Welcome to week 15 of the fantasy season. It’s all playoffs from here and every week is a win or go home situation. Last week I won my first round game in my Sharks league while winning my final games to make the playoffs in my other leagues. This week I face Matthew Stafford in every playoff game as well as Calvin Johnson in two matchups so I will be a big fan of the Ravens defense.
This week the stakes are high and its all or nothing. In one league I had my top three running backs go down which left me scrambling to add players this week. I picked up four running backs which include Jordan Todman, Toby Gerhart, Daniel Thomas and James Starks. There is no guarantee that these guys will put up good numbers but you have to have as many running backs as you can that could start.
Good luck to everyone playing this week and hope to see you in week 16!
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
LeSean McCoy – (29 carries for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns.) McCoy is proof that when the weather is bad, running backs benefit the most. McCoy had gaping holes in the Lions defense to run through. The rest of the schedule is golden for McCoy as he faces the Vikings, Bears and Cowboys to help you in the playoffs.
Josh McCown – (27 of 36 for 348 and 4 touchdowns.) McCown has been solid the past three games and it sucks for owners who had picked him up off waivers to have to bench him this week as Jay Cutler returns. I think the change benefits Brandon Marshall as McCown looked Alshon Jeffery‘s way more.
Marques Colston – (9 receptions for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns.) Colston came up big for owners who were trying to get into the playoffs. I know he helped me in my deep league. Another good matchup for him this week versus St. Louis but you never know if he will play well or not for you so he is always a risky start.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
Matthew Stafford – (10 for 25 for 148 yards.) The snow really hampered Stafford for most of the game. It makes you want to second guess who you start this week in the Bears-Browns game. Stafford should have a better time this week as he will be playing at home under the nice comforts of a dome.
Alfred Morris – (12 carries for 31 yards.) In a game where the Redskins needed to run the ball more, they chose not to and Morris was a non-factor all game. Morris is now averaging 10 fantasy points per game over the last four weeks. With Robert Griffin III out the rest of the season as a precaution/performance, you might want to consider benching Morris also.
Russell Wilson – (15 for 29 for 199 yards 1 touchdown.) Wilson was held in check by the 49ers defense in both meetings this season averaging just 12.5 fantasy points. The Seahawks still need to play well as the Saints are only a game behind them for best record in the conference. They face the Giants this week which should be a game they win.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Nick Foles against the Vikings. The Vikings are in trouble as they will most likely be without Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart which leaves them with no running game. Expect the Eagles to have plenty of opportunities in this game as the Vikings rank one spot above Philadelphia’s poor pass defense allowing 282.5 passing yards per game (30th) with a league leading 29 touchdowns allowed. The Eagles will be under a dome this week so no worries about unexpected snow storms.
Andrew Luck against the Texans. Luck is coming off his best game this season and faces a lowly Texans team that has fired their head coach and were swept this season by the Jaguars. Although the Colts have clinched the division, they are still playing for a better seed in the playoffs. This is the second meeting with the Texans. In Week 9, Luck threw for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns. I can see Luck putting up big numbers at home again. The Texans rank 2nd in passing yards allowed but are the only team in the top-5 in pass defense that has allowed over 20 touchdowns this season.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Kirk Cousins against the Falcons. The Redskins have shut down Robert Griffin III and plan to use Cousins the rest of the season. In his late start last year he played well throwing for 329 yards and 2 scores. Cousins will be used as trade bait during the offseason so the team will do everything they can to showcase him. This week he could be a good fill-in starter as he will face the Falcons who have given up 20-or-more fantasy points to quarterbacks in nine games this year. They are allowing 245.8 passing yards per game (20th) with 25 touchdowns given up. If Matt Flynn can score 18 fantasy points against them, Cousins should play well.
Good running back matchups this week:
Shane Vereen against the Dolphins. The Dolphins haven’t allowed a running back over 61 yards rushing over the past three weeks and have kept them out of the end zone since Week 10. Those stats would lead you to think about Vereen in a bad matchup. However, last week Vereen caught 12 passes for 153 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. With Rob Gronkowski out for the year. Vereen will be used just as much this week and has an opportunity to see a large amount of touches. He’s averaging 23.7 fantasy points over the past three games.
Chris Ogbonnaya against the Bears. Here is a risky play for a guy that is averaging just 18 yards rushing over the past three weeks while averaging 5.3 fantasy points in those games. The Bears run defense is non-existent. They have allowed 100 or more yards in nine games this season and seven of the last eight. This includes the 100 yard game to Brandon Jacobs after he was added off the couch and Benny Cunningham who had the best game of his rookie season. Willis McGahee is out for this game so this will be an opportunity for Ogbonnaya to step up. If you are like me and have a ton of running back injuries, then you need to grab as many of these guys as you can when the opportunity presents itself.
Sleeper Pick of the Week:
Jordan Todman against the Bills. Maurice Jones-Drew is doubtful but hasn’t been ruled out. But you have to think even if MJD plays that Todman will get a good amount of touches. The matchup is solid as Buffalo has been gashed by running backs the last few weeks. Last week Bobby Rainey took the 2nd play from scrimmage 80 yards to the house to finish with 127 yards rushing. In Week 13 they gave up two scores to Steven Jackson. I would be happy with the 19.5 fantasy points the Bills have given up over the past three weeks. I picked up Todman in all of my leagues and will use him in my deeper leagues.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Eli Manning against the Seahawks. Manning has not posted a game over 20 fantasy points since Week 1 and failed to put up big numbers against some really bad defenses the past couple of weeks. When Matt McGloin, Jason Campbell and Matt Cassel average more fantasy points over the past few weeks, something’s wrong. This week they face the Seahawks who have the best record in the league and the top pass defense. Seattle is holding quarterbacks to 175.6 passing with 14 touchdowns. They haven’t allowed a quarterback over 20 fantasy points since Week 5.
Ben Roethlisberger against the Bengals. Roethlisberger has been a steady quarterback of late and has been reliable enough to start. This will be his second meeting with the Bengals who kept Roethlisberger in check the first meeting with 251 yards passing 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Playing on the road against a good Bengals defense, it will be a tough play this week. Before last week when the Bengals gave up 300+ yards and 4 scores to Andrew Luck, they held the previous five quarterbacks to under 17 fantasy points per game. The Bengals defense is ranked 7th in the league allowing 222.4 passing yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Carson Palmer against the Titans. The Cardinals have a tough stretch of games to end the season. They play the Titans this week then close the season with the 49ers and Seahawks. All three teams have good passing defenses. The Titans are 11th in the league allowing 226.8 passing yards per game with 12 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Add to it he’s been limited with an elbow injury.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Chris Ivory against the Panthers. They Jets have been up and down all season and Ivory has been just as inconsistent this season. Last week he rushed for 76 yards and a score but will find it difficult this week to put up good numbers against the No. 1 run defense in the league allowing just 77 rushing yards per game. They have only given up one rushing touchdown over the past nine games to running backs and only three running backs have scored on the ground all season. They have allowed just one 100-yard game all season back in Week 2. Bench Ivory unless you have no other running back on your roster.
Chris Johnson against the Cardinals. Johnson who was once one of the top backs in the league has been rumored to on his way out at the end of the season. Johnson is in danger of rushing for less than 1,000 yards this season and although he has five scores, it has come in three games. This week he will face the Cardinals who rank 3rd in the league allowing 84.5 rushing yards per game and 5 touchdowns. The Cardinals haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher since Week 6. They have kept running backs to just 10.7 fantasy points over the past three games.
Ray Rice against the Lions. Don’t let last week’s game fool you. Yeah LeSean McCoy racked up over 200 yards but in the previous six games the Lions run defense had not allowed a running back over 37 yards rushing. It was the only game this season a running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game versus the Lions, so I believe that playing at home without snow will have the Lions playing tough run defense again. Since his week 11 game against the Bears, Rice has averaged just 47 yards rushing without any touchdowns.
The scoring of Week 13 did not carry over into Week 14. We had a ton of mid range priced guys play well such as Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, Marques Colston and Shane Vereen. There were a ton of disappointments as both Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford couldn’t connect in the snow. At price tags of over $10,000 they hurt a lot of lineups. Injuries to Adrian Peterson and Rob Gronkowski were also lineup killers.
This week I’m sticking to the top backs, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles, where I can play them. Even though Reggie Bush might play, I’m rolling with Joique Bell once again. I’m also sticking with this game and playing the Ravens defense when I go cheap on defense. The Panthers defense is a shocking $6,000 but could be worth it if you can get bargains at other position. Kirk Cousins at $5,100 might be that bargain.
The top lineup in Week 14 would have scored 249.12 for a budget of $56,100. The same lineup will cost you $6,900 more in Week 15.
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