Find out why Curtis Samuel could save your season and why sitting Evans might be a good idea
Most playoff teams have a solid roster of receivers that put them in the final four of their fantasy football leagues. But what if a receiver’s points have been dwindling lately? Which receivers will be affected by quarterback changes? How serious is that “not serious” ankle or knee that landed your starter on the injury report?
There is still a lot at stake this week, so making the right start/sit decisions is more important than ever. If you’re not in the fantasy football playoffs anymore, then use this guide to make an awesome daily fantasy team.
Before I reveal my Week 15 start/sit advice for wide receivers (and tight ends), let's see how the Week 14 suggestions turned out.
Good Calls for Week 14...
Start Dante Pettis (10.9 fantasy points) – Pettis is looking like a great waiver wire pickup in the fantasy football playoffs as he has scored a touchdown in three straight games.
Sit Adam Humphries (4.9 FP) – Humphries has been fantasy relevant since Jameis Winston became the Bucs' starting QB again, but he failed to score a touchdown for the first time in four games.
Start Jared Cook (11.6 FP) – Cook is quietly having a great season in Oakland, including 116 receiving yards last week against the Steelers.
Bad Calls for Week 14...
Start Courtland Sutton (1.3 FP) – Big things were expected out of Sutton when Demaryius Thomas was traded. Now even bigger things are expected with Emmanuel Sanders injured and Sutton flopped last week.
START THESE WRs...
Curtis Samuel, CAR (vs. NO, Mon.)
Samuel is becoming a favored target of Cam Newton. That should give fantasy owners enough confidence to give Samuel a chance as a WR2 in Week 15. Samuel has been targeted at least seven times in three of the last four games, notching near double-digit fantasy points in the last four games. He's a solid target in the red zone for the Panthers, so he offers upside as well. The Saints are still allowing plenty of yards per pass attempt, which should be a boon for Samuel in terms of targets and yardage.
Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. OAK)
Jeff Driskel is atrocious. But Boyd is still the No. 1 option for a Bengals team that is squaring off against an Oakland defense that is among the worst in the NFL. The Raiders allow 8.4 yards per pass attempt, by far the worst mark in the league. And this matchup screams for a letdown by the Raiders. Oakland is traveling east for an early afternoon window in a meaningless game. That likely means the defense will not be ready to play, giving Boyd several opportunities at generating a decent number of targets. He has at least eight targets in three of the last four games. So, despite Driskel's inability to play quarterback, Boyd should get a start in Week 15.
Tyler Lockett, SEA (at SF)
Lockett has scored in all but three of Seattle's games, and he'll have a Week 15 matchup against a 49ers defense that's allowed nine touchdowns to opposing wide receivers over the last four games and has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
DaeSean Hamilton, DEN (vs. CLE, Sat.)
Hamilton led Denver wide receivers with a 97 percent snap share while Courtland Sutton dealt with an in-game injury as he notched nine targets, which trailed only Tim Patrick’s 10. Hamilton’s 7-47-1 line isn’t flashy, but he’s clearly involved, and Sutton should draw Denzel Ward (if Ward clears concussion protocol) in Week 15. Phillip Lindsay remains Denver’s best weapon, but Hamilton will have a flex-worthy role.
SIT THESE WRs...
Kenny Golladay, DET (at BUF)
You’ve got to respect Golladay’s talents, but this Detroit offense is a mess. There was some hope for him to ride No. 1 WR volume to relevance last week, but he saw just four looks for five yards. One of the few things that could make this worse is putting Buffalo’s stud DB Tre'davious White across from him in a game that will be played outside in cold temperatures. Check, check and check. Golladay is in danger of slipping outside the top 40 at his position this week and as crazy as it sounds, Dede Westbrook, a fellow No. 1 WR stuck on a subpar offense, is a better option this week.
Jarvis Landry, CLE (at DEN)
Don’t buy into the Browns this week against Denver. The Broncos aren't great against the pass, but they'll be good enough at home in this one to stymie Landry. Landry has five or fewer targets in three of the last four weeks. Baker Mayfield has had a much better rookie season than many anticipated, but he doesn't lean on Landry as a main option. Mayfield hasn't been a top-tier quarterback on the road this season, meaning this is not the right matchup to trust Landry.
Adam Humphries, TB (at BAL)
Humphries caught four of eight targets for 42 yards in Tampa’s Week 14 loss to the Saints, but that's still better than Chris Godwin’s one-catch effort. Warnings about Humphries’ value being inflated due to touchdowns were floating around last week and came to roost, and now a road date with the Ravens may drive the point home. Vegas is pegging Tampa Bay for roughly 20 points as eight-point underdogs and while Humphries might reach value in PPR formats, you should worry about his prospects in standard.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Mike Evans, TB (at BAL)
Evans has caught 70 of 111 targets for 1,207 yards and five touchdowns in 2018. Matchup-proof, right? Maybe. The Ravens are holding No. 1 receivers like Evans to 55.6 yards per game, which, after adjusting for strength of schedule, is the fourth-best mark in the NFL. Overall, quarterbacks have produced a passer rating of 84.3 against Baltimore this year, making it the fourth-best pass defense in 2018.
START THESE TEs...
Vernon Davis, WAS (at JAC)
People are flocking to Ian Thomas, who is intriguing but faces a New Orleans defense whose season-high mark of tight end receptions is five (Austin Hooper in Week 12), but Davis is the real start. Yes, Josh Johnson is a shaky quarterback and Jacksonville will overpower him, but Davis is far more than a back-end top-20 fantasy TE with Jordan Reed hurt. Even without huge yardage totals, the Jags are still one of nine teams with at least seven TDs allowed to tight ends.
Ian Thomas, CAR (vs. NO, Mon.)
The pickings are slim at tight end but if you're still looking to start someone, Thomas is your best bet. Thomas caught nine balls for 77 yards on 11 targets against the Browns. With Greg Olsen out for the year, Thomas should continue to see a healthy number of targets moving forward. Thomas gets a Saints team on Sunday that has been tough against tight ends overall but just gave up two touchdowns to Cameron Brate. Thomas is worth considering in deeper formats or if you're just tired of starting Kyle Rudolph.
Anthony Firkser, TEN (at NYG)
With Jonnu Smith joining Delanie Walker on the shelf, Firkser played 40 percent of the snaps last week. Luke Stocker played more, but he’s more of a blocker while Firkser has seen at least three targets in each of the last four games. He’s caught every one of his 16 targets in 2018 and the Giants have given up at least 78 yards to the position in three of their last four games.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
C.J. Uzomah, CIN (vs. OAK)
Uzomah caught all three of his targets for 37 yards last week, which makes it four straight games with at least three catches and 30 yards. On Sunday, it's the Raiders, who give up the most fantasy points per game to tight ends.
SIT THESE TEs...
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. MIA)
Rudolph averages five targets per game but has gone a whopping 10 straight without a touchdown and turned in a season-low seven yards last week. He’s only exceeded 40 yards once in his last eight games. Expect the Vikings defense to do the heavy lifting here against a Dolphins team that could be due for a letdown following last week's stunning victory over the Patriots.
Austin Hooper, ATL (vs. ARI)
Seriously, which tight ends are you going to bench in Week 15? Tight end is so weak that O.J. Howard has scored the seventh-most points at the position despite not playing a game in a month. If you're thinking about starting Hooper for some reason, don't. The Cardinals allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Trey Burton, CHI (vs. GB)
Burton saw a slight uptick in usage in Mitchell Trubisky's return to action, but still has only seven catches and 59 yards in the Bears' last four games. On Sunday, it's Green Bay, a team that has done a good job against tight ends. The Packers have surrendered just one touchdown to the position all season and five of the last seven TEs they have faced managed just one catch.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Evan Engram, NYG (vs. TEN)
The Titans are giving up the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2018, due in large part to being the only defense yet to surrender a touchdown to the position. Engram has tallied 189 yards in his last three games that weren’t marred by injury. He's more of a focal point when Odell Beckham Jr. is out but even with his uncertain status, the combination of limited usage and a bad matchup doesn't bode well for Engram on Sunday.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.