Fantasy Football Week 15 panic meter: Travis Etienne, Joe Mixon

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By Aprilia Reen

Fantasy Football Week 15 panic meter: Travis Etienne, Joe Mixon

Looking for how to tackle your Week 16 fantasy football playoffs? See which players you should be worried about in our Week 15 panic meter.

Hopefully if you are reading this article, you have advanced into the semifinals of your fantasy football playoffs – congratulations! But the work is hardly over, as you need to prepare for your next matchup, which is what makes our Week 15 panic meter very important.

The following list provides cases for why you should not worry at all, be a little bit worried, and be in a full panic for bigger names on your fantasy football rosters. If you need to free up a roster spot for a key waiver wire addition, then by all means move on from a big name player that you would not normally drop.

This is the time of year that you play for, so there is no reason why you should hold onto a player that isn’t going to help your roster win the ‘ship.

No Need to Panic

Travis Etienne

Having earned his fewest carries since Week 10, Travis Etienne struggled in a game that most of the Jacksonville Jaguars offense had issues. But there is light at the end of the tunnel for Etienne, and that relies on his receiving work.

His six targets tied for a season-best, a mark he had hit twice before Sunday, so he still has a high-usage role in the offense. Next up is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who sit towards the middle of the pack in most rushing stats, so Etienne should be on tap for another 15-plus touch game that potentially might not have Trevor Lawrence.

Some Panic

Joe Mixon

Seeing Chase Brown take away valuable work from Joe Mixon was not on many people’s NFL bingo cards this season, but that has become the norm over the past few days. Mixon, who salvaged an average day by finding the end zone against the Vikings, ceded 10 touches (three receptions) to Brown, only out-touching him by three.

With a matchup against the tough Steelers front up next, Mixon will fall to the mid-RB2 ranks this week, so temper your expectations.

Terry McLaurin & Jahan Dotson

The quarterback carousel could be rearing its ugly head at the wrong time for your fantasy football roster, as Sam Howell was replaced by Jacoby Brissett late in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. While Terry McLaurin hauling in three passes, 93 yards, and a score from Brissett, he only hauled in three passes for around 50 yards with Howell behind center.

For Dotson, he did not receive a target until the fourth quarter, and that was the only one he received all game. You certainly don’t need to roster Dotson anywhere at this point in the year, and your faith in McLaurin shouldn’t be all that high either.

Head coach Ron Rivera did say that Howell will remain the team’s starter moving forward, which could dampen the ceilings of both McLaurin and Dotson against the Jets in Week 16.

For our discussion on the best fantasy football breakout and sleeper candidates, listen below:

DeAndre Hopkins

A nine-target, two-reception day from DeAndre Hopkins is far from what you expect out of the veteran receiver, but it was a weird, inconsistent performance from the Tennessee offense in their loss to the Texans. But his place on our panic meter list is more about what is upcoming than what has just transpired.

With rookie quarterback Will Levis, who peppered Hopkins with tons of targets, suffered an ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss, clouding his availability for the rest of the season. With Ryan Tannehill likely stepping back into the starting role, Hopkins’ ceiling is severely lowered, especially when considering his splits from when he was catching passes from Tannehill to when he was catching passes from Levis.

Full Panic

Austin Ekeler

This is a no-brainer addition to this section of our panic meter list, and it is quite unfortunate to see how far Austin Ekeler has fallen. From entering the season as one of the PPR saviors at the running back position to sharing work with Isaiah Spiller, Ekeler’s role in the Chargers offense is far from guaranteed.

It will be incredibly tough to trust Ekeler in your starting lineup moving forward, especially with the Chargers on the precipice of being eliminated from the postseason. A Week 16 matchup against the Bills doesn’t do any favors for Ekeler’s fantasy football stock, but maybe if they are playing from behind he will earn passing work to help salvage his performance.

Chicago Bears RBs

It is a gross, three-headed mismatch in the running back room for the Chicago Bears, as they are utilizing D’Onta Foreman, Khalil Herbert, and rookie Roschon Johnson. With no back being given a clear lead-back workload, these three options should be far, far away from your starting lineup.

Johnson seems to be the one with the likeliest shot of being somewhat relevant, but you cannot trust any of these options at any point. There is no pecking order, the snap count percentages are too close to one another, and the Bears offense, which is typically playing from behind, is forced into frequent passing situations anyways.

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