Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 15: Eagles vs. Vikings

One of these teams made the playoffs this year. One might make it this year. The teams in each of those sentences are NOT the same ones.

Just as everyone predicted in the preseason, the Week 15 Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles game features a running back leading the NFL in yardage, one team contending for a playoff spot, and two awful defenses. Only, the back in question isn't Minnesota's and the team shooting for the playoffs also isn't Minnesota. But hey, both defenses are in fact awful, so there's that. The NFC East-leading Eagles travel to Minnesota on Sunday for a 1 p.m. ET game against the last-in-the-NFC North Vikings, and the fantasy value sits largely with the better team:


Start in every league: Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson

Start if you're desperate: Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, Defense/special teams

Bench: Alex Henery

Unlike most of the team, it's a rather moot point to even consider whether a quarterback is a must-start. That's because we don't often have surprise quarterbacks burst onto the scene like Foles has this year. He's averaged 22.4 fantasy points per start, a number that rises to 24.9 if you except his Week 7 start against the Dallas Cowboys that he left with an injury. And now he gets a Vikings team that is second-worst against opposing quarterbacks in the league. ... McCoy hasn't scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in a game since Week 8; he's scored 20 or more four times. He's second in the NFL in running-back fantasy scoring. Enjoy. ... Jackson has eight touchdowns, seven double-digit fantasy games, and four 100-yard games. He's the No. 8 fantasy wide receiver.

Trivia question: How many games of more than three catches does Cooper have this season? The answer is only three, and none since Week 9. Take out his 54-combined-point performance in Weeks 9 and 10, and he's averaging 4.2 fantasy points per game. Basically, this is a guy who had two monster games and a bunch of nothingness this year. He's Kevin Ogletree-plus. ... Few teams struggle against tight ends like Minnesota, so while Celek hasn't been great this year, there's the potential for a big performance. ... The Eagles' defense averaged less than three points a game since Week 7; it's bumped that to a little more than seven since. It's still not a great unit, but against a really dicey Minnesota offense, you could do worse.

Henery has had one big game this year, in Week 5. Otherwise, he's been just about as mediocre as kickers get.


Start in every league: Blair Walsh

Start if you're desperate: Matt Cassel, Toby Gerhart, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings,

Bench: Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata, John Carlson, Defense/special teams

On a team with a lot of question marks, at best, Walsh has been a sure thing most of the year, with six games of 10 or more fantasy points and multiple field goals in five straight.

It's been under the radar, but Cassel has actually been the best of a bad lot of quarterbacks in Minnesota this year. Single-quarterback leagues won't be touching him, but he does have double-digit fantasy points in three of four games he's gotten much playing time. You could do worse. ... If Gerhart is healthy, he stands to be the team's top rusher and would be a nice little play. But he might not be healthy. ... The Eagles are terrible against opposing wide receivers, that is true. On the other hand, who do you trust among Minnesota's options? Patterson had 20 points in Week 14, but much of that was on a fluke play and it was his first double-digit fantasy day of the season. Simpson has only one score on the season, and has averaged less than four fantasy points a game since Week 4. And Jennings has been held to less than 60 yards or fewer nine different times this year. One of them will likely have a big game Sunday, but which?

The injured Peterson is expected to sit out Sunday. ... Sure, if Peterson and Gerhart both miss the game, the Vikings will likely turn to Asiata, but anyone who uses a player they had never heard of a week ago as their playoff running back deserves the loss. ... After a big game in his first start in Week 10, Carlson has been quiet since, and that looks like his most likely outcome going forward. ... The Vikings' defense has averaged exactly one point per game in its last seven. Ouch.

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