Start/Sit Week 15
December 12, 2013 | Mike Braude
QB: Nick Foles at MIN – With 20 touchdowns and just one interception this season, Nick Foles has proven himself as an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. He’s amazingly leading the NFL with 9.0 yards per attempt, ahead of guys named Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. This week he faces a Vikings defense that has been dreadful against opposing quarterbacks, allowing the 2nd most points per game. The Vikings have allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass for three touchdowns five times and have allowed 2+ passing touchdowns in 10 of 13 games. The Cowboys are the only team allowing more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks – that’s why Aaron Rodgers is a must-start if he plays.
RB: Eddie Lacy at DAL – The Cowboys also give up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Opposing backs have rushed for 110+ yards in 8 of their last 10 games. Sean Lee’s return helps the Cowboys’ struggling run defense but in no way makes them an unfavorable opponent. If Lacy does not suit up, James Starks becomes an intriguing fantasy play.
Alfred Morris at ATL – Although he’s been extremely inconsistent over the last three weeks, expect Alfred Morris to get back on track against the Falcons. He has two things working in his favor: RGIII’s benching and the Falcons run defense. Kirk Cousins’ talent limitations will force the Redskins to be more conservative and rely on their bellcow. The Falcons run defense has allowed opposing running backs to rush for 109+ yards in 6 of their last 7 games. During that stretch, opposing running backs rushed for 8 touchdowns.
Steven Jackson vs. WAS – Despite a slow first season for the Falcons, Steven Jackson is coming on of late. He’s scored three touchdowns in his last three games and has topped 60 rushing yards in each game. Not exactly what owners were expecting when drafting him, but hey, at least it’s something. The Redskins have allowed the most rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs (17), along with the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing rushers – making Jackson a solid Week 15 play.
Montee Ball vs. SD – Since giving Knowshon Moreno an absurd 37 carries in Week 12 against the Patriots, the Broncos have clearly made a concerted effort to spell him and get Montee Ball involved. In the two games since, Moreno is averaging 14.5 rushes for 48 yards and five catches for 51.5 yards with two touchdowns. Ball is averaging 14 carries for 97 yards and two catches for 7 yards with one touchdown. He’s essentially Denver’s 1B to Moreno’s 1A. On the league’s best offense, that gives him solid flex status.
WR: DeSean Jackson at MIN – Already having arguably the best season of his career, Jackson faces off with a dreadful Vikings’ secondary that has struggled to stop opposing wide receivers. Inside a dome with no chance of snow, Jackson and Riley Cooper are both great plays.
Torrey Smith at DET – Although he struggled to capitalize on a favorable matchup against the Vikings last week, Smith has another great matchup against the Lions. Inside the confines of Ford Field, Smith will face a burnable Lions’ secondary. The Lions are allowing the 2nd most points to opposing wide receivers.
Dwayne Bowe at OAK – After struggling to start off the season, the Chiefs have figured out how to use Dwayne Bowe. Over their first eight games, Bowe averaged 3.3 catches for 37.8 yards with two touchdowns. Over their last five games, Bowe has averaged 4.6 catches for 60.2 yards with three touchdowns. He’ll be a solid WR3 in a favorable matchup against the Raiders.
Cordarrelle Patterson vs. PHI – For those who are desperate for a streamer, you could do worse than Cordarrelle Patterson. Over his last three games, Patterson has 14 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown and added another 33 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He’ll be a nice streamer against an Eagles defense that allows the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Patterson is by far the most explosive receiver on the Vikings.
TE: Delanie Walker vs. AZ – Although Walker is coming off a concussion, the Cardinals are by far the worst at defending tight ends and the loss of Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t help. The Cardinals have allowed the most receptions (84), receiving yards (1,115), and touchdowns (14) to opposing tight ends. Dennis Pitta and Jacob Tamme also make great streamers for Gronkowski owners.
QB: Tom Brady at MIA – You won’t find a bigger Brady fan but this is a tough one for him. In Gronkowski’s second game back, Brady struggled mightily against the Dolphins, passing for a season-low 116 yards. The Dolphins have been tough for opposing quarterbacks all year, allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points. With Gronk out, Brady will have to rely on his receivers and Vereen. Considering the Dolphins have allowed a league-low four touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, Shane Vereen could be in for a monster week.
RB: Chris Johnson at AZ – Chris Johnson is no longer unbenchable – if you have other options, like Montee Ball, I think you have to think long and hard about benching him. Over the last six weeks, the Cardinals are allowing an average of 16.8 carries for 45.8 yards (2.72 YPC) with just two touchdowns to opposing running backs. The Cardinals are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Chris Ivory at CAR – Chris Ivory is a solid play if the Jets are likely to lead in the game or at the very least, keep it close. In this game, it’s easy to imagine the Jets falling behind early – leading to more Bilal Powell than Chris Ivory. It certainly doesn’t help that the Panthers are allowing the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.
DeAngelo Williams vs. NYJ – The Jets are also no slouch against the run, allowing the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Despite the absence of Jonathan Stewart, I wouldn’t be running to play Williams against a stout Jets’ run defense.
WR: Michael Floyd at TEN – Still limited in practice, Floyd isn’t healthy. Coming of a two-catch 26-yard performance, I wouldn’t feel good about starting Floyd against the Titans. The Titans have allowed the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Hakeem Nicks vs. SEA – Nicks is coming off arguably his best game of the season but is still not an option against Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.” He’ll likely face Richard Sherman in coverage – you can do better in the fantasy playoffs. Rueben Randle isn’t a great bet either. Seattle is allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Michael Crabtree at TB – Although he’s a stud when healthy, Michael Crabtree still hasn’t completely returned to form from his devastating achilles tear. It doesn’t help that he’s likely squaring off with Bucs top corner Darrelle Revis. You’d be better off without Crabtree in your lineup this week.
TE: Garrett Graham at IND – Despite a blow up game last week, Graham has a more difficult matchup this week. He’s also dealing with hamstring issues. I’d prefer to rely on Delanie Walker, Dennis Pitta, or Jacob Tamme this week.
Thanks for reading, good luck this week. Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!