Start Em Sit Em Week 15: Underrated Fantasy Options Worth Starting over Stars

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2012

December 9, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) and Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan (15) celebrate while leaving the field after the Redskins game against the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 31-28 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Just like NFL general managers and coaches, fantasy owners need to know when it's time to move on from superstar players. They may have brought you to the precipice of a championship, but sometimes it's necessary to take a massive risk in order to capture your league title.

When taking a look at the Week 15 landscape, it's apparent that some underrated options will outperform their more-famous counterparts. With good matchups and a string of strong performances, these guys have already emerged as top fantasy options—you just don't know it yet.

Luckily, we're here to help guide owners to fantasy playoff glory. With that in mind, here are a few players who are worth starting over big-named stars.


Colin Kaepernick (QB, San Francisco 49ers—at New England Patriots)

Bright lights, big stage, inexperienced quarterback. Playing in a contest that many think will be a Super Bowl preview, it's understandable for some owners to hesitate on banking their playoff lives on a second-year quarterback playing against the defending AFC champions.

Stop being afraid. All the underlying statistics point toward Kaepernick having a fantastic game on Sunday night. The Patriots head into Week 15 as unquestionably one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Their 275.5 yards per game allowed ranks 29th and they have given up 22 passing touchdowns already this season, tied for 20th with three other teams.

What's more, since entering the offensive fold, Kapernick has been a consistent fantasy option. The second-year signal-caller has no fewer than 14 points in any of his four starts, which is more than you can say about guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

I'm not saying start him over those guys this week, but his consistency won't be stopping anytime soon. The Patriots' inability to hamper the passing game should lead to a strong game throwing the ball and no team has shown an ability to stop Kaepernick's improvisation on the ground.

With guys like Peyton Manning and Tony Romo having tough matchups this week, the 49ers quarterback could be a smart play in Week 15.


David Wilson (RB, New York Giants—at Atlanta Falcons)

Ahmad Bradshaw won't be making the trip with the Giants this week due to a knee injury, which should give owners an answer on whether Wilson was a one-week wonder or potential fantasy playoff MVP.

The rookie running back finally burst out of Tom Coughlin's doghouse in Week 14 to the tune of 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, setting career highs in all those categories. Proving his explosiveness, Wilson also added a touchdown in the return game as well in the Giants' 52-27 destruction of the Saints.

If New York's offensive line comes to play, Wilson should be able to dominate his second consecutive NFC South opponent this week. Heading into Week 15, the Falcons are giving up 4.9 yards per carry to opposing running backs and have allowed 14 rushing touchdowns, both of which rank in the bottom five of the league.

Atlanta's pass defense is on the other end of the spectrum fantasy-wise. With Eli Manning's play inconsistent at best of late, Wilson seems like the only sure thing in the Giants offense.

Chris Johnson hasn't scored in three weeks, Ray Rice faces a Denver defense that has allowed just three rushing touchdowns all season and Stevan Ridley takes on the 49ers. All three are behind Wilson in my rankings this week.


Pierre Garcon (WR, Washington Redskins—at Cleveland Browns)

Injuries have plagued Garcon's first season in the nation's capital, but the Redskins receiver has been brilliant since returning to the lineup. With no fewer than 80 yards and a touchdown in the past three weeks, Garcon has emerged as a top target just the way Washington had hoped when the team signed him in the offseason.

Robert Griffin III's status on Sunday is still up in the air, but he's been a participant in practice all week and should suit up. Still, Griffin's mobility assuredly won't be the same, which means the Redskins star will scramble less and Mike Shanahan will scheme fewer designed run plays.

What's unfortunate for Griffin owners should work out well for Garcon. A more stationary RG3 means more passes and more targets for his top receivers, ostensibly leading to more fantasy production against a Browns defense that is decidedly middling in the secondary.

Both Cowboys receivers have the Steelers on Sunday, Hakeem Nicks has the Falcons and Roddy White is a massive injury risk. Play Garcon over all of those guys this week, as he winds up becoming a solid WR1 option.