Once again, we have a six game slate of late games this week. This might be the most balanced player pool I have seen for the late games all season. I was able to find solid options at both the expensive and cheap price points at each positon this week – which has not happened the first 14 weeks. So much for the general overview of the player pool, here are the guys I like for the late game in week 15:
Drew Brees, New Orleans, $8,400 – It is not that often that an option in the elite section is a risky play, but I think you can say that about Brees. Brees is coming off a horrible game against a bad Carolina defense. Worse still, he will be playing in Chicago, at night. But, Chicago has been the worst team against quarterbacks his season, and Brees has actually been better on the road than at home. As the saying goes, “no guts, no glory”; I think Brees can win you some money in week 15.
Phillip Rivers, San Diego, $6,200 – Why do I like Rivers in week 15? How about the fact that the Denver defense ranked 25th against opposing quarterbacks before facing Kyle Orton, and now ranks 26th against quarterbacks. At Denver in week eight, Rivers put up 21.78 fantasy-points; he should be able to do better at home against Denver this time around considering what Orton just did against the Broncos.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas, $9,500 – This might be the easiest, most obvious pick of the week. Murray just put up 40.8 fantasy-points at Chicago, had 23.3 fantasy-points against the Eagles in week 13, and Dallas has had an extra four days to rest up for their showdown with Philadelphia. Murray is expensive but well worth the price.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia, $6,600 – McCoy is a much less obvious choice than Murray is, no doubt about that. McCoy only managed four fantasy-points against Seattle. That is bad for those who picked him last week, but helps depress his price in week 15. Last time McCoy played Dallas he had 23.9 fantasy-points and that was in Dallas. McCoy is a nice bargain for $6,600 considering his history against Dallas.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego, $4,700 –[Update: Mathews is now highly doubtful to play this week. As an alternative, look at Darren Sproles for $4,200.] This pick is all about the price. Mathews is going to see plenty of touches this week, enough that he becomes a bargain for $4,700, even with an unfavorable matchup.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets, $4,200 – Despite the Giants’ starting running back getting only two carries last week, Tennessee allowed the Giants to rush for 142 yards. Against Minnesota, the Jets ran the ball 42 times. So, Ivory is facing a bad rushing defense, and is playing for a team that loves to run the ball. Seems like the formula for fantasy success to me.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago, $8,200 – There are two schools of thought about Jeffery now that Brandon Marshall is out. One is that Jeffery will suffer since he will see more attention from opposing defenses and thus suffer from a fantasy prospective. The other is, he will see more targets since Marshall is out, thus enhancing his fantasy prospects. I think it ends up being a wash in the end. What matters to me is Jeffery is facing the 23rd ranked defense against wide receivers, and a team that has a ton of injuries to their secondary.
Dez Bryant, Dallas, $7,900 – Bryant only had 11.3 fantasy-points the last time he played the Eagles, plus he only managed 14.2 in his last game against a weak Chicago defense. You know what? I do not care about either of those stats. The Eagles have been the third worst team against wide receivers this season, and Bryant has averaged 23.2 fantasy-points in rad games this season.
Charles Johnson, Minnesota, $5,000 – Sure, Johnson’s matchup this week is not favorable, after all, Detroit ranks 9th against opposing wide receivers this season. Thing is, he has averaged over 15 fantasy-points per game in his last four contests, so he what “we in the business” call hot. Plus, Minnesota is not going to be able to run against Detroit so will be forced to throw the ball a lot this week.
Marques Colston, New Orleans, $4,600 — Not that Colston had a great game in week 14, but compared to his teammates, his 12.2 fantasy-points were very good. What is not very good is the Chicago pass defense, which ranks last against opposing quarterbacks, second to last against tight ends and 25th against wide receivers this season. Colston is a better 50/50 play than GPP option, but I think he is a good bet to return triple value against the Bears.
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans, $6,300 – Yes, it was another disastrous week for Graham. It was better than week 12, but three receptions for 25 yards is much less than I expected for Graham. The bad game is not without a silver lining however. It helps keep his price down this week in time to face Chicago which has been horrible against tight ends. Graham also was targeted by Drew Brees 11 times against Carolina – unlike the zero targets in week 12. I know it is hard to trust Graham, but if you are brave enough to start him this week, I think he is a good play.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee, $4,400 – This one is a tough call. Do you want to go with Walker’s recent history – 8.3 fantasy-points total his last two games, single digits in three of the last four – or do you rely on the fact that the Jets have been horrible against tight ends this season. Walker was targeted ten times against the Giants, so I put more stock in the matchup than Walker’s recent struggles.
Seattle, $3,500 – The last time Seattle faced San Francisco – at San Francisco – the Seattle defense scored 17 fantasy-points. This time, Seattle is at home. For their part, the 49ers offense just allowed the Oakland defense to score 13 fantasy-points in week 14. In other words, there are a few reasons to like the Seattle D/ST against San Francisco.
Lesser Priced D/ST
New York Jets, $2,900 – Tennessee is a mess, their offense is having major issues. At least, I make that assumption when I see that the Giants had 27 fantasy-points against the Titans offense in week 14. For their part, the Jets D/ST has score ten or more fantasy points in two of their last four games.
Good luck with your teams this week. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.