Fantasy Football Week 15: Top Surprises and Performances From Sunday

Keet Bailey@@KeetBaileyCorrespondent IIDecember 20, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos kneels on the ground before their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week 15 is seemingly over with, in what was undoubtedly a huge week for many owners’ fantasy football playoffs. This was also a huge week for Fantasy Football surprises. Many of Sunday’s games came right down to the wire, and we even saw a few teams come back from a large deficit to make for entertaining game day finishes.

The New York Giants had a 24-3 lead at halftime, only to give up 28 fourth quarter points, including a DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown as time expired to give the Eagles the victory.

The Green Bay Packers nearly held on to a late lead against the New England Patriots, and blew the game with poor clock management and play-calling with young signal caller Matt Flynn replacing Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots took control of the game in the middle of the 4th quarter after Aaron Hernandez caught his second touchdown pass.

Here are some of the top individual performances and surprises in Fantasy Football for Week 15:

10. Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati

Benson led the charge for the Bengals in a 19-17 victory over the Browns on Sunday. Benson rushed 31 times for 150 yards and one touchdown to give him his best performance of the season.

What’s surprising is that the Browns were tied with the Steelers for the least ground touchdowns in the NFL, and the fact that Benson has been an utter disappointment this season. This week makes just his third 100 yard performance of the season, and he’s barely rushed for over 100 yards in the last three weeks. Benson rewarded owners with 21 points.

9. Maurice Morris, RB, Detroit

Detroit won their first road game in 26 attempts on Sunday against Tampa Bay and Maurice Morris played a significant part in that victory. Morris rushed just 15 times in the football game, but totaled 109 yards and a touchdown.

Since Week 11, Morris has become a decent Flex option in deeper leagues. In Week 15, he totaled 15 points for fantasy owners, which is more than respectable for the slot.

8. Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland

Despite a losing effort against the Bengals on Sunday, Colt McCoy came back from his ankle sprain and played very well. McCoy was recently named the starter for the rest of the 2010 season by head coach Eric Mangini.

McCoy threw the ball 25 times, completing 19 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.  The Browns could have won the game if it weren’t for such poor tackling by the defense, giving up 150 yards to Cedric Benson. McCoy finished the day with a very respectable 17 fantasy points.

7. Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis

Congratulations to Donald Brown on his first career 100 yard game. It only took forever for the UConn product to put together a solid game for fantasy owners.

Brown rushed just 14 times against Tennessee, including a 49 yard rush early in the game, and totaled 129 yards and a touchdown. If you took a chance on Brown this week, he got you a nice 18 points, which is better than what most RB1’s did this week.

6. Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England

Since Week 10, Hernandez has been somewhat disappointing. After a solid start to the season, Rob Gronkowski started to take over as the main tight end in New England.

Hernandez was a factor against the man coverage of the Packers in Week 15, catching four passes, two of which ended up being touchdowns. If you can’t tell, Hernandez see’s more field against man coverage, and Gronkowski plays more when the defense is running zone. That could help you determine which one to play. Hernandez finished with 16 fantasy points.

5. Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay

What a surprise this was, to see Matt Flynn nearly beat the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Flynn replaced Aaron Rodgers who has sat with a concussion. Flynn played a pretty sound game, despite turning the ball over twice. Unfortunately, inexperience showed quite a bit in the fourth quarter.

Flynn still completed 24 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns. His one interception and fumble kept him from eclipsing 20 points, but he got a very solid 19 points for any owner risky enough to start him.

4. Brian Robiskie, WR, Cleveland

Browns fans have been waiting for Robiskie to make plays for nearly two seasons now. In Week 15, he finally started to show his ability in the receiving game.

Against Cincinnati, Robo caught five passes for 82 yards, and recorded his first career touchdown catch in a tough 19-17 loss on the road. Robiskie is most likely not owned in your league. There are several better options, but this was nice to see. If there was some reason why you started Robiskie, he rewarded you with 14 fantasy points.

3. Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants

Manningham was quite the surprise as well in Week 15. With Hakeem Nicks back, and Kevin Boss playing well, it was thought that Manningham would be just a mediocre Flex start at the most.

Manningham was disappointing in a few previous weeks as the No. 1 receiver with Steve Smith and Nicks out, so projecting his stats for this game didn’t make many optimistic. Manningham recorded his first 100 yard receiving game of 2010, and his first multi touchdown game, catching eight passes for 113 yards, and two touchdowns. He rewarded fantasy owners with 21 points in Week 15.

2. Tim Tebow, QB, Denver

It pains me, as a non-Tebow fan, to put him on this list, but I will say that he played a respectable game. Tebow made his first start, in place of Kyle Orton, who is now third on the depth chart.

Tebow only completed eight passes in a 39-23 loss to Oakland, but he threw for 138 yards, and a touchdown. What was most surprising was Tebow’s 40 yard touchdown run, right up the middle of the Oakland defense. He finished with eight rushes for 78 yards and that touchdown, and totaled 22 fantasy points for any owner ballsy enough to start him.

1. Rex Grossman, QB,Washington

Perhaps the most surprising performance of Week 15 was Rex Grossman. Despite Donovan McNabb’s new contract, he was moved to the third string, with Grossman getting the start on the road against Dallas. While Dallas’ secondary hasn’t done anything special this season, it seemed like a lock to shut down Grossman, who hasn’t been effective since 2006.

Grossman really told me, after he threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns in a last minute loss to the Cowboys. Washington was down 30-14 at one point, and Grossman led the Redskins in a fourth quarter resurgence and a near victory. If you took a chance on Grossman this week, for whatever reason, you were given the early Christmas gift of 26 fantasy points, which only Michael Vick put up more.

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