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Fantasy Football Rankings Week 15: Top Studs at Every Position

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after rushing for a first quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

The fact that we have reached Week 15 of the 2013 NFL regular season indicates that fantasy owners are likely in the midst of the postseason.

The emphasis on the rankings heading into Week 15 is through the roof. If owners are still alive in the playoffs and desperate to find out who the biggest fantasy studs will be in such pivotal matchups, look no further.

Here are my top five rankings at every position and the top studs to watch.

*Based on standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats via ESPN.



Week 15 Quarterback Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. points
1 Peyton Manning Denver Broncos San Diego Chargers 28
2 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints St. Louis Rams 24
3 Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers 22
4 Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers Denver Broncos 21
5 Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts Houston Texans 20


DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 8:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates a 20 yard fourth quarter touchdown pass to Eric Decker #87 (not pictured) during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Top Stud: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

The leading MVP candidate in the NFL is also the leading fantasy MVP candidate, and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will prove once again why he has led owners this far in the postseason.

After amassing seven games this year with four or more touchdowns, Manning will try to amass the feat once again in a favorable matchup.

The San Diego Chargers are ranked 28th in the NFL against the pass and have allowed 17.6 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs. After Manning threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the previous meeting between these two teams, fantasy owners have no reason to believe he won't do it again.


Running Backs

Week 15 Running Back Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. Points
1 Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders 22
2 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia Eagles Minnesota Vikings 20
3 DeMarco Murray Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers 19
4 Marshawn Lynch Seattle Seahawks New York Giants 19
5 Knowshon Moreno Denver Broncos San Diego Chargers 18


KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 27: Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes up field against the Cleveland Browns during the first half on October 27, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Image
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Top Stud: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was always considered one of the better players in the league, but head coach Andy Reid has brought the best out of him.

No more pertinent example of that success was his 152 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week against the Washington Redskins.

Charles will follow up his monster performance by going up against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders deserve credit for playing better defensively over the last month, but the team is still giving up an average of 15.8 points per game to backs.

Owners should expect Charles to exploit the advantage and have a monster day.


Wide Receivers

Week 15 Wide Receiver Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. points
1 Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Baltimore Ravens 25
2 Demaryius Thomas Denver Broncos San Diego Chargers 21
3 Josh Gordon Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears 20
4 A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh Steelers 18
5 Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers 18


DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions stiff arms Mark Barron #23 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a second quarter catch at Ford Field on November 24, 2013 in Detroit, Michi
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Top Stud: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Fantasy owners need Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson to bounce back after a subpar performance in the snow last week, and the matchup with a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up 22.1 fantasy points per game to wide receivers is the ideal situation.

If a bouncing back from the three catches and 52 yards he amassed Sunday wasn't important enough, the recent comment from Ravens safety Matt Elam about Johnson being "pretty old," per the AP (via ESPN), has only added fuel to Megatron's fire.

The Lions need a win on Monday and will look to Johnson early and often.


Tight Ends

Week 15 Tight End Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. points
1 Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints St. Louis Rams 20
2 Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers 17
3 Julius Thomas Denver Broncos San Diego Chargers 17
4 Vernon Davis San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16
5 Tony Gonzalez Atlanta Falcons Washington Redskins 14


ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 21: Tight end Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome on November 21, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Ge
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Top Stud: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

With New England's Rob Gronkowski going down for the season with a torn MCL and ACL, the unquestioned top fantasy tight end is the New Orleans Saints' Jimmy Graham. He will have a chance to prove his worth this week against the St. Louis Rams.

St. Louis has been tough on opposing tight ends, allowing only 5.7 points per game, but Graham is not the typical check-down weapon. With Drew Brees slinging the ball out of the pocket and Graham having the height and speed to beat any linebacker on the Rams roster, he will continue to find success.



Week 15 Defense/Special Teams Rankings
Rank Team Opponent Proj. points
1 Seattle Seahawks New York Giants 20
2 San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18
3 Kansas City Chiefs Oakland Raiders 18
4 Arizona Cardinals Tennessee Titans 16
5 Cincinnati Bengals Pittsburgh Steelers 15


Dec 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll walks down the sideline during a timeout against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Cary
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Top Stud: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks are coming off a tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but the defense was not the issue in that game. Not only will the offense be given the chance to shine against the the New York Giants, but the defense will also be playing at a high level against a lackluster offense.

Add in the fact that Seattle is ranked in the top 10 in terms of fewest points allowed to opposing players at every major position, and fantasy owners that drafted the team defense early will be rewarded with another big performance.



Week 15 Kicker Rankings
Rank Player Team Opponent Proj. points
1 Matt Prater Denver Broncos San Diego Chargers 15
2 Steven Hauschka Seattle Seahawks New York Giants 14
3 Stephen Gostkowski New England Patriots Miami Dolphins 13
4 Justin Tucker Baltimore Ravens Detroit Lions 12
5 Blair Walsh Minnesota Vikings Philadelphia Eagles 12


DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 8:  Place kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos makes a 25-yard field goal on a hold by Britton Colquitt #4 during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on December 8, 2013
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Top Stud: Matt Prater, Denver Broncos

After breaking the NFL record with a 64-yard field goal last Sunday, Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is Week 15's kicking stud. Prater's overall numbers have been skewed by Denver's effectiveness in the red zone, but he has still hit 18-of-19 field goal attempts this season and 65-of-65 extra points.

The defense of the San Diego Chargers has been playing better lately, but with a range like few others in NFL history, Prater should have ample opportunities to shine Thursday Night.


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