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Four player lessons from Week 15

Week 15 was utter chaos. It included random players finishing as the highest scorers of the week thus far and a MAJOR upset. There was even a fan on the field!

Today, we will be discussing a few of these events. Here are my takeaways from Week 15.

Cryler Murray

Guys, I had this crazy nightmare that Kyler Murray betrayed us in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.

Wait, that was real?!

But really, what in the universe is happening with the Arizona Cardinals? The Cardinals have lost two straight games and are basically limping into the playoffs.

It’s bad enough they are on a losing streak, but they just lost to the worst team in the league.

Murray let us down when we needed him most, posting a season-low 56 percent completion rate and throwing for 257 yards, 1 touchdown and an interception, finishing as QB15. We couldn’t even rely on him for his rushing, as he had just four attempts for 3 yards. DeAndre Hopkins being on IR didn’t help matters, but it’s still not an excuse for how poorly the Cardinals’ offense performed.

Based on this effort and the one before (Murray didn’t reach the 20-point fantasy mark in that contest either), can we trust Murray for the rest of the playoffs?

Well, if you’re still in the playoffs after Murray’s performance or had a bye, I would hesitantly say yes. Before Week 15, he was the QB4 in fantasy points per game and third in rushing touchdowns. Murray has too much upside to leave him on your bench. There is also no waiver wire quarterback I would trust more than Murray, especially not in the playoffs, so don’t get too cute this close to the championship.

Murray should bounce back next week against the Colts who give up the 13th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. I know he has been underwhelming, but I have faith in Murray. Let’s hope he leads us to a title.

Amen, Sun God

Did I mention yet that the Lions, the worst team in the league, beat the Cardinals? Ok, ok that’s enough, but we have to discuss one of the main reasons why Arizona lost.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, aka the “Sun God,” released his wrath on the Cardinals’ secondary, converting a career-high 42 percent target share for 90 yards and a touchdown, finishing as the WR5. His performance was so eye-opening that he just so happened to get a “surprise” drug test notification after the game. Seriously though, St. Brown has clearly established himself as the WR1 for the Lions in recent weeks.

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Over the past three weeks, St. Brown is averaging 9 receptions, 12 targets, 83 yards and a touchdown and is the WR6 in points per game in that span. T.J. Hockenson being on IR definitely is a factor in St. Brown’s emergence, as he’s seen an average 35% target share since Hockenson’s absence. The Lions are also usually in a negative game script, which only benefits St. Brown’s continued usage. He has become a solid WR2 option and should be in your lineup for the remainder of the playoffs.

It’s almost too good to be true that he gets to face the Falcons’ secondary in Week 16, which gives up the fourth-most points to wide receivers.

It was announced today that Jared Goff was added to the Covid list, however, something we have to monitor. If Goff is out, St. Brown should be viewed as a flex play. Let’s hope Goff is good for Sunday — and praise the Sun God!

GO Gabriel GO!

When provided the opportunity, Gabriel Davis has performed admirably for real football and fantasy purposes. He scored 7 touchdowns in his rookie year, which was ranked 18th among wide receivers, while only posting 35 receptions. Before Week 15 this season, Davis saw 11 red-zone targets and scored four touchdowns. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t been on the field much, only playing 39% of snaps with an 8% target share.

What Davis needed was a chance to shine and with Emmanuel Sanders getting injured in Week 14, opportunity came knocking on Davis’ door.

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The Carolina Panthers’ secondary had no answer for Davis on Sunday as he posted a season-high 23% target share for 85 yards and scored a career-high 2 touchdowns, finishing as the WR3. He also played a season-high 90% of the snaps and saw his second-most targets (7) and yards. Davis now has 6 touchdowns on the season, which is tied for fifth among receivers.

While it was an amazing performance, we have to decide how to view Davis for the rest of the playoffs.

As long as Sanders is out of the lineup, Davis is a high-upside WR3/flex option. He is also only rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues, so you should be able to grab him. He has a tough matchup in Week 15 against the New England Patriots who shut down the Bills in Week 13 and give up the fourth-fewest points to the wide receiver position. He isn’t a must-start in Week 15, but if you’re able to make it to the championship in Week 17, he plays the Falcons, who give up the fourth-most points to the wide receiver position.

Dare I say, he could just be the missing piece to help you win your championship — or, you can at least stop your league mates from playing him against you by adding him.

J-Rob does his Job

After Urban Meyer was fired, many wondered if James Robinson was finally free. Entering Week 15, Robinson was RB25 in fantasy points per game and only had three weeks in the top 12. Robinson’s usage/snap rate was inconsistent at best and is the reason he is ranked outside the top 24.

Thankfully, we were able to see Robinson being utilized properly in Week 15.

Despite the 30-16 loss against the Houston Texans, Robinson was used as a workhorse, seeing an 86% opportunity share that resulted in 75 yards and a touchdown. He finished as the RB4. Even though he didn’t do much in the receiving game (3 receptions for 13 yards) he saw his second-highest target share of the season (17%). Additionally, his 84% snap percentage was his highest since Week 6, and his 18 carries were the most attempts he has had since Week 5. Basically, the Jaguars used Robinson like he should have been used all season. It is important to note that Carlos Hyde was out this game due to a concussion, but regardless Robinson’s usage was promising.

Now, it’s just a matter of whether the usage will continue.

Just book him as a top-five running back next week since he gets to play the Jets, who are the worst team against the run. For the rest of the playoffs, he should be viewed as an RB1 based on volume and opportunity.

Welcome back to the land of the RB1s, J-Rob.

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