Welcome to the Week 15 edition of Fantasy Football Flashback, where we celebrate the achievements of the week’s most reliable players. The first round of fantasy playoffs was dominated by star QBs, with most of the elite RBs and WRs having mediocre or underwhelming games. These are the players who helped their squads reach the next round by finishing in the top-10.
Fittingly, the No. 1 overall point scorer heading into the fantasy playoffs was the top trump card in the first round. Hurts enjoyed an underpowered Bears defense, throwing for 315 yards and gaining 61 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He continues to hold a small lead over Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes in the overall scoring race, but Hurts is currently doubtful to play in Week 16 due to a shoulder sprain. His managers should add Eagles backup Gardner Minshew right away.
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No. 2: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills, 35.86
Allen was dynamite in a highly anticipated Saturday night tilt against the Dolphins, throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns while also accumulating 77 rushing yards, which was more than half of his team’s total. And the 26-year-old provided extra help to managers who were in a game against one of his best WRs, as Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie all had disappointing days. Allen could put up an even higher total next week if he takes his game-breaking skills into a matchup with a porous Bears defense.
The cousins managers made plans for the 2023 season during halftime of the Vikings game. After all, the 34-year-old and his teammates were gloomy during a first half that ended 33-0 down. But Cousins did much more than rack up some fantasy points in waste time, leading his team to the biggest comeback in NFL history en route to finishing the game with 460 passing yards and four scores. Those who put Cousins in their lineup for this game may want to consider starting him for a home game against the Giants on Saturday.
Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense was less effective than expected on Sunday as they needed overtime to get rid of the lowly Texans. But the 27-year-old still put in the work for his fantasy managers, amassing 336 passing yards, 33 rushing yards and three touchdowns (one on the ground). Mahomes could have another monstrous game in Week 16 if he works at home against a mediocre Seahawks defense.
While some managers liked Jones as a Week 15 sleeper, no one could have expected him to lead all wide receivers in scoring. The 27-year-old was a key part of an upset win over the Cowboys that jumped the Jags into the divisional race, producing 109 yards and three touchdowns on his six catches. In his past four games, Jones has accumulated 344 yards and four touchdowns, but remains a marginal flex game for a Week 16 game against a miserly Jets pass defense.
No. 6: Jerick McKinnon, RB, Kansas City Chiefs, 30.20
One of the most shocking fantasy stats this season is that McKinnon was the No. 1 RB in both Weeks 14 and Week 15. The 30-year-old has emerged from a crowded Chiefs backfield to become their top all-purpose threat, totaling 52 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards (eight catches) in Week 15 as they found the end zone twice, including once in overtime. McKinnon has been playing well enough lately to be considered a solid RB2 option for his Week 16 matchup with the Seahawks.
No. 7: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars, 27.82
We witness Lawrence’s rise to the elite level expected of him since his first year at Clemson. The former No. 1 overall pick had another statement performance on Sunday, helping the Jags upset the Cowboys by throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence has thrown for over 300 yards and scored at least three runs in three of his past four games, but he could struggle to post against the Jets secondary numbers next week.
No. 8: KJ Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 26.70
Osborn emerged as the leading receiver in Minnesota’s comeback victory, catching 10 balls for 157 yards and a touchdown. He put together a powerful 1-2 punch with superstar Justin Jefferson, who just missed this list by 24.3 points, while Adam Thielen took a back seat to his younger teammates. Osborn has scored in two consecutive weeks and is someone who has shown a lot of skill over the past two seasons when he got chances, but I can’t recommend him as anything more than a low-end flex play for his Week 16 game against the Giants.
Burrow has seemingly found his own level among fantasy QBs. The LSU alum is clearly below the top three of Hurts, Allen and Mahomes, but he’s noticeably superior to any other option. On Sunday, he threw for just 200 yards against a strong Bucs defense, but scored four times as the Bengals came back from an early deficit with an impressive road win. Burrow will be tested again next week when he travels to New England.
No. 10: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings, 10 p.m
Cook put on perhaps the biggest play in the Vikings’ memorable comeback on Saturday when he scored a 64-yard receiving touchdown that led to a two-point conversion. And by the end of the overtime win, the 27-year-old had exactly 95 yards over the ground and through the air. One of only two RBs to crack this week 15 list, Cook now ranks eighth in total fantasy points scored this season.