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Fantasy Football Preview: Don’t sleep on the Patriots’ rookie running backs in Week 15

Related: Fantasy Football Review: Unexpected names shine in Week 14

New England Patriots (27) Vs. Arizona Cardinals (13) at State Farm Stadium Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The most important point of the fantasy football season is finally here: the playoffs start this week. It is very important to start the right guys at this point of the year, so let's gear up for the fantasy postseason.

Fantasy-related News

Starts of the Week

RB Isaiah Pacheco at Houston Texans: Pacheco has been a spark in this Kansas City Chiefs offense since he took over as the primary back. He will have a hefty workload on Sunday as Kansas City should be on top in this game. The 32nd-ranked Texans run defense should mean for a big day on Pacheco’s end.

WR Chris Olave vs. Atlanta Falcons: Olave has become one of quarterback Andy Dalton’s favorite targets. He will surely have a large target share in a game that could actually have playoff implications. Look for Olave to have a really solid day against the 28th-ranked defense against wide receivers.

TE Greg Dulcich vs. Arizona Cardinals: The tight end position has been terrible all season, but Dulcich may offer some late-season magic. He is one of Russell Wilson’s favorite targets and consistently has passes thrown his way. Look for Dulcich to exploit a Cardinals defense that is ranked 32nd against tight ends.

Bust Candidates

QB Geno Smith vs. San Francisco: Smith has been great all season long but a matchup with one of the league's best defenses is a recipe for disaster. The 49ers can take major control of the division with a win, and they will make sure to slow down the Seattle offense. This is a bad matchup for Smith on primetime.

RB Travis Etienne Jr. vs. Dallas Cowboys: Etienne Jr. has had his moments throughout the year but has struggled as of late. Things do not get any easier against an elite Dallas rush defense. Look for him to struggle yet again.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster at Houston Texans: The Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver will not get a ton of targets against a putrid Texans team. They should be up big in this game, meaning they will not be throwing the ball much. Plus, Houston has the league's fourth-best pass defense against receivers. Smith-Schuster just will not have the volume to be a safe play this week.

Sleeper of the Week

RBs Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong Jr. at Las Vegas Raiders: With the top of the Patriots’ running back depth chart banged up they looked to rookies Harris and Strong Jr. on Monday night. Harris is a downhill runner who could get goal-line work if New England’s top guys — Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris — are out. Strong Jr. is more of a receiving threat and will have a role if just one of the backs is out. Look for these guys to be plug-and-play guys in case Stevenson or Harris are not full-go.

Patriots Start of the Week

QB Mac Jones at Las Vegas Raiders: With so many injuries to key Patriots it is hard to pick out a guy that will play well on Sunday. Jones has not been a good fantasy quarterback all year, but he is going to have to throw the ball in this game. Look for him to throw all over a weak defense and have a couple of passing scores in this game.

Injury Report

Questionable: QB Justin Fields, QB Trevor Lawrence, QB Brock Purdy, QB Tyler Huntley, QB Mike White, QB Kenny Pickett, RB Rhamondre Stevenson, RB Damien Harris, RB Josh Jacobs, RB Najee Harris, RB Brian Robinson Jr., RB Antonio Gibson, RB Jeff Wilson Jr., WR Amari Cooper, WR Tee Higgins, WR Courtland Sutton, WR Jakobi Meyers, WR DeVante Parker, WR Nico Collins, WR Treylon Burks, WR Hunter Renfrow, WR Brandin Cooks, TE Darren Waller, TE David Njoku, TE Pat Freiermuth, TE Daniel Bellinger

Doubtful: QB Lamar Jackson, WR Romeo Doubs

Out: QB Matthew Stafford, QB Trey Lance, RB Ty Montgomery, RB J.D. McKissic, RB Javonte Williams, RB Tyrion Davis-Price, RB Giovani Bernard, RB Rashaad Penny, WR Cooper Kupp, WR Allen Robinson, WR Rashod Bateman, WR Rondale Moore, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, WE Mecole Hardman, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Byron Pringle, TE Dallas Goedert