Lineup calls: Ravens will disrupt Cutler

The “Add/Drop” processors are revved up as the

countdown to the games of Week 15 winds down. Fantasy owners are

knee-deep in playoff considerations, trying to find and steal every

point imaginable.

It’s safe to assume the primary positions of

quarterback, running back and wide receiver are fairly well

established on most playoff rosters.

However, unless you’re running with one of the few

consistent options at the secondary positions, you may be grasping

for straws and trying to find a diamond in the rough. Let’s

lock and load the second edition of

Lineup Calls for Week 15.

Top 5 Tight Ends

(Not named Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Brent

Celek, Vernon Davis or Tony Gonzalez)

Heath Miller vs. Green Bay

Following two quiet games,

Miller found himself as a more prominent target in the

wind-affected Week 14 contest in Cleveland, catching five passes

for 59 yards. He’s caught three or more passes in all but the

games against the Ravens and Raiders. I expect to see him active

this week against the Packers.

Jermichael Finley at Pittsburgh

Finley’s been a

strong fantasy contributor since returning from his knee injury.

He’s averaged 5.5 receptions and 57 receiving yards over his

past four games, including the two-touchdown effort against the

Ravens. The Steelers will bring the heat on

Aaron Rodgers, and I expect to see Finley running free in

the secondary.

Kellen Winslow at Seattle

Winslow hasn’t been a

dominant fantasy option this season, but he’s been

consistent. He’s averaged 4.8 receptions and 50.7 receiving

yards per game, although he hasn’t scored since Week 9. This

is a decent spot against the Seahawks, a defense that’s been

devastated by injuries and has played inconsistently this season.

He should be able to find space down the seams.

Kevin Boss at Washington

Boss has grown into a sizable role

(no pun intended) for

Eli Manning. He’s obviously been a monster in the red

zone, but he’s also caught multiple passes in six of his last

seven games (all five of his touchdowns during this period). He

opened the season against Washington with three catches for 62

yards. The Skins have been tremendous on the edges, but I expect to

see the big tight end find space over the middle.

John Carlson vs. Tampa Bay

Carlson finally reappeared on

the fantasy radar last week when he scored a short touchdown

against the Texans. He’s a top-notch option this weekend

against a Tampa Bay pass defense that’s surrendered 24

passing touchdowns. The Seahawks have performed well at home, and I


Matt Hasselbeck and the offense producing a solid effort in

Week 15.

Tight End Sleepers

Dustin Keller vs. Atlanta

Keller’s been a major

disappointment in the past two weeks after assuming a large role

for the Jets in the previous month. He’d run up 21 receptions

during that prior four-game stretch. Still, I’m putting him

on the radar as a potential contributor against the weak Atlanta


Mark Sanchez may return to the lineup, and I’m not

expecting many downfield pass attempts. The combination of

Thomas Jones on the ground and the short passing game will

be paramount to the Jets’ offensive production.

Evan Moore at Kansas City

Moore’s caught a total of

eight passes for 114 yards in the past two weeks for the Browns. He

was a surprise performer against the Chargers, but was brought back

to Earth in Week 14 against the Steelers. However, this represents

a solid spot against a weak Kansas City secondary. The Chiefs rank

24th against the pass and have surrendered 22 passing touchdowns.

Tight End Flops

Visanthe Shiancoe at Carolina

Shiancoe remains a red zone

beast and a frequent target for

Brett Favre over the middle. He’d scored in three

consecutive games prior to getting shut down by the Bengals in Week

14. The Panthers rank sixth in the NFL against the pass (192.4

yards and one touchdown per game). It’s possible Shiancoe

shakes free for a red zone look, but temper your expectations.

Jeremy Shockey vs. Dallas

Shockey’s a solid, albeit

unspectacular, option for fantasy owners. He’s caught

multiple passes in all but one game this season, but he last saw

the end zone in Week 6. He’s also finished six straight games

with 47 or fewer receiving yards.

Top 5 Kickers

Jay Feely vs. Atlanta

Feely’s been a fantasy hero the

past two weeks, converting a total of eight field goals and three

PATs. He’s hit at least one field goal in 12 of 13 games this

season and will be a huge factor in this contest against a sinking

Atlanta unit.

Rob Bironas vs. Miami

The Titans have obviously changed

their season in the second half, and Bironas has certainly

benefitted tremendously from this surge. He’s converted

multiple field goals in six of his past seven games (one in the

other contest) with a total of 23 PATs. The Dolphins have been

stingy toward the goal-line, thereby putting Bironas on the radar

for a big effort in the fantasy playoffs.

Billy Cundiff vs. Chicago

Cundiff’s been a solid find

for the Ravens off the wire. He’s hit multiple field goals in

three of four games since joining the Ravens and piled up 10 PATs

in the past three weeks (six against Detroit). The Ravens should be

able to run the ball with

Ray Rice and

Willis McGahee, thereby setting things up for Cundiff in the

kicking game. I don’t expect huge numbers from

Joe Flacco and the receiving corps, but Cundiff will get his


Kris Brown at St. Louis

It’s been an adventuresome

season for Brown, but the Texans have stuck with him. He’s

converted at least one field goal in seven consecutive games and

has knocked home multiple PATs in 11 of 13 games. Look for the

Texans to post another huge offensive effort in St. Louis.

Matt Prater vs. Oakland

Prater represents a steady, solid

play for fantasy owners against the Raiders. He’s hit at

least one field and one PAT in 10 of his 13 games. He also

converted three field goals and two PATs in the first meeting with

Oakland, and I expect the balanced Denver offense to create scoring

opportunities for him.

Kicker Sleepers

Olindo Mare vs. Tampa Bay

Mare’s been a hit-or-miss

proposition this year for the Seahawks, right along with the rest

of the offense. He’s attempted 15 field goals in his six home

games, and I’m expecting him to be active this weekend

against the struggling Buccaneers. He’d hit at least one

field goal in 11 straight games prior to getting shut out in that

category by the Texans.

Neil Rackers at Detroit

Rackers hasn’t been the

monster option of fantasy years past, but I’m expecting this

Arizona offense to bounce back from last week’s debacle with

a big effort against Detroit. He’s registered multiple PATs

in 10 of 13 games this season and has converted at least one field

goal in 10 games. Interestingly, he’s yet to attempt a field

goal from beyond 50 yards this season. Perhaps it’ll come

this weekend in the dome.

Kicker Flops

Stephen Gostkowski at Buffalo

The bevy of PATs

haven’t been there for Gostkowski in recent weeks, and I

certainly don’t anticipate a barrage of points from the

Patriots against the Bills. The Buffalo defense has been

opportunistic and generated a ton of turnovers. It’s possible

Gostkowski offers additional field goal tries in this contest, but

I’m not optimistic he produces a huge game.

David Akers vs. San Francisco

Akers has been one of the top

kicking options in the game, with the high-flying Philadelphia

offense making big play after big play. He’s converted 37

PATs with at least one field goal in every game this season. I

don’t expect him to get shut out this weekend, but he’s

a difficult play against the surging San Francisco defense.

Top 5 Team Defenses

Denver vs. Oakland

Did you even think we’d come to

the point where a

Bruce Gradkowski injury would doom a squad? The Raider will

turn to

Charlie Frye this week, bypassing the downward spiraling

JaMarcus Russell. So, while the Raiders won’t

necessarily surrender as many sacks as they would with Russell

under center, I still anticipate multiple turnovers in this one.

New York Jets vs. Atlanta

The Jets have surged to the top

slot in terms of total defense (16.2 points per game). The pass

defense has been its strength, with

Darrelle Revis shutting down opposing top receivers (

Roddy White’s obviously a difficult start this week).

Matt Ryan and

Michael Turner aren’t likely to return this weekend,

and that spells disaster for the Falcons.

Tennessee vs. Miami

The Titans’ defensive statistics

are misleading. Obviously, it’s been a tale of two halves,

and this unit’s been much stronger as it got healthy. The

Dolphins are still fighting for a playoff spot, and I believe

Chad Henne and

Ricky Williams will team together with success. However,

Henne will feel some heat and potentially get forced into errant


Philadelphia vs. San Francisco

The Eagles rank in the

middle of the pack in total defense, but this has been an

opportunistic defense. Philadelphia’s generated 30 turnovers

and 36 sacks this season, and the 10th-ranked run defense should


Alex Smith in difficult passing situations. Smith’s

been stellar in recent weeks, but it won’t come easy against

the Eagles.

Baltimore vs. Chicago

This isn’t the same Baltimore

defense that terrorized opponents in the past. However, it’s

still a pretty formidable unit and can put pressure on opposing

quarterbacks. The Bears have several intriguing deep ball options,

but the decided lack of a running game puts

Jay Cutler in tough spots.

Team Defense Sleepers

Houston at St. Louis

I have no choice but to put Houston in

this slot. The Rams have produced just 11.2 points per game and

their only weapon,

Steven Jackson, is banged up. The quarterback position has

been a disaster, and I expect to see the Texans produce multiple

sacks and turnovers.

Seattle vs. Tampa Bay

Josh Freeman showed signs of growth several weeks back, and

it looked like the Tampa Bay offense might have been finding its

stride. Instead, things have come to a halt, and Freeman’s

been a turnover machine in the red zone. Seattle’s been hit

by injuries on the defense, but has rallied to post several big

efforts this year.

Team Defense Flops

New York Giants at Washington

Perhaps the Giants

don’t qualify as a flop candidate given the recent struggles

in the secondary. However, fantasy owners have been fairly loyal to

the front seven. I’ve enjoyed watching the evolution of the

Washington offense in recent weeks.

Jason Campbell’s been playing well of late, despite

the myriad of injuries on the offensive line and in the backfield.

Green Bay at Pittsburgh

The Packers have been playing

strong defense in recent weeks. The linebacking corps has

rediscovered its teeth, and rookie

Clay Matthews has been an absolute stud. However, this

unit’s also allowed 24 passing touchdowns. I’m curious

to see if Pittsburgh can rally from its current funk in front of

the home crowd.

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