It’s clear that Shane Vereen is the running back to own for the Patriots. Although Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount both suited up and both received carries, Vereen got virtually every passing target out of the backfield. In fact he ended the day with 12 receptions on 17 targets. No, that is not a typo. Vereen got 17 targets last week as a running back. He was able to rack up 153 yards through the air and nine more yards rushing with a short touchdown. Vereen has been an absolute beast in PPR leagues and should seriously be considered as an RB1 in those leagues. In standard leagues he is still a must start at this point so get him in your lineups for the championship run. Tom Brady trusts Vereen probably more than anyone else on the team and with Gronk lost for the season he is now the main offensive threat for a surging New England offense.
Week 14 was certainly a day of doom for fantasy owners everywhere. Huge names such as Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker suffered serious injuries, but none will have a bigger impact than reigning MVP Adrian Peterson. AP suffered a sprained foot and is out for at least one week and maybe two. That all but crushes owners in the playoffs. It’s very hard to replace your best running back and probably best overall player. If backup Toby Gerhart is available then he obviously needs to be on your team, but even Gerhart is banged up with a hamstring injury. Other players to consider as replacements to Peterson this week are Daniel Thomas from Miami and Andre Ellington from Arizona. Both should see close to 15 touches each in Week 15.
Daniel Thomas, RB Miami Dolphins
With Lamar Miller dealing with a concussion, it’s unclear if he will play this week so Thomas could be in line for a huge workload. Even if Miller does play, Thomas will still be in the mix and should get double digit carries for a Miami offense that is centered around the run. He is coming off his best performance of the season, rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown and has a bad New England run defense on his plate, so look for Thomas to continue with the momentum he gained last week. If he gets the start then he’s a solid RB2, but even if he splits carries I still see Thomas as a FLEX option at worst. The only thing that may prevent him from having a great day is if Miami abandons the run early because they are playing catch up to Tom Brady and company. Either way, Thomas has tons of sleeper appeal in Week 15 and is owned in less than 15% of fantasy leagues.
Rod Streater, WR Oakland Raiders
Streater has been quite productive over his past four contests, totaling 21 receptions for 364 yards and two scores. He has been over 80 yards receiving in three of the past four games and has seen at least eight targets a game over that span as well. There is no doubt that Streater is the new number one wide out in Oakland now that Denarius Moore is hurt so take a look at him in deeper leagues. He is no worse than a FLEX play option this weekend against a Chiefs defense that has had some injuries over the last few weeks. Streater is a big play receiver and makes a living catching balls down the field so all it takes is a few of those to be completed and he could be very serviceable in Week 15.
Lock of the Week
Ryan Tannehill, QB Miami Dolphins
Tannehill has been very solid over the last month of the season and gets a great matchup in Week 15 at home against a struggling New England defense. Over the last five games he has thrown nine touchdown passes with five interceptions and is averaging just under 270 yards a game. Tannehill has back-to-back games of 20-plus fantasy points and should be close to that number again on Sunday. With the Patriots offense clicking like it is they should get a quick lead on Miami forcing Tannehill to throw early and often. Expect close to 300 yards passing and a few scores with a turnover or two. Those who lost Robert Griffin III this week or have a tough quarterback matchup should look Tannehill’s way as he’s owned in less than 20% of fantasy leagues.