For the second week in a row, the Fantasy MVP or the villain for many owners was Buffalo's defense. How you feel about the Bills right now depends on if you own players from the Broncos or Packers or were playing against them in the Fantasy playoffs.
In Week 14, the Bills helped limit Peyton Manning and Denver's passing game, and Buffalo did it again against Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson in Week 15. Rodgers had his worst game of the season by far with only five Fantasy points, and Nelson matched his second-worst performance with five points.
It didn't help that Nelson dropped two potential touchdowns, which obviously would have saved the day for him and Rodgers, and thankfully Randall Cobb came through with 10 Fantasy points. But this was a brutal day for many stars, starting with Rodgers and Nelson.
Manning was again mediocre, and he dealt with flu-like symptoms and a thigh injury, which cost him playing time in the second quarter at San Diego. He finished with 15 Fantasy points, and he now has 17 points or less in three games in a row. Some other top-tier quarterbacks who scored 15 points or less included Ben Roethlisberger (14 points), Matthew Stafford (12 points) and Russell Wilson (12 points), and all three were expected to play well this week.
At running back, the duds included Jamaal Charles (five Fantasy points), Justin Forsett (four points), Alfred Morris (four points) and Isaiah Crowell (two points). Charles came into Week 14 against Oakland dealing with a knee injury, and he took a hard hit to the head in the third quarter, which cost him a goal-line touchdown to Knile Davis. He finished the game, but he might not be 100 percent heading into Week 15 at Pittsburgh, so keep an eye on his status.
Nelson was one of many big-time receiver duds, which included Calvin Johnson (five points), Emmanuel Sanders (five points), Josh Gordon (four points) and A.J. Green (four points). Johnson had 47 Fantasy points in his past two games, so this was a disaster for owners expecting another big game from him against Minnesota at home.
Imagine if you had a roster of Rodgers at quarterback, Charles and Forsett at running back, Johnson and Green at receiver and Sanders as the flex. You would have expected a runaway victory, but instead you likely dealt with a humiliating defeat at the worst time in Week 15.
Now, we can't leave you with all these negative thoughts. Eli Manning (28 Fantasy points) and Matt Ryan (24 points) were studs at quarterback. Jeremy Hill (26 points) and Le'Veon Bell (23 points) dominated at running back, and Eddie Lacy (16 points) shined through a hip injury. Odell Beckham (30 points) and Demaryius Thomas (18 points) were awesome at receiver, and we had three standout tight ends with Rob Gronkowski (15 points), Greg Olsen (11 points) and Antonio Gates (11 points).
But the big story was the players who let you down, and hopefully you advanced in spite of the poor performances from Rodgers, Charles and Johnson, among others.
Player on the rise
Matt Ryan didn't have Julio Jones (hip), but he still had another big game with 24 Fantasy points against the Steelers. He had a bad interception, but he also threw two touchdowns to Roddy White and Devin Hester, along with 310 passing yards. Ryan now has at least 24 Fantasy points in each of his past three games, and he is a must-start option in Week 16 at New Orleans. Hopefully he'll get Jones back on the field, but it's clear Ryan can be counted on to help you win a Fantasy title.
Player on the decline
Johnny Manziel is already on the decline despite making just one start against Cincinnati. He was awful, and there's no way anyone who was streaming quarterbacks can start him in Week 16 at Carolina. He was 10-of-18 passing for 80 yards and two interceptions and just five carries for 13 yards. There was a lot of hype and hope for Manziel given his running ability, and he has great weapons in Gordon and Jordan Cameron. But he looked lost against the Bengals, and he's going to need a lot of work before he's Fantasy relevant.
Quarterback injuries: Colt McCoy
(neck), Ryan Fitzpatrick (leg), Jake Locker (shoulder) and Drew Stanton
Quarterback waivers: Alex Smith (53 percent ownership), Robert Griffin III (37 percent) and Derek Anderson (8 percent)
Of note: We could be looking at four new starters in Week 16 with Griffin in Washington, Tom Savage in Houston, Charlie Whitehurst in Tennessee and Ryan Lindley in Arizona. Only Griffin would have Fantasy relevance with his experience and matchup against the Eagles. Griffin had 17 Fantasy points after he took over for McCoy against the Giants in Week 15. ... Eli Manning had a great matchup against the Redskins, and he played well with 250 passing yards and three touchdowns, all to Beckham. I hope Manning plays well at St. Louis in Week 16, but I'd be nervous to start him in that matchup. ... Smith had 24 Fantasy points against the Raiders, and he now has three games with multiple touchdowns in his past four outings. He's a tough quarterback to trust at this time of year, but the matchup at Pittsburgh in Week 16 is extremely inviting. ... Anderson played well in place of Cam Newton (back) with 18 Fantasy points against the Buccaneers, and he could start again in Week 16 against Cleveland. It's a tough matchup, but he now has at least 18 points in the two starts he's made this season, albeit both were against Tampa Bay. ... Turnovers ruined Ryan Tannehill at New England since he passed for 346 yards and a touchdown and had three carries for 21 yards, but he also had two interceptions. He now has 17 Fantasy points or less in three games in a row.
Player on the rise
The Bengals decided to go back to Hill as their featured runner, and he was awesome against the Browns with 25 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns and one catch for 4 yards. Giovani Bernard also played well with 15 carries for 79 yards and three catches for 24 yards, but Hill can be a special talent if he continues to get enough work. Hill now has five games this season with 15-plus carries, and he's finished with double digits in Fantasy points all five games. Let's hope the Bengals continue to run Hill a lot in Week 16 against Denver.
Player on the decline
Morris continues to be a mediocre Fantasy running back down the stretch. He had 14 carries for 49 yards at the Giants, and he now has 12 Fantasy points combined in his past four games. He had no catches against the Giants, but Chris Thompson (three catches for 22 yards and a touchdown) and Silas Redd (three catches for 62 yards) both had more Fantasy points than Morris this week. He faces the Eagles in Week 16, and Philadelphia held him to 23 carries for 77 yards in Week 3. The good news for Morris is Griffin could start again for the Redskins, and Morris has been better with Griffin this season. But he's still a risky option in your championship round.
Running back injuries: Frank Gore
(concussion), Carlos Hyde (back) and Rashad Jennings (ankle)
Running back waivers: Doug Martin (65 percent ownership), Knile Davis (61 percent), Matt Asiata (55 percent), Kerwynn Williams (36 percent), Toby Gerhart (29 percent) and Alfonso Smith (0 percent)
Of note: If Gore and Hyde are both out in Week 16 against the Chargers then the 49ers could be forced to use Smith. He's not a recommended Fantasy option in the majority of leagues, but owners in deeper formats should keep an eye on what happens with San Francisco's backfield. ... Davis would have immense value if Charles happened to miss any time, but it sounds like he'll play in Week 16 at Pittsburgh. Davis, however, had 20 Fantasy points against the Raiders in Week 15. ... Asiata and Gerhart would be interesting sleepers in Week 16. Asiata, who had 14 Fantasy points at Detroit in Week 15, faces the Dolphins, who allowed two rushing touchdowns to Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount on Sunday. And Gerhart would face the Titans on Thursday night, and Tennessee once again allowed a rushing touchdown to Chris Ivory in Week 15. Gerhart had 13 carries for 54 yards and two catches for 9 yards in the first game without Denard Robinson (foot) at Baltimore. ... Blount didn't play nearly as well as I expected as the Start of the Week with seven Fantasy points, but he went into Sunday night's game as a Top 20 running back in standard leagues. Of course, my luck, he lost a touchdown to Vereen. ... We had high expectations for Chris Johnson against his former team, which happened to be a porous run defense for the Titans. Johnson let us down with five Fantasy points, and you can go back to ignoring him in Week 16 against the Patriots. ... Once again, the Broncos leaned on their running game with Manning at less than 100 percent, and C.J. Anderson got a whopping 29 carries for 85 yards and two catches for 11 yards. He had a touchdown called back, and he will remain a must-start Fantasy option in Week 16 against the Bengals. ... Fred Jackson had 20 carries for 71 yards and three catches for 27 yards against the Packers. This was the second time he's had at least 20 carries this season, which both coming in the past three weeks, and he should be considered a solid starting option in Week 16 at Oakland. ... Dan Herron didn't have a great game against the Texans, but he finished with 11 carries for 60 yards and two catches for 12 yards. He should be considered a nice flex option in Week 16 at Dallas. ... Martin had a season-high 96 yards at Carolina on 14 carries. Most of the damage came on a 63-yard run, but he now has at least nine Fantasy points in two of his past three games. He's in the conversation as a flex option in Week 16 against Green Bay.
Player on the rise
Julian Edelman was once again great against Miami for the third meeting in a row with seven catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, and he's turned things on of late for the Patriots and Fantasy owners. This is now at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past four games, but he's scored at least 14 points in his past two games against San Diego and Miami. He has 10-plus targets in four games in a row, and PPR owners love Edelman with seven-plus catches in five of his past six games. He faces the Jets in Week 16, and he had only four catches for 44 yards on nine targets against New York in Week 7. But with the way Edelman is playing now he's a must-start option in all leagues. He's been better than Brandon LaFell, who has single digits in Fantasy points in four of his past five games.
Player on the decline
Josh Gordon kind of goes hand in hand with Manziel here, but he's been a tremendous disappointment since coming back from his 10-game suspension in Week 12. He had three catches for 48 yards on four targets against the Bengals, but he hasn't scored a touchdown in four games in a row. His Fantasy production has also declined from 12 points to seven to one to four. We'll see how Manziel and Gordon rebound in Week 16 at Carolina, but Gordon should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the championship round next week.
Wide receiver injuries: Keenan Allen
(ankle) and T.Y. Hilton (hamstring)
Wide receiver waivers: Harry Douglas (45 percent ownership), Donte Moncrief (42 percent), Charles Johnson (42 percent), Stedman Bailey (35 percent), Nate Washington (14 percent) and Devin Hester (4 percent)
Of note: Beckham is pretty amazing, huh? He had 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 15 targets, and he now has at least 19 Fantasy points in three of his past four games. He's making a strong case to be a Top 5 Fantasy receiver in 2015, and he's easily a Top 10 option heading into next year. ... Allen finished with three catches for 18 yards on eight targets before getting hurt. If he's able to play in Week 15 against the 49ers he would be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in that matchup, so keep an eye on his status all week. ... Hilton said he hopes to play in Week 15 at Dallas, and we do as well given the matchup. If he's out for that game then Moncrief's value would skyrocket. ... With Jones out against the Steelers, the Falcons got great production from all three of their receivers in Roddy White, Douglas and Hester. White had seven catches for 58 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, Douglas had 10 catches for 131 yards on 14 targets and Hester had five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown on six targets. All three would be viable options if Jones is out against New Orleans in Week 16. ... Mike Wallace and Jarvis Landry didn't struggle despite the matchup at New England. Wallace had his best game of the season with five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on seven targets, and Landry had eight catches for 99 yards on 11 targets. They are both No. 3 receivers with upside in Week 16 against the Vikings. ... Kelvin Benjamin had another productive game with Anderson starting, and he finished with eight catches for 104 yards on 13 targets. Benjamin now has two touchdowns and a 100-yard game with Anderson under center, so keep that in mind if he remains the starter over Newton in Week 16 against Cleveland, which could be without Joe Haden (shoulder). ... Torrey Smith (knee) and DeSean Jackson (shin) were able to play in Week 15, but both struggled with their production. Smith had two catches for 16 yards on three targets against Jacksonville, and Jackson had three catches for 15 yards on eight targets at the Giants. Smith faces Houston in Week 16, and Jackson has another revenge game with the Eagles. I like Jackson better than Smith next week.
Player on the rise
Travis Kelce is starting to finally deliver for Fantasy owners, but fumbles have cost him having some big games. He had five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown against Oakland on six targets, but he lost a fumble. In Week 14, he had seven catches for 110 yards at Arizona on nine targets, but he also lost a fumble. Still, his consecutive weeks with nine Fantasy points are great, so hopefully owners have stayed with him. He should continue to be started in Week 16 at Pittsburgh in a game where Alex Smith should be forced to throw. Kelce's breakout season has been great for Fantasy owners, and we hope he doesn't slow down now.
Player on the decline
I had high expectations for Larry Donnell this week with the matchup against the Redskins, but he was a dud. He came into this game with at least six targets in six of his past seven games, but he had just two targets against Washington with two catches for 11 yards. He now has eight Fantasy points combined in his past four games, and you can't start Donnell at St. Louis in Week 16 since the Rams lock down tight ends. Beckham is the lone Giants receiver to start next week, and Donnell is done as a starting Fantasy option.
Tight end injuries: None
Tight end waivers: Heath Miller (77 percent ownership), Charles Clay (46 percent) and Owen Daniels (45 percent)
Of note: It was good to see some of the studs show up this week with Gronkowski, Olsen and Gates all reaching double digits in Fantasy points, but there were a lot of starters who were disappointments, including Julius Thomas (3 points), Jordan Reed (1 point) and Jordan Cameron (0 points). ... Thomas missed the previous three games with an ankle injury, but he had just two targets at San Diego and finished with one catch for 30 yards on a limited snap count. Hopefully he can rebound in Week 16 against the Bengals, but he's a risky Fantasy option now. ... Reed had three catches for 13 yards on four targets at the Giants, and you shouldn't start him in Week 16 against the Eagles if Griffin is the starter. Reed has only been good this season with McCoy. ... Cameron struggled like the rest of the Browns with Manziel with one catch for 4 yards on one target. Like everyone else in Cleveland, don't start Cameron at Carolina next week. ... Dwayne Allen was back in the end zone against Houston for the first time since Week 9, and he finished with two catches for 16 yards and the score on four targets. He missed two games with an ankle injury and struggled in Week 14 at Cleveland, but this was great to see. Coby Fleener had two catches for 32 yards on five targets against the Texans, but Allen's touchdown potential makes him better than Fleener in Week 16 at Dallas. ... Daniels had his first touchdown since Week 7, and he finished with four catches for 62 yards on nine targets against Jacksonville. He faces his former team in Houston next week, so consider him a streaming option. ... Miller had another quality game for the Steelers with four catches for 68 yards on five targets at Atlanta. He now has at least six Fantasy points in each of his past four games. ... Clay had a decent game at New England with six catches for 59 yards on seven targets. He now has at least five catches in four of his past five games for owners looking for a streaming option in PPR leagues.