Week 15 Rankings

Patrick Daugherty
December 15, 2013
Week 15 Rankings
Patrick Daugherty takes a look at Tony Romo's slump while breaking down all of Week 15's top plays

Updated 12/15/2013 at 3:15 PM ET. No. 51 WR Justin Hunter removed. Kenny Britt added. 

Updated 12/15/2013 at 12:15 PM ET. LaVon Brazill, Kenbrell Thompkins, Cecil Shorts, Tavon Austin and Garrett Graham all removed from ranks. Toby Gerhart removed, with Matt Asiata ticking upward.  

If you’re a Cowboys fan, chances are you’ve blamed Tony Romo for something. The Cowboys’ descent into mediocrity. Your failed marriage. The summer temperatures in Dallas. Romo has spent the better part of his well above-average career serving as a punching bag for any and all comers, fair or not.

That’s why it’s surprising that he’s taken so little heat for the Cowboys’ up-and-down 2013. Not that he really deserves it. Romo is supported by a defense that’s allowed 333 more yards than any other team in the league, and a coaching staff with as much creativity as your average Sporano. Romo is not the problem in Dallas. That is not to say he hasn’t been a part of it, however.

As the play around Romo has stagnated, he hasn’t done much to elevate his. Romo is averaging just 173 yards over his past four starts, and thrown for more than 234 only twice in eight games since he dropped 506 on the Broncos in Week 5. He’s averaging 215 yards since that fateful October day — which he punctuated with a game-sealing pick, not a blaze-of-glory touchdown — and is on pace for only 3,993, which would be his lowest total in a non-injury shortened season since 2008. Romo’s 7.05 yards per attempt is 16th in the NFL, and would be a new career low. It’s true that Romo owns a sparkling 27:7 TD:INT ratio, but 13 of those scores came in his first five games. He’s thrown for just 14 in the half a season since. Romo completed a combined 21 passes in Dallas’ blowout losses to the Saints and Bears.  

Why has Romo’s play been so uninspiring? It’s tough to say. Part of it is how much time opposing offenses have spent on the field, keeping Romo and the Cowboys off of it. The Cowboys’ offense has possessed the ball less than just five other teams, while Dallas’ defense has spent more time on the field that all but seven units. Romo simply isn’t getting much time to work with the offense. Perhaps he’s also grown leery of the gunslinger throws that stuff stat-sheets, but result in the picks that have unfairly sullied his name. Romo has proven curiously unwilling to force the ball to Dez Bryant. Finally, there’s the play of Romo’s other pass catchers. Miles Austin has fallen off the face of the earth, while rookie Terrance Williams has been maddeningly inconsistent. Jason Witten is on pace for his worst year since 2006.   

Whatever it is, Romo has hit a wall since carving up the Broncos, hurting his fantasy owners in the process. Despite matchups with a number of the league’s worst defenses — Washington, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Oakland, Chicago — Romo has cleared 20 fantasy points in only four of his past eight games, averaging 18.1. That would rank 27th on the year, tied with Jason Campbell, and behind the likes of Joe Flacco, Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick, to name a few.

Now Romo has another excellent matchup in the Packers’ 21st ranked pass defense. Only 12 more teams are allowing more fantasy points to quarterbacks than Green Bay. Matt Flynn isn’t going to be able to possess the ball and keep it out of Romo’s hands the way Drew Brees and Josh McCown did. Romo will be throwing passes in the friendly confines of JerryWorld, and not some AFC North snowglobe. So should you trust him? With nearly all the players surrounding Romo in the ranks having serious questions of their own — Jay Cutler (layoff), Andrew Luck (inconsistency) and Matt Ryan (various) — most owners aren’t going to have a choice. Romo is the pick. But whereas a Romo breakout seemed like a certainty a month ago, it can no longer be taken for granted. Trusting Romo remains the percentage call, but don’t be surprised if you’ve joined the chorus of those blaming him for all the world’s problems by this time next week.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 15. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

Week 15 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. SD Probable (ankle)
2 Nick Foles at MIN -
3 Drew Brees at STL -
4 Cam Newton vs. NYJ -
5 Matthew Stafford vs. BAL -
6 Philip Rivers at DEN -
7 Russell Wilson at NYG -
8 Tom Brady at MIA Probable (shoulder)
9 Tony Romo vs. GB -
10 Andrew Luck vs. HOU -
11 Matt Ryan vs. WAS -
12 Jay Cutler at CLE Probable (ankle)
13 Alex Smith at OAK -
14 Ben Roethlisberger vs. CIN -
15 Ryan Tannehill vs. NE -
16 Colin Kaepernick at TB -
17 Jason Campbell vs. CHI -
18 Carson Palmer at TEN Questionable (elbow)
19 Andy Dalton at PIT -
20 Joe Flacco at DET -
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. ARZ -
22 Matt Cassel vs. PHI -
23 E.J. Manuel at JAC -
24 Eli Manning vs. SEA -
25 Case Keenum at IND Probable (shoulder)
26 Matt Flynn at DAL -
27 Kirk Cousins at ATL -
28 Chad Henne vs. BUF -
29 Mike Glennon vs. SF -
30 Matt McGloin vs. KC -
31 Kellen Clemens vs. NO -
32 Geno Smith at CAR -
33 Terrelle Pryor vs. KC -

QB Notes: At least for one week, Peyton Manning beat back the meme that he couldn’t drop dimes in the cold, shredding the Titans’ imposing pass defense for 397 yards, four touchdowns and a Broncos record 38 completions in temperatures that hovered in the mid-teens. His reward is an evening home date with the league’s worst secondary in surprisingly warm weather. Far and away the league MVP — both “real life” and fantasy — Manning remains on pace to set new NFL records with 5,566 yards passing and 55 touchdowns. … Nick Foles finally has an interception to his name, but out of the snow and into a dome where the Vikings have been getting shredded by opposing passers, he’s the No. 2 quarterback for Week 15. Foles is averaging 30 fantasy points per game since taking over as the Eagles’ starter in Week 9. Even if you eliminate his Week 9 thrashing of the Raiders, Foles has managed a weekly 25 points over his past four games, which would be tied for third on the season.

We go over Drew Brees’ home/road splits every week, so by now you know he’s otherworldly at home and “just” excellent on the road. This week he’s heading to St. Louis to do battle with a Rams team that’s allowing fewer than 20 fantasy points per game to opposing passers, and tied for seventh in sacks. The last time Brees was in the Gateway City, 2011, he had one of the worst starts of his career as the Saints suffered a shocking 31-21 loss to a team that was 0-6 and on its way to the No. 2 overall pick. That has no bearing on this year, of course, but is a reminder that expectations should always be dialed back a bit when Brees ventures outside the Superdome. … Coming off a humbling road loss, Cam Newton is returning home to face a Jets team allowing the 11th most points to enemy quarterbacks. Throw in that Gang Green could be missing No. 1 cornerback Antonio Cromartie and is unlikely to generate any offense whatsoever against Carolina’s elite defense, and you have the recipe for a monster bounce-back performance for fantasy’s No. 4 quarterback.

Coming off an unacceptably-poor performance in snowy Philadelphia, Matthew Stafford is returning home to the domed confines of Ford Field, but will be doing battle with one of the league’s stingier pass defenses. Stafford is still a cinch, high-end QB1, but will also be looking to get back on track in the fourth quarter after a rough month in the game’s final period. Stafford is growing as a quarterback, but there will continue to be pains. … Philip Rivers continues to be treated like a borderline QB1 by fantasy owners, but is on pace for a top-five finish with only three games to go. He didn’t light up the Broncos in the sides’ first meeting (218 yards, one touchdown), but this is a defense that very much can be thrown on. Expect Rivers to do so in what figures to be a high-scoring Thursday night affair. … Tom Brady’s 2013 has been a tale of two seasons. The line of delineation? Rob Gronkowski’s Week 7 return. Before, the Pats were averaging just 20.8 points per game. Since? 32. That can hardly be considered a fluke, so it bears asking: Will things be any different this time around? Gronk is irreplaceable, but it’s not just Gronk the Patriots have gotten back since Week 7. There’s also Shane Vereen, and a finally healthy Danny Amendola. Injuries to “X” receivers Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) have further muddied the waters, but Brady is unlikely to slip to his pre-Gronk levels, even in a tough matchup with Miami.   

Strange but true: Josh McCown would be ranked higher than Jay Cutler’s No. 12 were he getting the start this week. Why would McCown be ranked higher? He’s averaging 352 yards over his past three starts, while Cutler has attempted all of 48 passes since October 10. The hot hand is being benched, and the cold one ridden. Either way, the Browns aren’t a terribly imposing matchup for a team with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery at its disposal. Whichever one of Cutler’s elite receivers isn’t doing battle with Joe Haden will be burning Buster Skrine. There’s obvious risk in trusting an increasingly injury-prone player who’s barely seen the field the past two months, but Cutler’s upside is just too high to be benched. … An up-and-down Andrew Luck is a QB1 diceroll for the second week of the fantasy playoffs, but last week’s emergence of Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill has raised a floor that was starting to get scarily low. … Matt Ryan’s 2013 has had more valleys than one could have ever imagined, but is headed for a Week 15 peak. At home — where he boasts a 106.2 QB rating compared to 74.3 on the road — Ryan will square off with a Redskins defense allowing the most points in the NFL.

It looks like another week of “wait till next week” with Aaron Rodgers (collarbone). … Robert Griffin III’s benching is so inane that there’s really no reason to talk about it. More inane is expecting Kirk Cousins to come out gangbusters, even in a plus matchup. Cousins could very well prove to be an above-average NFL quarterback, but to say he’s not in a position to succeed for the embattled Redskins would be an understatement. He’s not a risk worth taking with everything on the line in the fantasy semifinals. … Another Sunday, another strong matchup for Alex Smith, who is fantasy’s No. 6 quarterback over the past five weeks. … Right behind Smith over the past five weeks? Ryan Tannehill, who gets a Patriots pass defense fresh off getting carved up by Jason Campbell. … Carson Palmer’s elbow isn’t a concern, but the Titans’ pass defense is, particularly with Michael Floyd (ankle) looking shaky. … In any given week, Jason Campbell is capable of throwing for 330 yards or bottoming out. He’s a boom-or-bust QB2. … The same is true of Andy Dalton. … Eli Manning has failed time and again to take advantage of plus matchups. Now he has a dreadful one in Richard Sherman and the Seahawks. … Pray for Geno Smith.      

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Week 15 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Jamaal Charles at OAK -
2 LeSean McCoy at MIN -
3 DeMarco Murray vs. GB -
4 Matt Forte at CLE -
5 Marshawn Lynch at NYG Probable (shoulder)
6 Knowshon Moreno vs. SD Probable (shoulder)
7 Eddie Lacy at DAL Probable (ankle)
8 Alfred Morris at ATL -
9 Shane Vereen at MIA Probable (wrist)
10 Andre Brown vs. SEA -
11 Le'Veon Bell vs. CIN -
12 Steven Jackson vs. WAS -
13 Zac Stacy vs. NO -
14 Frank Gore at TB Probable (ankle)
15 Ryan Mathews at DEN -
16 Reggie Bush vs. BAL Questionable (calf)
17 Giovani Bernard at PIT -
18 Rashad Jennings vs. KC Probable (concussion)
19 Bobby Rainey vs. SF -
20 Chris Johnson vs. ARZ -
21 Ben Tate at IND Probable (ribs)
22 C.J. Spiller at JAC Probable (ankle)
23 Rashard Mendenhall at TEN -
24 BenJarvus Green-Ellis at PIT Probable (illness)
25 Montee Ball vs. SD -
26 Fred Jackson at JAC -
27 Ray Rice at DET -
28 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. CHI -
29 Danny Woodhead at DEN -
30 Pierre Thomas at STL -
31 Andre Ellington at TEN Probable (knee)
32 Jordan Todman vs. BUF Probable (shoulder)
33 Donald Brown vs. HOU -
34 DeAngelo Williams vs. NYJ -
35 Chris Ivory at CAR -
36 Darren Sproles at STL -
37 Joique Bell vs. BAL -
38 Matt Asiata vs. PHI -
39 Trent Richardson vs. HOU -
40 LeGarrette Blount at MIA -
41 Lamar Miller vs. NE -
42 Daniel Thomas vs. NE -
43 Stevan Ridley at MIA -
44 Fozzy Whittaker vs. CHI -
45 Marcel Reece vs. KC -
46 Mike Tolbert vs. NYJ -
47 Shonn Greene vs. ARZ -
48 Bilal Powell at CAR -
49 Roy Helu at ATL -
50 Jacquizz Rodgers vs. WAS Probable (ankle)
51 Bernard Pierce at DET -
52 Robert Turbin at NYG -
53 Mark Ingram at STL -
54 Bryce Brown at MIN -
55 Peyton Hillis vs. SEA -
56 Dennis Johnson at IND -
57 Michael Bush at CLE -
58 Brian Leonard vs. SF -
59 James Starks at DAL -
60 Kendall Hunter at TB -
61 Joseph Randle vs. GB -
62 Benny Cunningham vs. NO -
63 Edwin Baker vs. CHI -
64 Denard Robinson vs. BUF -
65 Joe Banyard vs. PHI -
66 Stepfan Taylor at TEN -
67 Ronnie Brown at DEN -
68 Jonathan Dwyer vs. CIN -
69 Bruce Miller at TB -

RB Notes: Adrian Peterson (foot) appears very unlikely to suit up for Week 15. That would leave Toby Gerhart as a potential RB2/FLEX, except he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Matt Asiata, a third-year undrafted free agent with three career carries, is the next man up. At best, Asiata would be a hail mary FLEX option if Gerhart couldn’t go. … Remember Jamaal Charles’ mid-season lull? Neither does he. Charles has 436 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns over his past three games. … Having reclaimed the league’s rushing lead with his 217-yard demolition of Detroit in the snow, LeSean McCoy will not be slowed down by a Vikings defense allowing the seventh most fantasy points to running backs. … Playing the best football of his career, Matt Forte is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 123 total yards per game. His 65 catches are tied with Danny Woodhead for the league lead amongst running backs. Even against the Browns’ stingy run defense, Forte has the versatility to keep his top-five act going.     

The only Cowboy playing well of late, DeMarco Murray’s league-leading 5.3 yards per carry should play well against a Packers’ run defense coughing up 4.4 yards per tote. … Even as Montee Ball’s role has grown, Knowshon Moreno has averaged 19.5 touches over his past two games. The Broncos may start resting their starters in Week 16, but Moreno is locked into at least one more monster workload. … Zac Stacy has been erased in back-to-back tough road matchups, but is returning home to a date with New Orleans’ leaky run defense (4.7 yards per carry). A big workload will be predicated on the Rams keeping things close, but the time should be right for Stacy to bounce back from a quiet two weeks. … Eddie Lacy (ankle) is a player with potential to tumble down the ranks. The “earliest” he’ll practice is Friday, while it looks like the Pack will be without Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) for another week. Lacy has largely struggled as the focal point for opposing defenses, averaging just 58.2 rushing yards per game and 3.13 yards per carry.    

Receptions are a risky recipe for RB1/2 value, but Shane Vereen is getting so. damn. many. of. them. Both Vereen’s 12 catches and 153 receiving yards in Week 14 were new single-game highs for a running back this season, as well as new Patriots’ franchise records. Vereen’s path to high-end fantasy value is unconventional, but only the destination — an average 13.0 points the past three weeks — matters. … Will Robert Griffin III’s deactivation help or hurt Alfred Morris? There’s no easy answer, but at the very least, things figure to be less chaotic for the Redskins in what should be a majorly stripped-down gameplan. Then there’s the matter of Morris’ opponent, a Falcons team that’s been an absolute doormat for opposing runners. Morris is a solid bet to shake his slump. … Averaging 23 touches per game, Andre Brown’s massive weekly workloads keep him in the RB1 conversation, even against Seattle’s stout defense. … We still haven’t seen vintage Steven Jackson in Atlanta, but he’s looked far more like himself over the past three weeks, averaging 73 yards per game and 4.03 yards per carry while scoring three touchdowns. S-Jax a strong bet to find the end zone against a Washington defense that’s allowed the most rushing scores in the league (19).   

Reggie Bush (calf) expects to suit up for Monday night’s game against the Ravens, but owners need to proceed with caution after Bush was a last-minute no go against the Eagles. That being said, Bush cannot be benched at Ford Field. Owners should have a firm grasp on his status by Sunday morning. … Playing his best football in two years, Ryan Mathews will be going for his second straight 100-yard rushing performance against the Broncos on Thursday, and fifth of the season. With a recently-increased role in the passing game, Mathews’ downside is not what it was earlier in the year. … Rashad Jennings (concussion) is returning to a 4.7 YPC, but will be doing so against a defense that’s much stouter against the run than its 4.5 YPC against would indicate. Kansas City is 16th in rushing yards against, and has allowed the sixth fewest scores on the ground (six). The Raiders will have to keep things close for Jennings to have another big day. … Bobby Rainey boomed for the second time in four games in Week 14, but will have a hard time making it three out of five against San Francisco’s elite defense. … Chris Johnson and C.J. Spiller are either going to homer or strike out looking. For CJ2K, the matchup is prohibitive in Arizona. For Spiller, it’s inviting in Jacksonville. Be prepared for anything.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has more RB2 appeal than usual because he’s been playing well of late (202 yards, three touchdowns over his past three games), and getting a Steelers defense that’s allowed the fifth most scores on the ground (14). … Montee Ball is a cinch top-30 play, it’s just a matter of whether or not he’ll score a touchdown. He’s a preferable option to the chaos in Minnesota, Jacksonville and Cleveland’s backfields, to name a few. … With Willis McGahee (concussion) looking unlikely to play, Chris Ogbonnaya is in line to lead the Browns’ backfield in touches against the Bears’ league-worst defense. Even with the plum matchup, Ogbonnaya is an exceedingly-desperate FLEX option. … If Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) sits — which is appearing likely — Jordan Todman will be a low-ceiling RB2/3. … Stevan Ridley still can’t be trusted. You think the Pats are going to use him near the goal line? … Whatever FLEX appeal DeAngelo Williams earned with Jonathan Stewart’s (knee) injury is largely erased by the fact that he’s facing the Jets’ league-leading run defense. … The Dolphins’ backfield is back in all out “who even knows” mode. Lamar Miller’s time as an RB2 is already through. … Chris Ivory can’t be trusted against the Panthers’ run-erasing defense.   

Week 15 Receivers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Calvin Johnson vs. BAL Probable (knee)
2 Josh Gordon vs. CHI -
3 Demaryius Thomas vs. SD Probable (shoulder)
4 Alshon Jeffery at CLE -
5 A.J. Green at PIT -
6 Dez Bryant vs. GB -
7 Brandon Marshall at CLE -
8 Andre Johnson at IND -
9 Eric Decker vs. SD Probable (ribs)
10 Antonio Brown vs. CIN -
11 DeSean Jackson at MIN -
12 Keenan Allen at DEN Probable (shoulder)
13 Larry Fitzgerald at TEN -
14 Pierre Garcon at ATL -
15 Roddy White vs. WAS Questionable (knee)
16 Julian Edelman at MIA -
17 Jordy Nelson at DAL -
18 Vincent Jackson vs. SF -
19 Torrey Smith at DET -
20 Marques Colston at STL -
21 Riley Cooper at MIN -
22 Harry Douglas vs. WAS -
23 Victor Cruz vs. SEA -
24 Dwayne Bowe at OAK -
25 T.Y. Hilton vs. HOU -
26 Kendall Wright vs. ARZ Probable (ankle)
27 Mike Wallace vs. NE -
28 Anquan Boldin at TB -
29 Steve Smith vs. NYJ -
30 Brian Hartline vs. NE -
31 Rod Streater vs. KC -
32 Stevie Johnson at JAC -
33 Cordarrelle Patterson vs. PHI -
34 Danny Amendola at MIA Probable (groin)
35 Michael Floyd at TEN Questionable (ankle)
36 Golden Tate at NYG Probable (hip)
37 Da'Rick Rogers vs. HOU -
38 Greg Jennings vs. PHI -
39 Ace Sanders vs. BUF -
40 Hakeem Nicks vs. SEA -
41 James Jones at DAL -
42 Michael Crabtree at TB Probable (ankle)
43 DeAndre Hopkins at IND Probable (ankle)
44 Emmanuel Sanders vs. CIN Questionable (foot)
45 Denarius Moore vs. KC Questionable (shoulder)
46 Jarrett Boykin at DAL -
47 Brandon LaFell vs. NYJ -
48 Jerricho Cotchery vs. CIN Probable (shoulder)
49 Nate Burleson vs. BAL -
50 Doug Baldwin at NYG Probable (neck)
51 Jacoby Jones at DET -
52 Andre Holmes vs. KC -
53 Jerome Simpson vs. PHI -
54 Kris Durham vs. BAL -
55 Marlon Brown at DET -
56 Eddie Royal at DEN Probable (toe)
57 Rueben Randle vs. SEA -
58 Marvin Jones at PIT Probable (shoulder)
59 Robert Woods at JAC -
60 Nate Washington vs. ARZ -
61 Mike Brown vs. BUF Probable (shoulder)
62 Santonio Holmes at CAR Probable (hamstring)
63 Jeremy Kerley at CAR Probable (elbow)
64 Tiquan Underwood vs. SF -
65 Jermaine Kearse at NYG -
66 Ted Ginn vs. NYJ -
67 Josh Boyce at MIA -
68 Donnie Avery at OAK Probable (shoulder)
69 Rishard Matthews vs. NE -
70 Kenny Stills at STL -
71 Aldrick Robinson at ATL -
72 Mohamed Sanu at PIT -
73 Terrance Williams vs. GB -
74 Jason Avant at MIN -
75 Greg Little vs. CHI -
76 Andre Roberts at TEN -
77 Lance Moore at STL -
78 Santana Moss at ATL -
79 Miles Austin vs. GB -
80 Chris Givens vs. NO -
81 David Nelson at CAR -
82 Marquise Goodwin at JAC -
83 Earl Bennett at CLE -
84 Davone Bess vs. CHI -
85 Robert Meachem at STL -
86 Vincent Brown at DEN -
87 Stedman Bailey vs. NO -
88 Darius Johnson vs. WAS -
89 T.J. Graham at JAC -
90 Mario Manningham at TB -
91 Brian Quick vs. NO -
92 Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. HOU -
93 Kerry Taylor vs. BUF -
94 Kenny Britt vs. ARZ -

WR Notes: Coming off his worst game in two months, Calvin Johnson should bounce back at home against the Ravens. … Josh Gordon is coming off the most prolific four-game receiving stretch in NFL history. His 1,400 yards are already a Browns franchise record. You might want to start him against the Bears. … Wes Welker’s (concussion) loss is Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker’s gain, as the duo is going up against arguably the league’s worst secondary with one less competitor for targets. Thomas is a strong bet to score his 12th touchdown, while Decker is in prime position for a third straight monster game. … Speaking of dynamic duos, can anyone stop Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery? Even with Joe Haden at their disposal, the Browns are unlikely to answer the bell. That raises an interesting question: With two genuinely elite options to choose from, whom will Haden cover? The guess here is Marshall, but it’s nothing more than that: A guess. Whoever isn’t drawing Haden’s attention will get highly burnable sidekick Buster Skrine. Whatever Haden does — sticks to his left side, throws looks at both players, shadows Marshall — there’s every reason to believe both Marshall and Jeffery will keep producing at an elite level in coach Marc Trestman’s humming offense.

Even with a 16-target game thrown in, Dez Bryant is averaging just eight looks over his past six games. It’s extremely curious for a team getting no production from Miles Austin, and diminishing returns from Jason Witten. Bryant has another golden opportunity to get on track in Green Bay’s bottom-12 pass defense. … Although the calculus has changed at quarterback in Houston — Case Keenum’s play has gone from good to sub-par — Andre Johnson has to be licking his chops for his rematch with the Colts, whom he stung for nine catches, 229 yards and three touchdowns in Week 9. Coming off a 13-catch game, Johnson remains locked in as a WR1. … Keenan Allen’s shoulder injury won’t be an issue against the Broncos after the stud rookie got in a full week of practice. Allen is going to be a WR1 in 2014. … For Jordy Nelson, it’s all about one thing: Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers plays, he’ll be moved up the ranks. If Rodgers sits, he’ll be moved down. Nelson has done well not to fall off the radar in Rodgers’ absence, but his opportunities to make big plays are drastically fewer and farther between with Matt Flynn under center.  

The time isn’t right to jump ship on Pierre Garcon, who is a veritable guarantee to catch 6-7 passes, even with Kirk Cousins under center. … The only thing keeping Larry Fitzgerald from climbing even higher up this list is the fact that Tennessee has allowed a league-low 12 passing touchdowns. The Bruce Arians effect is finally taking hold in Arizona. … As for Fitzgerald’s breakout teammate Michael Floyd, an ankle injury has not only his WR2 light flickering, but his WR3 viability. Floyd is highly questionable for Week 15, and appears ultimately unlikely to play. He’ll be a player you need to check on Friday and Sunday. … Maybe Roddy White isn’t back back — he’s definitely not leading the league in separation during his two-game hot streak — but his 18 catches for 216 yards are all the reason you need to trot him out at home against one of the league’s truly putrid defenses. … Julian Edelman is a PPR specialist hiding in a WR2’s body, but now the Pats’ de-facto No. 1 option in the passing game, he simply can’t be any lower on this list. Edelman is a bit of a zero-calorie diet for standard-league purposes, but the sheer amount of targets he draws gives him a floor much higher than his actual height.    

Torrey Smith has settled in as a boom-or-bust WR2, but will have plenty of opportunities to go boom on Ford Field’s turf against the Lions’ burnable secondary. … Cecil Shorts has had six straight rotten matchups. He finally has a good one in the Bills, who’ve been handing out big weeks to opposing receivers like hot cakes. Shorts is an underappreciated play for Week 15. … On the other side of the coin is Victor Cruz, who is coming off seven straight solid matchups but has little to show for it because of the play of Eli Manning. Now he gets the Seahawks’ top-ranked pass defense. It’s criminal that Cruz finds himself in WR3 territory, but that’s where we’re at as Manning plunges to new weekly lows. … It hasn’t been fancy, but Dwayne Bowe has been fantasy’s No. 19 receiver over the past five weeks. He’s finally a safe, every-week WR3. … Consider T.Y. Hilton a DeSean Jackson for these confusing modern times. Hilton has been on a cold streak, but his upside is such that he’s very hard to bench as a WR3. You just never know when he’s going to blow up and win you a week. He did so the last time the Colts faced the Texans, catching seven passes for 121 yards and three scores. With Darrius Heyward-Bey benched and Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill starting to draw defensive attention, Week 15 could be the week Hilton finally breaks back out.

Speaking of Rogers, he’s certainly not a low-risk option — we’re talking about an undrafted rookie with nine career targets — but he’s definitely high reward. Raw though his game may be, Rogers is positively oozing with big-play ability, and absolutely what the Colts offense has been looking for. Andrew Luck is starved for viable targets, while Hilton has needed someone to deflect heat. Rogers could catch 10 passes Sunday or he could catch zero. If you’re fixin’ for a hail mary WR4, though, he’s your man. … Another high-reward WR4? Cordarrelle Patterson, who was unstoppable with a head of steam against the Ravens. There’s a reason this guy was a first-round pick. … Playing through shoulder and ankle injuries, Kendall Wright’s upside won’t be what we’re used to seeing against the Cardinals. … Greg Jennings has been playing better with Matt Cassel under center, but is still little more than a WR4. … If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t suit up, it will remain “trust James Jones and Jarrett Boykin at your own peril.” … Ace Sanders is a nifty little WR4, but nothing more. Anything more than 4-60 would be icing on the cake. … Miles Austin might be done.   

Week 15 Tight Ends

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Jimmy Graham at STL -
2 Julius Thomas vs. SD Probable (knee)
3 Vernon Davis at TB -
4 Greg Olsen vs. NYJ Probable (foot)
5 Jordan Cameron vs. CHI -
6 Dennis Pitta at DET -
7 Charles Clay vs. NE -
8 Tony Gonzalez vs. WAS Questionable (toe)
9 Delanie Walker vs. ARZ Probable (concussion)
10 Jason Witten vs. GB -
11 Antonio Gates at DEN Probable (hamstring)
12 Coby Fleener vs. HOU -
13 Martellus Bennett at CLE -
14 Heath Miller vs. CIN -
15 Scott Chandler at JAC -
16 Zach Miller at NYG Probable (ribs)
17 Jacob Tamme vs. SD -
18 Brandon Myers vs. SEA -
19 Jared Cook vs. NO -
20 Ladarius Green at DEN -
21 Zach Ertz at MIN Probable (shoulder)
22 Brent Celek at MIN Probable (hip)
23 Tim Wright vs. SF -
24 Jermaine Gresham at PIT -
25 Brandon Pettigrew vs. BAL Probable (knee)
26 Andrew Quarless at DAL -
27 Mychal Rivera vs. KC -
28 Tyler Eifert at PIT -
29 Kellen Winslow at CAR -
30 Virgil Green vs. SD -
31 Marcedes Lewis vs. BUF Probable (calf)
32 Logan Paulsen at ATL -
33 Ryan Griffin at IND -
34 Michael Hoomanawanui at MIA Probable (knee)
35 Sean McGrath at OAK -
36 Brandon Bostick at DAL -
37 Jim Dray at TEN -
38 Joseph Fauria vs. BAL -
39 Jeff Cumberland at CAR -
40 Ed Dickson at DET -
41 Ben Watson at STL -
42 Lance Kendricks vs. NO Probable (finger)
43 Levine Toilolo vs. WAS -

TE Notes: With no more Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham is back alone at the top. … Fantasy’s No. 3 tight end on the season, Julius Thomas is No. 2 over the past five weeks. One of the league’s elite touchdown-scoring threats at any position, Thomas could be the second tight end off the board in 2014. … Vernon Davis has three touchdowns in his past four games, and is up to 11 on the season. That’s what we call a high-end TE1. … Jordan Cameron: Not dead. It’s hard to know which iteration of the Browns’ passing offense will show up in a given week, but Cameron’s upside and 2013 track record give him a top-five edge. … This week’s “facing the Cardinals” lottery winner? Delanie Walker, who was badly missed in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s BFF, Walker is going to get ample opportunity to drop big plays on a defense that’s been surrendering them to tight ends all season.

Like Cameron, Charles Clay hasn’t always been the most consistent option, but the upside and track record are there. Fantasy’s No. 7 tight end on the season, Clay is coming off back-to-back 7-80 games. The Patriots are not an imposing matchup. … Dennis Pitta, now that’s what we’re talking about. Pitta was supposed to be on a snap count against the Vikings. Instead, he was Joe Flacco’s go-to receiver, drawing 11 targets, one of which came on 4th-and-goal with time running out in the fourth quarter. Pitta converted it into a diving, contested, one-yard score, serving notice that he’s all the way back from his severe hip injury. Pitta’s return comes not a moment too soon for beleaguered Rob Gronkowski owners. Pitta is the ideal replacement, even in a supposedly tough matchup in the Lions. … Antonio Gates has cleared 6.2 fantasy points once in his past eight games. … Jordan Reed (concussion) is on track to miss his fourth straight game. Since the Redskins are apparently so concerned with their players’ wellbeing these days, Reed is a candidate to be shut down.    

Garrett Graham rarely takes advantage of good matchups, so don’t expect him to go off in a rough one. The Colts are allowing the eighth fewest fantasy points to tight ends. … It’s that magical time of year where Jacob Tamme becomes a thing again. Yes, Tamme is the favorite to pick up Wes Welker’s snaps in the slot. No, he’s not going to produce like Wes Welker. Maybe Tamme will catch four passes, luck into a touchdown. There’s still not enough upside to bill him as more than a desperation TE2 fill-in. … The only thing that can hold Ladarius Green’s prodigious talent back? Eddie Royal, apparently. Wait till 2014. … Michael Hoomanawanui appears to be the next man up in Rob Gronkowski’s absence. He definitely shouldn’t be the next guy inserted into fantasy lineups. … Tim Wright has bottomed out as a re-draft option, but remains someone to keep around in Dynasty leagues. Coach Greg Schiano is very, very high on him.   

Week 15 Kickers 

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Stephen Gostkowski at MIA -
2 Justin Tucker at DET -
3 Steven Hauschka at NYG -
4 Mason Crosby at DAL -
5 Matt Prater vs. SD -
6 Garrett Hartley at STL -
7 Nick Novak at DEN -
8 Adam Vinatieri vs. HOU -
9 Blair Walsh vs. PHI Probable (hamstring)
10 Dan Bailey vs. GB -
11 Phil Dawson at TB -
12 Shaun Suisham vs. CIN Probable (hamstring)
13 Ryan Succop at OAK -
14 Jay Feely at TEN -
15 Robbie Gould at CLE -
16 Dan Carpenter at JAC -
17 Caleb Sturgis vs. NE -
18 Nick Folk at CAR -
19 Alex Henery at MIN -
20 Kai Forbath at ATL -
21 Graham Gano vs. NYJ -
22 Greg Zuerlein vs. NO -
23 Mike Nugent at PIT -
24 Rob Bironas vs. ARZ -
25 David Akers vs. BAL -
26 Matt Bryant vs. WAS -
27 Sebastian Janikowski vs. KC -
28 Randy Bullock at IND -
29 Josh Brown vs. SEA -
30 Rian Lindell vs. SF -
31 Billy Cundiff vs. CHI Probable (quadriceps)
32 Josh Scobee vs. BUF -

Week 15 Defense/Special Teams 

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Panthers Def/Spec Team vs. NYJ -
2 Seahawks Def/Spec Team at NYG -
3 Chiefs Def/Spec Team at OAK -
4 Cardinals Def/Spec Team at TEN -
5 Fortyniners Def/Spec Team at TB -
6 Bengals Def/Spec Team at PIT -
7 Bills Def/Spec Team at JAC -
8 Saints Def/Spec Team at STL -
9 Patriots Def/Spec Team at MIA -
10 Colts Def/Spec Team vs. HOU -
11 Bears Def/Spec Team at CLE -
12 Eagles Def/Spec Team at MIN -
13 Titans Def/Spec Team vs. ARZ -
14 Lions Def/Spec Team vs. BAL -
15 Buccaneers Def/Spec Team vs. SF -
16 Steelers Def/Spec Team vs. CIN -
17 Dolphins Def/Spec Team vs. NE -
18 Broncos Def/Spec Team vs. SD -
19 Ravens Def/Spec Team at DET -
20 Jaguars Def/Spec Team vs. BUF -
21 Falcons Def/Spec Team vs. WAS -
22 Cowboys Def/Spec Team vs. GB -
23 Jets Def/Spec Team at CAR -
24 Rams Def/Spec Team vs. NO -
25 Browns Def/Spec Team vs. CHI -
26 Raiders Def/Spec Team vs. KC -
27 Texans Def/Spec Team at IND -
28 Packers Def/Spec Team at DAL -
29 Redskins Def/Spec Team at ATL -
30 Giants Def/Spec Team vs. SEA -
31 Vikings Def/Spec Team vs. PHI -
32 Chargers Def/Spec Team at DEN -