Week 15 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Chris Johnson and Others To Start

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2011

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 04:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans scores his second touchdown of the game in the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

If you're a fantasy football GM coming to this column looking for roster help this week, then let me first congratulate you, as you've probably made it to the playoffs (or to a consolation game that you won't let pass you by).

But now the hard work begins. With stud running backs dropping with injuries on a near-weekly basis, a number of players banged up and all teams' true identities finally taking shape, what worked for your team in Week 6 just won't cut it in Week 15.

So here are a few recommendations on who to start this week as you fight for that ever-elusive fantasy championship.


RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

Though opposing defenses have found ways to successfully stop Titans running back Chris Johnson this season, frustrating his fantasy owners on a near-weekly basis, his matchup against the Colts' 30th-ranked run defense that's giving up an average of 144.3 yards per game should provide him with a much-needed boost.

On the year, Johnson has rushed 217 times for 875 yards and four scores and has caught 45 passes for 315 yards. He should reach 1,000 yards rushing this year, which is a relief considering the way he was performing earlier in the season, but won't come close to his career-high 2009 when he racked up over 2,000 yards on the ground and another 503 in the air.

The Colts defense provides excellent fantasy matchups every week. If you have any Titans player on your roster, you're well-served to start him this week.

Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker—it doesn't matter which quarterback starts for Tennessee on Sunday. Any Titans player who has been worth a fantasy roster spot this year is fair game this week.


TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Cornerback Ronde Barber #20 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles tight end Owen Daniels #81 of the Houston Texans November 13, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

TE Owen Daniels, Houston Texans (vs. Carolina Panthers)

The matchup against the Carolina Panthers defense is but one of the enticing things about starting Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels this week.

The other is the fact that he's clearly rookie quarterback T.J. Yates' primary target, which propels him into the category of must-start fantasy tight ends until the season is over.

In Yates' second start of the year, in Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Daniels caught seven passes for 100 yards. Inexperienced quarterbacks rely more heavily on the tight end than any other receiver, so he should lead the team in targets for a second consecutive week.

This season, Daniels has caught 51 passes for 644 yards and four touchdowns. With the Panthers defense giving up 236.5 passing yards per game and ranking dead last against the tight end position, Daniels is primed for a huge day. There are few better tight ends to start in Week 15.


MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04:  Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins attempts a catch during a game against the Oakland Raiders  at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

WR Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins (at Buffalo Bills)

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been giving his fantasy owners fits in recent weeks as he continues to drop passes. Even though he leads the team in targets game after game, the fact that he's sometimes pulling down just half of what's thrown to him has kept his numbers lower than they otherwise would be.

But don't be afraid to start Marshall this week when his team takes on the Buffalo Bills and their 25th-ranked pass defense that is just 28th when it comes to defending a team's No. 1 wideout. Marshall has caught 67 passes this year for 937 yards and four scores and has four 100-yard receiving games to his name this season.

He should get close to 100 yards this week against the Bills, especially if he can pull down more of what is thrown to him. With quarterback Matt Moore not likely to miss the game even though he left last week's contest against the Eagles with a neck and head injury, Marshall is guaranteed as many as 10 targets in what should be a Dolphins victory.