Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 15

Almost every league is in the playoffs now. We break down the fantasy implications.

If your playoffs haven't already started, you should be getting underway this week. Semifinal matchups are ongoing across fantasy leagues everywhere, so this is yet another critical point in the year for most owners still alive.

Week 14 could not end soon enough. Adrian Peterson and Rob Gronkowski were two stars who fell victim to major injuries. Looking ahead, owners might be struggling to replace these holes in their lineups.

Tight end is not a deep position, which makes the loss of Gronk even worse. If you're looking for fill-ins or struggling with matchup questions, take a look at these names you need to start in Week 15, and the list of players who should be on your bench.

Start

Quarterback

Nick Foles (at Vikings): Foles still managed two touchdowns in conditions where you could barely see 10 yards downfield. This week he's playing in a dome against one of the most generous defenses to opposing quarterbacks. Foles is a no-brainer.

Matt Ryan (vs. Redskins): With Roddy White back, Ryan has a reliable No. 1 option in his arsenal again. Washington appears to be over caring about the 2013 season. Playing at home in the Georgia Dome, Ryan should be able to post decent numbers against the No. 26 fantasy defense for quarterbacks.

Matt Flynn (at Cowboys): Dallas allows the most points to opposing quarterbacks. Even though Flynn hasn't been all that impressive in a few starts so far, you have to like his chances against a defense that looks clueless against the pass. Assuming Aaron Rodgers can't go, Flynn is worth a look if you're in need of help.

Running back

Steven Jackson (vs. Redskins): Washington has given up four touchdowns to running backs in the last two games. Jackson finished with a mediocre 71 rushing yards (no scores) against the Packers, but you can't ignore this matchup. Expect him to find the end zone at least once in Week 15.

Alfred Morris (at Falcons): On the other side of the field, Morris will be thinking about a Falcons defense that has allowed 10 touchdowns to running backs since Week 3. Alf's 31 yards in Week 14 should be forgotten. He's in the RB2 range here.

Shane Vereen (at Dolphins): 12 receptions for 153 yards should be all the convincing you need to start Vereen. With Rob Gronkowski out, he'll continue to play an integral role in the Patriots passing game. Plus, the Dolphins give up the ninth-most points to opposing backs.

Wide receiver

Cordarrelle Patterson (vs. Eagles): Matt Cassel is starting again, which should lead to another solid game for Patterson. The rookie exploded for 141 yards and a touchdown in Week 14. The Eagles defense is the most generous to opposing wideouts, and Patterson is always a threat in the return game as well. Roll with him.

Julian Edelman (at Dolphins): Edelman has paid off for owners in three straight games. The aforementioned Gronk injury makes him an even bigger target for Tom Brady. Ignore the Dolphins' numbers against receivers; they just gave up 260 yards and three touchdowns to the Steelers wideouts.

T.Y. Hilton (vs. Texans): Hilton went off against the Texans in Week 9, hauling in three touchdowns. He plays better indoors, and he has Da'Rick Rogers stepping up on the outside now. While it's hard to start Hilton after multiple weeks of poor showings, this is the week to invest stock in him.

Tight end

Delanie Walker (vs. Cardinals): After sitting out a week with a concussion, Walker should be back for his best matchup of the year. Arizona hemorrhages points to opposing tight ends, ranking dead last in the league. Welcome back, Delanie.

Dennis Pitta (at Lions): It didn't take long for Pitta to make an impact, as he scored a touchdown in his first game of 2013. The Lions aren't particularly helpful for opposing tight ends, but Pitta should be starting, unless you have a dominant option. Joe Flacco loves his starting tight end.

Jordan Cameron (vs. Bears): Here we are again, questioning whether or not to start Cameron. He finally stepped up in Week 14, scoring his first touchdown since Week 7. With defenses honing in on Josh Gordon, Cameron can reap the benefits of single coverage.

Sit

Quarterback

Eli Manning (vs. Seahawks): He has three games with multiple passing touchdowns in 2013. Facing the defense that allows the fewest points to opposing quarterbacks, there's no reason you should believe in Manning for Week 15. Avoid like always.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. Cardinals): Fitzpatrick has posted a few decent games after filling in for Jake Locker, but he now takes on a Cardinals defense that didn't allow a passing touchdown last week. After his poor showing against the Broncos, keep Fitz stashed on the bench.

Mike Glennon (vs. 49ers): This should be an obvious decision. Glennon was reliable for a short stint, but the past two games he's posted 270 yards passing, two touchdowns and four turnovers. The 49ers haven't allowed multiple passing touchdowns since Week 7.

Running back

DeAngelo Williams (vs. Jets): Stop putting your faith in Williams. He continues to disappoint, regardless of Jonathan Stewart's playing time. Stewart is out with a torn MCL, but Williams won't get far against the No. 3 defense in terms of points allowed to running backs.

Chris Ivory (at Panthers): Sticking with the same matchup, the Panthers have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing backs in 2013. Geno Smith will likely revert to his struggling ways on the road, which does not bode well for this offense. Avoid Ivory.

Ray Rice (at Lions): Ignore the Lions' debacle in Week 14 where they absolutely could not stop the run. Snowy conditions created what appears to be an anomaly. Detroit's defensive line should be able to keep Rice in check, as most defenses have this season.

Wide receiver

Victor Cruz (vs. Seahawks): It's just not his year. Cruz hasn't pulled out the salsa dance since Week 4, and owners shouldn't count on him breaking his scoring drought against the stingiest defense for wide receivers. Sitting a player like Cruz is tough to do in the playoffs, but he won't provide much value here.

Nate Burleson (vs. Ravens): He went off in his return against the Buccaneers and then immediately disappeared. Burleson has two receptions in the last two games. The Ravens present a good matchup, but owners can't trust him at this point.

Michael Crabtree (at Buccaneers): Crabtree hasn't quite produced the numbers owners were hoping for when he returned. Now he'll likely face Darrelle Revis in Week 15, with Anquan Boldin playing out of the slot. Hold off on Crabtree once again until he proves he's back to his 2013 form.

Tight end

Jared Cook (vs. Saints): Cook managed just three receptions against the worst defense in terms of points allowed to tight ends. If he can't take advantage of a matchup with the Cardinals, don't hold out hope for him in any matchup.

Coby Fleener (vs. Texans): He looked like a solid option in Weeks 11 and 12, but Fleener has regressed since that point. His last game against Houston produced three catches for 64 yards. That's about par for his play this season.

Heath Miller (vs. Bengals): He's relatively consistent given the lack of depth at tight end, but Miller doesn't have much upside. He hasn't scored since Week 7, and he managed just 56 yards in Week 14. The Bengals defense is spotty against tight ends, but you could do better than Miller.

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