Week 15 Preview

Written By: Boris Krutiy
sd-den

In week 14, Peyton Manning proved that he can get it done in cold weather. He threw for 397/4/0. This week he faces the San Diego Chargers who he has already beaten. In week 10, Peyton went into Qualcomm Stadium and put up 330/4/0. Manning and the Broncos have the best offense in the league. They are 1st in PTS/GM, YDS/GM, Pass YDS/GM and are 12th in RUSH YDS/GM.

If you have San Diego Players, do not shy away from playing Phillip Rivers as well as Keenan Allen. They should be able to put up number against the Broncos secondary. After all, they will most likely be playing catch up all game long, so sit San Diego Defense, Danny Woodhead and Ryan Matthews.

 

SF-TB

The 49ers are coming off a huge victory against the Seattle Seahawks and are now playing the 4-9 Bucs. The 49ers are looking a lot better since dropping back to back games to Carolina and New Orleans. They have won 3 in a row against Washington, St. Louis and Seattle. The offense is still not clicking on all cylinders so if they continue to improve they could be a real threat going into the playoffs. All though the offense has struggled, they are averaging 133.2 Rush YDS/GM (11th) and average 24.3 PTS/GM (11th). They need to improve their air attack, they average only 178.3 Pass YDS/GM, WORST in the NFL.

The Tampa Bay Bucs are destined for a top 10 2014 Draft pick. This week, they are destined to lose to the streaking 49ers. The only team that is close to the 49ers inept pass offense is the Bucs Pass Offense who rank only slightly better than the 49ers with 180.8 Pass YDS/GM. On paper, it looks to me like this will be a run happy affair but I think that Colin Kaepernick has something to prove and will try to stretch the field now that he has Michael Crabtree back.

was-atl

Breaking news… RG3 sits Kirk Cousins to start. Looks like Shanahan and the Redskins are shutting it down for the year to avoid any injuries to their start QB. This game will have lots of offense and little defense. Neither team is very strong on defense so this should be a good scoring game with the possibility of high Fantasy Football points available from multiple players. Atlanta should run a way with this, literally. Washington has the worst run defense in the league and has proven that they are not very good at stopping the pass either. Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Harry Douglas all have the possibility of a break out game.

Washington’s offense is up in the air. Robert Griffin III will be benched for Kirk Cousins so who knows what is going to happen. I think that Cousins actually improves their chances because he will be safer and limit mistakes. Also, RG3 has been very erratic this year with his accuracy so Cousins will most likely have a leg up there as well. Washington ranks 2nd in the NFL with 143.8 Rush YDS/GM and they will be riding Alfred Morris and Roy Helu jr. all day long so long as the game stays close.

 

phi-min

Both teams played in freezing temperatures and thick snow this past Sunday. The Eagles showed that they are a force in the NFC East taking sole possession of 1st place. Meanwhile, Minnesota did not have as much fun playing in the snow. They lost Adrian Peterson to a foot injury and currently his availability for week 15 is in doubt. If Peterson cannot play, Vikings do not have much of a chance to keep up with Chip Kelly’s offense led by Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy.

 

ne-mia

The Dolphins are coming off a big win in Pittsburg which had playoff implications. Their victory all but sealed the Steelers fate and allowed Miami to stay in the mix for the playoff race. Currently, they are on the outside looking in but are tied with #6 seed Baltimore (7-6). Baltimore has the tiebreaker because of a win earlier this year. They need to continue winning to keep the pressure on the Ravens.

The New England Patriots coming off of a win, really lost this past week against the Cleveland Browns because they ended up losing TE Rob Gronkowski to a season-ending knee injury (torn ACL & MCL). Though they have a firm grasp on the #2 seed in the AFC and will be getting into the playoffs, they will have trouble sustaining success deep into the playoffs without their best receiver. Patriots should hand Miami a devastating loss this weekend which will put them on the brink of playoff elimination, especially if Baltimore can continue their strong play. Expect Tom Brady’s Fantasy numbers to decline without Rob Gronkowski.

 

buf-jax

This is not a marquee matchup. In fact, these are two struggling teams currently both at 4-9. Buffalo has been very inconsistent due to poor play from QB E.J. Manual and continuous injuries to their RBs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. When healthy these two backs are hard to handle. Meanwhile, a really bad JAX team has put together a few wins to make themselves respectable. Maurice Jones-Drew has run better. Overall, he has been a Fantasy Football bust. MJD left the game on Sunday with a hamstring injury. He is currently listed as questionable for Week 15 but hopes to return to practice on Friday which would mean that he would play in week 15.

 

hou-ind

Houston Texans, who were a top pick to be back in the AFC postseason mix has literally free fallen and currently in line for the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. From Schaub’s record-breaking 3 straight games with a Pick-6, getting benched in favor of rookie QB Case Keenum, the loss of Arian Foster to IR to the firing of Coach Kubiak, it has been a very tough year. In a week 9 loss, Keenum had his best game of his young career (350/3/0) and as poorly as the Colts defense has been playing lately, giving up 40+ points in 2 of the last 3 games, Keenum could very well put these numbers up again this week. Andre Johnson will have a strong day too (125/2).

The Colts, who started very strong, have not looked as good offensively or defensively compared to the first half of the season. In the first 7 games before their week 8 bye, they lost only 2 games and the defense played very well which included wins against Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. They seemed to be soaring and becoming a powerhouse but then showed their inconsistent play losing to teams that they were expected to beat like Arizona, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The worst part, was they were blowouts from the beginning. Where is the defense? Where is Trent Richardson… wait, I found him, he is on the Bench!

 

sea-nyg

There is not much to say here. The New York Giants do not have much of a defense and Eli Manning is tied with Geno Smith with 20 INTs. With Seattle’s swarming triangle defense, I am betting on at least 2 more INTs by the end of this game. Though Wilson does not put up huge numbers, he should be able to move the ball with some ease considering he has one of the best running backs in Marshawn Lynch, who has already eclipsed 1000 yards for the season and has 10 TDs.

 

chi-cle

Chicago Bears look unstoppable on offense, though are very beatable due to a below average defense that allows 27.7 PTS/GM including 157 Rush YDS/GM. The Bears offense, behind backup QB Josh McCown, has been soaring. Though 2 of the last 3 games have been losses, McCown has done his job. He has thrown for 348+ yards in each of the last 3 games which included 4 TDs against Dallas, plus a rushing TD. The main WR benefiting from McCown’s success is Alshon Jeffries who has the 3rd most fantasy points over the last four weeks, behind only Eric Decker and Josh Gordon. Unfortunately for McCown, it looks like Jay Cutler will be healthy soon, possibly this week and will be getting his starting job back without question.

Cleveland is a team looking for a new identity. They have had a long year with all of the issues on the field. They have gone through multiple QBs before Jason Campbell finally came in and showed a glimmer of hope. The Browns stirred the pot early when they traded away team and fan favorite Trent Richardson who has done ZERO this year. They received a first round draft pick so they definitely got the better end of the deal. They were also thinking about trading Josh Gordon. What a bonehead move that would have been. Gordon has been lights out this year with seven 100+ yard games this year which included back to back 200+ yard games. Chicago’s offense should continue to shine and pull this out.

 

kc-oak

Though Oakland plays well at home, they are 4-9 and going nowhere fast. Their brightest star on the field, QB Terrelle Pryor, was benched in place of Matt McGloin. McGloin is not flashy but seems to be a bit better as a pocket passer. The problem is that Oakland has no running game (Rashard Jennings and Darren McFadden injured) and do not have a WR1 on the team. Their best wideout is Denarius Moore who has been out for the last 3 weeks with a shoulder injury and is questionable for Week 15. You put all of Oakland’s woes together and even with them playing at home, this will be a blowout victory for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs are playing at a high level this year. Andy Reid has come in and made the Chiefs believers. Alex Smith, god bless him, is in the same situation he was in with San Francisco. Strong offense with a top RB in Jamaal Charles and a dominating defense that will get them to the playoffs. Smith, in my opinion, is still showing that he is the same QB. A game manager and if put into a position where he needs to score to win a game, well lets just say he is not at the level of a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but then again few are. Chiefs walk away with an easy win dominated by their defense. Only variable to keep your eye on is special teams where both excel.

 

nyj-car

Carolina is coming off a bad loss to the Saints in the Metrodome which basically sealed the fact they will not be able to win their division thanks to the dominant Saint’s play at home. Now they need to work hard to hang onto their #5 seed. San Francisco has been winning and though Carolina has the tiebreaker, they still need to win games to hold on. Carolina should hand the Jets a loss in Carolina this week where the Panthers are very strong and will be looking to get back on track. The Jets are lost. Their rookie QB Geno Smith is a turnover machine. He has had an INT in all but 2 games (20 total) and add to that his 8 fumbles (4 lost). They have a good running game with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell but Carolina is strong against the run which will force the Jets to throw the ball. Can someone please tell me how Rex “Sexy Rexy” Ryan still has a coaching job in New York?

 

gb-dal

Green Bay Packers are still playing with a backup QB. Until they have Aaron Rodgers back on the field, they are not even worth mentioning. Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn are no Aaron Rodgers and even with Dallas having the worst defense in the league, Romo and the Cowboys should be able to run over the Packers. While Eddie Lacy battles injury, DeMarco Murray is running very well now that he is finally healthy and Dez Bryant is one of the best WRs in the league. Rodgers is still complaining of pain with his throwing motion so until that goes away, he will not be cleared to play. They really need Rodgers back because they are currently 6-6-1 and only half a game behind the NFC North leaders Detroit and Chicago. Though they need a little help, they can technically still get into the playoffs if the Lions can lose one more game and Packers win last three which includes the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field which could be to decide who wins the NFC North and who goes home.

 

ari-ten

Carson Palmer is having a strong year for the Cardinals and helping them make a push for a playoff run for the first time since they had Kurt Warner behind center (2009). Arizona is 8-5 and only one game behind Carolina and San Francisco for a Wild Card spot. They will need to win out right and will still need help with a loss from Carolina or San Francisco. Also, they have a hard road. After Tennessee, they play @ Seattle followed by the 49ers in University of Phoenix Stadium. They have already lost to both teams in the first match up and odds are that a victory @Seattle is not in their future. They will need to do this without their rookie CB Tyrann Mathieu who left Sunday’s game with a torn ACL/LCL.

Tennessee has struggled to find offensive consistency. Ryan Fitzpatrick has come in and played well off the bench in place of injured Jake Locker but not enough to make the team matter in the standings. Chris Johnson is hit or miss and they do not have a top WR1 on their roster. They do however have two young WRs in Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter(R) who will be good players in this league.

 

no-stl

The St. Louis Rams are the youngest team in the NFL and though they are exciting and have talent, they are still missing pieces. The primary piece, is their star QB Sam Bradford. Kellen Clemens is 2-4 as a starter since Bradford went down with a torn ACL. The Rams are only averaging 205.7 Pass YDS/GM (28th) and 22.2 PTS/GM(20th) while the future HOF bound Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints average 302.9 YDS/GM (2nd only to Denver) and 26.4 PTS/GM. On top of all the offensive advantages, Rob Ryan has the Saint’s defense playing at a very high level. Rams are going to lose 38-17.

 

cin-pitt

Andy Dalton and the Bengals will need to go into Heinz Field and fight a tough defense in poor weather. Lucky for the Bengals, cold weather is nothing new to them. They can run the ball and have a dynamic rookie RB in Giovani Bernard. If the weather does not allow Dalton to get the ball to his playmaker A.J. Green, they will be fine running the ball with the combination of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gio Bernard.

The Steelers are just trying to save face at this point. They not only lost a heartbreaker to Miami at home in the snow but have dropped completely out of playoff contention. Also, Tomlin’s actions against the Ravens last week when he interfered with a kick return has caused quite a stir. He was fined $100K but was that enough? Some say Pittsburgh should have lost a draft pick. Seems a bit much to punish the entire organization, but a suspension seems reasonable.

bal-det

The Baltimore Ravens need to continue their winning ways. They have won 4 of their last 5 games thanks to the resurgence of RB Ray Rice and a defense that is finally coming up with some big stops. They currently hold the #6 seed in the AFC playoff picture with Miami right behind them. Both are 7-6 and Baltimore has the edge because of a head-to-head win. Still competing are San Diego Chargers and New York Jets who are only one game behind.

The Lions are also in a close playoff race. They are currently tied with the Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North and the Green Bay Packers are only half a game behind in the standings due to a tie with Minnesota. If they can finish the year strong by winning their last three games, they will guarantee themselves the NFC North. On the other hand, a loss along the way could mean falling behind Chicago and possibly opening the door to the Packers who play Chicago in week 17.

Images from nfl.com
Stats from nfl.com and Yahoo Sports
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4 thoughts on “Week 15 Preview”

  1. It doesn’t make sense to sit Mathews or Woodhead, even if they are playing catch up for most of the game. Woodhead gets a lot of yardage through the air and he’s a good change of pace for the Chargers. Plus, running backs routinely play better than other players in the Thursday games. Keep that in mind too.

    1. Thank you for commenting, my reasoning is based on the stats. If you look at last week against NYG, they did OK. For as much “yardage” Woodhead supposedly picks up, he only had 94 total yards against a bad NYG defense but did pick up a TD. Matthews was strong picking up 103/1 on 29 carries, great in PPR leagues especially. BUT, they are not facing NYG again, they are now facing Denver and this Manning will not throw 2 picks. If you look at their November matchup @San Diego, Woodhead had only 44 total yards from scrimage and Matthews had only 61 yards from scrimmage. They did each grab a TD to keep their Fantasy numbers from looking really bad and they played @ Qualcomm Stadium. I do not doubt they may get some extra points in garbage time, maybe even a TD, but they would not be at the top of “My” List to start this week which for me, and most in FFB leagues, is a playoff week. Interested to understand how you came up with your comment regarding RBs doing better on Thursday games?

      1. The November matchup doesn’t matter because this is now, but you’re right, this Manning won’t throw 2 picks. As for my running backs comment, I meant that they perform better on the short weeks than wide receivers and tight ends, not that they perform better than they normally do on other weeks. That being said, they aren’t at the top of my list to start this week either. Never were.

  2. LOL. Wait you are not even playing these guys? You must be a Chargers fan then. That is the only explanation why you would argue for them in this matchup. Anyway, good luck to your Chargers tonight, if they are your team, they will need it against Peyton and the Superbowl bound Broncos.

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