2012 Fantasy Football

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Week 15 Fantasy Football Last Second Decisions

posted by Kevin Roberts

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:

Injury Ward

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.

Matchup Delight

  • I know Ryan Mathews has been scrubbin’ out all year (just one rush TD), but he got a crazy 25 attempts last week and faces a pretty soft Panthers run D in week 15. I’m actually really liking his chances to bust out.
  • If RG3 is out or you just can’t take the heat, perhaps Colin Kaepernick will ease the pain. ‘Kaep faces a normally pretty weak Patriots pass defense and should have to be more aggressive to keep up with Tom Terrific. Oh, and he has those fancy moving things below his hips. Er, his legs. Dude can run.
  • I love me some Josh Gordon. He didn’t go all “big play” on us last week, but he still racked up 8 balls for 86 yards. I expect the big play version this week against a still shaky Redskins secondary.
  • Seattle is no joke on defense, but they’ve actually been run on at times this year. Now that Fred Jackson isn’t a brick wall in the way of C.J. Spiller’s fantasy production, we could see the roof come off in week 15. Kind of.
  • Mark Sanchez and the Jets can’t be trusted, but something tells me Sanchize could be in for one of those random “top fantasy QB of the week” outings. He’s got Braylon Edwards back and he’s facing a sketchy Titans defense on Monday Night Football.
  • Brandon Myers went from 14 receptions and sleeping over at your house and playing battleship in a onesie, to kicked to the curb in the pouring rain (one catch last week). I think week 14 was a major fluke and you need to let this dude back inside. He could catch a cold, after all.

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.

Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin

36 Comments

  • Hey, thoughts on starting TY Hilton or Sidney Rice as my WR3 in a 0.5 PPR league?

    • Both have upside. With Joseph “trying” to shadow Reggie Wayne, Hilton will surely have extra chances. Rice has been really solid lately, too and has the better matchup. However, I see Indy throwing even more than usual in this one, so would take Hilton

  • Need 2 of the 3

    Mcfadden

    Gordon

    Dez

    Standard scoring, thanks

    • DMC and Gordon. really high on Gordon this week and Dez being under 100% with a tough matchup does the rest

  • Garcon or Alexander… .25ppr

    • Alexander. No RG3 scares me, as Garcon should be covered by Haden all day

  • ppr.flex

    Ballard,Shorts or J.Bell

    • Shorts. solid matchup and was on fire before he got hurt

  • Whats your opinion on Amendola?

    • Worth it if you are desperate, but shaky because he didn’t do much the last time he “returned” from injury. I’d rather play a health guy like Brian Hartline or Josh Gordon if I can.

  • Luck or rivers?

    • Luck, but not by a whole lot.

  • PPR – at fled, who do you like between Moreno and R. Cobb?

    Thanks

    • flex

    • Moreno. has 4 rec per game last three games and runs the ball a good amount. Cobb has a tough matchup, too

  • Here we go, I have romo and palmer. I just heard that leinart might play some snaps sunday. I was gonna start palmer but….Also is ike taylor going to play for the steelers? Just wondering. I’m leaning towards romo because I know he’ll play the whole game. What do u think? It’s the semifinals, need some solid advice

    • If there is truth to that, I’d go with Romo then. haven’t seen any word on Taylor yet but if Palmer isn’t a lock for the whole game, you don’t have much of a choice

  • Shorts or Turner flex option this weekend?

    • Shorts. Turner absolutely needs a TD to have value so I’d go with more upside here

  • Eli or RG3 if he plays? Also Pick 3, Ray Rice, Trent, Spiller, Ryan Matthews

  • PPR Flex: Mathews or Shorts? Mathews a great matchup, but he’s been so bad. Shorts a worry coming off injury. Who do you think?

    Also, at TE: Gates, Watson, or Pitta.

    Thanks!

    • I’d go Mathews. He’s been rough, but he’s finally getting carries and no Ronnie Brown should secure that notion against soft Panthers run D. If he gets anywhere close to 25 carries again this week, he will pay off.

      Ugly TE situation, as you can’t really play Watson when these other guys are on your roster, but those two guys are also inconsistent as hell. Actually, Gates is just consistently disappointing.

      Look at Pitta’s last five games. good, bad, good, bad, good. I don’t like that trend. However, Gates is just bad all the way through. You have to take a chance on Pitta putting up back to back solid games this week.

  • .5 PPR League–Forte vs GB OR David Wilson vs ATL?

    Thank you!

    • Forte is such a bum this year. He always has ppr potential and gets decent yardage, but he has just 3 rush scores on the year and hasn’t topped 100 rush yards in 5 straight games.

      Wilson went off last week and with Bradshaw out has a big role facing an awful Falcons run defense. You can play it safe with Forte, or you can aim high and play Wilson. I’m a little more adventurous because my luck has my opponent always scoring 200+ on me, so I’d go with Wilson’s upside.

  • 12 Team PPR: My WRs are Cruz, Dez, Garcon, DX & James Jones. RG3′s status seems very much so up in the air, if he hasn’t taken any 1st team reps all week. Do I start Dez over Garcon even if RG3 starts? 2nd round of playoffs.
    Thanks!

    • I don’t think so. If RG3 is playing, he’s in it for the long haul. If he’s on the field, he helps make Garcon a stud. If he doesn’t play, I’d rather roll with Dez.

      However it shakes out, just make sure Cruz and DX are in your lineup.

  • 8 team PPR, I need to fill my WR2, WR3 and flex spots. I had roddy penciled in as WR2 but now you got me nervous about him lol. My options for those 3 spots are roddy, DX, lance Moore, miles Austin, Ridley, demarco Murray and Ryan mathews. Right now I’ve got roddy as WR2, DX as WR3 and Murray as flex. Ronnie brown being out and a plus matchup has me strongly considering starting Mathews over Murray. What would you do here? Thanks man!

    • this is a mighty fine problem to have, as all of these guys (except probably Ridley) have some quality upside this week.

      I personally am worried about White, but I’d still play him over Austin and Moore. for me, that gets him in the WR2 spot, with DX getting the WR3 spot. He’s just crushing it right now.

      Your Flex is a toss up, but I’m taking a shot with Ryan Mathews. Ridley and Murray both have tough matchups, so you’re banking on a TD there for sure. Mathews should get the ball all day against a soft Carolina run D and he might even sore.

      So basically the only switch is swapping Mathews for Murray, which I encourage you to do.

  • Pick three my man – Demaryius Thomas, Andre Johnson, Colston and David Wilson.

    thanks!

    • Normally it’d be an easy call and you’d go with these three stud Wrs. However, Wilson is starting, blew up last week, and faces a 31st ranked ATL run D. Wilson has to find a way into your starting lineup.

      You can’t sit Thomas (4 TDs in last 4 games) or AJ (ppr machine over last 4 games), and I’m really not a fan of wasting away Wilson’s potential. I’d sit Colston (despite a killer matchup), because he has one score in his last four games, and hasn’t topped 6 catches or 80 yards in six straight weeks. ppr or not, you’re banking on him scoring for production.

  • So do you think I should start Ryan Mathews over Moreno or McFadden?

    • I have them ranked McFadden, Moreno, Mathews based off of standard scoring. They all have major risk and reward this week. All three have beatable matchups, but let’s dive in:

      DMC: major injury risk after getting hurt again last week, but very solid ppr guy usually and did play very well against Chiefs last time.

      Moreno: really last week was his only good game, and most of his rushing production came in the 4th quarter. he’s a good ppr guy, too, but he’s not this monster everyone keeps saying he is.

      Mathews: it’s all about the touches and the matchup. Panthers can be run on and the guy toted the ball 25 times last week. however, he only had like 65 yards and he never scores.

      through it all, McFadden is the most explosive, gets touches, has ppr value, and has a pretty good matchup. I’d go McFadden there.

  • Playoff time and decisions get harder. Dmc or dez at the flex? Stafford or rg3? Gordon, Ty Hilton or Lloyd at wr3? Thanks and keep up the good work

    • DMC has a shot against Chiefs and Dez is hurting, so I’ll take DMC in the Flex. I’m super high on Flash Gordon, so I like him over Hilton and Lloyd. Those guys should still be solid, but they’re not facing a woeful Redskins pass D like Gordon is.

      Thanks for the read Pedro, and good luck this week!

  • PPR:
    QB: Eli or Kaepernick?
    WR2: Nicks, J Gordon, or Decker?

    Thanks!

    • I think I answered this on Twitter, but I’ll go again. Kaep has the better matchup and has more potential, while Eli has largely been in a rut over the past several weeks. It’s the playoffs and you need upside, so I’d go with Kaepernick.

      Nicks is my pick for WR2, just because he can go off at anytime. You probably can’t go wrong with Gordon or Decker, though, if you are leaning toward one of them more.

      I’d rank them Nicks, Gordon, Decker this week.

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