Week 15: Pickups of the Week
(Posted Tuesday, 12:30 p.m. ET and updated as needed)
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Now that we're truly in the fanntasy playoffs portion of the season, matchups become a larger part of the weekly waiver wire calls, long-term upside a little less. With only two weeks remaining in the majority of fantasy football seasons, the future is now. Brilliant statement, I know.
Anyway, slightly different format this week, but the goal remains the same: find those gems. For those still debating what to do, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up on Twitter (@benstandig)...
Before I get started, let me also reference folks to our recent Week 15-16 preview. Perhaps a couple of changes since games have been played after the article came out, but good insight and ideas.
1) Toby Gerhart
2) Daniel Thomas
3) Jordan Todman
4) Marcel Reece
5) Montee Ball
6) James Starks
7) Mike Tolbert
Others: Shonn Greene, Chris Ogbonnaya, LaGarrette Blount
Notes: Not sure why some felt the need to bash Gerhart as irrelevant just because he isn't Adrian Peterson, but those AP owners who ignored the backup are likely paying the price now. Gerhart is a RB2 in Week 15 - if his own hamstring injury proves minor - with Peterson likely out at least one game. ...Raise your hand if you though Thomas was done for the season entering Sunday? Guess not and now that he's coming off a 100-yard performance, now that Lamar Miller is dealing with the concussion protocol and now that the Dolphins are facing a woeful Pats run defense, Thomas is a potential RB2/Flex this week. ...Todman would zoom up the rankings if the Jags rule Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) out. Not only does the little guy have burst, but he would face a Bills defense that has allowed over 100 rush yards in four straight games and six scores in that span. ...Who would have guessed the back with the most rushing yards against the Jets' formidable front seven would be the Raiders fullback? Reece starred as the main back with Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Darren McFadden out. If Jennings doesn't return, Reece is a RB2 candidate versus Kansas City. ....Things are finally rolling for Ball. Over the last two weeks the rookie has 42 touches - or four less than Knowshon Moreno - and turned those opportunities into 208 yards, four receptions and a touchdown. This week using Ball as a Flex or low-end RB2 is more about Denver keeping Moreno fresh than the matchup against the Chargers. .... ...Starks could start for Green Bay if Eddie Lacy sits. Seeing as every RB crushes the Cowboys defense, we're talking about a potential fantasy starter. ...Jonathan Stewart's injury opens the door for more work elsewhere and we know Tolbert has a nose for the end zone.
1) Rod Streater
2) Cordarrelle Patterson
3) Marlon Brown
4) Doug Baldwin
5) Da'Rick Rogers
Others: Justin Hunter, Ace Sanders, Tavon Austin LaVon Brazill
Notes: At this time of year, safe and steady should be a primary lineup tiebreaker, sometimes over matchup. Not sure anyone on this list qualifies, though Streater is the No. 1 target on his team and is coming off a strong week. ...Patterson gets more and more involved each week for the Vikings and obviously can score from anywhere on the field. He's a worthy risk-reward WR play this week, as is Brown -- Baltimore's hero in Week 14. The Ravens face a Lions defense that when not playing in snow gives up tons of passing game production and little on the ground. ...Seattle isn't the same team on the road, but Baldwin certainly has a chance for goodness against a dismal Giants defense...As for Rogers, that was some fantasy debut last week but the fact that it was his first game of consequence is why I'd be hesistant to start him in an 12-14 team league. Also the Colts are facing a Texans defense that allows the third fewest points to fantasy WRs. Grab if intrigued, which we are, but don't force a start just because.
1) Delanie Walker
2) Garrett Graham
3) Dennis Pitta
4) Zach Ertz
5) LaDarius Green
6) Scott Chandler
Others: Kellen Winslow, Jacob Tamme, Brent Celek
Notes: Some actually interesting options this week. Assuming Charles Clay isn't on your league's waivers, Walker is the top play, but with a concussion-testing caveat. Owners with another decent option already can grab the Titans starter and have him in case Walker is cleared to face an Arizona defense allowing the most points to the position. For those Gronk owners with nothing else, choose another name for safety. ...Graham has turned into a target fiend of late. Matchup vs. Indy isn't stellar, but he's a borderline TE1 this week and a certain one in Week 16 versus Denver. ...Pitta returned last week and quickly flashed that passing game chemistry with Joe Flacco. Expect a Baltimore-Detroit shootout. ...Only reason Zach Ertz isn't ranked in the top 12 this week against the Vikings (30th vs. TE) is the unknown of whether he or Brent Celek catches the touchdown. ...Green's weekly upside remains immense, but he ran only five pass routes in Week 14 according to ProFootballFocus. ...Never a big Chandler fan or counting on a TD to justify a start, but the Bills are facing a Jacksonville D that ranks 31st against the TE position.
1) Saints (at Rams)
2) Jaguars (vs. Bills)
3) Bills (at Jags)
4) Falcons (vs. Redskins)
5) Titans vs. Cardinals
Notes: Let's not waste too much time here. Check out the FFToolbox weekly rankings, which I had a primary hand in crafting. In general names like Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick, Carson Palmer, Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco are ranked higher than season norms. Robert Griffin III owners should have a backup plan just in case Mike Shanahan detonates the whole thing by starting Kirk Cousins.