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

Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) carries the ball agasint Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

• Start Dak Prescott: Prescott is playing well and faces a Jaguars defense that has allowed plenty of passing production over the last two months.

• Sit Leonard Fournette: The former No. 4 overall pick is now the Buccaneers‘ backup and is facing a Bengals defense that has shut down some of the league’s best running backs.

• Start Brandon Aiyuk: The 49ers wide receiver is quietly having a great season and has one of the week's best matchups.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Deciding who to start or sit can be as easy as looking at the PFF fantasy football rankings and finding the highest-ranked player. But this start ’em, sit ’em column goes a step further, looking into why some of the most popular players might struggle or why overlooked players might be in for a big week.

In many cases, the usual suspects should start, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

QUARTERBACKS

START

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  • Prescott has scored 130.8 fantasy points since his return in Week 7, 10th among quarterbacks over that span.
  • He has a 63.6% accuracy percentage, seventh-best among quarterbacks.
  • According to our strength of schedule tool, Prescott has the fifth-best matchup among quarterbacks this week.
  • Dallas will take on a Jaguars defense that has allowed at least 260 passing yards in each of the last five games and at least two passing touchdowns in four of those five.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Lawrence has scored 164.8 fantasy points since Week 6, sixth among quarterbacks over that span.
  • He has put up a 91.0 PFF passing grade since Week 9, which is the second-best mark at the position.
  • Lawrence has targeted the end zone 33 times this season, third-most among quarterbacks.
  • The Jaguars face a Cowboys defense that has allowed at least 200 passing yards and a touchdown to each of their last three opponents.

SIT

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
  • Goff has ridden a hot streak recently, but his 120.1 fantasy points since Week 6 is only 17th at the position.
  • His 66.4 PFF passing grade ranks 26th among 41 qualifying quarterbacks.
  • The Lions signal-caller has the seventh-worst matchup of the week, according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • The Detroit offensive line also has the fourth-largest disadvantage of the week, according to our offensive line/defensive line matchup chart.
  • Goff has averaged 8.3 yards per attempt from a clean pocket and 5.7 yards per attempt under pressure, which doesn't bode well against a stout Jets pass rush.
Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Carr has scored 117.4 fantasy points since Week 6, 18th at the position. He has thrown for 300 or more yards just twice this season.
  • The Raiders play a Patriots defense that has held three of their last five opponents to zero passing touchdowns. Those teams have averaged 191 passing yards per game.
  • Carr has an adjusted completion percentage of 65.8% against man defenses this season and 74.7% against zone, and New England lines up in man coverage at the second-highest rate in the NFL.

RUNNING BACKS

START

Zonovan Knight, New York Jets
  • Knight has scored 32.5 fantasy points over the last two weeks, eighth-best among running backs over that period.
  • After employing a three-back committee earlier in the year, New York now uses a two-man rotation at running back, allowing Knight to receive most of the carries.
  • The rookie has earned an 87.5 PFF rushing grade so far, sixth among running backs with 40 or more carries this season.
  • The Jets backs have the fifth-best matchup this week, according to our strength of schedule tool.
  • The Jets are slight favorites against the hot Lions, which should allow them to stick with the run game throughout the matchup.

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