Fantasy Preview: Week 15

Posted Dec 13, 2013

It's semifinal week in most fantasy leagues, which means only four teams are still in contention for the ultimate prize.

However, there are plenty of leagues where owners might be playing for draft position next year or other assorted prizes. Either way, we have advice for owners of all kinds, regardless of what's at stake.

Here are some key numbers to know about every game, plus a stud, sleeper, stumbler or injury concern to watch for with a brief explanation why. Note that the “studs” are guys who are either better than most owners realize or established stars who owners might be foolishly thinking about benching.

Saints at Rams

Stat to know: Pierre Thomas has turned in two-straight subpar games, but the Rams have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs, including at least one rushing touchdown in three of the past four games. Look for Thomas to bounce back this week.

Sleeper: Saints D/ST (Rams have allowed 33 fantasy points to D/STs over the past two weeks.)

Redskins at Falcons

Stat to know: Fantasy owners might be worried about Pierre Garcon with Kirk Cousins starting; however, Garcon has received at least 10 targets in each of the past seven games. Also encouraging is that he caught six of 12 looks for 65 yards in Cousins' lone start last year (when Garcon had a sore foot). He'll be just fine against Atlanta's mediocre pass defense.

Stud: RB Alfred Morris (Falcons allowing third-most rushing yards per game.)

49ers at Buccaneers

Stat to know: It's unclear who Darrelle Revis will primarily be matched up with in this game, but Anquan Boldin looks like a worthwhile starter. He's caught 15 of 21 targets for 191 yards in the two games with an active Michael Crabtree, and Tampa's secondary is weak beyond Revis.

Stumbler: TE Tim Wright (Fewer than five targets in five of the past six games.)

Seahawks at Giants

Stat to know: Russell Wilson had been on a roll prior to last week's dud, averaging 27.4 FPPG in his previous four contests. He should be fine against the Giants, but it's tough to trust any of his specific receivers. New York ranks just 24th in fantasy points allowed to WRs.

Stumblers: All of New York's pass-catchers (Seattle has allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs.)

Eagles at Vikings

Stat to know: With Adrian Peterson (foot) unlikely to play, Toby Gerhart has a chance for a good performance as long as his hamstring injury isn't too serious. The Eagles rank a respectable 16th in fantasy points to RBs, but in six games as a starter in his career, Gerhart has averaged 10.8 fantasy points. He's an RB2 if active.

Sleeper: WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Eagles allowing most FPPG to WRs.)

Patriots at Dolphins

Stat to know: The Pats rank 20th in fantasy points allowed to WRs, but they've allowed at least one double-digit receiver in each of their past five games. Mike Wallace didn't do much when these teams met in Week 8 (4.9 points), but he has upside as a WR3 this week.

Sleeper: TE Charles Clay (Patriots allowing 8.9 FPPG to TEs.)

Bills at Jaguars

Stat to know: Jacksonville has only allowed one double-digit RB since Week 8. Fantasy owners struggle with “Spiller or Jackson” every week, but it's not a bad idea to sit both against the Jags.

Injury: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, foot (Unsure if he'll play; If Jones-Drew is out, Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson would likely split touches.)

Texans at Colts

Stat to know: Ben Tate managed 81 rushing yards on 22 carries when these teams met in Week 9, but that game marked the last time Indianapolis didn't allow an RB to score double-digit fantasy points. Expect Tate to fare better against Indianapolis this week.

Stumbler: QB Andrew Luck (QBs have averaged just 17.5 FPPG against Houston over the past five games.)

Bears at Browns

Stat to Know: Jay Cutler (ankle) will return for the Bears, but he's a risky start at Cleveland. The Browns are allowing a middle-of-the-pack 20 FPPG to QBs, and given how little we know about Cutler's mobility and timing, fantasy owners should find a safer option.

Stud: TE Jordan Cameron (Bears allowing 10th-most FPPG to TEs.)

Chiefs at Raiders

Stat to know: Dwayne Bowe has quietly scored in three of the past four games. The Raiders allow 25.4 FPPG to WRs, so Bowe could easily keep his streak going. He's a solid starting option.

Injuries: RB Darren McFadden, ankle and RB Rashad Jennings, concussion (Jennings is likely to play and should get a full complement of carries.)

Jets at Panthers

Stat to know: It was during garbage time, but Steve Smith got in the end zone last week for the first time since Week 7. He has a good chance to do it again against a Jets' defense allowing the fifth-most FPPG to WRs (26.3). Consider Smith a WR2, and if you need a sleeper WR3, Brandon LaFell isn't a bad option.

Stumbler: RB Chris Ivory (Panthers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs.)

Packers at Cowboys

Stat to know: Eddie Lacy's status is in doubt because of an ankle injury, and it would be a shame if he can't play because Dallas is allowing the most FPPG to RBs (24.4). James Starks would start and handle the bulk of the touches if Lacy can't go, making him a solid RB2 or flex.

Sleeper: WR Terrance Williams (Packers have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs.)

Cardinals at Titans

Stat to know: Over his past seven games, Chris Johnson has averaged 15.1 fantasy points. That includes one monster performance (29 points in Week 9) and one dud (5.3 points in Week 10). For the most part, he's been steady, putting up no worse than flex-level numbers. The Cardinals allow the fewest FPPG to RBs (11.6), but Johnson is still worth starting.

Sleeper: TE Delanie Walker (Cardinals have allowed the most fantasy points to TEs.)

Bengals at Steelers

Stat to know: The Steelers and Bengals rank 21st and 26th, respectively, in fantasy points allowed to TEs. Heath Miller and Jermaine Gresham are best left on benches this week.

Stumbler: RB Le'Veon Bell (Bengals have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to RBs.)

Ravens at Lions

Stat to know: Reggie Bush (calf) has said he'll play on Monday night, but it's unlikely that fantasy owners will know for sure before Sunday's games. With the Ravens allowing just 13.4 FPPG to RBs (28th), you shouldn't chance it with Bush unless you have another back in this game.

Stumbler: TE Dennis Pitta (Lions have allowed the third-fewest FPPG to TEs.)