What will be the surprises and stories to follow in Week 15?

Top NFL Topics Spotted by ESPN Experts, Including Aaron Rodgers’ Future in 2022

Welcome to the Week 15 of the 2021 season of the NFL, which highlights a Saturday game with implications in the playoffs and a Sunday full of exciting confrontations. We ask our experts Dan Graziano Y Jeremy fowler Give us your opinion on the hottest topics of the week and your must-see match and player picks this weekend.

First of all, Graziano Y Fowler analyze one of the great unknowns of the 2022 quarterback market, making their first projections about the possible teams where Aaron Rodgers could play next season. They also made their predictions for the close fight for the award. Defensive Player of the Year, which counts among its top candidates a rookie for the first time in years.

Likewise, for managers of Fantasy football looking to make all the best transactions in the playoffs, they mentioned surprise players they consider must-have starters. Graziano Y Fowler they analyze everything, filling their notes with everything they have heard this week.

We start with the situation of Rodgers, and then delve into the surprise selections of the week:

Let’s get the crystal ball out: Where will it play Aaron Rodgers in 2022?

Fowler: The Denver Broncos. Extend the marriage with Green bay packers It feels like a feasible possibility, based on how this season has gone: good vibes, more synergy with management, and more wins. However, it is money that usually tells the story in the NFL and the restructuring of the contract Rodgers causes a $ 46 million impact on the salary cap in 2022. I just can’t imagine the Packers assuming such a figure for any player, although perhaps they could reach a new pact if they really wanted to. Denver They have a ready squad, with a defense in the top 10 in the league, good line play, excellent running backs and a lot of talent. Rodgers it could mimic the play made by Peyton Manning at the end of his career.

Graziano: I also choose Denver, for all the reasons you indicated and because surely Green bay he will want him out of the NFC if he decides to switch teams (as is still my expectation). Other interesting tentative assignments in the AFC, in my opinion, include Cleveland browns (if they decide that Baker Mayfield is not level enough), Las vegas raiders (if a new administration decides to go ahead with a quarterback other than Derek Carr, what they might or might not do) and Pittsburgh steelers, that they will need someone to replace a Ben Roethlisberger who will likely announce his retirement. Do any of them make sense to you, in case Denver not manage to agree with him?

Fowler: They all make sense for different reasons. Rodgers seems to have an affinity (shown publicly) for the head coach of the SteelersMike Tomlin, who appears to be leaning toward playing a veteran quarterback in the post-Roethlisberger era. The Raiders They are a wild card, as you mentioned, because we don’t know what a new coach or general manager will want. And they have a quality incumbent such as Carr. But, if the priorities of Rodgers are to settle on the West Coast and exercise control over the offense, perhaps Las Vegas can get into the fight.

The Browns they are a fascinating option that has probably not been explored enough. From the Odell Beckham Jr. soap opera to countless injuries, Mayfield has been drawn into multiple stories that have distracted him from the action of the season. Obviously, not everything is his fault. Still, Mayfield did refer, in a recent interview with NFL Network’s Kurt Warner, to “inside things” that have turned out to be a problem for him. That raises questions about offensive cohesion with coaches or teammates. One wonders how the Mayfield marriage will turn out-Browns at the end of the season and yes Cleveland, with a talented team, will try to get hold of Rodgers.

Graziano: Mayfield’s situation is fascinating. The current general manager Andrew Berry was part of the management of the Browns (though not at his current job) when the team selected Mayfield as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. However, as I understand it, it was then-GM John Dorsey who made that choice practically on his own, and the current coaching staff was not present at the time anyway. It is not irrational to think that the two years with Mayfield have convinced or will convince head coach Kevin Stefanski that he is not the man to get them where they need to be. And if they come to that conclusion, then you are right. They must keep all options on the table to maximize the talent present in the rest of their squad.

What is your surprise pick for the Week 15?

Fowler: Seattle Seahawks (+5) about Los Angeles Rams. Records and momentum are irrelevant in the NFC West and Seattle he plays better in these moments when he remains afloat, going 5-8. Rashaad Penny looked explosive against the Houston Texans. Maybe the offense found something. The Rams they come from playing an emotional game of “Monday Night Football” against the Arizona cardinals and they have six days to regroup.

Graziano: Washington (+5) about Philadelphia Eagles. Here we had some tempting options. I have no idea why the Patriots are not favorites in Indianapolis, for example. I like Cincinnati about Denver, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Baltimore or Pittsburgh giving the surprise at home. But we go, Washington he nearly came back from the dead to beat Dallas on Sunday, without his best receiver. I think they are currently playing well and have shown greater consistency (especially on defense) than the Eagles.

Fowler: Yes, Washington (6-7) is still dangerous despite his loss to the Dallas cowboys, and currently ranks No. 7 on the NFC.

Who will be the Defensive Player of the Year?

Graziano: The defensive end of the Browns, Myles Garrett. I understand everything that has been said about the rookie performance of the Cowboys, Micah Parsons, and it’s well deserved. But Garrett (with 15 shots) shows quality and dominance so consistently that I think he will turn heads, as he Browns They do what I hope is a playoff race. Garrett will likely end the season with more sacks than Parsons (who currently has 12), which is sure to matter in voting for this award, regardless of whether we think it should be relevant or not. TJ Watt (16 sacks) belongs in this debate, as does JC Jackson (seven interceptions) and a slew of other players, including the seemingly perennial award-winning Aaron Donald (10 sacks). However, I think this is the year that Garrett will break in.

Fowler: I’ll take Garrett off your hands. Garrett might be the best athlete on the planet, but Parsons has been a revelation. He defines positionless football, running toward the passer as efficiently as possible while covering in wide open spaces. Watching him capture Taylor Heinicke, landing in the middle of the field served as a demonstration of his new-age versatility. Add that to his 12 sacks, 75 tackles and three forced fumbles and Parsons is poised to become the first rookie to be awarded as Defensive Player of the Year from Lawrence Taylor.

We can’t ignore Watt thanks to his 16 sacks, four forced balls and four deflected passes in just 11 games; Despite this, the defensive problems of Pittsburgh they could undermine your arguments. Obviously, that’s not his fault. You have wasted some time due to various COVID-19 injuries and protocols. It is not their fault either. Parsons has a slight advantage at the moment.

Which underdog player should be a Fantasy Football starter in the Week 15?

Fowler: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver KJ Osborn. My perception is that Adam Thielen (ankle) has little chance of coming back for the game of “Monday Night Football“Against the Chicago Bears. Osborn performed well as a starter in Week 14, with 83 yards and a touchdown. This season, the Vikings are committed to being upright, so any No. 2 receiver has a chance to stand out inside. of that offensive.

Graziano: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo stirs no emotions in anyone, yet he has had consistent performances throughout the second half of the season, and the Atlanta Falcons allow opposing quarterbacks the second-most fantasy points per game. If they have Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson or some other player who is in doubt for the Week 15, they could help themselves by taking a last minute replacement like Jimmy G.

Fowler: Garoppolo has San Francisco with playoff aspirations, and at least three of his weapons are viable players from Fantasy football (George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk) with Jauan Jennings as an interesting wild card. He was a target of Garoppolo five times last week in Cincinnati, and the quarterback has growing confidence in him. San Francisco has high expectations of him.