NFL Fantasy: Week 15 start ‘em, sit ‘em wide receivers

Four-wide sets, receiving backs and tight ends limit individual wide receiver NFL fantasy points. So who is safe enough to start in the playoffs?

Most playoff teams have a solid roster of receivers that put them in the final four of their NFL fantasy leagues. But what if a receiver’s points have been dwindling lately? Which receivers will be affected by quarterback changes? How serious is that “not serious” knee that landed your starter on the injured list? 

That’s why I’m still writing a start ‘em and sit ‘em article during the playoffs. If you are not in your playoff, use the information to field an awesome daily team. 

Start this guy: Jordy Nelson, GB vs CAR

No one will be happier Sunday than Jordy Nelson when he sees footballs heading his way from Aaron Rodgers. Nelson fell completely off the fantasy map with Brett Hundley behind center. You should expect that situation to rectify itself within minutes of Rodgers’ first snap. Nelson is the quarterback’s go-to receiver and both are skilled enough to beat the matchup with Carolina’s defense. 

Sit this guy: Michael Crabtree, OAK vs DAL

Something happened to the Dallas defense. With a few personnel moves and more blitzes, the Cowboys have stifled the Washington Redskins’ receivers and practically shut out Sterling Shepard in back-to-back weeks. Without Amari Cooper to divert attention, Kansas City’s poor pass defense was able to contain Crabtree. Dallas’ new-look defense and the team’s win-or-go-home mentality make me believe Crabtree is in for another long day. 

Start these guys: Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook, JAX at HOU

Rookie Keelan Cole caught a 75-yard touchdown pass Sunday and found himself ahead of his teammates on the leaderboard, but his three targets paled in comparison to the 14 combined passes that went to Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook. Those targets were not unusual as 6-10 per game to each receiver has been the norm since Blake Bortles’ renaissance began in November. Against the porous pass defense of the Houston Texans, all three receivers could find themselves touchdowns and a place in the top 20 rankings for Week 15. 

Sit these guys: Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, NYJ vs anybody

Either Bryce Petty or possibly Christian Hackenberg will quarterback the Jets for the rest of the season, effectively ending the NFL fantasy seasons of their wide receivers. Millions of fantasy players picked up either Robbie Anderson or Jermaine Kearse after they each came out of the Jets’ bye week with a pair of 100-yards receiving games. I’d never say never, but we are unlikely to see either approach those heights without Josh McCown leading the offense. 

Start these guys: Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson, SEA vs LAR

Last week, the Seattle defense sustained too many injuries to keep the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense(!) from putting up points and running out the clock. Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson responded by scrambling around and hitting Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Paul Richardson with long touchdown tosses to keep Seattle in the game. He will have to repeat that performance this week with the Rams’ high-flying offense in town to pick on the Seahawks’ wounded defense. Anyone who can catch a pass is in play, but Lockett and Richardson are good bets to score again. 

Sit these guys: Buffalo and Miami wide receivers

That’s right. Even after their solid performance against the Patriots’ Monday night, I would sit every Miami wide receiver and whoever is still on the field for Buffalo. Weather will be a factor again. Although they do not expect another game-long blizzard this week, it will be very windy and cold with snow showers. Jay Cutler will immediately suffer Bears flashbacks and become tentative while his receivers daydream about being back in sunny Miami. Buffalo will probably be without Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones has trouble catching passes in good conditions, Deonte Thompson will do all right but Tyrod Taylor has to get past his knee injury and the elements to get the ball to him. Expect a lot of running again and try to avoid the wide receivers in this game. 

Start this guy: Marquise Goodwin, SF vs TEN

Jimmy Garoppolo has found his favorite wide receiver, and it is Marquise Goodwin. The 49ers quarterback distributed his 32 targets among nine players, but Goodwin was given the lion’s share of 12. He only caught six of them, but they were good for 106 yards, Garoppolo will throw touchdowns this week and Goodwin is as likely to benefit from that as anyone. 

Sit this guy: Kendall Wright vs Detroit

Dontrelle Inman was signed to be the premier receiver the Chicago Bears needed, but after a good start, his targets dropped off considerably. This week, Inman did not have a single pass thrown his way during Mitchell Trubisky’s best game of the season.  Trubisky instead targeted Kendall Wright 12 times and watched him bring in 11 of those passes for 107 yards. That means the Lions’ shut down cornerback, Darius Slay, will probably shadow Wright this week instead of Inman. This will boost Inman’s value while limiting the odds that thousands of fantasy owners will be satisfied with their Week 15 bargain receiver. 

That’s good advice, but things change pretty quickly in NFL fantasy. Be sure to check back with RealSport for all the latest news and updates so you can field a winning team. 

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