Week 15 NFL Matchup Preview Part One

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Be sure to check out Part Two of our Week 15 NFL Matchup Previews.

-The Fantasy Footballers Week 15 Rankings

8:25 PM EST
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks

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QB Jared Goff: Has not impressed since taking over the starting QB job for the Rams. I wouldn’t trust him vs an easy opponent nevermind a defense like Seattle.

RB Todd Gurley: Last week, Gurley made public his disgust with how the Rams are playing. He may possibly be motivated to run angry going forward but any momentum he is looking for will not begin this week vs the Seahawks, a team that has given up the 4th least points to RBs this season. Gurley is bench-able this week in the fantasy playoffs as there are better options with easier matchups.

WR Kenny Britt/Tavon Austin: Neither of these options excite me. Austin has played decent enough to consider a low-end WR2 in the last 2 weeks but is not worth a spot in your lineup this week. Britt has been the most consistent WR on the Rams and should only be utilized (if at all) as a desperate flex play. Jared Goff will have a hard time against the Seahawks defense and that will not bode well for the Rams receivers.

TE Lance Kendricks: This will likely be a low scoring game on the Rams end which makes Kendricks worthless for your fantasy purposes. He is normally a TD-dependent option. Do not expect that to happen this week.

QB Russell Wilson: He has not been his best the past 4 weeks. Wilson should bounce back at home, against a team that just lost it’s head coach. I do not see Wilson to be more than a mid-range QB2 this week given how he has been playing recently. Don’t expect Wilson to carve up the Rams like Matt Ryan did last week. Wilson does have the upside of landing a couple of deep balls, however.

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RB Thomas Rawls: Rawls has looked fantastic since returning. Last week, he still put up decent numbers even though he was all but removed from the game script due to being down by a ton vs the Packers. He is an RB1 this week.

WR Doug Baldwin: Baldwin will continue to be a target/reception monster this week and will have a big game against a defense that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs. He is much better in PPR but he will produce for you in standard as well in Week 15.

TE Jimmy Graham: Has been playing well recently, minus the 1 reception for 16 yards last week but the entire Seahawks offense struggled.

SATURDAY – December 17, 2016
8:25 PM EST
Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets

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QB Matt Moore: 
Ryan Tannehill is likely out for the season. Insert backup, Matt Moore. You just can’t trust he will do anything productive enough to warrant a spot on your fantasy team. This hurts the WRs as well.

RB Jay Ajayi: Ajayi will get a big workload this week and the Jets defense knows it. They Jets just gave up a ton on the ground to the terrible 49ers last week and that may lead you to believe Ajayi can have a monster game. I’m pumping the breaks on the expectations of a big game from Ajayi. He is a solid RB2 strictly off touches alone that he will get in this game but the Jets will stack the box and force Moore to beat them.

WR Jarvis Landry/Kenny Stills/DeVante Parker: All Dolphins WRs take a big hit with Tannehill out as you never know which WR the backup will favor. It could very well be someone not even listed. I would look elsewhere for WRs this week. If you have to, trust only Landry as a desperate flex.

QB Bryce Petty: 
Is not a fantasy relevant QB. In fact, Matt Moore could have a better statistical game than Petty.

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RB Matt Forte, Bilal Powell: With Matt Forte (torn meniscus) likely out Week 15, Bilal Powell will get the start. Powell destroyed the 49ers defense last with 149 rushing yards on 29 carries and a TD. Powell also caught all 5 of his targets. Powell will likely be the top waiver pickup this week and he should be. Play him as an RB1 if Forte sits. If by chance Forte plays, downgrade both back to low-end RB2/RB3 options.

WR Brandon Marshall/Robby Anderson: Brandon Marshall has been a big disappointment this season and is droppable at this point, certainly not worth a slot in your fantasy playoff roster. I only include Robby Anderson here because he has been Petty’s top target with 23 targets & 10 receptions for 160 yards and a TD in the past 2 weeks. He may be worth a desperate stream against a middle of the road pass defense.

SUNDAY – December 18, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens

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QB Carson Wentz: 
Coming off of back to back games with over 300 passing yards but only 1 TD pass in each of those games. Wentz will have to air it out this game for two reasons, the Eagles are very thin at running back talent and that thin talent will face a Ravens defense that has allowed the 2nd fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. With that said, I do not like Wentz as an option this week and certainly, would not trust him with your fantasy playoff life.

RB Ryan Mathews: Will have a bigger workload with injuries to both Wendell Smallwood (IR) and 3rd down, catching back Darren Sproles (concussion). A bigger workload for Mathews does not make him appealing this week against one of the top run defenses in the league. Mathews has not been consistent enough this year and has been injured himself this year (ankle). Stay away from the Eagles RBs this week.

WR Jordan Matthews: This could be a perfect storm type of game for Jordan Matthews. Proven healthy from his injury and missed game two weeks ago, Matthews is in line for a monster game. The Baltimore Ravens are a great defense against the run and tight end position leaving them vulnerable against opposing WRs. The Ravens have given up the 6th most points to WRs this season and I expect Jordan Matthews to take advantage of it. He is also due for a TD as his last one came on October 30th against the Dallas Cowboys. Matthews is a high-end WR2 and would be a WR1 this week if he had a better QB throwing to him.

TE Zach Ertz: Even in a tough matchup for Ertz it would be very hard to bench a guy that has 19 receptions on 28 targets in the past 2 weeks. The Ravens are very good vs the TE position but those numbers are based on total points they have given up for the season. The Ravens have given up 68 yards and a TD in Week 12 to Tyler Eifert and most recently last week, 70 yards and a TD to Martellus Bennett. I would play Ertz this week as a TE1 given the RB situation for the Eagles and the lack of production out of the position across the league.

QB Joe Flacco: 
Flacco has been known to sprinkle in elite, QB1 type games for fantasy purposes but when you are in the playoffs, I would limit leaving your QB position to chance. His matchup is the greatest this week so you can expect a performance under 20 fantasy points from Flacco. I do like what I am seeing from the young WRs (Breshad Perriman & Kamar Aiken) on the Ravens which leaves me liking Flacco a bit more next year but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

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RB Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon: Terrance West was a non-factor last week vs the Patriots and it could have just been the game script but nonetheless, alarming given how much more Dixon was involved in the game. Both of these options scare me this week but if you need to start one out of desperation, I would give the slight edge to Dixon and his involvement in the passing game.

WR Mike Wallace/Steve Smith Sr.: Steve Smith has lacked the production you would expect out of him this entire season. He is nothing more than a desperate flex given the favorable matchup this week. Wallace has been more consistent and will be more of a WR2 this week against the Eagles defense that has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to WRs this season.

TE Dennis Pitta: Pitta had a great game 2 weeks ago against Miami but that was the game Flacco went off. Pitta crashed back down to earth last week against the Patriots and I expect more of the same this week against the Eagles defense that has given up the 2nd fewest points to TEs this year.

Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills

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QB Robert Griffin III: 
This will be a game for the running back position. The Bills are good against QBs and RG3 is not good enough to get things done through the air. He could rush more than he normally does in this game but I wouldn’t consider starting him in any format.

RB Isaiah Crowell: This week falls in favor of Isaiah Crowell. Coming off a 100+ rushing yard performance, Crowell will look to do it again against a Buffalo defense that has given up a ton to RBs this year. He will likely do it in snowy/rainy conditions as well which give him more value in this game. Consider Crowell a high-end RB2 this week.

WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.: Pryor will look to return from his 1 catch for 3-yard performance with a better stat line. The good news, I expect him to have more than 3 yards receiving this week. The bad news, not much more than that. Do not play him. It appears he is the best QB on the team right now and he isn’t throwing to himself.

TE Gary Barnidge: Can’t trust him this year and especially not with RG3 throwing to him and the terrible matchup against the Bills this week.

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QB Tyrod Taylor: 
Had a decent week last week and faces a defense that has given up the most points to QBs this season. The weather has me a bit concerned, however. I understand he was able to put up fantasy numbers last week but that was because the Bills were so behind against the Steelers, he had no choice but to throw. I do not see that being the case this week. Although a tempting play vs Cleveland, I would look elsewhere given the weather conditions with your fantasy playoffs at stake.

RB LeSean McCoy: McCoy could very well have a similar game against the Browns that Le’Veon Bell had against the Bills last week. The expected weather in Buffalo seems to be in favor for running backs and Shady will get his workload on both sides of the offense game plan. LeSean McCoy is an RB1 this week as he is most weeks. Gillislee may be worth a flex play with the hopes the Bills get to the goal line a few times. He is a TD-reliant option and that wouldn’t sit well with me this time of year.

WR Sammy Watkins: Has a great matchup but again, the weather worries me for Watkins in this one. I do not envision the Bills having to throw a ton in this game to win it against the Browns leaving Watkins at a risky, low-end WR2/WR3 this week.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

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QB Aaron Rodgers: 
Has been the most consistent, dominant QB in the last 8 weeks. After putting up 3 TDs on the Seahawks, I do not see him having trouble against the Bears this week. Insert him safely as your QB1 in this divisional matchup.

RB Ty Montgomery: Now officially a running back, Ty Montgomery can be utilized as either a WR or RB in most fantasy platforms. Either way, I would find a way to get him in your lineup this week. Even though the Bears are tough against the run, Montgomery adds too much value working both as a running back and wide receiver on an offense that scores a ton. Play him as your RB2 or WR2 or flex with upside. Just get him in your lineup.

WR Jordy Nelson/Davante Adams/Randall Cobb: Nelson is your WR1 so play him. Weather doesn’t seem to effect Nelson either so don’t worry if the conditions aren’t the best on Sunday. Adams has been up and down, alternating good/bad performances. You could consider him a flex position if you need to fill it but don’t do it on the account that he went off on the Chicago Bears earlier in the year as he has not come close to a number of targets he received in that game since. Randall Cobb is not a fantasy option, especially in the fantasy playoffs.

TE Jared Cook: Has done next to nothing in the past 3 weeks and face a team that is great against TEs. Don’t touch Cook.

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QB Matt Barkley: 
Barkley hasn’t been a terrible QB and normally I would say he has a great matchup against the Packers defense but they have been playing some good defense in the past 3 weeks. I would not consider Barkley to be an option at QB this week but could be developing into a legitimate starting QB for the Bears.

RB Jordan Howard: Howard has played like an RB1 for most of the season. I would treat him as such this week against the Packers defense that is middle of the pack against the run this season.

WR Alshon Jeffery: Jeffery returns from his suspension this week in a great matchup against the Packers defense that has allowed the 7th most fantasy points to WRs this season. He does scare me a little with it being his first game back since Week 10 and you just never know who the backup to the backup will favor even with the top WR in the lineup. I would avoid all Chicago receivers this week as Jeffery hasn’t helped you get to this point in the playoffs anyway. Stash him and play him next week if he produces this Sunday vs the Packers.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

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QB Blake Bortles: 
You are not considering playing Bortles anyway as he faces the Texans defense that has given up the 7 fewest fantasy points to QBs this year.

RB T.Y. Yeldon: With Robinson and Ivory out, Yeldon has gone for over 50 rushing yards in the last two games. Nothing to write home about but could make him a desperate flex play if needed against a team that is less than average against the run. If by some chance Chris Ivory is active, do not play either one.

WR Allen Robinson/Marqise Lee: Neither can be trusted going forward especially against the Texans pass defense. Robinson hasn’t produced in weeks and Lee, even with the week he had last week, is not worth a spot in your fantasy playoff roster.

QB Brock Osweiler: 
He has just been awful. If he is unable to do anything against the Colts defense, do not expect anything from him against the Jaguars defense that is 9th best against QBs. This game will be a fantasy drag.

RB Lamar Miller: Has 2 games with over 100 yards rushing in the last 4 weeks but in the other 2 weeks, Miller has failed to reach 60 yards rushing. Chances are you drafted him high and will have to play him. Consider him to be a high-end RB3 with RB2 upside.

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WR DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller: Both are talented WRs but will do very little for you fantasy-wise given the “talent” throwing to them I wouldn’t start either one this week against the Jaguars who have given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to WRs this year.

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: In danger of missing this game due to a concussion. He is not a good start this week anyway as the Jaguars have given up the 8th fewest fantasy points to the TE position.

Tennessee Titans @ Kansas City Chiefs

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QB Marcus Mariota: 
Had a terrible game against the Broncos but that is not surprising. Look for him to bounce back this week as a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside against the Kansas City Chiefs defense that has been pedestrian against QBs this season. He is too good to have back to back bad performances.

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RB DeMarco Murray: A tough matchup for Murray but nothing has slowed him down this year. Play him as your RB1 as you have every week this season.

WR Rishard Matthews: Had a bad week last week which is expected against the best pass defense in the league. The 4 games prior to that, Matthews had 60+ receiving yards and 4 TDs in that span. Matthews will bounce back with his QB this week and provide WR1 numbers against the Texans who have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs this year.

TE Delanie Walker: Kansas City gives up a ton to WRs but is much tougher on TEs, giving up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the position. Looking at their schedule, they have not faced a TE like Delanie this season besides Greg Olsen but he hasn’t been himself in weeks, so those numbers do not scare me away from starting Walker as your TE1 this week.

QB Alex Smith: 
Has such a great matchup this week but cannot be trusted to produce enough fantasy points to start him in your playoff lineups. He is a game manager and does enough to not lose. Not a quality you look for when selecting a fantasy QB to give you a ton of points. He has only thrown for multiple TDs in 3 games this year.

RB Spencer Ware: Ware had a rough week last week but was not a complete dud. He has a tough matchup against the Titans defense that has given up the 4th fewest fantasy points to RBs this season. The good news for Spencer Ware, that same defense is dead last against WRs and he is a pass catching back. Look for him to rebound from last week with a big game as an RB1.

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WR Tyreek Hill: Hill is such a great play for fantasy this week. He can get you points in various ways and on top of that, he still produces as a WR. As I said the Titans have given up the most points to WRs this season so Tyreek Hill should be considered a WR1 play this week.

TE Travis Kelce: Has 100+ receiving yards in 4 straight games. I do not see a reason why his streak will end this week against a team that has been average against TEs this year. Start him as the TE1 he is.

Indianapolis Colts @ Minnesota Vikings

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QB Andrew Luck: 
Such a challenging matchup for this Colts offense and Luck is no exception. The Vikings have given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to QBs this season leaving Luck a risky start this week, especially with it being a do or die situation for you in your fantasy playoffs. Play him if you must but there are QBs available with better matchups you may want to plug in instead.

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RB Frank Gore: Gore enters this week as a low-end RB2 at best. His value takes a hit this week given the matchup vs the Vikings. It is highly likely he has a single digit fantasy week.

WR T.Y. Hilton/Phillip Dorsett: Hilton has earned “must start” status because of his production the past 5 games but it is a very tough matchup against a team that is 2nd best against WRs this year. Phillip Dorsett’s fantasy value increases with Moncrief ruled out but it is not the week to stream him given the unfavorable matchup for WRs.

TE Jack Doyle/Dwayne Allen: The Vikings give up a little more to the TEs than WRs but Jack Doyle has averaged under 30 yards per game in the past 4 weeks. Keep him on the bench. Dwayne Allen disappeared last week and would be a terrible plugin on your roster this week. Don’t do it.

QB Sam Bradford: 
There are worse plays this week than Sam Bradford. That isn’t necessarily a stamp of approval to play him in your fantasy playoffs. He does have a favorable matchup against the 4th worst defense against QBs this season. What worries me about Bradford is that he has been very similar to Alex Smith in the fact that he has only thrown for multiple TDs a total of 3 times this season which does not prove worthy of a fantasy start. I would not start him.

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RB Adrian Peterson: It’s so tempting, but the thought of risking it all in the playoffs by playing Peterson, is more scary than it is exciting. Pick him up if you can, see how much work he gets and how well he plays and use this week as a gage on whether or not to play him next week. This news obviously destroys what little fantasy value both Asiata and McKinnon had. I recommend staying clear of the Vikings RBs this week.

WR Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen: Look for Diggs to be a low-end WR2 this week at best as he has not produced his usual numbers in the past 2 weeks. I like Adam Thielen this week and would play him as a solid WR2 with WR1 upside, especially in PPR formats.

TE Kyle Rudolph: Rudolph is a safe TE1 this week given his recent production, his great matchup against the Colts that have allowed the 9th most points to TEs this year, and given the poor quality in the TE position across the NFL this season.

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