Welcome to this week's roundtable, where our fearless panel of fantasy pundits make bold predictions for Week 15, share their toughest fantasy calls for the weekend, discuss potential subs from the bottom of the waiver wire barrel, and discuss what they wish they knew in August about this season.
With this in mind, let's examine what we think about these topics as we head into Week 15:
Wild Week 15 Fantasy predictions
Matt Waldman: Give us a Week 15 fantasy prediction that doesn't match the current trends or observations about a player, a unit, or a team that will have implications for fantasy lineups.
Daniel Simpkins: Despite limited usage for most of the year, the switch has been flipped for Todd Gurley, just in time for the fantasy playoffs—his 23-carry and 4-target weekend was his second-highest usage total of the year. It's reflective of the desperate situation the Rams find themselves in while fighting for a wildcard spot.
Every win is going to matter and they have no choice but to use arguably their best player on the team, despite their wishes to save him for the playoffs. It was painful dragging your team to the fantasy playoffs with Gurley, but if you somehow managed, I believe you’ll be rewarded handsomely if you lean on him now.
There are still experts who haven’t accepted the fact that Gurley is awakening and they will advise you to break ties in favor of other players. I believe you need to be playing Gurley unless you have a situation where you are loaded with Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, and Aaron Jones and can’t find a place in your lineup for Gurley. That’s not a situation many are in.
Jason Wood: Dallas is going to get right against the Rams. I realize the drumbeats are pounding for Jason Garrett's professional head, and the Rams appear to have righted the ship after their own shaky run, but I suspect Dallas will look their best this week and re-establish their position as a playoff-caliber team.
If I'm right, Ezekiel Elliott will get back on the 100-yard rushing train, and Prescott will outscore a bunch of higher-ranked quarterbacks who are banged up like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes II.
Andy Hicks: Getting in early on players that just look the part and perform well immediately in their careers is usually a strong risk/reward play. Anyone still alive in Week 15 is going to need to have nerves of steel to play Drew Lock against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. The Chiefs defense has been average against the pass, but in the last two weeks since Lock started the Denver team have rallied to impressive wins against the Chargers and Texans.
Only two of their eight losses have been blowouts and several defeats were heartbreakers. With Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen playing poorly the Broncos struggled in all phases. Under Lock, Denver looks like a good team. We will know more after Sunday, but Lock looks like a great risk/reward play if your other options like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan or Jared Goff have poor matchups this week.
Waldman: I agree with you about the Chiefs' defense. I think they will effectively blitz Denver, force Lock into hasty decisions against well-disguised coverages. Kansas City has done a strong job of disguising its looks in recent weeks because the secondary has improved its communication and understanding of its coach's concepts. I thought Lock would do well against Houston but this weekend is his first test.
Mark Schofield: It is time for a bit of a confession.
I am a dirty, filthy, disgusting Patriots fan.
Waldman: Oh man, this is gonna get ugly...
Schofield: Now, obviously the defending Super Bowl Champions are in the news again this week, not so much for their poor offensive performances of late but rather for what is being labeled as Spygate 2.0. With news of the Patriots again skirting the boundaries of the rulebook and 31 fanbases clamoring for Roger Goodell to drop the hammer, times are fun in and around New England.
It almost allows you to forget how bad their offense has been playing...
But here's the thing. Rather than defend the indefensible it's time to lean in a bit. The Patriots get a chance to have the "get right" game of all get right games, against the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend. Quarterbacks and running backs, in particular, are having a great deal of success against them this year, with quarterbacks posting an average of 19.9 points per game against the Bengals, and running backs posted an average of 21.6 PPG against them this year. It sounds terrifying, but Tom Brady and Sony Michel might be a big factor this week.
Justin Howe: New light appears to be dawning for Joe Mixon just as we reach the postseason. Don’t look now, but dating back to Week 8, only three backs (Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Nick Chubb) have put up more scrimmage yards than Mixon.
Last week, Mixon ran wild with Andy Dalton back to (somewhat) stabilize the Bengals offense, racking up 186 yards and finding the end zone – and he should’ve been given another goal-line opportunity late. He still runs behind one of the league’s worst lines, of course, and his weekly floor is below that of most of his peers.
But we’re finally seeing one of the game’s most gifted runners overcome his offense’s warts consistently – and with big week-to-week upside.