Week 15 of the fantasy football season featured plenty of notable performances. What should we make of them? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft are here with analysis on the biggest performers -- and duds -- of the week.
Jameis Winston has another huge afternoon
With his 32.7 fantasy points on Sunday coming on the heels of his 34.7-point score of Week 14, Winston has now enjoyed the two best single-game scores of his NFL career, right in time for our most critical weeks -- the fantasy postseason. His 49.6% start rate in ESPN leagues was eighth-highest at the position, so plenty of managers capitalized upon the performance, and they might again be rewarded when he concludes his season with similarly favorable matchups against the Texans (Week 16) and Falcons (Week 17).
Winston's season has been one of the more unusual ones in the game's history. He was intercepted again on Sunday, the league-leading 24th of his season, yet has been successful enough between the mistakes to have totaled 279.8 fantasy points in his 14 games (already a career best). Winston's Buccaneers have now won four games in a row, so there's no reason to think his turnovers might threaten his starter's status during the remainder of 2019, either. -- Cockcroft
Lamar Jackson's historic season continues
Jackson had his highest single-game score of 2019 on Thursday, and his 37.1 fantasy points gave him a single season record-setting seven games with at least 30 points. Only a trio of running backs has ever had more: Marshall Faulk (2000), Priest Holmes (2003) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2016).
Jackson's score pushed his season fantasy point total to a whopping 385.9, the most by any quarterback in history through that many team games in a single season, breaking Patrick Mahomes' 2018 mark by 14.4 points. It put Jackson on pace for 441.0 fantasy points, which would shatter Mahomes' 2018 record of 417.1. In fact, if Jackson's season had come to a close on Thursday, he'd already rank seventh amongst quarterbacks in history in a single year. He was started in 86.5% of ESPN leagues, highest at the position by more than seven full percentage points. -- Cockcroft
A.J. Brown has big game in a loss
Brown has now topped the 100-yard receiving mark in three of his past four games after catching a season-high 8 of 13 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Week 15 loss to the Texans. We know the rookie is a prime fit for the Titans' play-action passing game (middle-of-the-field throws), plus he has the run-after-catch ability to produce on underneath throws. But the deep ball plays have to be discussed here too. Brown caught a 91-yard touchdown in Week 14 versus the Raiders, and he registered a 60-yard grab on Sunday.
Now, Brown could get some solo coverage from Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in the Week 16 matchup versus New Orleans. I get it. But I really like what I am seeing here from the rookie, and Ryan Tannehill is getting him the ball. I'd roll with him as a WR2 in the lineup for the fantasy championship round. Brown's 25.4 PPR fantasy points pushed his season total to 179.4 for the season, which is the most among rookie wide receivers. -- Bowen
Miles Sanders fills in nicely
Jordan Howard's shoulder injury has created a golden opportunity for Sanders, and the rookie has thrived with it in his five fill-in starts -- but especially the past three. After putting forth solid receiving totals all year, Sanders bumped his overall fantasy production to a career-best 35.2 PPR points on Sunday, including personal bests with 19 rushing attempts and 122 rushing yards. He flashed the kind of elusiveness that he had in the receiving game in past weeks, and in the process, took over as the highest-scoring rookie flex-eligible (RB/WR/TE) player, with 184.0 PPR fantasy points for the season -- although Josh Jacobs has a chance to reclaim that title in the 4 p.m. ET game block.
Howard is expected to be available for the Eagles' big Week 16 showdown against the Cowboys, but that'll be more of a headache for Sanders' managers in that the veteran should only cut into Sanders' workload in a probable committee rather than reclaim the starting job outright. Sanders should continue to handle passing-down chores as well as get potentially double-digit carries, so there's plenty of reason to keep him in there as a flex option. If Howard suffers any setbacks there'll be RB2 potential here. -- Cockcroft
Breshad Perriman could be WR1 next week
Against a subpar Lions defense that insists on sticking in man coverage, Perriman racked up 113 yards receiving (on 5 of 6 targets) and three touchdowns Tampa Bay's win. With Mike Evans already on the shelf, and Chris Godwin leaving the game on Sunday with an injury, why wouldn't you roll with Perriman in the fantasy championship round? It's a solid matchup versus the Texans defense and we all know that Jameis Winston is going throw the ball around. This is like 7-on-7 football at times with the Bucs offense. If Godwin is out for that one, I have no issues bumping Perriman up as a high-end WR2 (maybe even a WR 1) heading into Week 16. -- Bowen
Chris Carson takes advantage of a good matchup in Carolina
Carson took advantage of the matchup versus a Panthers defense that has fallen off a cliff since the start of the season, rushing for a season-high 133 yards with two scores. But the volume needs to be looked at here, too. With Rashaad Penny down for the season, and C.J. Prosise only getting five carries on Sunday, it's all Carson now in the Seattle backfield. He logged 24 carries on Sunday, and the Cardinals defense is on tap in Week 16. Another positive matchup for Carson there, with guaranteed volume in the Seahawks run-heavy offense. I'll jump on that in the championship round. -- Bowen
Minnesota Vikings defense/special teams comes up big
The Vikings' D/ST saved it for the week when it really counted, easily pacing the position with 26 fantasy points on Sunday. In doing so, it scored the most points by any team D/ST this late in a season since the Cardinals scored the same number in Week 17 of 2016, and the most by any D/ST in a Week 15 or 16 (since many NFL teams rest players in Week 17) since the Cardinals scored 35 fantasy points in Week 15 of 2015. The Vikings were started in 46.8% of ESPN leagues, ninth-most among defenses, their number perhaps that large only because the team had entered the week ranked among the top 10 for the season in fantasy points. -- Cockcroft
Kenyan Drake's four TDs help fantasy owners in playoffs
Drake obliterated his previous career best for PPR fantasy points set in his Cardinals debut in Week 9 (28.2), scoring a best-across-the-board (through the 4 p.m. ET games) 39.6 points. While a favorable matchup against the Browns contributed, it was a performance reminiscent of some of those with which he concluded his 2017 season, when he first claimed a starting job with the Dolphins. Drake's 22 rushing attempts were his third most in any game in his career, and his 137 rushing yards set a new personal best, trends that bode quite well as he heads into a pair of middling-to-below-average matchups against the Seahawks and Rams in Weeks 16-17.
Plenty of fantasy managers surely benefited from the performance, as Drake found himself on rosters of playoff teams in 40.3% of ESPN leagues this season, and he was started in 46.4% of leagues in Week 15. -- Cockcroft
Christian McCaffrey: Fantasy managers love to see their season-long stars continue to carry their teams with lofty scores during our playoff weeks, and McCaffrey's best-from-the-1-p.m.-ET-games 37.5 PPR fantasy points fit the bill. That was his fourth-best single game score of 2019 in 14 games played, and it gave him 416.1 points for the season, easily third-most by any player at any position in history through his team's first 14 games. McCaffrey isn't only benefiting from his receptions in that scoring system, either, as his 322.1 non-PPR fantasy points are sixth-most amongst running backs since at least 1950 through his team's first 14 games. -- Cockcroft
Anthony Miller: With 118 yards and a touchdown on 9 of 15 targets in the loss to Green Bay, Miller has now topped the 100-yard mark in two of his past three games, and he's found the end zone in two straight. Sure, the Bears are a quick-throwing offense with Mitchell Trubisky, but Matt Nagy will dial up some inside verticals for Miller. And with a matchup versus the Chiefs in Week 16, I think Miller can find a spot in the lineup as a WR3 for managers in deeper leagues. -- Bowen
Davante Adams: I wasn't completely sold on Adams heading into this matchup versus the Bears defense. Green Bay's passing offense has been can be sporadic and Adams hadn't posted a 100 yard receiving day since back in Week 11. However, he delivered for fantasy managers on Sunday, catching 7 of 13 targets for 103 yards and a touchdown. Adams has now caught a touchdown in three of his past four games, and I'm all-in on the matchup for the Packers wide receiver in Week 16 against the Vikings cornerbacks. He will be a high-end WR1 in my ranks. -- Bowen
Julian Edelman: Edelman's 2.9 PPR fantasy points were his fewest since Week 4 of the 2016 season, which was the last Patriots game not started by Tom Brady -- Jacoby Brissett was the starter that day. There were 37 more productive games by Edelman between those performances, and his five targets were his fewest since he had four in Week 2, although he converted those into 9.2 points in that week. It was a major letdown for Edelman's fantasy managers, considering he was facing an extremely favorable matchup against the Bengals (started in 90.3% of ESPN leagues), third-highest among wide receivers in Week 15. -- Cockcroft
Saquon Barkley: Barkley's 30.3 PPR fantasy points were his most since Week 12 of his 2018 rookie season (33.2), and his fourth career game with at least 30 points. As has been the case for much of his sophomore year, he has been playing into the hands of his matchups, as this and his second-best score of 2019 (28.3 points, Week 8) came against the five best schedule-adjusted matchups for a running back for the season. Fortunately, Barkley gets another outstanding matchup in the championship Week 16, as the Redskins rank a top-five matchup for the position as well, surrendering 48.7 PPR fantasy points combined to the Eagles running backs on Sunday. -- Cockcroft
Derrick Henry: Henry's 8.6 PPR fantasy points were his lowest score since Week 8 (7.3) and a significant disappointment to his managers, especially considering he had scored at least 23.6 points in each of his five games between those and was facing an above-average matchup against the Texans. He was started in 91.5% of ESPN leagues in Week 15, sixth-highest among running backs. -- Cockcroft