Fantasy Football Rankings: Start 'em, Sit 'em for Week 15
At this point in the season, fantasy owners need to win just one game to advance to the championship. If they lose, however, the nine-month wait until the start of the 2013 season begins.
In other words, the decisions on which players to start, or sit, are magnified this week.
Looking ahead to the rest of this week's games, here are some players to consider starting in Week 15:
QB - Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (at NO)
Since the team's bye in Week 5, Freeman has thrown multiple touchdowns in all but one game. In fact, no quarterback has more such games than Freeman (eight). New England's Tom Brady is second with seven.
This will be Freeman's second time this season facing the Saints, who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year. In their first matchup, Freeman threw for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns.
RB - Knowshon Moreno, Broncos (at BAL)
Before Week 12, Moreno was inactive most weeks. In games he played, he wasn't featured as he had a total of eight carries through Week 11. Since then, however, Moreno has 20-plus carries in each of his past three games for a total of 72 during that span, filling in admirably for the injured Willis McGahee.
Once one of the league's stingiest run defenses, the Ravens have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year.
RB - David Wilson, Giants (at ATL)
With the sprained knee injury to Ahmad Bradshaw last week, Wilson finished with a season-high 13 carries and made the most of them. He rushed for 100 yards and two scores in addition to returning a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
The Falcons have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and only four teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns this season.
RB - Reggie Bush, Dolphins (vs. JAX)
Only the Saints and Raiders have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than the Jaguars, who have allowed four running backs to rush for more than 75 yards in the past two weeks.
Against the 49ers last week, Bush finished with more than 100 yards from scrimmage (65 rushing and 38 receiving) on 19 touches. After getting 10, four and 10 carries, respectively, in Weeks 9 to 11, Bush has at least 14 carries in each of the past three weeks.
WR - Danario Alexander, Chargers (vs. CAR)
Over the course of the past five weeks, Alexander has four games with double-digit fantasy points. During that span, he has 30 receptions for 494 yards and five touchdowns. He ranks second in touchdowns and fifth in receiving yards since Week 9.
WR - Mike Williams, Buccaneers (at NO)
After a disappointing sophomore campaign, Williams has bounced back nicely despite being the second option in the passing game behind free-agent addition Vincent Jackson. Williams is averaging a career-high 16.0 yards per reception and is on pace for 906 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
The Saints have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.
WR - Josh Gordon, Brown (vs. WAS)
With a great combination of size and speed, Gordon is averaging 17.4 yards per reception in his rookie season. In the past two weeks, Gordon has 14 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown.
This week, the Browns face the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. The Redskins have allowed nine 100-yard games to receivers this season, and that's excluding the 100-yard game they allowed to Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez.
WR - Lance Moore, Saints (vs. TB)
If Williams and Gordon have great matchups this week, Moore's matchup is even better. No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the Buccaneers. In their first matchup this season, Moore finished with nine receptions for 121 yards.
TE - Tony Scheffler, Lions (at ARI)
Scheffler is just outside of my top 12 fantasy tight ends for this week, but he has plenty of upside. Brandon Pettigrew is listed as doubtful with a high-ankle sprain and receivers Titus Young, Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles are already out for the year.
The Cardinals have allowed a touchdown to opposing tight ends in three consecutive games and in four of the past five weeks.
Here are some players to consider sitting in Week 15:
QB - Tony Romo, Cowboys (vs. PIT)
The Steelers have the league's stingiest pass defense (169.2 yards per game allowed) this season. In fact, last week's 200 passing yards allowed to the Chargers ended a streak of seven consecutive games holding opponents to fewer than 200 passing yards. Not only have they yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season, only four quarterbacks have reached 200 yards against them.
In his past seven games, Romo has five 300-yard games, including a pair of 400-yard games. One of the league's most dangerous playmakers, Dez Bryant, is expected to play—but with a broken finger—and therefore it's unclear how effective he will be. (See below.)
RB - Michael Turner, Falcons (vs. NYG)
Turner carried the ball seven times last week for 14 yards, both of which were season lows. In his past five games, Turner has three games with less than 20 rushing yards.
The good news is that Turner has rushed for a touchdown in four consecutive games. That said, only five teams have allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than the Giants.
RB - DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (at SD)
The Daily Show will miss another game. That should lead to another heavy workload for Williams, who had a season-high 17 carries last week.
The Chargers have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and have kept opposing running backs out of the end zone in five consecutive weeks.
RB - Montell Owens, Jaguars (at MIA)
With Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele out, Owens will be the featured back again this week. Against the Jets last week, he rushed 14 times for 91 yards and a touchdown plus he added one reception for 11 yards.
Things won't go as well for Owens this week.
Despite facing a top-seven rushing offense in four consecutive weeks, the Dolphins allowed no 100-yard rushers during that span and have allowed only one 100-yard rusher all season. The Dolphins have one of seven defenses to hold teams to less than four yards per carry this year.
WR - Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs/ DET)
Sadly, Fitzgerald's talent is wasting away this season in Arizona. The trio of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley is absolutely awful (and that's being kind).
In his past four games, Fitzgerald has a total of six receptions on 37 targets for 67 yards and no touchdowns. Last week, he had one reception on 11 targets for only two yards.
WR - Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs. PIT)
Bryant has been as good as virtually any other receiver in football lately with the exception of Calvin Johnson. Since Week 4, Bryant has 62 receptions for 864 yards and a league-high nine touchdowns. He has scored in five consecutive games and has a total of seven touchdowns during that span.
Unfortunately for Bryant and his fantasy owners, he broke his index finger last week. Although Bryant is expected to play, it's difficult to determine how effective he will be.
WR - Brandon Lloyd, Patriots (vs. SF)
Lloyd had one of his best games this season last week against the Texans. He finished with seven receptions for 89 yards and a score. Before last week, however, Lloyd had 45 yards or less in his previous six games.
Only the Seahawks have allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than the 49ers this year.
TE - Vernon Davis, 49ers (at NE)
If your fingers are crossed that Davis will have a bounce-back performance this week, the good news is that the Patriots have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
In his past three games, however, Davis has a total of three receptions for 19 yards. That is one fantasy point in three games combined.
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