Week 15 Offensive Sleepers

A look at the best under the radar starts for Week 15

Quarterback

Joe Flacco (vs PHI) - The forecast calls for sloppy, cold weather in Baltimore, so we’ll need to check back on gameday, but as long as the conditions are manageable, Flacco should be a surprisingly good Week 15 play. He is coming off of two straight 300+ yard, multi-touchdown games, and he’s facing an Eagles defense that has given up 20 passing scores in the last ten games, including two in each of the last three games. The Eagles corners are a self- admitted weakness of their defense, and the Ravens have a trio in Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman that can take advantage.

Sam Bradford (vs IND) - A lot of quarterbacks will have weather questions hanging over their heads in Week 15, but Bradford will have a dome over his. While he lacks a high ceiling, Bradford’s floor is enhanced by a poor running game that usually insures 35-40 pass attempts, 225-300 passing yards, and a touchdown most weeks. That upside is enhanced by facing a Colts defense that had allowed multiple passing scores in eight straight games before they faced Bryce Petty/Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brock Osweiler the last two weeks. The Vikings offensive line is getting more banged up, so watch the practice reports on Brandon Fusco, Jeremiah Sirles, and Joe Berger to get a better understanding of what Bradford has to work with this week.

Alex Smith (vs TEN) - Like Bradford, Smith isn’t exciting, but he has had a rock solid floor of at least 220 yards and a score each of the last four weeks, including the last two when he only threw 25 and 26 times. This week he gets a Titans defense that has allowed at least 20 points to a quarterback in standard fantasy scoring each of the last eight games. That includes names like Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Matt Barkley, and Trevor Siemian, so the bar isn’t set very high for quarterback quality translating to fantasy points against the Titans.

Trevor Siemian (vs NE) - There’s no snow or wind in the forecast on Sunday in Denver, but it will be cold, which should suit the Northwestern product just fine. Siemian was a solid Week 14 play on the back of 51 pass attempts and his dynamic wide receiver duo of Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. With Justin Forsett leading the running game, expect the offense to tilt pass-heavy yet again in Week 15, especially if Tom Brady can have a modicum of success against the Broncos pass defense targeting players other than wide receivers. The Patriots have actually given up ten passing scores in the last five games, including at least two in four of the five games to the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Running Back

Kenneth Dixon (vs PHI) - Dixon finally surpassed Terrance West on the depth, with three snaps for every one by Terrance West. The game script could have been part of the story here, but Dixon was very effective as a receiver and should continue to play the larger role in the backfield against the Eagles, who were blowout losers in their last three games before Washington eked out a win in a divisional game at Philadelphia last week. The Eagles are probably due to have a letdown back to their previous level of play in Baltimore this week.

Bilal Powell (vs MIA) - Matt Forte will be a game-time decision on Saturday night, but even if he plays, Powell’s stirring performance in the win over the 49ers in Week 14 should get him the nod as the lead back. If Forte can’t go, Powell becomes an RB1 for Week 15. Powell showed the ability to not just hold up under the load of 34 touches, but he was the freshest player on the field when he finished the game with a 19-yard walk off touchdown. He is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield and will remain part of the offense no matter the game script.

Isaiah Crowell (at BUF) - Crowell regained the form that made him one of the league’s leading rushers through the first four weeks of the season despite playing on the winless Browns. The return of Robert Griffin III presenting a running threat next to him in the backfield had to help, and Griffin will be under center again this week. Crowell gets the Bills run defense that seemed very reluctant to tackle Le'Veon Bell last week on the way to his 236 yard game. Bell also notched the fourth multi-touchdown game by a running back against the Bills this season. Crowell has a high ceiling as long as the Browns can hang in the game, as he showed he has snow tires in the game against the Bengals last week.

Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata (vs IND) - The Colts run defense allowed the Texans running game to get right last week, giving up 187 yards on 39 running back carries. The Vikings will get the chance to re-align their rushing attack against Indianapolis this week, and there could be enough for both backs to get theirs on the eve of a possible Adrian Peterson return. Asiata actually has a touchdown in four of the last five games, and with better execution at the one, he could have had three last week. McKinnon has at least five receptions in each of the last two games, and he has big play ability indoors on the Vikings field turf.

Kenneth Farrow (vs OAK) - Melvin Gordon III is almost certainly out this week, so Farrow should get at least half of the work in the backfield, with a shot to get the lion’s share of work while sharing with Ronnie Hillman, who was a healthy scratch last week. He’s a pure volume play, but Farrow showed good hands out of the backfield on his six receptions, and while his 3.4 yards per carry on 16 attempts wasn’t impressive, he did rush for six first downs and touched the ball 22 times despite the Chargers trailing by double digit points for most of the game. His Week 15 opponent, Oakland, has given up six rushing touchdowns in the last four games, and three running back games of at least 96 rushing yards.

Wide Receiver

Ty Montgomery (at CHI) - If Mike McCarthy actually continues to get Montgomery on the field as the primary running back and feeds him at least 8-10 touches, he should be a solid PPR play whether he is classified as a running back or wide receiver in your league software. Montgomery has averaged at least six yards per carry in three of the four games that he has at least six carries, and he scored his first rushing touchdown last week. The Bears tend to give up high rushing volume to their opponents, with every team they have faced in the last five weeks giving the ball to a running back at least 23 times. Add in Montgomery’s outstanding receiver skills and you have a high floor for Week 15.

Mike Wallace (vs PHI) - Wallace has been ultraconsistent, with at least 50 receiving yards in each of the last nine games, but he hasn’t broken through for a score or 100-yard game since Week 9. That should change this week against the Eagles, who have given up five wide receiver touchdowns in the last three weeks, and four wide receivers 100-yard games in the last five contests. Taylor Gabriel, Davante Adams, and DeSean Jackson have all gotten free deep in the Eagles secondary in the last five weeks, and Wallace still has the speed to do it this week.

Dontrelle Inman (vs OAK) - Inman has quietly emerged as the most consistent receiver on the Chargers roster. He has scored in each of the last three games, and he has at least five catches in four of the last five games. The Chargers could pass more this week without Melvin Gordon III, and Inman will be facing a Raiders secondary that allowed two different Chargers receivers to post 117 receiving yards the first time the teams faced each other this year. The game will also be in Southern California and not have any of the weather issues that loom over Week 15.

JJ Nelson (vs NO) - Michael Floyd’s release marks the second time this year that Nelson has had a big opportunity in the Cardinals passing game. Just like last time, he is coming off of a two-touchdown game, and he faces a Saints defense that has given up six wide receiver touchdowns in the last five games. Carson Palmer’s season has been turbulent this year, but he has at least 300 passing yards in each of his last three home games. Nelson has a reasonable chance to reel in a deep score this week and also be one of Palmer’s main targets.

Robby Anderson (vs MIA) - In case you missed it, Anderson has become Bryce Petty’s main target since Petty was installed as the starter. Anderson has 23 targets over the last two games, and he has at least 10 standard points and 14 PPR points during that span. He is averaging over 15 yards a reception as the Jets have been frequently using him as a deep target, and this week he is facing a Dolphins defense that still allowed three touchdowns to wide receivers while they frustrated Carson Palmer last week.

Corey Coleman (at BUF) - Coleman is a bit of a longshot with Robert Griffin III’s accuracy issues, but the good news is that was the target on 11 of Griffin’s attempts last week. Watch the wind forecast in Buffalo, as high winds are currently projected, but if it dies down just a bit, the wind issues that affected the passing game in Cleveland last week could be less severe and allow Coleman to have more catchable passes against the Bills secondary that had given up four wide receiver scores in the last two weeks before Ben Roethlisberger decided to throw to the wrong uniform too many times last week and the Steelers just let Le'Veon Bell do all of the scoring.

Tight End

Ladarius Green (at CIN) - Green was a letdown last week, but he still had six targets, including two red zone targets, and he got open deep downfield, but Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t find him. The Week 15 opponent Cincinnati has given up some huge games to tight ends this year, including a combined 192 yards and 14 receptions to Washington tight ends, 162 yards to Rob Gronkowski, 9-66 to Gary Barnidge in a down year, and 14 catches for 132 yards to Philadelphia tight ends. Green still has one of the highest ceilings of any tight end in Week 15.

Jack Doyle (at MIN) - Doyle has had an up and down year, but the current trend is up heading into a matchup with the Vikings. He has at least four catches and 30 receiving yards in each of the last two games, and Dwayne Allen is banged up with a hip issue. Even if Allen plays, he’ll likely stay close to the line of scrimmage to help protect Andrew Luck against a fierce Vikings pass rush. That Vikings defense quieted Jason Witten and Eric Ebron in recent weeks, but before that Ebron, Vernon Davis and Zach Miller all had big games against them from the tight end position. With Donte Moncrief likely out with a hamstring injury, Doyle could be a frequent target on short passes this week.

Jermaine Gresham (vs NO) - Gresham made it three games in a row with five receptions last week, and the week before that run started, he scored a touchdown. Michael Floyd has been released and John Brown is only playing a limited role, so Gresham could be as high as third in the pecking order behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson in a game against the Saints that could be a high-scoring affair this week.

A.J. Derby (vs NE) - Derby has been an instant addition to the Broncos pass offense after they dealt a pick for him during the season. He has at least four catches and 43 receiving yards in each of Trevor Siemian’s last two starts, and this week he faces his old Patriots team. New England has faced few tight ends of note this year, and yet they have still allowed scores to the likes of Jordan Cameron, Connor Hamlett, Vance McDonald, and Darren Waller. Derby has caught the last ten targets thrown his way, and he should get a large helping this week as the Broncos lack of a running game will put the onus on Trevor Siemian to move the offense.