Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Toughest QB Choices Facing Week 15
Starting or sitting your fantasy football quarterback will be the difference in continuing through the playoffs.
Regardless of league size and format, the magnitude of each week gets amplified because of the NFL playoffs. Defenses tighten up, not to mention the potential tough weather conditions—depending on location and the stadium being a dome or outside.
One quarterback we look at is Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.
Riding a three-game win streak, Luck and Co. hit the road to face the Houston Texans. Now although the Texans still field a solid defense, they've been exploited before and most recently by Tom Brady.
In no way is Luck comparable to Brady right now, but the rookie has flipped Indy rather quickly.
As for Luck in fantasy football, let's move ahead and see him along with other tough quarterback matchups of Week 15.
Andrew Luck, Colts (at Texans)
Unsurprisingly, Tom Brady torched the Houston Texans defense and the New England Patriots won on Monday.
Well, we've seen the explosive potential from Andrew Luck, because the Indianapolis Colts are sporting a 9-4 record.
Without question we can expect the Texans to perform better at home in Week 15. Nevertheless, Wade Phillips' pass defense was thrashed by Aaron Rodgers, Chad Henne and Matthew Stafford prior to Brady.
The Colts provide Luck with an array of receiving targets and his mobility will pay dividends when getting pressure. Houston is an opportunistic defense, but it has struggled against truly high-powered attacks.
Luck will spread the field and utilize all levels and dimensions. The lone concern are interceptions, because Luck has tossed 18 on the season. Houston, though, allows an average of 4.1 yards per carry, so the ground game will get set up to present balance.
In short, Luck works off play-action and enjoys a solid week with the division title still in sight.
Start Andrew Luck
Jay Cutler, Bears (vs. Packers)
There are two interesting aspects regarding the Week 15 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
First, quarterback Jay Cutler.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, despite a neck and knee injury that limited him in practice this week.
And secondly, linebacker Clay Matthews. Per the Packers' official Twitter feed earlier this week:
McCarthy-Plan is for Matthews to play, tomorrow's practice is toughest, hopeful he can play. Longshot for Jordy Nelson to play. #packers— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 12, 2012
Green Bay's pass rush is significantly enhanced provided that Matthews suits up.
Regardless, Cutler has always had trouble against the Packers and Chicago's pass protection remains a concern. In addition, the Bears still lack an explosive attack to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers.
Sit Jay Cutler
Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. Broncos)
Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens face one of their toughest tests of 2012—the Denver Broncos.
Presenting an excellent pass rush with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, Denver is also well-versed against the run and pass.
Allowing a mere 3.6 yards per rush and only a 58.5 completion percentage, Denver also gives up only 309 total yards per game. On the contrary, Baltimore's offense doesn't gain much more at 344 per contest.
What is favorable to the Ravens, however, is the ground game of Ray Rice. That impact creates balance to keep defenses honest and lets Flacco thwart downfield.
Unfortunately, Flacco only reps a 60.0 completion percentage and he has been sacked 31 times. Combine the elements of Denver's pass rush and coverage and the Ravens see minimal overall production and ball movement.
The Broncos are simply too dominant at controlling the line of scrimmage by comparison.
Sit Joe Flacco
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at Cowboys)
Although the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the San Diego Chargers at home in Week 14, Ben Roethlisberger played well in his return.
He threw three touchdowns, albeit two came late, tossed for 285 yards and had just one pick.
He also ran for 31 yards and was sacked only twice.
Roethlisberger also spread the field quite well, so expect a similar performance in Week 15 at the Dallas Cowboys. Big D allows a 62.5 completion percentage on the year and has recorded only six interceptions.
Now yes, the pass-rushing duo of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer will cause problems. That said, the Cowboys don't present enough interior pressure and their coverage is suspect at the intermediate level.
That vulnerability allows receiving targets such as Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller space over the middle. As a result, plenty of yards after the catch to help Roethlisberger move the ball consistently.
Start Ben Roethlisberger
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (at Patriots)
The San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots matchup is arguably the biggest game of the 2012 regular season.
They are both Super Bowl contenders, but there's an obvious disparity at the quarterback position.
We know Tom Brady will come ready, but Colin Kaepernick will see a tougher defense than at first glance. New England, when it wants to, can play as good of defense as anyone around. After all, Bill Belichick's squad held the Texans to 14 points and Arian Foster to only 85 total yards.
Against San Francisco, expect a variety of blitzes from Belichick to take away the read-option. There are playmakers in the secondary to shutdown the passing game, so the 'Niners' best bet at offensive success is Frank Gore.
Ranked No. 2 in rushing offense, San Francisco must hit the Patriots up the gut and off tackle. Nothing fancy, because the Pats play with extreme discipline and have an impressive knack for forcing fumbles.
The 49ers also can't take the chance of getting into a shootout, as New England averages 36.3 points per game.
Sit Colin Kaepernick
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