Week 15 Fantasy Mailbag: Tee Higgins Fallout, Jared Goff vs Jets, More
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images. Pictured: Tee Higgins.
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Fantasy Stock Question
Looking For A Tight End Miracle
@RunEatRalph asks via Twitter: “I need a lottery ticket tight end. I realize that’s pretty much all but [Travis] Kelce, but anybody you have a gut feeling on?”
Samantha: Of the waiver wire tight ends, Evan Engram is my favorite. He is coming off a career game, hauling in 11-of-15 targets for 162 yards and two touchdowns to finish as the TE1 in half-PPR scoring.
Engram isn’t just a lottery ticket. This is his second top-five finish in a row and fifth top-nine finish in the last nine games, which is quite impressive at a position known for its volatility.
If Engram is not available, I also really like Chigoziem Okonkwo. He caught all six of his targets for 45 yards and a touchdown and was the TE2 in half-PPR scoring. Fellow tight end Austin Hooper edged out Okonkwo in snaps by a count of 36 to 33, but I am still more intrigued by Okonkwo rest of season. This was the rookie’s second straight top-10 finish and second game in a row with at least five targets.
The Titans face the Chargers in Week 15 — L.A.’s defense has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. Okonkwo is on the rise and definitely has lottery-ticket appeal. He should flirt with fringe-TE1 numbers this week.
Fantasy Start-Sit Questions
Dak Prescott vs Justin Fields?
@LwyrUp406 asks via Twitter: “Dak [Prescott] or [Justin] Fields? [Keenan] Allen, [Brandon] Aiyuk or [Christian] Kirk?”
Samantha: The quarterback conundrum is a tough one, but I give the edge to Fields.
Prescott has, by far, the better matchup against the Jaguars, who rank 30th in pass DVOA and have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The issue is that even in easier matchups, Prescott has a very strong run game he can lean on and as such, does not have monster games like Fields.
Fields has not finished as anything below a top-eight quarterback since Week 5 against the Vikings. He has seven consecutive games — one of which he was injured during — finishing with 19 or more fantasy points and is averaging over 100 rushing yards per game. The matchup is tough against the Eagles, who rank second against the pass, according to DVOA. That said, Philly is exploitable on the ground and ranks 24th in rush DVOA. Fields should be able to rack up a hefty number of fantasy points in spite of the Eagles’ stout secondary.
As for your wide receivers, it’s Allen for me. He has 14 targets in each of the last two games and has scored double-digit fantasy points in half-PPR scoring in every game since returning from injury.
The Chargers have an enviable matchup this week with the Titans, who have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers and rank 28th in pass DVOA.
Trust Jared Goff As My Lamar Jackson Lifeline Or Look Elsewhere?
James asks via DM: “I’ve been riding Lamar Jackson at QB all year until his injury. I replaced him with Jared Goff for Week 14, which was great … but now he faces the Jets in New York. Should I keep rolling with Goff, or try to pluck one of these guys off waivers – Russell Wilson (vs ARI), Matt Ryan (at MIN), Ryan Tannehill (at LAC), Andy Dalton (at ATL), Mac Jones (at LV), Tyler Heinicke (vs NYG):
Samantha: Goff is tough to trust this week. Not only because it’s the Jets — who rank sixth in pass defense DVOA with the eighth-fewest fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks — but because his road/home splits are atrocious. Just two of his 22 passing touchdowns have come on the road.
That said, I would probably still stick with Goff over the other quarterbacks you mentioned despite the matchup. He struggled against tougher defenses earlier this year (Week 5 at the Patriots, Week 7 at the Cowboys), but the Lions offense looks very different with D.J. Chark back, D’Andre Swift actually looking like D’Andre Swift and Jameson Williams finally on the field. He has finished as the QB4 in back-to-back weeks and should be considered a high-end QB2 with QB1 potential.
Wilson finally had a good game last week, but there’s no guarantee that he clears concussion protocol — and even if he does, it’s hard to trust him given his track record this season.
Ryan has finished as a top-12 quarterback exactly three times all year. Dalton has a nice matchup this week, but he has been far from a reliable starter.
Tannehill and Heinicke would be the only ones I would legitimately consider starting over Goff (in that order). Tannehill offers lower upside than Goff and Heinicke has serious bust potential, even after performing well against the Giants in Week 13. It’s Goff for me over any of these guys.
Tee Higgins Fantasy Questions
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Tee Higgins?
@lonnieanderson asks via Twitter: “No Lamar Jackson so I have to go with either Daniel Jones or Mike White? And I’m concerned with Tee Higgins.”
Samantha: Your concern with Higgins is not unfounded. I was personally victimized by Higgins being active last week and not playing, which likely lost me my Week 14 matchup in Action Network’s fantasy league.
He logged one snap and caught no passes due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him early in the game. It will be difficult to trust him after we were burned last week. He should be considered a boom-or-bust WR3 with a nonexistent floor in a tough matchup against the Buccaneers.
As for your quarterback dilemma, I personally like White over Jones. He has the better matchup against the Lions, who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year and rank 21st in pass DVOA.
White struggled last week against the Bills, but you have to cut the guy some slack given the opponent and the fact that he was literally taken to the hospital after the game. Prior to that, he finished as the QB6 and QB7. He should be fine this week and I would trust him as a low-end QB1.
Jones has a good matchup this week, but not as good as White’s. The last time these two teams met, Jones finished as the QB12, passing for 200 yards and a touchdown. He tallied 71 yards on the ground and should be a fringe QB1 this week as well.
Zac Taylor Hates Your Fantasy Team
@rgeralde asks via Twitter: “[Tee] Higgins and his lying scumbag coach or Zay Jones?”
Samantha: Higgins is certainly a hot topic this week after gifting us a Week 14 bagel (and A++ for the hilarious phrasing of this question).
It genuinely hurts me to say this, but I am probably leaning Jones here. Do not get me wrong: I am a huge fan of the mantra of “start your studs.” That said, I see no reason to trust Higgins against the Tampa Bay defense, which ranks 11th in pass DVOA, after his recent usage and injury history.
Jones, meanwhile, had yet another phenomenal game in Week 14, catching 8-of-12 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. He finished as a top-eight receiver in half-PPR scoring for the second time since the Jaguars’ Week 11 bye.
He is averaging just shy of 11 targets per game since Week 10 and he should be regarded as a WR3 or better moving forward — even with two tougher matchups coming up against the Cowboys and Jets.
Adam Thielen vs Tee Higgins vs Jaylen Waddle?
@Gopher_Craze asks via Twitter: “Do I start [Adam] Thielen, [Tee] Higgins or [Jaylen] Waddle? PPR league.”
Samantha: Waddle, but I understand why you would not be jazzed about starting him after scoring — checks notes — seven fantasy points in full PPR over the last two weeks combined, and in a game that could have a ton of snow.
Dealing with a leg injury he suffered in Week 13, Waddle had minimal involvement last week. He caught 2-of-4 targets for 31 yards and was the WR69 in full-PPR scoring (very not nice), though in fairness, the entire Miami team flopped against the Chargers.
As far as talent and situation are concerned, he still outranks Thielen and Higgins in my mind, especially with his pass-catching upside. On first glance, the Bills seem like a tough matchup for receivers, but they have given up the 12th-most fantasy points to the position.
Both Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore had good fantasy days catching passes from Mike White last week against Buffalo. I would consider Waddle to be a low-end WR2 in light of the weather and recent performance in Week 14, which is a significant drop from his early season numbers.
Thielen is dealing with a knee bruise and has a tough matchup. He had a decent game last week against the Lions (as most receivers do), but gets a matchup on the opposite end of the spectrum with the Colts, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this. He is a low-end WR3 in Week 15.
As for Higgins, if you have read any of this column, you can probably tell that I was a woman scorned. He is my last choice on this list as a Week 15 starter with a nonexistent floor.