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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 15: Packers vs. Cowboys

Brian Kersey

They're two of the most famous franchises in football, but after Sunday's game, one of them is going to have seven losses. Things aren't going well.

Neither the Green Bay Packers nor the Dallas Cowboys is eliminated from the NFC playoff hunt yet, but things have gotten worse of late. The Cowboys have fallen to second in the NFC East, while the Packers -- without quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- have won only one of their last six games, and have slipped to third in the NFC North. Basically, neither team can afford another loss. Which makes it all the more complicated that the two teams are playing one another Sunday, in Dallas at 4:25 p.m. ET. There's no lack of fantasy intrigue in the game, as well:


Start in every league: Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, Mason Crosby

Start if you're desperate: James Jones, Jarrett Boykin

Bench: Matt Flynn, Defense/special teams

Though he's still dealing with an ankle injury, Lacy looks probable for Sunday's game. His owners would be wise to have someone in a late game on the off chance he is ruled out (James Starks is the obvious and best fallback), but there's no reason not to make room for a healthy Lacy. ... Nelson hasn't been as high-end a receiver since Rodgers' injury, but with Flynn getting more reps, and facing the struggling Cowboys' defense, you have to run Nelson out there. ... Crosby's numbers haven't lagged with the quarterback out; he's converted multiple field goals in six of his last seven.

Just like Nelson's stock gets a bump facing Dallas, Jones and Boykin slide up to justifiable starts. They aren't the sure thing their teammate is, but they do have the potential for lightning in a bottle.

Here's the thing -- it wouldn't be at all shocking if Flynn were to have a 25-point game. With the massive struggles of the Dallas defense (especially with Sean Lee out) and the possible injury limitations on Lacy, he's got a high ceiling. But, as everyone saw on Thanksgiving, Flynn's floor is a disaster. He can't be trusted in a playoff matchup. ... The Packers' defense has been mediocre of late, but defenses facing the Cowboys tend to look up at mediocrity longingly.


Start in every league: Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten

Start if you're desperate: Dan Bailey

Bench: Terrance Williams, Defense/special teams

It's weird to say about the eighth-ranked quarterback, who was drafted a spot or two lower than that in most leagues, but Romo has been oddly disappointing. His overall numbers are buoyed by his 40-point performance in Week 5 against Denver. Still, he's a high-end quarterback facing a middling defense, and if you have him, you're probably using him. ... All it takes for Murray to be productive is for Murray to be healthy. He's averaged almost 17 points over his last four games, and he's healthy now. ... Bryant has been frustrating fantasy owners for several weeks now, averaging only 7.4 in his last five. Even then, he's still 11th among wide receivers, and he has four games of 19-plus fantasy points this year. And would you want to be the player who benches Bryant right before he rights the ship? ... Witten's must-start status is at least as attributable to his weak position as it is to his own performance. The tight end has had four huge games this year, but has done very little outside of those games. You're starting him if you have him, but you aren't excited about it.

After a huge start to the season, Bailey is averaging less than one field goal a game in his last four. He's still a good kicker, but it's been dry of late.

With Miles Austin back from injury, Cole Beasley's rise, and defenses figuring him out, Williams has completely lost any fantasy viability. Stay away.

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