Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 15: Gauging Value of Unpredictable Fantasy Stars

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 01:  Mike Wallace #11 of the Miami Dolphins scores a touchdown against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 1, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With your fantasy football playoffs underway, it's imperative to handle your team with the utmost care. You don't want to see all of your hard work undone in Week 15.

What's good, or bad, depending on your perspective of the playoff structure, is that all you need is one or two players having huge games to get a leg up on the competition. The converse is that one or two players underperforming can wreck your week and knock you out.

Looking ahead to this weekend's action, there are plenty of questionable fantasy players. It's important that you properly weigh their value before making any decision.


QB: Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 06: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks back at head coach Marc Trestman during a game against the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field on October 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Saints defeated the Bears 26-18. (Photo by Jonat
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jay Cutler will be starting for the Chicago Bears.

Given the performance of Josh McCown in recent weeks, there could've been some debate as to whether he or Cutler should be under center in Week 15.

With McCown's success, you should actually be a little encouraged when it comes to Cutler's possibilities this week. Sure he'll still be the risk-taking gunslinger he's always been, but at least he could put up big numbers.

The Cleveland Browns aren't a great defensive team, and they're better against the run than they are the pass. In addition, Cleveland has 10 interceptions on the season, 21st in the league.

Cutler should be in line for a solid performance.

Verdict: Start


RB: Jordan Todman, Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Jordan Todman #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at EverBank Field on November 17, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

A lot of Jordan Todman's fantasy value hinges on Maurice Jones-Drew's availability. The veteran running back Jones-Drew is listed as doubtful, so it's looking as if he won't be on the field against the Buffalo Bills.

That opens the door for Todman, the Jacksonville Jaguars' second-leading rusher.

There's no doubting that the third-year running back is a risk this weekend should you choose to start him. He hasn't had a standout performance, and with so little evidence to go off of, you can't say for sure what kind of potential he has.

However, this late into the season, it's nice to have a running back you know should get some carries. The Bills should shut down the Jaguars' passing game, leaving Todman plenty of opportunities.

Although Todman deserves a start, he's more for those in desperate need of a running back option.

Verdict: Start


WR: Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Wide receiver Mike Wallace #11 of the Miami Dolphins warms up for play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers November 11, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Tampa won 22 - 19. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In general, you shouldn't expect much from Mike Wallace. That way when he's really bad you're not disappointed, and when he's actually good, it's a pleasant surprise.

His sporadic performances are something that you don't want to be dealing with in the playoffs.

Although the New England Patriots are giving up 236 yards a game through the air, they've done well against opposing teams' No. 1 wideouts. According to Football Outsiders, New England ranks 10th, surrendering 55.5 yards a game.

When you combine this with Wallace's inconsistency, it doesn't give you a ton of confidence in his potential on Sunday.

If anything, Brian Hartline is the Dolphins wide receiver set to have a big game.

Verdict: Sit


TE: Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 13: Scott Chandler #84 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball in for a touchdown after making a reception during NFL game action against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Jaguars rank 29th against opposing tight ends, according to Football Outsiders. That's good news if you're looking for a tight end on the waiver wire or are one of the few people who actually has Scott Chandler on your team.

Looking at his 2013 performance, it's unrealistic to expect Chandler to have 100-plus yards or two-plus touchdowns. He's failed to eclipse the century mark in any game this year, and he's caught just two touchdowns over the entirety of the year.

However, in Week 15, you can't expect to find a wealth of great tight ends on the open market. It's such a fickle fantasy position that all the consistent options were grabbed up weeks ago. This is as good as it's gonna get.

At least Chandler should get somewhere around 50-70 yards and maybe a touchdown.

Verdict: Start