Fins Fantasy: Guide to Week 15 in Fantasy Football
Hello, readers of The Deep End. I don’t know why I’m bothering to write this article, seeing as the vast majority of fantasy players have already been eliminated from the playoffs. Oh, yeah… that’s right. I’m contractually obligated to. Fun Fact: I’m also contractually obligated to give up my left kidney if my boss asks me to. I knew hiring a lawyer that I met in an Applebee’s parking lot was a bad idea. Hell, simply going to Applebee’s was a bad idea. Poor life decisions aside, I guess I’d better get on to this week’s fantasy matchups.
Miami Dolphins vs. San Diego Chargers Matchup analysis:
While the Miami Dolphins are hardly a model of consistency as a team, they have players at the skill positions that seemingly always produce, whether or not the team is competitive as a whole. These are the types of players that I would advise starting in such a high stakes environment as fantasy season approaches its end. The only two players that exhibit the consistency to be safe starters for the semi-finals are Lamar Miller and Jarvis Landry. Miller has been especially impressive, considering the circumstances. Miller ranks in the top 5 in fantasy points for RBs, even though the Dolphins have the fewest rushing attempts this year. Last week’s game against the Giants was a perfect example of Miller’s ability to produce despite his severe cap on carries. He totaled 89 rushing yards and 2 TDs on a mere 12 carries. Considering his ability to capitalize on his opportunities, and a matchup against a Chargers’ Defense that allows the 5th most points per game to the position, he’s a virtual must-start.
Landry’s outlook is a little more clouded. His limited big play ability gives him a low ceiling, and this week’s matchup against the Chargers is no cakewalk. While the Chargers’ secondary as a whole is lackluster, Landry will likely be lining up against promising young corner Jason Verrett. The second year CB is excellent at limiting the opposition’s number one wideout, and I’m not sure if Landry has the ability to overcome that difficult of a matchup.
I would advise against starting any other Dolphins’ player unless you’re in an emergency situation or need a good sleeper option for daily leagues. DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills could be good sleepers this week, as Still’s especially earned more playing time with a beautiful deep TD last week against the Giants.
Must Start QBs:
Carson Palmer vs. Philadelphia Eagles- Carson Palmer has been a viable MVP candidate all year, and the Eagles’ “Defense” has been more disgusting than a Frat House bathroom. Need I say more?
Blake Bortles vs. Atlanta Falcons- The Falcons have actually been pretty stingy when it comes to allowing fantasy points to opposing QBs. However, the Jags are coming off of a week in which they put up a 50-burger, and the Falcons are fresh off a 38-0 blowout. These are two teams trending in opposite directions, and that bodes well for Bortles and his outstanding arsenal of weapons.
Other QB Matchups I like:
Russell Wilson vs. Cleveland Browns
Matthew Stafford vs. New Orleans Saints
Sleeper: A.J. McCarron vs. San Francisco 49ers
QB Matchups I don’t like:
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Denver Broncos- Roethlisberger is a top tier QB with a top tier receiver corps. The issue, of course, is that he’s playing the best defense in the league this week. Ben even admitted that he sees no weaknesses in the top-ranked Broncos’ Defense, and has struggled against top-tier defenses in the past. If you have another viable option on your roster, go with them over Big Ben.
Other Bad QB Matchups:
Brock “poor man’s Alex Smith” Osweiler vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Derek Carr vs. Green Bay Packers
Marcus Mariota vs. New England Patriots
Must Start RBs:
Fozzy Whitaker vs. New York Giants- If you’ve never heard of Fozzy Whitaker, don’t feel bad. The Carolina Panthers’ backup RB rarely sees time behind Jonathan Stewart, but has performed quite well in his limited sample size. Last week, Fozzy played much of the second half and totaled 34 yards and a TD on 8 carries. While those numbers aren’t incredible by any stretch, bear in mind he only played in the second half. Fozzy may not get the start over the Bowling Ball formerly known as Mike Tolbert, but he will likely receive most of the carries on the league’s best team, playing one of the league’s worst defenses.
Jeremy Hill vs. San Francisco 49ers- I think that Bengals’ Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson is going to try to take pressure off of AJ McCarron in his first start by establishing the run, which looks to be a great plan considering the 49ers have allowed the most points per game to opposing RBs this season. Hill may not be a great RB, but he’s a solid matchup based starter and is definitely the best option in Cincy’s backfield.
Other Good RB Matchups:
Chris Ivory vs. Dallas Cowboys
Denard Robinson vs. Atlanta Falcons
James White vs. Tennessee Titans
RB Matchups I don’t like:
Darren McFadden vs. New York Jets- McFadden has been a very good option week in and week out since he seized the starting RB role early in the season. Unfortunately, he will be going up against a fearsome Jets D-line that has allowed the second fewest points per game to opposing RBs this year. Keep McFadden on the bench this week.
Other Bad RB Matchups:
Javorius “Buck” Allen vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Melvin Gordon vs. Literally any team
Isaiah Crowell vs. Seattle Seahawks
Must Start WRs:
Sammy Watkins vs. Washington Redskins- Sammy Watkins has been lighting up opposing secondaries the past few weeks to the tune of 348 yards and 4 TDs in his last three games. The Redskins’ secondary has a penchant for giving up big plays, so I think it likely that Watkins continues to have the best month of his career. Consider the talented WR a must start.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Houston Texans- T.Y. is quietly having himself a very solid season, considering the circumstances. It doesn’t matter who’s playing QB, the receiver has produced at a high level. Not to mention Hilton has absolutely manhandled Houston over the last few years. Also, it looks as though Matt Hasselbeck will be starting so, barring any complications, we won’t have to watch Clipboard Jesus “throw” a football around. Have faith in Hilton this week.
Doug Baldwin vs. Cleveland Browns- There hasn’t been a better fantasy WR over the past few weeks than Doug Baldwin. His 8TDs over the course of these last three weeks have been absolutely insane, and you’d be stupid to bench him against the Joe Haden-less Browns this week.
Other Good WR Matchups:
Larry Fitzgerald/John Brown vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Jeremy Maclin vs. Baltimore Ravens
Calvin Johnson vs. New Orleans Saints
Tyler Lockett vs. Cleveland Browns
WR Matchups I don’t like:
Dea Bryant vs. New York Jets- Bryant has been a huge bust this season. Sure, most of it is a matter of circumstance, but his decline is undoubtedly on him too. He’s been plagued by drops, which is killer when you consider that Matt Cassell is only going to throw a handful of catchable balls throughout the game. This week’s matchup against Darrelle Revis should be raising a huge red flag if it weren’t raised already. Keep Dez on the bench, lest he lose you your shot at a championship.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Carolina Panthers- Beckham’s placement here is obviously and purely a matter of matchup. This week, Beckham and Josh Norman face off in a matchup between the NFL’s most talented receiver and the NFL’s most talented cover corner. Norman has absolutely shut down top-tier talent throughout the year and looks to have the advantage. I’m not going to tell anyone to bench OBJ. In fact, I think you should start him if your WR corps isn’t that deep. If anyone has a shot to get past Norman, it’s OBJ.
Other Bad WR Matchups:
Desean Jackson vs. Buffalo Bills
Brandin Cooks vs. Detroit Lions
Martavis Bryant vs. Denver Broncos
Must Start TE:
Gary “Feel the Barn” Barnidge vs. Seattle Seahawks- Gary Barnidge has played like a Pro Bowler all season, and you should ride with him into the playoffs too. You may think this is a bad matchup, but the Seahawks have actually allowed the 9th most points per game to opposing TEs this year. Not to mention he figures to remain Johnny Manziel’s favorite target as the secondary shuts down the Browns’ pedestrian WR corps.
Other Good TE Matchups:
Julius Thomas vs. Atlanta Falcons
Eric Ebron vs. New Orleans Saints
TE Matchup I don’t like:
Zach Ertz vs. Arizona Cardinals- Ertz has been improving in recent weeks and the Cardinals haven’t been too harsh on opposing TEs, but Ertz has such a low ceiling and floor that it’s not worth starting him with so much on the line.
Other Bad TE Matchups:
Travis Kelce vs. Baltimore Ravens
Will Tye vs. Carolina Panthers
Must Start Defensive Matchup:
Kansas City Chiefs Defense/ST vs. Baltimore Ravens- The Chiefs’ Defense has been the best fantasy defense over the last month, and they’ll be facing up against the unholy combination of Matt Schaub, Jimmy Clausen, and Ryan Mallett. They could break the record for pick-sixes in this one and no one, not even Matt Schaub’s mother, would be surprised.
Defensive Matchup I don’t like:
Houston Texans Defense vs. Indianapolis Colts- This matchup looks fantastic on paper, but injuries to J.J. Watt have left him unable to get consistent pressure on opposing QBs. The Colts look to be getting their best O-lineman, Anthony Castanzo, back from injury, and Matt Hasselbeck is likely to play as well. Throw in the fact that Houston has never beaten Indy at home, not even in that 2-14 season, without Peyton Manning, and that I like the Colts’ chances on offense. Listen to me or don’t. I don’t get paid either way.