Friday, December 18, 2015

Week 15 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Russell Wilson and Brandon Marshall, or to bench C.J. Spiller and Terrance Williams? 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 2015 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions at Saints. Every QB excels when they play against the Saints except, apparently, Jameis Winston. Stafford is a high-volume passer even against good secondaries, partly because the Lions can’t run worth a darn. Expect Calvin Johnson to play a much bigger role in the Monday nighter as well.

Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars vs. Falcons. All indications are that T.J. Yeldon will miss this game with a knee injury, giving Robinson an opportunity to reprise his role as Jacksonville’s dual-threat workhorse. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s run defense has imploded.

Charcandrick West, RB, Chiefs at Ravens. West should resume his workhorse duties Sunday with Spencer Ware likely out with a painful rib injury. Baltimore’s run defense is solid, and it stiffens up around the goal line; but West should benefit from a heavy workload and support from the Chiefs’ much-improved passing game.

John Brown, WR, Cardinals at Eagles. You probably don’t own Brown, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on the same team. But all three are start-worthy in the Sunday night affair. The Eagles secondary has become exceedingly generous and Carson Palmer will use his Jedi powers to take advantage. It’s impossible to tell which wideout will soar the highest in any given week, but none belong on your bench.

Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars vs. Falcons. Blake Bortles is on a tear and he’s making fantasy studs out of his receivers. Hurns, who returned from his concussion with a bang last week, benefits from the attention paid to his counterpart, Allen Robinson. Atlanta’s pass defense caved in against the Panthers last week and it could get worse on Sunday.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles, Drew Brees; RBs Matt Forte, David Johnson, Lamar Miller, LeSean McCoy, Chris Ivory, Tim Hightower, Eddie Lacy, Brandon Bolden, Jeremy Hill; WRs Allen Robinson, Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Jeremy Maclin, Danny Amendola, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Sammy Watkins, Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton, Eric Decker, Jarvis Landry.

Roll ‘em back

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers vs. Broncos. The force is strong with this one. But last week’s substandard performance against the Bengals makes it easier to bench Big Ben against the Darth Vader of NFL defenses. Pittsburgh’s aerial attack is explosive, but Cincinnati just proved that it can be held in check. 

Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys vs. Jets. The Jets’ league-best run defense has allowed just one TD to an opposing rusher all season long. McFadden has notched just three as a Cowboy. He won’t get his fourth on Saturday night in the Death Star, and he will be lucky to amass 50 rushing yards in this matchup.

Javorius Allen, RB, Ravens vs. Chiefs. The talented rookie was shut down by the Seahawks last week. Or was it Jimmy Clausen’s ineptitude? Fair question. Matt Schaub is pressing to return this weekend, but Allen’s upside will still be limited by a tough Chiefs defense.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders vs. Packers. The rookie was blanked last week by the Broncos, and now he’ll face a Packers secondary that has been playing nearly as well of late. Cooper still has game-breaking ability, but he’s been dealing with a foot injury and has been held out of the end zone since Week 9. Michael Crabtree is an equally risky start this weekend.

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys vs. Jets. If your league awards fantasy points for sideline tirades, Bryant should be in your lineup. Otherwise, with Matt Cassel under center, you can’t count on much during Bryant’s three-hour tour of Revis Island.

More thumbs down: QBs Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, Sam Bradford; RBs Melvin Gordon, Isaiah Crowell, Rashad Jennings, Ameer Abdullah, Bryce Brown, Antonio Andrews, Shaun Draughn, Alfred Morris, C.J. Anderson, Joique Bell; WRs Nate Washington, Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief, Stefon Diggs, Malcom Floyd, Dorial Green-Beckham, Torrey Smith, Markus Wheaton, Jordan Matthews, Reuben Randle, Marques Colston, DeVante Parker, Travis Benjamin, Kamar Aiken, DeSean Jackson, Rishard Matthews.


Ted Ginn, WR, Panthers at Giants. Other than Doug Baldwin, no wideout has more touchdown receptions over the last two weeks. Yet he’s only owned in about half of all leagues. The reason, of course, is that he is just as likely to lay a goose egg as he is to catch a 70-yard bomb in any given contest. But when he’s facing a New York defense that coughs up an NFL-worst 308 net passing yards per game, even Ginn seems worth the risk.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…waits till Sunday morning to make adjustments to your starting lineups. The NFL is throwing us another curveball with the Jets-Cowboys tilt on Saturday night. Take a break from shopping and make sure you’re starting your Jets. Feel free to give your Cowboys the night off.


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  2. PPR...Draughn or Powell?

    Steelers or Bengals?

    1. Sorry, just saw this. I would've said Powell. Draughn is on my thumbs down list. And Bengals.

  3. This is the semis and I have some qb decisions...first Rodgers or Carr, then Rodgers or Smith, and then rivers or smith...three different teams...thanks

  4. Alright .5point ppr...need 4...2 have to be rb's...deangelo Williams, forte, john brown, snead, Hightower...thank you

  5. Right now in my 2 rb spots....and also in my 2 flex spots I have freeman, Hightower, charcandrick west, and Bolden...the question is in this full point ppr...would u play lefell or inman or both this week

  6. How about this...In full point ppr...would you start lat Murray or James white over west and Hightower...and with Baldwin already starting woukld you start Tyler lockett over Alshon or Martavis bryant....ado have ty Hilton....thanks

    1. I'd stick with West/Hightower, plus Alshon

  7. would you play James White over Draughn?