FANTASY FOOTBALL TIPS: WEEK 15

SpartanNation

Darrenn McFadden finally looks like the star NFL back everyone thought he would be out of Arkansas, but can he continue to play like a star?
Darrenn McFadden finally looks like the star NFL back everyone thought he would be out of Arkansas, but can he continue to play like a star?

If you heard my interview with Hondo on Spartan Nation Radio on Monday, you already know how I feel about Aaron Rodgers not sliding and getting knocked out of the game with a concussion. Here’s a hint: I think it was beyond dumb. However, this brings up an interesting teaching moment for fantasy football. Guys like Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger seem to have a natural inclination to take a hit to get a few extra yards rather than slide to preserve their health. That’s something you should certainly pay attention to when drafting one of these players. Injury is always a major concern in fantasy football, just ask anyone who drafted Frank Gore this year, but if you have a guy like Rodgers or Big Ben, you may be able to get yourself a better backup plan if you know the injury may be coming. Now on to week 15:

Quarterback

BEST Â Â Philip Rivers, SD

Rivers has been somewhat pedestrian the last 2 weeks after taking off on a torrid pace through the first two thirds of the season. However, I think this is the week that Rivers get’s back to his old self. The 49ers are ranked in the bottom third of the league against the pass, and the Chargers are currently fighting for their playoff lives. I think Rivers comes out on fire and puts this game away early in the third quarter. Expect him to throw for at least 2 scores and close to 300 yards.

WORST:Â Alex Smith, SF

Some people may be tempted to sneak Smith into their lineups this week after a strong performance against the Seahawks last week. Well, I have news for you: The Seahawks aren’t the Chargers. Currently San Diego ranks number 1 against the pass giving up only 173 yards per game through the air. I see Smith reverting to his former streaky self and having a down game against a tough defense. Smith should be riding the pine this week, as he may be a major turnover risk against the Chargers.

Running Back

BEST Â Â Darren McFadden, OAK

Now THIS is the guy we all expected to see when he was drafted in the first round by Oakland. I’m not sure what finally clicked in McFadden, but he has looked like a world beater when he’s been healthy this season. The Broncos have the second worst rush defense in the league, and I think McFadden exploits that to the tune of 140 yards and a score. And just remember the last time he played the Broncos he went off for 165 yards and 3 scores. If McFadden is on his game this week, he could win you your game single-handedly.

WORST:Â LaDanian Tomlinson/Shonn Greene, NYJ

LT is starting to slow down as the year goes on, and Greene still isn’t getting the number of carries necessary to make him a viable fantasy option on a consistent basis. I’m sure many of you have ridden LT into your fantasy playoff, but now may be the time to sit him down if you have a viable option on your bench. I think the Steelers top ranked rush defense make the Jets’ running backs’ lives very difficult this week, and I wouldn’t recommend starting either of them.

Wide Receiver

BEST Â Â Andre Johnson, HOU

Johnson had a big week last week going for 149 yards on 6 catches against a mediocre Eagles defense. This week he faces a downright bad Titans pass defense. And if you think for one second that Johnson wouldn’t like to show up Courtland Finnegan for the fight a few weeks ago you’re fooling yourself. I think Johnson will be supremely motivated for this game and should lead all fantasy receivers this week.

WORST:Â Greg Jennings, GB

This is based exclusively on Aaron Rodgers. Right now there is far too much speculation as to whether or not the Packers QB will be able to go this week for me to fully recommend Jennings. If Rodgers does play, Jennings will probably be a good start, but that also depends on whether or not Rodgers is going to be gun shy after sustaining his second concussion of the year. Keep an eye on Rodgers before you make your decision on Jennings, since Matt Flynn proved against Detroit that he can’t get the ball downfield.

Tight End

BEST Â Â Antonio Gates, SD

He’s the best, that’s all there is to it. As I previously mentioned the Niners have had some difficulty against the pass this year, and I think that Gates should be able to exploit that. Look for him to be up around 100 yards receiving with a touchdown this week.

WORST: Dustin Keller, NYJ

I’ve said this before, but seriously, where has this guy gone?  Ever since Santonio Holmes got back from suspension Keller has been a virtual non-factor in the Jets offense. You should be sitting him this week, especially against a tough defense like the Steelers.

Defense

BEST Â Â New England Patriots

This is conditional on Aaron Rodgers’ health. If Rodgers goes, the Patriots drop down the list because their Achilles heel all year has been stopping the pass. However, they’ve played relatively well against the run, and the Packers can’t run the ball AT ALL. If Rodgers doesn’t go I think the Packers will have an incredibly difficult time moving the ball against the Patriots, and possibly may only score in the single digits like they did last week against the Lions. Just remember, if Rodgers is 100%, the Pats are middle-of-the-road at best.

WORST:Â Green Bay Packers

No knock on the talent on this defense, which has played very well nearly all year, but the Patriots are just absolutely on fire right now. Plus, if Aaron Rodgers can’t go that means the Packers’ D will be on the field way more than they would like this week. A tired defense gives up big plays, and if Rodgers doesn’t play I expect the Packers defense to be very very tired.

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK

-Kenny Britt, WR, TEN

Britt is a bit of a sneaky play this week. He’s coming off of a major hamstring injury which until last week had kept him out since he injured it in week 8. He has an outstanding matchup this week against the hapless Texans’ secondary.  He may be a smart play this week as he could absolutely explode with some big plays. If you’re feeling risky in your playoff matchup this week, go ahead and insert Britt, it could pay huge dividends.

*For more fantasy tidbits, insights, and info make sure to follow me, @lehmanna36, on Twitter!

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