2020 Season: Week 15 Sunday Preview

 
(Photo Credit: Kelly Bailey)

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Wow. The penultimate fantasy football Sunday. Feels like only yesterday we were wondering if this season would get played, and now it is almost over. Politics of whether or not these games should have been played aside for a moment, it is pretty remarkable that they did manage to get it done largely successfully.

But you are not here for that. You are here to see if we are still all in on Cole Kmet (we are). Hopefully, you caught our Boom/Bust Livestream last night, but if you did not, go over to the article here and give it a read or check out the archived show. We definitely went a little deeper in the show, but most of the information is in the article if you are short on time.

Week 15 Sunday Preview

Key Player Updates

QB Matthew Stafford (DET): Stafford (QUESTIONABLE, Ribs) is starting today, but whether he manages to finish the game is a toss-up. I am staying away from the Lions this week, though you probably need to start TE T.J. Hockenson and RB D'Andre Swift if you have them.

QB Drew Brees (NO): according to Ian Rapoport, Brees (QUESTIONABLE, Ribs) has had a week taking first-team reps and looks healthy. I am still concerned about the lack of Michael Thomas, but this does make me less concerned about potential reinjury. Note, I said less concerned, not unconcerned.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo (SF): Garoppolo is likely done for the season, something anyone who watched him try to throw on that ankle already knew.

RB Chase Edmonds (ARI): Edmonds (QUESTIONABLE, Ankle) is expected to play, but is going to be a game-time decision. As much as I like Edmonds, there are better options this week than a banged-up Edmonds against the Eagles DST.

RB Ezekiel Elliott (DAL): Elliot (QUESTIONABLE, Calf) is expected to play. You still need to get Tony Pollard (DAL) off of waivers just in case Elliott misses this week or next. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Elliott is now inactive.]

RB James White (NE): White (QUESTIONABLE, Foot) is expected to play. Both he and Sony Michel could have expanded roles with Damien Harris out. Or they could both be unusable. Such is life in fantasy for the Patriots RBBC.

WR Julio Jones (ATL): Jones (OUT, Hamstring) is doing everything he can to get back on the field this season. If you have Jones you play him when he suits up, but a Week 16 return is something to monitor for those hoping to play Russell Gage in Julio's place.

WR Hollywood Brown (BAL): Brown (COVID-19 list) is ACTIVE for today's game. He was only a close contact, so fitness is not an issue, but he is someone that we rank behind Jaguars WR D.J. Chark this week, so hopefully, you are not having to start him.

WR DeVante Parker (MIA): Parker (QUESTIONABLE, Hamstring) is probable to play, but the reinjury risk is high. I am staying away this week.

WR Jakeem Grant (MIA): Grant (QUESTIONABLE, Hamstring) is unlikely to play this week, increasing the viability of RB/WR Lynn Bowden Jr. (MIA) against the Patriots.

WR Josh Gordon (SEA): Gordon will not play this week, but is expected to practice next week and would be eligible to play. Do not do it. I know you want to add him, but that is not wise in a championship week.

TE Jimmy Graham (CHI): Graham (QUESTIONABLE, Hip) is expected to play and to remain behind Cole Kmet on the depth chart. He is a TD dependent TE2.

TE Mike Gesiciki (MIA): Gesicki (QUESTIONABLE, Shoulder) is a true game-time decision this week. I have decided to stay away.

TE Evan Engram (NYG): Engram (QUESTIONABLE, Calf) is expected to play against the Browns. The Browns are a good matchup and Engram was the most targeted Giant last time Colt McCoy was the QB, so Engram is viable against Cleveland.

Top Waiver Players Available

Quarterback

We started off the week in lockstep recommending Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, and he is still relatively available (over 60% of leagues). He is still the top priority add, but if you cannot find him in your league, Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky was our unanimous boom pick at QB this week. Given he is still available in 80% to 90% of leagues, you should not have to go deeper than that.

Running Back

Jeff Wilson Jr. (SF) was my top waiver recommendation this week and was Charles' pick for a boom performance, so he remains the top RB to snag off waivers if you are still in need. Lynn Bowden Jr. (MIA) carries an RB/WR dual designation, so if your league is thin at RB you could slot him in as a FLEX level RB. Another FLEX level RB you could play if you are desperate is Gus Edwards (BAL) who is in line to beat projections against Jacksonville this week, but he is significantly TD dependent, even compared to Wilson Jr. Other desperation plays include some injury/COVID-19 fill-ins such as Leonard Fournette (TB) (probably not available), Peyton Barber (WFT), and Sony Michel (NE)/James White (NE), but I do not recommend these players, hence why they are not in bold.

Wide Receiver

As I already mentioned Lynn Bowden Jr. (MIA) is a solid option, and my boom pick this week. Especially with Parker banged up, Gesicki possibly out, and Grant almost certainly out as I mentioned in the player updates. Charles really likes Rashard Higgins (CLE) this week and given that Rashard has been the best WR named Higgins over the past couple of weeks (not a small feat!), I also like the Cleveland WR. Charles also liked Falcons WR Russell Gage who goes up against Tampa Bay in what Charles and I both think is a good matchup.

Tight End

Welcome to the obligatory (at least this week) Cole Kmet (CHI) section of the article. Yes, Jimmy Graham is expected to play, but that changes nothing in my mind. Graham has been playing all season, yet Kmet has still out targeted him 17 to nine since the Bears came out of their Week 11 bye. Vikings TE Irv Smith Jr. is also widely available and with no Kyle Rudolph does face less competition for targets than Kmet. Charles really likes him this week.

Defense/Special Teams

It is slim pickings for DSTs this week, as many championship contenders roster two or more to play the matchups at this stage. Full disclosure: with the absence of James Bradberry and Colt McCoy under center, I can no longer stand by my waiver recommendation of the New York Giants. They are still a good defense, but they will be asked to do a lot more with a talented part of their unit on the sideline, so I just cannot trust them.

Unfortunately, you may not have a better option. The Washington Football Team is my boom pick for the week, but they are not available in over 50% of ESPN leagues. The Kansas City Chiefs could be an option with an injured Drew Brees under center and no Michael Thomas, but that could translate to a ton of Alvin Kamara, which leaves way fewer opportunities for takeaways. The Tennessee Titans have a similar situation with a banged-up Matthew Stafford under center for the Lions, but this defense has allowed less than 20 points only four times, and two of those were against the Jaguars. People seem to like the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots against rookie QBs or the Minnesota Vikings against the mercurial Mitchell Trubisky, but the Vikings DST is not good and the Cardinals are only okay. The Patriots are a good unit against a rookie QB, but they are also a bad offense going up against the DST3 Miami Dolphins, which means the Pats DST should be on the field more than usual. More time on the field equals reduced stamina and more opportunities to give up points.

Kicker

Dustin Hopkins (WFT) is available in 97% of leagues and was Charles' waiver recommendation this week. He is also our unanimous boom pick this week. Go scoop him up.

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