With it being Week 15, you should be down to the final four in your fantasy leagues. If you are reading this, there is a good chance you made it to your league’s semifinals.
So, kudos on a good run. However, your work is not done. While, of course, you play your studs through thick and thin, there are a few fringe players, though, who have some opportunistic matchups that can help carry you past the finish line. On the flip side, there are some quality players who may find it hard to rack up the fantasy points with tough matchups this week.
With pride, glory and maybe a little loot on the line, here are this week’s FP911.com’s starts and sits.
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Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ever since he lost his top threat Julio Jones, Ryan has been a run-of-the-mill low-end starting quarterback. But with Roddy White starting to get it in gear, Ryan is ending his 2013 season on a high note.
With the beaten-down Washington Redskins coming to town, Ryan may put together his best effort yet. The Redskins are atrocious on defense and that extends to their passing defense. The Redskins allow 257 passing yards per game (27th in the NFL) and have given up 25 scores through the air (tied for third most in the NFL).
With the game at home and the Falcons looking to end the season in winning fashion, expect Ryan to sling it in this affair and be a quality quarterback to trust in the playoffs.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns
While he hasn’t had a great stretch of games, anyone who goes up against the putrid Chicago run defense is a quality play.
With Willis McGahee out for the game, the bulk of the rushing load for the Browns should fall on Ogbonnaya’s shoulders. It can’t be overstated enough; the Bears’ run defense is just that bad. Here are the numbers to remind you: Chicago allows a league-high 157 rushing yards per game (20 yards more than the next closest team). They also have allowed 16 rushing scores (tied for third most in the NFL).
Again, Ogbonnaya shouldn’t be a staple in your lineup. But for this week, he can be that lottery ticket you’re looking to cash.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Tate has been up and down ever since Arian Foster went down with a season-ending injury, but this may be the week to put your trust back in Tate.
Tate and the Texans will take on the Colts in Indianapolis and the Colts have been porous against the run. The Colts are allowing 130.6 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL) and have given up 13 touchdowns on the ground (tied for 23rd in the NFL).
With Case Keenum and the passing game being inconsistent, expect the Texans to rely on Tate for the workload in this game.
Roddy White, Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons
Just as Ryan is coming along, a few of his targets should be prime plays this week against Washington.
White has 18 receptions (on 24 targets) for 217 receiving yards in his last two games, while Douglas has been solid ever since Julio Jones went down with an injury. With Washington a mess on both sides of the ball, White and Douglas could carve up the Redskins’ secondary.
Remember, Washington allows 271.9 receiving yards per game (27th in the league).
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
If you haven’t been paying attention, Bowe has really been stepping up of late, scoring in three out of his last four games.
With his quarterback Alex Smith going to the air more of late, Bowe has been the prime beneficiary, hauling in 23 receptions (on 45 targets) for a respectable 301 receiving yards in his last five games to go with the three touchdowns.
And this week the Chiefs have a great matchup when they head to Oakland. The Raiders give up 250 passing yards per game (23rd in the NFL) while also allowing 23 passing touchdowns (tied for 20th in the NFL)
Delaine Walker, Tennessee Titans
You know the drill by now: Start any tight end against the Cardinals (who Walker and the Titans face this week).
That’s where Walker comes in, and he should be back this week after suffering a concussion two weeks prior.
It bears repeating that the Cardinals have allowed 14 touchdowns to opposing tight ends and as long as Walker is healthy, he should be an integral part of the Titans’ game plan.
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It appears Glennon’s nice mid-season run is coming to a screeching halt and he is just too risky to trust in the playoffs.
In his last two games, Glennon has passed for only 270 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Maybe Glennon is hitting the rookie wall, but either way, don’t start him this week as he’ll be up against a strong 49ers’ defense. The 49ers are fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (204). The 49ers are also tied for second in the league in passing touchdowns (13) allowed.
While Glennon makes for a good sleeper heading into next year, you can’t pin your playoff hopes on him this week.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
With Jets quarterback Geno Smith being inconsistent, the Jets usually rely on Ivory and the run game to get them going. But when they fall behind, they usually have to throw to catch up and that renders Ivory pretty much useless.
Expect that to be the case on Sunday when the Jets visit Carolina. Carolina has one of the strongest defensive units and they should force the Jets into a lot of mistakes. They’ll try to let Smith beat them and key in on Ivory. Not to mention, the Panthers just so happen to lead the league in rushing yards against (79.4) while also yielding just three rushing scores, which is also tops in the league (tied with Baltimore).
While Ivory has been a useful No. 2 RB or flex-play this season, this is not the week to roll with Ivory.
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers
Williams, along with Mike Tolbert, should have a tough time finding running room in their affair with the Jets this weekend.
The Jets have been stout against the run all year and are holding teams to just 82.6 rushing yards per game (2nd in the NFL). They have also only allowed seven rushing scores (8th in the NFL).
With the Jets banged up in the secondary, expect Cam Newton and the Panthers to pass on the Jets all day.
Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Although Floyd has been playing well down the stretch, he may have a tough time getting open this week when he and the Cardinals travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans.
The Titans have an above-average secondary and allow just 227 passing yards per game (11th in the NFL) and have given up the least amount of touchdowns (12) through the air.
With the Cardinals traveling east they could come out sluggish in this contest. Besides, Floyd is coming off a mediocre performance (two catches for 26 yards) last week against the Rams.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
While he has been a productive receiver this year (especially in PPR-leagues), Wright is just not a recommended start this week.
This week he and the Titans will be playing the Cardinals. There is a chance that Wright will be opposed by Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson. In any event, the Cardinals pass defense is playing much better down the stretch. The Cardinals now rank 12th against the pass, allowing just 227 passing yards per game.
Wright is a player you start based on matchups, but this one is not ideal for him to get going.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Bennett finds himself in a bit of a slump. In his last two games, Bennett has just seven receptions for 57 yards receiving. With Alshon Jeffery emerging and Brandon Marshall always a huge threat, Bennett has taken a backseat to them in the passing game.
Perhaps the return of Jay Cutler may help his production, but Bennett might be too much of a risk with so much on the line this weekend.