Rich Hribar

The Worksheet

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The NFL Week 15 Worksheet

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Week 15 is here and hopefully you’ve already moved on in your fantasy playoffs and are looking to get into the championship game for your leagues. If you’ve been unfortunate this season in your leagues, there’s always DFS to keep the fantasy juices flowing.  Also, don't forget that we have two Saturday games this week, so don't sleep on getting your lineups set early if you are playing Texans, Jets, Browns and Broncos players.


For those that are new here, the goal of this article is to provide a top-down, statistical snapshot for each game each week, running down weekly point spreads, team totals, play calling splits, and statistical bullet points on the players and teams involved. Although we’re focusing strictly on PPR league scoring here as a baseline, there’s more than enough to spread around across formats and daily leagues. The reason we’re operating under a PPR umbrella is it allows us to cover a larger portion of the players involved in action weekly.


As the author, it’s imperative that I note that this is an expectations-based column over a linear start/sit forum. The labels for each subset of players for each game is simply the vehicle for those expectations and have a different context for each player. Players that are high performers week-to-week are held to different standards than a secondary option in an offense. Every player runs into down weeks, and we’re trying to identify those moments, even for the star players you’re going to ride through thick and thin moments that don’t tally many low points during the season. That said, we’re still embracing some of the elements that will go along with a start/sit column as a byproduct of those expectations. I encourage that you use the game by game tables and data points here in conjunction with the Start/Sit column posted weekly by Nick Mensio, Pat Daugherty’s rankings in the Goal Line Stand, Evan Silva’s Matchup’s column, Ray Summerlin's Waiver Wired and most importantly, your own information and thought process.  Remember, you control your own team. If you are curious as to my personal weekly rankings, they can be found each and every week in the Season Pass section.


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All lines are taken from VegasInsider on Tuesday nights 


Chargers @ Chiefs


LA ChargersRank@Kansas CityRank
3.5   Spread -3.5  
24.8   Implied Total 28.3  
28.2 5 Points/Gm 36.2 1
20.8 7 Points All./Gm 27.0 28
58.9 30 Plays/Gm 63.8 15
61.1 10 Opp. Plays/Gm 69.4 31
43.0% 11 Rush% 39.1% 21
57.1% 22 Pass% 60.9% 12
40.1% 13 Opp. Rush % 36.4% 4
60.0% 20 Opp. Pass % 63.6% 29


  • The Chiefs have beaten the Chargers in nine straight games, the longest winning streak for Kansas City over their rivalry.
  • The Chiefs are the only team in the league to score three or more touchdowns in every game this season. Every other team has at least two other games failing to score three touchdowns in a game.
  • The Chargers are first in the league in differential of yards per play (+1.23 yards) than their opponents while the Chiefs are second (+0.92 yards).
  • The Chargers are tied for first in the league with a +19 differential of explosive plays (gains of 20-plus yards) than their opponents. The Chiefs rank third at +15.
  • Kansas City averages a 20-plus yard play once every 10.2 offensive snaps, the best rate in the league. League average outside of them is once every 16.2 plays.
  • Kansas City has had the lead for 58.8 percent of their offensive plays, the highest rate in the league. The Chargers are second at 53.7 percent.
  • The Chiefs are 20th in the league in rushing attempts (excluding kneeldowns), but 31.6 percent of those runs result in a first down, the highest rate in the league.



Trust (spike starting production)


  • Patrick Mahomes: He’s had 20 or more fantasy points in eight consecutive games and has finished lower than QB6 just once over that span. His lowest completion rate of the season came against this Chargers defense all the way back in Week 1, but that was also start of his touchdown onslaught this season. 
  • Travis Kelce: After having just one catch when these teams met to open the season, Kelce averages 7.1 catches per game since with at least five receptions in 12 straight games.  Kelce has gone over 46 yards in just 2-of-9 career games against the Chargers with single-digit yardage in three of his past four games in this rivalry, but his target volume coming from the league’s best fantasy quarterback is too strong to depress his expected output at a shallow tight end position.
  • Philip Rivers: Arrowhead has been a house of horrors recently for Rivers, with him throwing just four touchdown passes to six interceptions over his past four trips to Kansas City. But this Chiefs defense has been far too giving, surrendering a QB1 performance in three straight games while allowing multiple touchdown passes in five of their past six games. The Chiefs are better at home, but have allowed QB1 games to Jimmy Garoppolo, Blake Bortles and Lamar Jackson at home in six games this season while the non-QB1 games have come from Case Keenum, Andy Dalton and Josh Rosen. Rivers didn't cash in a great matchup last week against the Bengals. but will be forced to put points on the board this week by the Chiefs.
  • Keenan Allen: En Fuego. Allen has scored a touchdown in five straight games and since returning from bye Week 9, leads all wide receivers in targets (66) and catches (47) while finishing as a top-12 scoring wideout in five of those six games.



On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Tyreek Hill: His heel injury is not expected to be serious, but on a short week there still may be some lingering impact. Hill has been a target-hog with Sammy Watkins off the field, averaging 11.4 targets per game in the five games that Watkins has missed outright or played fewer than 15 snaps. Hill also has a good history versus the Chargers, catching a touchdown pass in 4-of-5 career games in this matchup. Just monitor his practice reports on a short week.
  • Justin Jackson: With Melvin Gordon questionable and Austin Ekeler more on the doubtful side (concussion protocol/stinger) heading into the short week, last week’s heartbreaker Justin Jackson will be once again on the table as an RB2. If both Gordon and Ekeler sit out, Jackson will carry a high workload with receiving upside against a Chiefs defense that is allowing 174.7 total yards per game to opposing backfields (31st) and allowed Chargers’ backs to catch 14 passes back in Week 1.


Bust (underperformance)

  • Damien Williams: With Spencer Ware out, Williams will head a committee with Charcandrick West and Darrel Williams. Damien hasn't been much in the rushing department for his career, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry for his career on 149 carries and has a career-high of 13 touches in a single game. He's more of touchdown dependent RB3 than a locked in RB2 option, but offers receiving upside against a Chargers defense that ranks 29th in receiving yardage allowed to opposing backs while having increased touches on the highest-scoring offense in the league. 
  • Chris Conley: He is always cheap attachment to Mahomes, but we want to use him in spots where the Chiefs have an all-cylinders go environment. Unless Hill is absent, this is a spot to leave Conley on the shelf against a Chargers defense that has allowed just eight top-30 wideouts on the season while Kelvin Benjamin should work his way into a few snaps this week.



Texans @ Jets


HoustonRank@NY JetsRank
-6   Spread 6  
23.8   Implied Total 17.8  
24.8 12 Points/Gm 20.8 26
19.9 5 Points All./Gm 25.4 22
65.5 6 Plays/Gm 60.5 27
63.8 22 Opp. Plays/Gm 66.7 28
47.3% 4 Rush% 42.6% 13
52.7% 29 Pass% 57.4% 20
38.1% 8 Opp. Rush % 43.0% 23
61.9% 25 Opp. Pass % 57.0% 10


  • The Jets have converted 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) of their red zone opportunities at home into touchdowns, the lowest rate in the league.
  • Houston allows just 2.6 red zone opportunities per game, behind only the Bears (2.5).
  • Houston averages 48.6 more rushing yards per game than their opponent, the highest rate in the league.
  • The Jets have allowed 183.3 rushing yards per game over their past four games, the most in the league.
  • Just 25.3 percent of the yardage gained against Houston has been through rushing, trailing only the Saints (22.3 percent) for the lowest rate in the league.


Trust (spike starting production)


  • DeAndre Hopkins: He has double-digit targets in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 4-5 and has scored a touchdown in six of his past eight games. Despite posting 100-yards in just one of those eight games, the Jets are middling against lead wideouts, ranking 18th in receiving yardage (71.2 yards) and fantasy points and 22nd in touchdowns surrendered to opposing lead wideouts.


On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Deshaun Watson: He’s been inside of the top-10 in weekly scoring in just two of his past eight games and has thrown more than two touchdown passes in just one game on the season. The Jets are not a defense to hide from, but if Houston controls the game script and runs the ball like they’re capable of against this defense, Watson will need to make the most of low volume once again.
  • Lamar Miller: He’s been an RB2 or better in seven of his past eight games but has been an RB1 in just two of those games. The rushing yardage should be solid once again, but with low reception totals and Alfred Blue still working himself into touches, Miller is more of a great floor RB2.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Demaryius Thomas: Thomas had 5-105-1 against this Jets defense back in Week 5 with the Broncos, but just hasn’t seen the target volume for us to back him while in Houston. Since joining the Texans, Thomas is averaging 2.8 catches on 4.2 targets for 35.2 yards per game.
  • Sam Darnold: He was the QB25 in his first game back from injury and has been in the top half of QB scoring in just 2-of-10 games with a high finish of QB14.


If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Elijah McGuire: With Isaiah Crowell hobbled with a foot injury, McGuire handled 20 touches for 83 yards and a touchdown a week ago. If Crowell is unable to go on a shortened week, McGuire will find himself as a volume-based FLEX even in a tough matchup as an underdog against a Houston defense that ranks sixth in total yardage allowed per game to backfields.
  • Robby Anderson: As a boom-or-bust WR3/FLEX play, Anderson isn’t for everyone, but he leads the team with a 32 percent share of the air yardage and the Texans have shown some vulnerability to speed options the past few weeks, allowing a league-high 13 completions of 20-plus yards over the past two weeks.


Browns @ Broncos


3   Spread -3  
21.3   Implied Total 24.3  
22.5 18 Points/Gm 22.3 19
25.5 24 Points All./Gm 21.7 9
64.6 9 Plays/Gm 62.2 22
71.8 32 Opp. Plays/Gm 65.4 27
40.6% 17 Rush% 40.1% 20
59.4% 16 Pass% 60.0% 13
39.4% 11 Opp. Rush % 40.1% 15
60.6% 22 Opp. Pass % 59.9% 18


  • Since Week 9, the Browns have converted 14-of-14 red zone possessions into touchdowns.
  • Over that span, the Browns lead the league yards per play (6.9 yards) and have allowed a league-low three sacks.
  • Over that same span, Baker Mayfield is 11-of-13 passing with nine touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone.
  • Denver has allowed 3.3 red zone opportunities per game at home (21st) as opposed to 2.4 per game on the road (second).
  • Nick Chubb has rushed for a touchdown in five straight games, the longest streak for a Browns player since Greg Pruitt in 1975.
  • Denver hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in seven straight games, the longest active streak in the league.
  • Denver has had the lead for just 19.7 percent of their snaps this season, ahead of only Cincinnati (18.4 percent) and Arizona (15.9 percent).


Trust (spike starting production)


  • Phillip Lindsay: Even in a down game last week, he managed a strong RB2 game and has now rushed for a touchdown in six of his past seven games. He also played a season-high 64.9 percent of the snaps last week. Cleveland has struggled to defend opposing backfields and will be traveling to a tough place to play on a short week, allowing over 100-yards from scrimmage to the lead back in five of their past six games, with the only exception over that span being Tevin Coleman.


On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Baker Mayfield: He leads the league in passing yards per attempt (9.2 Y/A) since Week 9. Despite his hot streak, there hasn’t been a complete overlap into fantasy production as he’s been the QB18 and QB20 the past two weeks. Still, the matchup is strong once again as he draws a Denver pass defense allowing a league-high 335.8 passing yards per game since returning from their Week 10 bye while surrendering a 300-yard passer in three of those four games.
  • Jarvis Landry: He’s had two strong games in a row, but last week he added 54 rushing yards and a score while receiving just four targets in the passing game. Once again his quarterback in is a favorable spot and the Broncos have lost Chris Harris and Isaac Yiadom to injury in back-to-back weeks.
  • Nick Chubb: On the road against a Denver rush defense that has allowed just 72.7 rushing yards and no touchdowns to backfields over their past seven games, but Chubb is a locked-in starting option due to his own scoring upside and weekly usage, including catching three or more passes in four straight games as he’s made Duke Johnson a non-entity in this offense.


Bust (underperformance)


  • David Njoku: He has 35 or fewer receiving yards in four of his past six games and is averaging just 4.2 targets per game over the five games since the coaching shakeup in Cleveland. He’s likely not an outright sit at position starved with upside options, but we’ve been chasing this fantasy ghost all season long with just four weeks higher than TE15 to show for it.
  • Case Keenum: He hasn’t cleared 205 passing yards in a game since Week 9 while Cleveland is allowing just .370 passing points per attempt, third in the league behind Chicago and Jacksonville.


If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • DEN WRs: Courtland Sutton came in and out the game last week with a quad issue but is still the odds on favorite to get the most fantasy friendly targets in terms of deep shot plays and end zone looks. DaeSean Hamilton has out-snapped Sutton in each of the past two weeks and is coming off nine targets last week, but also has a marginal amount of upside in the yardage department. To make matters worse, Tim Patrick received a season-high 10 targets last week with Sutton ailing. As mentioned with Keenum’s yardage totals, there’s not a lot of juice to squeeze here, making this a mess of only FLEX-only options that I’d rank Sutton>Hamilton>Patrick unless we get word that Sutton will be out on Saturday.



Raiders @ Bengals


3   Spread -3  
21.5   Implied Total 24.5  
18.8 29 Points/Gm 23.6 16
29.8 31 Points All./Gm 30.5 32
62.7 21 Plays/Gm 59.4 28
60.2 7 Opp. Plays/Gm 68.7 30
38.3% 23 Rush% 35.8% 28
61.7% 10 Pass% 64.3% 5
49.6% 32 Opp. Rush % 45.0% 29
50.4% 1 Opp. Pass % 55.0% 4


  • Opponents have scored on 50 percent of their possessions against the Bengals, the highest rate in the league.
  • Opponents have scored on 49.2 percent of their possessions against the Raiders, the second-highest rate in the league.
  • Oakland averages -1.63 yards per play compared to their opponent, last in the league.
  • The Bengals are at -1.19 yards per play than their opponents, 30th in the league.
  • Oakland has a -32 sack differential this season, the worst in the league. The next closest team (Giants) is at -19.


Trust (spike starting production)


  • Joe Mixon: In what was an unappealing outlook a week ago as a massive road dog, Mixon received a season-high 31 touches, which he turned into 138 yards and a score. This week is much more in his favor at home against an Oakland defense that is allowing 159.6 yards from scrimmage to opposing backs (26th).
  • Jared Cook: He has finally started to see the targets ramp up, receiving 18 targets the past two games that have aided Cook in going over 100-yards receiving in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2011 season.


On the Cusp (proxy of a player’s baseline)


  • Tyler Boyd: He’s still a solid WR3 option and leads the Bengals with 21 percent of the team targets and 38 percent of the air yards over the past three games, catching 14-of-19 targets for 211 yards and a touchdown from Driskel over that span.
  • Derek Carr: He’d had two strong fantasy games in a row and has multiple touchdowns in three of his past four games. The matchup is strong against a Bengals defense that ranks 28th in passing points allowed per game (18.0) and Carr is in play as a streaming option, but he is still only a higher-end QB2 option with better passing splits at home than on the road, throwing just six touchdowns in six road games to date on the season.
  • Doug Martin: Here we are. Week 15 of the 2018 season and Martin looks like a solid play because of touchdown appeal. Martin is averaging 15.1 touches per game over his seven starts and since taking over as the starter in Week 8, Martin's 16 carries inside of the 10-yard line trail only Christian McCaffrey (19). No team has given up more touchdowns to opposing backs than the Bengals 20 scores allowed to backfields on the season.


Bust (underperformance)


  • Jeff Driskel: He’s been the QB22 and QB23 over his two starts, passing for just 236 and 170 yards. The downside to Driskel is that he hasn’t been using his athleticism, rushing just eight times for 24 yards over the past three games.
  • John Ross: He has found the end zone in four of his past five games, but if you have to chase those scores, they’ve only come along with 11 catches and 121 yards over that span while he has just four catches for 24 yards in Driskel’s two starts.


If You Must (Swing on a bench option/deep league play)


  • Jordy Nelson: There’s marginal appeal here from a ceiling stance, but Nelson has had double-digit points in each of the past two games with 10 and six receptions in those games on 18 total targets.

continue story »
Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer. You can find him on Twitter @LordReebs.
Email :Rich Hribar

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