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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.