RotoWire Partners

Dave McKay's Week 15 Upgrades and Downgrades: Fantasy Playoff Edition

Dave McKay

Dave McKay

Dave McKay writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Upgrades:

Kenny Britt WR, TEN – Britt’s stock is up in Tennessee. In standard scoring leagues, he has averaged more than ten points per week over the past three, including an eight-catch, 143-yard outburst this past Sunday. Has he finally arrived? The Jets matchup this week doesn’t appear to be a great one at first glance, but they were below average against wide receivers in Weeks 10, 11, and 12 and then had a couple of favorable matchups (Arizona and Jacksonville) in Weeks 13 and 14. I get the feeling that the Titans’ wide receivers will be able to make some plays against the Jets this weekend, especially since they will likely carry more of the weight, with TE Jared Cook out for the year.

Clay Harbor TE, PHI – Harbor was the No. 2 scoring tight end in week 14, he’s got a path to playing time with starter Brent Celek out and he has a favorable matchup against Cincinnati on Thursday. Harbor definitely seems to have a connection with QB Nick Foles, which could be due to a lot of second-team reps the duo shared together earlier in the year.

Bilal Powell RB, NYJ – With double-digit carries in each of his past four games, including 19 last week, Powell’s value is up. It’s looking like a true time-share with Shonn Greene, who had 20 carries last week, but given the state of the Jets’ passing attack, the duo figures to remain busy down the stretch. This week brings a nice matchup against the Titans, who have allowed rushing touchdowns in five of the past six games and only rank No. 29 against fantasy running backs. Powell is still less than five percent owned in ESPN leagues, so if you need a flex replacement for someone like Fred Jackson, he might be worth a look.

Nick Foles QB, PHI – Coach Andy Reid told us that Foles would be the starter for the rest of the season even before the rookie QB went out and hung 381 yards passing on the Bucs’ defense last weekend. To those yards he added two touchdowns passing, one touchdown rushing, and zero turnovers. Foles does have a somewhat difficult matchup against the Bengals on Thursday, but that is followed by a very favorable opportunity against the Redskins in Week 16, so he may be worth a pickup even if you are just stashing him for next week.

Ben Tate RB, HOU – I realize he is still a backup, but there are reasons why Tate’s value is up this week. Coming into the Monday night game against the Patriots, there were still concerns over who the actual second-string RB was in Houston. Tate had been banged up and that gave Justin Forsett a chance to have a few shining moments in relief of Arian Foster. On Monday, Tate was the first back off the bench for the Texans and looked very strong, while Forsett’s role seemed to be limited to late game mop-up duty. Why is this important for fantasy? First of all, Tate is back to being Foster’s handcuff. Second, there is a chance that Tate gets some real work over the next two games. In this game, the backups (Tate + Forsett) had 11 carries and in Week 13 the backup RB had the same number of carries (14) as the starter. Is it possible that the coaching staff is trying to keep Foster fresh for the playoffs? Ten-plus carries from a healthy Ben Tate at home versus Indianapolis in Week 15 could be flex-worthy.

Josh Gordon WR, CLE – Gordon has cemented himself as the surging Browns’ top pass-catcher. He totaled a career-high 116 yards receiving two weeks ago and pulled down eight receptions last weekend. Now, they take on a Redskins defense that is No. 31 in the league against fantasy wide receivers. Gordon is still only about 40 percent owned, so he could be a solid pickup and play this week if he is still available in your league.

David Wilson, RB, NYG - With Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with a sprained knee, Wilson could be a significant factor in Week 15 against the Falcons. If Bradshaw is able to suit up, we'd still expect him to start and get the bulk of the carries, but if he sits, then the explosive Wilson – who had 13 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and returned a kickoff 97 yards for another score in Week 14 -- could see 15-20 carries against Atlanta's 31st ranked run defense in YPC (4.9).

Downgrades:

Denarius Moore WR, OAK – What has happened with this guy? Moore emerged as an every-week starter in the middle part of the season and now all we can say is that his value is way down after a string of disappointing performances. Meanwhile, it looks like Rod Streater is passing him in the Raiders’ wideout pecking order. Moore has totaled just eight receptions for 103 yards over the last four games combined, which isn’t nearly enough to earn a playoff start on your fantasy squad, despite what looks like a good matchup against the Chiefs this week.

Jacob Tamme TE, DEN – After 13 targets in week 13, Tamme only saw four on Thursday night. He was only able to grab two of those, for just 24 yards and no scores. In fact, it was fellow tight end Joel Dreesen who caught the touchdown from Peyton Manning. Tamme’s production has been very unpredictable all year and now he hits the road to face the sixth-ranked (versus tight ends) Baltimore defense.

Michael Turner RB, ATL – Turner was only on the field for 20 offensive snaps last week, carrying the ball just seven times for 14 yards. In fact, it was his third game in the last five with 17 or fewer yards rushing. It is true that he has managed to salvage his fantasy numbers with one touchdown in each of the past four games, but you can’t rely on predicting touchdowns. You’ve got to look at production per touch as well as opportunity and with Turner both are in doubt. Jacquizz Rodgers was on the field for 30 snaps in the last game, so it would appear that the coaching staff in Atlanta is starting to trust Rodgers more than Turner. Add to all of that a tough matchup against the Giants and you can’t feel great about starting Turner in Week 15.

Fred Jackson RB, BUF – Jackson is on the IR with a sprained MCL. As a result, opportunity knocks for C.J. Spiller. Unless you have some keeper league considerations, you can obviously drop Jackson.

Ryan Fitzpatrick QB, BUF – Fitzpatrick was already trending down in a big way before teammate Fred Jackson went down, but that helps to seal the deal. He’s averaged only 11 points a week over the past four games and has actually had 11 or less in six of his last nine games. Besides, lining up against the Seattle defense in Week 15 (No. 2 against quarterbacks) is not an ideal way to score points for your fantasy team.

Donald Brown/Delone Carter, RB, IND – With Brown on IR and Carter possibly out 2-3 weeks, opportunity knocks for Vick Ballard at just the right time for fantasy owners.