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Fantasy Football Week 15 Rankings: Leave Cassel and Rodgers On the Shelf

Tenny StegmanContributor IDecember 18, 2010

He's not playing this weekend
He's not playing this weekendGregory Shamus/Getty Images

While the rest of the industry pumps their rankings out on Tuesday and Wednesday so as to leverage the best web-traffic days, FFArmory.com takes their own sweet time, pouring over the week's news-breakers and injury updates to bring you the most critical and applicable analysis to help you make roster decisions for the fantasy football playoffs.


Please enjoy responsibly.  These rankings have it all factored in.  You won't find Aaron Rodgers ranked third on this list.  And yeah, leave Matt Cassel on your bench. 

QBs

  1. Peyton Manning home vs. Jacksonville - 1 p.m. Sunday - He lit up this secondary for 352 yards and two TDs in Week 4 in Jacksonville, and the stakes weren't quite so high back then. This game wreaks of a lot of offense. The Jags allow the third most fantasy points to opposing QBs through 13 weeks. The Colts can't afford to lose any more games if they want a chance at a wild card. This and the next two are must-wins.
  2. Michael Vick at NY Giants - 1 p.m. Sunday - His hand is fine, and while the Giants have a lofty pass defense (have allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs), what are you gonna do, bench him? Vick had his worst fantasy outing in Week 11 vs. this defense (yes, 19 fantasy points was his worst yet for a full game), so forgive me if my confidence is still sky-high in him.
  3. Drew Brees at Baltimore - 1 p.m. Sunday - It's difficult to make sense of the Ravens' pass defense this season. They have allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to QBs, however have been gutted by the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton and Matt Ryan (none of which are in the top seven in fantasy PPG for QBs) and then the only other QB they were able to contain inside the top seven was Tom Brady in Week 6 (292 yards and one TD). The other QBs they have faced have been pure swill (Palmer, Sanchez in Week 1, Seneca Wallace, Charlie Batch, Chad Henne, Josh Freeman and Brian St. Pierre). What I'm building towards is that don't sweat Brees' match up too heavily; he's bunched together with Rodgers and Manning at 23.4 fantasy PPG trailing really only Vick.
  4. Eli Manning home vs. Philadelphia - 1 p.m. Sunday - The Eagles boast the seventh most porous pass defense where fantasy QBs are concerned, however Eli just lost Steve Smith—again—but this time for the season. With Manningham dealing with a hip flexor, the options are boiled down to Hakeem Nicks, Kevin Boss and unproven Derek Hagan. Eli lit this pass defense up this time last season for 391 yards and three TDs, but their rushing attack was not clicking as it is these days. The good news is that Philly has a much more prolific offense vs. this time last year, so the Giants will have to pass in this one to keep up. Eli did struggle in Philadelphia earlier this year in Week 11 going for only 147 yards on two TDs and three INTs. I would start Eli has a low-end QB1 assuming the weather isn't a huge factor.
  5. Tom Brady home vs. Green Bay - 8 p.m. Sunday - He torched the Bears on the road in 50 mph wind gusts, so I'm not going to bother spewing a bunch of meaningless stats at you. He will roll in this game and there ain't a damn thing anyone can do about it.
  6. Matt Ryan at Seattle - 4 p.m. Sunday - Seattle does nothing right defensively, including allowing the sixth most fantasy points to QBs through 13 weeks of sporting love that we call the NFL. Ryan is coming off a stretch of mediocre fantasy outings but it's been a decently rough schedule whereby five of his last six opponents have ranked inside the top 12 in least fantasy points allowed to QBs. This is his best matchup of the year in Week 14.
  7. Matt Schaub at Tennessee - 1 p.m. Sunday - It's tempting to get all excited about Schaub after that Monday night display that saw him toss 60+ attempts that resulted in his finest 2010 effort, but the Titans are the closest thing to a pair of dog-balls that you will find offensively these days (Arizona and Carolina withstanding), so I expect Kubiak to call a conservative game with a heavy dose of Arian Foster, which would be consistent with the previous weeks where Houston was in a close game or nursing a lead. The Titans are allowing the 14th most fantasy points to opposing QBs in 2010.

Click here for the top 12 QBs with full analysis for Week 15!

RBs

  1. Michael Turner at Seattle - 4 p.m. Sunday - Turner is finishing the season as expected. He faces the fifth worst fantasy rush defense in Seattle this Sunday, and he remains in the pole position once again.
  2. Arian Foster at Tennessee - 1 p.m. Sunday - Arian Foster is fantasy wood. The Titans have only allowed six rushing TDs but 10 total when you factor in pass TDs to RBs. They allow the 14th most fantasy points to RBs on the season, however eighth most over the last five weeks. I took the long route in telling you that you will be all smiles this weekend for your fantasy playoff run.
  3. Darren McFadden home vs. Denver - 4 p.m. Sunday - Let's start with the good news: The Donkeys allow the second most fantasy points to RBs through 14 weeks of glorious NFL football. It gets even better when you consider Run DMC's Week 7 outburst is a nice chunk of that lowly rush defense ranking (165 yards on three rushing scores). McFadden is really feeling as of late with a 6.3 YPA average over the last two weeks, so a high-end RB1 he remains.
  4. Peyton Hillis at Cincinnati - 1 p.m. Sunday - Cinci has allowed five rushing scores in their last five tilts to go along with a 112 RYPG average in that time. Hillis can do it all. Happy playoffs.
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew at Indy - 1 p.m. Sunday - The Colts still can't figure out how to defend the rush well as they allow the sixth most fantasy PPG to opposing RBs. He had a rushing and receiving score as well as 121 total yards; I expect similar numbers in a game that has significant playoff implications for both squads.
  6. Chris Johnson home vs. Houston - 1 p.m. Sunday - Remember, the Texans suck at defending the pass; they're not terrible containing the ground game (15th most fantasy points to RBs). Kerry Collins did pass with success vs. the Colts in their failed Week 14 comeback, and that will have to happen in this one to free up CJ2k. In their last meeting he rattled off a whole five yards on seven carries en-route to a shutout, but don't be so quick to apply that logic as rookie Rusty Smith was under center.
  7. Steven Jackson home vs. KC - 1 p.m. Sunday - The Chiefs are middling when it comes to stopping the run (16th most fantasy points to RBs), but they did cough up 200+ yards vs. a very average Charger ground game. For you glass-half-empty folk, I'll throw out that SJax is averaging 3.7 YPC vs. 4.1 YPC on the road, and there is no discernible difference in strength of schedule between the two. I'm glass-half-full (most of the time) so I'd not hesitate to plug him in as a mid-range RB1.
  8. Adrian Peterson home vs. Chicago - MNF - Da Bears are allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to RBs but the least over their last five games (only one total TD on 371 rush yards). It gets worse; Tarvaris Jackson is suffering from a bad case of turf toe, and with Favre likely to remain on the shelf, rookie Joe Webb will get the start. But wait, there's more...AP has been held out of practice all week with ankle and knee injuries.  It's said to be purely precautionary, but what more needs to go wrong with this guy?  I am not sweating the ankle and knee, but am plenty sweating the Joe Webb and Bears rush D thing.  Why else would I have him ranked eighth?
  9. Jamaal Charles at St. Louis - 1 p.m. Sunday - This one is pretty simple. Brodie Croyle equals dog-balls, and Matt Cassel equals low-end RB1 status. Cassel should be able to get out there being two weeks removed from the appendectomy that kept him out of last week's loss to the Chargers. The Rams, though, shockingly have something to play for this late in the season (I know, it sounds weird), and what's more, they actually have a top-11 fantasy rush defense.
  10. Knowshon Moreno at Oakland - 4 p.m. Sunday - Although Kyle Orton's numbers are in the $#!tter, Moreno's have been just fine since McDaniels got canned. Doubters will point to two easier matchups vs. the Cardinals and Chiefs, but the Raiders have allowed the eighth most fantasy points to RBs, so I'll go on ahead and remain bullish on his potential.

Click here for the top 24 ranked RBs with full analysis for Week 15!

WRs

  1. Reggie Wayne home vs. Jacksonville - 1 p.m. Sunday - Wayne had his flame-thrower out in Week four when these teams met to the tune of 196 yards (but not TDs). It went down that way in both games in 2009, too, as he totaled 294 yards and two TDs in two games in 2009. The Jags register in as the fourth most porous fantasy pass defense.
  2. Andre Johnson at Tennessee - 1 p.m. Sunday - Nah, 'Dre is not salivating at the opportunity to dust Finnegan for a couple of scores. The Titans are actually surprisingly stingy with the fantasy points to opposing WRs (ninth fewest), but they also need to deal with containing Arian Foster. It's just a different deal with this team. Ugh, I play against both this week.
  3. Roddy White at Seattle - 4 p.m. Sunday - He has found pay dirt in four weeks, and these ills should be cured by Seattle's third most porous pass defense. Ryan still loves him, and his owners should, too.
  4. Marques Colston at Baltimore - 1 p.m. Sunday - The Ravens pass defense allows the 12th most fantasy points to WRs and Colston has been on a serious roll of late (not scoring less than 10 fantasy points in any one game since Week 9).
  5. Calvin Johnson at Tampa Bay - 1 p.m. Sunday - Who gives a flying fark who is QB'ing in Detroit, but Hill does have a shot at playing in this one, and that would tend to increase his value. But still, even if it's Stanton, Mega is a high-end WR1 play. Also, Aqib Talib (TB's top cover corner) is out, so my mom could find Mega this Sunday.
  6. Hakeem Nicks home vs. Philly - 1 p.m. Sunday - Seven catches and 96 yards is enough to placate any concerns I had on his previous injury. He should be targeted another 10-11 times minimally in a shootout with Philly. The Eagles allow the 13th fewest fantasy points to WRs.
  7. Miles Austin home vs. Washington - 1 p.m. Sunday - He's coming off a pretty ugly three-game stretch in which he has not sniffed the end zone and totaled only 94 yards. They've been reasonably tough matchups, though (NO: second, Indy: fifth and Philly: 13th fewest fantasy points to WRs). The 'Skins aren't quite that efficient allowing the sixth most fantasy points to WRs. Austin will see all of the primary targets.
  8. Jeremy Maclin at NY Giants - 1 p.m. Sunday - I am working up a theory that Vick has become such a student of the game that he is just see-sawing Maclin and DeSean to toy with opposing defense's minds. Those two have alternated monster games all season. It could be Maclin's turn this weekend, but his upside is not quite what D-Jax's is, hence the slightly lower ranking.
  9. Pierre Garcon home vs. Jacksonville - 1 p.m. Sunday - I think Garcon has a legitimate shot to out-produce Wayne in this one. No professional team likes to continually get embarrassed by the same dude, and Wayne has done it three straight games. The safety help will be dedicated to Wayne, leaving a surging Garcon (14 catches for 149 yards and three TDs in the last two games) in one-on-one coverage with one of the top two QBs in the NFL.
  10. Terrell Owens home vs. Cleveland - 1 p.m. Sunday - This is the team he killed (in Cleveland, no less) for 222 yards and a score in Week 4, but that was back when Ochocinco was drawing all of the double-teams. TO should expect all of the extra attention from this secondary, so I'm going to temper my expectations a bit and lock him in as a mid-range WR2 and nothing more.
  11. Wes Welker home vs. Green bay - 8 p.m. Sunday - This is another one of those "who cares what the pass defense numbers are" type of starts, because Brady is launching indefensible missiles over the last month. Also, Welker's knee appears to have strengthened all season; he's peaking.
  12. DeSean Jackson at NY Giants - 1 p.m. Sunday - He only had five catches for 50 yards in the first meeting, and is now dealing with a toe injury suffered in last week's game.  He was limited in practice this week, and while it's not thought to be a huge issue, I suppose it's concerning given that D-Jax depends on his blazing speed to blow it out fantasy-wise.  The G-men pass defense has allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to WRs.

 Click here for the top 36 ranked WRs with full analysis for Week 15!

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TEs

  1. Jason Witten home vs. Washington - 1 p.m. Sunday - His targets have been on the rise over the last four weeks and only Rob Gronknowski, oddly, has more fantasy points than him over the last five weeks. The Redskins do an average job defending TEs allowing the 15th most fantasy points to TEs. Witten should be starting in all formats.
  2. Jacob Tamme home vs. Jacksonville - 1 p.m. Sunday - He's been dinged up the last two weeks, but has played and only produced a handful (83) yards in the last two. It's tough to say whether or not the injury has played a factor or not, you decide based on this... on pretty much every goal-line formation the Colts ran last weekend, Tamme was in for zero point zero of the plays. Whatever moronic formation they were using did not include Tamme. Annoying, right? The Jag-offs allow the sixth most fantasy points to TEs.
  3. Tony Gonzalez at Seattle - 4 p.m. Sunday - Seattle might get gauged by opposing WRs (third most), but TEs don't fare as well (11th fewest). They've only allowed four TE receiving scores on the year. Gonzo owners must start him, though, as he's notched two TDs in his last three games, and is getting consistent targets.
  4. Rob Gronkowski home vs. Green Bay - 8 p.m. Sunday - This is how bad it's gotten for TEs this season: Gronkowski leads all TEs in fantasy scoring over the last five weeks with nine PPG. The matchup is actually fairly solid, as while the Pack does well defending WRs, they struggle in the TE defense department allowing the ninth most fantasy points in the NFL. He has only one catch per his last four home games, and at least four in his last four road games. Hmmmm.
  5. Marcedes Lewis at Indy - 1 p.m. Sunday - Lewis ranks third overall in fantasy PPG and is facing a defense that allows the 14th most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Garrard has targeted only MSW more in the red zone, and Lewis has six red zone TDs and nine on the year. In a year where TEs have been dropping like flies, Marcedes has been a diamond in the rough.
  6. Kevin Boss home vs. Philly - 1 p.m. Sunday - The Eagles cough up the most fantasy points to opposing TEs, and with Steve Smith on the shelf for the remainder, and Manningham dinged up, only Nicks and Boss remain as dependable targets (he received nine of them in Week 14 even with Nicks and Smith back). He has the fourth most fantasy points among TEs over the last five weeks, and you should not hestitate to plug him into your lineup as a TE1 this week.

 Click here for the top 12 ranked TEs with full analysis for Week 15!

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