Below, I’ll list a player with some upside for this week, their Week 15 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at
DISCLAIMER – The hope is that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won’t help you come Sunday.
Let’s move on to this week’s targets, keeping in mind that these aren’t every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you’re in some kind of roster emergency. In case of emergency, break glass.
at Dallas – 22 percent. At this point, it seems as though Aaron Rodgers will miss at least one more game. Although there has been some optimism on Rodgers this week, Flynn currently looks like the guy for one more week. And the planets couldn’t have aligned better for him. Green Bay plays Dallas, who has given up fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks at an alarming rate. The Cowboys are on a short week, and they’re coming off a Monday night game in which Josh McCown put up nearly 350 yards and four touchdowns through the air. This game could be a chance for Flynn to get another offseason payday, a la the Detroit game a few years ago. We’ve projected 300 passing yards and three touchdowns, and I think he hits those numbers on Sunday … but keep an eye out for that Rodgers guy.
at Atlanta – 9 percent. Cousins is finally getting his shot to start. Never mind all the coach Mike Shanahan-Robert Griffin III drama, the next few weeks will be about Cousins. This will be an audition for the second-year backup, not necessarily for the Washington Redskins, but for other teams looking for a young signal caller. And Cousins knows it. He’ll play at Atlanta this week, at home against Dallas next week, and in New York against the Giants in the season finale. Atlanta is susceptible through the air, and I like Cousins to easily surpass the 200 yards and a touchdown we’ve forecasted.
at Dallas – 26 percent. With Eddie Lacy’s availability in question, Starks may end up with a spot start, and the spot couldn’t be any better. Dallas gives up fantasy points to running backs in bunches, as evidenced by Matt Forte’s performance on Monday night. Starks runs hard, and he has the ability to gash the Cowboys for chunks of yardage. Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Matt Flynn under center, I like Starks’ chances of getting in the end zone and having a nice day. Again, assuming Lacy doesn’t suit up, I really like Starks in this matchup, so keep an eye on Lacy’s progress. We projected that both backs would play, so Starks is projected for just 65 rushing yards. I think he tops that total, regardless, but he could make a major impact if he’s the lead back.
vs. Philadelphia – 25 percent. Adrian Peterson sprained his foot on Sunday, and that’s actually a good thing. The way he was writhing in pain at first, it was thought to be much worse. That left Gerhart with an opportunity, which he turned into 89 yards rushing and a score on 15 carries. But on that long touchdown run, he tweaked his hamstring, putting his availability in doubt. He’ll test out the hamstring at practice on Friday and hopes to make the start on Sunday. The Eagles aren’t a great rushing defense, so the only fear is that the Vikings fall behind, rendering the running game useless. In any case, I like Gerhart to get close to the projected 85 yards and touchdown on our site.
vs. Buffalo – 6 percent. Todman is a lottery ticket. He’s worth adding simply because Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t sure to start. In fact, like Toby Gerhart, Jones-Drew hasn’t practiced yet this week, and will test out his hamstring on Friday. If Jones-Drew can’t go on Sunday, Todman will be asked to fill-in, and he’s got the speed to make Buffalo pay. The matchup isn’t all that great, but if you dig into the numbers, the Bills have actually been getting shredded on the ground lately. As we point out, over their last four games, Buffalo has given up six touchdowns and an average of 143 yards per game. In our projections, we’re assuming Jones-Drew plays. It’s a situation worth following.
at Detroit – 15 percent. Brown has had a solid season, stepping up as a rookie into a starting role for the majority of the season. He was huge last week for Joe Flacco, as he caught seven passes for 92 yards and the game-winning touchdown with just four seconds on the clock. Now he’ll face a Detroit pass defense that has struggled against opposing wideouts – the Lions have been one of the five worst pass defenses by almost any metric. We project Brown for 20 yards and a score; I think he tops 20 yards easily and gets in the end zone.
vs. Kansas City – 22 percent. Streater has been pretty good lately, topping 80 yards receiving in three of his last four games. That stretch coincides with Matt McGloin starting at quarterback. Kansas City’s pass rush is still really good, and its defense seems to score a lot. However, they’ve been getting beat by opposing receivers more than you think. Last week, Streater blew up for seven catches, 130 yards and a touchdown. I don’t know if he reaches those numbers, but I like him to match the 70 yards and a score we’ve forecasted.
vs. Philadelphia – 26 percent. Patterson is starting to settle in as a big play threat for Minnesota. Last week, with Matt Cassel under center, Patterson had a huge game with five catches for 141 yards and a score. True, the touchdown was an 80-yard screen that he broke, but he’s still starting to play a bigger role in the offense. Philadelphia has been one of the most generous defenses to opposing receivers, and I like Patterson to show well in this one. Our projection has him scoring a touchdown, and racking up 100 yards receiving. That seems ambitious, but, even if he falls short, he’ll still have a heck of a game.
at Detroit – 27 percent. Pitta returned last week and instantly provided a boost to the passing game, reeling in six balls for 48 yards and a touchdown. The chemistry he showed last season with Joe Flacco was clear as he worked the middle of the field, and Flacco will continue to look his way. Detroit actually defends tight ends fairly well, but Flacco has enough trust in Pitta to target him regardless of coverage. We project 60 yards and a touchdown for Pitta this week, and I think those numbers sound reasonable.
vs. Cincinnati – 39 percent. Staying in the AFC North, I’m going with another former All-Pro tight end that missed a chunk of the season. With Antonio Brown having a career year on the outside, Miller has provided a consistent second or third option for Ben Roethlisberger since returning from a knee injury. The Bengals play opposing tight ends fairly well, but they’ve given up their share of touchdowns to them as well. I like Miller to provide the same steady target he always does, and he should at least hit the four-catch, 40-yard stat line on our site. The real value is dependent on him getting in the end zone, which he’s only done once this season.
Good luck in Week 15.
Drew Magyar is a fantasysharks.com staff writer and member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.