Dec 9, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

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Citak: Week 15 Fantasy Football Sweet & Sour Lineup Advice

Matt Citak
December 13, 2018 - 9:16 am
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Week 15 means we have officially reached the fantasy football semifinals, so of course, Sweet & Sour is back to offer up some start/sit recommendations, along with a few sleeper picks at each position.

Players who look poised for a big week will fall under the "Sweet" category, while guys who might be in for a tough matchup will fall in the "Sour" section. In addition, I'll add a couple of sleeper picks at each position for those in need of a streaming option.

Let me preface this article by saying I won't be telling you the obvious. You don't need me to tell you to start Todd Gurley or Antonio Brown each week. And a player falling in the "Sour" section doesn't necessarily mean you should bench him; it means you should lower your expectations for that player given the circumstances that week (matchup, injuries, etc.). While I want these recommendations to help you make lineup decisions, at the end of the day, you have to go with your gut.

Let's cut the small talk and get right to it.

Good luck in your semifinals matchup! 

Quarterbacks

Sweet

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams - After the massively disappointing performance against the Bears on national television this past Sunday night, the Rams are going to have something to prove this week. Lucky for them, they will be on the same SNF stage in Week 15, and going up against a decimated Eagles' secondary, LA will have every opportunity to make up for last week's stinker. Philadelphia is allowing almost 20 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs over the last five weeks, and is the perfect matchup for Goff and the Rams to get back on track. Don't hesitate starting the young QB.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers - Roethlisberger suffered a rib injury during last week's loss to Oakland that caused him to miss most of the second half, as well as several practices this week. However, reports indicate that Big Ben will be good to go against the Patriots in Week 15, which means the veteran should be in your starting lineup. The Patriots have allowed opposing home quarterbacks to average just over 20 fantasy per game this year, and with this AFC clash occurring in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger will have the home crowd behind him. Fire Big Ben up for this one. 

Sour

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Winston has looked significantly better since being named Tampa Bay's starting quarterback for the second time. In that three game stretch, the fourth-year quarterback has thrown six touchdowns compared to only one interception, while running for a total of 119 yards. However, the Bucs' Week 15 matchup against the Ravens is enough to chase Winston to your bench. Baltimore is allowing less than 15 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks since Week 10. With so much on the line for fantasy this week, you'd be wise to sit Winston. 

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - Say what you want about the Cardinals' miserable season, but one thing you cannot say is that their defense isn't performing. Arizona has done a tremendous job of shutting down opponents' passing games this season, surrendering the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (211) and the third-fewest passing touchdowns (17) on the year. They are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so despite Ryan's recent strong play, you should look elsewhere for a quarterback this week.

Sleepers

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens - His passing leaves fantasy owners wanting more, but Jackson is averaging 84 rushing yards per game in his four games as Baltimore's starting QB. The Bucs' pass defense is pretty awful, making Jackson a fringe QB1.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills - If you're absolutely desperate for a QB, you could do worse than Allen. The rookie QB has finished with at least 99 rushing yards in each of his last three games. With a floor like that, you won't have to rely on his passing for him to have a solid fantasy day.

Running Backs

Sweet

Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers - This pick depends on James Conner missing his second consecutive game with an ankle injury. Assuming he's out, Samuels must be in your starting lineup... In his first start last week, the rookie finished the game with 18 touches for 92 yards, including seven receptions for 64 yards. The Patriots have struggled to defend opposing backs in the passing game this season, allowing the fifth-most catches to the position (80). If Conner is out, Samuels is a must-play.

Oct 28, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels (38) and Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Trevon Coley (93) in action during the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs - With Spencer Ware doubtful for Kansas City's AFC showdown against the Chargers Thursday, it looks like Williams will lead the Chiefs' backfield. Williams split the workload with Ware against the Ravens in Week 14, and the fifth-year back was able to find the end zone twice, once on the ground and once through the air. The Chargers have surrendered seven total touchdowns to opposing backs over the last four games. Kansas City will lean heavily on Williams in the short week, making him a strong play. 

Sour

Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles - Things are crumbling in Philadelphia. With Carson Wentz likely to sit out Week 15 (and possible the rest of the season), the value of all the Eagles' playmakers takes a huge hit, starting with Adams. The Eagles face off against the Rams Sunday night, and after LA's offensive struggles last week, this match is shaping up to be a bloodbath. Adams will have to score a touchdown in order to provide solid fantasy value. The Rams haven't allowed a rushing TD to a running back in their last three games. I'm staying away from the talented rookie in this one. 

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts - Mack has struggled mightily over the last two weeks, carrying the ball 22 times for just 60 yards while adding only one reception for six yards. The second-year back out of South Florida is unlikely to buck that trend in Week 15 against a Cowboys defense that has been on fire lately. Since Week 10, Dallas has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing backs, giving up just two touchdowns to the position over the five-game stretch. Mack is unlikely to find much running room in Week 15, making him an easy fade.

Sleepers

Elijah McGuire, New York Jets - If Isaiah Crowell misses another game, McGuire would be a very intriguing flex play. The young back took 20 touches for 83 yards and a score against Buffalo this past Sunday, and could be in for a repeat performance against Houston in Week 15.

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons - Smith has out-touched Tevin Coleman for two consecutive weeks. With a matchup against the Cardinals' awful run defense on deck, Smith is a sneaky flex play this week.

Wide Receivers

Sweet

Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams - The Rams' offense has not done much over the last two weeks. Cooks has just seven receptions for 84 yards during that stretch, but has an amazing opportunity to get his superb season back on the right path. As previously discussed, the Eagles' defense is bad and the team's depleted secondary does not help their case. But this is great news for Cooks, as Philly has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers over the last five games. Cooks has a good chance of exploding in this SNF matchup.

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots - Edelman has quietly been enjoying a strong season. After serving a four-game suspension to start the year, the slot receiver has caught 56 passes for 621 yards and four touchdowns, once again serving as Tom Brady's security blanket in the Patriots' offense. Coming off his best game of the season (9-86-1), Edelman is in line for another great outing against the Steelers in Week 15- Pittsburgh is allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing slot receivers this year. With the possibility of this game turning into a shootout, Edelman is a must-start. 

Sour

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions - Oh how the mighty have fallen. After a hot start to the season, Golladay has come crashing back down to earth, culminating in a two-catch for five yards performance against Arizona last week. The miserable stats were due to the shadow coverage from Patrick Peterson, one of the league's top corners, but Golladay could struggle yet again in Week 15. Detroit will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills Sunday, which means Golladay will see shadow coverage from Tre'Davious White. He might be tough to sit, but if you have another option on your bench, I'd stay away from Golladay.

Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles - As you can tell, I am very high on the Rams this week and extremely low on the Eagles. It was great to see Jeffery break out of his five-game funk last week with six catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. However, with Nick Foles most likely starting at quarterback, as well as the matchup against the Rams' cornerback tandem of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, chances are Jeffery starts a new slump Sunday night. He's too difficult to trust in the fantasy semifinals. 

Sleepers

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars - Westbrook put together an impressive game against the Titans in Week 14, putting him back on the fantasy radar. Washington is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this year, making Westbrook an interesting flex play in deeper leagues.  

DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos - While everyone thought it would be Courtland Sutton benefitting the most from Emmanuel Sanders' injury, it was actually Hamilton that stepped up in Week 14. If you're feeling risky, take a chance on the rookie out of Penn State. 

Tight Ends

Sweet

Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders - Cook has already set career-highs in receptions (61), yards (825) and touchdowns (six) this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. The veteran has posted two consecutive seven-reception games, finishing with at least 100 yards in both contests. That now makes four straight games with either 100 receiving yards or a touchdown for the veteran tight end, and Cook should keep the good times rolling against the Bengals. Cook is a must-start. 

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns - I've spoken at length about the lack of depth at the tight end position this year, so while he hasn't done much over the last few weeks, Njoku should still be in your starting lineups. While the young tight end has caught 47 passes, he has been targeted an impressive 72 times, highlighting his importance in the Browns' offense. Denver has allowed six touchdowns to tight ends on the year, and are giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to the position on the year. Look for Njoku to bounce back against the Broncos.

Sour

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers - If you drafted Graham with high hopes prior to the start of the season, it's safe to say that you regret that decision. I know I do, and with a matchup against the Bears this Sunday, Graham is getting no where near my starting lineup. Chicago is allowing the ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2018, and haven't let an opposing tight end find the end zone since Chris Herndon did in Week 8. Graham's disappointing season will continue in Week 15. 

Evan Engram, New York Giants - Speaking of busts, welcome to the party, Evan Engram! The second-year tight end is coming off his best game of the season in which he caught three of five targets for 77 yards. Despite the solid performance, I would not recommend rolling with Engram in Week 15. Not only has the Titans defense kept every opposing tight end they've faced this year out of the end zone, but they are also allowing the fewest fantasy points to the position. Don't think twice about this one- keep Engram on your bench. 

Sleepers

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers - Thomas did an admirable job filling in for Greg Olsen in Week 14, catching nine of 11 targets for 77 yards. The Saints have been tough against tight ends this season, but they did just give up two touchdowns to Cameron Brate. Roll the dice on Thomas if you need a tight end.

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins - I wouldn't feel confident trusting any Washington player at this point of the year, but if you're truly desperate for a tight end, Davis should play a big role in the Redskins' offense with Jordan Reed likely out. 

Matt Citak is a Web producer for WFAN Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCitak.