Save the suspense for the Pro Bowl. Most of you are here because you still aren’t sure what you’re going to do about Dez Bryant and/or Robert Griffin III. I’ll certainly touch on those fine fantasy football folks, but let’s get super duper real for a nano second: unless you have a sick alternative (and that’s sick in a good way), you gotta stick with your boys. That means the gimpy RG3 and no hands Bryant are in your starting lineup as long as they’re in their real-life starting lineups, too.
With that said, let’s re-hash the latest on those two guys and much, much more as we rev up for another fabulous week of the fantasy playoffs:
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins (Knee)
The long awaited answer…will have to wait until right before game-time. Kirk Cousins is loosening up his arm, but RG3 has put in enough practice and has had enough rest that I think he plays. It’s not a great matchup and he’s going to be less than 100%, but you probably have to use him if he does in fact start. Keep tabs on him up until the last minute. Cousins would not be a suggested play if RG3 sits this one out, as Cleveland’s defense is one of the most underrated units in the league.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears (Neck)
Cutler apparently has a mangled neck and knee, but he’s still a full go in a huge game against the Packers. We know he’ll be chucking the rock at home, and we also know the Packers aren’t invincible right now. He didn’t have his best day against them last time, however, so he’s not looking like anything close to an elite play in week 15.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals (Ribs)
Kolb is on I.R. and John Skelton is the new red-headed step child in AZ. He’s been benched again in favor of Ryan Lindley, which is pretty much like losing your job to a goat with tuberculosis. It just doesn’t make much sense. Clearly, you’ll want to stay away from the Cards’ offense this week.
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Hip)
Rice is a bit banged up despite actually not all that much wear and tear lately, but he’ll be fine to face the Broncos. Denver isn’t the easiest matchup, but no more Cam Cameron could mean a much bigger role for Rice this week. He’s a top-10 option with as much upside as ever.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants (Knee)
Bradshaw has officially been ruled out already, which is awesome news for the geniuses that knee-jerked and picked up David Wilson off the waiver wire. He popped off 327 total yards last week and has a real shot a RB1 production again this week against the 31st ranked Falcons run D.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys (Finger)
Bryant won’t be shaking many hands before the game, but by all accounts it does sound like he’ll be playing on Sunday. Pittsburgh is a dreadful matchup if Ike Taylor plays, but seeing how Danario Alexander got his last week (two touchdowns), I wouldn’t expect a complete shutdown either way. The finger could slow Dez down, so he’s a risk, but you have to play him if he’s active.
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons (Knee)
White is a bit shaky this week with a sore knee, but it’s looking like he’ll play. Count him as limited and bank on Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez getting more work. You can use him if you really need him, but with ATL already in the playoffs, they might take it easy on him in the second half.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers (Hamstring)
Nelson won’t play in week 15 as his troublesome hammy is still not cooperating. Greg Jennings is the fasad guy to start, but after two lethargic games in a row I much prefer Randall Cobb and probably even James Jones.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams (Heel)
Amendola could return this week despite a heel injury, and is officially listed as probably. He says he’ll play and I tend to believe him, but he’s a major risk after a weak effort the last time he returned from a foot injury. I’d rather take a swing on Chris Givens this week.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (Head)
Shorts is probable for week 15 after missing week 14 with concussion-like symptoms. He should be ready to roll against the 25th ranked Miami pass D. I’m expecting another solid outing, as he was red-hot before the injury.
Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks (Foot)
Rice is expected to play against the Bills this week despite a sore foot. It’s not a bad matchup and he’s scored five touchdowns in his last six games, so he’s worth a shot as a solid WR3.
Davone Bess, WR, Miami Dolphins (Back)
Bess will miss week 15 with a bad back, which means more targets for Brian Hartline. Hartline was due another solid game anyways, so this just helps that come to fruition. Marlon Moore will get the start opposite of Hartline, but doesn’t have reliable fantasy value.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots (Arm)
The Gronk is back…at practice. He isn’t expected to play this week, so don’t get any crazy ideas. Keep him on your bench and cross your fingers he returns for your championship game next week.
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions (Ankle)
Pett has a bum ankle and is very shaky for week 15. He missed practices all week and is doubtful to face the Cardinals. Look for Tony Scheffler to have some decent TE2 value, while the ever dominant Megatron can expect even more looks coming his way.
Versus Don’t Hurt Us
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions vs. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stafford throws a ton and the Cardinals aren’t unbeatable by any means, while Freeman faces a Saints D that just about everyone has slapped around like they’ve own them money. Freeman takes care of the ball a bit better and has the better matchup, so I’d roll with him.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots vs. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
Jackson has a solid role and has been turning it on lately, while Ridley has scored a touchdown in an incredible six straight contests. They both have tough matchups (49ers and Vikes, respectively), but I’m sticking with the hot hand – especially considering Ridley has 10 scores to S-Jax’s 3 on the year.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints vs. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Moore crushed the Buccaneers last time and Tampa’s secondary is still trash, while Austin could be much more involved if Dez Bryant is out or limited. The pick is still Moore, who has a far better matchup and has proven he can do it against this team already.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings vs. Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller is generally pretty reliable, but with no Percy Harvin, Rudolph is being targeted like crazy in the mid-range passing game. And once near the goal-line, the Vikes score with Adrian Peterson or him. It’s as simple as that. The pick is Rudy for week 15.
I won’t waste your time with hypothetical kicker or team defense battles. If you have’em, hit me up in the comments below, or as always, catch me on Twitter (and don’t forget to follow!) @NFLSoupKevin.