NFL Fantasy Picks: Trust Josh Allen to lead Buffalo bounce back

By Sports Desk December 15, 2021

Unless your league is one in which the fantasy championship hinges on the always impossible to predict Week 18, it's time for the playoffs.

And the playoffs are the time when your stars need to shine.

The bye weeks are done and, if you've managed to avoid an injury crisis, there shouldn't be much need for scouring the waiver wire for fill-ins.

For fantasy glory, the players you drafted high need to deliver. With that in mind, Stats Perform has identified an optimum lineup for Week 15 featuring four offensive players and a defense who are in a position to propel fantasy teams to the next round of the postseason.


Quarterback: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers

Allen was hugely impressive in defeat as the Bills' comeback effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell short. It was his first 300-yard passing game since Week 10 and also saw him throw for two touchdowns, while he added 109 yards and a further score on the ground.

With multiple passing touchdowns in four of his last five games, Allen has still served as a prolific quarterback even as the Bills' hopes of contending to be the AFC's Super Bowl representative have taken several dents.

Against a fast-fading Panthers team whose stout defense is being put in increasingly difficult spots by a rudderless offense, Allen, even with concerns over a foot injury, should get plenty of opportunities to continue his impressive scoring run and get the Bills back on track.

Running Back: James Conner, Arizona Cardinals @ Detroit Lions

Only Jonathan Taylor has scored more touchdowns from scrimmage than Conner, who has found the endzone 16 times in an unexpected career year.

A featured part of the running game and the passing attack, Conner will relish the chance to play an integral role in returning the Cardinals to winning ways against a Lions defense ranked 29th in the NFL by yards per play allowed.

Wide Receiver: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens

Adams has 100 receiving yards in each of his last three games, bringing in a pair of touchdown receptions in two of those performances.

The man many consider to be the best receiver in football is only polishing that reputation in 2021 and now gets to go up against a severely banged-up Ravens team extremely susceptible to the big play.

Baltimore's defense has surrendered 56 passing plays of 20 yards or more, the most in the NFL. In a marquee matchup that could instead prove a mismatch if Lamar Jackson misses out, expect Aaron Rodgers and Adams to ensure they add to that tally.

Tight End: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Kittle is in monstrous form. His 13-catch day in the Niners' win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14 saw him finish with 151 yards and a touchdown. He became the first tight end in NFL history to record successive games with at least 150 yards and a touchdown, having racked up 181 yards and two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks a week earlier.

As a clear focal point of the 49ers' passing game, the signs point to another huge impact for Kittle versus a Falcons defense giving up the ninth-most yards per pass play in the NFL.

Defense: Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

The Dallas defense did the heavy lifting in the Cowboys' win over the Washington Football Team, wreaking havoc to cement their grip on first place in the NFC East.

Dallas registered five sacks, forced and recovered three fumbles, including one returned for a touchdown, and intercepted Taylor Heinicke in a dominant showing.

Such a turnover-laden display may prove an anomaly, yet, with the Giants having committed six giveaways in their last four games, the odds are in the favour of another productive day for a defense that excels at making game-changing plays.

Related items

  • McDaniels asked about 'positive' Kaepernick workout as Raiders 'look at every opportunity' McDaniels asked about 'positive' Kaepernick workout as Raiders 'look at every opportunity'

    Josh McDaniels attempted to duck questions about Colin Kaepernick following reports the exiled quarterback's workout with the Las Vegas Raiders went well.

    Kaepernick has been working out with the Raiders this week with a view to coming in as Derek Carr's understudy.

    The former San Francisco 49ers QB has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, having knelt during the national anthem throughout that campaign in a protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

    Since leaving the 49ers, Kaepernick had not had a single workout with an NFL team – until now.

    ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Kaepernick's workout was "largely considered a positive", having impressed the Raiders with his arm strength and conditioning, while NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said it "went well and he impressed".

    The possibility of the Raiders signing Kaepernick was unsurprisingly the subject of much discussion with head coach McDaniels then, but the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator sought not to give a great deal away.

    "We will only talk about the people that are on our team," he said on Thursday.

    "Dave [Ziegler, general manager] and his staff have worked out tons of guys this spring. We really don't make comments about the evaluations that we made or what they looked like, what they didn't look like, strengths and weaknesses, those kinds of thing.

    "They are obviously kind of private for us as we look at things to try to make decisions to make the team better. If players are added to the team, then obviously we'll talk about them at that point.

    "I respect the question 100 per cent; I understand, but that's kind of what we'll stick to."

    However, McDaniels did concede the team were "encouraging the competition" at QB, and he explained they were open to any avenue that could improve the roster.

    "If there's an opportunity to improve the team, we said it from day one that we would look at every opportunity," the coach added.

    "[Kaepernick] is not the first player that we've looked at and not the last one. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to come in and out of this building and have an opportunity to make an impression."

  • French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar

    Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

    Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

    Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

    Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

    "It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

    "He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

    Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

    "I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

    "Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

    Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

  • Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared to return without any restrictions Pelicans star Zion Williamson cleared to return without any restrictions

    Zion Williamson has been cleared to return to play without any restrictions.

    The New Orleans Pelicans star did not play a single game this season due to a foot fracture as his team reached the playoffs through the play-in tournament, before losing 4-2 to the Phoenix Suns in the first round.

    Williamson has been troubled by fitness issues throughout his NBA career, and the former first overall pick returned to full team activities in late November, only to suffer further setbacks.

    However, the Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that the 21-year-old is finally able to return without restrictions, saying via a statement: "The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that recent imaging of Zion Williamson's right fifth metatarsal showed continued improvement.

    "Williamson has been cleared in his return to play progression without any restrictions."

    In the 2020-21 season, Williamson averaged 27.0 points and 7.2 rebounds from 61 games, and scored more than 20 in each of his last 15 games before getting injured just over a year ago.

    Williamson is eligible for a five-year, $181million max rookie extension ahead of the 2022-23 season, and he will not think twice if that offer comes from the Pelicans, recently saying: "Of course, I couldn't sign it fast enough."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.