NFL Week 15 Predictions | 2021

NFL DFS predictions post here every week, including projected outcomes and players to watch for every matchup. For more player selections, check out our free NFL Lineup Builder (now in beta).

Thursday, Dec. 16th (TNF)

CHIEFS (9-4) AT CHARGERS (8-5) — 8:20pm ET FOX

Favorite: Kansas City (-4) O/U: 51.5

Now this is gonna be fun. Both the Chargers and Chiefs’ are operating at the height of their offensive abilities, punishing opposing defenses with relentless execution. The Chargers were able to win the first matchup on the road back in September. But this Chiefs team is playing at a much higher level, especially defensively. Turnovers could be the key to victory. That may give the edge to the Chiefs as Mahomes has thrown only two interceptions in the last five games. Herbert has thrown five. PFF grades their defenses almost equal, and their offenses only two points apart. Home field is worth at least three points in a normal year, but you can’t count on that this season. This has the potential to be a good, old-fashioned shootout, smashing the over. Get the popcorn ready.

DFS Player to Watch: Keenan Allen | WR | $8,200 DraftKings

Ekeler is gimpy with twisted ankle and L.A. will have to pass more than average to keep up. Allen is one of the most consistent receivers in football and is raring to go after a one-week COVID vacation.

Saturday, Dec. 18th (Evening Game)

PATRIOTS (9-4) AT COLTS (7-6) — 8:20pm ET NFLN

Favorite: Indianapolis (-2.5) O/U: 45.5

Saturday’s sole game is another juicy AFC matchup. The Colts host the red hot New England Patriots. Indy seems to be catching fire on both sides of the ball, at the perfect time. Even during a bye week they were able to shoot up the AFC playoff ladder thanks to losses by the Bengals, Ravens and Steelers. Each of these teams has deep playoff runs on their minds. Who has the edge? The Patriots defense has allowed the least points per game in the last four weeks (Indy the 5th least), while scoring the sixth most points per game (Indy has scored the third most). So this should be relatively even matched affair overall. All else equal, having Bill Belichick as your head coach is usually enough to tip the scales in your favor. But the mere presence of Jonathan Taylor in Indy’s backfield should keep the Patriots’ vaunted defense on their heels for most of the game.

DFS Player to Watch: Mac Jones | QB | $5,200 DraftKings | $7,000 FanDuel

Mac Jones fantasy owners must have had an aneurysm two weeks ago during the Bills matchup. That Monday Night game saw Jones throw a whopping three passes. No, that’s not a typo. Thanks to that aberration, he’s got a bargain bin salary. Yet it’s safe to assume that Jones will get plenty more pass attempts this Saturday. And keep in mind, outside of the Bills game, Jones has thrown for less than 200 yards only twice and has thrown 16 touchdowns against only 8 interceptions, with three of them coming against the Saints. He’s a solid and dependable QB both, in reality and in fantasy.

Saturday, Dec. 18th (Early Games)

PANTHERS (5-8) AT BILLS (7-6) — 1:00pm ET FOX

Favorite: Buffalo (-13) O/U: 43.5

This game is about Buffalo and its desperation for a win after falling to 7-6, losing four of their last seven. The Panthers are cooked. Buffalo allows the fewest points to QBs in the league and the line keeps moving in Buffalo’s favor (-9.5 to -13). Despite occasional flashes of old brilliance, Cam looks like a backup high school QB and there is no McCaffrey for the rest of the year. If ever there were a get-right game for the Bills this would be it. They simply can’t afford to take another loss from here on out if they want a favorable matchup come playoff time, assuming they even make the playoffs.

DFS Player to Watch: Josh Allen | QB | $8,100 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel

Josh Allen played up to his 2020 standards last week against the Bucs. In the second half as he threw for 308 yards, 2 TDs and only 1 INT. He also had 109 rushing yards, making him only the third QB ever to eclipse 100 yards on the ground and 300 in the air in a single game. The Bills need him to play at his absolute best from here on out and it starts with the Panthers and their stingy pass defense. Expect Allen to bounce back strongly from his last subpar home outing.

CARDINALS (10-3) AT LIONS (1-11-1) — 1:00pm ET FOX

Favorite: Arizona (-13.0) O/U: 47.5

The Cardinals get a straight up gimme against the Lions this week after suffering a brutal loss to the LA Rams on Monday night football. The Cards lost that game for a number of reasons, the two biggest being Kyler Murray’s inadequate play (0 TDs and 2 INTs) and Kliff Kingsbury’s awful decision making/clock management in the second half of the game. Luckily for the Cards, even at their worst, the Lions are still no match for their offensive and defensive capabilities. With victory guaranteeing a playoff berth, the Cardinals have an opportunity to regain the 1st seed in the NFC. That should provide plenty of motivation come Sunday.

DFS Player to Watch: James Conner | RB | $6,400 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel

There were plenty of issues with Cardinals offensively last week but James Conner wasn’t one of them. The Cards found themselves trailing for most of the game so he only rushed for 31 yards but he also scored two touchdowns and had 94 yards through the air. Conner is as much a fixture of Kingsbury’s offense as Murray, so count on him getting plenty of carries as the Cards, even with his ankle issue, and even with Chase Edmonds back from injury.

JETS (3-10) AT DOLPHINS (6-7) — 1:00pm ET CBS

Favorite: Miami (-9.5) O/U: 42

The Dolphins get another potential gimme in their continued surge from their 1-7 hole. Surprisingly, now find themselves firmly in the hunt for a playoff slot. That said, teams ahead of them need to start losing and Miami cannot afford even one more loss. The Jets are simply playing for pride at this point as they’ve been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but they would absolutely love to ruin the Dolphins’ day by handing them a potentially season ending loss at home. Unfortunately for them, New York is battling Detroit for the crown of NFL’s worst defense.

DFS Player to Watch: Tua Tagovailoa | QB | $5,700 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel

Tua Tagovailoa has played like a man reborn ever since the Deshaun Watson trade rumors were put to bed. In his last three matchups he has thrown for over 200 yards, had a QB rating of over 100 and has thrown five touchdowns against one interception. His second highest QB rating came against the Jets on November 21st where he scored 18.5 FPs (DraftKings). Note: WR Waddle is out so Tua may connect more with TE Gesicki, given the Jets are the NFL’s worst defenders against tight ends.

COWBOYS (9-4) AT GIANTS (4-9) — 1:00pm ET FOX

Favorite: Dallas (-11.5) O/U: 45

The Cowboys survived a close one against the feisty Washington Football Team last week. They now get to take on the disheveled and nosediving Giants on the road. The Cowboys biggest achilles heel has nothing to do with their roster but more on their head coach. Mike McCarthy has won games in spite of his brutal clock management and questionable play calling. Sooner or later that will come back to bite the Cowboys in the worst possible time. Still, the Giants are bottom-third in most statistical categories and while upsets do happen it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys choking on this one.

DFS Player to Watch: CeeDee Lamb | WR | $7,400 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel

CeeDee Lamb has had 11.5 targets on average in his last two games, but hasn’t scored a touchdown in his last three games. Dallas will try to get him more productive this week. Lamb has the 4th highest receiving grade of any WR, according to PFF. The Giants below-average pass defense provide an opportunity to pad his numbers.

TITANS (9-4) AT STEELERS (6-6-1) — 1:00pm ET CBS

Favorite: Tennessee (-1.5) O/U: 41.5

The Titans travel north to take on the 6-6-1 Steelers. The Titans are slowly but surely getting healthier at key positions but are still a far cry from their midseason strength when they looked borderline unstoppable. They will need all hands on deck against the Steelers because, despite their .500 record, Pittsburgh is still one of the more dangerous teams given its unpredictable offense. One week Big Ben looks completely washed and the next he’s throwing multiple touchdowns for close to 400 yards. The Titans are still gunning for that number 1 seed despite the Pats owning the tiebreaker. But the Steelers would love to get into the playoffs for what’s sure to be Ben’s last season under center. They need help from other teams in the AFC but first they must handle their own business and win out.

DFS Player to Watch: Najee Harris | RB | $7,800 DraftKings | $8,800 FanDuel

We chose Najee Harris last week and he ended up with 94 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. The Titans run defense is in the same league as the Vikings’ run defense so we go with him again this week. Harris has the highest share of rushes of any team in the NFL, so he’ll get his opportunities.

TEXANS (2-11) AT JAGUARS (2-11) — 1:00pm ET CBS

Favorite: Jacksonville (-5) O/U: 39.5

Who’s excited to watch two 2-11 teams slug it out for the second overall pick? Yeah, us neither. The Texans earned their first win of the season against the Jags back in week 1 but with the Urban Meyer era officially over, the Jags could be spiritually rejuvenated. It would serve both teams well to lose this game as their draft positioning would only improve but building a winning mentality has value too. In terms of matchups, Houston has the worst coverage but a decent pass rush. Both teams are horrendous against the run and graded bottom-three offensively by PFF.

DFS Player to Watch: Brandin Cooks | WR | $5,800 DraftKings | $6,900 FanDuel

Brandin Cooks just put up 101 yards receiving against the Seahawks on 11 targets. He’ll now face the leaky Jaguars secondary that let him put up 132 yards in week 1. QB Mills tossed for 331 yards last week so he’s got the arm to help Cooks exploit this favorable matchup. And Houston really has no one else reliable to throw to. Cooks could make for a very productive WR3, if not the best NFL DFS FLEX play this week.

Sunday, Dec. 19th (Afternoon Games)

BENGALS (7-6) AT BRONCOS (7-6) — 4:05pm ET CBS

Favorite: Denver (-3) O/U: 43.5

The Bengals suffered a heart breaking loss in OT last week to the Niners after rallying from 20-6 in the fourth quarter. A win would have catapulted them to first place in the AFC north but instead they find themselves out of the playoff picture altogether. The Broncos made easy work of the Lions and improved to 7-6, the same record as the Bengals. December football is loaded with must-win games and this is one of them. Neither team can afford to lose if they want a realistic shot at the playoffs. The fact that they’re playing in Denver bodes well for the Broncos as that altitude takes its toll on every team. But the Bengals are the better team on paper. Burrow will likely come out firing to get an early lead and the ball in RB Mixon’s hands.

DFS Player to Watch: Joe Burrow | QB | $6,100 DraftKings | $7,300 FanDuel

If the Bengals want to win, it comes down to Joe Burrow’s arm. Last week against the 49ers, Burrow threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns against a stiff pass rush. Burrow knows what’s riding on this game. “We control our destiny,” he said this week. “Every game is a must win…” He’s one of the most accurate QBs in the league on deep throws and will need to leverage that advantage to work this Sunday.

FALCONS (6-7) AT 49ERS (7-6) — 4:05pm ET CBS

Favorite: San Francisco (-9) O/U: 45.5

The Falcons put together a convincing win against the ailing Panthers. They now travel west to take on the 7-6 49ers who just pulled off a wild OT win over the Bengals on the road. The Falcons are 6-7 but a win against the Niners would not only make them 7-7, but it would give them a tie breaker over the Niners if they both were to finish with the same record. Needless to say this is a key game for both teams. Shanahan has yet to beat his former team since becoming the head coach of the 49ers so expect the 49ers to be extra motivated to win this one. It won’t be a cakewalk. Atlanta is 4-2 on the road and the 49ers are 2-4 at home this year. Neither QBs are spectacular but San Fran’s receiver edge (Samuel, Aiyuk, Kittle) should trump Atlanta’s advantage on the ground (Patterson).

DFS Player to Watch: Deebo Samuel | WR | $8,200 DraftKings | $8,200 FanDuel

Deebo Samuel returned from a groin injury he suffered two weeks ago, putting up 22 yards receiving and an additional 37 yards rushing including a touchdown. Expect Shanahan to dial up more plays for Samuel in both the run and passing game this Sunday. This is an obvious coverage mismatch that should play in Samuel’s favor.

PACKERS (10-3) AT RAVENS (8-5) 4:25pm ET FOX

Favorite: Green Bay (-7) O/U: 43.5

This game’s once promising intrigue drops significantly with the possibility that Lamar Jackson (Game time decision) will be out with his ankle injury. The Packers are firing on all cylinders at the moment behind their solid defense and Aaron Rodgers reliable execution. John Harbaugh is going to have to coach out of his mind if the Ravens want any chance of pulling off the upset. The Packers, even with Lamar Jackson in the lineup, are clearly the better team and playing at a much more consistent level than the Ravens currently are.

DFS Player to Watch: Aaron Rodgers | QB | $7,500 DraftKings | $7,600 FanDuel

It’s hard to pick anyone other than Aaron Rodgers in this one. Last week against the Bears he threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns. The game previous he threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams. The week previous to that he tossed for 385 yards and four touchdowns. At near/above 300 yards a week he’s a fantasy football dream, let alone when he’s facings a below average secondary like the Ravens.

Sunday, Dec. 19th (Late Game)

SAINTS (6-7) AT BUCCANEERS (10-3) 8:20pm ET NBC

Favorite: Tampa Bay (-11.5) O/U: 46.5

The Saints managed to pull off the upset in their first matchup against the Bucs. That’s when Jameis Winston tore his ACL early in the game, only to be saved by the Saints’ terrific defensive showing. They’re going to be hard pressed to replicate that performance against the Bucs this go round. Tampa, despite the close call to Buffalo last week, look to be fine tuning their way back to Super Bowl form every single week. The Saints’ biggest problem is that they don’t have a consistent quarterback under center, no offense to Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemien. As great as the defense is there’s only so much they can do when their offense can’t keep the ball long enough for the defense to rest between possessions. Still, nothing is impossible in the NFL so the Bucs would do themselves well by taking the Saints seriously. QB Hill may not have elite arm talent, but he can get the job done on the ground (72 yards and 101 yards rushing in the last two weeks). Keep in mind that the Bucs have yet to beat the Saints in the regular season since Brady’s arrival.

DFS Player to Watch: Chris Godwin | WR | $7,600 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel

Chris Godwin hasn’t put up a receiving touchdown since the Bucs played the Giants on Monday Night football—which seems like a lifetime ago. That said he has had back to back performances with over 100 yards receiving with 105 against Buffalo and 143 against Atlanta. Even against the Saints’ exceptional pass coverage he could still put up ample yards and possibly a TD or two.

Monday, Dec. 20th (Monday Games)

RAIDERS (6-7) AT BROWNS (7-6) — 5:00pm ET NFLN

Favorite: Cleveland (-3) O/U: 42

This line is deceiving. Cleveland may be forced to start a practice squad QB with Mayfield and Case Keenam in COVID protocol. That could change everything about this game’s outlook. That aside, the Browns got a much needed win against the Ravens after nearly blowing it in the final moments. The Raiders? Well they suffered yet another humiliating beatdown at the hands of the Chiefs and find themselves on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in. The Browns and Raiders have had their ups and downs all year but few teams go through the kind of adversity the Raiders have had this year. The more desperate team often has an emotional and competitive edge over the other, but one has to wonder how much fight this Raiders team has left. If the Raiders lose this one then it might be curtains on their tumultuous 2021 season. Vegas has allowed the second most points per game the past four weeks but Cleveland has scored the fourth fewest PPG in that same timeframe. Missing its starting QB won’t help Cleveland’s scoring chances.

DFS Player to Watch: Nick Chubb | RB | $7,700 DraftKings | $8,000 FanDuel

Nick Chubb only had 59 yards rushing against the Ravens last week on 17 attempts but the Ravens run D is one of the better units in the league. Now he gets to carry the rock against an ailing Raiders defense that allowed 132 rushing yards to the Chiefs last week. With Baker’s overall health still being suspect (let alone his COVID status) and Kareem Hunt being out you can expect Chubb to get plenty of carries for this matchup.

VIKINGS (6-7) AT BEARS (4-9) — 8:15pm ET ESPN

Favorite: Minnesota (-3.5) O/U: 44

The Vikings won a narrow one over the Steelers last Thursday night. They look to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win against the Bears in front of a national audience. The Bears’ season is all but over but they have always played the Vikings incredibly close, especially in Chicago. The Vikings are the more talented team but the stigma that comes with Kirk Cousins and his inability to win games in primetime is very much a real thing. The Bears defense will have their hands full with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen (if he’s able to play) but if they can get pressure to Cousins early, they may have a chance at the upset.

DFS Player to Watch: Dalvin Cook | RB | $8,500 DraftKings | $9,000 FanDuel

Dalvin Cook was a monster last Thursday, racking up 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers. And that’s coming off of a shoulder injury. While it’s unlikely he will replicate that performance against the Bears, Cook’s ferocious running style and speed will pay dividends against the 7th-worst run defense, according to PFF.

Tuesday, Dec. 21th (Tuesday Games)


Favorite: Philadelphia (-6.5) O/U: 43.5

Usually a game between two division rivals who share 6-7 records wouldn’t be considered must watch football in December. With the backend of the NFC being as crowded as it is, however, and with both teams in the playoff mix this game becomes intriguing. Essentially a loss here for either team might be a death knell for their postseason hopes. The Eagles have the benefit of playing at home and coming off their bye but even with all their injuries the Washington Football Team is still a dangerous team that is capable of upsetting almost anyone. Unfortunately they’ve been COVID ridden and that could be the difference.

DFS Player to Watch: Jalen Hurts | QB | $6,600 DraftKings | $7,800 FanDuel

The last time we saw Jalen Hurts play he got absolutely humiliated by the Giants defense. He threw three interceptions and no touchdowns for a QB rating of 17.5. Just awful. However, if you look at the games he has played before that disaster, he has been one of the higher producing QBs through the air and on the ground. With rest on his side and an extra week to study Washington’s banged up defense, expect him to return to winning form against Philly’s hated rivals from D.C.

SEAHAWKS (5-8) AT RAMS (9-4) — 7:00pm ET FOX

Favorite: Los Angeles (-6.5) O/U: 47

The Seahawks have won two straight and somehow find themselves at 5-8 with a playoff prayer. This week their test is the Rams. L.A. pulled off a convincing victory against the Cards with some of their top names, Jalen Ramsey and Tyler Higbee, unavailable to play. The Rams are far and away the better team on paper and seem to be coming back to early season form—both defensively and offensively. As long as the Seahawks have Russell Wilson they will still be a tough out, but the Rams prolific pass rush should neutralize him this week—especially if WR Lockett cannot suit up.

DFS Player to Watch: Matt Stafford | QB | $7,000 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel

Matt Stafford had one of his better games of the season against the Cards as he threw for 287 yards, three touchdowns and a QB rating of 139.2. The Seahawks defense has improved during the last several weeks but its coverage unit is still graded 5th worst by PFF. Stafford and the Rams’ receivers should have no trouble putting up points on Sunday.

About the Author: Steven A. Cravens has been a professional sports better and analyst for over a decade. As a former Fox Sports NFL researcher and data logger, he specialized in player profiling and performance statistics.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all fantasy stats are based on point per reception (PPR) scoring.

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