Week 15: Fantasy Football Starts and Sits

Jeremy Maclin (right) will be a strong play against Baltimore in Week 15.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Starts:

QB – Matthew Stafford, DET (@ NO)

We got burned last week targeting the Saints’ secondary with Jameis Winston, but it won’t stop me from choosing their opponent this week. Stafford has been consistent lately after his horrible start to 2015. In the past three games, Stafford has thrown for at least two TD passes. Also, other than stopping Winston in Week 14, New Orleans has allowed at least two passing touchdowns in eight of the past nine games.

Other notables: Philip Rivers (SD), Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ), Alex Smith (KC)

RB – David Johnson, ARI (@ PHI)

With limited competition in the backfield, Johnson is thriving in the starting role for Arizona. He has tallied back-to-back games with over 90 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards. Johnson has even scored a TD in two of his last three games. His opponent, Philadelphia, is allowing 126.8 rushing yards per game (fifth-most). Also, the Eagles have allowed a receiving TD to the opposing running back in two of the past three games. James White had a field day against Philadelphia in Week 13: 10 catches, 115 yards, and a TD.

Other notables: Jeremy Hill (CIN), Latavius Murray (OAK), Denard Robinson (JAC)

WR – Jeremy Maclin, KC (@ BAL)

Much like how I target the Saints defense to find a quarterback, I turn to the Ravens’ opponent when looking for a wide receiver. Baltimore has allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past five games. Last week, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett accounted for five receiving TDs. Maclin has scored three touchdowns in the past three games. Alex Smith has also targeted Maclin at least nine times in three straight games.

Other notables: Doug Baldwin (SEA), Michael Floyd (ARI), Allen Hurns (JAC)

TE – Benjamin Watson, NO (vs. DET)

In the fantasy football stat prediction game, targets are golden. In the past three weeks, only Delanie Walker (33) has been targeted more than Watson (28) among fellow TEs. In Week 14, Drew Brees looked towards Watson 11 times against the Buccaneers. As for Watson’s opponent, the Lions have allowed four TDs to opposing TEs in the past five weeks.

Other notables: Julius Thomas (JAC), Will Tye (NYG), Richard Rodgers (GB)

Sits:

QB – Marcus Mariota, TEN (@ NE)

WEEKLY FANTASY RANKINGS

While the Patriots offense has gone through several injuries in the recent weeks, the defense still remains solid. New England has allowed one touchdown pass or less in three of the past four games. As for Mariota, his two-game string of games with three touchdown passes in each contest was snapped last week against the Jets. New York prevented him from throwing a TD, however Mariota did catch a wide-open touchdown pass from Antonio Andrews. With Mariota known for his boom-or-bust performances, I would shy away from him in Week 15.

Others include: Johnny Manziel (CLE), Sam Bradford (PHI), Matt Cassel (DAL)

RB – DeMarco Murray, PHI (vs. ARI)

I am officially waving the white flag on Murray. He hasn’t rushed for more than 40 yards in three weeks. He hasn’t rushed for over 80 yards for five weeks. And, he’s only rushed for over 100 yards once in 2015. Murray’s touchdown total has drastically dropped, too. Last year, he accumulated 13 rushing TDs. This season, he has four and hasn’t scored since Week 9, against the Cowboys.

Others include: Rashad Jennings (NYG), Danny Woodhead (SD), Frank Gore (IND)

WR – Jordan Matthews, PHI (vs. ARI)

This lingering back injury is clearly hurting Matthews’ performances. His receiving yards have dipped for the second straight week. If not for two touchdowns in the last three games, Matthews’ stats would be easily benchable. That’s why I’m taking the initiative and sitting him for Week 15. Plus, he will likely get the attention of Patrick Peterson for the Cardinals. Arizona has only allowed one receiving TD to opposing WRs in the past four games.

Others include: Stefon Diggs (MIN), Davonte Adams (GB), Marques Colston (NO)

TE – Eric Ebron, DET (@ NO)

I’m suggesting that you start Watson and bench his counterpart this week. Once again, targets are golden. Ebron only has 10 targets in the past three games. As for his physical stats, Ebron hasn’t surpassed 30 receiving yards since Week 7.

Others include: Luke Willson (SEA), Jordan Cameron (MIA), Vernon Davis (DEN)

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