Injuries, injuries and more injuries. Hopefully you’ve advanced in your fantasy football playoffs but if you did, chances are you lost an important player to an injury. A lot happened in Week 14, which has opened up value for all different types of players. We also have some tough matchups at the quarterback position, which leads us toward a few names you should consider streaming instead.
Gardner Minshew at OAK
Ryan Fitzpatrick at NYG
Mitchell Trubisky at GB
Drew Lock at KC
Matt Ryan. Dak Prescott. Aaron Rodgers. All three of these quarterbacks have something in common in Week 15: they have tough matchups. I’m not sure you want to go as far as to bench them but in case you do, let’s focus on those with better matchups. Gardner Minshew wasn’t great in his first start since Week 9, completing 24 for 37 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown. This week, he's facing the Oakland Raiders defense. The Raiders are allowing 284 passing yards per game, fourth-most in the NFL, and are one of only three teams that have allowed 30 passing touchdowns this season.
Ryan Tannehill had 391 yards and three touchdowns and one interception on Sunday. The Raiders have been a pass defense to face all season long and that won’t change in Week 15 with Gardner Minshew. We tried the Ryan Fitzpatrick experiment this past week and while it didn’t work out as hoped, he’ll have a prime opportunity to bounce back against the New York Giants. Like the Raiders, we’ve targeted the Giants secondary all season long. They’ve allowed three or more touchdown passes five times and are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. Because of the Dolphins struggling defense and their inability to run the ball, Fitzpatrick will likely have plenty of attempts each week.
Don’t look now but Mitchell Trubisky is the QB5 in fantasy points per game over the past five weeks. During that span he has three games with three passing touchdowns and looks healthy enough to run again. Trubisky entered Week 14 with 80 rushing yards on the season and proceeded to run for a season-high 63 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. While the Packers pass defense has been a strength this season, Trubisky has trust in his teammates and is making plays with his legs. That puts him back in the QB2/superflex conversation.
The expectations for Drew Lock were not high entering his rookie season but forget all that as he just threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Texans. He’s playing with confidence and has some interesting playmakers in Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and the Broncos running backs. Lock faces the Chiefs in Week 15, a defense that has been strong against quarterbacks but he should have an opportunity with the team likely playing from behind. Like Trubisky, Lock has played himself into that QB2 conversation.
Adrian Peterson vs. PHI
DeAndre Washington vs. JAX
Patrick Laird at NYG
Chris Thompson vs. PHI
First and foremost, check to see if Raheem Mostert is available in your league. Just check to make sure he’s not available after his big Week 14 performance. On to Adrian Peterson. Derrius Guice just can’t catch a break. Guice has another knee injury. That once again opens up a huge opportunity for Peterson. If you remember, in the four games prior to Guice originally being activated off injured reserve, Peterson was averaging 18.8 carries and 95.8 rushing yards per game. Interim head coach Bill Callahan wants Washington to be a run-first team. He’s got a tougher matchup in Week 15 against the Eagles but he has thrived in tougher matchups already this season. Peterson will likely see 15 to 20 carries in that game, which makes him a high-end flex option. Josh Jacobs was dealing with a shoulder injury, but it still caught us off guard when he was inactive this past week. DeAndre Washington filled in admirably, totaling 96 yards and a touchdown, including six receptions. He was the featured back in this game and if Jacobs were to miss Week 15, Washington is a legitimate RB2 because of the matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars just allowed 297 total yards and two touchdowns to the combination of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in Week 14. If you were depending on Jacobs, make sure to grab Washington.
Miami's Patrick Laird had 86 total yards on 19 touches, including four receptions. His 82 percent snap share was the fourth highest among all running backs in Week 14. Laird is undoubtedly the guy for the Dolphins and while they can’t run the ball well, his volume and receptions will keep him in the flex discussion. If you play in PPR leagues, have a look at Chris Thompson. He played 40 percent of the snaps in Week 14 and led the team with eight targets and seven receptions. Dwayne Haskins has focused on shorter passes and check-downs. That tendency coupled with Guice’s injury has made Thompson relevant once again.
A.J. Brown vs. HOU
Allen Hurns at NYG
Justin Watson at DET
Breshad Perriman at DET
Like Mostert, just check your waiver wire to make sure Zach Pascal isn’t available. He’s now put together two great games in a row. After you do that, check for A.J. Brown. Brown continues to show off his upside, going for 153 yards and two touchdowns in Week 14 against the Oakland Raiders. Brown has all the tools to succeed in the NFL, and is off to a fast start as a rookie. He’s been efficient as well, ranking in the top 7 in yards per reception, yards per target, and yards per pass route. This Titans offense is rolling right now. Over the past four games, they’re averaging 37.5 points per game. Brown and the Titans have a huge game with the Houston Texans in Week 15, a defense allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. He’ll be a WR3 in that matchup. Another one of those big injuries that took place was DeVante Parker, who suffered a concussion against the Jets. As a result, Allen Hurns stepped up. Hurns lead the Dolphins wide receivers with 79 percent of the snaps and five receptions on 68 yards. His eight targets represented 23 percent of the Dolphins target share. If Parker can’t go in Week 15, Hurns will be a WR3 in a great matchup against the Giants. On the season, the Giants have allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers and third-most touchdowns to the position.
Yet another injury in Week 14 was to Mike Evans, who could miss the rest of the season. The Bucs like to throw the ball, evidenced by the eighth-highest pass percentage this season. The Bucs will need to replace 1,157 yards, eight touchdowns, and 23 percent target share in their offense. While Chris Godwin will likely step up in Evans’ absence one or both of Breshad Perriman and Justin Watson should do the same. Perriman was second among Bucs receivers with 83 percent of the snaps this past week, hauling in three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on five targets. While Justin Watson only played 55 percent of the snaps, he was even more productive than Perriman with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. The Bucs face the Lions in Week 15, a defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Ian Thomas vs. SEA
David Njoku at ARI
Hayden Hurst vs. NYJ
With Greg Olsen out injured, Ian Thomas made the most of his playing time. He finished with five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, which represented 24 percent of the Panthers target share. If Olsen is out again in Week 15, Thomas is an optimal streaming tight end as the Seahawks have allowed the second-most fantasy points to the position. David Njoku returned from injury this week and should see his workload increase against the Arizona Cardinals. When dealing with tight ends, the Cards have allowed the most fantasy points and touchdowns to the position. Last but not least, monitor the health of Mark Andrews as he’s dealing with a knee injury. The Ravens play on a short week on Thursday night and if he can’t go, Hayden Hurst seems to be the main beneficiary.
If you’re looking for streaming defenses, the top adds for Week 15 will be the Seahawks (vs CAR), the Giants (vs MIA), and the Browns (at CLE).
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com