Entering Week 15, the playoff picture is looking more clear, except the AFC and NFC Wildcards which are very much still at stake. The NFC East is questionable, as well. Baltimore is rolling on a 9-game win streak, while the Seahawks just suffered a bump with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams on the road.
Two words. Lamar Jackson. His agility and speed have proven to be too much for defenses to handle. Defenses still have to figure out how to stop the ground game. Once the ground is stopped, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown still have to be neutralized. If Baltimore keeps this up, they might as well be champions of the AFC.
With the best pass defense in the NFL, San Francisco has proven to be a viable Super Bowl contender. They limited Lamar Jackson to only 105 pass yards Week 13, forcing them to win by a Justin Tucker game-winning field goal. People doubted Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense, but they yet proved themselves again by putting up 48 against New Orleans on Sunday.
The Saints are Super Bowl contenders, too. They exposed San Francisco’s defense on Sunday, with Drew Brees throwing for 349 yards and five touchdowns. Michael Thomas is a big part of the Saints’ offense, as well since he leads the NFL in receiving yards.
With a statement win over the Patriots on Sunday, Patrick Mahomes showed flashes of his MVP season, tossing the ball for almost 300 yards. His throwing strength is still insane, and combining that with the speed of Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins would prove to be a very deadly combination. The defense also proved that they can stand with the best.
Despite their loss to the struggling Rams, Seattle is still one of the best teams in the league. They beat the 49ers earlier in the season, because of their offensive durability. The connection that Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett have is arguably the best in the NFL. Defenses still can’t focus too much on Lockett though, given Chris Carson in the backfield.
Entering Week 14, Tom Brady was undefeated at home in the regular season for a long time. Although Kansas City beat them at home, they still have weapons in Julian Edelman and Sony Michel. Brady has proven himself in the playoffs, with six Super Bowl rings. Is this the year Brady retires? Or does he enter playoff mode and wins a seventh?
Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best slingers in the NFL, and it led Green Bay to 10-3 and the top of the NFC North. People doubted Rodgers because of the lack of weapons, but Allen Lazard and Geronimo Allison have proven themselves. The Redskins made Green Bay stumble last Sunday, but the Packers still pulled out a win.
The 9-4 Bills have surprised everyone this year, containing Baltimore to only 24 points in Week 14. They could have forced overtime, but a well-defended pass intended for John Brown in the end-zone ended it for Buffalo. Their defense can compete with the best offenses, so watch out if Buffalo grabs an AFC wild-card.
The offense is rolling, with Dalvin Cook at the helm. Dalvin is playing like a beast right now, cementing himself as a top five back in fantasy football and the NFL leaders. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are Kirk Cousins‘ weapons, but that defense remains unstable.
10. Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff and the Rams made a statement win on Sunday against the Seahawks, giving the 49ers the NFC West crown. Robert Woods‘ receiving helped produce yards for the Rams, so did Todd Gurley as well.
11. Houston Texans
Despite an embarrassing loss at home against the Denver Broncos, the Texans still dominated the Patriots Week 13, holding off a late comeback by Brady and company. Deshaun Watson needs to get more completions and the defense has to step up their game if they want to clinch the AFC South.
The Steelers’ defense has been stable. In their most recent performance, they had three interceptions and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. Their third-string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, has held his own and the Steelers are now 8-5, surprisingly.
13. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have been performing well, beating two decent AFC teams, the Colts and the Raiders, in their previous two contests. Although, a huge test faces Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and AJ Brown as they will face the Texans two times and the Saints as the season comes to a close.
14. Chicago Bears
Heading into Week 15 with a three win streak, the Bears will face the Packers in a huge NFC North matchup. In Week 14, Chicago had dominated the Dallas Cowboys 31-24, making a NFC statement. The defense is looking dominant right now, and Mitchell Trubisky seems to have found his fire.
15. Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have transformed the Cowboys, leading the NFL in total offensive yards per game. Although, they keep failing to win key games and still remain tied atop the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles. If they want to win the NFC East, they would have to prove it in the upcoming contests, against the Rams and the Eagles.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles struggled against a weak New York Giants team on Monday, but still pulled out a win in overtime. Zach Ertz pulled in the last touchdown, saving the Eagles’ hopes of clinching the NFC East. Wentz needs to start producing like he did in 2017, and if not, the Eagles won’t win the NFC East.
Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently on a three game win streak, thanks to Winston’s high rate of passing. Although, with Mike Evans questionable, Tampa Bay may decline. There is always the option of Chris Godwin, who is currently second in the league in receiving yards, behind Michael Thomas. They will face a test in the Texans Week 16.
18. Denver Broncos
With Joe Flacco‘s injury, Drew Lock has taken over in Denver and it is looking good. He earned the Broncos two statement wins, over the Texans and the Chargers. Lock passed for a total of five touchdowns during these two games and tight end Noah Fant was a big part of it. He pulled in a touchdown and 118 yards.
19. Cleveland Browns
Trading for Jarvis Landry last season has proven to be great for Cleveland, since Baker Mayfield has a connection with him. Landry has brought in targets for considerable yardage, helping Cleveland win some games. Although, it can’t be said the same for Odell Beckham, who has struggled. The defense is decent, and their primary back, Nick Chubb currently leads the league in rushing yards.
Philip Rivers has been on an absolute tear, passing for an average of around 300 yards his last three games. Austin Ekeler‘s dual-threat is still imminent, catching screens and splitting the ground workload with Melvin Gordon III. They dominated the Jaguars Week 14, 45-10.
21. Oakland Raiders
After a promising start, the Raiders have lost their last three games. They still have some positive outcome out of this season, with Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Jacobs grinding out yards for Oakland. If they hope to clinch an AFC wildcard, they would have to win both upcoming division clashes.
Losing Marlon Mack for two division games has hurt the Colts, since they have gone 0-3 on their last three games. Jacoby Brissett can throw, but T.Y. Hilton has been questionable and not at his best. Although, fantasy owners should watch out for Zach Pascal, who has emerged as one of Brissett’s favorite receivers.
23. Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones. No one can say that offensive trio isn’t dangerous. But, that defense still needs work if they want to win statement games. They dominated the Panthers in their latest two division meetups, but they failed to beat the Saints and Buccaneers in that same timeframe.
Christian McCaffrey has carried the whole offense on his back, being third in the NFL in rushing yards. Despite his efforts, Carolina has lost all five of their last five games. If the Panthers want to save their season, they would have to face a huge test, facing the Seahawks, Colts and Saints during the upcoming three weeks.
25. New York Jets
It has been a disappointing season for Le’Veon Bell, but he and Robby Anderson have managed to grind out some offensive yards for the Jets, having won two of their last three games. Sam Darnold hasn’t proven that he is the answer, and safety Jamal Adams seems to have no motivation to propel his defense.
Kyler Murray has been impressive this season, averaging a modest 200 yards per game and showing off his running ability. He is yet another Rookie of the Year candidate, so is wideout Christian Kirk who has shone this season as well. The Cardinals is indeed a young team, but with mentorship in Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs, they definitely have room to improve.
27. Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have lost two of their quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel. As a result, they were forced to go with their undrafted free agent playcaller, David Blough. Blough isn’t terrible, but with the loss of Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones, this Lions offense will still struggle with just Kenny Golladay as a star player.
Dwayne Haskins has been unpredictable this season ever since he took over Case Keenum and Colt McCoy‘s role. Washington still wants to believe in the rookie quarterback, though. This offense has some upside in Terry McLaurin, yet another Rookie of the Year candidate.
The Jaguars’ defense has been terrible this season, allowing more than an average of 20 points per game this season. Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II has a bright future, although. He has a great rapport with wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr, making him a top receiver as well.
30. Miami Dolphins
Miami, Miami. The Dolphins had another bad season, but Ryan Fitzpatrick can lead the offense. Devante Parker is starting to prove his value, but the loss of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has hurt the defense. Despite a bad season, they did earn a statement win over possible NFC East champs, the Philadelphia Eagles.
31. New York Giants
With Daniel Jones out injured, the Giants have decided to go back to Eli Manning, who tossed 2 touchdowns to Darius Slayton on Monday. They almost beat the Eagles, but to no avail in overtime. Saquon Barkley is still one of the best running backs in the league, so if the Giants can fix their defense and add a few more weapons, they should be a threat.
Although they earned a win over the New York Jets as their only win of the season, neither Andy Dalton or Ryan Finley is the answer. They have weapons in Auden Tate and Joe Mixon, but nobody can run the offense. As for defense, the Bengals still need more good defenders to accommodate young safety Jessie Bates.