Fantasy Football Trends to Watch – Week 15 Edition

by Matthew Gajewski ·

With the ever-changing NFL landscape, new trends develop each week. Using advanced stats, metrics and analytics to identify these trends can lead fantasy grinders toward the next breakout player. Week 14 presented a few player breakouts likely to influence gameplay going forward. With that said, here are three notable trends to think about as we enter Week 15.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Watson

With Mike Evans likely to miss the remainder of 2019, Justin Watson stepped up in a major way for the Buccaneers. After Evans played only 23.4-percent of Tampa Bay’s snaps, Watson recorded a 55-percent Snap Share. On his increased playing time, he notched five catches for 59 yards and a score on eight targets. He also saw a team-leading five red zone targets, elevating his scoring equity moving forward.

While Watson’s game-action remains limited, he produced at a high level in college. Coming out of Penn, he recorded a 60.3-percent (98th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Dominator Rating with a 19.4 (81st-percentile) Breakout Age. He also recorded a 4.49 40-yard dash, giving him a 107.2 (87th-percentile) Speed Score. With Tampa Bay leading the NFL in pass attempts, Watson projects to play a pivotal role for the Buccaneers down the stretch.

LA Rams – Todd Gurley

After enduring “load management” to start the season, Todd Gurley looks like Los Angeles’ bell-cow back moving forward. In the last three weeks, he averaged 81.6-percent of the Rams’ snaps. This number would have been higher if the Rams didn’t pull their starters against the Cardinals in a 34-7 victory. Similarly, his usage saw a boost in this span. In the past two weeks, he has touch counts of 20 and 27, respectively.

Gurley continues to operate in one of fantasy’s friendliest roles. In just the last two weeks, he has 12 red zone touches. Expanding out to a season-long perspective, he ranks fifth in the NFL with 46 total red zone touches. Efficiency-wise, he forced 14 missed tackles in this span. While his Juke Rate sits at 22.2-percent (No. 31), his recent performance raises optimism for the feature back. Facing a Dallas team that allowed back-to-back 100-plus yard games to the Bills and Bears, Gurley is a solid option heading into the fantasy playoffs.

Miami Dolphins – Isaiah Ford

Another injury situation to monitor, DeVante Parker and Albert Wilson left last week’s Dolphin game with concussions. In their place, Isaiah Ford played 77.8-percent of Miami’s snaps. On this elevated playing time, he notched six catches for 92 yards on nine targets. Miami continues to throw at the second-highest rate in football (66-percent), making him a deep sleeper in Week 15.

Check out Isaiah Ford on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:

Looking at efficiency, Ford provides only a small NFL sample. However, at Virginia Tech, Ford posted a 35.5-percent (69th-percentile) College Dominator Rating, with a 18.6 (97th-percentile) Breakout Age. While Ford recorded only two career catches prior to Sunday’s explosion, an elevated role in Miami’s pass-happy offense requires attention in an injury-riddled NFL landscape.