Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 15
You ever eat a banana dipped in ketchup? If you answered "yes" to that question, you might want to get yourself checked out -- however, I will say this, it certainly is a bold meal choice.
Not to be confused with baldness, boldness would be sporting a mohawk at the ripe young age of 75. In an unrealistic football analogy, boldness would be trading the best receiver in football for a washed-up running back with a huge contract. Ehhh, no one would be that stup...oh, nevermind.
For this article, we'll focus the boldness on fantasy football. Think of this piece like Taco Tuesday -- it's better when it's spicy, but the spiciness is not what it's all about; it's there to add flavor. The point here is not to hit on 100% of the predictions. After all, I'm not a vomiting hippo. The goal here is to uncover insights that can help us win some dough in fantasy. The idea is to uncover some players that might either have an amazing week or post a complete dud.
Now, let's eat a serving of ketchup banana (yuck).
(All predictions are for half-PPR and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks.)
1. Ryan Tannehill Exceeds 25 Fantasy Points
Few teams embody the "season of giving" more than the Detroit Lions. In games where they haven't gone up against P.J. Walker, Alex Smith, or Mitchell Trubisky, Detroit has surrendered an average of 25 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. This week, their generosity will extend to Ryan Tannehill ($7,700).
In his last 10 home games as a member of the Tennessee Titans, Tanny has exceeded 25 FanDuel points six times. This season, each of his four outings with more than 20.9 fantasy points has come on his home turf. Detroit has been plenty generous to running backs, as well, so this prediction and Derrick Henry pinballing his way to a top-three performance aren't mutually exclusive.
The Titans have a 31-point implied total for Sunday's game, which is the highest on the main slate. Tannehill should be a big part of the scoring bonanza.
2. Jalen Hurts Finishes as a Top-8 Quarterback
When you drop 108 rush yards on a team that had surrendered just 75 yards to quarterbacks in their previous 12 games combined, you're bound to get some people's attention. Consider me one of those people impressed by Jalen Hurts ($6,900).
While the Arizona Cardinals might not appear to be a fantastic matchup on paper, we don't play fantasy football on paper anymore, do we? Were we to exclude Dwayne Haskins, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, and a combination of a hobbled Daniel Jones and Colt McCoy, the Cards have surrendered at least 18.5 FanDuel points to all but one quarterback they've faced. Arizona has ceded 20 or more six times, and 24 or more three times. For Hurts, it also helps that the Cards have given up the sixth-most rush yards to quarterbacks.
With Arizona playing at the fastest pace in the league and this game having a 49.5-point total, look for Hurts to crack his way into the top-10 in his second start.
3. Alvin Kamara Finishes as *the* RB1
Yes, I know Derrick Henry is on the slate with a great matchup. And yes, I'm still predicting that Alvin Kamara ($7,800) finishes as the RB1 in Week 15.
The return of Drew Brees means Kamara can go back to his regularly scheduled programming as the league's most unique weapon. With Brees behind center this season, Kamara has averaged 8.9 targets and 23.7 FanDuel points. Without Brees, those averages have dipped to 4.0 and 13.0. The matchup for Kamara is also a dandy, as he'll go up against a Kansas City Chiefs that ranks 31st in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. This is the same defense that allowed Christian McCaffrey to rack up 32.1 fantasy points a few weeks ago in his lone game since Week 2.
With the New Orleans Saints coming in as underdogs in a game with the highest total on the slate, look for Kamara to be heavily involved en route to a huge performance.
4. Ezekiel Elliott Places Outside the Top-32 at Running Back
At this point in 2020, Ezekiel Elliott ($7,000) is nothing but a name brand. Zeke has finished as the RB28 or worse in six of his last eight games, and there's little to suggest that he won't flub again in Week 15.
This week, the Dallas Cowboys will take on the San Francisco 49ers, the team that currently ranks third-best in adjusted run defense. On the season, the Niners have yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the running back position.
Let's be honest -- Zeke hasn't even looked like the best running back on his team, let alone one of the best in the league. He has turtled his way to under eight half-PPR points in six of his last eight outings. Yikes. To make matters worse, Elliott is also dealing with a calf injury that he's expected to play through. While he might be playing in the lineup for the Cowboys, he shouldn't be in your lineup.
5. Brandon Aiyuk Finished as a Top-5 Wide Receiver
In his last five games, Brandon Aiyuk ($6,900) has averaged 11.4 targets, 7.2 receptions, 99.0 yards, and 0.6 tuddies per game. Last week, when Deebo Samuel exited after his first touch, Aiyuk saw a whopping 16 targets.
A target total in that range should play well against the Cowboys, who come in having allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to wideouts this season. In 2020, 11 receivers have exceeded 16 FanDuel points against Dallas, including five with 21 or more.
As essentially the only viable healthy option for the Niners offense, look for Aiyuk to have a blowup outing in Week 15.