Fantasy Football Advice for Week 15
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: David Garrard, Jaguars. The veteran out of East Carolina is having his finest statistical season at age 32 with career marks in passing touchdowns (20), completion percentage (65.5%), and rushing scores (4). Jacksonville's Week 15 opponent is divisional foe Indianapolis, who is conceding a relatively high QB rating of 89.8 and has collected a mere nine picks on the year. For those in dire straits thanks to the injury to Aaron Rodgers, Garrard is a suitable substitution.
RB: Tim Hightower, Cardinals. At first glance, Hightower's performance on Sunday (148 yards and two scores) is an aberration. However, evidence points to the contrary. Although not as astronomical or impressive as his game versus Denver, Hightower posted solid numbers in Week 13 (15 carries for 81 yards) against St. Louis. Sunday's matchup should prove beneficial as well, as Carolina has surrendered 1,724 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground this season.
WR: Mike Williams, Seattle. Williams is an admittedly risky play this week, as the wideout is returning from injury. But the Seahawks WR unit is extremely depleted, with Deon Butler being placed on IR this week. With injuries to Brandon Stokley and Ben Obomanu, Williams will be looked to early and often against Atlanta.
TE: Tony Gonzalez, Falcons. While Gonzalez hasn't posted the numbers of years' past (58 receptions, 565 yards, five touchdowns) in 2010, his production is still in the upper echelon of tight ends. Seattle is allowing an average of 266 yards through the air, giving the former Pro Bowler an opportunity to submit one of his best outings of the year.
QB: Eli Manning, Giants. After two more errant throws against the Vikings, Manning now leads the NFL with 19 interceptions. Partial responsibility lies with the dilapidated WR corps, but Manning's accuracy has been an issue throughout his entire career. A looming battle with the Eagles will not alleviate this problem, as Philadelphia boasts an NFL-best 22 picks.
RB: Brian Westbrook, 49ers. It appears Anthony Dixon will be taking the reins as the San Francisco back in the rushing game. Westbrook can still be effective in the 49er aerial attack, but unless his carries increase, leave Westbrook on the bench.
WR: Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs. Just when owners believed Bowe had made the leap, he turns in a zero-catch performance in Week 13 followed by hauling in one reception against San Diego. It's possible Bowe lights up a pedestrian St. Louis secondary this Sunday. Another goose egg is not out of the question either. Start Bowe at your own risk.
DEF: New York Giants. The Giants are one of the best all-around units in the league, stifling opponents to a NFL-low 281.1 yards a contest. But with Michael Vick and the explosive Eagle offense in town, New York becomes a risky start.
Fantasy Flashback Performance: Week 15 is often the timeframe for the semifinals in leagues, facilitating a forum for fantasy greatness for those football players who submit superhuman performances. One such player who rose to the challenge was Joe "Hollywood" Horn. On a Sunday night game against the Giants in 2003, Horn delivered much to the delight of his owners, recording nine catches for 133 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-7 smackdown. Yet while those fortunate enough to start the Saints wideout that night remember his on-the-field accomplishments, most remember Horn for his antics after his second score. After reaching the end zone on a 13-yard reception, Horn pulled a cell phone from underneath the goalpost padding and proceeded to "call" his kids, thus validating the Hollywood moniker that had been bestowed.
Dialed InHorn's four scores were overshadowed by his end zone antics.
Waiver Wire Watch: Jason Campbell suffered a few bumps and bruises but battled to throw 324 yards and two touchdowns, albeit against a weak secondary in Jacksonville. Luckily for Campbell owners, Oakland takes on the Broncos, who have given up 24 touchdowns with just six interceptions in 2010. Campbell is owned in just 12% of leagues and will be playing in the warm weather of California, so for those needing an emergency signal caller Campbell's your man.
This Week in Kevin Walter: Houston's playoff aspirations are kaput, but don't tell that to K-Walt. The Texan Tornado collected five catches for 57 yards in a 34-28 OT defeat to the Ravens. After being largely ignored after his ambitious outburst to start the season, Walter has bounced back with nine grabs in the last two weeks. Does this qualify Kevin as a nominee for the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year award? You bet your sweet cheeks it does.
Walter's 2010 stats: 40 receptions, 474 yards, 4 touchdowns.
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count) : 9
Rookie Review: Overshadowed by fellow rookie wide receiver Mike Williams for most of the year, second round selection Arrelious Benn had a breakout performance against his hometown Washington Redskins with four catches for 122 yards in a Tampa Bay 17-16 victory. On the year, the former Illini has 21 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns.
Gatorade Shower Goes To: Jay Feely. Dr. Feelgood had five field goals as well as a touchdown run off a fake in the Cardinals' 43-13 beatdown of the Broncos. Still no word if Feely's exploits have equated into universal acceptance of kickers as actual NFL players. My gut says no.
Personal Foul On: Washington Kicking Unit. Specifically, the trio of kicker Graham Gano, punter Hunter Smith and snapper Nick Sundberg. Gano missed two field goals while Smith fumbled a high snap from Sundberg with seconds to go in the Redskins' 17-16 loss to the Buccaneers.
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Jonathon "Mox" Moxon: Now if we go out there, and we half-ass it 'cause we're scared, all we're left with is an excuse; we're always gonna wonder. But if we go out there, and we give it absolutely everything - that's heroic. Let's be heroes." (The astute reader will undoubtedly realize this quote has already been used this year. But you try to find non rated-R quotes from this flick.)
Let us know what you think of Whatifsports.com's Fantasy Fever. Shoot us an email at BtB@whatifsports.com.