WEEK 15 PREPARATION
8 injuries that will shape Week 15
Some of you may disagree with these thoughts and opinions, but that's fine. I like to follow stats, trends, and matchups. These thoughts are based on those observations.
Take advantage of injured players
Several key players are likely out for Week 15 after suffering an injury in last week's game. Ultimately, this means there will be a void that needs to be filled. In hopeful cases, it's by another player from the same position, but not always. Below is a look at how 8 key injuries will shape Week 15 and who benefits the most.
Players injured last week who aren't expected to play in Week 15.
1. Mike Evans WR, Tampa Bay (hamstring) - Chris Godwin is expected to pick up a considerable amount of the void left by Evans, but don't overlook Breshad Perriman. Perriman is third on the team in targets and he has 8 receptions on 11 targets for 157 yards and 1 touchdown in the last two games. Perriman was on the field for 83% of the Bucs offensive snaps last week and should see similar results this week. Tampa Bay will face Detroit on the road who has allowed at least 1 touchdown to a wide receiver in 8 of the last 9 games. Godwin is a must-start, but Perriman could be a sneak play.
2. Calvin Ridley WR, Atlanta (Abdomen) - It has been announced that Calvin Ridley will miss the rest of the season with an abdominal injury. Last week the Falcons used Russell Gage to fill his void, but they also used "12-personnel" (two tight ends, one running back, two wide receivers). With Julio Jones nursing a shoulder injury, Ridley led the team in targets for the last two games. As long as Jones (shoulder) is effective and fully recovered, he will benefit from an increase in targets left vacant by Ridley (Jones had 8 last week). Gage is someone worth considering but Julio may be the biggest beneficiary. The Falcons travel to San Francisco who just gave up 46 points to the Saints. Since Week 10, they have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to quarterbacks. After Julio, Gage becomes a viable option. Austin Hooper also could see a decent number of opportunities in the Atlanta offense.
3. D.J. Chark Jr WR, Jacksonville (high ankle sprain) - With Chark out of action in Week 15, look for Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley to fill the void at Oakland. It's also likely that Leonard Fournette will see an increase in targets. Over the last two games, it has been Fournette who leads the team in targets (17) and receptions (12). Chark leaves behind 7-8 targets and 5-6 catches. Westbrook, Conley, and Fournette should all see an uptick in production against the Raiders. This might be a heavy pass script for Jacksonville, especially in the second half.
4. Alshon Jeffery WR, Philadelphia (Achilles) - The Eagles have been stung by injuries this year, especially at wide receiver. Jeffery is out, Nelson Agholor (knee) is questionable for Week 15, J.J. Arcega Whiteside left the Monday Night game with a lower leg injury and his status is unknown for Week 15. That leaves Greg Ward as the lone healthy receiver on the roster. Don't forget, they also lost DeSean Jackson this season. Philadelphia is either going to have to sign someone off the street or elevate someone from their practice squad to play wide receiver. So who benefits? Greg Ward was targeted nine times in Week 14 and should continue to see opportunities this week against Washington. Zach Ertz had 9 catches on 13 targets last week, so he should see significant action, as should Dallas Goedert. Boston Scott and Miles Sanders will continue to split the backfield duties and both are viable flex options for Week 15. They combined for 10 catches against New York last week, most of which came in the second half of the game.
5. Mark Andrews, TE Baltimore (knee) - The Ravens play on Thursday night against the Jets, which may be too soon for Mark Andrews to heal from his injured knee. If the game were Sunday he'd have a greater chance to play, but it's looking like he may miss this game. Filling the void will be Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle. Neither are considered a strong fantasy start even without Andrews, but both could potentially find themselves in the end zone. Others who could benefit include Marquise Brown and Willie Snead IV, especially if the Ravens struggle against the Jets stout run defense. New York has allowed the fewest running back fantasy points per game since Week 10. They have allowed one 100-yard rusher this year and only one rushing touchdown by a running back since Week 7. Baltimore is a tough out, but it's hard to ignore those stats. This could turn into more of a pass-oriented game for Lamar Jackson. If so, Brown, Snead and the tight end replacements (Boyle & Hurst) could see an unexpected lift in production.
6. Marvin Jones Jr WR, Detroit (ankle) - Between Kenny Golladay (10) and Marvin Jones Jr (9), the duo has 19 touchdowns this season. Losing one half of that production has to go somewhere. Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel remain out, leaving David Blough as the team's source of passing production. In his first start (also at home), Blough surprised with a 280-2-1 game against the Bears. This week he'll face the Buccaneers who have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2019 (21 touchdowns to wide outs). With Jones on injured reserve, Kenny Golladay becomes a big player, but if you're looking for a waiver helper, Danny Amendola comes into play. He has 8 targets in each of the last two games (both with Blough). If you're really in a bind, Jesse James appears on the radar, especially with T.J. Hockenson out for the year (ankle). If trends continue, Detroit should be able to move the ball and score on the Bucs secondary. Golladay and Amendola should benefit the most.
7. DeVante Parker WR, Miami (concussion) - The Dolphins star receiver is in the concussion protocol and may not be available for the Week 15 game against the Giants. Albert Wilson is also dealing with a concussion and he finds himself in the same boat. That leaves Allen Hurns as the Dolphins top receiving threat with little-known Isaiah Ford also in the mix. Ford led all Dolphins receivers with 6 catches for 92 yards in Week 14. Hurns and Ford each contributed on at least 76% of the team's offensive snaps against the Jets. This week's matchup at New York Giants could pay dividends for the duo if Parker is indeed out. Mike Gesicki could also command a decent share of opportunities as well, but his lackluster performance last week (1 catch, 6 yards), might be too much to gamble on.
8. Josh Jacobs RB, Oakland (shoulder) - The Raiders leading rookie running back may miss another game which means DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard could see an increase in snaps and touches vs. Jacksonville. This is also the last home game for the Raiders in Oakland unless they win the division, which seems doubtful. Jacksonville has allowed 164 yards rushing on average to running backs since Week 10. Both Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon III punished them last week in a 45-10 blowout home loss to the Chargers. This time of year, the teams in the doldrums tend to check out. We may have seen that last week with Jacksonville who has lost five straight games. This could be a big, meaningful, goodbye game for the Raiders in their salute to their fans. Another situation that bears mentioning is the loss of tight end Foster Moreau (season-ending knee injury). His loss will all but lock in Darren Waller as the team's tight end threat. Waller leads the team in targets (33) and receptions (24) since Week 10. He hasn't found the end zone in that time and Moreau is a big reason why. Perhaps Waller scores this week in the Raiders swan song game to their fans?
Good luck this week. Go earn your ticket to the Championship Game.
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