Fantasy Football Week 15: Top QBs That Will Post Huge Numbers in Week 15

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 16, 2012

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 14, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

A couple of Super Bowl MVPs have extremely favorable matchups during Sunday's Week 15 action, which will lead to huge numbers for some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

But there are also some QBs relatively new to the fold that will be playing the biggest games of their respective young careers to date. Despite their opponents being current AFC juggernauts, it's not unrealistic to expect monster games from them, too.

Who are these four mystery signal-callers? Find out which enthralling gunslingers will top the fantasy charts this weekend.


Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

It's the Sheriff's time, and the hosting team will want no part of it—especially since Manning has had extra time to prepare after a Thursday night victory in Oakland in Week 14.

The Baltimore Ravens don't pose the same challenge they have over the past decade or so for Manning and the red-hot Broncos. Chemistry between the four-time NFL MVP and top targets Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker has only improved as the season has progressed.

Combine that with familiar friends Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley and a just-good-enough running game, and Manning has been as good as ever.

With the AFC West all sewn up, Denver still has a chance for the No. 1 seed in the AFC as the team sits just one game behind the Houston Texans. This is just the situation Manning has seized his entire career, and should do the same on Sunday.

Without top cornerback Lardarius Webb to help out in coverage and legendary LB Ray Lewis to match wits with Manning at the line of scrimmage, it's going to be tough sledding for the skidding Ravens, who will be in grave danger of losing their third straight game.

Manning will find a way to shred the Baltimore secondary methodically, as safety Ed Reed isn't likely to allow his back end to blow coverages against the likes of a quarterback of Manning's caliber.

Projection: 35-of-45, 340 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT


Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

As Manning's No. 1 overall pick successor in Indianapolis, Luck has led the Colts to a shocking 9-4 record in 2012.

Despite some erratic play at times and poor decisions that can be chalked up to rookie mistakes, Luck has also been majestic late in games. There has been nothing lucky about Luck's six fourth-quarter comebacks.

The Colts' inspirational story, though, will be defined on the field in Houston on Sunday against the AFC's top team. Obviously when Manning was at the controls, Indy historically owned this AFC South rivalry with the Texans.

However, Gary Kubiak coaches one of the most talented rosters in football, which now has a division crown and a playoff win under its belt from 2011.

A slew of inexperienced, little-known players round out the majority of the Indianapolis roster, but that hasn't stopped the Colts from ultimately succeeding in the win column, which is all that matters.

As the second half of the season has worn on, the Texans' secondary has gotten progressively more suspect. Only Matthew Stafford has thrown more passes than Luck—and no one throws as frequently down the field. Even in obvious passing situations, Luck has thrived, particularly on 3rd-and-long.

With the uncanny ability to keep drives alive and the mobility to avert disaster in the face of the Texans' premier pass-rushers in J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith, don't be surprised if Luck has a season-defining game.

A pedestrian 18-to-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio puts a sour mark on Luck's numbers and hurts his case for rookie of the year. That said, he is due to finally have a game without turning the ball over since Week 7's victory over Cleveland. I feel this will be Luck's sharpest execution of a game plan to date, much to the benefit of fantasy owners.

Projection: 30-of-50, 310 yards, 3 TDs; 5 carries, 20 yards


Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

We're going to find out a lot about the second-round pick from Nevada on Sunday night in prime time. After an electrifying debut on Monday Night Football, Kaepernick has been steady and relatively error-free in going 3-1 as a starter.

There has been a relative amount of uncertainty, though, as the Niners are suddenly clinging to a narrow lead in the NFC West division over the upstart Seattle Seahawks.

Kaepernick has been noticeably better at home in the small sample size available from his four starts, and a trip to Foxboro to face the mighty New England Patriots will be his biggest test yet with all that's at stake.

However, considering the 29th-ranked pass defense of the Patriots and the fact that Kaepernick brings athleticism to the position unlike anything New England has faced all season, he should step up with a big performance.

Although the Pats rush defense is stellar, the physicality of the Niners' mauling front and the incredible dynamic threat that Kaepernick and RB Frank Gore present will be a total game-changer.

It's been obvious from Day 1 that Kaepernick can run, but he's proven with an exceptionally strong and accurate arm that he can make every throw, too.

He will be without WR Mario Manningham in all likelihood (h/t ESPN), but with the Alex Smith controversy mostly put to bed at this point and the lights shining brightest, Kaepernick will elevate his play and have an exceptional game both running and throwing.

Projection: 21-of-30, 295 yards, 2 TDs; 6 carries, 70 yards, TD


Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

No one gives up more passing yards than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and this divisional clash should be a mismatch in that regard for the explosive passing attack New Orleans has.

After a Herculean effort by Brees just to get his team back into the playoff discussion at midseason, the Saints have lost three consecutive games and have no chance at the postseason. But Brees isn't the type to relent, especially in an NFC South showdown in the Superdome.

The Bucs are without obnoxiously expensive free agent Eric Wright, who is serving a four-game suspension, and traded away the talented but troubled CB Aquib Talib several weeks ago.

That certainly hasn't helped the defensive backfield—and has been a big reason why the Bucs have fallen out of the playoff chase with three straight losses of their own.

With such a thin, inexperienced crop of cornerbacks, it's hard to imagine Marques Colston not totally going off for a monster game, Devery Henderson not ripping off several deep gains and Lance Moore snagging a ton of receptions underneath.

Throw in dynamic receiving RB Darren Sproles and star TE Jimmy Graham to negotiate, and the Tampa defense will be in serious trouble when Brees drops back to pass. The Saints don't have much of a running game as it is, and the Bucs are No. 1 in the league against the run.

Translation: tons of passes from Brees, who should easily rack up over 400 yards and guide New Orleans to victory.

Projection: 35-of-50, 440 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs


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