Fantasy Friday: Week 15

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Here’s this week’s look at good and bad fantasy matchups.

Note: I try to pick less obvious players. I’m not going to tell you to play Peyton Manning or LaDainian Tomlinson or Randy Moss. No kiddin’, Sherlock.

Warning: I’m not immune to accidentally suggesting a player that might be injured and out for the week — or even the season. As much as I follow the game, mistakes can happen. If it does happen, just give me a polite jab and I’ll correct myself.

Thumbs Up

The following players should have favorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are greater due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Jeff Garcia, TB vs. Atlanta
After one divisional matchup in which he threw for 321 yards and 2 touchdowns against Carolina, he gets another one this week against a shaky pass defense with the playoffs on the line.

Jason Campbell, Was vs. Cincinnati
The Redskins have struggled lately due to injuries to Clinton Portis, but Campbell and this offense should have a big week against a terrible Bengals team.

Other favorable matchups: Jake Delhomme vs. Denver, Chad Pennington vs. San Francisco, Donovan McNabb vs. Cleveland.

Running Backs

Colts RBs, Ind vs. Detroit
We should see a solid game by the duo of Joseph Addai — if he plays — and Dominic Rhodes against the worst run defense in the league.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac vs. Green Bay
The Packers have difficulty stopping the run, so Jones-Drew should have a big game.

Other favorable matchups: Sammy Morris vs. Oakland, Panthers RBs vs. Denver, Kevin Smith vs. Indianapolis.

Wide Receivers

Dwayne Bowe, KC vs. San Diego
The Chargers have been at the bottom of the league in pass defense all season and with Mark Bradley’s status for this week uncertain, Bowe could get the bulk of receptions.

Vincent Jackson, SD vs. Kansas City
Jackson had 5 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown last week and the Chiefs don’t have a very good pass defense this week.

Other favorable matchups: Torry Holt vs. Seattle, Lee Evans vs. NY Jets, Antonio Bryant vs. Atlanta.

Tight Ends

John Carlson, Sea vs. St. Louis
Carlson has been the Seahawks’ go-to guy all season and he has a great matchup against the Rams’ defense.

Jerramy Stevens, TB vs. Atlanta
Stevens is a big target who has red zone touchdown potential. The Buccaneers should put up some points this week.

Other favorable matchups: Tony Gonzalez vs. San Diego, Anthony Fasano vs. San Francisco, Chris Cooley vs. Cincinnati.


Stephen Gostkowski, NE vs. Oakland
Gostkowski is the league’s leading kicker, and in warm-weather Oakland, he could get plenty of opportunities.

Matt Bryant, TB vs. Atlanta
He’s the second-leading kicker, has been steady all season, and is playing in a dome in a divisional game.

Other favorable matchups: John Carney vs. Dallas, Ryan Longwell vs. Arizona, Josh Brown vs. Seattle.


Baltimore Ravens, Bal vs. Pittsburgh
I think Baltimore and Pittsburgh will find it difficult to score against each other’s defenses. The Ravens lead the league with 22 interceptions.

Pittsburgh Steelers, Pit vs. Baltimore
The Steelers should feast off the rookie Joe Flacco and possibly pick up some points off a turnover.

Other favorable matchups: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland, Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta, Green Bay vs. Jacksonville.

Thumbs Down

The following players should have unfavorable matchups this week. Their chances of success are worse due to tendencies by the opponent’s defense.


Ben Roethlisberger, Pit vs. Baltimore
The league’s two best pass defenses go head-to-head in this matchup. Hence, don’t play either of these two quarterbacks.

Joe Flacco, Bal vs. Pittsburgh
See above explanation.

Other unfavorable matchups: Matt Schaub vs. Tennessee, Matt Ryan vs. Tampa Bay, Matt Cassel vs. Oakland.

Running Backs

Ravens RBs, Bal vs. Pittsburgh
It’s bad enough they distribute the ball among many players, but they have a tough matchup against the league’s finest run defense.

Tim Hightower, Ari vs. Minnesota
If you’re playing Hightower, it means your hoping he can pick up a short, rushing touchdown. Because as long as the Williams Wall is allowed to play, you won’t get a lot of yards.

Other unfavorable matchups: Willie Parker vs. Baltimore, Marshawn Lynch vs. NY Jets, Steve Slaton vs. Tennessee.

Wide Receivers

Texans WRs, Hou vs. Tennessee
The Texans have had a high-powered passing attack all season with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter leading the way, and now with Matt Schaub back, they’re really clicking. However, the Titans have a good pass defense, No. 3 in the league.

Braylon Edwards, Cle vs. Philadelphia
Edwards has really struggled with no help this season and even if you drafted him high, he’s not a good play this week.

Other unfavorable matchups: Steelers WRs vs. Baltimore, Michael Jenkins vs. Tampa Bay, Calvin Johnson vs. Indianapolis.

Tight Ends

Tony Scheffler, Den vs. Carolina
Carolina’s pass defense is pretty good and they always play much better at home.

Marcedes Lewis, Jac
Lewis had 4 catches for 43 yards last week and has played a more active role in the offense this year, but the Jaguars are struggling mightily and Green Bay has a good pass defense.

Other unfavorable matchups: Todd Heap vs. Pittsburgh, Owen Daniels vs. Tennessee, Dustin Keller vs. Buffalo.


Rian Lindell, Buf vs. NY Jets
Aside from struggling with his kicks this year and resembling Scott Norwood, Lindell — and the Bills’ entire offense — have had just 3 points each of the past two weeks.

Jeff Reed, Pit vs. Baltimore
This should be a low scoring game between two solid defenses.

Other unfavorable matchups: Matt Stover vs. Pittsburgh, Kris Brown vs. Tennessee, Matt Prater vs. Carolina.


Minnesota Vikings, Min vs. Arizona
They may have an opportunistic defense that has scored a few touchdowns this year, but if your league deducts for points given up, don’t play them against the Cardinals’ high-powered offense.

Denver Broncos, Den vs. Carolina
The Broncos have just 5 interceptions this season and are giving up 25 points per game.

Other unfavorable matchups: Dallas Cowboys vs. NY Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Green Bay, Houston Texans vs. Tennessee.

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