Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Updated Positional Breakdown for Flex and PPR
Week 15 of the 2016 NFL season is already underway. If you’re still alive in your fantasy postseason, congratulations. However, this good news also brings the reality that every choice is magnified.
Start the wrong player, and your season could be over just like that. The wrong waiver-wire add? Consolation bracket, here you come. Well, we’re here to help sort things out for the remainder of the week with some good old fashioned positional rankings.
We’ll be examining the top skill-position players and ranking them based on our Week 15 projections. We’ll have separate lists for standard and PPR scoring, where applicable, and take an in-depth look at some players to watch.
All of our choices are based on factors such as past performances, projected role, health and matchup.
Quarterbacks Week 15 QBs Rank Player 1 Matt Ryan, ATL 2 Carson Palmer, ARI 3 Aaron Rodgers, GB 4 Kirk Cousins, WAS 5 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT 6 Philip Rivers, SD 7 Tom Brady, NE 8 Drew Brees, NO 9 Andrew Luck, IND 10 Derek Carr, OAK
Watch: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is having arguably the bestseason of his career in 2016. The Boston College product has already thrown for 4,050 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Unfortunately, Ryan and the Falcons will be without star receiver Julio Jones for the second consecutive week with a foot injury.
The good news is that Ryan entertainment news headlines didn’t really miss a beat with Jones out of the lineup last week against the Los Angeles Rams. He racked up 237 yards and three touchdowns with zero turnovers. This week, he and the Falcons host the San Francisco 49ers, who are rated 29th in overall defense by Pro Football Focus.
Start Ryan with confidence and enjoy what should be a high-floor play.
Sleeper: Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford rarely lights up fantasy scoreboards, but he could be a quality deep sleeper in Week 15. He’s coming off a 292-yard, one touchdowns performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His matchup this week is even more favorable.
Bradford and the Vikings will host the Indianapolis Colts, who are rated dead-last in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus for the season so far. Expect Bradford to surpass the 250-yard mark in Week 15.
Hopefully, he’ll also be able to find the end zone more than once for the fourth time this season.
Running Backs Week 15 RBs Rank Standard PPR 1 David Johnson, ARI Le’Veon Bell, PIT 2 Le’Veon Bell, PIT David Johnson, ARI 3 LeSean McCoy, BUF LeSean McCoy, BUF 4 Devonta Freeman, ATL Devonta Freeman, ATL 5 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL Ezekiel Elliott, DAL 6 DeMarco Murray, TEN Bilal Powell, NYJ 7 Bilal Powell, NYJ DeMarco Murray, TEN 8 Lamar Miller, HOU Lamar Miller, HOU 9 LeGarrette Blount, NE Latavius Murray, OAK 10 Jordan Howard, CHI Jordan Howard, CHI 11 Latavius Murray, OAK Jay Ajayi, MIA 12 Carlos Hyde, SF Theo Riddick, DET 13 Robert Kelley, WAS LeGarrette Blount, NE 14 Isaiah Crowell, CLE Jeremy Hill, CIN 15 Jay Ajai, MIA Carlos Hyde, SF 16 Frank Gore, IND Frank Gore, IND 17 Jeremy Hill, CIN Robert Kelley, WAS 18 Spencer Ware, KC Isaiah Crowell, CLE 19 Jonathan Stewart, CAR Spencer Ware, KC 20 Tevin Coleman, ATL Tevin Coleman, ATL
Watch: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is pretty much a must-start in any format, but he could be especially motivated to run wild this weekyou know, a week after he produced nearly 300 combined rushing and receiving yards to go with three touchdowns.
Bell and the Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals this week. While the Bengals will be looking to batter their hated rivals, Bell will likely be looking for some statistical payback for last year’s season-ending injury suffered against Cincinnati.
At the very least, Bell plans on protecting himself.
“The last two times I’ve played them, it’s been that way,” Bell said, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.”I’m obviously not going to let it happen a third time. I’m going to be prepared for everything. Got to, because with my mindset I have to be smart about it.”
Getting nearly 300 total yards again may be a bit unrealistic, but don’t be surprised if Bell cracks the 200-yard mark against Cincinnati.
Sleeper: Kenneth Farrow, San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was having a tremendous fantasy campaign before suffering a hip injury last week against the Carolina Panthers. While Gordon may play again this season, he won’t be on the field Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
This means Kenneth Farrow is likely to be the guy against Oakland, which is rated a modest 25th in run defense by Pro Football Focus.
Farrow performed relatively well in relief of Gordon last week, amassing 55 yards rushing, six receptions and 23 yards receiving. Expect him to have even bigger numbers this week against the Raiders.
Farrow should be a legitimate flex option with upside.
Wide ReceiversChargers RB Melvin Gordon (hip) is not expected to play Sunday vs. Raiders, per source. Remains a chance Gordon will play again this season.
Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 14, 2016
Watch: Mohamed Sanu& Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons
We mentioned that Julio Jones won’t be suiting up for the Falcons this week but that we expect Matt Ryan to still have an excellent game. Well, we say this because of the presence of receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel.
Sanu missed last week’s game along with Jones, and Gabriel compensated admirably. He only caught three passes, but they went for 82 yards and a touchdown.
With Jones again out, Sanu and Gabriel should be Ryan’s top targets. Expect Gabriel to produce numbers similar to those of last week, while Sanu becomesmore of a PPR threat. Each Falcons wideout should be good for a flex start with room for substantial upside.
Sleeper: Chris Conley, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs have found themselves a new playmaker at the receiver position in rookie Tyreek Hill. While Hill is grabbing plenty of attention, though, Chris Conley has also emerged as a potential big-play threat.
The downside with Conley is that he can be a bit of a boom-or-bust fantasty option. He has no touchdowns this season and five games with two or fewer receptions. As Hill gains attention from opposing defenses, though, the potential for Conley to produce increases.
Last week against the Oakland Raiders, Conley had one of those two-reception games. However, those two catches went for 70 yards. Don’t be surprised if Conley produces similar or better numbers this week against the Tennessee Titans, who are rated 29th in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus.
Yes, Conley is a deep sleeper, but if you’re reaching for sleepers this late in the season, you’re gunning for upside. His big-play ability provides that.
Tight Ends Week 15 WRs Rank Standard PPR 1 Mike Evans, TB Mike Evans, TB 2 Jordy Nelson, GB Larry Fitzgerald, ARI 3 Antonio Brown, PIT Antonio Brown, PIT 4 T.Y. Hilton, IND Jordy Nelson, GB 5 Larry Fitzgerald, ARI T.Y. Hilton, IND 6 Odell Beckham Jr., NYG Odell Beckham Jr., NYG 7 Dez Bryant, DAL Jordan Matthews, PHI 8 Michael Crabtree, OAK Julian Edelman, NE 9 A.J. Green, CIN A.J. Green, CIN 10 Devante Adams, GB Dez Bryant, DAL 11 Julian Edelman, NE Michael Crabtree, OAK 12 Jordan Matthews, PHI Demaryius Thomas, DEN 13 Demaryius Thomas, DEN Golden Tate, DET 14 Beandin Cooks, NO Devante Adams, GB 15 Mohamed Sanu, ATL Stefon Diggs, MIN 16 Michael Thomas, NO Amari Cooper, OAK 17 Amari Cooper, OAK Emmanuel Sanders, DEN 18 Tyrell Williams, SD Brandin Cooks, NO 19 Sammy Watkins, BUF Jamison Crowder, WAS 20 Emmanuel Sanders, DEN Taylor Gabriel, ATL
Watch: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
There are a couple of reasons to watch Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed this week. The first is that when he is healthy, he is perhaps the top PPR tight end in the entire league. In 10 games, he has accumulated 60 receptions for 640 yards and five touchdowns.
The second reason, though, is that Reed isn’t particularly healthy. He’s dealing with a shoulder separation that has cost him one game and limited him to just one reception in another.
It would be prudent to see just how healthy Reed appears leading up to game time, but we’d expect him to play and to produce if he does. The Redskins face the Carolina Panthers, who allow the third-most passing yards in the leaguean average of 272.4 yards per game.
Sleeper: Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills tight end Charles Clay isn’t exactly an unknown commodity, but he’s been a bit of a fantasy sleeper this seasonin part because of the struggles of his quarterback. However, Clay has had a few quality fantasy outings, like last week’s 52-yard, one-touchdown production against the =Steelers.
This week, Clay and the Bills clash with the winless Cleveland Browns, who are rated just 27th in pass coverage by Pro Football Focus. While we’re not entirely convinced Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor will have a big day, Clay should have a decent one.
If you’re looking for a streamer tight end or a replacement for an injured player like Rob Gronkowski, consider Clay.