Welcome to the Week 15 starts and sits! If you are reading this, then congratulations are probably in order. It’s semifinal week in most leagues, so you are one win away from a bowl appearance and a shot at glory. Hopefully these recommendations will help you maximize your lineup, but if you need more, then head over to Rotobahn and check out our full lineup rankings. Additionally, you can attend our weekly Sunday chat right here at WEEI. You’ll find a link to the chat Sunday on the home page under “This Just In.” I hope to see you all there.
Matt Stafford, Lions vs. Ravens
Stafford had a rough Week 14 due to the weather, but if you survived the storm, you should stick with him. He’ll be much better at home, even in a tough matchup. The Lions probably will lose, but Stafford will get his stats.
Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Texans
He’ll be solid this week at home vs. a pretty good defense. Luck now has enough weapons to get the job done. Da’Rick Rogers is a big upgrade over Darrius Heyward-Bey. Luck may not give you a big number, but he’ll produce like a top-10 quarterback.
Tom Brady, Patriots at Dolphins
Brady owners must feel cursed at this point. The rug got pulled out from under them this past Sunday when Rob Gronkowski was lost again, with perhaps his worst injury so far, and that is saying something. Giving up on Brady is a logical move, but I think even with significant missing parts, the Patriots offense as a unit is clicking now. Brady should be good for a few scores and 250-plus yards.
Jay Cutler, Bears at Browns
He should be the starter, but just to be clear, this recommendation goes for whomever starts for the Bears this week. If Cutler has another setback, go ahead and start Josh McCown, who has been astoundingly good this year in Marc Trestman’s offense.
Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Redskins
Yes, the Falcons already are toast, but they have most of their offense back on the field and probably will cut through the Washington defense like a hot knife through butter. Ryan is a viable option this week in any format.
Jason Campbell, Browns vs. Bears
The one thing to keep on top of here is the weather. There is some snow in the forecast, and if it gets really ugly, you’ll want to have a backup plan. Still, Campbell can help you if you are in a jam. The Bears have few answers for what the Browns will be throwing at them, namely Josh Gordon. The second-year receiver has been a one-man wrecking crew lately.
Eli Manning, Giants vs. Seattle
If Eli is your backup and Aaron Rodgers is your starter, consider the waiver wire. Matt Flynn and a few others who likely are available are better plays than Manning this week. Go to the Rotobahn lineup rankings if you need more ideas.
Matt Cassel, Vikings vs. Eagles
With both of his running backs in danger of missing this game, Cassel may be a one-trick pony, and the lack of balance is a killer for the Vikings offense, as we saw back in preseason. In short, without Adrian Peterson, throwing may be an impossibility. It’s certainly not something I am betting my season on. As with Manning, go to our rankings at Rotobahn and you’ll find several players to consider over Cassel.
Zac Stacy, Rams vs. Saints
This is not a great matchup, and though I like Stacy a whole lot, he’s not yet matchup-proof. That said, he’s a real grinder and he tends to get at least what’s blocked and often times more. He is a quality RB2 in any format this week, and I’d say he has RB1 potential. Start Stacy with confidence as an RB2 in all formats.
C.J. Spiller, Bills at Jaguars
Last week was brutal, but what folks may not know is that Spiller had a long touchdown run called back. The big play still is in his arsenal, and I’d be very happy to play Spiller as an RB2 this week in any format just for his upside potential.
Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers vs. 49ers
He’s a risky play if you are looking for last week’s numbers, but Rainey is going to get volume, and Tampa can block up front. Rainey is not going to have as big a game as he did last week, but he can be an RB2 or flex in 12-team leagues if you need him, because he is going to touch the football a lot.
Rashad Jennings, Raiders vs. Chiefs
Don’t expect a big game, but it appears that Jennings will return this week and he’ll be the lead back ahead of Marcel Reece despite Reece’s outstanding play last week against the Jets. Jennings is a decent RB2 option in 12-team leagues, but be ready with Reece if possible, because, as we’ve seen in recent weeks, guys can have setbacks in concussion recovery.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns vs. Bears
Here’s a deeper option. The key here is to keep your head on a swivel. I project Ogbonnaya as the Browns’ Week 15 starter, but a few things could happen between now and Sunday. Willis McGahee could make a surprise recovery, and Fozzy Whitaker could be named starter. Either of those scenarios could make Ogbonnaya more of a flex option. However, if he is the starter against Chicago, he has RB1 upside. If you have a spare roster spot and a weak spot at tailback, add this guy and be ready to play him if he starts.
Pierre Thomas, Saints at Rams
He’s been forgotten the last few weeks, so be careful how you use him. Thomas has more Week 15 viability in PPR vs. standard scoring. You can play him if you need him, but temper expectations after the last few weeks.
Donald Brown, Colts vs. Texans
The emergence of Trent Richardson last week is a bit troubling for Brown, who could be pushed out of the primary role if Richardson raises his game just a touch more. Brown is playable and has upside, but I’m not as confident in him as I was a few weeks ago. He’s a flex at best this week.
Jordy Nelson, Packers at Cowboys
You may be tempted to sit him, with Flynn in at QB for Rodgers, and that’s not a bad thought … until you consider the matchup here. Dallas has been giving up points like a NBA team from 1976. I’d be very comfortable starting any of the Packers’ primary players this week.
Torrey Smith, Ravens at Lions
He let a lot of folks down last week in the snow, but I am really liking his chances this week on the carpet in Detroit. With Dennis Pitta back to stress the safeties, I like Joe Flacco’s chances of hitting a few deep balls. Smith should be active in all leagues.
Roddy White, Falcons vs. Redskins
He’s back to being a weekly play, even in tough matchups, but this is not one of those. This matchup is as sweet as a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Get White active, especially in PPR. If he is on your bench, your starters had better be very good.
Harry Douglas, Falcons vs. Redskins
He’s not as good as White, but Douglas is a decent WR3 this week because of the matchup. He had a rough game last week, but he was targeted seven times, so he’s involved, and the Falcons are not a snow team. Expect better numbers against Washington indoors.
Julian Edelman, Patriots at Dolphins
It just feels like an Edelman week to me. More importantly, he is one of the few reliable targets left for Brady along with Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola. In PPR scoring, he’s a near lock-starter. I’d have him active this week.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants vs. Seahawks
I’d avoid chasing last week’s stats, which included a meaningless 43-yard Hail Mary reception on the final play of the first half. Nicks could do next to nothing this week against a far tougher opponent. He’s a flex option in 12-team leagues at best.
Andre Holmes, Raiders vs. Chiefs
Pay attention here. If Denarius Moore is back, Holmes could lose most of his targets, and you can’t have that in your lineup in week 15. Holmes will be a decent deep option this week, but only if Moore is out again.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens at Lions
We had him as a deep start last week and he came through with a score, so we’ll stick with him here. Pitta should play even more this week, and he’s a good route-runner. He’ll get a handful of receptions and has a chance to score every week when he’s healthy as he is now.
Charles Clay, Dolphins vs. Patriots
He is being targeted a ton, with 20 over the last two games. In PPR he is a must-start option, and he is a desirable option in non-PPR as well. He should post decent numbers vs. the Patriots this week with QB Ryan Tannehill playing so well.
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons vs. Redskins
He has an excellent chance to score in this game, and they are not going to send this guy into retirement by not targeting him down the stretch. Gonzo is a start in all leagues this week.
Delanie Walker, Titans vs. Cardinals
He should be making his return this week after his Week 13 concussion and, assuming he has no setbacks, he is going to feast on the Cardinals safeties as much of the NFL has this season. Make sure he’s active, and if he is, make sure you start him. He’s Rotobahn’s seventh-ranked tight end for Week 15.
Tim Wright, Buccaneers vs. 49ers
I like Wright as a player, but the Niners are very good on the back and and they can run with tight ends in coverage. There’s too much bust potential here for Wright, so consider other options in 12-team leagues if you can.
Mychal Rivera, Raiders vs. Chiefs
He scored against the Jets as we predicted last week, but the Jets get thrashed by tight ends, and the Chiefs are a totally different animal. Rivera is unlikely to turn last week’s production into a trend. He’s for very deep leagues only this week.