It is a pivotal week for fantasy football players. The playoffs are in full swing, and if you're one of the lucky few still alive, every Week 15 game is a must-see. And the Buccaneers and Rams will be kicking the week off on primetime under the Thursday Night lights. In the all-important first game of the week, which fantasy stars should find a spot in your lineup to bring you one step closer to the trophy?
WR Mike Evans
The Buccaneers will again be without Vincent Jackson in this one, and Mike Evans saw a drastic workload increase the last time Jackson was unable to play. In Weeks 9 & 10 without Jackson in the lineup, Evans was targeted 32 times with 16 receptions and 176 yards. The Rams have one of the league's best secondaries, and he could see a lot of double coverage in this one, but Jameis Winston will have to be looking for his favorite target often in this one. The Rams have also allowed six touchdowns to WRs over the last four weeks.
RB Doug Martin
Martin needs just 38 yards to take over the NFL lead in rushing yards. He'll be aiming to acquire that title against a Rams defense that is allowing the 7th most points to opposing RBs. The Rams have allowed at least 20 points to the position in each of the last six weeks. With the third most RB points, Martin is a no-brainer for any playoff lineup.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Still under 40% owned, Seferian-Jenkins is fully healthy at just the right time this year for fantasy owners, with big injuries last week to some of the game's best tight ends like Tyler Eifert and Greg Olsen. With both of those players questionable at this point in the week, ASJ looks like a solid fill-in. He was also sidelined the last time Vincent Jackson missed time, but with him on the field, and Evans potentially drawing double-coverage, Seferian-Jenkins is now an attractive, tall target for Winston. ASJ could make an impact in the short passing game as a safety valve for the rookie quarterback and can also be a serious weapon down field and in the red zone. With exactly three catches for 31 yards in each of his two games since returning, this could be his big "Welcome Back to 2015" outing.
RB Todd Gurley
The Rams offense has struggled to put points on the board in recent weeks, averaging just 12.5 points per game over the last six weeks. With that, there really only is one true must-start candidate on the team, fantasy football's 5th-highest RB point-scorer, Todd Gurley. He is coming off a 27-point week, but had just 17 combined points over his previous three games. The Bucs allowed their first RB rushing touchdown since Week 3 last week against the Saints. The Bucs are a tough task, but Gurley has proven worthy no matter what defense he is facing.
WR Tavon Austin
Austin ahs 41 receptions for just 386 yards this year, but has the 29th-most fantasy points among WRs thanks to his additions in the running game and his explosive play ability. Austin has seven touchdowns on the year and 358 rushing yards on just 39 attempts, good for 9.2 yards per carry. He is always dangerous with the ball in his hands. He is a solid flex start this week.
WR Kenny Britt
Britt leads STL receivers with 480 yards, but has caught just 28 passes and one touchdown. That being said, the Buccaneers have allowed 37.9 points per game to opposing WRs this year (NFL average: 33.5) and 45 WR points per game over the last three weeks. The Rams offense has a lack of real fantasy stars (Britt is owned in just 1.8% of leagues. Britt has double-digit fantasy points in just two of his last 10 games, so his floor is low. But thanks to a lack of playmakers on the offense and a friendly matchup, his ceiling is high this week.