Published: December 11, 2013
Fantasy Football News & Notes: Week 15
The Packers have a primo matchup with the NFL’s worst secondary, but it’s looking more and more like backup signal-caller Matt Flynn will once again be under center. Starter Aaron Rodgers reportedly looked good while taking first-team reps with the Packer’s offense on Wednesday, but at this time Flynn is expected to get the nod. Green Bay is on the fringe on the NFC playoff chase, so this will be an important game for the Packers. With that being said, the Packers won’t risk further injury to Rodgers’ shoulder unless he is cleared by team doctors. Should that happen, chalk Rodgers up as a top three option this week and give all Green Bay skill position players a boost in your rankings…Running back Eddie Lacy (ankle) finished last week’s win, but has not been able to practice this week. Head Coach Mike McCarthy has indicated that Lacy’s status is up in the air for Sunday’s tilt against the Cowboy’s 32nd ranked fantasy run defense. Fantasy owners would be wise to nab James Starks off of waivers in anticipation of Lacy being held out of this game. Whoever gets the starting nod in this contest would be an instant RB1/2 for Week 15.
Receiver Wes Welker will miss Denver’s Thursday night game with the Chargers. Look for TE Jacob Tamme, who played on 45 of 46 snaps after Welker left last week’s contest, to help fill in to replace Welker in Denver’s all-important slot role. Tamme has significant PPR value this week against San Diego’s atrocious pass defense.
Reggie Bush was a surprising scratch from last week’s snowball fight in Philadelphia, but is expected to be ready to go on Monday when the Lions host a tough Baltimore defense. Joique Bell should return to his secondary role after doing an admirable job on Sunday. If Bush is cleared later in the week, he’ll make a solid RB1/2 start this week. Bell would remain a flex play in deeper leagues.
With TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) lost for the remainder of the season, all eyes will be on how Bill Belichick and Tom Brady tweak their offense. With the Patriots also thin at receiver, with Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) also injured, we might anticipate a more ground-based offense this week for New England. That will continue to bode well for Shane Vereen, who has been a PPR monster since making his season debut two weeks ago. Look for Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to also be excellent PPR options moving forward.
Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) is looking very questionable for Week 15’s matchup with Buffalo. Should MJD miss this game, Jordan Todman will get the starting nod and could make a decent flex play in deeper fantasy leagues.
Head Coach Leslie Frazier said that QB Matt Cassel will remain the starting quarterback this week, despite Christian Ponder (concussion) being cleared to return. Cassel has done a better job getting the ball downfield, so him remaining under center will improve the values for WR Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings. Jennings has enjoyed his two biggest fantasy games of the season with Cassel, and Patterson is coming off the best game of his young career….In the backfield, you might want to see if RB Toby Gerhart is available on your waiver wire. Starter Adrian Peterson went down early with a foot injury and his status for Week 15’s home game against Philadelphia. Gerhart is nursing his own hamstring ailment, so he’ll also be held out of practice until Friday. Whoever starts this game has significant fantasy value against an Eagles defense that yields 22.3 fantasy points-per-game to opposing running backs.
If he’s still on your waiver wire, you might want to go ahead and snag WR Michael Crabtree for the playoff drive. Crabtree has looked great in his two games since returning from an ACL injury and actually played in 88% of San Francisco’s offensive snaps against Seattle’s stingy defense. The schedule will ease up considerably for the Niners offense in the next two weeks, as San Fran has a matchup with Tampa’s below average secondary in Week 15 and travels to Atlanta the following week.
Willis McGahee (head) won’t play this week, so look for Cleveland to hand the starting reigns over to Chris Ogbonnaya, who makes for an intriguing sleeper for Week 15. The Browns will host a Chicago Bears run defense that has yielded six consecutive 100-yard rushing performances and has surrendered 15 touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Ogbonnaya is an underrated fantasy option who ranks as the 39th highest-scoring running back for the season, despite limited playing time. He’ll be a high-ceiling RB2/flex play this week if he’s announced as the starter.
Say what you want about the back-and-forth between Head Coach Mike Shanahan, quarterback RobertGriffin III and owner Daniel Snyder, but what we do know is that Griffin will be inactive this week and Kirk Cousins will be the starting signal-caller. The Redskins will travel to Atlanta this week to take on the Falcons’ 24th ranked pass defense, so desperate 2-QB fantasy owners might want to give Cousins some consideration if they’re in a bind for a second QB.
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