2013 Fantasy FootballBrett TalleyFantasy Football

2013 Fantasy Football: Week 15 Start/Sit

Source: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America; Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America; Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America

Below are the guys I like or dislike in week 15 compared to the other experts on FantasyPros.com. I’m focusing on guys that are actually on that start/sit bubble. There’s no need to tell you I’m lower on DeSean Jackson when I have him ranked #15 and the expert consensus rank (ECR) has him ranked #10. Both rankings tell you to start him.

The names discussed below are Tom Brady, Fred Jackson, Toby Gerhart, Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston and potential Rob Gronkowski replacements.

Start ‘Em

Fred Jackson / at Jacksonville / ECR: 25 / My rank: 17

Jackson’s week-to-week value is pretty much dependent on him finding the end zone. He hasn’t rushed for more than 87 yards in any game this year and is averaging just 49.6 rushing yards per game. So I get why the other rankers have him outside the top 20 at running back this week. But I would still start him because I think his chances of finding the end zone are quite good.

Mike Clay of ProFootballFocus has a stat called oTD which basically tells us how many touchdowns a player should have based primarily on the frequency of their usage and the proximity of that usage to the end zone. Prior to week 14, Jackson was third in oTD among running backs. They use him close to the end zone, and there’s no reason that won’t continue. And the matchup with the Jaguars is a good one as they’ve allowed the fourth most rushing touchdowns this year.

Marques Colston / at St. Louis / ECR: 20 / My rank: 16

Between weeks five and nine, Colston had a stretch of four games where he had just six catches and three fantasy points. But in the five games since he is averaging 5.8 catches per game and has two games with 100+ yards and at least one score. In two of the other three games he had tough matchups with San Francisco and Seattle. But this week’s matchup isn’t tough. Of the 111 cornerbacks that have played at least 25% of their team’s snaps, the Rams don’t have a cornerback in the top 80 of ProFootballFocus’ coverage ratings. And Football Outsiders has St. Louis ranked as the worst team in the league against #1 receivers.

Delanie Walker / vs. Arizona / ECR: 10 / My rank: 6

Jacob Tamme / vs. San Diego / ECR: 15 /  My rank: 11

It sucks if you lost Rob Gronkowski in the playoffs, but the good news is that there are actually good replacements available this week. Walker, who is available in about 80% of ESPN.com leagues, has the best matchup possible for a tight end against the Cardinals who have allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends by a mile. And Tamme, who is available in about 99% of ESPN.com leagues, may have a big opportunity. Tamme was targeted five times last week, and all five targets came after Wes Welker left with an injury. With Welker out this week, Tamme should essentially replace him in the lineup. He may not see quite as many targets as Welker would, but he should see plenty.

Sit ‘Em

Tom Brady / at Miami / ECR: 11 / My rank: 14

Brady started off slow this year but has really turned it on in the second half. He’s got 20+ fantasy points in four of his last five games. So why do I have him in the sit section? Basically I think he’s been taking advantage of some good matchups, and I think his matchup this week is a little tougher. When I’m determining good matchups for quarterbacks I look at fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and the pass defense ratings of ProFootballFocus and Football Outsiders. Below is a chart showing the strength of Brady’s matchup in the four recent good games and of his matchup with the Dolphins this weekend.

Team Fantasy Pts Allowed to QB ProFootballFocus Football Outsiders
Steelers 13 17 17
Broncos 25 13 16
Texans 11 29 27
Browns 17 23 22
Dolphins 4 12 9

Toby Gerhart / vs. PHI / ECR: 19 / My rank: 26

There’s a lot of uncertainty about the Minnesota backfield this week, but it seems like the most likely scenario is that Adrian Peterson sits and Gerhart plays. Assuming Gerhart is healthy enough to carry a full load, I’m still not interested because the Eagles run defense is actually pretty good. They’re basically league average in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. But ProFootballFocus and Football Outsiders both have them rated as an above average run defense. PFF in particular likes them and have them as the sixth best run defense in the league.

Larry Fitzgerald / at Tennessee / ECR: 18 / My rank: 22

I get tired of typing out matchup data, but the analysis on Fitzgerald this week is totally matchup based. The Titans have two top 15 cover corners and, prior to last week against Denver, they had not allowed opposing receivers to score more than 13 fantasy points in a game since week two. And I don’t mean they had not allowed a single receiver to top 13 fantasy  points in a game. I mean they had not let the receivers on a team combined top 13 fantasy points in a game.

Dennis Pitta / at Detroit / ECR: 11 / My rank: 16

I’m sure quite a few experts would recommend Pitta as a Gronk replacement this week over Walker and Tamme. And I would agree that Pitta would be a better long-term play. If you were going into the second week of playoff matchup this weekend and you were way ahead already, I might add Pitta to use in the championship in weeks 16 and 17. But if you need the best play for this week to help you advance, Pitta wouldn’t be my choice. It just isn’t a good matchup with the Lions. They’ve allowed the third fewest fantasy points to tight ends and have allowed just one touchdown to a tight end.

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2013 Fantasy Football, Week 15 Rankings


  1. Alex
    December 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Charles Clay, Greg Olsen, or Delanie Walker?

  2. Brandi's Bone Crushers
    December 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I’d like advice on which TE to play this week I have either J Witten or M Bennett in league one. In league two I need help deciding between D Pitta or D Walker to replace my Gronk Monster.

    Thanks for the help and good luck if you made it to the playoffs

    Brandi’s Bone Crushers

    • December 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Witten and Walker

  3. Carl Goetz
    December 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    .5 ppr league with P Manning at QB and Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon locked in WR
    Julius Thomas or Witten at TE?
    Leveon Bell, Chris Johnson, Alfred Morris, Ray Rice or Gio Bernard at the RB spot (only 1)?
    Above RBs and TE plus Victor Cruz and DaRick Rogers at the Flex?

    Leaning towards Thomas, Bell, and Morris but am definitely not confident in those picks and would like another opinion.

    • December 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I agree with what you were thinking. Sorry for the delayed response.

  4. joe
    December 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Steven Jackson , Pierre Thomas
    Wr pick 2
    Ty Hilton , d Jackson , b hartline

    • December 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      I have Thomas at 17 in my PPR RB ranks and Jackson at 18. That’s a close one. But I say Thomas I guess. And at receiver I like Jackson.

  5. John
    December 13, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Is it safe to drop Darren Sproles in Standard leagues?

    • December 13, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Do you think you’ll play Sproles at any point? If not, do you think any or your potential opponents might add him and play him against you? If so, would it worry you that he was being started against you?

      If you might play him, keep him. If you wouldn’t play him and you wouldn’t be worried to see him in an opponent’s lineup, drop him.

  6. Jacob
    December 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Ok guys so I had Manning and Julius Thomas play last night and they killed me on my projection.. I am good on Rbs this week, but I have starting at wr andre johnson harry douglas and shorts… I have on my bench hakeem nicks, mike wallace, michael floyd, and marlon brown.. Should I keep my starters or start someone else on my bench?

  7. December 13, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Stick with those starters

    • Jacob
      December 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

      What if shorts is unable to play? He is “very questionable” according to coach..

      • December 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

        Then I’d go with Wallace.

  8. joe
    December 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Ty Hilton/ b hardliner /c Patterson / r streater

    • joe
      December 13, 2013 at 11:29 am


      • joe
        December 13, 2013 at 11:30 am


        • December 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

          Think it depends on what you need. If you’re looking for the safer play, go with Hartline. If you need to take a chance and need big upside, go Hilton.

  9. Justin Foss
    December 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Fred Jackson or Colston starting at flex ? I wanna put in Colston but he hasn’t been as consistent as Jackson and I feel safer with Jackson

    • December 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      I hear you. I like them both this week, but FJax feels like the safer play.

  10. Jake
    December 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    PPR league, need help with my flex and possibly TE. Pierre Garcon, Zac Stacy, Chris Johnson, Ben Tate or Giovani Bernard at flex. Starting RB’s are McCoy and Vereen, WR’s Antonio Brown and Desean Jackson. My TE is weak with Pitta and Fleener as options. I’m wavering on Garcon with Cousins starting but my opponent picked up Nick Foles which handicaps my Eagles players, QB’s in our league get 6pts per TD. Any help would be appreciated, my team is fairly stacked with Brees at QB. Thanks…this is to get into the big money.

    • December 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      At flex it’s really close between Garcon and Stacy. Garcon just hasn’t produced, but he’s such a safe PPR option that I think I’d go with him. And I don’t love either of those TE options, but I prefer Fleener this week.

  11. Eric M
    December 14, 2013 at 9:45 am

    2 questions budding this week. 1. Chris Johnson vs. Ari or Fred Jackson @ Jac? 2. New England defense @ Mia or Tennessee defense vs. Ari?

    • December 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Jackson and New England

  12. Matt J
    December 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Ppr league
    Roddy white or jordy Nelson?
    Eddie Lacey or Shane vereen?

    • December 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Roddy and Vereen

  13. Brett Stubblefield
    December 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    colston v rams, edelman v mia, or douglas v wash?

  14. Leo Santiago
    December 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

    colston or stills tonite against the bears???? and im down 9pts in my fantasy playoff game to