Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

2TC54NN Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice (4) scores a touchdown against Buffalo Bills cornerback Cam Lewis (39)during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Peter Aiken)

• Start Matthew Stafford: The Los Angeles Rams quarterback is playing his best football of the season and has the perfect matchup to put up big numbers.

• Sit James Conner: The veteran running back has played very well this season but probably won’t get enough opportunities against the San Francisco 49ers.

• Start Rashee Rice: It’s taken 14 weeks for the Kansas City Chiefs’ top wide receiver to play more than 70% of his team's offensive snaps, but he can finally be relied on as a fantasy starter.

Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes

Deciding who to start or sit in fantasy football can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and going with the higher-ranked player. This start ’em, sit ’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, the usual starters should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

Jump to a position group:

QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF/ST | K

WR:CB Matchup Chart



Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
  • Stafford is one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy football right now. The veteran signal-caller has amassed 71.1 fantasy points over the last three weeks, the second-most at the position.
  • This is particularly impressive, given that all three of his top receivers and top tight end have dealt with injuries during that three-game stretch.
  • The Rams offense has improved recently, with the team earning three straight 70.0-plus team offense grades.
  • Stafford takes on the Washington Commanders, and that's the best matchup for quarterbacks this week, according to our strength of schedule toolThe Commanders have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • Over the Commanders' last 10 games, Mac Jones is the only quarterback who failed to throw at least two touchdowns against them. The Pats quarterback was also the only quarterback who didn’t reach at least 240 passing yards.
  • While there is a chance Stafford won’t have Tutu Atwell and Tyler Higbee, he will have Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. And that should be all he needs to put up his fourth straight strong performance.

Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
  • The Packers quarterback has put up an 87.2 passing grade since Week 9, third-best among active quarterbacks over that span, behind MVP candidates Dak Prescott and Brock Purdy. He has scored the sixth-most fantasy points at the position in that time.
  • Love struggled against the Giants on Monday Night Football, but he didn’t have Christian Watson (hamstring), who is the Packers' best receiving option against man coverage. The Giants field the most man-heavy defense in the league.
  • This week, the Packers face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. The Buccaneers are right at league average for how often they use man and zone defense, so the receivers should be able to play much better this week, regardless of whether Watson can play.
  • This should allow Love to get back on track to help the Packers push for the playoffs. 


Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
  • Tagovailoa got off to an incredible start to the season, posting three top-three finishes over the first six weeks.
  • However, he’s been hit and miss since Week 6, finishing as a top-12 fantasy quarterback three times and finishing outside the top 12 four times.
  • As we know, the key to a top-12 finish is simply scoring multiple touchdowns. Since Week 6, he has finished in the top 12 every time he's scored twice. Every time he didn’t score twice, he fell outside the top 12. This includes a Week 12 game against the New York Jets, where he threw for one touchdown and two interceptions and finished QB22.
  • The Dolphins have a rematch with the Jets in Week 15 and have the worst matchup for quarterbacks, according to our strength of schedule toolThe Jets have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • Only three quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns against the Jets defense in a game. New York has held Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and C.J. Stroud (among others) to one score or less.
  • When you throw in Tyreek Hill’s ankle injury and the fact that the Dolphins are heavy favorites and could spend most of the day running the ball, you take away a lot of Tagovailoa’s fantasy upside.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Lawrence is the only quarterback who has scored over 100 fantasy points over the last four weeks.
  • Part of this was certainly down to his good play, but he also played three teams that rank toward the bottom half of the league when it comes to allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks.
  • The one good pass defense he faced in that stretch was the Cleveland Browns, and he threw 50 passes against them, including three touchdowns and three interceptions.
  • The Jaguars have the third-worst matchup for quarterbacks this week, according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. They’ve allowed by far the fewest yards per attempt (5.6) and the lowest touchdown percentage (2.7%).
  • The only problem for the Ravens' defense is that 487 passes have been thrown against them because most teams are playing from behind, so some quarterbacks have found a little fantasy success against them just because of volume.
  • Like the Jets, only three quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns in a game against them.
  • Lawrence may throw 50-plus times — as he did against the Browns —  and the volume is enough for him to be a fantasy starter, but it’s also possible the Ravens dominate time of possession and Lawrence is among the worst fantasy quarterbacks of the week.



Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots
  • Elliott started in place of an injured Rhamondre Stevenson last week and was the best fantasy running back of the week.
  • He took all of his usual snaps and Stevenson’s usual snaps, playing over 90% of New England's offensive snaps in the game.
  • He ran the ball 22 times but wasn’t very effective in the run game, as he managed only 68 yards.
  • However, he caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, which boosted his fantasy value.
  • The Patriots have the third-best matchup for running backs this week, according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • He’s unlikely to be in the same game script where he can run 22 times, but he should be more effective on a per-play basis. The Kansas City defense has allowed 4.6 yards per attempt, the fifth-worst mark among defenses.
  • The game script should allow Elliott to be very involved in the passing game again. And if he can hit those receiving numbers again, he could be a top-10 running back. Even without that, he should still finish among the top 24.
  • This is all assuming that Rhamondre Stevenson will miss another week. If Stevenson plays, move Elliott to the bench.

D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Swift has hit a rough patch. Over his last two games, he’s run 17 times for 52 yards and caught two passes for 7 receiving yards.
  • He finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in five straight games early in the season, but he’s finished in the top-15 only twice in his last seven games.
  • The schedule hasn’t done the Eagles any favors. In the last seven games, the Eagles have played the Dallas Cowboys twice, the San Francisco 49ers, the Miami Dolphins, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. The only team with a losing record in that stretch was the Washington Commanders, and Swift was RB14 that week.
  • The Eagles play a Seattle Seahawks defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
  • Philadelphia is the favorite to win this game, so unlike recent weeks, they should be able to run the ball significantly.
  • Swift should be able to turn things around and finish as a top-20 fantasy running back this week, and then his schedule gets even better. 


James Conner, Arizona Cardinals
  • Conner is playing the best football of his career. His 86.2 PFF rushing grade is top-five among running backs with at least 100 carries this season.
  • He’s averaged at least 4.2 yards per game, and no opponent has consistently been able to slow him down.
  • The problems for his fantasy value are his low touchdown rate and his lack of receiving production. He’s scored only four touchdowns over the nine games he’s played.
  • Conner is only two years removed from rushing for 15 touchdowns in 15 games.
  • His receiving production has plummeted, as he’s stopped playing in passing situations. 
  • He’s gained 36 receiving yards over the entire season, but he surpassed 36 receiving yards in six individual games over the previous two seasons.
  • The Cardinals have the worst matchup for running backs this week, according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • The 49ers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.
  • The Cardinals are two-touchdown underdogs, so they could fall behind early and shift to using their other running backs early on.

Devin Singletary, Houston Texans
  • Singletary’s playing time has been very inconsistent from one week to the next. He played 57% of offensive snaps last week, 46% the week before and 82% the week before.
  • He seems to have lost the third-down role to Dare Ogunbowale and is now competing with Dameon Pierce for early-down snaps. Pierce had the lead two weeks ago, and Singletary had the lead last week.
  • We don’t have a great way of knowing how much playing time Singletary will get this week, so he is a risky player regardless of the opponent.
  • It doesn’t help that they face the Tennessee Titans this week. Players have averaged 3.8 yards per carry against Tennessee, so either of the Texans rushers probably won’t be very effective in the run game.
  • Singletary had two great games this season, and they were both against teams that were allowing 4.4 or more yards per carry.
  • The Titans have been on the rise recently, while the Texans won’t have Tank Dell and might not have C.J. Stroud, Nico Collins or Dalton Schultz.
  • This means the Titans are the favorites to win, which could mean the Texans are playing from behind and leaving Ogunbowale as their main running back for much of the game.
  • The matchup and concerns about his playing time alone are a death knell for his fantasy value in Week 15.



Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
  • Sutton has been a touchdown machine all season, as he has found the end zone in 10 of his 13 games.
  • He’s made big plays in recent weeks, recording 60 or more receiving yards in each of his last four games despite catching four or fewer passes in each game.
  • Despite the low reception total, he has been a top-20 fantasy wide receiver over the last four weeks and the WR21 overall in PPR. 
  • The Broncos have the sixth-best matchup for wide receivers this week,  according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • D.J. Moore (twice), Chris Olave, Christian Watson and Keenan Allen have all finished as top-16 fantasy wide receivers against the Detroit Lions defense this season. 
  • The Broncos are clear underdogs in Week 15, so they will probably need to pass the ball more than usual.
  • There is definitely some risk, considering Sutton's lack of volume, but there is also a chance his target total increases for this game, leading to a lot more catches and potentially his best performance of the season.
Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Rice has been a risky option in fantasy leagues all season because of his lack of playing time. 
  • Most fantasy starters typically play at least 70% of offensive snaps, a mark Rice failed to reach over the first 13 weeks of the season.
  • His playing time has slowly but surely risen all year, and it took a dramatic turn in the right direction this past week when he played 85% of the offensive snaps.
  • Rice was held to five or fewer receptions over the first 11 weeks of the season but has caught at least seven passes in each of the last three games. He’s scored the seventh-most fantasy points at the position in that three-game stretch.
  • The increase in playing time and consistent play should make him a fantasy starter going forward, regardless of the opponent.
  • Rice has the sixth-best matchup of the week, according to our WR/CB matchup chart.
  • There’s a chance Rice might not have the same volume if the Chiefs can get out to a big lead and run the ball, but even a slightly worse game still makes him worthy of being a fantasy starter.


Adam Thielen, Carolina Panthers
  • Thielen was one of the biggest surprises of the season over the first six weeks of the campaign, as he averaged 21.1 fantasy points per game and scored the third-most fantasy points at the position over that stretch. 
  • He hasn’t made nearly as big of an impact since Carolina's Week 7 bye, as he has averaged 9.7 fantasy points per game and ranks 34th among wide receivers since Week 8.
  • He hasn’t seen as many targets and hasn’t found the end zone since Week 6.
  • He’s put together some reasonable games, including last week when he caught five passes for 74 yards. But he was held to one catch and 2 yards in Week 12.
  • His only bad game during that first six-game stretch was against the Atlanta Falcons, where he caught two passes for 12 yards. And this week, the Panthers have a rematch with the Falcons, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season.
  • Thielen could potentially be a fantasy starter during the other weeks of the playoffs, but not this week against Atlanta.
Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Higgins hasn’t been a major part of the Bengals' passing game since his return from injury. His playing time is slightly lower than usual, and his 14.3% target rate is lower than his usual average.
  • Higgins has made some big plays when given the opportunity, but he just hasn’t had enough opportunities.
  • The Bengals face a Minnesota Vikings defense that has done a reasonably good job against outside wide receivers.
  • Many of the receivers who have good games against Minnesota play some combination of out wide and in the slot, while Higgins typically stays on the outside.
  • The Vikings have allowed a decent catch rate to outside receivers, but only 35.5% of targets have become a first down or touchdown, the eighth-lowest rate for a defense. They’ve made 22 stops against outside wide receivers, tied for fifth-most.
  • The Bengals are also favorites at home after back-to-back wins and might try to focus on the run game.
  • The Vikings have a team coverage grade of 90.5, which is fourth-best for teams, while their 67.5 run-defense grade sits outside the top 10.



Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills
  • Dawson Knox (wrist) returned without restriction in Week 14 after missing the previous five weeks. 
  • The injury allowed Kincaid to break out and become one of the league's best fantasy football tight ends, but Knox’s return left fantasy managers concerned about Kincaid’s playing time.
  • Luckily, his return didn’t significantly impact Kincaid’s playing time. Kincaid played 77% of offensive snaps and 60 total snaps. That raw total marked a single-game high for the rookie. 
  • The Bills ran more snaps out of 12 personnel than usual, resulting in less playing time for Khalil Shakir.
  • Kincaid was targeted plenty, but he gained only 21 yards off five receptions.
  • Fantasy managers would have liked to see him do a little more with his receptions, but his role in the offense was a best-case scenario.
  • Kincaid should stay a fantasy starter, regardless of the opponent. The Bills will need to pass the ball a lot this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
  • The Cowboys haven’t allowed a ton of fantasy points to tight ends, but they have faced only two top-14 fantasy tight ends this season. The first was Trey McBride before he was the starter in Arizona, and the other was George Kittle in Week 5.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens
  • Likely caught five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14.
  • He has completely taken over Mark Andrews’ role, consistently playing around 75% of the Ravens' offensive snaps.
  • The Ravens play a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
  • Nearly all of Likely's receiving work has come against zone defenses, including 16 of his 17 receptions on the season. The Jaguars have used zone defense at the fifth-highest rate this season.
  • Likely should be considered a top-12 fantasy tight end against an average opponent, given the Ravens offense and how much they prioritize tight ends, and this matchup only helps.


Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
  • While other young tight ends have taken the headlines this season, Kmet has quietly put up the sixth-most fantasy points at the position.
  • His fantasy points have been a bit sporadic. He has eight weeks as a top-12 tight end, but there have been other games against good defenses where he’s largely disappeared.
  • Most recently, he caught only three passes for 20 yards against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.
  • The Bears have the second-worst matchup for tight ends this week, according to our strength of schedule toolThe Browns have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.
  • Evan Engram and Mark Andrews are the only tight ends who caught more than four passes against Cleveland. They are also the only tight ends who recorded more than 40 receiving yards against them, and they combined for four of the five touchdowns the Browns have allowed to tight ends.
  • The Browns have shut down great fantasy tight ends like George Kittle and Trey McBride this year.
  • Kmet has improved enough as a tight end this season that he might belong in the same conversation as Engram, but the Bears don’t pass as much as the Jacksonville Jaguars do.
  • There are enough other tight ends who are finally healthy and in good matchups to push Kmet outside the top 12 for Week 15.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
  • Pitts has averaged 8.5 PPR points per game, 17th-best among tight ends.
  • He garnered his highest snap share of the season in Week 14.
  • The Falcons only had three tight ends on the active roster after having four in recent weeks. Parker Hesse had been the fourth tight end, but he was not elevated off the practice squad for last week's game.
  • For whatever reason, Pitts doesn’t play much in 11 personnel. Last week, the Falcons ran only seven snaps out of 11 personnel, their fifth-most frequent personnel grouping.
  • The Falcons threw the ball all day, typically out of 12 personnel, with Pitts and Jonnu Smith as the two tight ends.
  • Atlanta spent most of the game playing from behind and, in general, Pitts has played 66% of Atlanta's offensive snaps when they have been behind. He's played just 48% of the time when they have been leading.
  • The Falcons play the 1-12 Carolina Panthers this week, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they are back to running all day for this game.
  • Pitts caught two passes for 44 yards in the first game against Carolina.
  • The Panthers have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season, partly because Carolina’s coverage unit is one of the team's strongest points but also because teams haven’t needed to throw much against them.
  • There are some matchups where Pitts can still be considered a fantasy starter, but it’s not this week.



Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins
Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills


Dustin Hopkins, Cleveland Browns
Cameron Dicker, Los Angeles Chargers



Los Angeles Rams
Las Vegas Raiders


Green Bay Packers
New York Jets

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit