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TRAPS & TRENDS: Week 15 Edition

Some well-known fantasy studs grabbed the headlines for the right reasons and the wrong ones during the Week 15 action. FantasySharks.com senior writer Matt Wilson takes a look at eight players who could make or break your championship fantasy team. It’s time again to talk “Traps & Trends.”

 

1. Hey! Screaming at your wideouts looks really dumb when you were the one who decided to chuck the rock into double coverage almost non-stop and got picked three times. And you were very lucky it was just three.

The Dude: Philip Rivers

The Damage: Coming into Week 15, the red-hot Rivers averaged 337 passing yards and 2.0 touchdown tosses per contest in his last four outings. Known for his gunslinger mindset, Rivers also had owned a streak of 164 attempts without an interception, which made his meltdown during a lopsided 30-13 loss to his longtime nemesis, the Kansas City Chiefs, surprising and disappointing for fantasy owners who had ridden Rivers to the playoffs. Frequently taking some unnecessary risks against a Kansas City defense that had allowed the ninth-most quarterback fantasy points, he connected on just 20 of 36 passes for only 227 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions. Should Rivers owners who were lucky enough to survive his ill-timed stink bomb outing bench him for Week 16?

The Diagnosis: TRAP

I think Rivers will bounce back, and parking him for Week 16 would be an understandable overreaction. Keep in mind that the Chiefs have had Rivers’ number for years. In his last four starts against Kansas City, Rivers threw for an average of 253 yards, 0.8 touchdowns and 1.5 interceptions per contest. The Chargers’ Week 16 road opponent, the New York Jets, had ceded the fourth-most touchdown passes and the third-most quarterback fantasy points heading into the Week 15 contests. The Jets also have been tough versus the run versus non-New Orleans Saints opponents, so Rivers will need to do some heavy lifting this week. While he could be without the services of Keenan Allen (back), the Rivers still has more than enough receiving talent available to help him compile a solid fantasy QB1 outing against Gang Green.

 

2. Call me crazy, but I think Todd Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams probably stomped this guy’s MVP chances into the ground this past Sunday. By the way, Gurley just scored again.

The Dude: Russell Wilson

The Damage: Prior to the Week 15 games kicking off, Wilson had ranked sixth in passing yards and second in touchdown passes, which makes his shocking and totally unprecedented meltdown during the Seattle Seahawks’ humiliating 42-7 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams all more mind blowing. How poorly did Wilson play against Los Angeles? Under duress all afternoon by an absolutely ferocious Rams pass rush, he went just 14 of 30 for 142 yards and one garbage-time touchdown against no picks. Wilson also scrambled five times for 39 yards, took seven sacks and committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, which obviously resulted in a safety. Should the Wilson owners with teams that advanced in the fantasy playoffs send him to the end of the bench for a Week 16 road matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys?

The Diagnosis: TRAP

Wilson is simply too good and the Seahawks, with their playoff chances hanging by a thread, are too proud not to rebound. The Cowboys defense, prior to the Week 15 games, had coughed up the eighth-most passing yards and the sixth-most touchdown passes, so we should see the real Wilson this week. The Seattle defense is extremely banged up – that’s partly why Todd Gurley ran wild – so Wilson should find himself in a shootout.

 

3. This triggerman won’t have his elite No. 1 wideout available next week. Should you trust him to win you a fantasy bowl?

The Dude: Ben Roethlisberger

The Damage: During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ frustrating 27-24 home loss to the New England Patriots this past Sunday, Roethlisberger, aside from tossing one bad interception in the closing seconds of the game, played very well overall, connecting on 22 of his 30 throws for 281 yards and two touchdowns versus the aforementioned interception. Antonio Brown, however, accounted for only 24 yards on two receptions. As you probably know, he was knocked out of the contest in the first half due to what turned out to be a torn calf muscle. Brown isn’t expected to suit up for a Week 16 Christmas Day road clash with the Houston Texans. Is it safe for fantasy owners to continue rolling with Roethlisberger?

The Diagnosis: TREND

While I’m a little bit concerned about Roethlisberger’s well-known home-and-away splits – he’s way more productive at Heinz Field – I think there’s enough working in Big Ben’s favor to trust him in starting lineups. He still has a solid collection of weapons that includes Le’Veon Bell, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Martavis Bryant and Jesse James. The banged-up Houston Texans defense also has been gashed through the air, allowing the sixth-most passing yards and the third-most touchdown passes. In the Texans’ last home contest, they allowed Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers) to pass for 334-1-1.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson has played NFL fantasy football since 1994 and has been a featured columnist at FantasySharks.com since 2008. His 18 combined years of professional writing experience includes a five-year stint as a contributing writer/editor at KFFL.com. He has been a featured contributor to The Fantasy Football Guide since 2008 and has been published regularly in the award-winning USA Today Sports Fantasy Football preview. Matt is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and holds a degree in journalism from Northern Illinois.