I’m still trying to process all of Week 15. The Bengals stormed back to win against Tampa. We had multiple overtime games. Oh, I almost forgot there was the largest comeback in league history, too. I’ll have more on a player from that game in a bit, but I had to take a step back after all the action. Congrats to those advancing to the next round of the playoffs, and I’ve got three lessons from last week to help with rosters decisions for Week 16.
Quarterback: Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars
Week 15 Results: (Projected) 17.4, (Actual) 26.8
Ahead of their Week 11 bye, I’d categorize Trevor Lawrence’s season as “what I expected.” It wasn’t a monumental leap forward, but the development we thought we’d see under Doug Pederson was there. But it came in spurts.
They waved the Colts 24-0 in Week 2 with a resounding win over the Chargers the following week. But afterward, they went on a five-game losing streak. I thought their season was over with minimal progress to show for it. However, since their break, we’ve seen a brand new Jaguars offense. Lawrence has been on a tear, so I took a closer look at what’s fueled his resurgence and if he’s trustworthy for the playoffs.
Advice Moving Forward:
There should be no hesitation about Lawrence through the rest of the playoffs. He’s a fringe top-12 starter in Weeks 16 and 17.
Lawrence has been a top-5 quarterback in three of his last four games, and his fantasy results have certainly caught our attention. There isn’t a highlight compilation without him in it. But pushing past the boxscore highlights his improvement and comfort level with Pederson in his ear.
|EPA per Play||7th|
|Completion Percentage Over Expected||11th|
|Third-Down Passing Success Rate||3rd|
|Clean Pocket Efficiency||6th|
|Deep-ball On-Target Rate||12th|
Jacksonville’s play-action rate has been relatively similar (24.5% pre-bye to 19.3%) along with their passing rate over expected (0% to 2%). I even checked his deep-ball rate to see if his strikes to Zay Jones were part of the surge. Nope. His 13.2% rate over the last four weeks is nearly identical to what it was the month before the bye (13.8%). So, at a basic structural level, there haven’t been many changes. And it’s a good sign for Lawrence, the young franchise quarterback. But what’s helped Lawrence, the “fantasy” quarterback, is the environment he finds himself in each week.
Game totals featuring the Jaguars haven’t been below 54 since Week 12, with half featuring a one-score point differential. In short, Jacksonville has had to throw to stay ahead of (or catch up to) its opponents. And, given his efficiency and accuracy, the results have been positive! But let’s see if the matchups remain competitive enough for him to boost our lineups.
I have no doubt Thursday night will be a tight match between Lawrence and the Jets as they attempt to get back into the playoff picture. He has top-12 potential there. But a contest against Houston in Week 17 puts Lawrence on the fringe of the top 12 to close out the season.
Running Back: Ken Walker III, Seahawks
Week 15 Results: (Projected) 11.2, (Actual) 11.9
Deciding on how to handle injury situations on Sunday likely, well, decided your fantasy matchup. If you bet on Rhamondre Stevenson showing out for his hometown or Tee Higgins’s hamstring holding up, it was the right wager. And for Ken Walker III, we had to make the same call.
I hope 11.9 PPR points didn’t sink your playoff hopes if you rostered him against the 49ers. But if you did, and you advanced, there are some positives to his Week 15 results. Because while he didn’t get in the paint, his peripherals indicated more work coming his way.
Advice Moving Forward:
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE