusting him everywhere since the return, and he’s producing right on the level of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.

DeVante Parker, Dolphins (vs. NYJ). He’ll play off Jaylen Waddle well in a great matchup.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. WAS). Philadelphia will find a way to make him see major looks from Jalen Hurts after the bye.

Christian Kirk, Cardinals (at DET). This game screams for either a big-play TD or multiple short TDs from him.

Russell Gage, Falcons (at SF). Look for some sweet numbers in garbage time against a depleted secondary.

K.J. Osborn, Vikings (at CHI). He’s a very nice fill-in for Adam Thielen (ankle) again.

DFS bargains

Rashod Bateman, Ravens (vs. GB, $5,600 on DraftKings, $5,800 on FanDuel). There’s a good chance Jaire Alexander returns to keep Hollywood in a slump, which will open up targets for Bateman to deliver with either QB in what should be high volume.

Jamison Crowder, Jets (at MIA, $5,000 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel). Crowder disappointed with Zach Wilson struggling vs. the Saints, but the Dolphins are actually worse at covering the slot, so he gets some cash-game consideration.

Sterling Shepard, Giants (vs. DAL, $4,700 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel). Shepard is more of a tournament play because he hasn’t done all that much, but he is back healthy and has a good history of producing vs. the Cowboys with volume.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

DK Metcalf, Seahawks (at LAR). Metcalf has become a non-factor in their passing game so let’s hope putting him here is a wake-up call. But he has to be here with recent results and a matchup vs. the rested Jalen Ramsey.

Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. GB). As mentioned above, Brown might see a returning Alexander often in coverage as Green Bay protects against the big play.

Michael Pittman Jr. Colts (vs. NE). This matchup is brutal, as J.C. Jackson will focus to take him away from Carson Wentz.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, Packers (at BAL). They are both a little too boom-or-busty for the fanasy playoffs.

All Broncos (vs. CIN). This has become totally awful with Teddy Bridgewater.

All Titans (vs. PIT). Forget them — even Julio Jones.

All Lions (vs. ARI). The matchup isn’t great despite what the Rams did.

All Jaguars (vs. HOU). Tread(well) lightly in forcing this.

All Patriots (at IND). By the numbers this isn’t bad, but no one is inspiring vs. Indy.

All Saints (at TB). They’re a good all-gal band from the 1990s but a terrible group of wideouts in 2021.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

TE must-starts

  1. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. ATL)
  2. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at LAC)
  3. Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. GB)
  4. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  5. Dawson Knox, Bills (vs. CAR)
  6. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (at SF)
  7. Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (vs. TEN)

Stronger starts

Darren Waller, Raiders (at CLE). Let’s hope Waller (knee) can return because he has a pretty good spot away from their cornerbacks.

Zach Ertz, Cardinals (at DET). There’s a good chance he dents the end zone on a short one with a few other downfield catches.

Noah Fant, Broncos (vs. CIN). He’s really their most trusted receiver at this point with the wideouts evaporating.

Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (at NYG). They need to get him more involved to help Dak Prescott, and this matchup is great for it.

Hunter Henry, Patriots (at IND). He figures to be their best go-to guy for Mac Jones against their zone defense.

DFS bargain

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. NYJ, $5,000 on DraftKings, $6,200 on FanDuel). He’ll return from a bye to dominate the intermediate routes against the Jets’ struggling linebackers and safeties. He’s a nice follow-up to the steal of Dawson Knox last week.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

T.J. Hockenson, Lions (vs. ARI). He may not play again with the hand injury, but the Cardinals matchuip also totally stinks.

Dallas Goedert, Eagles (vs. WAS). Washington has been great at covering the position with its linebackers and safeties.

Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. SEA). The matchup says yes. The usage screams no.

Tyler Conklin, Vikings (at CHI). Two Tylers, zero plays. You just can’t trust him with Dalvin Cook back and K.J. Osborn getting more run.

Jared Cook, Chargers (vs. KC). The Chiefs have tightened the screws with their linebacker and safety play.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Defense must-starts

  1. Cowboys (at NYG)
  2. Dolphins (vs. NYJ)
  3. Cardinals (at DET)
  4. Browns (vs. LV)
  5. Bills (vs. CAR)
  6. Patriots (at IND)
  7. Buccaneers (vs. NO)
  8. Packers (at BAL)

Stronger starts

Eagles (vs. WAS). They will come out of a bye flying vs. Taylor Heinicke.

Texans (at JAX). Houston can give listless Jacksonville more problems.

49ers (vs. ATL). They should get after it in a Kyle Shanahan revenge game.

Rams (vs. SEA). They impressed vs. Kyler Murray, so feel good about them vs. Russell Wilson.

Broncos (vs. CIN). You can probably squeeze some sacks and a takeaway or two out of them.

Colts (vs. NE). The emotional home prime-time bump should allow them to be effective vs. Jones.

DFS bargain

Bengals (at DEN, $2,500 on DraftKings, $3,400 on FanDuel). Cincinnati tends to be more aggressive making plays on the road, and this will happen against Teddy Bridgewater in the second half with sacks and takeaways.

Fantasy Football Week 15 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

Vikings (at CHI). They have underwhelmed in previous good matchups, and this is on the road in prime time.

Jaguars (vs. HOU). It seems like a good idea but no.

Titans (at PIT). They’re a bit tempting but no with their pass defense issues.

Steleers (vs. TEN). They’re a bit tempting but no with their run defense issues.

Chiefs (at LAC). They’re hot but not against Justin.

Saints (at TB). Not again vs. Tom.

Chargers (vs. KC). Not again vs. Pat.

Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 15 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.

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