Fiesta Bowl Betting
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Week 15 Starts/Sits: Romo on the rebound
QB Tony Romo, Dal at Phi While the aggregate Yahoo rankings have Romo slotted as the No. 10 fantasy QB for this week, I'm much more bullish than that, awarding him top 5 placement among signal callers. It's true that Romo had his worst fantasy effort of the season against Philly (199/0/2) in Week 13. But that was a rare slip up in what has been an excellent fantasy run for Romo over the past month, throwing for at least three touchdowns in three of the past four games (all road games). The Eagles allow the second-most fantasy points to the QB position, so the odds favor Romo rebounding in a big way in his second go-round with his division rivals, especially considering he's had 10 days to prepare.
RB Latavius Murray, Oak at KC Murray is currently being started in less than a quarter of Yahoo leagues, which is crazy when you consider he rushed for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns (on just four carries) against the Chiefs a few weeks back. Murray suffered a concussion in that game, or he probably would have posted a fantasy line for the ages. And last week, he answered questions about his health with 23 carries in an upset victory over San Francisco. Facing a Chiefs defense allowing more than 5.0 yards per carry to the RB position, Murray has a can't-miss opportunity ahead. Catch this train if you still can.
RB Steven Jackson, Atl vs. Pit While it hasn't always been pretty, Jackson has been one of the most productive backs in fantasy since Week 8, ranking No. 16 at the RB position in fantasy points scored in that span. In five of those six contests, he's reached a double-digit fantasy tally. And with his standard 16-18 touch workload, he should be able to eclipse the 10-point mark once again against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed 11 running backs to score in the double digits.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Hou at Ind Trying to clear concussion protocol, Andre Johnson is shaping up to be a game--time decision. As he hasn't practiced all week, I'm guessing that he won't play on Sunday. And that would make teammate Hopkins the clear and present go-to guy for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Johnson finished with 99 yards and a TD in the last meeting with Indy. And while the Colts have been one of the better units at limiting WR production, I think Hopkins (if Johnson is out) can also push 100 yards and a TD on the strength of a high volume of targets in a game where the Colts are likely to push the pace and force Houston to throw.
[Week 15 rankings: Quarterback Running Back Receiver Tight End Kicker DST]
WR Donte Moncrief, Ind vs. Hou Reggie Wayne is dealing with a torn triceps and Hakeem Nicks is dealing with the cold hard reality of a rapidly diminishing skill set, which makes it no surprise that Moncrief played a season-high 50 snaps last week. Wayne and Nicks have combined for just nine catches and 62 yards over the past three games (with Nicks contributing one catch and 16 yards). If ever it was time for Moncrief to step up, it's now. Houston has allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to the WR position and has historically been eaten alive by Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton, who caught all nine of his targets for 223 yards and a TD when these teams squared off in Week 6. Assuming Hilton draws extra attention this time around, don't be surprised if Moncrief delivers 100-plus yards and a TD for what would be the third time in his past seven games.
TE - Larry Donnell, NYG vs Was Donnell has a rematch this week against the team that helped put him on the fantasy map, as he rolled the 'Skins for a hat trick of touchdowns in Week 4. And Washington has shown little in the way of improvement at defending the tight end, as the team has allowed has allowed the top-scoring tight end in each of the past two weeks (Coby Fleener and Jared Cook).
QB Mark Sanchez, Phi vs. Sea I'm doubling down on Sanchez as a "Sit" nominee after he filled this space (for good reason) last week against Seattle. The Cowboys don't offer nearly the resistance against the pass that Seattle does, but they did a good job of shutting Sanchez down through the air in the Week 9 matchup (217 yards, 1 TD pass, 0 INT). Sanchez was able to salvage a respectable fantasy line thanks to a TD run, something that you can't really bank on a repeat. Sanchez's yards per pass attempt is in a freefall as the opposition sees more and more game film of him directing this Eagles attack. I have a feeling he's going to deliver a mediocre fantasy line that will have the team hoping that Nick Foles can return in time to face Washington in Week 16.
RB Gio Bernard, Cin @ Cle Since his return from a hip injury, Bernard ranks outside the top 35 among running backs in fantasy PPG (5.2 average in three contests). This week, rookie backfield mate Jeremy Hill is getting the start and an expected elevated role, presumably coming at the expense of Gio's workload. Given his recent lack of production and the matchup (on the road against a Cleveland defense the fifth-fewest fantasy PPG to the RB position since Week 8), Bernard is not a player that should be counted upon in such an important week for fantasy owners.
RB Rashad Jennings, NYG vs Was Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said that Jennings should be ready to take on a larger role after handling just two carries last week while dealing with an ankle injury. Considering that rookie Andre Williams stepped up with 27 touches for 148 yards and a TD, it's hard to believe that he'd return to a strict backup role behind Jennings this week. There's a good chance that Jennings and Williams split the workload in half this week, and the matchup is likely going to require healthy volume to deliver fruitful fantasy returns as Washington is among the best in the league at defending the run (fourth-fewest fantasy points allowed to the RB position).
WR Mike Wallace, Mia at NE When Miami faced New England in Week 1, Wallace posted his best fantasy line of the season (7/81/1). Unfortunately, he hasn't reached that catch total or yardage number in any of the 12 games since then. And he definitely benefited from the Pats' decision to not have cornerback Darrelle Revis shadow him, something that could happen this time around. Even if it doesn't, I wouldn't bank on the No. 50 fantasy WR (fantasy PPG) since Week 8 coming close to a repeat of his Week 1 performance against a secondary that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to the WR position.
WR Golden Tate, Det vs. Min I have slotted Tate outside of WR2 range this week as he faces a Minnesota defense that doesn't get enough credit for its pass defense this season. When Tate faced the Vikings in Week 6, he managed just seven catches for 44 yards. And while he might not be as much of a focus for the Vikings this time around considering that Calvin Johnson will be active, Tate can't be counted upon to find the end zone (he's scoreless in the five games since Megatron returned from injury). In PPR leagues, Tate still has some upside, but in standard 12-team leagues, I'd look for a better option.
TE - Jason Witten, Dal at Phi Witten has only one double-digit fantasy performance this season, and he is just two weeks removed from his worst fantasy effort of the year, a 1-catch, eight-yard clunker against an Eagles defense that he faces again this Sunday. Last week, he could manage just two catches for 26 yards against a Chicago defense allowing the most fantasy PPG to the TE position. Given the terrible recent history against Philly, and the fact that the Eagles have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, you can't start Witten with any level of confidence this week. I like Romo this week, but he's going to need Witten to stay in-line to block for him against an attacking Philly pass rush.
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