Week 15: USA TODAY SPORTS’ FantasyScore December 10, 2014  |  Ian Goldsmith



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A few quick tips:

*  FantasyScore gives 1 FP for every 20 yards passing instead of the usual 1 per 25
*  FS gives 1 FP per reception
*  There is no bonus for 300 yards passing
*  There is no bonus for 100 yards rushing or receiving
*  Interceptions are penalized by 1
*  There is no penalty for fumbles
*  DSTs get minimal FP for points allowed; focus on sacks/turnovers




Elite ($8,000+)

Andrew Luck: $9,000 – Indianapolis vs. Houston

Choosing between Luck and Rodgers is really a coin-flip, but I’ll take my chances with a guy who threw for nearly 400 yards in a matchup against Houston earlier this season. Their secondary has nobody to stop someone of Luck’s caliber and he will be finding Hilton, Moncrief and his TEs on a regular basis all game long. On a site that gives you 0.05 FP/yard as opposed to the usual 0.04, using the NFL passing yardage leader is a no-brainer. Another 300+ yard, 3+ TD game is well within the realm of possibility. His season average in fantasy points per game (29.9) represents a 3.32 multiple on his current salary.


Mid-Tier ($6,000 – $7,900)

Eli Manning: $6,100 – NY Giants vs. Washington

Eli is by no means a safe play. He goes up and down more than the elevators on the Burj Khalifa. That being said, he should have Washington’s number this week. Washington defends the run rather well, but their secondary is in shambles. In week 4, Eli exposed this fact to the tune of 300 yards and 5 TDs (one rushing). You’ll hear the words Eli to Odell or Eli to Donnell repeatedly this Sunday.


Value ($5,900 and below)           

Jake Locker: $3,900 – Tennessee vs. NY Jets

Outside of Le’Veon Bell, Locker represents my favorite play of the week on FantasyScore. Why, you ask? There are a few reasons, the most glaring of which is his price. Like Alex Smith last week, Locker’s price sits below $4,000. This is CRAZY. He doesn’t even need 12 points to hit value, which brings me to reason number 2: the NY Jets’ pass defense. They allow mediocre QBs to look like elite players on a regular basis, especially when the Jets play away from home. In their past three away games, they have allowed Alex Smith, Teddy Bridgewater and Kyle Orton to combine for 61.6 FP. Last season, Locker threw for 149 and 3 TDs against the Jets, scoring 21.15 FantasyScore FP in the process. He should easily exceed value. I love the idea of using him and spending the extra $$ to upgrade all other positions.




Elite ($7,000+)

Le’Veon Bell: $8,200 – Pittsburgh at Atlanta

As you all probably know, Le’Veon joined Walter Payton as the only RBs to ever have 200+ combined yards in three straight games. That streak could easily stretch to four against an Atlanta defense that has been a sieve to opposing RBs all season long, especially ones that can catch the football. In a three way tie for the 5th playoff seed, the Steelers will need to lean on their 22 year old stud RB if they want to emerge victorious against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who should have no problem carving up the Steelers’ secondary. Bell has the best chance of any RB to hit 30+ fantasy points this week, a number he’s achieved three weeks in a row. The guy is unstoppable.


Mid-Tier ($5,000- $6,900)

Justin Forsett: $6,800 – Baltimore vs. Jacksonville

Oh Jacksonville. You try so hard to stop opposing RBs and you just can’t do it. I feel sorry for you. Perhaps in the future, when you grow up and become a real NFL team, you’ll be able to stop guys like Justin Forsett. Until that day comes, just kick back and hang out in the swimming pool suite that Shad Khan built for you and your fans.


Value ($4,900 and below)

Chris Johnson: $3,400 – NY Jets at Tennessee

I’m recommending a Jet for fantasy purposes. I know, I know….Hear me out, though! Finally realizing that allowing Geno Smith and Michael Vick to throw the ball is akin to entrusting the One Ring to Gollum for destruction, Rex Ryan has been feeding the ball incessantly to Johnson and Ivory over the past couple of weeks; each back has at least 16 carries in each of the past two games. That strategy will not change this week against a Titans’ team that has allowed an average of more than 160 yards rushing per game in the past six weeks. One of the two Jets’ RBs will bust out this week and my bet is on the guy who is facing his former team. REVENGE!!!! He’s also $900 cheaper than Ivory, so hop on board the CJ?K team if you want to punt the RB position.




Elite ($7,000+)

T.Y. Hilton: $7,300 – Indianapolis vs. Houston

There are quite a few high-end receiving options this week that were considered here. For the same price, you could go with Odell Beckham Jr. in a fantastic matchup against Washington. For $8,000 you could go with Megatron against Minnesota. For my money, this week belongs to T.Y. Hilton. While the Colts are in good shape for the playoffs, they are only two games ahead of the Texans, which would drop to a one game lead with a loss. While Reggie Wayne practiced in full Wednesday, he is battling a lot of injuries and is a shell of himself. Luck will be looking to Hilton all day long, trying to replicate the first game against Houston in which Hilton went for 9/223/1 TD. While predicting a 200 yard game is foolish, Hilton has the best chance of any WR this week. FWIW, I’m using the Hilton/Beckham combo in a lot of my lineups this week.


Mid-Tier ($5,000 – $6,900)

Julian Edelman: $5,700 – New England vs. Miami

Edelman has quietly assumed the go-to role that he occupied in the beginning of the season. He is averaging 8 receptions over his past five games, which is surprisingly 7 more than Rob Gronkowski. Whatever games Bill Belichick likes to play with most of the Patriots’ players, he is content to let Edelman act as Mr. Reliable. If you want a mid-ranged option for your cash games, look no further.


Value ($4,900 and below)

Marqise Lee: $3,300 – Jacksonville at Baltimore

Marqise Lee has quietly become relevant again. Lee has had 8 targets in each of the past two weeks. Although that represents the third more targets on his team, he has been the most efficient of the top three receiving options. Cecil Shorts has caught only 6 of 18; Allen Hurns 9 of 18; Lee has caught 11/16. Not only has he caught a higher percentage of passes, but he is averaging many more yards per catch than either Shorts or Hurns. At near minimum salary, I love Lee this week. While the Ravens should dominate and get out to a big lead, there will be a lot of opportunity for garbage time production from Lee and the Jags. He’s a great filler if you need a cheap option.




Elite ($7,000+)

Rob Gronkowski: $7,900 – New England vs. Miami

If you want to pay up for TE, then it has to be Gronkowski. I’ve ridden the Jimmy Graham train a few times and, frankly, he is not playing up to his standards; the shoulder injury still seems to be affecting him. Gronkowski is as reliable a receiving option as you will find. While his price is too high for me given Martellus Bennett can be had for $2,000 cheaper, he is the best high-priced option you can find on FantasyScore this week at TE.


Mid-Tier ($5,000 – $6,900)

Martellus Bennett: $5,900 – Chicago vs. New Orleans

With Brandon Marshall lost for the season, Bennett’s value skyrockets. While Marquess Wilson is an intriguing option at WR (and makes for a nice value play), Cutler will focus on his veteran TE much more often against New Orleans this week. He has 20 receptions in the past two weeks and should flirt with double digit catches once again. His price hasn’t reflected his recent performance or Marshall’s injury, so get him into your lineups on FantasyScore.


Value ($4,900 and below)

Larry Donnell: $4,900 – NY Giants vs. Washington

Donnell has been playing well, but has not been able to have a really big day since Odell Beckham arrived in week 5. If ever there were a week for him to bust out again, it is this week against a Washington team he destroyed in week 4 for a 7/54/3 TD line. While he won’t hit those numbers this week, he has a great chance of finding the end zone and hitting value.




Cash Play

Baltimore Ravens: $3,400

I don’t go into detail in picking the DST that faces the Jaguars, especially if the Jags are on the road. If you can find a way to fit Baltimore onto your cash teams, do it.


Tournament Play

NY Giants: $2,600

The Giants get to face the mess that is Washington’s offense. That team has seemingly given up on the season and they have been allowing opposing defenses to get to their QB on a regular basis. When these two teams faced each other earlier this season, the Giants forced six turnovers and added two sacks for a very solid fantasy day. While division games are hard to predict, the Giants should have no problem taking down their rivals and meeting value. C.D. Carter has them and the Ravens tied for his #1 DST streaming option for the week.




Predicting kickers is a fool’s game. If you have the cash left over to spend on Stephen Gostowski, go right ahead. He’s about as consistent a kicker as you will ever see. If you, like me, want to get the most out of the rest of your lineup, then here is what I do. Eliminate the most expensive 16 kickers. This drops your pool in half. From here, look for games that will be relatively high scoring. After narrowing that down to two or three kickers, eliminate any remaining kickers who are playing in high-wind conditions. After that, just pick which one fits best into your lineup. Of course, this is just a kicker. Just choose one already!

Here are two kickers that I like this week.

Adam Vinatieri: $2,900

Josh Brown: $2,300

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