Fantasy football sit/start advice, Week 15

Al Messerschmidt

The playoffs continue this week with the semifinals in most leagues. We break down the fantasy implications.

If you're still in the playoffs this week, congrats. Most leagues are heading into the semifinals right now, so Sunday will be a critical day for any fantasy owners still out there fighting.

Last week brought a few surprises. A.J. Green disappeared for the first round of the playoffs, David Wilson emerged as a potential star and Cam Newton finally proved why owners drafted him so high. Hopefully your top picks are paying off at this point.

With so much on the line, let's take a look at who you should start in Week 15, and who you need to keep on the bench.


Josh Freeman, quarterback - Freeman's last game against the Saints produced a ridiculous 420 yards and three touchdowns. He only has one turnover in the past three games as well. New Orleans was torched by Eli Manning this past Sunday, so Freeman should be looking at a repeat of his huge success earlier this season.

Ryan Mathews, running back - Well, so much for Mathews finishing as a top fantasy running back this season. He's averaging 3.8 yards per carry, and has one touchdown to his name. However, the Panthers allowed four rushing touchdowns over the past three weeks. They consistently struggle against opposing running backs, which makes Mathews worth starting once again.

Josh Gordon, wide receiver - Gordon is finding his stride again late in the season. He has 14 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. The Redskins are one of the worst teams in stopping opposing wideouts after allowing 15 touchdowns to the position through 14 weeks. If anyone is going to tear apart this secondary for the Browns, it will be Gordon.

Martellus Bennett, tight end - Eli Manning is suddenly looking for his No. 1 tight end in the red zone once again. Bennett scored a touchdown in each of his last two games, and he should be a big factor again this weekend in Atlanta. The Falcons don't give up a ton of scores to tight ends, but they consistently allow a fair amount of yardage. Bennett has a chance to pay off once again. He's still available in a large portion of leagues.

Lions defense/special teams - The Lions are playing the Cardinals. Does anything else really need to be said? Arizona scored six, yes six, points in the past two weeks. Not exactly the pinnacle of offensive greatness. Any defense against this squad would be a smart play.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback - Fitzpatrick is struggling down the stretch, and this week it won't get any easier. He faces a Seahawks defense that just blanked the Cardinals and only allowed three passing touchdowns over the last five games. The Bills offense always finds a way to frustrate owners. You don't want to depend on Fitzpatrick in the playoffs with this matchup.

DeAngelo Williams, running back - The Chargers haven't allowed an opposing running back to score in five weeks. Williams broke off a huge receiving touchdown last weekend against Atlanta, but he still didn't run the ball well. Unless you're confident he'll somehow busts open a huge play once again, you can find a more consistent option than Williams.

Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver - Sorry, Larry. It's hurts to put you on this list. Fitzgerald caught six passes over his last four outings. Obviously he needs a better quarterback to get him the ball, but help is not on the way. Kevin Kolb made his way to IR, leaving John Skelton and Ryan Lindley to continue limiting Fitzgerald's value. He just isn't worth starting with the way things are going in Arizona.

Jermichael Finley, tight end - Finley caught two passes for 16 yards last week against Detroit. He has two touchdowns overall in 2012, and looks to be one of the biggest busts for owners who drafted him fairly early. The Bears kept Kyle Rudolph off the stat sheet in Week 14. That should be enough evidence for you to stay away from Finley.

Ravens defense/special teams - Peyton Manning has the Broncos offense rolling right now, while the Ravens just gave up 31 points and a game-winning drive to Kirk Cousins and the Redskins. Ray Lewis is shooting for a comeback this weekend, but that won't solve Baltimore's defensive issues. Find another D/ST.

For more fantasy info, head over to the SB Nation Fantasy War Room 4-8:30 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Check out SB Nation's own Fantasy Football game, Pick 6!

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