The fantasy football playoffs are here. Now, admittedly, the bold predictions for this week are slightly different than those prior. In weeks prior, our Fantrax staff has made bold predictions for players ranked well behind the usual studs. We usually try to make the case for big performances from players you might not be expecting big performances from.
This week, though there are no more bye weeks, NFL teams are dealing with a widespread issue with Covid-19. At the time of this publication, seven teams are in enhanced Covid-19 protocols. With some significant players on fantasy football rosters ruled out already, other players around the league are simply dealing with normal in-season football injuries.
With that said, many fantasy football managers, like yourself, may have worked the waiver wire or are constantly monitoring free agency for players to start in a pinch this week. So, there may be more unlikely starters than usual this week, but our Fantrax bold predictions will highlight specific players we think can stand out above the rest in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
With the above circumstances in mind, understand that any and all predictions and rankings this week are subject to change prior to every game’s kickoff this weekend. Be sure to follow all of these bold predictions and more @Fantrax on Twitter and @fantraxsports on Instagram!
2021 NFL Week 15 Bold Predictions for Fantasy Football
Gabriel Davis, WR, Buffalo Bills
Bold Prediction: 5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 touchdown
17.0 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT on Twitter
Colin’s Breakdown: Aside from big Bills debut seasons in 2020 from Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley, rookie, Gabriel Davis, made a short-term splash of his own last season. Though oftentimes the fourth receiving option in the rotation, Davis logged most of his 35 catch, 599 yard, and seven touchdown season in the absence of John “Smokey” Brown.
In seven games without Brown, the usual deep threat, Davis played no less than 93% of snaps in six of those contests and 83% in the other. This season, with Diggs doing Diggs things and Beasley operating out of the slot again, veteran free agent, Emmanuel Sanders, has taken over the John Brown role of 2020. As a result, Davis has only seen 38 targets, however 12 of them have been red zone targets.
Prior to Week 14, Davis has only played more than 50% of snaps twice this season. However, Emmanuel Sanders suffered a knee injury and did not finish the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Davis stepped in and played 83% of the snaps catching five of eight targets for 43 yards and touchdown.
After back-to-back losses, the Bills need to not only win, but have a statement win in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers. Sanders is expected to sit which sets up perfectly for my bold prediction that Gabriel Davis has a big day. If Josh Allen’s own injury limits his mobility, he could just air it out all afternoon. So, I expect to see Davis in the end zone at some point on Sunday.
Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
Bold Prediction: 8 receptions, 85 yards, 1 touchdown
22.5 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Mike Omelan, @mikeomelan on Twitter
Mike’s Breakdown: When your options are limited, go with what you know. What I know is that Jamison Crowder has a history of being a PPR machine no matter who’s under center. Though Crowder came up short last week against a tough New Orleans defense, he still saw six targets for the second week in a row. The Jets simply couldn’t get anything going on offense, scoring just nine points on three field goals.
Now that Corey Davis and Elijah Moore are both on injured reserve, rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, doesn’t have many trustworthy options besides Crowder left in the passing game. He’s leading the team’s receivers in snaps. Crowder is also second amongst Jets receivers in targets, 14 behind Moore, but missed the first three games of the season where Moore totaled 18 targets.
I really like Jamison Crowder as a bounce back candidate for Week 15 and to fulfill my bold prediction. The Miami Dolphins are allowing the eighth-most receptions and eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Again, with a lack of options for Zach Wilson, Crowder should see a high volume of targets this weekend. He logged six catches for 44 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against Miami in Week 11.
Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots
Bold Prediction: 5 receptions, 42 yards, 2 touchdowns
21.2 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Ahaan Rungta, @AhaanRungta on Twitter
Ahaan’s Breakdown: Over the last two weeks, Mac Jones has thrown 3 passes in the NFL. In Week 13, the Patriots offense made history by running the ball on 94% of their plays, the highest run rate in a game in the millennium. In Week 14, they had a bye. That Monday Night Football game made the Patriots the second-most-heavy rushing offense in the NFL but it was in absurd weather, which the Patriots won’t have to contend with in Indianapolis in Week 15. With the Colts likely sitting on the Patriots’ effective run game, expect New England to catch their opponents sleeping again by flinging it with their rookie quarterback.
This season, the Colts rank fifth in the NFL in rush DVOA but 17th in the NFL in pass DVOA as a defense and have given up 26 passing touchdowns to quarterbacks, the second-most among all teams. The receiving first option for the Patriots in the red zone this year? Tight end Hunter Henry, who leads the Patriots in red zone targets (14) and receiving touchdowns (7). Expect the Jones-Henry connection to be in full effect in Week 15 as the Patriots look to find the end zone a couple of times as underdogs on the road.
K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Bold Prediction: 6 receptions, 91 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
21.1 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Lauren Auerbach, @lkauerbach on Twitter
Lauren’s Breakdown: I’m rolling with K.J. Osborn for this week’s bold prediction. Adam Thielen was sidelined with a high ankle sprain in Week 13. Since then, Osborn has stepped right into the second wide receiver role, alongside Justin Jefferson. In the past two weeks, Osborn has 16 targets, and combined for 130 yards and two touchdowns. I expect more of the same this week in a tasty matchup against the Chicago Bears.
On the season, the Bears have been a leaky unit against wideouts. They’ve surrendered 17 receiving touchdowns to the position, tied for league-worst. They’ve also allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Kirk Cousins has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of the past six weeks, and the Vikings are in a must-win mode. This should make for a good day at the office for Osborn in Week 15.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
Bold Prediction: 305 passing yards, 3 touchdowns
24.2+ fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Mick Ciallela, @themick23 on Twitter
Mick’s Breakdown: The Miami Dolphins have placed running backs Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, and Phillip Lindsay on the reserve/Covid-19 list within the last week. With question marks surrounding their running game, I expect Miami to rely more on the passing game in their Week 15 matchup against the New York Jets.
That means big things are likely in store for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against one of the league’s worst defenses. The Jets have allowed both the highest yards per attempt (8.24) and completion percentage (70.8) to opposing quarterbacks his season. No team has allowed a higher completion percentage throughout a season since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.
Miami’s passing attack thrives on rhythm and timing. Tagovailoa is second in the NFL with a 70.9 percent mark in that area. He has completed at least 80 percent of his passes three times this season, including in two of his last three games. I do not think it is a stretch for him to eclipse that threshold in this matchup. The Jets do not have the personnel to counter the likes of Jaylen Waddle, DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki.
Though Tagovailoa has only thrown for more than two scores once this season, I think there is a decent chance of that happening this week. Tagovailoa has attempted just 41 red zone passes this year. However, a lack of reliable running options could lead Miami to be more aggressive in the red zone. All in all, I expect a big day out of Tagovailoa and the Miami passing offense in this game for my Week 15 bold prediction.
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