Fantasy Football: Week 15 Deep Sleepers – Hot Hand Higbee

With his Week 15 Deep Sleepers, senior fantasy football expert Jaime Eisner discusses which deep league players could give you an advantage!

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee

The best time of year, the fantasy football playoffs, are rolling along with most leagues into the semi-final round this week. A fantasy championship is within sight, so every lineup change from this point forward is critical. In deep leagues, there are plenty of tough decisions to be made in Week 15. Here are a handful of players available in the vast majority of leagues that can help you win this week.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

Let’s go back to the FitzMagic well this week because there’s no way the Dolphins play another field goal fest as they did against the Jets, where Jason Sanders kicked seven in a one-point loss. Volume is the name of the game when you’re looking outside of the obvious options at the position, and Fitzpatrick has thrown at least 33 passes in every game since taking over for Josh Rosen mid-season and is averaging 37.3 attempts per game. Miami’s complete inability to run the ball is a factor, as is their porous defense. Even if DeVante Parker sits this game out, Fitzpatrick is ultimately a gunslinger and will continue to throw early and often. He may have four 20-plus point games over the last eight weeks, but it’s the matchup with the Giants that makes Fitzpatrick a viable starting option this week. The current QB12 for the season in average fantasy points per game is Aaron Rodgers at 18.4 per game. The Giants have only held two QBs under that total all season: Kyler Murray in Week 7 and the combo of Dwayne Haskins and Case Keenum in Week 4. All other quarterbacks are averaging 23.3 fantasy points per game against them this season, which is equivalent to Deshaun Watson’s season average. Weather shouldn’t be a significant issue in New York, so there’s no reason Fitzpatrick can’t match the 19.2 fantasy points he’s averaged since Week 7 against this Giants defense.

RB DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders

Check to see if any of these four running backs are available first, but if not, Washington could be a solid play even if Josh Jacobs does return to the field this week. Jacobs won’t be 100%, and the Jaguars have been absolutely destroyed on the ground this season. No team has allowed more yards per carry and fantasy points to running backs this season than Jacksonville. Washington has outsnapped Jalen Richard in back-to-back weeks and should have a significant role even with Jacobs active. The Raiders would be foolish to give the leading offensive rookie of the year candidate 20-plus touches with a fracture in his shoulder with a playoff appearance being a longshot at best. Washington won’t get 20 touches like he did last week, but even 10-12 in this matchup are enough to be fantasy relevant.

Dare OgunbowaleRB Dare Ogunbowale, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ogunbowale set season highs with five receptions and 48 receiving yards last week against the Colts and has a chance to be an even more significant contributor this week. Jameis Winston suffered a broken thumb on his throwing hand last week but plans to play this week. Mike Evans sustained a season-ending injury, so he’s out as well. With limited pass-catching options behind Chris Godwin and a hand injury, Winston may choose to dump the ball off more than usual. Enter Ogunbowale, who is Tampa Bay’s primary pass-catching back and can be that safety blanket for Winston if his thumb is bothering him during the game. The Lions are notoriously poor against the run, but they’re also a bottom ten team in the NFL in receiving yardage allowed to running backs. If the Buccaneers don’t push it downfield as much as usual with Winston hurt and Evans out, look for players like tight end O.J. Howard and Ogunbowale to get some volume on shorter routes and screens.

WR Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are running out of healthy bodies on offense. Alshon Jeffery is now out for the season, DeSean Jackson has been out, and Nelson Agholor’s latest update on his knee injury wasn’t particularly encouraging. So it looks like Philadelphia will be down to Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and… um… yeah, those guys against the Redskins on Sunday. Ward got nine targets from Carson Wentz on Monday Night Football and has 19 over the last three weeks. His role in the offense will grow with Jeffery out, but when the Eagles have two tight ends and two wide receivers on their entire roster to throw to Ward will at least get an opportunity to have a big game. Washington is a middle-of-the-pack defense against fantasy wide receivers, but if you expect Philadelphia to win and put up any points, the production has to come from somewhere. Ward is the best dart throw among what’s left of the wide receiver corps.

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Detroit Lions wide receiver Danny AmendolaWR Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions

Amendola’s upside has certainly waned with all of the quarterback injuries in Detroit, but it’s encouraging that David Blough has targeted him eight times in each of the past two games. Sadly, it’s resulted in a paltry 14.6 combined PPR points. But that was against the Bears and Vikings. The Lions have the Buccaneers on tap this week. The Buccaneers have allowed the most points to fantasy WRs this season and the third-most yards per game to slot receivers. Marvin Jones Jr. has since been placed on IR, meaning even more looks should go Amendola’s way this week. You should be interested in any wide receiver that may get double-digit targets against the Buccaneers defense. Amendola has three games this season with 17.5 or more fantasy points. Can he make it four in this great matchup?

WR Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts

Assuming T.Y. Hilton doesn’t find a way to return on Monday Night Football, which seems unlikely, Johnson becomes a very intriguing play against a Saints secondary that’s struggled against fantasy wide receivers this season. New Orleans has allowed the third-most points to the position this season, only trailing the Buccaneers and Cardinals. Johnson will serve as Indianpaolis’ No. 2 wide receiver, getting the better matchup compared to Zach Pascal, who should draw Marshon Lattimore. Johnson did have a pair of drops last week but made the most of the three passes he did catch to the tune of 105 yards and a touchdown. He also has 13 targets over the last two weeks. The Colts are going to need to throw to keep up with the Saints’ offense, so Johnson could have another big game this week.

TE Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Starting tight end Gerald Everett still hasn’t returned to practice, which means Higbee has a real shot at having his third consecutive big performance in his place. He broke out with a huge 7/107/1 game against the Cardinals two weeks ago and followed that up with a 7/116/0 game against the Seahawks on prime time. However, those are the two worst defenses in the NFL against tight ends, so even if Everett is inactive again, those totals should come down against the Cowboys defense. However, the volume has been excellent lately and will be the key to his fantasy success this week. He received 11 targets from Jared Goff last week after getting eight the week before. If he seems a similar workload, he has a chance at another 100-yard game even against stiffer competition.

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