Week 15 Fantasy Football: Start'em, Sit'em

Kevin HansonAnalyst IIIDecember 17, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 11:   Felix Jones #28 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

As we have heard NFL Network bill it, tonight features a "special Saturday-night edition" of Thursday Night Football. Or, as I like to call it, Saturday Night Football.

In tonight's matchup against the Bucs, the Cowboys have six players that are worthy of starting in fantasy football matchups and two of them are specifically listed below.

Both quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten are top five at their respective positions in our fantasy rankings, the team's top three wide receivers are in the top 20 receivers for Week 15 and Felix Jones is in our top 15 running backs for this week.

Here are some players to start in Week 15:

QB - Tim Tebow, Broncos (vs NE): From a fantasy-scoring perspective, Tebow has been nothing if not consistent. In all of his games as a starting quarterback, Tebow has finished with at least 12 fantasy points even if it has required some late-game heroics to get there. This week, Tebow faces the same Patriots secondary that allowed that Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky to light them up for 353 yards and two touchdowns.

RB - Roy Helu, Redskins (at NYG): One of the more versatile running backs in the league, Helu has three straight games with 100-plus rushing yards. Not only did Helu become the first Redskins rookie to do so, he also set the franchise record for most receptions (14) in a game earlier this season. While Helu is producing big, Mike Shanahan is giving Helu a heavy workload -- 23 or more carries in each of his past three games.

RB - Cedric Benson, Bengals (at STL): Perhaps Benson's most impressive performance of the season was his 64 rushing yards against the 49ers since no running back has gained more against the league's top-ranked run defense. In his past four games, which include tough matchups against Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Houston, Benson has 290 rushing yards and three touchdowns. This week, Benson faces the league's worst run defense.

RB - Felix Jones, Cowboys (at TB): Running back DeMarco Murray left last week's game with a broken ankle, which paved the way for Jones to rush for more than 100 yards for the second time this season. While he was likely on the bench (or even waiver wire) last week, Jones gets two favorable matchups and should be started in Weeks 15 and 16. This week, he faces the Bucs, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. (Next week, he faces the Eagles.)

WR - Laurent Robinson, Cowboys (at TB): Robinson is one of three Cowboys receivers ranked within our top 20 fantasy wide receivers this week. While he's clearly third when it comes to talent after the team's other two receivers (Miles Austin and Dez Bryant), Robinson has developed a great rapport with Romo and has produced with or without Austin in the lineup. Robinson has scored in six of his past seven games and has a total of eight touchdowns during that span.

WR - Santana Moss, Redskins (at NYG): Against the league's worst pass defense (Patriots), Moss had three receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown last week. Moss gets two more favorable matchups to close out the fantasy playoffs. Moss faces the Giants this week and the Vikings next week. So, in other words, Moss faces the three teams that have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers in all three weeks of the fantasy playoffs counting last week.

WR - Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (vs NE): Speaking of the Patriots pass defense, Thomas and the Broncos receivers get their turn this week. Of course, the biggest obstacle for Broncos receivers to be productive is the fact that Tim Tebow isn't the most accurate passer. That said, Thomas has been dominant in his past two games. Along with Percy Harvin and Rob Gronkowski, Thomas is one of three players to have at least 200 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in the past two weeks.

TE - Jake Ballard, Giants (vs WAS): The Redskins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. In the first game of the season, Ballard had two receptions for 59 yards against the Redskins. But he had only five receptions for 61 yards in his next three games. Since then, Ballard has been more involved in the Giants offense and should be in store for a solid performance for fantasy owners.

Here are some players to sit in Week 15:

QB - Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at SF): There is no questioning Roethlisberger's toughness. After suffering a high-ankle sprain in last week's game (fortunately on a Thursday to allow longer healing time), Big Ben did something most quarterbacks would not do -- he returned to the game. Unless you also have Alex Smith as a backup, however, it would be wise to go with an alternative in case he does not play. Even if he does play, his mobility is going to be limited and he's facing the league's top-scoring defense.

RB - BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots (at DEN): What you will get from The Law Firm this week is anyone's guess (or our poll of the day from Friday). As we noted there, Green-Ellis has rushed for less than 20 yards in four of his seven games since the team's bye. While he has scored a total of three touchdowns in two of his past three games, it's unreliable to count on scoring opportunities, especially considering only the 49ers (none) and Dolphins (five) have allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than the Broncos (six) this season.

RB - Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers (at SF): Entering the season, fantasy owners certainly had higher expectations for Mendenhall. Although he has scored eight touchdowns this year, he has rushed for more than 70 yards only twice this season. Meanwhile, the 49ers have yet to allow a rushing touchdown or any running back to gain more than 64 rushing yards as noted above. Especially if Roethlisberger can't go this week, Mendy may find it tough to get anything going on the ground.

WR - Michael Crabtree, 49ers (vs PIT): Crabtree has been highly productive in his past four games. During that span, he has 24 receptions for 333 yards and a touchdown. Going against the Steelers defense this week, however, Crabtree is unlikely to maintain his recent success. The Steelers have yet to allow a 100-yard receiver this season and only five players (Baltimore's Anquan Boldin twice) have had at least 70 receiving yards against them.

WR - Plaxico Burress, Jets (at PHI): While the Eagles secondary has not been as elite as advertised, they certainly have plenty of talent in their secondary to slow down a passing offense that has not been elite. The strength of Burress is his ability as a redzone target. While he has scored in five games (seven touchdowns), he also has two goose eggs like last week against the Chiefs. In other words, you likely have a more reliable option on your roster elsewhere.

WR - DeSean Jackson, Eagles (vs NYJ): It's unclear whether Darrelle Revis will spend most of his time matched up against Jackson or teammate Jeremy Maclin, but it's probably best to sit both, if possible. Maclin is dealing with a shoulder and hamstring injury and is expected to be a game-time decision. Although Jackson scored his first touchdown of the season since Week 5, he's too boom-or-bust and concerned with his contract to count on for reliable production.

TE - Greg Olsen, Panthers (at HOU): Olsen is coming off a double-digit fantasy performance, but he had four or less fantasy points in his previous four games before last week. This week, Olsen and the Panthers face the Texans, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

For all of our Week 15 rankings, which will be updated/tweaked tonight and tomorrow, visit our fantasy home page.

To keep track of our fantasy updates throughout the week, you can (1) follow us on Twitter @EDSFootball or (2) "like" us on Facebook or both.

Good luck in Week 15!