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Start or Sit? NFL fantasy football tips for Week 15

What players make the cut in this week’s start/sit list?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Congratulations on making it to the 2020 Fantasy Football Semi-Finals! Whether you were on a bye last week or pulled out a nice Week 14 win, it’s important to keep your fantasy season rolling as you eye the prize. Figuring out who to start is more crucial than ever, and to help you out, here are this week’s fantasy start/sit suggestions.

QUARTERBACK

Start’Em

Jared Goff (Rams) vs. New York Jets (Week 15 position rank: 11th)

Nobody wants to put their fantasy livelihood on the shoulders of the Rams quarterback as he’s been as unreliable as they come. Nine times he’s finished outside the top 10 for quarterbacks, including six times outside the top 20. That’s not good. In fairness, he’s had a lot of really tough matchups. But Goff has shown that he is capable of having big games as he’s finished no. 7 or better twice over the last four weeks, with both times coming against moderate matchups. This week, he’ll face a Jets defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. If you’re streaming or looking for a bargain DFS, Goff has upside appeal.

Sit’Em

Deshaun Watson (Texans) vs. Indianapolis Colts (Week 15 position rank: 10th)

Just a couple weeks ago, the Texans star quarterback was coming off of back-to-back weeks as the no. 1 fantasy quarterback. But all of a sudden, things went south. It wasn’t by pure chance that things abruptly changed as his weapons started dropping like flies. First, Will Fuller was suspended followed by Brandin Cooks getting hurt, leaving Keke Coutee as Watson’s top receiving target. Not only that, but his schedule got tougher and this week he’ll face a Colts defense that allows the fifth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks. In fact, Indy has only allowed multiple passing touchdowns in five of their 13 games this season, including four games without a single passing touchdown. And it just so happens that Watson’s Week 13 matchup against them was one of them.

RUNNING BACK

Start’Em

Jeff Wilson Jr. (49ers) vs. Dallas Cowboys (Week 15 position rank: 22nd)

Wilson has been one of several 49ers running backs who has shown up here and there, and he’s really been unplayable most weeks. With other running backs ahead of him, he just doesn’t get the workload to be fantasy relevant. Of course that could change this week as an ankle injury to Raheem Mostert could have Wilson seeing the lion’s share of the touches this week. Only twice this season has Wilson had more than a dozen total touches, and each time he’s finished inside the top 10 in running back finishes, including a Week 7 game where he had 31 fantasy points (half PPR format), making him the no. 1 fantasy running back for the week. On Sunday, he’ll face a Cowboys defense who have allowed the most rushing yards this season, including four games with over 200 yards rushing. If Wilson gets the work, he has the potential to have a big game.

Sit’Em

Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys) vs. San Francisco 49ers (Week 15 position rank: 19th)

Entering the season, Elliott was hands-down one of the safest plays for fantasy running backs as the touches and scoring opportunities offered a high floor. Unfortunately, the loss of his starting quarterback and four starting offensive linemen have severely hindered Elliott’s effectiveness to the point where he’s been completely taken out of games. In his previous four seasons, he’s only had four games with 12 or fewer carries. This year alone, he’s had five such instances. Zeke has finished as the no. 20 RB or worse in seven of the last eight games. He’s no longer an auto-start and against a 49ers defense that allows the fifth-fewest points to opposing running backs, don’t expect Elliott to help you advance to the championship game.

WIDE RECEIVER

Start’Em

Marvin Jones Jr. (Lions) vs. Tennessee Titans (Week 15 position rank: 29th)

With Kenny Golladay out of action, Jones Jr. is seeing a lot more targets as he’s had double-digit looks in three of his last five games. In that same span, he’s finished as the WR no. 7 or better twice, including a tough Week 13 matchup against the Chicago Bears. This week he draws the Titans defense that allows the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. You might be a little apprehensive about starting Jones Jr. with Chase Daniels filling in for an injured Matthew Stafford, but this game script should feature the Lions playing a lot of catch up, and those garbage time moments can be very fantasy friendly.

Sit’Em

Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) vs. Washington (Week 15 position rank: 17th)

Lockett owners aren’t likely to sit him as he’s had a couple monster performances this year where both times he finished as the no. 1 WR for the week. That hope of a big finish like that will keep him in the starting lineup, but it should be noted that both those three-touchdown games are the only time he’s finished in the top 10 for wide receivers this year. In fact, more times than not, he’s finished outside the top 44 wide receivers. That’s not ideal. The emergence of D.K. Metcalf combined with a Washington defense that allows the fourth-fewest points to opposing wide receivers are big red flags fantasy owners need to acknowledge.

TIGHT END

Start’Em

Evan Engram (Giants) vs. Cleveland Browns (Week 15 position rank: 10th)

The Giants tight end is having a quiet season, but he’s actually putting up solid numbers as he’s ranked seventh in receptions and eighth in receiving yards for tight ends. The only thing not working so favorable for him is his ability to find the end zone as he only has two touchdowns this season. This week he’ll face a Browns defense that allows the second-most fantasy points to tight ends, including five touchdowns over their last five games. The Browns have also been caught up in some high-scoring game scripts as of late as teams have combined for over 75 total points in each of the last two games.

Sit’Em

Dallas Goedert (Eagles) vs. Arizona Cardinals (Week 15 position rank: 9th)

Goedert makes our sit list for the second week in a row. Last week, it was because of a tough matchup and the uncertainty of what Jalen Hurts brings to the Eagles offense. This week, it’s also because of a tough matchup, but it’s also because we now sorta know what Hurts brings to the offense. Not only does Hurts run a lot (18 rushes for 106 yards) versus airing it out (167 yards passing), but the once high-TE target share is now more evenly spread out to Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, and Miles Sanders. Arizona allows the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, so this one just doesn’t line up well for Goedert.

DEFENSE

Start’Em

San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys (Week 15 position rank: 11th)

The 49ers defense would be one of the top defensive units this year had they not been hit with a lot of injuries. The team is slowly getting healthier, and it’s shown up in the fantasy stat book as they’ve finished inside the top 10 twice over their last four games. This week they face a Cowboys offense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing defenses, and that factors in those first five games with Dak Prescott where Dallas’ offense led the league in yards and were racking up the points. Without Dak, the offense has struggled putting up less than 20 points in six of eight games. The Cowboys offense also has committed 24 turnovers, which is third-worst in the league.

Sit’Em

Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Football Team (Week 15 position rank: 9th)

The Seahawks defense is no longer the red carpet defense they were in the beginning of the year as they started the season with six straight games allowing over 400 yards to opposing offenses. Over the past five weeks, Seattle hasn’t allowed a single game with 400 yards, including three straight with less than 300 yards of offense. And while a matchup against Washington’s offense seems favorable, it should be noted that Washington has won four straight games, and their once dismal offense is actually performing a lot better. This could end up being a good game for the Seattle D, but there’s some vulnerability here that comes with a little risk.