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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Lineup Prep: Week 15

Wed Dec 12 8:40 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Carson keeps getting it done


Well, the playoffs are finally here. This means less of you are reading this column because not everyone made the playoffs. That is fantasy. If you are reading this, you likely made the playoffs, so good for you. Hopefully, your lineup is setup for success this week. It is never a sure thing in the playoffs, so expect plenty of wildness this weekend. Good luck in all your games.

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

I hate to keep pointing this out but the quarterback position played out perfect for all of you that waited on the position this year. Look at the top rated guys at the position. Patrick Mahomes is first overall. Ben Roethilsberger is second followed by Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck. You also have Philip Rivers and Jared Goff in the top 10. Again, this position was super deep heading into the season and I'm guessing all of you that waited on a quarterback did a good job of forming your roster this year. Keep this in mind for next year. It is shaping up to be another season with a ton of depth at the position.

This might come as a surprise to some, but Josh Allen is second overall in quarterback scoring his last three games. He is racking up the rushing yards, which is leading to plenty of fantasy points. Allen has at least 99-rushing yards three straight games. He also is making some plays through the air, having 205-plus passing yards two straight. Allen is showing is overall ability and could continue to play well the rest of the way, having the Lions and Patriots the next two games.

Many Packers have disappointed this year but Davante Adams isn't one of those. He has been so good all year. He has 20-plus fantasy points seven games. He also has touchdowns all but three games. Adams is third overall in fantasy receiver scoring. He has been a consistent, elite producer all season. It is scary to think what his numbers could be if the Packers were having more success offensively.

If you don't think there is some luck to fantasy, you are mistaken. I might be the only team in fantasy football that had Patrick Mahomes and Todd Gurley on a roster, and missed the playoffs. Yes, this happened. I finished with a record of 6-8 in the Champs League that I host on our site (league consists of the top rated fantasy owners on our site). I was fourth overall in scoring with 1848.50 points, but also allowed 1820.70 points. My defense just didn't get it done! It happens, though. You can have a good team and still miss out on the playoffs. That is fantasy. Hopefully, my luck is better next year in this league.

Rookie running back Saquon Barkley is making a late-season run for top fantasy back in the game. He is just over six points behind Todd Gurley for the top spot at running back. Barkely is having the best fantasy season ever for a rookie running back. This guy is special. As I have stated in the past, imagine if the Giants were having a better offensive season. The sky is the limit for Barkely. He is making a case to be the top rated fantasy player for 2019.

George Kittle continues to take big steps forward in year two. He is third overall at tight end in receiver scoring despite being on his third quarterback. Kittle just keeps getting it done no matter who is throwing him passes. He has at least six receptions four straight and all but one game this year. His consistency has been off the charts. I really think he can improve on his big season with a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo throwing him passes next year.

So I'm not buying Derrick Henry producing like an elite fantasy back the rest of the year despite his career game last week. I still don't have faith in the guy based on his production this year. He did not have more than 60-rushing yards in a game all year before last week's 238-yard rushing performance. I think it was an outlier of a game and not the norm for Henry. Maybe he will prove me wrong this week, but I'm not buying Henry right now.

News and Notes: The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Tuesday. Quarterback coach Kevin Stefanski will take over as offensive coordinator for the Vikings for the rest of the season. DeFilippo was once considered a hot coaching prospect but this season has been a rough one for him. . . . . .Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said the team will hold kicking tryouts this week. Current kicker Chris Boswell has struggled in recent weeks and missed a game-tying field goal as time expired last week. . . . . .The Falcons fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff on Tuesday. Atlanta has underachieved in recent years, leading to the dismissal of Dimitroff. . . . . .The Colts released tight end Erik Swoope on Tuesday. Swoope has played some this season but fallen down the depth chart. . . . .The Raiders released running back C.J. Anderson on Tuesday. Anderson was just signed a few weeks back but didn't last long.

HOT PLAYS

Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks. Carson has really been a bright spot for the Seahawks offense all season. He has touchdowns three of four games and 80-plus total yards three of those games. He has three 100-yard games for the season and double-digit fantasy points seven games. He has been very consistent in a starting role and should do well once again this week against the 49ers. San Francisco is middle of the pack against the rush and allowed more than 100-rushing yards three straight games.

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers. Newton failed to score a touchdown last week for the first time since Week 1. He still threw for 265 yards, though, and ran for 23 more yards. He has multiple touchdowns all but two games this year. He has been very consistent all season. Newton should rebound from last week in a big way in Week 15, playing the Saints. New Orleans allows the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals. Mixon had his second 100-yard rushing game of the season last week and has more than 90 total yards three straight games. He also has touchdowns three of six games. He has been one of the few bright spots in the Bengals offense right now. He is setup for another big showing this week against the Raiders. Oakland allows the 13th most fantasy points to running backs and rank 31st overall against the run, allowing 144.5-rushing yards per game.

Robert Woods, WR, Rams. Woods topped the 1,000-yard mark last week for the first time in his career. He caught seven passes for 61 yards in Week 14. He has touchdowns two of three games and at least four receptions all but the first game of the year. He has double-digit fantasy points all but Week 1. He can have another big game this week against the Eagles. Philadelphia allows the second most fantasy points to receivers and rank 30th overall against the pass.

Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson has shown flashes of big things this year but hasn't been quite as consistent as fantasy owners had hoped. But even with that said, he has five receptions each of the last two games and at least five catches three of five games. He is getting his targets despite his yardage numbers being down a little. Robinson has a chance to improve those yardage totals this week against the Packers. Green Bay allows the fourth most fantasy points to receivers and have allowed 22-passing touchdowns.

COLD PLAYS

Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins. Peterson continued his late-season slide last week, rushing 10 times for 16 yards. He has fewer than 40-rushing yards two of three games. Teams are daring the Redskins to throw the ball because of their quarterback situation. Expect more of the same going forward, especially this week against the Jaguars. We know the Jaguars were a disaster defensively last week, but that unit is better than they showed. Jacksonville still allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to running backs. Peterson is a scary play in this one.

Corey Davis, WR, Titans. Davis has been all over the map this year, posting huge numbers one week than disappearing the next. He is a hard guy to trust, especially in the playoffs. It is going to have to be a great matchup to play Davis, who has fewer than 50 yards three of four games. And this week against the Giants is a scary matchup for Davis. New York allows the eighth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Davis should draw shutdown corner Jarnoris Jenkins in coverage, which is another concern.

Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs. Godwin was targeted 10 times last week but finished with just a catch for 10 yards, which is pretty amazing. Needless to say, he was not connecting with Jameis Winston throughout the game. Godwin has been a little off in recent weeks, having 50 or fewer yards three of four games. He is always capable of the huge game because of his big-play potential but is a hard guy to trust right now with his recent play and matchup in Week 15. Godwin plays the Ravens, a team that allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to receivers and rank third overall against the pass.

Marlon Mack, RB, Colts. Mack did find the end zone last week but ran 14 times for just 33 yards. He has fewer than 35-rushing yards each of his last two games. Mack has cooled some in these tougher matchups late in the season. He has another tough matchup this week against the Cowboys, a team that has really played some great defense lately. Dallas allows the seventh fewest fantasy points to running backs and are third overall against the rush, allowing 86.8-rushing yards per game.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers. It might be a little surprising to see Rodgers on this list, but the numbers don't lie. He has really struggled for his standards in recent weeks. He has fewer than 200-passing yards two of three games and just four passing touchdowns in those three games. He has not had a three-touchdown game since Week 5. We don't see a sudden turnaround this week against a Bears defense that completely shutdown the Rams last week. Chicago allows the third fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 10th against the pass.

SLEEPERS

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders. Carr has picked up his game late in the year, producing big numbers despite being without a true No. 1 receiver. He threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns last week and has multiple touchdowns three of four games. Carr seems setup for another multiple touchdown game this week against the Bengals. Cincinnati is 29th against the pass and allow the most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Dede Westbrook, WR, Jaguars. Westbrook found the end zone last week and has touchdowns two of three games. He had seven receptions for 88 yards last week. Westbrook has been the best receiver in this offense all year, having at least four receptions six games. He is a good streaming play for fantasy teams and this week is a good one to stream him. Westbrook plays the Redskins, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers.

Ito Smith, RB, Falcons. Smith led the Falcons in rushing last week, having his best game in several weeks. He ran 11 times for 60 yards and caught three passes for 14 yards. It was a solid overall game. Smith has shown some upside this year, having four touchdowns and receptions all but the first week of the year. He is never a sure thing but seems setup for good things this week against the Cardinals. Arizona has really struggled to stop the run this year, ranking 29th overall against the run. Smith could get a few more chances in this one, especially with Tevin Coleman doing next to nothing with his work.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens. Jackson had a career high two passing touchdowns last week, making a few more plays in the passing game. He continues to get it done on the ground, though, having 70-plus rushing yards four straight games. He also has two rushing touchdowns during that stretch. His big rushing totals make him a solid weekly fantasy play. He can have another successful game this week against the Bucs. Tampa allows the fifth most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers. Thomas has done well since taking over as the starter for the Panthers. He led the Panthers in receiving last week, catching nine passes for 77 yards on 11 targets. He has 14 receptions his last two games. Thomas has produced in a tight end friendly offense and has good potential down the stretch. Thomas plays a Bucs team that is just 27th overall against the pass.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Chargers/Chiefs, Patriots/Steelers, Eagles/Rams, Saints/Panthers.

Low Scoring Games: Lions/Bills, Titans/Giants, Redskins/Jaguars.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
James White Jan 21 12:50am ET

New England Patriots running back James White caught four passes for 49 yards, including 23 rushing yards, in the team's 37-31 win over the Chiefs to advance to the Super Bowl. One week after White caught 15 passes, the veteran running back was targeted only six times in the passing game. White already has one Super Bowl MVP under his belt and has enjoyed a career season with 85 receptions and 12 total touchdowns. He will certainly have to share time in the backfield with teammates Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead but White will see plenty of action against the Rams on February 3.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Jan 21 12:40am ET

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel carried the ball 29 times for 113 yards with two touchdowns in the Patriots 37-31 victory over the Chiefs to reach the Super Bowl. The rookie running back was fantastic from the jump and the Patriots leaned on him to move the chains. Michel punched in a 1-yard score to get New England on the board and then sprinted untouched for a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter. Michel is hot at the right time and will have tons of sleeper potential as a possible Super Bowl MVP heading into the Patriots matchup against the Rams on February 3.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Jan 21 12:40am ET

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught six passes for 79 yards in the Patriots 37-31 win over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Gronk was targeted a team-high 11 times and delivered some huge plays in the wild final minutes of the game. He was counted on to pick up some huge first downs, none more important than a big-time 25-yard catch to set up a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Gronkowski has not looked like himself this season but with one game left, the Patriots will do all they can to unleash Gronk against the Rams in the Super Bowl on February 3.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Jan 21 12:30am ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 348 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Patriots thrilling AFC Championship victory over the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime. The Patriots offense got off to a slow start but the future Hall of Famer turned it on when it mattered the most. From the beginning of the fourth quarter, Brady nearly doubled his passing yards with some nearly perfect drives. When the chips were down, the Patriots put the ball in Brady's hands and delivered strike after strike as the team scored 20 points in the final quarter in addition to overtime. Brady will now play in his ninth Super Bowl on February 3, striving to win an all-time record sixth Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Julian Edelman Jan 21 12:30am ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman caught seven passes for 96 yards in the Patriots 37-31 overtime win over the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. Edelman was quiet for most of the game but was heavily targeted in the games final minutes, delivering clutch catch after catch. Edelman is clearly quarterback Tom Brady's preferred target in crunch time and the veteran receiver made some fantastic receptions in traffic. Edelman will be a top choice to lead the team in targets when the Patriots take on the Rams in the Super Bowl February 3.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Jan 21 12:20am ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas caught four passes for only 36 yards in the Saints 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. Thomas was targeted seven times but disappointed for a player that caught 125 passes in the regular season. The Saints offense revolved mostly around teammate Alvin Kamara and Thomas was a non-factor. Despite the disappointing end to his season, Thomas will remain a top choice among wide receivers in fantasy heading into next season.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Jan 20 11:33pm ET

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley's lack of involvement in the offense against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game was because of the 'flow' of the game, according to head coach Sean McVay.

Fantasy Spin: Gurley rushed just four times, and while he did drop a couple of passes, it is almost impossible to believe that the reason he spent most of the game on the sidelines wasn't related to the knee injury he suffered late in the year. If he is banged up, he will have two weeks to prepare before the Super Bowl.

Kyle Van Noy Jan 20 11:23pm ET

New England Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy finished with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops and a tackle for loss, and two sacks in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Rob Gronkowski Jan 20 11:13pm ET

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski caught six of his 11 targets for 79 yards in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: There have been rumblings that Gronkowski may hang it up after the season, but for now he has to prepare for another trip to the Super Bowl. He isn't the overwhelming force he was a few years ago, but he is still capable of putting up big numbers compared to a majority of the other tight ends in the league.

James White Jan 20 11:13pm ET

New England Patriots RB James White rushed six times for 23 yards and caught four of his six targets for 49 yards in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: It was a relatively quiet game for White, but you only need to look back one week at his 15-catch performance against the Los Angeles Chargers for a reminder of the type of production he is capable of providing.

Phillip Dorsett Jan 20 11:13pm ET

New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett caught one of his three targets for a 29-yard touchdown in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Rex Burkhead Jan 20 11:03pm ET

New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead rushed 12 times for 41 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score in overtime, and caught four passes for 23 yards in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Burkhead often takes a backseat to Sony Michel and James White, but he still is capable of delivering when his number is called and is up to three touchdowns this postseason.

Julian Edelman Jan 20 11:03pm ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman caught seven of his 10 targets for a team-high 96 yards in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Edelman was particularly clutch on third downs throughout the game, and he has been Tom Brady's favorite target this postseason. Heading into the Super Bowl, Edelman has 16 catches on 23 targets for 247 yards in two games.

Sammy Watkins Jan 20 10:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins caught four of his eight targets for 114 yards in a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Injuries remain a constant issue for Watkins, but he wasn't bad when he was on the field. He topped 60 yards in five of his final six games, including the playoffs, and even as the No. 3 option in the Kansas City passing attack, he will have WR3 upside in 2019.

Tom Brady Jan 20 10:53pm ET

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady completed 30 of his 46 passes for 348 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: It wasn't the prettiest game of Brady's playoff career, and he had a third in interception that would have ended the game wiped out by a penalty. Still, he made enough big throws to put New England back in the Super Bowl, and he will try to add his incredible legacy in a couple of weeks.

Sony Michel Jan 20 10:53pm ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel rushed 29 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Michel has been a monster in the postseason, logging 53 carries for 242 yards and five scores in two games. He will try to add to those numbers in the Super Bowl in a couple of weeks.

Travis Kelce Jan 20 10:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce caught three of his five targets for 23 yards and a touchdown in a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: It marked just the second time all year and the first time since the season opener that Kelce failed to top 40 receiving yards. His season may have ended on a sour note, but that doesn't change the fact that Kelce may be the top fantasy option at his position heading into 2019.

Damien Williams Jan 20 10:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams rushed 10 times for 30 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 66 yards and two scores in a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Williams didn't do much on the ground, but an early deficit had a lot to do with that. Still, he showcased his versatility once again, and since taking over as the starter, he has left no doubt that he can be a workhorse for the Kansas City backfield. Williams will have RB1 potential entering 2019.

Patrick Mahomes Jan 20 10:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of his 31 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns and rushed twice for 11 yards in a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Mahomes led the Chiefs back from an early deficit, but he never saw the ball overtime. His impressive season doesn't end with a Super Bowl appearance, but it will put him in the conversation to be the first quarterback selected in drafts in 2019.

Tyreek Hill Jan 20 10:33pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill caught one of his three targets for 42 yards in a 37-31 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: As the Patriots often do, they took away the best offensive weapon for their opponent. It was a quiet end to the best season of Hill's career, but he looks poised to deliver WR1 numbers for the foreseeable future as the top target for Patrick Mahomes.