Week 15 Fantasy Football Rankings: Studs Who Will Lead You to Playoff Success

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 8:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints jogs onto the field during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Panthers 31-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Not only is Week 15 huge for teams across the NFL, but it is of the utmost importance for fantasy owners as well. Some NFL teams can afford to lose and still make the playoffs, but any fantasy team that loses in Week 15 is in line for a long and disappointing offseason.

In order to avoid falling short of the championship game, some huge performances are needed. As was proven during the Thursday night game between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, nothing is guaranteed. Even so, there are plenty of top-flight players who should play quite well in Week 15.

Here are the top five rankings and projections for each skill position, along with a closer look at the players who will truly elevate your fantasy team this weekend.



Top Projected Week 15 QB Scorers
RankPlayerTeamPass YdsPass TDINTRush Yds
1Drew BreesNO322300
2Matt RyanATL307310
3Tony RomoDAL299325
4Russell WilsonSEA2602035
5Nick FolesPHI2852010


Drew Brees (New Orleans)

After a pitiful performance on the road in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense came to life in Week 14. New Orleans had its way with a tough Carolina Panthers defense, and Brees rebounded to the tune of 313 yards and four touchdowns, which was his best performance in a month.

If Brees was able to do that against Carolina, he should have a field day when the Saints play the St. Louis Rams in Week 15. New Orleans isn't as good on the road, but Brees won't have much of an issue playing in St. Louis' dome. Expect another vintage Brees performance on Sunday.



Running Backs

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


DeMarco Murray (Dallas)

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 11:   DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, much of the talk centers on Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and the passing game. Running back DeMarco Murray has been an absolute stud for Dallas in recent weeks, though, and he may be the biggest key to the team's success moving forward. His carries have been on the rise, and he has an ideal matchup in Week 15.

The Green Bay Packers allow 123 rushing yards per game, and they have surrendered 11 rushing touchdowns as well. Murray has over 100 total yards in each of his past three games. He is coming off a 146-yard rushing performance in Week 14, and he scored three touchdowns one week earlier. He is on a roll, and the Packers defense is on the ropes.



Wide Receivers

Top Projected Week 15 WR Scorers
RankPlayerTeamRecRec YdsRec TD
1Calvin JohnsonDET71212
2Dez BryantDAL51062
3Josh GordonCLE61191
4DeSean JacksonPHI51031
5Roddy WhiteATL51001


Josh Gordon (Cleveland)

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 24: Wide receiver Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns completes a pass for a first down while under pressure from cornerback Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 2
Jason Miller/Getty Images

At this point, it doesn't seem like it matters who Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon plays against. He has developed into one of the elite pass catchers in the game, and he even leads the NFL in receiving yardage. Gordon has at least 125 receiving yards and a touchdown in each of his past four games, and he is simply playing at a different level than his opponents right now.

According to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com, Browns quarterback Jason Campbell believes that Gordon missing the season's first two games due to suspension gave him a new appreciation for football:

Coming into the season, I know there was a lot of trade talk and a lot of trade rumors. And with him missing the first two games of the season, I think he had a chance to really sit back and just look at things on the outside of what a great opportunity he has and what a great opportunity he’s missing out on when he wasn't playing.

When he came back, he had a totally different mindset about playing in the NFL, a totally different mindset about his ability to make plays, and I think a lot of it is, once the trade rumor was also over with, I think he was able to relax and just start to play the game.

After consecutive 200-yard games in Weeks 12 and 13, Gordon had "only" 151 yards and a score in Week 14. If that is a ordinary performance for him, then fantasy owners who are facing Gordon this week shudder to think what he could do against them. The Browns are facing a decent Chicago Bears pass defense, but they have allowed 20 passing scores, which bodes well for Gordon.



Tight Ends

Top Projected Week 15 TE Scorers
RankPlayerTeamRecRec YdsRec TD
1Jimmy GrahamNO81202
2Jason WittenDAL6851
3Tony GonzalezATL5801
4Dennis PittaBAL7771
5Jordan CameronCLE6721


Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta)

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 08: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown after a catch against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 8, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez returned for one more season in pursuit of a Super Bowl title. Unfortunately for him, injuries and inconsistent play have derailed the Falcons' season. Gonzalez hasn't been as good this year as he was last year either, and that has left his fantasy owners somewhat disappointed. There is still time for Gonzalez to turn things around, though.

Gonzalez has topped 100 yards just once this season, but he does have a touchdown catch in consecutive games. Now that his career is winding down, it stands to reason that Matt Ryan will try to get him the ball as much as possible, especially against the leaky Washington Redskins defense.


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