Welcome to week 15 of the Brew Crew Corner and the fantasy football playoffs. Last week some leagues started playoffs early to prevent the dreaded week 17 games where studs are rested for the NFL playoffs. For the rest of us, we have completed the 14 game season and are hopefully setting our line-ups for a first round matchup. For those who are out of the playoffs all together, there are still leagues out there to join to play fantasy football during the playoffs.
The weather is always going to be a factor at this time of the season. Games at New England will face snow while a game at Cincinnati will face extreme cold. These games will favor the run game more and at this time of year you need to be stronger at the running back position.
Injuries have been a concern since training camp but at this point in the season small injuries can take their toll. Teams that are out of the playoffs will most often keep injured players out for the remainder of the season. Those teams that are going to the playoffs will look to limit injured players to have them visible for the playoffs. All these scenarios hurt your chances of winning and you need to plan according.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.
Darren McFadden – 16 carries, 123 yards, 2 TD; 3 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD. McFadden returned to the spotlight with a monster game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs left on the schedule, McFadden could produce nicely for your playoff run.
Michael Turner – 28 carries, 112 yards, 3 TD. The beauty of Turner’s big game is that he gets to play the Carolina Panthers for your championship game at home in Week 17.
Andre Johnson – 9 receptions, 140 yards, 2 TD. Johnson continues to be a true warrior playing through a bad ankle injury. The only concern is now that Houston is all but out of the playoff hunt, will the team shut Johnson down at any time during the last few games?
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.
Thomas Jones – 3 carries, 1 yard. The end could be near for Jones who was a non-factor this week, posting similar numbers to what he did in Week 10 when he carried the ball four times for three yards.
James Davis – 0 carries, 0 yards. Davis was picked up in a number of leagues and after getting 81 total yards against the New York Giants, he did not get a carry against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Michael Crabtree – 1 reception, 1 yard. In Week 1, Crabtree was held to just two catches for 12 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. In the second meeting they took him out the game plan again.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Matt Ryan against the Seattle Seahawks. Ryan has not put up great numbers the past three weeks, averaging just 13 fantasy points. This is due to Michael Turner playing so well. This week look for Ryan to have big plays with Roddy White. The Seahawks are 30th against the past allowing 266 yards per game and have had 23 touchdowns thrown on them this season.
David Garrard against the Indianapolis Colts. This is Garrard’s second game this season against the Colts and in the first meeting he played very well throwing for two scores and running in another. He is averaging 17.3 fantasy points over the past three weeks and should be in for a big game. The Colts are allowing 203.4 passing yards (eighth) with 17 touchdowns given up this season. Expect a high scoring game for both teams, which will be great for fantasy scoring.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Jason Campbell against the Denver Broncos. Campbell has played well since regaining the starting job with four total touchdowns in the past two games. In the teams first meeting, Campbell threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos are allowing 226.8 passing yards per game (19th) with 24 touchdowns given up this season.
Good running back matchups this week:
Darren McFadden against the Denver Broncos. Last week’s performance was McFadden’s second-best game of the season. His best effort came against Denver in Week 7 where he racked up 196 total yards and four scores. The Raiders will look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they are still mathematically in the picture. The Broncos are allowing 150.3 yards per game (31st) and have allowed 19 touchdowns this season, the most in the league.
Felix Jones against the Washington Redskins. This is the first game in a long time between these two teams where a win does not factor into the playoff picture. Even though the Cowboys are using all three running backs, I like Jones to have the most success this week. In Week 1, Jones had just 38 yards rushing but since then Washington’s defense has played poorly and are now allowing 134.4 yards per game (28th) and have surrendered 12 touchdowns this season.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Ronnie Brown against the Buffalo Bills. Brown has not been much of a fantasy factor this season as he posts an average of 10.9 points per game, but this week maybe the best time to use him because of the matchup and weather. Most of the games this weekend that are played outside will be dealing with cold and wintry conditions, but this game will be in Miami and against the Bills’ 32nd ranked run defense. The Bills are allowing 165.8 yards per game and have allowed 14 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Michael Vick against the New York Giants. The previous game between these two could have had different stat results for Vick had his players not dropped passes that could have been touchdowns. In the end, Vick was held to 258 yards and no passing touchdowns, but he did get a score on the ground. The Giants, for the most part, had a plan that flushed Vick to the right on plays forcing him to go short or throw it away. The Giants are going to bring even more pressure this week. They are averaging 189.5 yards per game (second) and are tied with Pittsburgh with 39 sacks this season.
Alex Smith against the San Diego Chargers. At this point of the season, some owners look at the previous week’s stats and will over react to it by starting a player they normally would not. Last week Smith threw for three touchdowns but will face a tougher defense in San Diego that allow just 173.4 yards per game (first) and only 12 allowed all year through the air this season.
Kyle Orton against the Oakland Raiders. Orton is coming off his worst game of the season, throwing for just 166 yards and a season-high three interceptions in one game. The week before that Orton threw for only 117 yards with no touchdowns. This week he is going to play through arm soreness, and from the way he has performed the past two weeks, this is not a good week to count on him for the playoffs. He will face the Raiders, who are seventh against the pass with 202.5 yards per game and have allowed 25 touchdowns this season.
Bad running back matchups this week:
LaDainian Tomlinson/Shonn Greene against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The worst thing that can happen at this point of the fantasy season is to have your players on a team that is struggling and playing a tough matchup. The past two weeks the Jets have been shut out of the endzone and they will face a Steelers team that smells blood. This game will be crucial to both teams so expect a very tough game. The weather will also be a factor. The Steelers’ defense is holding running backs to 60.1 yards per game (first). That is just 2.9 yards per carry with only four touchdowns allowed this season.
Fred Jackson against the Miami Dolphins. Miami has been playing tough the past three games, holding teams to an average of 12 points. They shut down the Jets rushing attack last week and held Peyton Hillis to just 57 yards in Week 13. Jackson struggled in Week 1 against Miami and will have a tough time finding yards in this game. The Miami defense is allowing 98.6 yards per game (seventh) with only six rushing touchdowns given up this season.
Adrian Peterson against the Chicago Bears. Now that the Vikings have Tarvaris Jackson on Injured Reserve and Brett Favre unlikely to play this week, the Bears will stack the box heavily this week and Peterson will have no room to run. In the team’s first meeting this season, Chicago held him to just 51 yards rushing. The Bears’ defense is holding running backs to 87.9 yards per game with 11 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Week 15: The season comes down to the playoffs. Win or go home.
Good Luck to everyone in Week 15. Follow @BrewCrewCorner