Fantasy Rankings for After Week Fifteen

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Rankings

By: John Belaska

We are down to the final game of the season. The championship is the most important game of the year; not like it even needs to be mentioned. Only two teams play this week and after Monday night a league champion will be crowned. The champion is the person who overcame difficulties, made smart decisions, and most importantly, did whatever they needed to do to win games. A championship is the culmination of all the hard work a fantasy owner put into his team. All the research, reading articles, analyzing data, and stressing over who to start, all becomes worth the hassle when you can look at your computer screen and see you are the final team standing. If you are playing, you undoubtedly have some of these players listed in the following sections. Here is some extra analysis for you to consider when setting your lineup and making your expectations of your players’ performance.



5. Nick Foles (Philadelphia Eagles)Nick Foles

Nick Foles has emerges as one of the NFL’s premier passers this season. He is always threat to put up a serious number of fantasy points. He might have even saved your fantasy season with his 2398 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, only two interceptions in his limited number of games. Foles normally would not be included in this list, but the horrid performance from Matthew Stafford over the past couple weeks clears up a spot for another quarterback. That passer has got to be Foles, who has been highly consistent and continues to have great success in Chip Kelly’s offense. This week, he will be taking on the Chicago Bears’ defense. The Bears have a passing defense which ranks in the top half of the NFL. Still, Foles is a strong starter this week due to Chicago’s inability to stop the run. McCoy is going to destroy the Bears and will open up the passing lanes to allowed Foles to throw the ball all over the yard.


4. Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers)

Philip Rivers has been the model of consistency at the quarterback position this season. He may only be able to put up 17 fantasy points a game, but those fantasy points are a lock. He has not had a single game this season that could be considered a bust. On the other hand, he has had a number of games where he put up eye popping statistics. Rivers is one of four quarterbacks to have already thrown for over 4000 passing yards. Out of those four players, Rivers has the least turnovers. The championship is a week where fantasy owners need to play a bit more conservative to ensure they get enough points. A team can get to the championship by taking risks, but this is not a game where you can afford to have goose eggs from your players. Rivers has an extremely favorable matchup this weekend against the Raiders who just got burned for five touchdown passes by Alex Smith.


3. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)

Cam Newton has been very good recently. After a slow start to 2013, he has really caught fire late in the season. This is absolutely perfect for those of you playing in the championship. Cam can pass and run as well as any quarterback in fantasy football. He also has decreased the number of interceptions he throws. The Panthers are hosting the Saints in week sixteen. The Saints have one of the best passing defenses in the league, however last time the two teams played each, Newton put up huge numbers in the passing game. There is no reason to think this might not happen again. He may not have a monstrous game, but you can rest assured he will not let you down.


2. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

There were a lot of fantasy owners who were probably very scared last week when they watch the first of the Rams and Saints game. By half time Drew Brees had not scored a single fantasy point. He was able to move the ball, but he just could not seem to get it in the endzone and could not keep the Rams from taking the ball away. His poor first half was salvaged in the second though. Despite his struggles, he ended up with 393 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown. The first half was concerning, but it will not be repeated this weekend in Carolina. This is a very important game. The winner of the Saints and Panther’s game will take the division title. Brees is a hall of fame caliber player. Hall of fame type players show up big time in these types of games. Brees is going to have a big game no matter how good Carolina’s defense is.


1. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)

Peyton is the best in the business. He is definitely the best quarterback in fantasy football, and a very strong argument can be made that he is the most valuable player of the year. This weekend, Peyton has a chance to go over 5000 passing yards and break Tom Brady’s record for the most touchdown passes in a single season. Manning is facing the Houston Texans. On paper, this matchup does not bode well for the Broncos’ quarterback as the Texans field the second best passing defense in the league. Remember, Manning has always been money against this team. Earlier this year, he put up big numbers against them; just like he has been doing his entire career. There is no reason to think he will not have a big game this weekend. Sometimes the whole story cannot simply be told by defensive rankings. This is one of those times.


Honorable Mention: Matthew Stafford (DET), Andrew Luck (IND), Russell Wilson (SEA)


Running Backs


5. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)

If Adrian Peterson led your team to the semi-finals, you were without a doubt sweating bullets last weekend. The Vikings made you wait all weekend to let you know if Peterson was playing or not and he ended up taking the week off. If you ended up losing because of this, more than likely you will never be able to forgive him. However, if your team was well rounded enough to get you past the semi-finals round there is some good news for you. Peterson will be back in action this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have one of the best defenses in the league. They are ranked in the top ten teams against both the pass and the run. Still, the championship is not a week to sit Peterson. When he is on the field, he is in your lineup regardless of who is playing. There no reason to not to put your season on his shoulders’ for one more game if he got you this far.


4. Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)

Marshawn Lynch is having a huge year. He has been one of the best running backs at finding the endzone. This is a week where you need touchdowns. Simply getting a boat load of yards is not going to get the job done. After all, your opponent in the championship is one of the best two teams in the league. Unfortunately for Lynch owners, he is facing the best run defense in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals are going to be able to limit his yardage output. Obviously, you cannot sit Lynch. He has to be in your lineup even against a tough team like this. He might not be able to run all over the place, but he does have a good chance at finding the endzone. The Cardinals are not a top tier passing defense. Lynch could possibly score a receiving touchdown in the game or knock in a short yardage run after a long drive.


3. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears)

Matt Forte is having the best year of his career. The Bears’ have been giving him the ball as much as they can and it is playing off for fantasy owners. He has already amassed 1700 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns. Forte has a chance to put up a huge amount of fantasy point this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are absolutely terrible against the pass and it just so happens Forte is the best at catching the ball out of the backfield. Also, weather could be a concern in this game. Cold weather means more handoffs. Forte is going to get a good number of touches throughout the day and he should be able to do some great things with them.


2. LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)

LeSean McCoy is going to end the 2013 season as the NFL’s leader in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage. He has 1342 yards on the ground and another 507 receiving yards. Earlier in the season it was hard to rank him as a top three running back because he struggled to find the endzone. It appears that is long behind him. After scoring just three touchdowns through the first nine games, McCoy has been able to increase his total to eight in just a short while. He now has two multi-touchdown games under his belt; something he was unable to accomplish for most of the season. This weekend, McCoy is going to be running against the worst rushing defense in the league. McCoy is primed to have a huge day and could potential be the most valuable running back in fantasy football this weekend.


1. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)

Not much more can be said about Jamaal Charles after last week. Everything you could say about him, he said for you with his monster performance. He is facing the Indianapolis Colts this weekend. The Colts have no defense. Therefore, Charles is going to be able to move the ball with ease. Better than this is the Colts have a good offense. This means they will be able to keep themselves in the game and the Chiefs will be forced to try to score a lot this weekend if they want to come out on top. This just means, once again, the Chiefs will need to rely on their best offensive weapon.


Honorable Mention: Knowshon Moreno (DEN), DeMarco Murray (DAL), Frank Gore (SF)


Wide Receivers


5. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Antonio Brown is one of the best players to have going into the championship. As was mentioned earlier, conservative play is the way to go in this game. Antonio Brown has been very consistent this season. He has never been held under under five receptions in a game. This means he is getting the touches needed to put up fantasy points every week. Last week, Brown caught five passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Those are very acceptable numbers for the playoffs. Brown should be able to have another big game this weekend in Green Bay. The Packers’ are going to be fighting for a playoff position, but their defense is very questionable. Brown is a sure to have a good game. He very easily could duplicate his stat line from last week or even from week fourteen where he had 137 receiving yards and a score.


4. DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)

One thing to remember for next years’ draft is this: quarterbacks and running back are what get you to the playoffs, but it is the wide receivers that win games in the playoffs. Every playoff team has a good quarterback and at least one star running back. This means it comes down to how well your wide receivers do in these games. There was no one better than DeSean Jackson last week. He led all wide receiver in fantasy points on accounts of his 10 receptions, 195 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Jackson has been a boom or bust player this season, but he came up big last weekend. This weekend he will be facing the Chicago Bears. The Bears have a pretty good pass protection, but their run defense is pathetic. The Eagles will use LeSean McCoy to open up the passing game and when they do, Jackson will be there to post good numbers.


3. Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos)

Demaryius Thomas is coming off one of his worst weeks of the season. He only caught four passes for 45 yards. However, his full body of work this year shows he is a top wide receiver. He has 1194 receiving yards and is second in receiving touchdowns with 11. This weekend provides a good chance for him to have a rebound game. The Texans have a good passing defense, but they have never been able to stop Peyton Manning. Manning will have another good game against them and Demaryius Thomas is going to be the one who benefits from a big passing day from his quarterback.


2. Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns)

Josh Gordon is without a doubt the breakout player of the year. The second year wide receiver has caught 74 passes for 1467 yards and nine touchdowns. He leads the league in receiving yards. What is most impressive is that he has accomplished this with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. Last weekend was the first time in four game he had under 150 receiving yards. He caught only three passes for 67, but still managed to find the endzone. This weekend, it is looking like Gordon is primed to have another huge game. The New York Jets have shown time and time against they cannot stop the pass. The Jets may have a strong rushing defense, but the Browns have no rushing game so they will be force to try to exploit the weaknesses in the secondary. There is no doubt Josh Gordon will tear the field up.


1. Calvin Johnson (Detriot Lions)

Even with Matthew Stafford playing on of worst stretches of his entire career, Calvin Johnson is still the best in the game. Last weekend, Megatron caught six passes for 98 yards. He may not have scored in the outing, but that can be attributed to the Lions inability to move the ball in the redzone. Stafford has a chance to bounce back this weekend. The New York Giants do not have a strong defense. If Stafford can manage to get out of this funk he has been in, Johnson will have a huge game against the Giants’ secondary. Even if Stafford continues his poor play, Calvin Johnson is still a good bet to give fantasy owners an amount of point they can be happy with.


Honorable Mention: Alshon Jeffery (CHI), Brandon Marshall (CHI), A.J. Green (CIN)


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