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Fantasy Football Week 15 Recap: Jalen Hurts, Ryan Tannehill and Kyler Murray demonstrate sky-high dual-threat upside

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) celebrates a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Winter is officially here, and that means one thing — it’s Derrick Henry szn. Fantasy's RB3 continues to close in on 2,000 rushing yards after adding 147 yards on Sunday versus the Detroit Lions.

Henry just needs to average 162 yards per game over the next two weeks to become DH2K. 

But Sunday hardly belonged to the Big Dog, as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stole the day with 37.8 fantasy points thanks to 338 passing yards, four touchdowns and 63 rushing yards. Carson Wentz ain’t getting his job back anytime soon. 

Enough QB talk, let’s dig into every game from Sunday’s action to see who else stepped up as we trudge forward toward Week 16. I'll hit on snap counts, routes run, goal-line usage, targets and target shares from every game on the Sunday slate.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ DALLAS COWBOYS

“Do running backs matter?” It’s a question that has been taken more seriously in recent years. The answer was on full display when Tony Pollard came off the bench for an injured Ezekiel Elliott and promptly played a 90% snap share, totaled 18 touches and scored two touchdowns on his way to a 31 point fantasy performance. Pollard's final score was a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory for Big D.

Since Pollard entered the league in 2019, he has been extremely efficient: 5.1 yards per attempt, 4.5 yards after contact per attempt and a 24% missed tackle rate. Each of these marks is superior to Zeke's. It's going to be a tough pill to swallow for the coaches obligated to go back to Elliott after seeing how well Pollard played in an expanded role. 

Elliott has posted career lows in almost every statistical category in 2020. Some of that can be attributed to the Dallas offensive line and his health, but it makes you wonder if the days of regularly seeing 20-plus touches are in the past. 

Amari Cooper has been surprisingly consistent all season long, but he vanished when fantasy managers needed him most. He had just two catches for 10 yards on Sunday.

It was another awesome effort from Brandon Aiyuk, who needs to be viewed as borderline WR1 in Week 16. He commanded 13 targets this week, catching nine for 73 yards and a touchdown. 

The 49ers rookie is routinely seeing north of 12 targets each week, so he needs to be locked into lineups. 

Raheem Mostert was forced out of action again, so Jeff Wilson Jr. took over the reins. He toted the rock 16 times for 50 yards and one touchdown. 

With the 49ers’ season lost, I can’t imagine Mostert returning anytime soon. Those looking for desperate replacements can go back to Tevin Coleman/Jerick McKinnon

Kendrick Bourne stands out statistically (4-86-1), but he caught a long, Hail Mary touchdown as time expired. He had just three catches up to that point, so don’t go chasing the touchdown score.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS

It may have taken a bit longer than most fantasy managers would have liked, but we are starting to finally see a semblance of MVP Lamar Jackson. He had his way with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense, ripping them through the air — 243 passing yards, three passing touchdowns — and rushing for 35 yards and one TD.

His recent resurgence has made an impact on Marquise Brown, who has now posted double-digit fantasy points for three straight weeks. Brown posted his second-highest yardage total (98) on Sunday.

Dec 20, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws to wide receiver Dez Bryant (not pictured) for a second quarter touchdown as Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (45) defends at M&T Bank Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

J.K Dobbins (54% snap share, 14 carries) led the backfield over Gus Edwards (40% snap share, nine carries), but both backs were involved throughout. Dobbins came away with the lone carry inside the 5-yard line, which is the most important takeaway for fantasy managers. The rookie remains a locked-and-loaded mid-range RB2 for Week 16. 

The fact that James Robinson has been so reliable in fantasy this year playing for a 1-win team is truly a testament to how well he has played this season. He couldn’t get going on the ground this week — the Jags offense could barely move the ball — but he salvaged his day with a nice over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone. 

The rookie was forced out of the game with an ankle injury, which is why we saw more Dare Ogunbowale toward the end.

Gardner Minshew II tried to save D.J. Chark Jr. — four catches for 53 yards on six targets — but there aren’t any fantasy options here outside Robinson, especially with the Bears up next week. 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @ WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

Russell Wilson lured fantasy managers back into a false sense of security after it looked like he regained “Chef status” in the team’s win over the New York Jets in Week 14.

The Seahawks’ quarterback failed to score 20 fantasy points for the third time in four weeks, and there’s no way he can be trusted with the Rams coming up next week. The last time he faced them, he scored fewer than 10 fantasy points.

The same can be said for Tyler Lockett, who I listed a “start” this week, thinking he would be able to turn things around. I was obviously proven wrong, and he will be a fringy WR3 option in a tough matchup. Worth mentioning: He still led the Seahawks in targets (seven). 

Chris Carson (71% snap share, 15 carries) dominated the touches over Carlos Hyde (17% snap share, two carries), but to the dismay of fantasy managers across the land, it was Hyde who scored a 50-yard rushing touchdown. 

Dwanye Haskins Jr. started in place of Alex Smith and attempted 55 passes. He wasn’t particularly impressive — 5.4 yards per attempt, two interceptions, four sacks taken — but the sheer volume did enough for Logan Thomas and Terry McLaurin.

Thomas (15 targets) and McLaurin (12 targets) were clearly Haskins’ favorite targets, and they should produce again next week in a favorable matchup versus the Carolina Panthers. But keep in mind that the passing volume might not be as nearly as high if the team jumps out to lead in Week 16. 

CHICAGO BEARS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS

It’s just Dalvin Cook’s world and we are just living in it. The Minnesota Vikings’ stud running back got his usual 29 touches in Week 15, which he converted into 150-plus yards and one touchdown. 

Justin Jefferson commanded 11 targets in Week 15, and it would appear a changing of the guard may have finally happened in Minnesota. Adam Thielen only saw three targets — their targets have never been so lopsided in favor of the rookie.

Thielen still has value because of the concentrated target share and Kirk Cousins’ affinity to target him in the end zone, but to me Jefferson is no doubt the No. 1 Vikings wide receiver.

Irv Smith Jr. looked primed to smash with Kyle Rudolph ruled out, but alas it was Tyler Conklin who came away with the touchdown grab. This offense wants to involve tight ends, so expect both Conklin and ISJ to get looks if Rudolph is out again. 

Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Few RBs see the type of Volume Cooks does, but David Montgomery is pushing for the same type of workload lately. The second-year running back handled a whopping 32 carries and has now scored 24-plus fantasy points in each of his last four games. Next week, he gets the Jaguars, so expect the Monty train to keep rolling.

The massive workload had a negative effect on Allen Robinson, who saw only five targets on Sunday. A-Rob hadn't seen fewer than seven targets with Mitchell Trubisky under center this season.

The process was there for Cole Kmet to deliver a strong fantasy performance — he was on the field for 100% of the team’s offensive snaps — but he only managed two catches for 12 yards. Luckily he gets the best matchup for TEs in Week 16, so don’t shy away. 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

Across the bottom of my TV, the headline read “Tom Brady leads comeback as Tampa Bay beats Atlanta.” Some things never change, do they?

It was all Falcons to start the game, with the Buccaneers having no answers for the unstoppable connection between Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley. Ridley went off for a second-straight week, positing his fifth 100-yard game without Julio Jones.

Ridley wasn't the only Atlanta player to get in on the fun, as one of my sleepers this week in Russell Gage Jr. had another productive outing with 10 targets, five catches, 68 receiving yards and one touchdown. He has seen at least seven targets in his last three games.

Todd Gurley II had one carry on 16 snaps played. That is all. 

Brady rallied the troops during the half and ended up having himself a fine day. His 390 passing yards and two TDs supported strong fantasy performances from all of his wideouts. But the targets were flat across the board, as they've been all season: Mike Evans (seven), Antonio Brown (seven) and Chris Godwin (five).

From a routes run and snaps played perspective, Brown is still operating as the team’s No. 3 wide receiver. 

Leonard Fournette played the Ronald Jones role with the incumbent unavailable and delivered for fantasy managers who looked past his talent and just viewed him as a lead back on a top-notch offense. That’s exactly how it played out on Sunday, as Fournette was not great on the ground — 14 carries for 49 yards — but scored two rushing touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line. 

He also ran more routes (20 vs 10) and commanded more targets (five vs. three) than LeSean McCoy

DETROIT LIONS @ TENNESSEE TITANS

Ryan Tannehill is a certified baller. The Titans’ uber-efficient quarterback went 21-of-27 for 273 yards and three passing touchdowns. He also added two rushing touchdowns to top off an elite 37-fantasy point performance.

Tannehill’s efficient play allowed both Corey Davis (4-110-1) and A.J. Brown (5-44-1) to deliver for fantasy managers. 

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

Look for all Titans players to deliver huge performances next week with an offensive showdown versus the Green Bay Packers on deck. 

When people say “air yards don’t matter or aren’t predictive,” just turn them to Marvin Jones’ Week 15 stat line. He entered Week 15 leading the league in total air yards and delivered 27 fantasy points. Air yards matter, folks. 

With the Buccaneers’ defense falling apart, Jones will be another strong play in Week 16. 

D’Andre Swift logged a 60% snap share and dominated the touches (19) for the second straight week. He also scored two rushing touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line and was extremely close to a third. Swift fumbled at the goal-line trying to jump over the pile, as the ball was knocked free by a defender.

HOUSTON TEXANS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Take away all of Deshaun Watson’s weapons and he still gets it done. For the second time in three weeks, Watson threw for 300-plus yards against the Indianapolis Colts, and his favorite receiver was running back David Johnson.

Johnson commanded a season-high 11 targets and clearly stepped up in the absence of Duke Johnson Jr. DJ needs to see usage as a receiver like this because the Texans cannot run the football.

Johnson (six for 25), Scottie Phillips (two for nine) and Buddy Howell (five for 22) left a lot to be desired rushing on Sunday. 

Brandin Cooks made his return and commanded seven targets. But Keke Coutee matched him in targets and ended up coming away with one of the two touchdowns thrown by Watson. Chad Hansen caught the other.

Jonathan Taylor (16 carries, five targets) saw a season-high snap share (69%) on Sunday. His increased workload should make him at least a low-end RB2 versus a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense. 

T.Y. Hilton didn’t blow up like he usually does versus the Texans, but he still delivered four catches for 71 yards on a team-leading seven targets. 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS

The Patriots’ season continues to spiral after their second consecutive loss. Running back Salvon Ahmed ran all over the Patriots’ defense, compiling 122 rushing yards on 23 carries. He looks to be the lead back as long as Myles Gaskin remains sidelined.

Lynn Bowden Jr. was a popular waiver wire and low-DFS option this week and delivered six catches for 37 yards on seven targets. There are much worse fantasy performances managers could have gotten considering his low cost.

Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart (99) grabs the jersey of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami was down their top three pass-catchers in DeVante Parker, Jakeem Grant and Mike Gesicki, so the rookie was forced to step up. 

The Patriots were caught chasing points, so Jakobi Meyers feasted. The second-year wide receiver caught seven balls for 111 yards on 10 targets. He’s hardly a safe play, but he’s a potential fill-in option if New England finds itself trailing against the Bills in Week 16.

Sony Michel and James White split running back duties with Damien Harris inactive. Michel only had 10 carries but looked great, rushing for 74 yards along the way. 

Michel has averaged 5.7 yards per attempt and 3.6 yards after contact per attempt on 53 carries this season. Both rank top-eight among RBs this season. 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

It’s going to be hard to keep Jalen Hurts outside the top-five quarterbacks in Week 16 after his performance on Sunday. His dual-threat ability gives him so much upside. 

Jalen Reagor (nine) and Dallas Goedert (eight) led the team in targets, while Miles Sanders only saw two targets. Remember, running QBs tend to throw to their running backs less than their statuesque QB counterparts. Don’t expect Sanders to see consistent targets as long as Hurts in under center. 

Kyler Murray threw for a season-high 406 yards, with 169 going to DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals’ stud wide receiver continues to be peppered by Murray every week — no other Arizona player had more than three catches.

Despite coming into the game banged-up, Chase Edmonds (55% snap share, 14 touches) saw a heavier workload than Kenyan Drake (46% snap share, 12 touches). 

NEW YORK JETS @ LOS ANGELES RAMS

In what might be the most unexpected win of the season, the New York Jets pulled the upset versus the Rams in Week 15. Running backs Ty Johnson and Frank Gore did most of the damage. Johnson hauled in all six of his targets for 39 yards and a score. Gore handled 23 carries for 59 yards and added a TD as well.

Cam Akers had 15 carries on Sunday while Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown combined for just two. It’s encouraging to see the Rams continue to leverage their rookie and even better that he saw double-digit carries despite L.A. facing a negative game script throughout. 

Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) moves the ball against New York Jets inside linebacker Neville Hewitt (46) during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports


Jared Goff threw for a meager 209 yards and two touchdowns, disappointing any fantasy manager who played him in the great matchup. Robert Woods was the only Rams wide receiver to post a solid effort — six catches for 56 yards and one touchdown on eight targets. He also added a rush for 40 yards. 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Kansas City Chiefs continue to operate as one of the more concentrated offenses in the NFL with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce leading the way. Hill (10) and Kelce (12) commanded more than 50% of Mahomes’ passing targets, but neither had a great fantasy day versus a stout New Orleans defense. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire attempted 14 rushes for 79 yards but was forced out with an injury. In his relief, Bell ran 15 times for 62 yards and one score. Should CEH miss any time, the backfield would likely be split between Bell and Darrel Williams

Drew Brees started for the first time since Week 10, and it was not pretty. Seriously, do not let the final stat line (243 passing yards, 3 TDs) give you a false impression of the QB’s performance. He completed just 44.1% of his passing attempts — he hadn't completed less than 60% of his attempts all season. 

Brees’ play stalled the entire offense, and Alvin Kamara saw just six targets — a far cry from what he had been seeing with Brees during the start of the season.

Tre’Quan Smith left this game with an injury and Juwuan Johnson played the most snaps in his absence. He and fellow backup WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey both saw four targets. 

CLEVELAND BROWNS @ NEW YORK GIANTS

Tight end Austin Hooper made his way back to the starting lineup and delivered for fantasy managers, catching five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. His six targets were the most he’s seen since all the way back in Week 6. There’s a strong chance he finds the end zone again in Week 16 — no team has allowed more TDs to tight ends than the Jets this season. 

The Browns’ running game didn’t do much on Sunday night (95 rushing yards on 26 carries), and the loss of right guard Wyatt Teller was obvious. I mentioned him on the injury report cheat sheet this week out of concern that the Browns’ run game would suffer without him. 

Wayne Gallman Jr. saw his lowest carry total (nine) of the season in Week 15 and posted his first dud fantasy outing since becoming the starter in New York. The offense can’t create enough scoring opportunities for Gallman to take advantage, and the lack of touchdowns is tanking his fantasy stock.

The Big Blue backfield also functioned as a three-way committee between Gallman, Alfred Morris and Dion Lewis. They all played less than 50% of the snaps in Week 15.

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