Fantasy Football

Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings: Predicting Top Playoff Performers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions on December 8, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

For most fantasy teams, their stud players are the ones who have gotten the job done for them all season long. If they are still alive during the fantasy playoffs in Week 15, then their studs are largely responsible.

In order to move on, though, the studs must continue to perform at a high level.

Luckily, many of the top fantasy football performers this season have some solid matchups ahead of them this week. That doesn't necessarily guarantee success, but fantasy owners always feel much more confident when their players are facing lower-level defenses.

Here is a look at which players figure to put up big numbers at each skill position in Week 15 as fantasy owners hope to advance to the finals.

 

Quarterback

Top Projected Week 15 QB Scorers
RankPlayerTeamPass YdsPass TDINTRush Yds
1Peyton ManningDEN345400
2Drew BreesNO322300
3Philip RiversSD318310
4Matt RyanATL307310
5Tony RomoDAL299325
Projection

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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

It's no secret that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the class of the NFL and fantasy football this year, so there is nothing that will keep his owners from starting him in Week 15.

The fact that he is playing in the Thursday night game is somewhat disconcerting, since players don't seem to score as well as usual in those games, but Manning's great matchup more than makes up for that. Still, he understands the challenge of playing on a short week, per the team's official site.

It’s a challenge for both teams and certainly we knew it was on the schedule and is a real discipline by each player to get themselves physically ready to play. Get your rest, at the same time trying to study your opponent getting ready to play them.

But there’s no question it’s a challenge.

The Broncos are facing a San Diego Chargers defense that surrenders nearly 267 passing yards per game. Manning had his way with the Bolts earlier in the season to the tune of 330 yards and four touchdowns, and there is no reason to believe things will be any different this time around.

Expect Manning to have a field day.

 

Running Back

Top Projected Week 15 RB Scorers
RankPlayerTeamRush YdsRush TDsRecRec YdsRec TDs
1LeSean McCoyPHI15524370
2Matt ForteCHI10217731
3Jamaal CharlesKC11525410
4DeMarco MurrayDAL12223250
5Alfred MorrisWAS1282000
Projection

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

Although Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has been among the best players at his position all season long, his usage has been somewhat inconsistent.

Quarterback Nick Foles was receiving much of the credit for Philly's success for good reason, but McCoy will be the key moving forward and head coach Chip Kelly figured that out in Week 14.

McCoy carried the ball 29 times out of necessity, since the Eagles played the Detroit Lions in snowy conditions, but Shady proved that he is capable of taking over a game.

In fact, his success is sparking MVP talk, and NFL on ESPN has him ranked third in the race, via Dan Graciano:

McCoy rushed for a team-record 217 yards and two touchdowns, and even though he probably won't replicate those numbers in Week 15, he shouldn't have much trouble against a Minnesota Vikings defense that gives up 119 rushing yards per game.

 

Wide Receivers

Top Projected Week 15 WR Scorers
RankPlayerTeamRecRec YdsRec TDs
1Demaryius ThomasDEN71282
2Calvin JohnsonDET71212
3Dez BryantDAL51062
4Josh GordonCLE61191
5DeSean JacksonPHI51031
Projection

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Ge
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

If Manning is going to have a huge game for Denver, then it stands to reason that at least one of his receivers will go off as well. Manning likes to spread the ball around, so you never quite know who is going to have a big day, but Demaryius Thomas is the No. 1 guy for all intents and purposes.

Thomas has 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, and it just so happens that he turned in his best performance of the year against the Chargers.

In Week 10, Thomas nabbed seven passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns against San Diego. The Chargers simply don't have anyone who can cover a player with Thomas' combination of size and speed, so he figures to be open often.

As long as Manning finds him, as he so often does, Thomas will get his fantasy owners off to a great start.

 

Tight Ends

Top Projected Week 15 TE Scorers
RankPlayerTeamRecRec YdsRec TDs
1Jimmy GrahamNO81202
2Julius ThomasDEN5921
3Jason WittenDAL6851
4Tony GonzalezATL5801
5Dennis PittaBAL7771
Projection

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 27:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 27, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham hasn't been as dominant in recent weeks as he was early in the season, but that doesn't change the fact that he is easily the best tight end in football.

Over the past two weeks, Graham has 100 combined receiving yards, which is subpar for him, but he also has three touchdown receptions. Any other tight end would be thrilled with that type of production, but more is expected of Graham because he is a wide receiver in a tight end's body.

Graham will play on the road this week, but the game will take place in a dome, as the Saints face the St. Louis Rams.

The Rams' pass defense has been fairly generous this season, allowing roughly 250 passing yards per game, and with Saints quarterback Drew Brees back in business, the table is set for Graham to dominate.

 

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