junio 19, 2024

It’s Week 15 in the NFL, which means millions of Americans are sweating their fantasy football team’s playoff positioning because this is the week the playoffs begin in most leagues. Pride, cash and the dreaded last-place punishments all are on the line.

The Power Rankings is getting into the spirit with a fantasy focus for this week’s theme. We’re going to look at one notable fantasy football player (or unit) from each team and how he is helping — or hurting — the real-life team’s season. (We’re using the standard league scoring points accumulated by TruMedia.)

(Last week: 1)

Sunday: Beat Seattle Seahawks 28-16

Fantasy spotlight: Christian McCaffrey

Just like on the field, it’s tough to pick which 49er to highlight, but McCaffrey is the San Francisco MVP at least in fantasy (259.4 points) with the fourth-most points of any player in the NFL. The 49ers are the only team with two players in the top 10 (Brock Purdy is sixth at 249.9) and four players in the top 50 (add Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk). In real life, Purdy has passed for 368 yards, and McCaffrey, Samuel and Aiyuk all have had more than 100 as San Francisco inches closer to a first-round bye.

Up next: at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

(Last week: 3)

Sunday: Beat Philadelphia Eagles 33-13

Fantasy spotlight: Dak Prescott

The Cowboys quarterback strengthened his MVP candidacy Sunday night by leading Dallas to a resounding win over the Eagles. Thus far, this is the third-best fantasy season of Prescott’s career (20.98 points per game). On the field, it may be his best. He is second in the league in EPA per attempt (.29) and passer rating (107.5) and his touchdown-to-interception ratio (4.7) is the best of any quarterback with more than 250 attempts this season.

Up next: at Buffalo Bills, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

GO DEEPER

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(Last week: 2)

Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Rams 37-31 (OT)

Fantasy spotlight: Odell Beckham Jr.

After a slow start, Beckham has had at least 9.6 fantasy points per game in four of his last five games. He had a season-high 15.7 on Sunday after posting 97 yards and catching four passes that resulted in either a first down or a touchdown. His ascendance has helped the Ravens overcome the loss of tight end Mark Andrews and stay in position for the top seed in the AFC.

Up next: at Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

4. Philadelphia Eagles (10-3)

(Last week: 5)

Sunday: Lost to Dallas Cowboys 33-13

Fantasy spotlight: A.J. Brown

In the last four weeks, a span in which Philadelphia is 2-2, the Eagles wide receiver is averaging 7.33 fantasy points per game. That’s after averaging 15.17 in Weeks 1-9. During that span, Brown was the second-leading receiver in the league (1,005 yards), and the Eagles had the third-most productive offense in the league (376.8) and an 8-1 record. As he has slumped, so have the Eagles, who are 21st in yards per game in Weeks 10-14 (318.3).

Up next: at Seattle Seahawks, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week: 8)

Sunday: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 20-17

Fantasy spotlight: Josh Allen

Allen leads all players this season with 307.28 fantasy points. It’s his lowest points-per-game output of the last four years, and it’s still the 13th-best fantasy season of the last five seasons in the NFL. That’s how much of the offense Allen is carrying in Buffalo. He wasn’t spectacular against the Chiefs on Sunday (23-for-42 for 233 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown), but the Bills don’t win that game (or many games at all) without him.

Up next: vs. Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET


Josh Allen helped the Bills keep their playoff hopes alive on Sunday with a win over the Chiefs in Kansas City. (Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)

(Last week: 7)

Sunday: Lost to Buffalo Bills 20-17

Fantasy spotlight: Kadarius Toney

All the NFL’s focus is on Toney this week after his offside penalty wiped out what would have been his game-winning touchdown against the Bills on Sunday night, and all the Chiefs freaked out about it. This is not what Kansas City expected when it traded a third- and a sixth-round pick for Toney last season. He is 106th among wide receivers in fantasy points (25.5) this season. In 22 games with the Chiefs, he has only two games with more than 50 receiving yards. This season, he has none with more than 35.

Up next: at New England Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

GO DEEPER

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(Last week: 4)

Monday: Lost to Tennessee Titans 28-27

Fantasy spotlight: Tyreek Hill

This was going to be De’Von Achane, who is 68th among all players in fantasy points (122.6) despite playing in only seven games this year. That was before Hill’s health came into question after he suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter Monday night against the Titans. Hill was in and out of the lineup the rest of the night but finished with only four catches for 61 yards, his third-lowest total of the season and the first time in a month he’s been held under 100 yards. If Hill is not at full strength, Miami might not be in the top 10 long. He’s still the only wide receiver in the league in the top 20 in fantasy points (225.7)

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Up next: vs. New York Jets, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 6)

Sunday: Lost to Chicago Bears 28-13

Fantasy spotlight: The rookies

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta are each top 11 in fantasy points among rookies this season. Only the Houston Texans also have multiple rookies in that group. Gibbs is fifth with 134, and LaPorta is 11th with 110.6. However, each was pedestrian Sunday as Detroit lost for the second time in three games, leaving the Vikings within striking distance of the division lead.

Up next: vs. Denver Broncos, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week: 15)

Sunday: Beat Los Angeles Chargers 24-7

Fantasy spotlight: Courtland Sutton

In the last seven games, a stretch in which Denver has won six games, Sutton is 15th among wide receivers in fantasy points (10.91 per game), and he is carrying the Broncos’ passing game. Since Week 7, Sutton has accounted for 49.7 percent of Denver’s air yards. That ranks second in the NFL behind only Garrett Wilson. He had a 46-yard touchdown catch Sunday, his 10th of the season.

Up next: at Detroit Lions, Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week: 12)

Monday: Lost to New York Giants 24-22

Fantasy spotlight: Jordan Love

Since Week 9, Love is the sixth-best quarterback in fantasy football (110.58 points). That stretch coincides with Green Bay winning four of six games. Monday night was a step back as the Giants’ blitz-happy scheme harried him into a 76.7 passer rating (25-for-39 for 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception). Still, Love’s maturation in the last six weeks gives the Packers hope they have hit on a third straight quarterback.

Up next: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 10)

Sunday: Lost to Baltimore Ravens 37-31 (OT)

Fantasy spotlight: Kyren Williams

The No. 3 fantasy running back this season based on points per game (17.67), Williams is as responsible for the Rams’ success or failure as anyone on the roster. Sunday was the first time this season the Rams have lost when he topped 100 rushing yards. A fifth-round pick in 2022, Williams totaled 139 yards last season. This year, he is averaging 89 yards per game, which is second behind only Christian McCaffrey.

Up next: vs. Washington Commanders, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 16)

Sunday: Beat Jacksonville Jaguars 31-27

Fantasy spotlight: The defense

Opponents are averaging 57.37 fantasy points per game against the Browns defense this season, which is the lowest total for the season and fourth-lowest total in the last five seasons. It’s also worth noting that Joe Flacco has more fantasy points than all but five quarterbacks in the last two weeks of this wacky NFL season.

Up next: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

GO DEEPER

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13. Houston Texans (7-6)

(Last week: 9)

Sunday: Lost to New York Jets 30-6

Fantasy spotlight: C.J. Stroud

The rookie quarterback had his worst game of the season Sunday — 91 yards, a 54.8 passer rating, 4 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns. Still, he’s seventh in the league in fantasy points with 241.5, which leads all other rookies by almost 100 points. Third-year receiver Nico Collins deserves a mention for being the 13th-most productive wide receiver (11.37 ppg) after two pedestrian years in the league.

Up next: at Tennessee Titans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET


Jake Browning has given the Bengals new life after Joe Burrow was lost for the season. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

(Last week: 19)

Sunday: Beat Indianapolis Colts 34-14

Fantasy spotlight: Jake Browning

The undrafted rookie is sixth among quarterbacks in fantasy points in the last three weeks (61.34). When Joe Burrow was lost for the season, the Bengals were written off right along with him, but Browning has led Cincinnati to two straight wins. In the last two weeks, he is first in the league in completion percentage (82 percent), second in passing yards (629) and third in yards per attempt (10.3) and passer rating (119.2).

Up next: vs. Minnesota Vikings, Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 11)

Sunday: Lost 34-14 to Cincinnati Bengals

Fantasy spotlight: Zack Moss

Moss is why no team in the NFL wants to pay running backs. After a preseason full of angst over Jonathan Taylor, Moss, a third-round pick by Buffalo acquired in a trade and counting $1.2 million against the salary cap this season, is second on the team in fantasy points (130.3) behind only quarterback Gardner Minshew. Sunday wasn’t a good day, though. With Taylor out, Moss was held to 28 yards as Indianapolis had a four-game winning streak snapped.

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Up next: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

(Last week: 14)

Sunday: Lost 31-27 to Cleveland Browns

Fantasy spotlight: Trevor Lawrence

The No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft is 14th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game (17.10). That’s not terrible, but it’s not the ceiling he was expected to have. Lawrence threw three interceptions Sunday, which gives him 10 this season, tied for fifth most in the league. In the last three seasons, Lawrence has 35 interceptions. Only Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Mac Jones have thrown more, and Lawrence’s touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.5) is a lot closer to Jones’ than to Allen’s or Mahomes’.

Up next: vs. Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

(Last week: 13)

Sunday: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 28-16

Fantasy spotlight: Geno Smith

Without Smith (out with a groin injury), the Seahawks lost their fourth straight game Sunday and fell to the No. 9 spot in the NFC playoff race. He’s still worth mentioning here because of his career revival. Smith has had more fantasy points in his last 30 games in Seattle (492.52) than he had in his first seven years in the NFL combined (381.8). He’s questionable for this week’s game, but the Seahawks need him back as soon as possible.

Up next: vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

18. Minnesota Vikings (7-6)

(Last week: 20)

Sunday: Beat Las Vegas Raiders 3-0

Fantasy spotlight: T.J. Hockenson

The fifth-year tight end is on pace for a career season and is third among tight ends in fantasy points (111.9). He had five catches for 53 yards Sunday, which accounted for 22.9 percent of Minnesota’s total yards. The Vikings, who became the second team this season to win a game in which they averaged 3.3 yards per play or fewer (joining the Falcons who beat the Jets averaging 3 yards per play in Week 13), are currently the NFC’s No. 6 seed.

Up next: at Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 18)

Thursday: Lost to New England Patriots 21-18

Fantasy spotlight: Jaylen Warren

Pittsburgh, which has now lost to Arizona and New England in back-to-back weeks, doesn’t have a lot to feel good about offensively, but Warren is an exception. The 2022 undrafted free agent is third on the team in fantasy points (104.4), which ranks 29th among running backs in the league. Warren has more yards from scrimmage (884) than 2021 first-round pick Najee Harris.

Up next: at Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

(Last week: 21)

Sunday: Beat Atlanta Falcons 29-25

Fantasy spotlight: Mike Evans

Despite being held to one catch for 8 yards by the Falcons on Sunday, the 10th-year veteran is the No. 5 wide receiver in fantasy points this season (162). He is second in the league in receiving touchdowns (10) and about the only offensive highlight for Tampa Bay, which currently is the NFC No. 4 seed thanks to a tiebreaker lead in the NFC South.

Up next: at Green Bay Packers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)

(Last week: 17)

Sunday: Lost to Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29-25

Fantasy spotlight: Bijan Robinson

The rookie running back is second among first-year players in fantasy points (149) behind only Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. His 1,110 yards from scrimmage rank second among rookies behind only Puka Nacua, and he has three more touchdowns than Nacua for the season. He leads Atlanta, which fell out of first place in the NFC South with Sunday’s loss, in yards and touchdowns.

Up next: at Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week 24)

Sunday: Beat Carolina Panthers 28-6

Fantasy spotlight: Taysom Hill

Hill is averaging 7.7 fantasy points per game, which basically makes him as valuable as Garrett Wilson (7.71) even though Hill has no true position. He is the only player in the league with at least 70 yards passing, rushing and receiving — 72 passing, 346 rushing and 229 receiving. In his seventh season, Hill is third in the NFL among players with more than 30 carries in rushing success rate (56.7 percent).

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET


DJ Moore, who scored two touchdowns on Sunday, has helped the Bears rebound from a 1-5 start. (Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

(Last week: 27)

Sunday: Beat Detroit Lions 28-13

Fantasy spotlight: DJ Moore

Moore is seventh among all wide receivers in fantasy points per game (11.94) despite playing with a quarterback (Justin Fields) who is 28th in the league in passing yards (1,810). Moore has 1,071 receiving yards and is 16th in the league in yards per reception (14.1). If the Bears move on from Fields, Moore will be a huge help to a young quarterback.

Up next: at Cleveland Browns, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

24. New York Jets (5-8)

(Last week: 30)

Sunday: Beat Houston Texans 30-6

Fantasy spotlight: The defense

The Jets are sixth in the NFL in fantasy points allowed (62.11) this season, and that should be graded on a curve given how hard the offense has made it on their defense. The Jets held a Houston offense that came into the game sixth in the NFL in yards per game (373.1) to 135 yards Sunday. That’s the third-lowest total of the season. (The lowest, second-lowest and fourth-lowest totals this season came against the Browns.)

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Up next: at Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 25)

Monday: Beat Green Bay Packers 24-22

Fantasy spotlight: Tommy DeVito

In six games, the last four of which he has started, the UDFA rookie from New Jersey who moved back into his parents’ home after signing with the Giants, has 79.6 fantasy points. That’s 22 points more than Daniel Jones managed in the six games before his injury opened the door for DeVito. This story is equal parts sweet and sad for the Giants, who gave Jones a four-year deal that could be worth up to $160 million in the offseason and now sincerely have to wonder which quarterback is better after DeVito led the Giants to their third straight win Monday night.

Up next: at New Orleans Saints, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

26. Tennessee Titans (5-8)

(Last week: 28)

Monday: Beat Miami Dolphins 28-27

Fantasy spotlight: Derrick Henry

In his eighth year, Henry leads the Titans and is fourth among running backs in the NFL in fantasy points (171.78). Henry had only 34 yards on 17 carries Monday night so this is more of a career appreciation section, but Henry deserves that. He is averaging more than 1,300 yards per season in the last six seasons, and he’s on pace to top 1,000 yards for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

Up next: vs. Houston Texans, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 22)

Sunday: Lost to Denver Broncos 24-7

Fantasy spotlight: Keenan Allen

Along with Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, Allen is leading the way for the old-guy receivers this season. In his 11th year, Allen is third at his position in fantasy points (170.86). His 95.6 yards per game are the highest of his career, and he’s third in the league in target percentage, getting 32 percent of the Chargers’ throws. His only problem is quarterback Justin Herbert might be done for the season with a finger injury suffered Sunday.

Up next: at Las Vegas Raiders, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

(Last week: 23)

Sunday: Lost to Minnesota Vikings 3-0

Fantasy spotlight: Aidan O’Connell

The rookie quarterback showed enough flashes for interim head coach Antonio Pierce to give him the starting job down the stretch, but it hasn’t gone well. O’Connell has fewer fantasy points (59.7) than Jimmy Garoppolo had in six (64.1). His 8.53 fantasy points per game rank 31st among quarterbacks, and he has almost twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes (seven to four). He had a 66 passer rating against the Vikings on Sunday.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET

29. Arizona Cardinals (3-10)

(Last week: 26)

Sunday: Bye

Fantasy spotlight: James Conner

The seventh-year veteran running back quietly is having the best season of his career (6.75 total rushing EPA, the highest of his career) by some measures. He’s the third-most productive Cardinal in terms of fantasy points (90.7). At his current pace, he’ll have 910 rushing yards this season, which would be the second-highest total of his career.

Up next: vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

30. New England Patriots (3-10)

(Last week: 31)

Thursday: Beat Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18

Fantasy spotlight: Mac Jones

Among the quarterbacks with more fantasy points than the 15th pick in the 2021 draft (Jones has 106.4) are Zach Wilson, Kenny Pickett, Bryce Young, Desmond Ridder and Gardner Minshew. The Patriots benched Jones against the Steelers, and Bailey Zappe threw three touchdown passes. It’s hard to imagine Jones ever getting this job back, and now New England owner Robert Kraft has to decide if Bill Belichick gets to pick another quarterback in the first round.

Up next: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

(Last week: 29)

Sunday: Bye

Fantasy spotlight: Sam Howell

Not many people would have had the first-year starting quarterback as the No. 7 fantasy quarterback in the league (236.94 points) before the season, but that’s where Howell sits. His surprising production (3,466 passing yards) actually puts Washington in a complicated spot. Count on Howell to iron out the rough spots in his game (14 interceptions, 58 sacks) or take advantage of what should be a high draft position to grab a new starter?

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

(Last week: 32)

Sunday: Lost to New Orleans Saints 28-6

Fantasy spotlight: Adam Thielen

Bryce Young could have been listed in this spot, but we’ve piled on Bryce Young a lot here, and Thielen has almost as many fantasy points as his quarterback (109.3 for Thielen to 119.78 for Young). In his 11th year, the 33-year-old is on pace for his best season since 2018 and just the third 1,000-yard season of his career. At the moment, he’s 20th in the league with 827 yards.

Up next: vs. Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

GO DEEPER

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(Top photo of Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert: Rich Storry / Getty Images)


“The Football 100,” the definitive ranking of the NFL’s best 100 players of all time, is on sale now. Order it here.