Week 15 Fantasy Football: Matt Ryan's Atlanta Falcons Should Soar

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IDecember 17, 2010

Ryan has a great fantasy matchup this week.
Ryan has a great fantasy matchup this week.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s fantasy football playoff time, which means you’re very likely still deciding on which players to sit and which to start. That’s where the fantasy versus decision-maker comes in.

We’re here to aid you in picking between the toughest fantasy matchups, and the best part is, we’re going to be here all the way to the Super Bowl. That’s right, not only are we helping you win your fantasy football playoffs, but we’ll also be guiding fantasy users through the 2010 NFL Playoffs with weekly advice to help them win fantasy football playoff games.

But let’s take it one step at a time, shall we?

This week is either the beginning of that yellow brick road, or marks the end of a long, grueling season. Check here for a breakdown of some tough matchups, or catch us in our live NFL chat from 10-1 pm ET this Sunday.

Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants vs. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Manning goes up against the Philadelphia Eagles, who he actually played fairly well against in their last meeting. In fact, this time around, Philly’s once-stout defense will be without middle linebacker Stewart Bradley and edge rusher Brandon Graham. Manning is good for two to three turnovers per game on a regular basis, but the weakened Eagles defense still presents a decent matchup.

Ryan, on the other hand, continues to be solid, yet not elite. However, he gets the Seattle Seahawks this week, a team that let Alex Smith ravage them for three scores in Week 14. That, plus the fact that Ryan is more stable and has a better offense than Smith, bodes well for Ryan’s fantasy potential this week. Leave Manning and his turnovers at the curb and start Ryan this week.

Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jon Kitna, QB, Dallas Cowboys

Both quarterbacks have what should be dominant rushing attacks, or at least their respective teams are “expected” to concentrate on running the ball. However, both quarterbacks are also capable of putting up very solid numbers, and both have very nice matchups in Week 15.

However, this is the playoffs, and you have to be clicking on all cylinders. That’s why we’re going with Collins, who is fresh off of a three touchdown and no picks effort in Week 14, and gets the Houston Texans this week. Kitna should make for a solid start as well against a bad Redskins defense, but we like Collins with a dream matchup.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Both backs have pretty good roles in their offense and get a lot of touches, but neither has been the model of consistency in fantasy football this season. Blount faces an under-rated Detroit defense this week, while Forte gets a Minnesota defense that was gashed by the Giants power run game last week, but also randomly chooses to show up and play at a high level in certain weeks.

With the game outside and likely to be cold with possible snow, we like the Bears to give Forte a heavy dose of carries, and we also don’t see the Vikings putting up much of a fight in stopping him. Forte also carries extra value as a receiver, where he has more big-play ability. Run Forte into the ground as the Bears likely will this week.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Javarris James, RB, Indianapolis Colts

This is the case of two smaller name backs who have produced solid outputs in the past week or so. While their production has been somewhat random—and neither can be fully relied upon for RB2 numbers—either back could serve as a playoff booster in your Flex spot. But who’s the better pick?

If it wasn’t for Jennings’ 70+ yard touchdown jaunt last week, he might not even be on the radar. James, on the other hand, got a heavy dose of carries last week and has three touchdowns in his past two contests. With no one else stepping up and producing in Indy’s rush offense, James should be the guy against a beatable Jaguars defense. Jennings has a tasty fantasy match-up against a bad Colts run defense, but you can’t bank on carries or production with Maurice Jones-Drew killing it in fantasy.

Joe Webb, QB/WR, Minnesota Vikings vs. All Other WR3 and Flex Candidates

Injuries or inconsistency could have you completely re-thinking your WR3 or Flex positions, or just how you look at fantasy football in general. Webb is expected to make the start for the Vikings this week, and while we wouldn’t promote him as a quarterback option, his availability in several fantasy leagues as a wide receiver (in addition to quarterback) makes him a sexy pick for your WR3 or Flex spot.

If you’re debating starting guys like Mike Thomas, Donald Driver, Mohamed Massaquoi or even Carolina’s Steve Smith, toss all of the hope and aspirations for those inconsistent performers out the window. As long as you’re allowed to play Webb as a receiver, take advantage of this awesome loop-hole in the name of Julian Edelman and Danny Woodhead. Webb could be the talk of fantasy football once Week 15 is over, and could be the difference between a win and a loss.

Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers vs. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Jennings was not himself last week, and that was largely thanks to a less-than-able Matt Flynn throwing him the majority of the passes, as starter Aaron Rodgers was down for the count with a concussion. Rodgers isn’t a safe start this week with the head injury, and with Flynn likely under center, Jennings could be left out of the gameplan with an active Patriots defense giving Flynn hell in his first career start.

Austin, on the other hand, while fairly unreliable the past few weeks, gets a great match-up with the Washington Redskins. Dez Bryant is no longer around to compete for targets and Roy Williams is iffy to play in Week 15. Expect a big game for Austin.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots vs. Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

You’ve got Mr. Inconsistency vs. Mr. Nothing. You’d think with Michael Vick’s history of loving tight ends and the fact that he’s been so productive, that Celek would eventually catch fire. While that’s always a possibility, this is the playoffs and it’s time to stop banking on potential every week.

Gronkowski is the safer play as he’s a huge red-zone threat and any week offers him the chance to rack up between four and five catches and 50+ yards. With seven touchdowns on the year, and the Patriots offense running over any defense it faces, you have to go with the Gron.

Visanthe Shiancoe, TE, Minnesota Vikings vs. Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago Bears

Both tight ends have put up pretty weak production over the past few weeks, with Olsen only registering one measly catch in each of his past three games. With “Shank’s” production seemingly limited with Joe Webb likely under center, you have to think his poor production will continue.

Olsen, on the other hand, had a good showing last time the Vikings and Bears faced off, and he simply has the better matchup. Neither are ideal starts, but if you need to pick one, go with Olsen.