Week 15 Sunday Update by James Morris
Week 15 brings some significant injuries that can and will drastically effect your fantasy football playoffs. We’re now in round 2 and with just one more week to go (two in some formats) every single point is important. So make sure you check back all the way up to kick-off as we give you all the news and info you will need on the injury front to get the healthy players in and the hurt players out.
Robert Griffin III (knee) will not be starting for the Redskins today. Instead fellow rookie Kirk Cousins will draw the start, and that changes the gameplan for the Skins whole offense. Expect them to play a “pro style” variety of offense against the Browns, eliminating option runs. It makes Alfred Morris a riskier play today, and I would drop Pierre Garcon down a few notches in my projections as well.
*In place of RGIII in my rankings, I am making Colin Kaepernick a QB1 play this weekend, as well as moving Russell Wilson into the Start ‘em range for Griffin’s owners’.
Dez Bryant is going to play through his torn tendons in his finger, but I am not as high on him as the big-box websites are. This is going to be an extremely painful injury for Bryant to deal with, so there is a real chance the Cowboys use him more as a decoy than a true offensive weapon. Granted, the Steelers are without Ike Taylor on defense, so there is an equal chance he eats them alive today.
Ahmad Bradshaw is out for the Giants, which makes rookie David Wilson the starter. Wilson is owned in 69 percent of NFL.com leagues, so there are still a few in which he can be had. I’d put Wilson as a top 15 RB this weekend and have no concerns about his ability to handle the starting job. Hakeem Nicks is looking healthier than he did last week, which is good news because we all need production from Eli Manning and Nicks to finish out the season.
In the same game, Roddy White is a game-time decision with his knee. He didn’t practice all week, but he’s also never missed a game in his career and I fully expect him to play today. I’m not as crazy about Matt Ryan these days as I was to start the season, so temper your expectations now that teams have seemingly figured him out.
Word in Chicago is that Jay Cutler is going to play despite being less than 100 percent with knee and neck injuries. The Packers give up 19.2 PPG in fantasy leagues, which ranks them 14th in the NFL. Cutler isn’t a good fantasy option, but I do love Brandon Marshall to finish out the season. Yes, I like the WR and not the QB because Marshall is all Cutler has on offense to throw to. So, one player can do well, but the QB can also have a bad fantasy day overall.
Michael Bush is questionable for the Bears, and from what I hear he won’t be in for many snaps even if he is able to suit up. Matt Forte has been the workhorse RB of late, and I would feel comfortable putting him on the RB1/RB2 bubble for this week’s game.
As usual, the entire Patriots team is questionable. One big football website is now saying Rob Gronkowski “could play Sunday night” despite his lack of practice this week. I think a week 16 return for Gronk is a lot more likely and the website is just trying to make headlines with some pretty speculative reporting. Play everyone on the Patriots as you normally would.
Danny Amendola will play today, but there has already been a history of re-aggravation of the foot this season. He makes for an extremely risky play, but there is WR2 upside here if he can stay on the field.
Brandon Pettigrew is battling a high ankle sprain, and missed practice all week long. If and when he is finally ruled out, Tony Scheffler moves into the top 10-12 for fantasy TEs. Matthew Stafford only really has Calvin Johnson at WR to throw to these days, so Scheffler makes for an interestingly sneaky play.
Davone Bess is out this week for the Dolphins, which could make Marlon Moore the starter opposite Brian Hartline. On the other side of the ball, Cecil Shorts is back in the starting line-up for the in-state rival Jaguars.
Sidney Rice is expected to play through his questionable tag for the Seahawks. Wilson is an underrated QB, but beware and be aware of his streaky nature due to the WRs he has to work with.
Ronnie Brown is listed as doubtful for the Chargers, which means Ryan Mathews will handle 3rd down duties in a juicy match-up against a Panthers defense that gives up 27.8 PPG (28th in NFL) in PPR formats. Bump Mathews up into the RB2 rankings for this week.
Bilal Powell of the Jets is expected to play through his fractured toe, but you can be sure Shonn Greene will see a bigger chunk of the carries this week. Neither is an option unless you are in a deep league or just flat out forgot to draft RBs this season.
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