The fantasy playoffs are here; this is the two most important weeks of the year for any fantasy football owner. This week you are able to talk down to your fantasy inferiors or it is the week that begins a downward spiral of misery until next fantasy season. Okay, it may not be that severe, but this is a very important week for anyone with a fantasy football team.
The advice I always give people this week is to play your stars. This is not the week to try something cute and sit your best running back, because he plays a tough defense. This is not the week to pickup Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson and to play him over Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon, because Gordon is due for a bad game. It is not fun to lose in the fantasy playoffs, but I would rather lose with a roster that performed all year and had a bad week than lose with my best players on my bench.
If you are looking for some good fantasy options, here are some players I would recommend starting and staying clear of in Week 15.
Start of the Week
Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris – People have been disappointed with Morris this season and I can understand why. He has not lived up to the fifth ranking that he achieved in his rookie year. He is not a fantasy bust though, despite playing on a team that is consistently behind, he is the 14th ranked fantasy running back. He is on pace for 1,264 yards rushing and 7.3 rushing touchdowns. He would be a viable Top-5 running back, if he had the ability to catch the ball or his team was ever ahead in a game.
This week the Redskins travel to Atlanta and face an Atlanta Falcons team that is incompetent when it comes to stopping the running game. The Falcons offense is not good enough that the Skins should be down 28 points in the first half. I think Morris should be in store for a monster week, he should easily top 120 yards rushing and score a rushing touchdown.
Players to Start
Green Bay Packers RB James Starks – It is a little early to tell what is going on in Green Bay, but QB Aaron Rodgers is potentially returning this week and RB Eddie Lacy has an ankle injury and will likely have a questionable tag heading into this game. If Rodgers and Lacy both play, Lacy is a slam-dunk RB1 against the worst fantasy running back defense in the NFL. If Lacy cannot play, Starks would have immediate RB2 value, depending on the status of Rodgers.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Riley Cooper – Cooper is a boom / bust WR3 option due to his low targets, but I think we see the good Riley Cooper this week. The Vikings are allowing the fifth most points to fantasy wide receivers this year.
Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith – The Panthers passing game is hit or miss, but the Jets have allowed the second most points to fantasy receivers this year. Furthermore, CB Antonio Cromartie suffered a concussion and he may not be able to play this week. Either way, I think Smith is a safe WR3 option this week.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles – Foles threw his first interception of the season last week, but that game was made difficult with snowy conditions. This week, the Eagles will be playing indoors against a poor Vikings secondary. Foles is a must start QB1 this week.
San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick – The Buccaneers have been one of the worst quarterback defenses in the NFL this year, so I would not change my opinion of them because they did well against the Buffalo Bills. Kaepernick should be a high QB2 with upside playing the Buccaneers this week.
Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker – He should be cleared from his concussion test this week and the Arizona Cardinals await him in Week 15. There has not been a worse fantasy tight end defense this year, so I would confidently start Walker if he plays this week.
Sit of the Week
Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson – Johnson has been a major disappointment this year. With a revamped offensive line, this was supposed to be the season that he returned to being an elite running back. Johnson is the ninth ranked fantasy running back, but his production has been all over the map. Similar to last year, he has four games this year where he has averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry. How that happens to an explosive running back with Johnson’s talent is perplexing.
This week, the Titans host an Arizona Cardinals team that has allowed only 84.5 yards rushing per game and five rushing touchdowns. It is a horrible matchup for Johnson and I look for him to be a poor flex play this week.
Players to Sit
Buffalo Bills RB C. J. Spiller – Spiller has been one of the most disappointing fantasy players in the NFL. He ranks 31st among fantasy running backs even though he was a slam-dunk first round pick at the beginning of the season. I had him ranked second among all fantasy backs and cannot believe the lack of production he has had in Buffalo. The Jaguars have been a Top-10 fantasy running back defense over the last five weeks, I would not expect Spiller to be anything more than a weak flex play this week.
Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd – The Titans are usually one of the best secondary units in the NFL; I doubt they are torched for a second straight week. I think WR Larry Fitzgerald will maintain WR3 value with Floyd being a dicey WR3 to WR4. Floyd is also battling an ankle injury that contributed to him having a pedestrian 26 yards receiving.
New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks – I do not think either Giants receiver is a compelling play this week. I would give WR Victor Cruz low WR3 value going against the Hawks secondary. Nicks is a low WR4 to high WR5 playing against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon – The San Francisco 49ers are allowing the second fewest points to quarterbacks over the last five weeks, so Glennon does not figure to be a good fill-in play this week. I would leave him on my bench.
New York Giants QB Eli Manning – The perception is that the Seattle Seahawks have not been a very good road team, but Manning has not been a very good quarterback and the Hawks are ranked first against fantasy quarterbacks this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Tim Wright – Wright has been and up and down fantasy tight end this year, but I do not expect him to have a good week playing the San Francisco 49ers, who are one of the toughest tight end defenses in the NFL. Stay clear of Wright if you can this week.