Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Week 15 Fantasy Advice: Last Chance Saloon

To those of you still alive in your fantasy playoffs, congratulations. But there is now another gauntlet in place. More injuries are creating havoc and chaos, and it's going to take some deft manuevering in order to pull off another win. But you've all done so well to get here, it stands to reason you won't have anything to worry about, right?

Start of the Week: RB Kenyan Drake (MIA) at BUF

First, the Dolphins trade Jay Ajayi. Then, Damien Williams gets hurt. So enter former Crimson Tide star Kenyan Drake, and he's only lit the world of fantasy football on fire. He was so good against both Denver and New England that it's almost impossible to bench him at this point against anyone.

Who to Start:

QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. GB: Going from facing the Vikings to the Packers is going from fantasy hll to heaven in a week. The Packers defense didn't look up to par against Cleveland, and even in the matchup struggle against Minnesota, Cam played decently both running and throwing.

RB Latavius Murray (MIN) vs. CIN: Murray had a rough week against the incredibly stout Panthers defense last Sunday, but that shouldn't be as much of a problem against the patchwork Bengals defense. Jordan Howard broke out of his slump against them last week, and Murray should break out of his brief one Sunday.

WR Josh Gordon (CLE) vs. BAL: He's getting his targets; seven catches on 17 targets is not a bad ratio for someone who is coming off such a long layoff. Gordon is practically a must-start against the Ravens who gave up over 500 yards to Big Ben last Sunday, and are without their best corner in Jimmy Smith.

WR Golden Tate (DET) vs. CHI SAT: It's hard to go against Tate at this point, who is playing some of his best football of the year right now, and has a very favorable matchup against the Bears, who only look good in spurts on defense and rarely do they on the road.

TE Jack Doyle (IND) vs. DEN THU: It was hard for anyone to put up decent numbers on Hoth Sunday, but he did catch a touchdown, which saved his day. The Broncos are not good at defending the tight end, so Doyle as he's been for most of the season is quite a solid option.

DEF New Orleans vs. NYJ: Bryce Petty. Long week to prepare. Enough said.

Sit of the Week: WR Robby Anderson (NYJ) at NO

He had been one of the best receivers in fantasy football for the entirety of the season, however without Josh McCown, that status has taken a major hit. He also threw up a major stinker in Denver last weekend, and the Saints are going to key in on him as the only offensive weapon for the Jets. Avoid him.

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) at TB MON: It's hard to trust Matt Ryan in fantasy at this point, which should have been an observation made far earlier in the season, but here we are in Week 15 and Ryan may still be getting undeserved starts. The Bucs defense is far better at home than it has been on the road, and Ryan has been poor this year, so avoid Ryan in this huge week.

RB Doug Martin (TB) vs. ATL MON: Get a case of fumble-itis and watch your touches and snaps go down: a tried and true formula. This is what happened to Martin against the Lions as Peyton Barber has started to pick up more and more carries by the week. Martin is probably one to avoid this week.

WR Cooper Kupp (LAR) at SEA: Kupp has been such a fun player to watch this year, especially if you own him in fantasy land. But this week against Seattle is going to be tough. Not only is Robert Woods potentially returning, but the Seahawks are going to be quite angry after what happened in Jacksonville. This is a recipe for trouble for the LA Rams.

WR DeVante Parker (MIA) at BUF: He's up there with Matt Ryan in terms of the biggest fantasy busts of the season, as his targets have gone down dramatically and the Dolphins have turned more to the run in recent weeks. Buffalo's defense has been stout at home, so it's another good time to keep Parker on your bench.

TE Eric Ebron (DET) vs. CHI SAT: He's been almost invisible in fantasy all year, and then, naturally, he has one of his best games of the year against the Bucs. But that probably won't continue against the Bears, who are surprisingly adept at defending tight ends, for what that's worth.

DEF Pittsburgh vs. NE: This should be pretty obvious, but it'll be made more obvious by the fact that the Patriots offense will not look anywhere near as bad as they did on Monday night, and the Steelers gave up 38 to the Ravens, who aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Dak Prescott (DAL) at OAK: It has become tough to start Dak in recent weeks because of the injuries and absences for the Cowboys. But the in the last two games, the Cowboys and Dak seem to be turning a corner. That should be good news against the Raiders, who have been awful in the secondary all year.

RB Derrick Henry (TEN) at SF: It's been a rough few weeks for the Titans offense, as not only has Marcus Mariota struggled, but the entire offense has with him. Derrick Henry has maybe been the only bright spot, but even he has found the going tough recently. Against the 49ers, who haven't been the best against the run this year, Henry though may be a viable flex play with his ability to grab touchdowns.

WR Michael Crabtree (OAK) vs. DAL: Crabtree needs to have a huge game if the Raiders are to pull off the upset and keep their playoff hopes alive. It's a tough ask, but Dallas' secondary hasn't been the best all year, even though they've played better of late against lesser NFC East opposition.

Buyer Beware:

QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. NE: He had his third career 500 yard passing game last week, and when he's been called upon to perform, he always has. But that performance seems like an outlier to me, because naturally the Patriots always play the best players incredibly well, and in this game of great import, Ben's fantasy potential is certainly more limited than ever.

Good Luck in Week 15!

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