It’s time for the 2022 fantasy football playoffs. This isn’t the time to overthink things. Start your studs! You will regret sitting the players with the highest potential to get you to the next round. If you do have difficult lineup decisions to make, however, then my list of players I love and hate for Week 15 is here to point you in the right direction.
Sometimes you don’t have many choices as the bench options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week. My track record, thus far, is pretty spot on as I continue to hold myself accountable, review each list every week on Twitter (@Colin_McT) and improve week-to-week! Let’s take a look at who deserves to start and who you should consider sitting this week.
Players I Love and Hate in Week 15 of the 2022 Season
Love: Mike White, New York Jets
First and foremost, I’m monitoring Mike White’s status ahead of Week 15 after getting crushed by the Buffalo Bills’ defense last week. I do think he plays, but I would have a backup on my roster just in case. If he is available, I love Mike White and trust him to help get me into the fantasy football semifinals. In three straight games, he has eclipsed 260 passing yards with an average of 317 yards per game through the air. That’s a fantasy floor of nearly 13.0 points on just passing yards alone.
White gets a home matchup against the Detroit Lions who are averaging the third-most points across the league in the last three weeks and the fifth-most points this season. This game has shootout potential. As for how the Lions match up against White, they are very beatable through the air. The Lions allow the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. A sneaky stat to keep in mind, too, is that they allow the most rushing yards to the position, as well. Hopefully, White is healed up well enough to add some points with his legs, but I’m leaning more on his passing success. Managers who just lost Kyler Murray should absolutely be starting Mike White in Week 15.
Some Extra Love:
Matt Ryan is in the streaming conversation for Week 15. I’m not starting him in most 1QB leagues, but I love plugging him into 2QB and Superflex lineups. Ryan is a good bet to throw the ball over 30 times. Though the Minnesota Vikings have a 10-3 record, their pass defense is atrocious. In seven of their last eight games, quarterbacks have thrown for over 300 passing yards in each. Matt Ryan will look to do the same coming off of a bye with two weeks of preparation for this game. I would love this matchup more if he was at home, but he will at least be playing in a dome.
Hate: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
The Los Angeles Chargers are tied in allowing the fifth-most passing touchdowns this season. That’s who Ryan Tannehill is up against in Week 15. As for fantasy points allowed, the Chargers are just 0.1 points outside of being inside the top-12 points allowed to the position. Even with this in mind, I hate Ryan Tannehill’s Week 15 outlook on the road in Los Angeles.
This game figures to be another must-watch Derrick Henry performance. Only the Houston Texans are allowing more rushing yards to running backs this season than the Chargers. It’s worth noting Henry gets the Texans next week! Henry’s continued dominance is a huge reason why the Titans pass at the third-lowest rate in 2022. Additionally, it’s yet to be seen if rookie receiver, Treylon Burks, will take the field in Week 15 following a Week 13 concussion. Tannehill’s other weapons are too lackluster. Tannehill is averaging just 14.14 fantasy points per game this season. In a deceivingly fantasy-friendly matchup, I am exhausting all options before plugging him into any lineup.
Love: Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
I’m just going to continue to pound the table for the Chiefs’ rookie running back. It’s a matter of time before he breaks out in a big way. He now has 93 all-purpose yards or a touchdown in his last four games. That supports an average of 13.7 points per game. I love his Week 15 matchup against the Houston Texans and think he can double his recent four-game average in this game alone.
The elephant in the room here is that Pacheco’s teammate, Jerrick McKinnon, is coming off of an overall RB1 finish from Week 14. If you dissect his stats, though, you will see he scored most of his 32.4 points as a pass catcher in a game where the Chiefs found themselves in a fight with the Denver Broncos. McKinnon dominated receiving work out of the backfield, and even the snap share, but Pacheco still out-carried him 13 to six.
That said, in a Week 14 matchup with the Texans, where the Chiefs are favored by roughly two touchdowns, I think they will lean on Pacheco much more to carry the rock and kill the clock. The Texans continue to allow the most rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns to running backs. Pacheco runs hard and is difficult to bring down. He forced a career-high five missed tackles against a tough Denver defense. So, while it’s tempting to plug McKinnon into Week 15 fantasy lineups, I actually love Pacheco to have the much bigger day.
Some Extra Love:
Alvin Kamara needs some love ahead of Week 15 given how low the fantasy football community seems to be on him ahead of Week 15. Rightfully so, Kamara’s 42.3 points from Weeks 9 through 13 are a disappointment considering he scored 42.8 points in Week 8 alone. Obviously, that sort of score is an outlier, but averaging 8.46 in his last five games is unacceptable. As he and the New Orleans Saints exit their bye week, I think Kamara will be the focal point of their offense. Mark Ingram is now on Injured Reserve leaving Kamara as the only trustworthy option in the backfield. He will take on the Atlanta Falcons, at home, who allow the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs and have rookie, Desmond Ridder, under center in his first start.
Hate: Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions
This entire Detroit Lions backfield is a headache. Trying to figure out who has the most value at the start of fantasy football playoffs couldn’t come at a worse time. Just when managers are ready to trust D’Andre Swift again, William leads the backfield in snaps (by one) and opportunities. However, he only has 3.7 points to show for it in a game where the Lions scored 34 points! I hate to say it, but I’m fading Williams in Week 15 due to a lack of trust.
Williams has 23.8 total fantasy points in his last three games. More than half of those points are a result of two total rushing touchdowns in Weeks 12 and 13. Williams’ 2022 value is mostly based on his opportunities in the red zone and specifically near the goal line. His 14 rushing touchdowns this season account for 47% of his fantasy points. If he’s not scoring touchdowns, Williams’ value solely rests on volume in the ground game. He has just one target since Week 8.
Williams and the Lions are heading to New York to take on the Jets in Week 15. Their defense has allowed just seven rushing touchdowns in 13 games. If I’m starting any Lions back, it is, in fact, D’Andre Swift. He is starting the week off of the initial injury report. The last time that happened, ahead of Week 13, he went on to rack up 111 total yards on 18 touches. His dual-threat availability makes Jamaal Williams that much more of a touchdown-dependent player in fantasy football.
Love: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers
The Seattle Seahawks are tougher than most matchups for opposing wide receivers. However, in Week 15, I love Aiyuk almost entirely based on volume. Aiyuk leads all 49ers skill players in snaps played this season. Even with Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and a talented group of running backs, especially the addition of Christian McCaffrey, Aiyuk is still inside the top-20 in fantasy points scored at his position this season.
Unfortunately, Deebo Samuel is going to be unavailable for some time, but specifically in Week 15. That means his 22.5% target share on the season is now available. Given Aiyuk’s role and abilities, I expect a bump, however slight, in his touches. Two games into the “Brock Purdy Era”, Aiyuk is averaging 51.5 yards on just 3.5 receptions and six targets per game. It’s worth noting, though, that the drive after Deebo Samuel left with an injury last week, Purdy found Aiyuk for a 32-yard score just before halftime. On a short week, in a tough divisional matchup, I think Aiyuk shines in Seattle. He’s a volume-based, must-start to open the fantasy football playoffs.
Some Extra Love:
Joshua Palmer remains in the mix of players I love week-to-week, especially in Week 15 against the Tennessee Titans. They are allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. I think Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will certainly get theirs, but also believe there’s enough meat on the bone for Palmer to feast, as well. The Chargers are second in pass attempts per game this season. Justin Herbert just threw 51 passes on Sunday Night and has thrown an average of just over 48 in his last three. In a game where Derrick Henry likely dominates and eats up clock on the other side of things, I expect the Chargers to keep up with their aerial attack. Palmer deserves serious flex consideration.
Hate: Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals
In a season in which I thought Hollywood Brown could finish near the top of the position (and he was on pace to), I hate how things are at current. As he continues to progress back from his foot injury, Brown is now without Kyler Murray throwing him the ball. Instead, it looks like Colt McCoy will be under center in Arizona for the remainder of the season.
Brown did see eight targets even after Murray’s early exit in Week 14, but he was able to catch just four of them for 34 yards, the longest of which was 16 yards. That is arguably a result of facing a stout New England Patriots defense with a negative game script, too. Now, as the team prepares to travel to Denver, I’m even more nervous about Brown’s outlook. The Broncos have allowed just seven touchdowns to wide receivers this season. They’re allowing the least amount of fantasy points to the position, as well.
In Week 15, De’Andre Hopkins figures to draw coverage from Patrick Surtain II, but will likely still lead the team in targets. It’s the quality of targets that I’m most worried about. The Cardinals as a whole are facing a downward trajectory for the remainder of this season. That said, I’m lowering my expectations for this offense as a whole, especially deep threat specialist, Marquise Brown.
Love: Tyler Conklin, New York Jets
If you need a tight end to stream for Week 15, Conklin is an option I think bears consideration. As seen above, you already know I love his quarterback, Mike White, as an option for this week. Conklin specifically, though, has 15 total targets in his last two games and 18 in his last three. Since White has taken over as the starter, the Jets are passing at the third-highest rate across the league. They now get a Week 15 bout with the Detroit Lions who are allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends, including the second-most touchdowns to the position. Conklin should continue to see a fantasy-friendly dose of targets, especially if Corey Davis is unable to play.
Some Extra Love:
Greg Dulcich has the matchup of all matchups for tight ends in fantasy football. The Arizona Cardinals’ defense is allowing the most receptions, yards, and touchdowns to the position through 13 games this season. Most recently, New England Patriots tight end, Hunter Henry, was able to haul in all three of his targets for 70 scoreless yards, including a 39-yard long reception, his longest of the season. Greg Dulcich has exactly eight targets in each of his last two games. The volume plus the matchup makes him a smash play in Week 15. Especially since Courtland Sutton is unlikely to play again, I love Dulcich to rack up points in the first round of the fantasy football playoffs.
Hate: Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
After scoring the most fantasy points at all positions in Week 14, I hate plugging Evan Engram into Week 15 lineups against the Dallas Cowboys. They are the absolute worst matchup for tight ends as they allow the least points per game to the position. Evan Engram is coming off of a two-score game last week, but the Dallas Cowboys haven’t even allowed two touchdowns to tight ends this season. Additionally, Engram’s 15 targets last week account for 20% of his targets in 2022. It was a career day. In fact, he is now the overall TE4 in fantasy football after sitting outside the top-12 before his career day. He remains a streaming option given the sad state of the position, but I’m looking elsewhere, if I can, for Week 15 given his matchup.