Fantasy Football Sunday Morning Start or Sit: Week 15: Griffin, Bryant & More

Eric StashinSenior Writer IDecember 16, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 09:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on December 9, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Just hours before the start of Week 15 (for most teams anyways), I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins, Quarterback

Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting that:

“At team meeting minutes ago, Redskins players were informed Kirk Cousins will start at Cleveland, according to text from person in room.”

It’s surprising news, especially after Griffin had been practicing this week (albeit on a limited basis).  Griffin has been among the elite fantasy players in the league, but you are going to be forced to battle for your title without him.  Hopefully you planned accordingly earlier in the week and have a viable alternative.

Kirk Cousins will get the start and, while he did play well last week in relief, is still a rookie himself and an unknown (just look at Nick Foles for how up-and-down rookies can be).  Chances are Alfred Morris is going to become an even bigger part of the offense.  Already a must-start, he can actually be nudged up a few more spots on the rankings.

David Wilson, New York Giants, Running Back

With Ahmad Bradshaw already ruled out and the Giants shallow at the position, Wilson is in line to carry the load.  Granted, the team could easily put the ball in the hands of Eli Manning even more than usual, but seeing Wilson get at least 15-20 touches is very realistic.

He showed what he could do last week, rushing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries (not even counting the electric day he had returning kicks).  He also faces a Falcons defense that has allowed seven rushes of at least 40 yards (most in the league), 12 rushes of at least 20 yards (tied for sixth most in the league) and 14 rushing touchdowns (fifth most in the league).

Big-play running back + Rushing defense susceptible to big plays = Ideal fantasy matchup

Consider Wilson a good play in all formats as a RB2/FLEX option.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers, Running Back

According to Michael Gehlken (via Twitter):

“If Ryan Mathews doesn’t break career high in touches (28) Sunday, may be close. Team wants RM heavily involved w/ Ronnie Brown likely out.”

While Mathews has generally been a disappointment this season, with 685 rushing yards and 1 TD, this news comes at the perfect time. 

We may not want to trust him, but he is going to take on a Panthers defense that is allowing 121.6 rushing yards per game and 11 TD.  They have also allowed 24 points per game, 12th most in the league.

It’s hard to call him a must-start option, with a big workload seemingly on the horizon, he should be in store for a solid afternoon.  As a RB2/FLEX, he’s worth using in all formats.


Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, Wide Receiver

According to Calvin Watkins (via Twitter):

“Filed to, Cowboys expect Dez Bryant to play Sunday vs. Pittsburgh.”

While Bryant does have tremendous potential, his production is going to be a complete unknown as he likely will be sporting a splint for his broken finger.  He does remain a viable option, if you use him or not completely depends on your alternatives.  This is simply a case-by-case situation.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears, Quarterback

Listed as probable, it appears Cutler is going to be on the field this week.  Of course, that doesn’t mean he should be in your fantasy lineup.  In Week 2 against the Packers, all Cutler did was post 126 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. 

While he did have over 300 yards in his one 2011 matchup, in three games in 2010 (he met them in the playoffs) he failed to exceed 221 yards while throwing one touchdown vs. four interceptions.

In other words, a matchup with the Packers is rarely a positive for Cutler.  Coupled with his overall performance this season, he can only be considered in two-quarterback formats.

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, Tight End

Listed as questionable (like the majority of Patriots players), Gronkowski isn’t expected to play (unlike Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd).  According to Albert Breer (via Twitter):

“I’m told that, though he did get out to practice today, it’s still considered unlikely that Rob Gronkowski will play on Sunday.”

In other words, don’t plan on using him.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams, Wide Receiver

Amendola is listed as probable, so it looks like he’s going to be back on the field against the Minnesota Vikings.  Does that mean he’s trustworthy, however?  That’s a tough pill to swallow with your fantasy title hanging in the balance.

He’s suffered setbacks before and has been used as nothing more than a decoy when he did dress.  That’s not to say that he’s not going to play a vital role, but just that it’s hard to depend on him to do so. In PPR leagues or three-receiver formats, things are a little bit different. 

That said, he’s probably a low-end option based on the risk.  It fully depends on your alternatives as far as whether he is your fantasy lineup.

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons, Wide Receiver

He’s listed as questionable for their matchup with a banged-up Giants secondary, so fantasy owners are going to have to keep a close eye on the news this morning.  If he’s playing, he’s going to be worth using based on the matchup.

Shonn Greene/Bilal Powell. New York Jets, Running Back

With Powell listed as probable for Monday night, this is looking like a time share once again.  While both were productive in Week 14, both should be considered risky plays this week despite a favorable matchup. 

If you need an option in a deeper league, both are worth considering, but neither is more than a low-end RB2/FLEX option because of the uncertainty of their roles.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 15 rankings: