Week 15 Matchup Rankings
When we get to Week 15 in the season, the NFL teams that are out of playoff contention become a concern. How hard will they play? Are there certain players that are looking forward to the offseason, going on vacation, and spending time doing something that doesn’t involve getting hit? Does a team have free agents that are looking forward to getting a big pay day that will maybe, just maybe, make a few business decisions over the next couple of weeks and try not to put their body on the line? There are so many questions at this time of year that can make doing these rankings an exercise in futility, but alas, we do them anyway. Now onto Week 15.
- New Orleans Saints: There were actually quite a few teams that could battle for this spot. Sure, the Saints put up a good defensive performance last week against the Bucs on the road, but it’s unlikely they can do it two weeks in a row. I can see starting Matthew Stafford in this one, although, it does come with some risk and I would certainly like to get Golden Tate in my lineup if possible.
- Baltimore Ravens: The defense has been bad since Terrell Suggs went down for the season during the first month of the season. The fact that the offense has nothing left to fight with only forces that defense to stay on the field longer. Like Stafford, I can see using Alex Smith in this game if you need him, but more importantly, if Spencer Ware does indeed miss the game, Charcandrick West becomes pretty close to a must-start for me.
[caption id="attachment_88610" align="alignright" width="374"] Matthew Stafford has a great matchup against the woeful Saints pass defense for Week 15. Photo Credit: MGoBlog[/caption]
- Detroit Lions: This contest has all the makings of a 70-point ballgame. I mean, really, can either defense stop the other (I sure hope so, since in my big money league I’m playing against both Stafford and Calvin Johnson). Brandin Cooks becomes pretty much a must-start for me, and Willie Snead could be a sneaky play here also. As for Tim Hightower, he’s a low end RB2 and will certainly get the touches including the goal line work, which is why I have him above other hot waiver wire pickups like Bryce Brown, Fozzy Whitaker, Branden Bolden, and Denard Robinson.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: This is another game that has shootout written all over it but Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman are my only must-starts. I want nothing to do with Roddy White, and I’ve about given up on Matt Ryan.
- Atlanta Falcons: As I stated above, lots of points coming here. Blake Bortles should be getting more love, he’s a Top 10 Fantasy QB. All of the normal guys start here (Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns) but what to do about the running game? As of this writing it looks like T.J. Yeldon will miss the game with a knee injury, which has led to Denard Robinson being a top waiver wire claim this week. Robinson was Jacksonville’s starter last year for most of the season before tiring at the end. He’s not built to touch the ball 18-plus times a game, but he can be dangerous when used properly. He’s a low end RB2 for me assuming Yeldon is out, but I do have my doubts about whether or not he will be the goal line back.
- Tennessee Titans: What to do if Julian Edelman returns this week? Proceed with caution. I have my doubts about whether or not he will play for a couple of reasons. First, it would be several weeks earlier than projected. Second, do they really need him to beat the Titans? Perhaps playing it safe and starting him next week would make more sense after a full week of practice. Even if he does play, you would have to wonder about him re-injuring the foot, not being football ready, or not playing a full complement of snaps. I’m not sure I’d want to trust him in my playoffs. Speaking of trust, yes, Brandon Bolden will get more touches with the loss of LeGarrette Blount for the season, but I don’t trust Bolden or Bill Belichick, either.
- Cleveland Browns: Can Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin keep it up? Probably, but even if not, you have to start them anyway; they’re just way too hot to let sit on the bench. As for Bryce Brown, I was all on board with him being a RB2 this week until the team went and muddied the waters and signed Christine Michael. Now he’s more of a Flex play, as both could be in a time share or maybe even Fred Jackson will be the goal line back.
- Washington Redskins: Tyrod Taylor is still a Top 10 QB for me (barely) but Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy are in my lineups this week.
- San Diego Chargers: Lamar Miller looked great in the first half of the game Monday night versus the Giants, but then he tweaked an ankle and didn’t get as many touches in the second half. He should be good to go Sunday, but remember that this injury could hamper him in this game. As for Davante Parker, the bloom came off that rose quickly with one subpar performance. Jarvis Landry is still the number one WR and will have the game plan designed around him, and Ryan Tannehill is still about as inconsistent as they come.
- Indianapolis Colts: Tyler Yates is starting at QB which means that only player I care about on Houston is DeAndre Hopkins. Actually, no matter who starts at QB for Houston, Hopkins is the only player I care about.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ryan Fitzpatrick is a Top 12 QB this week and seems to be very safe. It’s hard to see how he doesn’t throw for at least two TDs and 250 yards here. It’s not like the Dallas offense can move the ball at all. Fitzpatrick and company will control the ball aplenty.
- Philadelphia Eagles: I’m not worried about what happens with David Johnson’s touches just because Andre Ellington is expected to return. Johnson is the real deal and a low end RB1 for me. I’m starting everyone from Arizona if I can in this game; everyone within reason anyway (Michael Floyd, John Brown).
- Oakland Raiders: Eddie Lacy may still be able to save your Fantasy season after all, assuming you still kept him. If you take out the game in which he was pretty much benched because of a missed curfew, he has rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games. He is back to being a must-play, especially with the passing game for Green Bay still not hitting on all cylinders.
- Louis Rams: When Vincent Jackson is out, Mike Evans seems to always get 10-plus touches. While there is some question about how many of those he will catch, the opportunities will be there for Evans to have a big game. I’ll pass on Jameis Winston, however; you should be able to do better.
- New York Giants: Jonathan Stewart will miss this game with a foot injury. (He’d probably play if the game was a must-win) So who will take over? Fozzy Whitaker is the popular choice but this could also easily be a committee. Mike Tolbert may be the goal line guy and Cameron Artis-Payne could take away touches. Too many cooks in the kitchen for me, I’ll pass.
- Chicago Bears:
- San Francisco 49ers: The Bengals just announced that Andy Dalton is doubtful to play next week versus Denver. You can release him. As for A.J. McCarron, well, they play the 49ers this week so I’m still starting A.J. Green. Tyler Eifert will most likely miss the game with a concussion, which means the Bengals may keep the ball on the ground with Jeremy Hill (has the top job back again). Hill is a strong RB2 for me.
- Green Bay Packers: You have to think that after a tough week (Fantasy-wise) versus Denver last week that Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Latavius Murray will all be options this week. Green Bay doesn’t have a terrible defense, but it’s not Denver either.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If he wasn’t already, Todd Gurley has to be in your lineup.
- Miami Dolphins
- Pittsburgh Steelers: The Broncos really laid an egg last week. No, Brock Osweiler didn’t play well, but he also didn’t get any support. Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Vernon Davis dropped about a half dozen passes between them. That just will not get the job done. Thomas and Sanders are still starters for me. It’s the running game that I’m concerned about. C.J. Anderson will be questionable at best and I just don’t trust Ronnie Hillman.
- Minnesota Vikings: Keep an eye on the status of Alshon Jeffery. He should play, but he is also battling a calf injury once again.
- Denver Broncos: Yes, I have downgraded most of my Steelers because of the matchup, but as good as the Denver defense is, the Steelers will still score some points. Ben Roethlisberger is still a Top 10 QB. Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams are still must-plays for me. Martavis Bryant moves into the flex, as I believe his Fantasy day will depend on whether or not he and Roethlisberger can hit on a big play.
- Buffalo Bills
- Arizona Cardinals: It’s hard to believe that DeMarco Murray is not a flex consideration for me. How the mighty have fallen. Jordan Matthews will play despite a back injury, but at best he is a flex for me. I’m not liking the Eagles offense all that much here.
- Cincinnati Bengals
- New York Jets: If I can help it, I’m not starting Dez Bryant. He just doesn’t have anyone that can get him the ball on any kind of consistent basis and his concentration is also not there, as he dropped a few passes last week. I have no idea why Dallas continues to start Matt Cassel. Either Kellen Moore can’t complete a handoff or Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones are delusional. Moore is not the answer either, but really, can it get any worse?
- Houston Texans: Checkdown Charlie Whitehurst could end up starting for Indy, and even if he doesn’t, Matt Hasselbeck looks like a 40-year old QB who has been hit way too often this season.
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Carolina Panthers: I can’t sit Odell Beckham. I don’t care if Josh Norman follows him all over the field, Beckham starts for me. All it takes is one big play for him to be Fantasy relevant.
- New England Patriots:
- Seattle Seahawks:
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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