Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Time to panic or Week 15 antic?

2RXCN85 Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields on the line of scrimmage during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields posted just 9.6 fantasy points in Week 15: In a tough divisional game on the road, Fields notched his second game of 10 or fewer fantasy points over the past three weeks.

Derrick Henry totaled just 10 scrimmage yards on 20 touches in Week 15: Henry’s touchdown production has helped mask some of his struggles with efficiency this season, but it all came to a head in Week 15’s loss to the Houston Texans.

Buffalo Bills TE Dalton Kincaid delivers a goose egg: Kincaid left fantasy managers hanging in the first round of the playoffs, failing to catch either of his targets in the Bills’ run-heavy Week 15 game.

 Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

It was a brutal week for the “start your studs” crowd, as trusting just about any of the players that helped you make the fantasy football playoffs probably knocked you out of them. 

You know those studs, Dak Prescott, Derrick Henry, Breece Hall, Bijan Robinson, Stefon Diggs, Puka Nacua, Brandon Aiyuk and Travis Kelce? Yeah – they all combined for fewer fantasy points than Christian McCaffrey scored in Week 15. 

If you did manage to survive the fantasy “stud-pocalypse” and advance through to Week 16, you’ll most certainly need to know who you’ll be able to trust moving forward. Here are five stats highlighting various fantasy disappointments from Week 15 and a temperature check; is it time to panic, or just a Week 15 antic?

WR:CB Matchup Chart

Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields scores fewer than 10 fantasy points for the second time in the last three weeks

Just as Justin Fields has the Chicago Bears front office contemplating their future at the quarterback position, he may have fantasy managers doing the same. The Cleveland Browns defense held Fields to 166 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Week 15, as Fields posted his first game with more than two turnover-worthy plays so far this season. It earned him a season-low 48.1 PFF passing grade, and unfortunately for fantasy managers, his second game of 10 or fewer fantasy points in the last three weeks. 

The down day likely would have stung a bit less if it weren’t for a drop from Robert Tonyan deep in Browns territory that likely would have resulted in a 72-yard touchdown… or the brutal drop from Darnell Mooney on the Hail Mary that should have resulted in a touchdown. In short, it was a day with plenty of ups and downs, but a bout of tough luck came into play against an even tougher defense. He gets a home matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16 to help achieve the bounce-back.

Temperature check: Week 15 antic

Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry posts the most inefficient day of his career on the ground

The Tennessee Titans found themselves in a divisional nail-biter in Week 15, but unfortunately for them, veteran running back Derrick Henry didn’t do much to help out. Henry touched the ball 20 times in Week 15, posting just 10 total scrimmage yards for his worst outing of the year and, arguably, of his career. Henry averaged just 0.56 yards per carry — the lowest average in a single game throughout his storied career, scoring just three total fantasy points – his third-fewest fantasy points he’s ever scored in a career start.

In all fairness to Henry, the Houston Texans‘ run defense has gotten hot as of late. Its 14.1% stuff rate and 43 negative rush attempts forced both to rank in the top three among league defenses this season. It didn’t seem as though Henry was wearing down that Texans defense as the game went on, as he has to opposing defenses throughout much of his career.

Henry’s touchdown production has been his saving grace for fantasy managers in recent weeks, as he's scored two of them in each of the three games leading up to Week 15. He’s managed 38 or fewer rushing yards in four of his last six outings, making his 3.9 yards per attempt average and 7% explosive run rate all the more concerning. Henry’s consistent workload and nose for the end zone make him an every-week play despite his collapse for fantasy managers in Week 15, but long-term, it might be time to push the panic button as Henry approaches his 30th birthday in the coming weeks.

Temperature check: Time to panic

Rookie WR Zay Flowers sees just a single target in the Baltimore Ravens’ Week 15 win

Baltimore Ravens rookie wideout Zay Flowers was coming off back-to-back games with 60-plus scrimmage yards and a touchdown, but unfortunately for fantasy managers, that success abruptly stopped in Week 15. In the Ravens’ Week 15 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Flowers all but disappeared, managing just a single catch for seven receiving yards for a 52.6 receiving grade – his worst to date so far in his short career. 

The Ravens will travel out west in Week 16 for a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers followed by a game against a surging Miami Dolphins secondary, which may be enough reasons to look elsewhere for a viable flex play. Flowers has managed 10 or more fantasy points in just four of 14 games this season (although two of them have come over the past four weeks) and is still seeking his first game of 100-plus receiving yards. For most, this means his ceiling may just not be worth the risk given his low floor in such a crucial point in the fantasy season.

Temperature check: Time to panic

Atlanta Falcons WR Drake London duds after a career day in Week 15

Falcons second-year wide receiver Drake London posted a career-high 24.2 fantasy points (half-PPR) in Week 14 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which may have duped some fantasy managers into thinking he could be the key to their championship. London, instead, followed up that performance with his six-lowest scoring fantasy day – ever – with just two receptions for 24 yards in their loss to the Carolina Panthers.

From a matchup perspective, it didn’t seem likely that London would post a huge game, as the Panthers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to the wide receiver position. Further hurting the cause was the fact that they were on the road, considering the Falcons are averaging just under 10 fewer points, 122 fewer offensive yards and 95 fewer passing yards per game on the road than at home. The Falcons will host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, which could be a solid spot for a WR2/WR3 flex play from London, but a road game against the Bears in Week 17 looks like another potential disaster right in time for your championship week.

Temperature check: Time to panic

Buffalo Bills TE Dalton Kincaid posts a goose egg

There couldn’t have been a worse time for Buffalo Bills rookie Dalton Kincaid to post his first-ever goose egg in your fantasy football lineup than Week 15. It marked his fourth consecutive week with declining fantasy production, failing to reel in either of his targets on the day in a particularly odd run-heavy outing for the Bills.  Kincaid played just 33 total snaps on the day, his fewest offensive snaps in a single game since Week 5, as he ran a season-low 14 total routes. In fact, it marked the first time all season that he’d spent more snaps run blocking (19) than running a route. 

Fantasy managers might find some solace in the fact that this was not just an unproductive outing for Kincaid; it was an unproductive outing for the entire Bills passing offense. Josh Allen’s 15 attempted passes marked the fewest of any game he’d ever both started and finished in his entire career. While second-year RB James Cook rumbled for a career-high 221 scrimmage yards on 27 touches, there wasn’t much need for the passing game at all. Kincaid’s overall floor might be a bit higher than the goose egg posted in Week 15, but the team’s heavy lean into the Cook as both a rusher and a receiver since firing Ken Dorsey hasn’t boded well for Kincaid’s reliability through the fantasy football playoffs.

Temperature check: Time to panic.


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