Fantasy Football Week 15 studs, duds
With fantasy football playoffs on the line, LeSean McCoy, the NFL leader in rushing, finished with a season-low eight carries against the Vikings. Did Chip Kelly watch any of last week’s game?
FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ALL-AMBIEN TEAM
Matt Asiata – 24.6 fantasy points vs. Eagles
Adrian Peterson told reporters before the game he could have played in Week 15, but the decision was out of his control. Toby Gerhart was hobbled for most of the week with a bad hamstring he injured in last week’s game. So, the undrafted running back out of Utah, with four NFL carries in three seasons, touched the ball 33 times in Week 15 for 66 total yards with three touchdowns. He averaged less than two yards per carry, but the 18 fantasy points off touchdowns is all fantasy owners care about. His quarterback, Matt Cassel, finished with 33.2 fantasy points as the Eagles pass defense continues to fail them.
Jordan Todman – 15.3 fantasy points vs. Bills
Maurice Jones-Drew, also hobbled with a bad hammy, opened the door for the second-year back, Jordan Todman. Heading into Week 15, Todman only boasted one game with double-digit carries and only finished with 31 yards in that game. The Buffalo Bills had allowed over 110 rushing yards and at least one touchdown in each of its last four games. Todman took full advantage of the soft rush defense with 25 carries for 109 yards and four receptions for 44 yards.
Edwin Baker – 14.4 fantasy points vs. Bears
With Willis McGahee recovering from a concussion, the Browns signed Baker off the Houston Texans practice squad last week. He spent the entire season on the Texans’ and Denver Broncos’ practice teams. Last year, he spent 14 weeks on the Chargers’ practice squad. So, with Chris Ogbonnaya primed to destroy the Bears’ poor rush defense, Baker stole the show. He finished with eight carries and four receptions for 84 total yards with a touchdown.
FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYOFF STUDS
Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles – 92.7 fantasy points vs. Raiders
The duo combined for 10 touchdowns against the Raiders. He gets a lot of grief for being a "game manager," but Alex Smith has averaged over 248 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions in his last five games. Charles has averaged over 31 fantasy points per game over his last four with 10 total touchdowns during that stretch.
Ryan Mathews – 18.8 fantasy points vs. Broncos
What has the world come to when Mathews is a reliable fantasy option on a weekly basis?! Over his last six games, he’s averaged over 14 fantasy points per game. That’s solid RB2 production and what owners expected from him the past three seasons.
Ryan Tannehill – 30.4 fantasy points vs. Patriots
Tannehill has been "Steady Eddie" the last month for fantasy owners rolling him out there – 20-or-more fantasy points in each game. A week after Jason Campbell lit up the Patriots for 391 yards with three touchdowns, Tannehill dropped 312 passing yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 15. Not a bad time to post your season-high in fantasy points.
Kirk Cousins – 27.2 fantasy points vs. Falcons
Robert Griffin III is done for the year. Cousins could be playing for his next job outside of Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a flawless audition, but the 381 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions against the we’re-ready-for-the-offseason Atlanta Falcons was a strong start to cash in with a new team.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – 38.3 fantasy points vs. Cardinals
The Amish Rifle is pesky. I’m talking kid brother, "I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!" while driving in the car, pesky. He’s thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions in the last three games and, yet, I would still start him up against the Jacksonville Jaguars next week with a fantasy football title on the line. Before Sunday, Fitzpatrick had never passed for 400-or-more yards, but now has five games with four passing touchdowns in his career.
FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYOFF DUDS
Eli Manning: -3.8 fantasy points vs. Seahawks
It’s really hard to score negative points in fantasy football. It’s nearly impossible to score negative fantasy points when you are a fantasy quarterback. It’s unheard of to score negative fantasy points at quarterback when you play four quarters. Yet, Eli Manning achieved the rare feat with five picks against the Seahawks. He only has one game this season where he’s scored more than 20 fantasy points – Week 1.
Shane Vereen – 2.1 fantasy points vs. Dolphins
Coming off a career-high 12 receptions for 153 yards, Vereen was a no-brainer in points-per-reception fantasy leagues in Week 15. What did he do for an encore? Vereen finished with three receptions for eight yards. What happened? Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola combined for 23 receptions for 270 yards.
Demaryius Thomas – 4.5 fantasy points vs. Chargers
San Diego dominated time of possession on Thursday night and the Broncos looked out of sync because of it. Thomas posted a season-low 4.5 fantasy points after seven consecutive weeks with 10-or-more fantasy points.
Jordan Cameron – 2.3 fantasy points vs. Bears
His Week 14 stat line of nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown was more a sign of how bad the Patriots’ defense is than the Browns’ tight end showing promise down the stretch.
First four games: 66 fantasy points
Last 10 games: 60.8 fantasy points
THIS WEEK IN FANTASY FOOTBALL KICKERS
Dan Bailey and Phil Dawson … Justin Tucker
True personal story…
After starting Dan Bailey every week this season (minus the BYE), I cut him in favor of Phil Dawson for Week 15. After Dawson scored 17 fantasy points against the Buccaneers, I patted myself on the back around 4 p.m. Sunday. Some three hours later, Bailey posted 24 fantasy points against the Packers – a season-high. Bailey’s 24 fantasy points are also the most by a kicker this entire season.
Fantasy football is a cruel game.
The Ravens’ Justin Tucker booted six field goals, including a career-best 61 yarder, scored 23 fantasy points and was sure to sneak in a shout-out to fantasy football owners during his postgame interview.