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The Lowdown – Week 15

Welcome to
The Lowdown for Week 15. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe— feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!

Grabbing a Tiger by the Tail

You know, there’s a reason old adages become old adages: they speak to some sort of universal truth; they save us the pain and suffering of having to prove those adages through personal experience.

Take, for example, the old adage “Don’t grab a tiger by the tail;” its age-old wisdom still applies today. It basically means that you should be very wary of the consequences of your actions. Unfortunately for Ravens’ rookie DB
Matt Elam, it looks like he’s hell-bent on re-proving that adage via his ridiculous actions this week. Elam found it necessary to call out Lions’ All-Universe WR
Calvin Johnson:

“He’s pretty old, so I don’t know how physical he’ll be,” Elam said. “He’s a big guy, but he’s older. I guess when they get older they’re not going to be as physical, you know what I’m saying? We’re going to have to be physical, make him uncomfortable.” – NFL.com

Ugh. Why do I get a mental image of Elam embedded face-down into the Detroit turf Monday night, with several tracks of cleat marks running up and down his back? Not that you needed to hear this from me, but if you have Megatron, get set for a big game; it wouldn’t surprise me if the big guy puts up 200+ yards on the Ravens.


Washington Gridlock

When you usually hear about Washington gridlock, images of Barack Obama and Rand Paul come to mind, of Republicans and Democrats refusing to work together.

This week, however, gridlock in the U.S. Capitol brings to mind how much of an unrepentant (fill-in the blank)
Mike Shanahan is. Shanahan is practically begging owner
Dan Snyder to fire him (and his dopey son
Kyle) by benching QB
Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season… and by having a 24-37 record as Redskins’ coach… and by having a sparkling personality.

Of course, Shanahan
wants to be fired, since he’ll still be due the final year of his contract (what’s better than getting paid millions to just sit at home?); and Snyder can screw his coach over by making him play out his contract—which if Shanahan tanks, will negatively impact his reputation and ability to get another gig. Ah, the Circle of Life…

The irony is that the Redskins can’t even benefit from this miserable season, because their 2014 first round pick in the draft (a likely top-3 choice) belongs to the Rams as the result of… the
RG III trade that Shanahan orchestrated with Snyder’s blessing.

See, it really is like the
other Washington gridlock…

Interesting Players for Week 15

Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze…

Matt Flynn, QB – Green Bay
(at Dallas): Now that Flynn has gotten a couple of weeks to get reps in practice, he should be more comfortable leading the Packers’ offense. The Packers are still in contention for the NFC North title, so it’s not like they’re going to be tanking this game. The Cowboys have the worst pass defense in the league, allowing the most yards to opposing QBs.

A couple of years ago, Flynn earned a fat contract by having one big game; this season, he’s trying to earn the right to be
Aaron Rodgers backup in 2014. A big game against the worst defense in the league should go a long way towards getting Flynn some financial security next season. Look for Flynn to figure out ways to get
Jordy Nelson the ball as often as possible.

Steven Jackson, RB – Atlanta
(vs. Washington): Let’s face it, the Redskins are a mess right now; other than putting some money on their utter collapse, the best way for us to take advantage of the situation in Washington is to start all of the Falcons’ skill position players this week.

The Redskins allow 115 yards rushing per game, which isn’t too bad (18th in the league), but they’ve allowed 19 rushing TDs to opposing RBs. Of all the Falcons’ offensive skill position players, Jackson should be the one that’s flying under the radar right now (heck, for most of the season). I’m not saying Jackson will break any records in this game, but I’m expecting two rushing TDs from Jackson this week on a moderate number of carries and yards.

Stevie Johnson, WR – Buffalo
(at Jacksonville): Rookie QB
E.J. Manuel has been struggling a bit lately, but that’s expected from most rookies. But one of the things I saw last week against the Bucs amidst his horrific four-INT performance was that he targeted Johnson 11 times. There’s no denying that for Manuel to be successful he needs to get the ball to his best receiver as often as possible.

The Jaguars have a really shaky pass defense (28th overall) and don’t pick off too many balls (just nine on the season) so it’ll be as good a time as any for Manuel to put the ball in the air—which means Johnson should see between 12-15 targets. In my mind, Johnson is a solid WR3 play this week.

Rod Streater, WR – Oakland
(vs Kansas City): Streater had a big game last week against the Jets, easily posting his best numbers of the season (7/130/1). The Chiefs have a middle of the road pass defense, so as long as
Matt McGloin remains upright and on the field, I like Streater’s prospects this week at home. I’m thinking he should be good for 6/90/1, definite flex material.

Dennis Pitta, TE – Baltimore
(at Detroit): Pitta returned to action last week for the first time this season, and QB
Joe Flacco couldn’t be happier. Pitta is a huge target for Flacco, especially in the red zone. Pitta put up six catches for 48 yards and one TD against the Vikings last week for a nifty 16.8 PPR points last week. I expect Pitta to be similarly productive this week against the Lions, so if you need a TE this week for your playoffs make sure you grab Pitta for your roster.

John T. Georgopoulos is an 18-year veteran of fantasy sports journalism. John’s
Fantasy Forecast series has won the prestigious Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for Best Series, and he’s been nominated as an FSWA Award finalist on eight occasions. You can also listen to his weekly non-sports opinions


here

or follow him on Twitter
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