Fantasy Football Week 15: Struggling Stars That Will Bounce Back Big

Ethan GrantAnalyst IDecember 15, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the St. Louis Rams at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At this point in the fantasy football season, every little move counts.

As tempted as you might be to bench stars that have been struggling over the past few weeks, give your lineup the once over before hitting submit on your browser to set your lineup. This just might be the week that they bounce back.

Looking at Week 15, there's a few favorable matchups for skill players that have been struggling over the past few weeks. Injuries have also played a role, so guys like Buffalo's C.J. Spiller are now back in the mix for full-time fantasy duty.

Here's a look at four stars that you might be tempted to bench, but will reward your patience with a big game on Sunday, and maybe even a big playoff win in the process.


C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills RB

Spiller has been back and forth this year on productiveness versus being a non-factor, but it's not his fault Chan Gailey was committed to Fred Jackson upon his return from injury. Jackson and Spiller together gave the Bills a better chance to confuse defenses; they didn't give fantasy owners much chance at choosing.

Now that Jackson is out for the season and Spiller is back in a starting role, he's poised to be a top-10 quality back even though he's facing the vaunted Seattle defense.

Both out of the backfield and in the running game, Spiller is a big-play threat. No matter the combination, look for him to eclipse at least 100 total yards and a touchdown on the day, further moving his status up as a fantasy must-have in 2013.


Torrey Smith, Baltimore WR

Aside from two two-TD games earlier this season, Smith has been somewhat disappointing as the No. 2 receiver in an offense it seems is stressing the passing game more than ever.

Sure, he's had his moments, none more impressive than the 24-point game after the death of his brother. Don't give up on Smith just yet.

Facing the Broncos this weekend, he'll have the chance to go up against Champ Bailey. While still a great CB and one of the league's wisest players, is he capable of defending the deep ball the way Smith can run it.

Baltimore's No. 2 has had three clunkers in four games. Play the odds here: Start him at WR2 or your flex in a standard league and reap the benefits of one of the NFL's best deep threats. I have a feeling the Ravens learned their lesson, and it will be back to more play-action looks off of Ray Rice success.


Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona WR

I understand your frustration with Fitzgerald. You likely drafted him in the first or second round, figured he'd still have a great season because it didn't matter who was playing QB for this guy.


Still, Fitzgerald has a matchup that receivers have loved all season. The Detroit Lions have given up at least 24 points in each of their last five games and that bodes well for this guy, no matter who is playing QB.

This has been a less than stellar season for Fitzgerald, and that's being kind. To salvage it, and some dignity heading into 2013, he can return to form in the next three weeks. Even if it's just catching three balls and a touchdown, he's worth a play this week.


Matt Forte, Chicago RB

No back has been more disappointing than Forte. With just four total touchdowns on the season and a slew of games missed due to injury, he'll be a cautious pick in next year's fantasy draft.

This week he and the Bears will take on the Green Bay Packers. They give up 101.8 yards per game to running backs, and have allowed a score in the past four games. Something has to give, right?

While Michael Bush is a real threat to vulture some of his red zone carries, the Packers aren't immune to the big play. In both the passing and running game, Forte is still a factor and hungry to carry the load with Jay Cutler hurting a little bit.

This might be the biggest stretch of the four, but something about Chicago's need to run the ball and Forte's rough season signals a breakout game this weekend against the Pack. With the playoffs on the line, gamers emerge. Forte is a gamer.

We'll see if it translates to fantasy points, but don't put this guy (or any of these guys) on your bench as punishment. You'd only be punishing yourself.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.