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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 15

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Rex Grossman vs. NYG

The thought of starting Grossman during the fantasy playoffs may cause nightmares, but the matchup suggests Grossman should have a solid outing. Grossman has been fantasy relevant in three of the last four weeks, throwing multiple touchdowns and breaking 250 yards three times. The Giants have struggled all season against the pass and rank 30th in fantasy points given up to the quarterback, allowing 14 touchdown passes in the last four weeks. While it might be tough to stomach, Grossman is someone to consider if you're weak at quarterback or have an injury.

Felix Jones vs. TB

With DeMarco Murray (ankle) placed on IR, the door is wide open for Jones to be the man down the stretch for the Cowboys. He gets a great matchup this week against the Buccaneers. Tampa ranks last in the league in fantasy points allowed to the running back position and has not given up less than 15 fantasy points (standard scoring leagues) to the position since Week 6. Look for Jones to have a big day as the Cowboys try to rebound from the heartbreaking loss to the Giants.

Chris Johnson vs. IND

Johnson appeared to get out of his season long slump with two huge games but came crashing back to earth last week in a loss to the Saints with just 23 yards on 11 carries. This week, Johnson faces a Colts run defense that should have big holes and give Johnson's owners plenty to smile about. The Colts have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to running backs and have given up at least one rushing touchdown in seven of the last eight weeks. Look for Johnson to have a big day as he tries to keep the Colts winless.

Demaryius Thomas vs. NE

Thomas has become the favorite target of a certain Denver signal caller. Thomas has 20 targets and three touchdowns in the last two weeks, and against the Patriots this week, expect the Broncos to need to throw more to stay in the game. The Patriots certainly have the pass defense to make this possible as they rank last in the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers, giving up at least 270 yards to the position in each of their last three games. Thomas should be a nice third option or flex player this week and could provide the scoring boost needed to advance in the playoffs.

Arizona DEF vs. CLE

The Browns have broken 14 points just twice in the last 10 weeks and have given up 33 sacks in 13 games. The Browns also struggle with turnovers, committing 21, including 10 fumbles. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are on a roll, giving up 20 or fewer points in five of the last six weeks with five sacks in each of their last two games. The Cardinals should be a nice pickup and should be one of the better defensive plays this week.


Philip Rivers vs. BAL

After a miserable start, Rivers has bounced back nicely, throwing 15 touchdown passes in the last six weeks. Most of those matchups, though, were fairly favorable, if not very favorable. This week, Rivers faces his toughest test of the season against a Ravens team that still has a great deal to play for in its quest for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Ravens are the toughest team for fantasy quarterback to score on this season and, amazingly, have not given up a multiple-touchdown game all season. Rivers may still have to be in your lineup, but don't be surprised if he has a tough day.

Rashard Mendenhall vs. SF

Mendenhall was nothing special last week in an excellent matchup against the Browns, gaining just 76 yards and not getting into the endzone. This week figures to be very tough against the NFL's best run defense. The 49ers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs and have not allowed a single rushing touchdown all season. In their last two games, they have held running backs to 67 yards on 39 carries. Look for Mendenhall to struggle in this key game for both the Steelers and 49ers.

C.J. Spiller vs. MIA

Since the season-ending injury to Fred Jackson, Spiller has seen an increased workload but hasn't given the Bills the pop they had hoped for after drafting him the first round out of Clemson. Spiller has just 184 yards in his three starts and faces a very tough matchup against the Dolphins. The Dolphins rank second in fewest fantasy points allowed to running backs, and had it not been for two short rushing touchdowns, they would have nearly shutout LeSean McCoy last week. Look for the Dolphins run defense to again be the story as Spiller continues to struggle in his brief NFL career.

DeSean Jackson vs. NYJ

Jackson will have to hustle to get to 1,000 yards this season as he needs 243 in the final three games of the season to break the barrier for the third straight year. This doesn't figure to be the breakout week against Darrelle Revis and the Jets. Revis has had another outstanding season, and the Jets as a whole have given up the fourth fewest fantasy points to receivers in the league. Jackson might get to 1,000 yards, but this week should make that goal much more difficult.

Denver DEF vs. NE

The Broncos have been one of the better fantasy defenses this season, totaling 39 sacks and holding teams to less than 20 points six times this season. However, in their matchups against the two best passing offense they have faced this season they allowed 49 points to the Packers and 45 points to the Lions. That doesn't bode well for this week against a Patriots offense that has seemed to break its mid-season slump. The Patriots have scored at least 30 points five straight weeks and only have two turnovers in that time. This might finally be the week where the Broncos don't pull out a miracle win, but if they do, figure it to be a score in the 30s.