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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 15: Chiefs vs. Raiders

Thursday's AFC West matchup had a surprise outcome. The Raiders hope Sunday's does, too.

Jamie Squire

In light of the Denver Broncos' loss Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs can now set their sights back on a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage through at least part of the AFC playoffs. It was a season-changing outcome. For the Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, the rest of the season is about playing out the string and/or playing spoiler. The two teams face off at 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday in Oakland; here's a look at the fantasy players that matter:

Chiefs

Start in every league: Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Defense/special teams

Start if you're desperate: Dwayne Bowe, Ryan Succop

Bench: Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster

At this point, Smith is fantasy's No. 11 quarterback. One of those ahead of him is the wildly inconsistent Andy Dalton. The Raiders are awful against quarterbacks. Basically, yes, Smith is now a must-start quarterback. ... Thanks for the click and all, but why are you worried about whether you should start Charles? ... After three weeks in a row of struggles, the Chiefs' defense had a huge game Sunday. They might not still be the league's top unit anymore, but they're still a no-doubt must-start.

Bowe has 11 or more points in three of his last four games, but he still hasn't topped 70 yards all year. His outlook is better than it was a month ago, but he's not the elite guy we thought. ... Succop hasn't made more than one field goal since Week 9. If you already own him, there's no shame in rolling with him, but you don't need to go out of your way.

Both Avery and McCluster have had their moments this year, but they have been few and far between. Don't expect lightning in a bottle.

Raiders

Start in every league: ...

Start if you're desperate: ...

Bench: Matt McGloin, Rashad Jennings, Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Rod Streater, Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes, Sebastian Janikowski, Defense/special teams

Sorry, anyone who thought it made sense to roll with a Raider this week. It doesn't. McGloin has averaged 14 points in his first four starts, which is middling, but he's still waiting to face his first really good defense. Hi, Kansas City. ... If two Raiders' running backs miss the game, sure, start the third. But -- while it looks like McFadden isn't likely to play Sunday, both Jennings and Reece appear likely to play, and after each has had success, the Raiders have no reason to limit either. ... Meanwhile, Moore might return to action, but between him, Streater, Holmes, and the Chiefs' strong defense, it's hard to expect big numbers from any of them. ... Janikowski has missed eight field goals this season, including four in his last four games. ... The Raiders' defense has been very very average this year, but has bottomed out of late, with negative-1 last week.

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