Friday, December 12, 2014

Week 15 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Aaron Rodgers and Matt Forte, or to bench Geno Smith and Toby Gerhart? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 15 of the 2014 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Eli Manning, QB, Giants vs. Redskins. Washington has coughed up 28 passing TDs vs. just five interceptions all season. Manning should have little trouble taking advantage of that disproportionate ratio, as he did in Week 4, especially given the firepower (read: Odell Beckham) at his disposal.

Joique Bell, RB, Lions vs. Vikings. Bell has racked up a pair of touchdowns in each of his last two games. Even with Reggie Bush back on the field, he remains the starter and is getting the lion’s share (get it?) of the carries. Minnesota is giving up tons of yards, though they stiffen up around the end zone. Bell should fix that.

Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins at Giants. Coming off his worst game of the year, Morris is hard to trust. But he’ll be plowing through the Giants’ very accommodating run defense, and given his team’s troubles at QB, you can bet he’ll be leaned on heavily.

Roddy White, WR, Falcons vs. Steelers. There’s a decent chance Julio Jones (hip) sits out this delicious matchup, which would be unfortunate for Matt Ryan but would force more targets toward White. Even if Jones suits up, his counterpart’s prospects are up given the generosity of Pittsburgh’s secondary.

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers vs. Broncos. Allen put up a stinker against the Patriots last week, but he had been on a nice roll prior to that. Philip Rivers targeted him 13 times when these teams met in Denver mid-season, and Allen responded with nine receptions for 73 yards and a TD. Look for similar, if not better, production at home.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez; RBs C.J. Anderson, Justin Forsett, Chris Ivory, LeGarrette Blount, Mark Ingram, Isaiah Crowell, Jeremy Hill, Fred Jackson; WRs T.Y. Hilton, Kelvin Benjamin, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Pierre Garcon, Mike Evans, Martavis Bryant, Mike Wallace, Steve Smith.

Roll ‘em back

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals at Browns. Cleveland held Andrew Luck in check for much of last week’s contest before eventually succumbing. Dalton never had a chance in Week 10, when he put up a pathetic 86 passing yards and three interceptions against the Browns. Even with A.J. Green on fire, Dalton should be benched.

Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins at Bills. Miller has no competition for carries these days, but he’s struggled recently against the better run defenses. Only the Chiefs have surrendered fewer rushing scores to date than the Patriots’ five, so don’t expect a stellar performance in this one.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers vs. Broncos. Mathews has been missing practice with an ankle injury incurred in last week’s game, but he should suit up on Sunday. The ankle will be the least of his worries when Denver’s stout run defense comes to town.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns vs. Bengals. He and Johnny Manziel have had precious little time to get in sync, so temper your expectations despite the good matchup. Manziel is predisposed to take off running when his receivers are covered, so he’s unlikely to give Gordon the extra time necessary to break free downfield.

Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers at Seahawks. Two weeks ago, Boldin was held to three receptions for 18 yards at home against the Seahawks. That was eight yards more than his partner, Michael Crabtree, registered. This duo is doomed on the road against the Legion of Boom.

More thumbs down: QBs Colin Kaepernick, Derek Carr, Derek Anderson, Teddy Bridgewater; RBs Frank Gore, Gio Bernard, Trent Richardson, Bishop Sankey, Doug Martin, Rashad Jennings, Matt Asiata, Darren McFadden; WRs Michael Crabtree, Mohamed Sanu, Terrance Williams, Reggie Wayne, Eric Decker, James Jones, Charles Johnson, Andre Johnson.


Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens vs. Jaguars. Flacco periodically goes through stretches where he’s actually an attractive fantasy passer. He’s on a two-game roll now in which he’s accounted for three total TDs each week, and he’ll welcome the soft Jaguar secondary to his home stadium this week. Even if Torrey Smith can’t play, Flacco should have a nice afternoon.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…trusts Johnny Football in his first start. The stakes are too high, and he is too green, to risk him in your starting lineup. Even in two-QB leagues, you surely have safer options than Manziel.


  1. Here's the deal need to start two of these four...stills, moncrief, Keenan allen, and DeAndre Hopkins...and in another league I have should I start Harry Douglas in his spot or jarius wright...thank you

    1. I like Keenan and DeAndre today. And Harry usually does well when Julio is out.

  2. Jordan Matthews or Kenny stills....and Chris ivory or Isiah crowell

  3. I have the same conundrum with Matthews and Stills. Have gone back and forth, but sticking with Matthews. I'd take Crowell also.