Fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em: Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker poised to disappoint in Week 15

Yardbarker

The 2023 fantasy football playoffs are upon us, so we’re tailoring our starts and sits toward fantasy managers who have clinched a postseason berth. With that, here’s what to do about a few players who you may be on the fence about locking into your starting lineup for Week 15. 

Quarterbacks

Start: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams

Commanders at Rams / 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday

RB Kyren Williams’ return has elevated the Rams offense as a whole, though Stafford has been the biggest beneficiary, averaging 23.7 fantasy points over the last three games while throwing for 802 yards and 10 touchdowns. Stafford has proved that he’s matchup-proof in recent weeks, as he torched stout Browns and Ravens defenses, which indicates he’ll have little issue handling the Commanders, who allow the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season (21.5). Expect the Super Bowl LVI champion to deliver another 20-point showing. 

Other starts: Sam Howell, Washington Commanders; Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers

Sit: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins 

Jets at Dolphins / 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Although Tagovailoa’s floor will be raised if superstar WR Tyreek Hill (ankle) plays Sunday, he doesn’t possess week-winning upside in another grueling matchup against the Jets and may even do more harm than good. New York allows the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (12.5) and held Tagovailoa to a season-low 7.82 points just last month. Regardless of whether Hill plays, it wouldn’t be surprising if Tagovailoa goes a second consecutive game without a touchdown pass. 

Other sits: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars; Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals 

Running backs

Start: David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

Broncos at Lions / 8:15 p.m. ET Saturday

Both Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs should be started with confidence, but we’re focusing on the former since he’s been held under 13 PPR points in each of his last two games. The Broncos have surrendered the most fantasy points to running backs this season (302.7) and have allowed the seventh-most rushing yards in the league over their last 10 games (1,339). It’s also worth mentioning that Montgomery is averaging 16.55 PPR points across four home games this season, scoring a touchdown in each of them.  

Other starts: Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots; Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts

Sit: Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks 

Eagles at Seahawks / 8:15 p.m. ET Monday

Walker returned to action last week following a two-game absence with an oblique injury and led the Seahawks backfield in touches (12) but failed to make a significant impact, posting 9.4 PPR points. Since Philadelphia is the most difficult opponent for running backs on a points-per-game basis (11.7), there was already considerable risk involved in starting Walker. But with QB Geno Smith’s status for Monday unclear and given that Walker is in a 60-40 timeshare with Zach Charbonnet, turning to an RB like Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Warren could be a more viable alternative. 

Other sits: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals; D’Andre Swift, Philadelphia Eagles

Wide receivers

Start: Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns 

Bears at Browns / 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Imagine hearing in the preseason that the Browns pass-catchers are entering the fantasy playoffs with league-winning potential thanks to QB Joe Flacco? Despite posting a modest 12.7 PPR points last week, Cooper had elite usage, earning a season-high 14 targets while ranking fourth in the NFL in air yards (172). Considering Cooper was also targeted five times by Flacco against the Rams in Week 13 before exiting in the second quarter with a concussion, the 29-year-old seems likely to have another outing with double-digit targets.

Other starts: Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders; Garrett Wilson, New York Jets 

Sit: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

Falcons at Panthers / 1 p.m. ET Sunday

Perhaps London’s career day against the Buccaneers, where he hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 172 yards, helped you qualify for the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean you should ride the hot hand. London benefited from facing the second-worst pass defense in the NFL and will now be tested by Carolina, which has allowed the third-fewest passing yards per game (186.4). Don’t overthink it, especially since London has as many games under two PPR points as he does with at least 20. 

Other sits: Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens; Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers 

Tight ends

Start: Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

Ravens at Jaguars / 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday

Likely broke out last week — his second game since taking over for Mark Andrews — catching five passes for 83 yards and one touchdown, finishing as the TE3 overall in PPR scoring formats. Over the past two games, Likely has earned 13 targets, suggesting he should be a reliable starting option with a high ceiling against a Jaguars defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the position (8.8). 

Other starts: Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys; Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Sit: Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Texans at Titans / 1 p.m. ET Sunday

After missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, Schultz is expected to return to the lineup. While some may believe Schultz could be a sneaky starting option in light of WR Tank Dell’s season-ending leg injury and the fact that Nico Collins is banged up, expectations should be tempered. Aside from the possibility that QB C.J. Stroud (concussion) might not play, Tennessee allows the fewest points per game to tight ends (4.1) and hasn’t given up a touchdown to the position this season. 

Other sits: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers; Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

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