The fantasy football playoffs are in full swing as Week 15 approaches, and owners are focused on finding the stars that will falter in the most pivotal games of the season.
Whether it’s a tough matchup or a lack of confidence following a tough loss, each of the following fantasy juggernauts will let owners down and cost them a championship if they’re in the starting lineup.
If you have another option this week, each of these stars should find his way to your bench.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is coming off one of the worst games of his career against the Philadelphia Eagles in the snow, amassing only 148 yards, zero touchdowns and five fumbles.
While weather was a huge reason for his lack of success, Stafford has struggled with his consistency this season. He threw for three touchdowns in three of his last four games coming into Week 14, but the lack of Reggie Bush in the backfield as he dealt with a calf injury gave Stafford little help against an Eagles defense that was attacking all day.
Add in his eight interceptions over that same four-game stretch, and it’s clear that Detroit isn’t doing a very good job protecting the football.
Stafford and the Lions now square off against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. Baltimore has been stingy against opponents’ quarterbacks this season, allowing only 15.2 points per game.
At a time of year when every point matters, Stafford must find his way to your bench if you have a better option.
Predicted Stat Line: 250 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
Fantasy owners that drafted New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz were treated to a three-touchdown performance in Week 1, but he has only scored once since then and has been a fantasy shell of the player he was in 2012.
Owners must sit him on the bench this week against the vaunted defense of the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle is the best in the league at shutting down opposing wide receivers, allowing just 13.5 points per game. While Cruz sees plenty of playing time each week (six targets or more in 11 of 13 games), he has failed to find a consistent rapport with quarterback Eli Manning.
If Manning and Cruz couldn’t get on the same page against San Diego’s defense last week, catching only five passes for 42 yards and zero touchdowns, there is no way a fantasy owner should have confidence starting Cruz against Seattle.
Predicted Stat Line: Three receptions for 40 yards and zero touchdowns.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
Owners will see Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris’ matchup against the lowly Atlanta Falcons and fall in love, but this is the ultimate example of fool’s gold.
Atlanta may give up 19.3 points per game to opposing backs, but the defense usually has to worry about the passing attack as well. That’s not the case this week.
Starting QB Robert Griffin was reportedly benched this week to preserve his health, per John Keim of ESPN.com, and the Falcons will stack eight or even nine in the box against an offense that will run the ball all day.
Backup Kirk Cousins is a bright young star on his own, but the lack of practice and playing time this season will limit his effectiveness. Atlanta will be ready for Morris and limit his numbers.
Predicted Stat Line: 20 carries for 60 yards and zero touchdowns.