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Fantasy 411 – Week 15

I warned you weeks ago that Marques Colston would likely go off for a couple of big weeks down the stretch despite his abysmal start to the season. Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers would certainly qualify, as Colston torched the “no name” secondary for nine catches, 125 yards receiving and two scores. The Panthers rarely blitzed Drew Brees and the Saints until the second half, allowing Colston to sit down in space and carve them up for big chunks of yardage.

The Saints hit the road for the next two weeks, traveling to St. Louis and then to Charlotte for a rematch with the Panthers. Home or away the Saints are capable of putting up huge numbers every week, and Colston can be a big part of that. However, this season he has been equally unpredictable and has disappeared for months at a time. Given his ups and downs, Colston can’t be considered as a must-start and you will have to go week to week and consider him as a high-risk high-reward option.

Andy Dalton caught fire through the middle of this season and saw a stretch where he registered three or more touchdowns in three consecutive weeks. After another stretch of games where he was either mediocre or just plain bad, he was at in again in Week 14, throwing for 275 yards and three more scores. With several quarterbacks stumbling lately, Dalton might be a viable option to roster for the last couple of weeks. Pittsburgh in Week 15 is not a great matchup, but Dalton should torch Minnesota in Week 16. Everyone else has.

Sunday marked the first nine targets of Da’Rick Rogers’ NFL career, as well as his first six catches. He made the most of it, piling up 107 yards receiving and two scores. There is really not much to talk about here, in my opinion. Rogers is a solid dynasty league name to remember, but in re-draft leagues his emergence is too little, too late for this season.

Josh Gordon … start him. Don’t question the quarterback situation, don’t overthink the matchup, don’t get cute. Start him! Every week. Period!

Preliminary reports out of Minnesota suggest that the Vikings may have dodged a bullet and the injury to Adrian Peterson is not significant. Peterson was slated for some additional tests to clarify the extent and nature of his injury. Peterson is saying that he expects to play next week, but head coach Leslie Frazier has said that the Vikings’ 3-9-1 record will figure in to Peterson’s status and workload.

All of this makes Toby Gerhart a must-add, particularly as a handcuff for Peterson owners. Gerhart was solid in Week 14 against Baltimore, tallying 89 yards and a touchdown and has a very attractive matchup with Philadelphia in Week 15 if he is tapped to start. The Cincinnati Bengals await the Vikings in Week 16, but if you are playing running back roulette Gerhart could be a very valuable add for the short term. Obviously, the situation will bear monitoring as the Vikings should update Peterson’s injury and availability through the week.

Owners who have been patient with Aaron Rodgers are likely staring a very tough decision in the face in Week 15. If Rodgers is able to return to action this week he will do it against the Dallas Cowboys and their generous pass defense. The Cowboys allow quarterbacks the second-most fantasy points behind only the hapless Minnesota Vikings, and under any other circumstances you would expect Rodgers to have a monster game. While I expect there to be some rust, I would start Rodgers given the favorable matchup and his overall skill set. The Packers have all their usual weapons and will be playing every game to win out and try to make a last-ditch playoff run, so expect a bit of a slow start but then Rodgers should settle in and eclipse 300 yards passing with a couple of scores.

The tight end position has been muddled all season long. Jimmy Graham missed one game and hobbled through two others, but he has still been the only consistent, stud tight end this season. Rob Gronkowski returned to the New England Patriots in Week 7 and helped to settle their passing game, before shredding his knee on a low hit against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. Whether you have Gronkowski and need to plug in a replacement or if you have been rolling the dice with a host of tight ends this season, there are several candidates emerging to consider in the last several weeks.

I’m not going to write about Ladarius Green again this week. Eddie Royal returned on Sunday and the San Diego Chargers were content to use him in routes that Green had been effective with. However, with tight ends like Dennis Pitta, Garrett Graham and Charles Clay possibly available, you do have some options. Pitta stepped right in after being on the Injured Reserve-designated to return list and was targeted 11 times. Graham was effective on Thursday night, making eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Clay rescued the Miami Dolphins with his second touchdown on the day in their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. None of the guys I mentioned have marquee roles in their teams’ offense, but Pitta should be the most consistent performer over the last weeks of the season and the other two can be dependable plug-and-play options based on their matchups.

Good luck this week and in the rest of the playoffs.

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