Week 15 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Who would have thought that Tyler Thigpen would be a viable option in the Fantasy playoffs? Our Jamey Eisenberg gives him a big thumbs up and discourages you from leaning on Marshawn Lynch in his Week 15 edition of Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy Football team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson or any other top-tier players.
It's amazing how crazy a Fantasy season can twist and turn. At the beginning of the year, Brodie Croyle was starting for Kansas City, and we were telling you to stay away from the Chiefs passing game.
Then Croyle and his backup, Damon Huard, get hurt, and unknown Tyler Thigpen is thrown into the mix. All he's done is take off and become a starting Fantasy option.
He has 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in his last seven games as a starter, including four games with multiple touchdown passes. He even caught a touchdown as part of the "Wildcat" offense against Tampa Bay.
Thigpen, a 2007 seventh-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina, is now trying to prove he can be Kansas City's starter of the future. Coach Herman Edwards has been impressed so far, and for obvious reasons.
"Right now, he's the starting quarterback," Edwards said recently when asked about next season. "That's how you've got to look at it."
Most Fantasy owners aren't worried about next year yet, not with the playoffs here. That's why we're here: To tell you that Thigpen is our Start of the Week because of his solid play and a favorable matchup.
Thigpen's best start this season was at San Diego in Week 10. He passed for 266 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and also ran for 26 yards.
The Chargers pass defense hasn't improved much since then and still ranks No. 30 with 21 touchdowns allowed and only 10 interceptions. Thigpen, even in potentially bad weather, will still make plays against that defense.
It helps that Tony Gonzalez has returned as the No. 1 tight end in the NFL with 78 catches for 879 yards and seven touchdowns, and Dwayne Bowe is having a sensational sophomore season with 67 catches for 847 yards and six touchdowns. Mark Bradley, who is dealing with a calf injury, has been a nice complementary player, but it took Thigpen to make the passing game click.
Remember, Croyle and Huard weren't getting it done, and the Chiefs offense was stagnant until Thigpen took over. He should keep this crazy season going for one more week.
Sit of the Week
Marshawn Lynch was nauseous the last time he faced the Jets. Literally.
He missed time against the Jets in Week 9 in Buffalo after experiencing nausea from trying to chase down Abram Elam on an interception return. He also could have been nauseous with his play.
Lynch had nine carries for only 16 yards and three catches for 52 yards in that game. He saw a lot of Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace that day, and the Jets run defense was its usual dominant self. That should happen again this week.
Outside of Peyton Hillis' surprise performance against the Jets in Week 13, Gang Green has been stout against the run. They are No. 4 in run defense with only eight rushing touchdowns allowed this season.
Lynch was held to 31 rushing yards last week against Miami and one catch for four yards. He has just one touchdown in his past six games.
If J.P. Losman starts against the Jets with Trent Edwards (groin) out or limited, Lynch will see a lot of defenders near the line of scrimmage. This is not a good week to count on him, especially during the Fantasy playoffs.
Instead, some other running backs to consider based on the matchups include Maurice Morris (at STL), Dominic Rhodes (vs. DET), Kevin Smith (at IND), Jonathan Stewart (vs. DEN), Pierre Thomas (at CHI) and Cadillac Williams (at ATL).
Donovan McNabb (vs. CLE): McNabb didn't have to do much
last week at the Giants except hand off, which could happen again here,
but he's still worth starting. The Browns won't be able to stop this
Eagles offense, so you can expect Philadelphia and McNabb to do whatever
they want. McNabb now has five touchdown passes and no interceptions in
his past two games and has turned the corner after being benched against
Baltimore. Surprisingly, the Eagles are back in the playoff race, and
McNabb is leading the way. He should lead your Fantasy team this week.
Shaun Hill (at MIA): We typically don't like West Coast teams coming to the East Coast for 1 p.m. starts, but Hill and the 49ers are the only team to win a game this year in that scenario at Buffalo in Week 12. Hill has at least two touchdowns in four of five starts this season, and the Dolphins secondary can be exposed. In Miami's last home game in Week 12 against New England, Matt Cassel passed for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns. The Dolphins have allowed 16 passing touchdowns this season, and the 49ers could be throwing more than usual this week if Frank Gore (ankle) is out or limited.
Eli Manning (at DAL): Manning didn't get any help from his receivers last week against Philadelphia with several drops, including a possible touchdown from Domenik Hixon. The weather played a factor, but Manning was held to 123 yards and one touchdown. This week he has a better matchup against the Cowboys, and weather won't be a problem. Manning has played well against Dallas with eight touchdowns and four interceptions in his past three meetings. He had three touchdowns against the Cowboys earlier this year and threw four touchdowns at Dallas last year. If Brandon Jacobs (knee) is out or limited, look for the Giants to throw more than usual. And the Cowboys have allowed 16 passing touchdowns this season and are still dealing with injuries in the secondary.
Aaron Rodgers (at JAC): Interceptions have been a problem for Rodgers recently with six in his past four games, but he's also throwing for plenty of touchdowns and yards to make up for it. Rodgers has nine passing touchdowns over that span, and he's passed for 593 yards in his past two games against Carolina and Houston. Jacksonville has allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season and has few playmakers in the secondary with Rashean Mathis out. The Packers defense has fallen apart recently, but Rodgers and the offense continue to make plays.
Philip Rivers (at KC): Rivers hasn't been great on the road this season with only one game over 300 yards and only seven touchdowns and six interceptions. But this is too good of a matchup to worry about that. The Chiefs are No. 29 in pass defense with 16 touchdowns allowed and only six sacks on the season. Rivers should have all day to pick apart this defense. He had 316 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against Kansas City earlier this year, and even though LaDainian Tomlinson should run all over the Chiefs, Rivers will post good stats as well.
Sleeper alert: Kyle Orton (vs. NO): Orton has a chance to play well this week against a Saints defense that has allowed 20 passing touchdowns on the season and gave up over 300 yards against Matt Ryan last week. Orton has thrown two touchdown passes in each of his past two games against Minnesota and Jacksonville and should do well at home. The short week typically favors the offense with the defense being tired, so look for plenty of scoring in this game. Some other potential sleeper quarterbacks this week based on the matchup include: Chad Pennington (vs. SF), Jason Campbell (at CIN), Jake Delhomme (vs. DEN), Jeff Garcia (at ATL), Marc Bulger (vs. SEA) and Seneca Wallace (at STL).
Brett Favre (vs. BUF): Favre is always capable of throwing
six touchdowns like he did in Week 4 against Arizona. But he's also
capable of throwing three interceptions like he did in Week 7 against
Kansas City. He's just been too inconsistent to trust in the Fantasy
playoffs. He has no touchdowns and two interceptions in his past two
games and only has three games this season where he didn't throw a pick.
Since he hasn't reached 300 yards yet this season and is facing a
Buffalo defense that is good against the pass, the safe option is to sit
Favre. He only had 201 yards and an interception in Week 9 at Buffalo,
which is typical of Favre's stats these days.
David Garrard (vs. GB): Garrard has a surprisingly favorable matchup after the Packers pass defense has fallen apart recently. Last week, Matt Schaub passed for over 400 yards against Green Bay. But Garrard has lost his best wide receiver in Matt Jones (suspension) and will likely be without Jerry Porter (groin). It's hard to trust Garrard when his best receivers are Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt and Marcedes Lewis. You can expect Jacksonville to be handing off a lot to Maurice Jones-Drew, and the safe bet is to keep Garrard on your bench even with the good matchup.
Joe Flacco (vs. PIT): Flacco only has three interceptions in his past seven games with 11 touchdowns over that span, and he's played well enough to be considered a decent Fantasy option with his recent play. But don't use him this week. The Steelers are No. 1 in pass defense with just over 168 yards allowed, and they are tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 45. Flacco wasn't horrible at Pittsburgh in Week 4 with 192 passing yards and a touchdown, but he was sacked five times and lost a fumble. This game should be low-scoring, and Flacco won't post enough stats to help you at playoff time.
Matt Cassel (at OAK): Cassel played well last week at Seattle with 268 yards and a touchdown, which was his best game in three tries on the West Coast this year. In two previous games at San Francisco and San Diego he combined for one touchdown and three interceptions. The Raiders secondary should pose a tougher test. Even though they allowed three passing touchdowns against San Diego last week, Oakland has done well in pass defense for most of the second half, holding down Jake Delhomme (72 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions), Chad Pennington (174 yards and no touchdowns), Jay Cutler (204 yards and an interception) and Tyler Thigpen (162 yards and an interception) before Philip Rivers made some plays on Thursday night. I do think Randy Moss will step up against his former team, and Wes Welker has been unstoppable, but Cassel might also be distracted following the death of his father, which has caused him to miss practice time this week.
Matt Ryan (vs. TB): It's hard to sit Ryan at home against a defense coming off a short week. But Ryan has no touchdown passes in his past two home games against Denver and Carolina, and the Bucs shut him down earlier this year. Ryan had his worst game of the season at Tampa Bay in Week 2 with 158 passing yards and two interceptions. Even though the Bucs got run over on Monday night at Carolina, their secondary only allowed 173 passing yards, one touchdown and still managed two interceptions. Tampa Bay is one of eight teams with more interceptions than touchdowns allowed, and the Bucs are No. 4 in pass defense this season.
Bust alert: Matt Schaub (vs. TEN): Schaub didn't look limited at all last week at Green Bay after missing three games with a knee injury, passing for 414 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Schaub is capable of games like this because of his dynamic receiving corps of Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Kevin Walter and Steve Slaton. But the Titans have been amazing in pass defense this season, allowing just over 181 passing yards with only eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In Week 3 at Tennessee, Schaub was held to 188 yards and three interceptions. Tennessee has the ability to shut down most opposing quarterbacks, and the Titans will frustrate Schaub again this week.
Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. GB): The Packers run defense has
been terrible all year, and the past two weeks have been a good example.
In Week 13 against Carolina, DeAngelo Williams
had four rushing touchdowns. Then in last week's game against Houston, Steve Slaton had 160 total yards. Look for Jones-Drew to continue the
punishment. He had over 100 total yards and a touchdown last week at
Chicago and has over 100 total yards in two of his past three games. He
has 19 catches over that span and could be asked to do more now than Matt Jones (suspension) is out. We'd like to see Jones-Drew touch
the ball at least 20 times each game, and that should happen this week,
especially with Fred Taylor (thumb) out.
LenDale White (at HOU): White loves facing the Texans, who are among the league leaders with 17 rushing touchdowns allowed this season. White had two touchdowns against the Texans in Week 3 while rushing for 49 yards and has scored a touchdown in his past three meetings with Houston. White, who has three touchdowns in his past two games against Detroit and Cleveland, is doing more than just falling into the end zone. He also has 205 rushing yards over that span and should continue to run well against an opponent he likes facing.
Steven Jackson (vs. SEA): Jackson is doing what most good Fantasy options do by making plays even when they struggle. Last week at Arizona, Jackson lost two fumbles and only ran for 64 yards, but he still scored a touchdown on a pass and finished with double-digit Fantasy points. He should play well again here since he had 128 total yards against the Seahawks in their first meeting in Week 3. Jackson has three touchdowns in his past four meetings with Seattle, and he has four games with over 100 total yards in his past five games against the Seahawks. Seattle comes into this game allowing over 118 rushing yards per game with 12 touchdowns on the season.
Derrick Ward (at DAL): Brandon Jacobs has a sore knee, which means there's a chance he could miss the game or be limited. That's a good thing for Ward, who has played well this year even with Jacobs on the field. Before finishing with just 41 total yards last week, Ward had at least 50 total yards in every game this season. That included a Week 9 matchup against Dallas when he had 63 rushing yards and a touchdown and two catches for 26 yards. Ward's only start this year was Week 12 at Arizona when Jacobs was out with a knee injury, and Ward had 20 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 30 yards. He should post similar stats if Jacobs misses another game.
Ryan Grant (at JAC): Grant showed that his thumb injury was just fine last week against Houston with 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. He should run well again this week. The Jaguars gave up over 100 total yards against Matt Forte last week and were run over by Steve Slaton the week before. Jacksonville allows over 112 rushing yards per game with 11 touchdowns this season. Grant has three touchdowns in his past five games with two games over 100 yards rushing during that span. It appears like the Jaguars have given up this season on defense, and if that's the case, Grant should do well in this matchup.
Sleeper alert: Sammy Morris (at OAK): Morris hasn't done much since coming back from a knee injury that cost him three games, but he has scored two touchdowns the past two weeks against Pittsburgh and Seattle. He should make it three in a row since the Raiders are among the worst run defenses in the NFL, allowing almost 159 rushing yards per game with 18 touchdowns on the season. Kevin Faulk could also play well this week and would make a solid flex option in all leagues. You can think of Morris more as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy running back, and the Patriots should be able to run over the Raiders as most teams have this season.
Willie Parker (at BAL): If Parker couldn't run against the
Cowboys last week he's not going to do anything here since the Ravens
are No. 3 in run defense at 77 yards per game allowed with three
touchdowns on the season. Parker has a terrible history against
Baltimore with 78 carries for 215 yards and no touchdowns in his past
five meetings -- which is 2.8 yards per carry. He did score on a pass in
2005, but he's not much of a factor in the passing game these days. Mewelde Moore will be the better Steelers running back this week, but
Pittsburgh can't score in short-yardage situations, so look for Ben Roethlisberger to assume those duties near the goal line.
Jamal Lewis (at PHI): We saw what Lewis is in store for the rest of the season last week against the Titans when he had seven carries for seven yards. He's not going to find much running room now that Ken Dorsey is the starting quarterback. And the Eagles have done a good job against the run this year, allowing just over 93 yards per game and six touchdowns on the season. Philadelphia just did a good job stopping the Giants' ground game, and Lewis hasn't scored in his past four games and has no games over 100 yards. The Browns aren't going to do much on offense this week or the rest of the season so keep Lewis reserved in all leagues.
Larry Johnson (vs. SD): The Chargers defense should be well rested following last Thursday's game against Oakland, and you can count on Kansas City throwing the ball more than running this week, which is why we like Tyler Thigpen to do well. Johnson missed the first game against the Chargers earlier this year, and he only has one game with more than 20 carries since returning from his off-field problems in Week 11. Last week at Denver, in a matchup he should have dominated, Johnson only got 11 carries for 36 yards. The Chargers run defense has been solid this season and allows just over 102 yards per game with six touchdowns on the season.
Ricky Williams (vs. SF): Every time I expect Williams to play well he gets about 50 total yards and little else. That should be the case this week. Williams has one rushing touchdown in his past six games and only two games over 100 total yards this season. Ronnie Brown remains the better running back for the Dolphins, and I nearly dropped Williams in the playoffs this week because he's been so frustrating. But I held onto him in case Brown gets hurt in the next two weeks, but I just can't use Williams in this matchup. He's a low-end flex option at best, and the 49ers run defense did a good job against the Jets last week.
Willis McGahee (vs. PIT): As my colleague Dave Richard noted in our Faceoff this week, LeRon McClain is the only Ravens running back you can trust, but I would avoid all three against the Steelers, who are No. 1 in run defense. McClain scored one of the five rushing touchdowns allowed by the Steelers this season, but Pittsburgh should be able to contain Willis McGahee, McClain and even Ray Rice, who might be the best option because of his receiving skills. McGahee only had 42 yards rushing and 19 yards receiving against the Steelers earlier this year, but he's been non-existent recently with 11 carries for 32 yards against Washington his best game in his past four outings. If I had to rank the Ravens running backs right now it would be McClain, Rice and McGahee, so keep him on the bench.
Bust alert: Tim Hightower (vs. MIN): Heading into Week 15, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are expected to play for the Vikings, which means Hightower won't get many yards. That's been the case for him the past five games since he has 54 carries for 117 yards over that span. His saving grace has been scoring touchdowns, and he has three in his past three games. Minnesota has allowed nine rushing touchdowns on the season, but the Vikings are No. 2 in run defense at just over 73 yards allowed per game. Hightower's outlook would change if the suspensions start for the two defensive tackles, but right now don't plan on using Hightower this week. With the Cardinals expected to be throwing a lot, look for J.J. Arrington to get more time on the field than Hightower against Minnesota.
Isaac Bruce (at MIA): Bruce, a Fort Lauderdale native, is
going home at the right time. He has picked up his game the past three
weeks and has developed a solid rapport with Shaun Hill. Bruce has 19 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns
against Dallas, Buffalo and the Jets and now faces a Miami team that has
flaws in its secondary. If Frank Gore
(ankle) is out or limited, the 49ers will be throwing more than usual,
which means Bruce could be in line for some extra passes in his
Eddie Royal (at CAR): The Broncos might throw the ball 50 times in this game with the Panthers expected to build a lead and Denver lacking some talent in the ground game with Peyton Hillis (hamstring) out. Brandon Marshall remains the focal point of the passing game, but Royal should be a good No. 3 Fantasy option or flex player this week. He has 11 catches in his past two games against the Jets and Kansas City for 126 yards and a touchdown. Royal has three of his five touchdowns on the road this season and all three of his 100-yard games have come outside of Denver.
Marvin Harrison (vs. DET): If it's Harrison and a home game I'll take my chances. Factor in that he's facing the Lions, and it's guaranteed production. Harrison has five touchdowns in six home games and at least 75 yards in four of those games. Detroit has allowed 19 passing touchdowns this year, and Peyton Manning should be able to continue Harrison's hot streak at home. He's a great No. 2 Fantasy receiver in this matchup and any time he's at home, which is one more time in Week 17 against Tennessee.
Steve Breaston (vs. MIN): The Cardinals may throw the ball 50 times in this game, which makes Breaston a quality Fantasy option alongside Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Breaston continues to post solid stats with 19 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown against the Giants, Philadelphia and St. Louis. He had seven catches for 90 yards last week against the Rams and is great for owners in leagues where receptions count. The Vikings, like most teams, will do everything they can to slow down Boldin and Fitzgerald, which is why Breaston is having a breakout season. You can't stop all three, especially with Kurt Warner trying to win another MVP award.
Davone Bess (vs. SF): Bess has been a dream for owners in leagues where receptions count because he has 20 catches for 245 yards in his past three games against New England, St. Louis and Buffalo. Last week, Bess had nine catches for 74 yards against the Bills. Ted Ginn Jr. could make some plays this week also since San Francisco is susceptible to the deep ball, but Bess has become Miami's best wide receiver. He should continue to post consistent stats this week and for the final two games of the season.
Sleeper alert: Devin Hester (vs. NO): Hester has put together a solid three-game stretch and has emerged as the Bears best wide receiver this year. He has 13 catches for 204 yards and a touchdown against St. Louis, Minnesota and Jacksonville, and New Orleans has allowed 20 passing touchdowns this season. Kyle Orton continues to look for Hester, which is a good thing because he's not scoring on special teams this season. At least Chicago is finding other ways to use his speed, and Fantasy owners are reaping the rewards. Some other wide receivers to consider this week based on the matchups include: Deion Branch (at STL), Antonio Bryant (at TB), Torry Holt (vs. SEA), DeSean Jackson (vs. CLE), Vincent Jackson (at KC) and Lance Moore (at CHI).
Bernard Berrian (at ARI): The matchup favors Berrian since
the Cardinals lead the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed with 27. But
with Tarvaris Jackson expected to start
in place of the injured Gus Frerotte
(back), Berrian could struggle. In the first two games this year with
Jackson at quarterback, Berrian had three catches for 38 yards and no
touchdowns. And Berrian only had three catches for 29 yards last week
against the Lions with Jackson playing the entire second half. If
Jackson starts as expected, keep Berrian on the bench.
Chris Chambers (at KC): Chambers didn't have a catch in the first matchup against the Chiefs in Week 10, and he only has 10 catches for 84 yards and no touchdowns in the four games since. Last year at Kansas City, Chambers only had two catches for 50 yards. It's obvious Philip Rivers is going to Vincent Jackson first, and Malcom Floyd is outplaying Chambers at this time. Just ignore Chambers in all leagues in the Fantasy playoffs.
Braylon Edwards (at PHI): If things couldn't get any worse for Edwards, he now has to deal with Asante Samuel chasing him around the field. Edwards had his first game with Ken Dorsey starting last week against Tennessee, and Edwards finished with three catches for 38 yards. That should say it all. Edwards hasn't scored a touchdown in his past five games and has only one game over 100 yards over that span. The Eagles know Edwards is the only wide receiver of worth for the Browns with Kellen Winslow (ankle) still banged up. Stay away from Edwards in this matchup.
Laveranues Coles (vs. BUF): Maybe the Jugs machine throws harder than Brett Favre as Coles suggested, but Coles has to deal with Favre trying to get him the ball. That hasn't been the case recently with Coles only catching three passes for seven yards against Denver and San Francisco. He has only one touchdown in his past six games, and it's just too hard to count on Coles or Jerricho Cotchery right now. Coles only has four catches for 53 yards and no touchdowns in his past two games against Buffalo, and the Bills should contain the Jets passing game this week.
Kevin Walter (vs. TEN): Walter was amazing last week against Green Bay with six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, but the Titans pose a tougher challenge. Walter had four catches for 15 yards in Week 3 against Tennessee and has five catches for 26 yards in his past two meetings with the Titans. Tennessee also is No. 3 in pass defense with only eight touchdowns allowed. I wouldn't count on Matt Schaub having the same success he had last week against the Packers, so lower your expectations with Walter in this game.
Bust alert: Hines Ward (at BAL): The Steelers are going to have to throw in this game to have a chance, but Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been looking in Ward's direction much lately. He has seven catches for 76 yards and one touchdown in his past three games, and he has a terrible history against he Ravens. In his past five games overall against Baltimore, Ward has 24 catches for 278 yards and no touchdowns, including only two catches for 57 yards. In his past five games at Baltimore, he has 26 catches for 373 yards and one touchdown. The Ravens are No. 2 in pass defense with only 13 touchdowns allowed and despite several injuries in the secondary, Baltimore continues to limit opposing receivers.
Chris Cooley (at CIN): Cooley has been a bust this season
with only one touchdown, and last week he had one catch for 12 yards
against Baltimore. But nothing cures tight end woes like facing the
Bengals. Cincinnati has allowed a touchdown to a tight end each of the
past four weeks against L.J. Smith, Heath Miller, Todd Heap and Dallas Clark. Even Gijon Robinson,
the No. 2 tight end for the Colts, had six catches for 69 yards last
week. Cooley has an opportunity to end an eight-game scoreless streak
this week and continue the trend of opposing tight ends scoring against
John Carlson (at STL): Carlson has been one of the hottest players at any position the past three weeks with 16 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns against Washington, Dallas and New England. He should stay hot against the Rams, who have allowed 17 passing touchdowns this season. Carlson only had two catches for 38 yards earlier this year against the Rams in Week 3, but the Seahawks offense didn't need him much that game. They need him now, and Carlson should stay hot this week.
Kevin Boss (at DAL): Boss hurt many Fantasy owners last week with only one catch for five yards against Philadelphia, but he should rebound this week. The Cowboys are banged up in the secondary, and Boss had three catches for 30 yards and a touchdown against Dallas in Week 9. Last week, Heath Miller scored a touchdown against the Cowboys in Pittsburgh. Boss has gone two games without a touchdown, but he will break that streak in this matchup.
Sleeper alert: Donald Lee (at JAC): Once again, Lee is having late-season success for Fantasy owners. He has three touchdowns in his past four games and has seven catches for 85 yards in his past two games against Carolina and Houston. The Jaguars have allowed 21 passing touchdowns this season and just gave up two touchdowns to Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen last week. Look for Lee to find the end zone again. Some other tight ends to consider this week based on the matchups include: Visanthe Shiancoe (at ARI), Zach Miller (vs. NE) and Bo Scaife (at HOU).
Todd Heap (vs. PIT): Heap has played well recently with
three touchdowns in his past five games, and last week against
Washington he had two catches for 54 yards. But facing the Steelers will
be tough. He only has one touchdown against the Steelers in his past
five meetings but that was in 2006, and he hasn't topped 60 yards
against them. He didn't have a catch at Pittsburgh in Week 4 in the
first meeting this year and should struggle again this week.
Dustin Keller (vs. BUF): The Bills have done well against opposing tight ends this year, including holding Keller to two catches for 19 yards in Week 9. Keller struggled last week against the 49ers as expected with two catches for 14 yards, and he hasn't scored a touchdown in his past four games. Don't expect much from Keller or any of the Jets receivers in this matchup as Thomas Jones and the running game should handle much of the offensive load.
Anthony Fasano (vs. SF): Fasano was a surprise last week when he caught a touchdown against Buffalo on three catches for 36 yards. Prior to that, Fasano only had one catch for seven yards in his previous three games. The 49ers have done a good job against tight ends all year, holding down quality options in Kevin Boss (no catches), John Carlson (one catch for 13 yards), Jason Witten (one catch for 11 yards) and Dustin Keller (two catches for 19 yards) over the past seven games. Look for Fasano to go back to being non-existent this week.
Bust alert: Heath Miller (at BAL): Miller has been fantastic the past three weeks with 11 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns against Cincinnati, New England and Dallas. But now he faces a team he usually struggles against. Miller had two catches for eight yards against the Ravens in Week 4, and he has 13 catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns against Baltimore in his past five meetings. The Ravens have done well against tight ends this year. Already this season Kellen Winslow (seven catches for 78 yards in two games), Dallas Clark (two catches for 17 yards), Anthony Fasano (two catches for 25 yards), Zach Miller (two catches for 56 yards), Owen Daniels (one catch for 13 yards), Kevin Boss (no catches) and Chris Cooley (one catch for 12 yards) have struggled against Baltimore.
Philadelphia (vs. CLE): This is a recipe for disaster for the
Browns. You have an inexperienced quarterback in Ken Dorsey facing a defense that likes to blitz. Factor in that the
game is in Philadelphia on Monday night and the Browns could be without Kellen Winslow (ankle), and this could be a good day for the Eagles.
The Browns barely moved the ball at Tennessee last week and managed just
three field goals. You can expect more of the same against this
aggressive defense. Consider the Eagles a solid start in Week 15.
Other DSTs with good matchups: New England (at OAK), Indianapolis (vs. DET), Washington (at CIN) and the Jets (vs. BUF)
Minnesota (at ARI): Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are expected to play again this week despite the looming suspension, but this will still be a tough matchup for the Vikings. The Cardinals offense is explosive, and they will attack Minnesota through the air. Jared Allen (knee) is also banged up, and if the Vikings can't get pressure on Kurt Warner he will pick them apart with Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. You can expect at least 40 passes from Warner in this game and maybe 50, and the Cardinals should be able to put up points and limit the Vikings DST.
Dan Carpenter (vs. SF): Carpenter, who is only owned in 9
percent of leagues on CBSSports.com, has been on fire the past two weeks
with six field goals in seven attempts against St. Louis and Buffalo. He
now faces the 49ers at home, and San Francisco is second behind Seattle
for most field goals allowed with 31. The 49ers also allow 25.2 points
per game, so look for Carpenter to get several attempts. He also made
his first 50-yard kick last week against the Bills, and he's getting
better as the season goes along. Hopefully he will stay hot for at least
one more week.
Rian Lindell (at NYJ): If you saw any of the Giants-Eagles game last week in New York you watched the wind doing funny things, which affected how John Carney and David Akers tried to kick and led to three blocks. While Lindell is used to difficult conditions in Buffalo, his offense has struggled recently and shouldn't do much this week. Lindell is 2-of-4 on field goals in his past two games, and he was 1-of-2 on field goals against the Jets at home earlier this year. There are better kickers than Lindell to use this week.
Do you have a question for Jamey? Send your thoughts to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com and we'll get to as many as we can. Be sure to put Attn: Start/Sit in the subject field. Include your name, hometown and state.
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