Week 15: Player Upgrades
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Hello and welcome to player upgrades. Throughout the year we'll be focusing on which players should receive starts based on matchups, injuries, etc. plus those rising weekly and long-term rankings.
Your opponent has a clear-cut starting QB in Drew Brees, but maybe you're saddled with Andy Dalton and Big Ben? You locked up AP with the number one pick, but forgot to take another back until round seven? Player upgrades will help you decide whom to start each week and playoffs...
It has been a disappointing year for Ryan, but he's an effective dome quarterback, playing against a Redskins squad ripe for the picking. In fact, he might be one the strongest plays of the week as the Redskins have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and have been picked apart by almost every QB they've faced. Ryan is only a one-week play though as he gets the Niners and Panthers to finish off the year.
Palmer has a brutal remaining schedule, but he's been playing very well as of late with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions over the past five games. He's thrown for 300+ yards in three of those games and has found a secondary receiver to Larry Fitzgerald in Michael Floyd. Palmer isn't the best play given his remaining games against the Titans, Seahawks and Niners, but know that he's been productive and consistent and can be trusted as a starter in a pinch.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Minnesota's loss is fantasy owners' gain as Gerhart is expected to fill in for Adrian Peterson this week against the Eagles. It's a small sample size, but Gerhart has been impressive with a limited number of carries this year, averaging 7.9 yards per attempt. When Peterson went down on Sunday, Gerhart rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Over the past four games, he's run for 255 yards on just 32 carries, making him a terrific play this week.
Make sure to monitor the injury status of Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden, but regardless, Reece has earned himself a spot in the rotation heading into the final weeks of the season. Reece has always been a focal point in the passing game, but his second career 100-yard rushing game on Sunday proves he can be a dual-threat going forward. The Raiders don't have much in the way of offensive weapons and Reece is one of the few who can contribute and secure a RB2 spot in some formats.
Aaron Rodgers appears set to return and that means a resurgence for the Packers' passing game, particularly for his favorite target -- Nelson. Green Bay's best wideout has seen his numbers drop off without Rodgers. He hasn't caught a touchdown pass since the injury and has been targeted just four times in the past two games combined. With Rodgers over the first seven games, Nelson had three 100-yards performances and seven touchdowns, so be sure to re-insert him should Rodgers make his way back into the lineup this week.