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Week 15 fantasy football recap: Tony Pollard shines, Chris Godwin dims

The biggest fantasy takeaway from each game from Week 15.

Getty Images/USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s hard to stay up to date with absolutely everything that went down in a given NFL Sunday. Obviously you know the big storylines—Josh Allen and Ryan Tannehill decided to become the best fantasy quarterbacks known to mankind—but it’s important to also note minor storylines, ones that might have more actionable fantasy football takeaways.

I’ve gone game-by-game to bring you the major storyline to come out of each contest.

Steelers vs Bengals: Ben Roethlisberger isn’t right

Here’s Big Ben’s final stat line from Monday night: 20/38-170-1-1 and a fumble. This is now the fifth game in a row that Roethlisberger has thrown an interception and the second game in a row he’s thrown for under 200 yards. YIKES.

If you’ve made it to the fantasy championships, I doubt you’ve relied on Big Ben to get you there but you’ve probably relied on at least one of his passing targets. Gone are the days of all three Steelers receivers having fantasy production; Chase Claypool hasn’t gone over 55 yards since Wee 12 while JuJu Smith-Schuster has become a touchdown reliant WR2. Only Diontae Johnson has been maintaining his fantasy output, but only when he actually manages to hold onto the ball.

With the Colts on deck, I would be worried to start any Steelers pass catchers not named Johnson in your championship week.

Also, both Eric Ebron and Tyler Boyd left this game with injuries and didn’t return.

Bills vs Broncos: Cole Beasley is a legit WR2

So much has been said about Josh Allen’s play and his connection with Stefon Diggs and rightfully so since both those guys have been incredible this season. But don’t let it distract you from the fact that Beasley is quietly the WR24 in PPR leagues and has seen double digit targets in four of his last five games.

Beasley is rostered in 70% of Yahoo leagues and if you’re still playing meaningful fantasy games heading into Week 16, you should be adding Beasley wherever you can and starting him. This Bills offense is firing on all cylinders and fantasy managers should capitalize.

Panthers vs Packers: D.J. Moore has usurped Robby Anderson

I said in my Week 15 Roast & Ghost article last week that starting Robby Anderson vs Jaire Alexander is a bad idea and what do you know, it played out perfectly as Anderson was held to 21 yards on two catches. Meanwhile, Moore continued to ball out as he has recently, going 6/8-131 against the Packers.

Moore missed Week 14 on the COVID-19 list, but other than missing that week, Moore has been a fantasy stud in his last four games, going for over 60 yards in each game with two 100 yard games. Washington will be a big test in Week 16 but I’m not sure how you get away from Moore this week.

Oh and Davante Adams is human. Who knew?

Buccaneers vs Falcons: Chris Godwin is the WR3 in the Bucs offense

It took awhile for the Buccaneers offense to get going against the Falcons Sunday, but once they did, boy did they get it. Tom Brady went for 390 yards and two touchdowns with Mike Evans posting 6/7-110 and Antonio Brown breaking out for the first time this season going 5/7-93-1.

Chris Godwin also got involved fantasy-wise with a touchdown but his five targets was fourth on the team behind Evans, Brown, Rob Gronkowski and tied with Leonard Fournette. Since the Bucs’ week 13 bye, Godwin has seen only seven total targets through two games. Meanwhile Brown has seen at least five in each and has posted 49 or more yards in both games. We know Brady is weirdly obsessed with Brown and so Brown moving up the Bucs pecking order makes some sense. It certainly isn’t what Godwin managers what to see. The Lions are a dumpster fire so there’s a chance Godwin balls out, but I’m not sure I trust him to be anything other than a high-end WR3 this week.

Jaguars vs Ravens: James Robinson dealing with ankle injury

Robinson left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and while he did manage to make it back on the field to finish the game, the injury is certainly something to monitor for fantasy managers. With the Jets beating the Rams, the Jaguars have locked up the no. 1 overall pick aka Trevor Lawrence, which means there isn’t much incentive to rush Robinson back onto the field. Someone probably should have told the Jets this, but you actually need to keep losing games in order to finish with a high draft pick. Winning is back.

Robinson managers should be looking to have a backup plan in case he isn’t ready to go this week against the Bears.

Also, I guess Marquise Brown is officially here as he’s scored a touchdown or gone over 90 yards receiving in each of his last four games. Thanks for the heads up Marquise. I wouldn’t have dropped you back in Week 11 if I knew that was when you were going to start balling out.

49ers vs Cowboys: Tony Pollard is better than Ezekiel Elliott

I’m obviously joking, but it’s hard not to notice the fact that Pollard immediately gave the Cowboys offense a BIG boost in his first start. Zeke has failed to do much of anything since Dak Prescott went down with injury, averaging 72 total yards per game, while in Pollard’s first start, he racked up 69 yards on the ground—plus two touchdowns—and 63 yards through the air.

Pollard is rostered in 45% of Yahoo leagues and one billion percent should be a top waiver target this week. Even if Zeke does play Week 16 against the Eagles, Pollard has shown too much for him not to have a sizable role in this offense. Plus, Pollard isn’t a bad add for dynasty leagues to hold onto and stash for next year. The NFL is a crazy place and who knows what could be in store for the Cowboys offense this offseason.

Also Raheem Mostert left the game still dealing with his high ankle sprain. Jeff Wilson should be rostered everywhere (even though he also got injured but he says he’s fine).

Texans vs Colts: Chad Hansen shouldn’t be just 2% rostered

It’s mind blowing to me that the fourth Hanson brother isn’t more widely rostered in fantasy leagues. Since playing in Week 13, Hansen has been the WR19 in PPR leagues and has gone over 50 yards receiving in all three games. He’s emerging as a top target for Deshaun Watson, who’s really doing literally all he can to help the Texans win games, and that’s a great sign moving forward for the rest of the season. He’s certainly someone to roster in dynasty and hang onto for next year.

Shoutout to T.Y. Hilton for letting me down as soon as I put my faith in him. Yes 4/6-71 isn’t a terrible stat line, but it’s not the WR1 numbers I was expecting from him. Still, the six targets are encouraging.

Patriots vs Dolphins: Salvon Ahmed torched the Patriots’ terrible run defense

The whole Dolphins team ran all over the Patriots Sunday with Ahmed leading the charge. Ahmed carried the ball 23 times for 122 yards and a touchdown while Matt Breida saw 12 carries for 86 yards. Even Patrick Laird got in for 20 yards on two carries and 12 yards on two catches.

The Dolphins take on the Raiders in Week 16 who also have struggled to defend the run this season. At 34% rostered, I would be adding Ahmed and even possibly starting him this week. This would be a perfect move if you are a James Robinson manager for instance.

Not a banner week for the Patriots run defense who now has been torched by two running games in back-to-back weeks (Cam Akers went for 171 yards on them in Week 14). The Pats play the Bills next week which means Devin Singletary is about to torch them despite only seeing single-digit carries in his last two weeks.

Bears vs Vikings: Darnell Mooney scores yet again

The Bears offensive resurgence has been great for David Montgomery and Allen Robinson managers (and anyone brave enough to call themselves a Mitch Trubisky manager) but it’s also been great for rookie Darnell Mooney. Mooney has now scored in back-to-back games and led the Bears in targets Sunday against the Vikings with five (tied with Allen Robinson).

Mooney has shown flashes this season and managers have been waiting for the talented rookie to finally breakout. While that hasn’t come yet, it has a chance to this week as the Bears take on the Jaguars.

Also, Montgomery and Dalvin Cook are unstoppable forces of nature. Never question either of them. Ever.

Lions vs Titans: Marvin Jones Jr. deserves your trust

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’ve been more or less just ignoring the Lions offense in recent weeks. I guess D’Andre Swift gets my attention so really I’ve been just ignoring the Lions’ passing attack. Clary I’ve been wrong in doing so.

Jones has been good the last six weeks, he’s been amazing. Like WR6 in PPR leagues amazing. I’m sorry for ignoring him for so long. The man has been a legit WR1 since Week 10 and is coming off 10 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown against the Titans this week.

Now, I’m not the only one sleeping on Jones. He’s 85% rostered in Yahoo. Yes that’s high, but he’s been the SIXTH BEST wide receiver in fantasy for six weeks. He should be 100% rostered. Or 99% since no one is 100% rostered for whatever weird reason.

With the Buccaneers on tap for Week 16, Jones has yet again a chance to be a WR1 for you in the fantasy championships.

Seahawks vs Washington Football: Without Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic is RB1

Last week against the 49ers, McKissic and Peyton Barber shared the backfield, both registering double digit carries. This week, against the Seahawks, it was all McKissic who logged 13 carries for 51 yards along with nine catches on 10 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Barber did annoyingly sneak a goal line touchdown but McKissic’s insane usage moving forward means that he’s got RB1 status for Week 16 in my books, especially facing the Panthers and their weak run defense.

Eagles vs Cardinals: Holy buckets Jalen Hurts is the real deal

At the time of me writing this, Hurts is 39% rostered in fantasy leagues. Stop reading this and go add him and start him because he will be a QB1 this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Cardinals on Sunday, Hurts threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns while adding 63 yards and a score on the ground.

Honestly, it blows my mind that it has taken this long for Hurts to see the field given just HOW much better the offense has looked with him under center than with Carson Wentz. The difference is staggering.

Also Larry Fitzgerald scored a touchdown which means he’s now scored at least one touchdown in ever year of his 17 year career. I love that man.

Jets vs Rams: The Jets won

Honestly I don’t care about the fantasy numbers from this game. Frank Gore carried the ball 23 times. Robert Woods had 56 yards and a touchdown. Cam Akers struggled but still dominated the Rams backfield. All I care about is that the Jets won and now don’t have the no. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. As a Patriots fan, I full on Dwyane Wade love it.

Chiefs vs Saints: Michael Thomas & Clyde Edwards-Helaire done for the regular season

The big news before this game was the Saints placing Michael Thomas on IR, still dealing with his ankle injury. That means he’s done for the regular season and for the fantasy season. Then on the other side of the ball, Chiefs rookie running back Edwards-Helaire left the game early with what’s believed to be a high ankle sprain and is likely out Week 16. That means it’ll be all Le’Veon Bell against the Falcons in the fantasy championships.

Bell looked good in place of CEH, carrying the ball 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown while also catching a ball for 14 yards. The Falcons have been strong against the run but the Saints were the best defense against tight ends and Travis Kelce still managed to finish with 20+ PPR points somehow. With this Chiefs offense, defense really doesn’t matter. I’d trust Bell as a RB2 this week.

Browns vs Giants: Jarvis Landry continues to be a WR1

Since Week 12, Landry has been the WR6 in PPR leagues and he added to that with another strong performance against the Giants, 7/8-61-1. He’s now caught a touchdown in three of his last four games and handedly lead the team in targets with eight.

After a blip against the Ravens in which he still saw nine targets but only managed six catches for 52 yards on them, I’m sure it was comforting for Landry managers to see him bounce back. Keep the faith as he and the Browns play the Jets in Week 16.