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Fantasy football stats: The worst of Week 15

Elsa

There were some enormous no-shows Sunday; take a look at some of the biggest.

None of the players appearing in this week's "Worst Of" list can blame their struggles on injury, as so many on last week's list could. No, most of the players who struggled in a big way Sunday did it just because they played bad football.

Here's a look at the worst:

Worst quarterbacks in Week 15

Eli Manning, NYG (156 passing yards, 0 touchdown, 5 interceptions, -4 fantasy points)

"Okay, Eli. Can I call you Eli? Calling you Mr. Manning makes you sound too much like your brother, so I'm calling you Eli. You've had a great career. Two Super Bowl titles is more than anyone really thought you were going to get, especially with your occasional tendencies to turn in performances like this. Well, not like this. This is the worst game of your career. I'll concede that you were facing a terrific Seattle defense if you'll concede that not even Cooper Manning should throw five interceptions in a game. Look, Eli, Geno Smith only threw one interception Sunday, and he was facing a tough defense as well, and he was doing it on the road. You're now alone with the most interceptions this year. But it's all good for us, because every photographer in the world is on constant Manningface watch, and we know you'll come through for us."

Next game: The Giants take on the Detroit Lions next week; it really can't stay this bad for Manning. He's definitively removed himself from any fantasy starting consideration, but he could at least try to end the season on a good note, with the Lions and the Washington Redskins left on the schedule.

Case Keenum, HOU (168 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 2 fantasy points)

Remember when Keenum scored 60 fantasy points in his first three games, and everyone sorta-kinda bought in on him as a fantasy sleeper? In five games since, he has 37 total points, and has thrown two touchdowns to go with six interceptions. He's been benched twice since, and couldn't even produce against an Indianapolis Colts' defense that hasn't stopped anyone of late. Yeah, enjoy Teddy Bridgewater, guys.

Next game: Does it really matter? Even facing a Denver Broncos team that seems to go into a shootout every game, how could you start Keenum in anything but three-quarterback leagues?

Matt Ryan, ATL (210 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 8 fantasy points)

There weren't as many disastrous fantasy performances among quarterbacks as some recent weeks; Ryan's eight points was the third-lowest of all starters. Ryan has only topped 20 fantasy points three times all season, and he's averaging less than 11 points a game since Week 7. Getting Julio Jones back, and assuming Roddy White is healthy all year in 2014, we can look ahead at brighter days in Ryan's future, but those days are not now.

Next game: Poor Matt Ryan. He could only manage eight fantasy points against the putrid Washington Redskins' defense, and then he gets to end his season against the San Francisco 49ers and the Carolina Panthers. Sorry, Matt.

Worst running backs in Week 15

Andre Brown, NYG (17 rushing yards, 9 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)

There were no bright sports for the Giants' offense Sunday. Brown, who had averaged more than 100 yards from scrimmage per game in his first five after returning from injury, was held to 26 total yards Sunday. His yards per carry fell from 4.3 to 1.5. The Seahawks managed to shut down every aspect of the New York team, so expect to see more of the team a few paragraphs below this one.

Next game: Just as we said earlier about Eli Manning, Brown gets to face the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins to wrap up the season. Things will get better.

Shane Vereen, NE (13 rushing yards, 8 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)

Vereen's numbers fell apart Sunday. It wasn't the rushing -- he's had fewer than 13 rushing yards twice in six games this year -- but the receiving that really hurt, as Vereen hadn't had fewer than five catches or 37 receiving yards in a game all season. He had averaged eight catches a game before Sunday's no-show, with Tom Brady looking almost solely to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman instead of Vereen.

Next game: The good news for Vereen owners is that he still had seven targets, though he only caught three. Still, the Patriots play at the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, and the Ravens tend to be strong against running backs. Vereen is insanely hard to trust at this point.

Knowshon Moreno, DEN (19 rushing yards, 36 receiving yards, 4 fantasy points)

Moreno had double-digit fantasy points in nine of the last 10 games before Thursday's abysmal performance, as the San Diego Chargers managed to shut down almost every aspect of the Broncos' offense. It was Moreno's fewest rushing attempts of the year, and it wasn't because the team was looking to Montee Ball -- the rookie had three carries for negative-one yard. Basically, the Broncos didn't do so good.

Next game: The Broncos face the Houston Texans next Sunday, and there's every reason to believe they will bounce back in a big way. Moreno ought to be fine.

Worst wide receivers of Week 15

Victor Cruz, NYG (25 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
Hakeem Nicks, NYG (5 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Rueben Randle, NYG (0 fantasy yards, 0 fantasy points)

Seriously, I don't care that the Giants were facing such a good Seattle defense, this game was inexcusable. How do three receivers as supposedly good as Cruz, Nicks, and Randle combine for only 30 yards? The Giants should be ashamed of themselves for this performance. I'm getting progressively angrier at the team as I write these, and I don't even like the Giants to begin with.

Next game: I said it earlier, I'll say it here -- things will get better for the Giants after this. That said, how do you trust any individual wide receiver on the New York team? At least with Eli manning and Andre Brown, we know they'll be getting the touches. Which guy do you go to in the receiving game? Just avoid them all if you can get away with it.

Andre Johnson, HOU (18 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)

Johnson was shut down almost completely in Sunday's game, which is all the more sad when you remember that he was facing the Indianapolis Colts, against whom Johnson went for 229 yards and three touchdowns in Week 9. Basically, the Texans are not even really qualified to be an NFL team at this point. Johnson is the team's bright spot most weeks -- he had 11 or more fantasy points in five of six games entering Sunday -- but he can only do so much.

Next game: While there's still no reason to go to Case Keenum in fantasy next week, even against the Denver Broncos, Johnson ought to see a big boost in value. He's still a top-10 fantasy wide receiver, and this Sunday could be a big game for him.

Steve Smith, CAR (20 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)

You couldn't say Smith had been impressive this year, basically at all. What you could say is that he had been tremendously consistent. Smith had gone for between 40 and 70 yards in every game this season but one, and that Week 6 game saw him get 21 yards and a touchdown, for basically the same total. Sunday, though, Smith couldn't do much of anything, tying for a season-low in catches and going for a season-low in yards. It was a disappointing performance for a star receiver who hasn't even really been worth starting in fantasy as it was.

Next game: The Panthers host the New Orleans Saints in Week 16 -- the team struggled against the Saints last week, but that was in a road game, and the Saints aren't really the same team when they go on the road. You can't possible expect a big game out of Smith, but a bounce back to his regular 50-ish yards seemed reasonable.

Worst tight ends in Week 15

Jimmy Graham, NO (25 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)

Graham picked an awful week to have an awful game, as it comes in the fantasy playoffs, when his owners were probably counting on another big game from the tight end. He turned in his second-worst game of the season, better only than his Week 6 game against New England when the Patriots held Graham to no catches at all. The Saints were completely held in check by the St. Louis Rams Sunday, for reasons that elude almost everyone. If you survived with Jimmy Graham, congratulations; it probably wasn't easy.

Next game: Yeah, the Saints face a tough defense on the road in Carolina in Week 16, but it doesn't matter. It's Jimmy Graham. You're still starting him.

Jacob Tamme, DEN (9 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)

It's not totally fair to have Tamme in this space; he hadn't been producing to the level that would normally make fantasy players expect a lot out of him. But it was a perfect storm -- Tamme had produced with Peyton Manning in the past. Rob Gronkowski got hurt, leading many owners to search for a viable tight end with the potential for a big game. And Wes Welker suffered a concussion, leaving an opening for the Broncos' slot receiver, a role Tamme has filled in the past. Everyone involved in fantasy thought Tamme would slip right into the Welker role and get Welker-like attention; instead, Andre Caldwell got the touches, and gave the performance Tamme owners hoped he would. So it wasn't Tamme's fault that so much was expected of him, but there have to be a lot of disappointed Tamme investors now.

Next game: The Broncos certainly didn't look to Tamme much in Week 15, when it seemed to make sense to do so; there's not much reason to think they'll do it in Week 16, now that Caldwell is established, and with the possibility of Welker returning.

Worst defense/special teams in Week 15

Philadelphia Eagles (48 points allowed, 1 interception, -5 fantasy points)

The Eagles' defense has improved of late; after averaging just under three points a game in its first seven, it averaged just over seven in the next six. No, it was never a top-flight unit, but it had at least reached relevance. That fell apart against a Minnesota Vikings offense that was, well, awful coming into the game, and there's no real reason for it other than "sometimes bad defenses are bad."

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