Week 15: Pickups of the Week
A second consecutive big game for Thomas should prove to skeptical fantasy owners that he can maintain value even given Tim Tebow's, er, "unique" approach to quarterbacking. Targeted a team-high 20 times over the last two games, Thomas looks to be far and away Tebow's favorite receiver. And the fact that Tebow surpassed 200 passing yards (and 40 attempts) bodes well for continued production over the fantasy playoffs. Provided he can overcome last week's unfortunate case of the drops, Thomas could be in line for a huge day against a Patriots defense that gives up more than 300 passing yards per game on average.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Another injury fill-in, Walter had his best game of the season on Sunday with six grabs for 76 yards and a score. If Andre Johnson can't make it back in time -- and his horrible run of luck this season has to dampen expectations -- Walter will again be the team's top receiving target in Week 15. Carolina has been kind to opposing receivers this season and are still reeling after giving up 320 passing yards and four TDs to Atlanta last weekend. They make an ideal foil for owners who need to press Walter into action as a one week plug and play.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Ballard notched his fourth TD of the season against the Cowboys as he continues to be a stealthy source of solid, steady numbers. Where the rest of the Giants passing game is in constant flux thanks to injuries, drops, the emergence of Victor Cruz and the mysterious disappearance of Mario Manningham, Ballard has been a rock of consistency. He's no superstar, but he could fill a temporary gap in two TE or deep leagues. Fred Davis is now on IR and Scott Chandler looks to be out this week, so we know there are owners who need to roll with the strongest available option. Ballard is probably their best bet.MyFantasyLeague availability: 40%
If you -- like so many others -- want to pin the ongoing Denver Miracle on the exploits of one man, there might be no better candidate than Matt Prater. After all, he has kicked game-winning field goals in three of Denver's last four games and his leg has accounted for 44 points during the team's improbable six-game winning streak. Prater nailed a 59-yarder last week to seal the deal over Chicago, reminding prospective owners that he has a strong leg made even stronger by the thin Colorado air. With a home game on tap against the defensively challenged Patriots this week, we could be hearing Prater's name called plenty of times.MyFantasyLeague availability: 50%
Following consecutive losses (to the Steelers, then Texans), the Bengals will be salivating at the thought of sinking their collective teeth into the Rams. St. Louis was once in the running for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, but has failed even in that dubious pursuit by being just mediocre enough to generate two wins on the season. Shutout by San Francisco in Week 14 (and authoritatively stomped on Monday night by the Seattle Seahawks), the Rams are just the kind of harmless, juicy opponent Cincinnati's defense needs in order to play themselves back into top 10 fantasy contention.