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- Published Date
- Written by Jason Evans
- Category: Insights
The season is coming to an end, but the most important matchups remain for fantasy football players. If you’re in it, you’re likely in the semi-finals and you’ve come this far, no letting up now! Be bold, make risks, but make sure you are informed. Here’s the matchups for week 15 in the NFL, make sure you pay attention to when games are starting so that you get everyone in your lineup that you meant to. (all times central)
Jaguars @ Falcons – Thursday, 7:20pm – This is just the latest installment in the long line of mediocre prime-time games that the NFL is offering us this year. The good part? You get a game on Thursday night. The bad part? You are going to see Blaine Gabbert for the third time this year on prime-time. As far as the matchups go, this is an example of start all Falcons, sit all Jaguars – except for MJD. Guys to look for:
Jaguars– Maurice Jones-Drew
Falcons– Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Anthony Gonzalez
Cowboys @ Buccaneers – Saturday, 7:20pm –No more college football means that we get an NFL game on Saturday night! Unfortunately, it features a team that has been a goat as of late and an opponent that is even worse. Luckily, we’re only interested in the fantasy value of this game. The Cowboys have great matchups and should all produce at the expected levels. Look for Felix Jones to fill in for DeMarco Murray who is out for the year. Meanwhile, the Bucs will likely continue their struggles, I’d only start them if you don’t have any better options. Guys to look for:
Cowboys– Felix Jones, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Laurent Robinson, Miles Austin, Jason Witten
Buccaneers– Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams
Redskins @ Giants – Sunday, 12:00pm –Last week the Redskins were a tipped pass away from being able to tie up the game against the Patriots late in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, this is as close as they ever get. The Giants, on the other hand, finally got over the hump last week after a long string of really tough opponents. Look for the Giants to roll in this one on their way to a division title. Guys to look for:
Redskins– Roy Helu, Santana Moss, Rex Grossman
Giants– Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Jake Ballard, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw
Saints @ Vikings – Sunday, 12:00pm –It’d be great to tout this as a rematch of the epic 2009 NFC championship game, but only one of those teams is still around. The Vikings are just a shell of what they used to be, currently without any of the main starters that they had in that game two years ago. They are also battered with injuries as their starting QB and RB are both up in the air for now. The Saints, meanwhile, are tied with the 49ers with a 10-3 record and in search of a first round bye. Expect the Saints to come out swinging and look for them to roll right over the Vikings. Guys to look for:
Saints– Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham
Vikings– Percy Harvin, Christian Ponder/Joe Webb, Adrian Peterson/Toby Gerhart
Dolphins @ Bills – Sunday, 12:00pm –The Dolphins had a terrible start to the season, but then had a resurgence in the middle of the season, putting together a decent winning streak. Last week they got blown out at home by the Eagles and coach Tony Sparano got his walking papers on Monday. A new coach usually means a team will play harder the following week, but the Dolphins had been playing their butts off for Coach Sparano anyways, so its tough to guess what will happen. Meanwhile, the Bills are on a typical Bills-like slide this year. This is a game that winds up having zero meaning, but could have decent fantasy points since neither defense has shown that they can stop anyone lately. Guys to look for:
Dolphins– Reggie Bush, Matt Moore, Brandon Marshall
Bills– Ryan Fitzpatrick, C.J. Spiller, Stevie Johnson
Panthers @ Texans – Sunday, 12:00pm –Last week, the Panthers were victims to an Atlanta comeback, while Houston made Cincinnati their victims in their own 4th quarter comeback. The Panthers have shown lots of promise this year, but have not been able to translate that talent into many wins. Meanwhile, the Texans are breaking all kinds of franchise records this year and they are a team that just seems to have everything working right, despite injuries to arguably, 3 of their top 4 players. Look for the Texans to roll over the Panthers with ease. Guys to look for:
Panthers– Cam Newton, Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams
Texans– T.J. Yates, Arian Foster, Owen Daniels
Packers @ Chiefs – Sunday, 12:00pm –This game is mostly unremarkable, really the only main line for this game is that it will be the game that brings the Packers to 14-0. This week the Chiefs fired Head Bro/Coach Todd Haley, so I would expect a small boost from the Chiefs this week, but it is likely to fall far short of victory against the juggernaut that is the Green Bay Packers. It’s possible that Orton finally gets the start this week, which should also give the Chiefs a spark, but this is a classic case of start all Packers, sit all Chiefs. Guys to look for:
Packers– Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson
Chiefs– Kyle Orton, Dwayne Bowe
Seahawks @ Bears – Sunday, 12:00pm –Beast mode comes to Chicago this week and I hope that Marshawn’s mother stocks up on Skittles. Not that he will score lots of TD’s, but that it’s suddenly become popular to shower Lynch with Skittles in the endzone. The Seahawks defense has been playing well lately, and they get to face one of the worst offenses of the last few weeks, lead by Caleb Hanie. Look for the Bears to continue their slide towards the bottom, and the Seahawks to chalk up another meaningless win. Guys to look for:
Seahawks– Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin
Bears– Marion Barber
Bengals @ Rams – Sunday, 12:00pm –The Bengals are the team this year that has played very good, won some big games, but can’t beat the really good teams. This was especially evident last week when the Texans came back in the 4th quarter. Luckily for the Bengals, they are playing the Rams this week. This is a great matchup for the Bengals, who like to run the ball and also work the ball deep downfield with A.J. Green. Another example of sit all Rams, start all Bengals. Guys to look for:
Bengals– A.J . Green, Andy Dalton, Cedric Benson, Jermaine Gresham
Rams– Brandon Lloyd, Steven Jackson
Titans @ Colts – Sunday, 12:00pm –Knowing my luck, I’ll wind up covering this game on tonight’s podcast. This is easily the stinker of the week. Really, the only thing of a remote interest in this game is that this is one of the Colts’ last chances to win a game this year (the other being week 17 vs Jacksonville). Guys to look for:
Titans– Nate Washington, Chris Johnson
Colts– Joseph Addai/Donald Brown
Lions @ Raiders – Sunday, 3:05pm –Here’s two teams at interesting points. The Raiders, once known as the bad boys of the league, have been passed in that category by the Lions. This game could very well break a record for stupid penalties in a single NFL game. Fantasy wise, nobody is doing much on the Raiders since McFadden went out, so don’t expect a whole lot out of the rest of the team, including Michael Bush. As far as the Lions go, Calvin Johnson has definitely cooled off after his amazing start to the season, scoring 9TD in 5 games. Stafford and Johnson are still the only viable fantasy starters in Detroit considering Kevin Smith is more fragile than your grandma’s china. Guys to look for:
Lions– Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson
Raiders– Michael Bush, Carson Palmer
Browns @ Cardinals – Sunday, 3:15pm –I suppose this is the afternoon stinker, featuring two teams who have no chance at the playoffs. As far as fantasy options go, I expect the Cardinals to excel and the Browns to struggle. Larry Fitzgerald put up big numbers against the 49ers last week, and even with the Browns superior pass defense, he is easily a WR1/2. As for Peyton Hillis, I expect him to have a decent game, but I don’t expect the Browns to run the ball a ton as they will likely be playing from behind. Guys to look for:
Browns– Peyton Hillis, Greg Little
Cardinals– Larry Fitzgerald, Beanie Wells
Patriots @ Broncos – Sunday, 3:15pm –Well, here it is. Finally, a good chance for someone to end the streak of teams getting Tebowed in the fourth quarter. Kind of funny how the team that everyone loved to hate will have everyone’s love this week against Tebow. Football wise, this game shouldn’t even be much of a contest. The Patriots only weakness is their pass defense, and Tebow can’t pass the ball until there’s 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. I fully expect Tom Brady to put up enough points to make any last minute heroics by Tebow irrelevant. Guys to look for:
Patriots– Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski
Broncos– Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Willis McGahee
Jets @ Eagles – Sunday, 3:15pm –The Jets have been taking care of business lately and are currently in the playoff hunt, though they are on the outside looking in. The Eagles, meanwhile, finally got Vick back last week and they showed a lot of improvements against Miami. Vick got the offense back on track which allowed the defense to get some rest and the Eagles put together a complete game. This is going to be one of the best irrelevant games this week, and despite all of the amazing talent at CB in this game, I expect it to be relatively high scoring. Guys to look for:
Jets– Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Dustin Keller
Eagles– Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy
Ravens @ Chargers – Sunday, 7:20pm –Yet another Sunday night game that looked good on paper but will likely fall far short. The Chargers are behind both the Raiders and Broncos in the race for the division and really have no shot at a wild card at this point. The Ravens, meanwhile, are fighting for a first round bye to go with a divisional title. I expect the Chargers to struggle like they were for most of the season while facing the beastly defense of the Ravens. Guys to look for:
Ravens– Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin
Chargers– Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Ryan Matthews, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd
Steelers @ 49ers – Monday, 7:30pm –Finally, we get an awesome matchup for a prime time game. Granted, we’ve had a few stellar games, but on the whole they’ve been wildly disappointing. This game should deliver on the hype. One thing I look at that can be a major factor is the fact that the 49ers have lost two of their last 3 games. They have remained stout on the rush defense, but their passing defense has left a lot to be desired, as evidenced by Larry Fitzgerald torching them last week. I also expect Mendenhall to break the streak and score a TD on the ground. Guys to look for:
Steelers– Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall
49ers– Frank Gore, Vernon Davis
12/18/12, Week 16 Preview - The Last Stand
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots are "holding out hope" Rob Gronkowski (back surgery, arm surgery) will be ready for Week 1.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the "belief" inside Patriots headquarters is that Aaron Hernandez was "not involved" with the murder police are investigating in Attleboro, Mass.
ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested on NFL Live that Christian Ponder will be in danger of losing his job this season if the Vikings begin to struggle.
ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed on NFL Live that Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) will open training camp on the active/PUP list.