2019 Fantasy Football Week 15 Preview: Uncertainty

by Richard Savill
2019 Fantasy Football Week 15 Preview

Now that's a great word to start the weekend preview. It reaches from the metaphysical to physical and constitutes one of the greatest mysteries in science and philosophy.

The only real certainty is you and only you can truly know your full existence - so say the solipsists. Everything else on the outside of your mind is less complete and uncertain.

Have you ever said to yourself something like, "I'm uneasy about sitting this receiver. If I do, he'll explode for a 100 yards and a touchdown." You are putting yourself into the probability of the lineup decision by imagining a scenario.

Lineup decisions are difficult  and especially during the playoffs. You want the right one. Going with gut instinct is very hard. You see those projection numbers and they seem to present a "truth."

Of course, they are not. Projections present a bias in our lineup thinking and they affect our decision. We often find ourselves persuaded by them and they have influence.

Here's a tip to examine projections and put things into perspective. Compare fantasy point projections on other platforms with your own and measure the differences. You'll be surprised at how much these vary from site to site.

Good luck in your semis and see you next week!

2019 Fantasy Football Week 15 Preview 2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

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Games to Watch 2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. You have your fantasy playoff lineup set, now it's time to watch 'em play.

Early Sunday: Bears (7-6) at Packers (10-3) -4.5 40.5

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A critical game in cold tempartures. This is the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.

Of course, 14º F is balmy compared to the -15º F of the famous 1967 Ice Bowl, but it's still biting on the field when you're trying throw and catch a football.

This makes the ground game extra important for these teams. The Packers have an advantage with two solid running backs and they interchange them regularly even in the best of conditions. The added plus for games like this is that while one is on the field, the other can warm up.

The Bears don't have the same luxury in that way with just David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen because of the way each are utilized on the offense.

My fantasy advice for this game is fairly simple. Lower expectations for the depth chart receivers and quarterbacks mostly, but don't be too comfortable with your running backs either. Even though they are in a better position to benefit in a cold weather game.

Overall, I would stick to your main starters and avoid making sleeper selections. The DSTs thrive well in games like this.

Fun Fact: The Packers are 9-2 at home versus the Bears in December since 1971. The last time Chicago played at Lambeau in December was Christmas Day in 2011. Packers won 35-21.
Sleeper: Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief...

Texans (8-5) at Titans (8-5) -3.0 50.0

Tighten those chinstraps. Two teams giving everything they got in a fantasy-rich potential matchup. Derrick Henry is peaking with perfect playoff timing again and A.J. Brown is emerging as a fantasy beast receiver. Playoff contenders play tight and I'm leaning toward the under. That said, there's plenty of room for a Watson-Hopkins fest. Try Kenny Stills if you're looking thin at flex.

2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

Broncos (5-8) at Chiefs (9-4) -9.5 45.5

The tape on Drew Lock has pizza boxes around it, so chase the points at your own risk. The Chiefs' DST makes for sneaky start. The KC backfield cannot be trusted as Damien Williams (Q) may return to a clogged backfield. Sammy Watkins is due for a big game, but he comes with high risk. Stick to your regular studs. This is a game where getting cute with sleepers could cost you.

Dolphins (3-10) at Giants (2-11) -3.5 46.5

Eli Manning will play his farewell game in Met-Life as Daniel Jones remains questionable. If you survived to the semis with Saquon Barkley somehow, this is a matchup to get you through. The best WR for the G-men is Sterling Shepard, but I'd prefer starting Darius Slayton over him. For Miami, Alan Hurns is the best remaining, but a superb sucker punch sleeper to throw out there.

Patriots (10-3) at Bengals (1-12) +10.0 41.5

The Spygate controversy of 2015 came up again and fizzled out during the week. Thank goodness. On to Cincinnati they go with a rag-tag offense and a worn defense managing to hold up the team enough to get things sorted out for another Super Bowl. All the Patriots are solid starts as you might expect. For Cincinnati, the opposite is true.

Eagles (6-7) at Redskins (3-10) +5.0 39.0

The Eagles top receiver this week is: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The real problem here is for Carson Wentz owners and the downside from the lack of weapons outside of Zach Ertz. The best point of attack would be on the ground, but we're looking at a fruitless commitee. It's an odd scenario where the underdog team actually has the better fantasy options by a wide margin.

Seahawks (10-3) at Panthers (5-8) +6.5 48.5

The Seahawks clinch a playoff spot with a win and a loss by the Packers, Vikings or Rams. Pete Carroll is looking for his 100th win as Seahawks head coach. With Rashaad Penny out, Chris Carson becomes an RB1 deluxe. The Panthers have allowed a league high 24 TDs to RBs this season. Meanwhile, Christian McCaffrey only has records to play for and the Panthers are finito.

Buccaneers (6-7) at Lions (3-9-1) +3.5 46.0

Jameis Winston should have fair opportunity in this game as the Lions are generous enough to fantasy quarterbacks. David Blough lost shine as the defensive book on him came to press quite quickly. The touchdown dependent Bo Scarbrough will need one because the Buccaneers' run defense hold the league best against ground yardage.

Late Sunday: Rams (8-5) at Cowboys (6-7) +1.5 49.0

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Don't count the Rams out just yet. That was the statement made after their victory over the Seahawks last week.

Meanwhile, that's exactly what Jerry Jones says about his floundering Cowboys. Who of late begin their games with impressive scoring drives and subsequently get shut down. The opposing defenders get on their Surface tablets and it's game over.

This tells me the Cowboys are stuck in a system and they can't break out of it. They stick to the script like glue. You could see players not on the same page with much of it. Just a little imagination on offense and coherence for the plays they want to run might help.

One thing the Cowboys don't do much is play up tempo. The Eagles, in such a state as they were versus the Giants, transitioned to up-tempo and put the defense out of a comfort zone. It worked.

I rarely see the Cowboys doing this type of offense unless they are desperate. Maybe they saw the Eagles-Giants game and a light bulb went on.

The Rams had a light bulb moment too. They went back to their original brand of offense. Getting Robert Woods the ball as the workhorse and playing Todd Gurley to the full. Using Cooper Kupp in his usual role of all-purpose receiver. They're working on the fit of Brandin Cooks somewhere I would guess. A work in progress.

The Rams have repaired and righted their ship quickly. The Cowboys have not finished arguing about which hole to patch first.

Fun Fact: This is the first time since 1989 a Rams team comes into Dallas as favorites.
Sleeper: Randall Cobb, WR, Cowboys

Other Late Sunday Games in Brief...

2019 Fantasy Football Week 14 Preview

Vikings (9-4) at Chargers (5-8) +1.5 45.5

Philip Rivers was hot last week against the Jaguars. Can he keep it going? With Xavier Rhodes questionable, the Vikings' defense are well aware that Rivers will look for shots downfield. The Vikings will have Adam Thielen back in some sort of capacity. Start Thielen cautiously as a WR3/Flex option. The main feature is Dalvin Cook versus Melvin Gordon for ground superiority.

Jaguars (4-9) at Raiders (6-7) -6.5 45.5

End of an era. This is the last game the Raiders will play in Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders have yet to clear Josh Jacobs to play, but considering the atmosphere surrounding this farewell game, they'll do everything to get him ready. D.J. Chark of the Jaguars won't be a part of the festivities. Fire up Dede Westbrook with high WR2 upside and use Chris Conley as a sharp sleeper.

Browns (6-7) at Cardinals (3-9-1) +2.5 49.0

By game time, the Browns will likely be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Kareem Hunt is the star back of the team right now, but Nick Chubb isn't harmed by his injection into the offense. For the Cardinals, it appears David Johnson is only part of this team because he has a shirt. Despite his touchdown last week, this is no revival. Kenyan Drake is the start.

Falcons (4-9) at Forty-Niners (11-2) -10.5 48.0

The 49ers clinch a playoff spot with a win. Here's some advice that should be obvious by now. Sit Matt Ryan. Don't even think about it. Remember Aaron Rodgers? Yes you do. This also makes your receiving Falcons, including Julio Jones, hazardous. This is the playoffs. He won't get a touchdown to save your day. Sit Jones. However, start Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders.

Featured Games

Sunday Night: Bills (9-4) at Steelers (8-5) -2.0 37.0

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Usually, the flex-scheduling game NBC targets for the Sunday nighter lean toward offense, not this time.

Both these teams have hard knocking and takeaway defenses. Most of you probably knew early on in the week that this game had little to offer those competing in the fantasy playoffs.

There are fantasy relevant players, but not many of which come under the category of safe starts. The best starter is arguably Devin Singletary of the Bills, who will feature heavily in the game.

However, it's not a given that Singletary or James Conner (Q), if he plays outside of a restricted snap count, can make them worthwhile for your team if other options are available.

In the non-fantasy sense, it's a good matchup between playoff contenders and a case of which defense breaks first. The Bills have the better tools to rally against a deficit. I would give them a slight edge. One thing the Bills showed especially during the Cowboys game is that they don't beat themselves with costly penalties and turnovers.

The Steelers know this and can if they can somehow rattle Josh Allen into early mistakes, it's their path to giving Duck Hodges a short field. Look for aggressiveness from the Steelers right at the initial kickoff. You know for a fact they want to win the toss.

And that sums up this game. A toss of the coin.

Fun Fact: The Steelers have won six straight over the Bills going back to 2001 and are 9-1 in their last 10 meetings. The Steelers have also only lost once (8-1) to the Bills at home; back in 1975. That 1975 game was one of the four 200+ yarders O.J. Simpson had in his career. This was during the late period of the Bradshaw-Gilliam QB controversy, where Bradshaw was benched.
Sleeper: Cole Beasley, WR, Bills

Monday Night: Colts (6-7) at Saints (10-3) -9.0 46.0

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The Colts playoff hopes actually faded out when they lost to Texans in Week 12. From that game on, injuries started piling up.

Marlon Mack broke his hand in Week 11, Eric Ebron played through pain all season until he just hit breaking point, and T.Y Hilton couldn't stay on the field and remain effective. Most of all, Adam Vinatieri nearing the end of his career, wasn't keeping the Colts in games like he used to. A hard year. Surprising how Frank Reich kept them competitive throughout.

Before the rise of the 49ers into prominence, the Saints were the heavies in the NFC. The loss to those  upstart 49ers really gave the Saints a sting.

One critical thing about the Saints which has absolutely devastated fantasy teams is Alvin Kamara. He isn't scoring and boosting the Saints in the same way we've seen in previous seasons. It's a down year and when we think ahead, where does he land on draft boards in 2020?

A strong set of games down the stretch may help. Late season stats are always scrutinized differently than the ones earlier in the season.

As for Drew Brees, he looks ready to get off the carpet and get these Saints into playoff shape. Michael Thomas is now the undisputed number one receiver in fantasy. He drafted as number five way back in September.

Fun Fact: This is the third meeting of the Saints and Colts since Super Bowl XLIV.
Sleeper: Marcus Johnson, WR, Colts

In the Booth on Sunday

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CBS Early

Texans at Titans: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Broncos at Chiefs: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Dolphins at Giants: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Patriots at Bengals: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

FOX Early

Bears at Packers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Eagles at Redskins: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Seahawks at Panthers: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Buccaneers at Lions: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth

CBS Late

Vikings at Chargers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Jaguars at Raiders: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Browns at Cardinals: Tom McCarthy, Jay Feely

FOX Late

Rams at Cowboys: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Falcons at 49ers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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