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Week 15 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you evaluate players you might be on the fence about.

Many Fantasy owners picked up DeMarco Murray to replace Felix Jones before Week 7 after Jones was sidelined with an ankle injury.

Those same owners can now make the switch again and not miss a beat in their Fantasy lineups. And everyone else who owns Jones should get him active, too.

With Murray lost for the season with an ankle fracture, Jones takes back the role he started the season in as the primary rusher for the Cowboys. But for the time being the only back he'll lose work to is veteran Sammy Morris, who signed with the team earlier this week. Murray and backup Phillip Tanner are on injured reserve and Tashard Choice has moved on to his third team this season.

I'm starting Jones over ...
Roy Helu, WAS at NYG
Michael Turner, ATL vs. JAC
Ryan Mathews, SD vs. BAL
Both NYG RBs vs. WAS
Calvin Johnson, DET at OAK

In other words, Jones is the guy. Rushing downs, passing downs, goal-line work. He'll do it all. And he'll do it against one of the league's worst run defenses in Week 15.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are giving up 4.8 yards per carry. They have allowed an average of 24.2 Fantasy points per game to running backs in 2011. They've allowed a back to score in eight of their last nine games with a total of 17 scores to runners in that span. Seven rushers have totaled 100 yards against them and two more have reached 99 total yards.

So yeah, the matchup's pretty darn good.

If there's a concern, it's that Jones historically does not get a lot of carries. He's averaged slightly more than 14 carries per start over the last 10 starts he's finished encompassing last year and this year. But what he loses there he makes up for in catches as he's a good receiver out of the backfield.

But in all of those starts, and in all of the games he's played in, he's had to share reps. If he does share this week it will be on a very limited basis with a very old rusher in Morris. When he didn't have to share last week against the Giants -- after Murray got hurt -- he totaled 137 yards. That's a pretty reasonable expectation for him on Saturday against the Bucs. Every opportunity will be there for Jones to find daylight at Tampa Bay, so you should make every consideration to get him active.

Quarterback

Start 'Em

Tim Tebow (vs. NE): We've got an easy rule to follow when it comes to Tebow in Fantasy: When he's got a tough matchup, sit him. When he's got a good matchup, start him. It just so happens this week that he has a great matchup against the Patriots. New England's secondary is a mess, and the Pats' offense pulls ahead of most of their opponents and forces them to throw. Tebow's passing prowess has been scrutinized but he's actually put up more than 200 yards passing in each of his last two games and his completion percentage is slowly beginning to rise after starting in the gutter back in November. More importantly, the Pats have allowed 1,005 passing yards and five touchdowns over their last three games to Vince Young, Dan Orlovsky and Rex Grossman. Tebow should throw well and tack on some nice rushing totals for good measure. (Started in 33 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Matt Ryan (vs. JAC): There shouldn't be much doubt about Ryan's Fantasy status. Since the Falcons' bye week he's had at least 260 yards passing in every game with multiple scores in four of those six contests. But here's where it gets better for him: He's playing at home against a decimated Jacksonville secondary that held up in a blowout against the Bucs last week but got shattered by the Chargers the week before. Don't think twice about using Ryan in a short week against an inferior opponent. (Started in 71 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Rex Grossman (at NYG): Last week Jamey Eisenberg identified Grossman as a candidate to throw a lot and do well with his passing. Grossman came through. Now owners who needed him last week get a bonus of sorts and can use him again when he faces a Giants pass defense that has allowed four passing touchdowns in each of their last three games! Granted, they faced Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo in those games and Grossman isn't quite in that class, but Rex should be able to find a way to toss two touchdowns here, just like he did vs. the Giants in Week 1 when he got them for 305 yards. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Carson Palmer (vs. DET): We're taking a leap of faith here on Palmer, who bottomed out last week in a favorable matchup against the Packers. Part of the reason for that was because his receiving corps got even thinner and Palmer himself admitted to playing impatient and forcing the ball into places he shouldn't. If he corrects that problem he should have a wonderful time against a Lions pass defense that has given up nine total touchdowns to quarterbacks over their last three games. He's got a shot to rock Detroit if he can get some of his receiving threats back this week. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Week 15 sleeper QB
Christian Ponder, MIN vs. NO

Andy Dalton (at STL): Dalton's last two games have been pigs -- he was beat up and benched in a blowout loss at Pittsburgh and then saw his offense stall out against Houston. If there was ever a get-well game for him and the Bengals, this is it. The Rams' pass defense is running on fumes and their pass rush isn't close to effective. The only concern is if he'll hand off more than throw, which is a trap many passers have fallen into against the Rams. If you're in a major pinch, however, figure that Dalton will connect with A.J. Green quite a bit and post moderate stats. (Started in 17 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

Philip Rivers (vs. BAL): Rivers' last two games have been very nice, but they've come against hapless defenses with no pass rush. In Week 15, Rivers will get the exact opposite as the Ravens and their 45 sacks come to San Diego. Quarterbacks facing the Ravens have failed to record more than one passing touchdown in any game so far this season and only nine have been scored through the air at all. With his offensive line a mess, Rivers could find himself on the ground a lot, which sure won't help his stats. (Started in 85 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Mark Sanchez (at PHI): Big hat tip to Jamey Eisenberg for recognizing Sanchez's value last week, but he'll have trouble doing it again. He's had more trouble playing on the road than at home (averaging 217 passing yards and one passing touchdown per road game), and he's also been very pedestrian against teams with a good pass rush (Eagles are second in the NFL with 42 sacks). With nine touchdowns and two turnovers in his last three games, it's a challenge to sit Sanchez. But just check out his road games against defenses like the Broncos and the Redskins and you should be able to consider another option. (Started in 24 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Joe Flacco (at SD): The Chargers' pass defense has started to turn it around thanks to improved play by the safeties. Opposing quarterbacks haven't even hit the 200-yard mark against them in their last three games and the Bolts defense has racked up four interceptions in their last two. Flacco himself has not played well away from M&T Bank Stadium; save for an uncharacteristic performance at lowly St. Louis in Week 3 he's had no more than one touchdown in any road game this season. The Chargers did a nice job putting the Bills on lockdown last week and Flacco's track record as a visitor makes him risky. (Started in 31 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Any Titans quarterback (at IND): We don't know the status of Matt Hasselbeck's calf strain and it shouldn't matter. Whether Hasselbeck plays at less than 100 percent or Jake Locker makes his first NFL start, the Titans will eye the Colts' horrible run defense and gash away with a big dose of Chris Johnson. The hot-and-cold rusher is just 125 yards away from 1,000 on the season (yeah, we can't believe it either) and the team could make a big effort to get him there. It shouldn't be difficult, though the last team to play the Colts and not score on the ground was Tennessee in Week 8. Not that they got much help through the air back then: Hasselbeck had just 223 yards and a score.

T.J. Yates (vs. CAR): Sure, Yates' come-from-behind win at Cincinnati last week was a good showing, and it's obvious that he has some skills to play in this league. But the Texans' mission on offense remains to run the ball a lot, and they should be able to do that against the Panthers. Carolina has been statistically better against the run, limiting LeGarrette Blount and Michael Turner in its last two games. We're not buying it. Expect the Texans to run plenty and limit Yates' chances to throw. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Bust Alert: Ben Roethlisberger (at SF): By now you should know about the ankle sprain he suffered last week against the Browns -- Roethlisberger finished the game but practice time hasn't been easy for him. Now he'll cross the country to play against a 49ers pass defense that was gashed by John Skelton last week but had been making improvements before then. The bigger factor here is that Roethlisberger isn't a cinch to play. If you pencil him in and he's inactive, you'll be forced to either start Alex Smith or Charlie Batch or take a zero in your lineup. Unless absolute certainties are made before kickoff of the Sunday games that Big Ben will play you're certainly better off choosing someone else just so there's no issues about which quarterback will give you some Fantasy points. And even if he does play, this isn't a lay-up for him because of the opponent and because of his ankle sprain. (Started in 64 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Running back

Start 'Em

Cedric Benson (at STL): The Rams' run defense almost snapped Marshawn Lynch's touchdown streak but couldn't hold him out of the end zone late in the game. Maybe it's a sign of improvement, but the Bengals probably aren't believers. Benson has done very well in favorable matchups this season and is coming off a 91-yard effort against the tough Texans. Losing offensive guard Bobbie Williams will hurt a little bit but he should still get a lot of carries and produce nice numbers for Fantasy owners. (Started in 50 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

LeGarrette Blount (vs. DAL): If the Bucs are going to have a shot to win in this game they have to give Blount a lot of work. In 13 career games where he's had 15 or more carries he's had at least 80 rush yards or a touchdown 10 times. With Josh Freeman's arm a mess and the Cowboys run defense proving to be a problem (more than 400 total yards and four touchdowns allowed to rushers in their last three games), Blount should be counted on as a good No. 2 Fantasy running back in Week 15. (Started in 80 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Week 15 sleeper RBs
Kahlil Bell, CHI vs. SEA
Daniel Thomas, MIA at BUF

Brandon Jacobs (vs. WAS): Ahmad Bradshaw is back but Jacobs has done nothing to warrant losing carries. He's scored at least once in each of his last three games with his yardage totals rising in every game during that span. The Redskins' run defense has allowed big Fantasy points to top running backs in pretty much every game this year; last week the Patriots didn't run much with one guy so they're an exception. If Shonn Greene can bang down the Redskins door for three scores in Week 13, Jacobs should be able to keep his scoring streak alive. (Started in 28 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Ryan Grant (at KC): This one's contingent on one obvious factor: That Grant is the only healthy running back available to Green Bay. If James Starks (ankle) and Brandon Saine (concussion) are inactive, Grant should be given the opportunity to get double-digit carries against a run defense that has given up a dozen total touchdowns to running backs on the year and was slammed by the Jets just last week. Grant won't score twice but should get a chance at one while putting up some decent numbers along the way. Think of him as a solid flex or No. 3 running back. (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Ben Tate (vs. CAR): It's been a while since Tate's been on our Fantasy radar -- mainly because the Texans haven't had any lay-up matchups against poor run defenses. Though the Panthers have improved statistically against the run in recent weeks, the Texans are sure to test them with the ground game. Arian Foster will do his thing, but Tate should get some work. He's averaged less than 4.2 yards per carry in one game this season and he's had at least eight carries in all but two games. Figure him getting a good amount of work against the Panthers and having a chance to find the end zone, which he hasn't been able to do since his last favorable matchup at Tampa Bay in Week 10. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

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Rashard Mendenhall (at PIT): Probably the most predictable sit running back this week. You know the deal with the Niners: They haven't allowed a rushing score all season, haven't allowed a running back to get past 64 yards rushing in a game and have yielded just two 100-total-yard running backs overall. Mendenhall has been fantastic at home but awful on the road, tallying just 240 of his 710 rush yards and three of his eight touchdowns away from Heinz Field. The Steelers might want to try and run more to take pressure off of Roethlisberger's ankle, but it's not likely to succeed against a defense with such a strong pedigree. (Started in 94 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (at HOU): If matchups mean anything, this one's going to be tough on the Panthers' rushing duo. The Texans haven't allowed a touchdown to a running back in five games and have held opposing runners to less than 100 rush yards in all but two games (MJD had 99 yards against them in Week 12). They struggled to contain Cedric Benson in the first half of their game against the Bengals last week but then put the boots to his rear in the second half and held him to negative yardage. The Texans don't give up a lot of long runs, which have been a reason for big stats from these guys. There haven't been many weeks this season where both rushers don't produce much, but in games against the Cardinals, Jaguars, Vikings and Titans they've both struggled. The Texans' run defense is statistically better against rushers than not only those teams but everyone else the Panthers have faced this season. (Williams started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 14; Stewart in 45 percent.)

C.J. Spiller(vs. MIA): That didn't take long, did it? After two promising games, Spiller was stuffed by the Chargers last week and finds himself in a challenging matchup vs. the Dolphins. Miami allowed two touchdowns to LeSean McCoy last week while holding him to 1.4 yards per carry, and before last week they had gone eight straight weeks without allowing a rushing score. Only three backs have totaled 100 yards in a game against the Fins in 2011, a list that does not include Fred Jackson, who had 67 total yards when he was running for the Bills. This will be a tough one for Spiller, who shouldn't be trusted as anything more than a No. 3 rusher, if that. (Started in 60 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at DEN): Does BJGE have the potential to score a touchdown or perhaps two against the Broncos? Definitely. But the guy hasn't been getting any kind of playing time and that obviously kills his stats. The Patriots' last two games have proven to be closer than you'd expect (especially against the Colts and the Redskins), and that's meant lots of passing and not a huge need to run the ball. Maybe that's why he hasn't been getting carries -- maybe the team is trying to save him for the playoffs. Either way, a battle against an amped Broncos defense likely means another close contest. So even though Denver's allowed a running back to total more than 100 yards in each of its last four games, Green-Ellis isn't a good bet to be the fifth straight. The Broncos have allowed just two rushing scores to backs as well -- that doesn't help The Law Firm's case. The verdict is in: Sit Green-Ellis this week. (Started in 65 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Pierre Thomas (at MIN): The Vikings have been a mixed bag against the run but ultimately they're a defense yielding less than 4.0 yards per carry with four rushing scores allowed since Week 3. Thomas has been even more of an enigma, getting just eight carries over his last two games. Darren Sproles will get his snaps and Chris Ivory seems entrenched as the replacement power runner for Mark Ingram. It's too bad because Thomas is talented but just isn't getting the work. With Minnesota's defense horrid against the pass but staunch vs. the run, expect his numbers to continue to dwindle. (Started in 34 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Bust Alert: Ryan Mathews (vs. BAL): You might not have the choice to sit Mathews against the Ravens, but if you do have a good alternative it's probably something to think about. Mathews has been red hot, posting at least 110 rush yards in each of his last three games against the Broncos, Jaguars and Bills. The Ravens' run defense has been equally hot, giving up just six rushing scores to backs on the season. Only twice did opposing runners gain more than 100 rush yards on the Ravens, and they got them in games with 30-plus carries. Mathews doesn't typically get that much work in a game and the Chargers would have to be in the lead for him get a lot of chances. With the Chargers' offensive line a mess and the Ravens are solid against the run -- they're allowing 3.38 yards per carry -- this could be a disappointing week for Mathews, much like he had in Week 7 at the Jets or Week 11 at the Bears. (Started in 89 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Wide receiver

Start 'Em

Julio Jones (vs. JAC): Jones is still on the injury report, but he was on it last week and looked pretty darn good running to the end zone. Twice. The matchup for the Falcons in Week 15 is perfect -- the Jaguars won't have much of a shot to annoy Matt Ryan, giving him an opportunity to throw efficiently and long. Jones should benefit and his upside could be realized in this one. It only helps that he's playing for the home team on a short week. (Started in 37 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Miles Austin (at TB): Austin's return last week was promising. Though he left some stats on the field he still came up with 63 yards and a score. He should get close to that this week against an overmatched Buccaneers secondary. It's OK to start Austin against this defense as Tampa Bay has yielded five scores to wideouts in its last five games. (Started in 35 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (vs. NE): How bad is New England's pass defense? They gave up three touchdowns last week to the Redskins -- one on a trick play by Brandon Banks -- and have yielded 21 touchdowns through the air. Meanwhile, Tebow's passing has improved a little bit every week and the game plan should include taking some shots downfield. Thomas is the better option of the two -- his numbers over the last two weeks are solid but he's actually had some drops along the way, so he could have been even better. But with Thomas sure to garner attention, Decker could also get involved and return to Fantasy prominence. (Thomas started in two percent of leagues in Week 14; Decker in 30 percent.)

Dwayne Bowe (vs. GB): The curse of Tyler Palko is over! Chiefs interim head coach Romeo Crennel said this week that Kyle Orton will start if healthy. And if his dislocated finger doesn't allow him to throw accurately, rookie Ricky Stanzi will get a shot. Either way Bowe is better off and the matchup against the Packers is superb. Wideouts have scored 16 times on the Packers and 13 of them have totaled double-digit Fantasy points. The only Fantasy-relevant receivers to face the Pack and not pick up at least 10 Fantasy points are Marques Colston and Percy Harvin (twice). Bowe's had at least five grabs in eight of 13 games and should pull a better receiving average with Orton or even Stanzi running the show. (Started in 49 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Week 15 sleeper WRs
Plaxico Burress, NYJ at PHI
Titus Young, DET at OAK
Denarius Moore, OAK vs. DET

Jabar Gaffney (at NYG): Gaffney hasn't had double-digit games back-to-back yet this season, but he should this week. The Giants' pass defense has gone to the birds, giving up a sick eight touchdowns to wide receivers over their last three games and 17 on the season. Perhaps some of that has to do with who they've played of late but there's no denying that teams throw on the G-Men whether they want to or need to. Gaffney has taken the team lead in targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns and shouldn't slow down against this division rival. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

Vincent Jackson (vs. BAL): Buckle up, kids, this one will be tough to take. Jackson's been about as inconsistent a receiver as there's been this season. He's managed to play well in some of his favorable matchups, but he's struggled in all but one of his tough matchups (at Chicago Week 11). The Ravens' pass defense has been pretty much the best in the league as they've given up one touchdown to a wide receiver over their last five games. We don't like Philip Rivers because the Ravens' pass rush should have an easy time wreaking havoc on him, so it would only make sense that Jackson would struggle right along with him. One more point: When Jackson's been bad, he's been baaaad, as he's had less than six Fantasy points in eight of 13 games this year. The Ravens could make it nine out of 14. (Started in 97 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Anquan Boldin (at SD): You'd like to trust Boldin but offensive personnel issues have complicated his numbers. Torrey Smith has been the hotter receiver over the Ravens' last four games, topping Boldin in catches (14 to 12), touchdowns (two to one) and yardage (a whopping 268 to 187). Can we even say that Boldin is the most threatening receiver for the Ravens? That's an issue and so is the quarterback: Joe Flacco has been fairly good at home and mostly awful on the road, so even a fairly decent matchup against the Chargers could cause trouble. He hasn't done any better than nine Fantasy points in any of his last six games and has gone into double-digit territory just four times this season. Expectations are reeled in on Boldin until further notice. (Started in 79 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Michael Crabtree (vs. PIT): If you check out Crabtree's recent play, you'll see that he hasn't gone two weeks in a row with poor stats since Weeks 9 and 10. But take a longer look and you'll see that since he's started to bloom in the Niners' offense his numbers have come against defenses that can't hack away at Alex Smith. In games against the Rams, Browns and Cardinals at home back in Week 11 he thrived. In games against the Ravens, Giants, Redskins and the improved Cardinals last week in Arizona (I know it seems funny but it's true, they're much better lately) he struggled to find numbers. The Steelers come to Candlestick Park on Monday fresh off of a 10-day siesta and their defense is among the stingiest in the league to opposing receivers (two touchdowns allowed in their last four games; no receiver has topped 88 yards on the year). This could be a tough go for Crabtree. (Started in 45 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Deion Branch (at DEN): OK, maybe we're wimping out on saying to sit Wes Welker, but you wouldn't do it anyway even if we made the case. So with Welker a must-start and Rob Gronkowski playing like King Kong, little is left for Deion Branch to collect. He's limited by a groin injury and his targets have shrunk over his last three games (10 in Week 12, six in Week 13, two last week). He's a non-factor in the red zone (four catches down there) and his speed can be matched by the Broncos. Speaking of Denver, its pass defense has given up two touchdowns, both to Percy Harvin, in its last five games. You can't expect much here. (Started in 45 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Donald Driver, James Jones and Randall Cobb (at KC): Just our luck: A stud wide receiver goes down in the thick of the Fantasy playoffs and the consensus is that three receivers will divvy up his targets. Worse yet, the team in question plays on the road against a Chiefs defense that has overcome some early season woes and has given up just three touchdowns to wide receivers in its last eight games (the Chiefs D has not been as strong against tight ends and running backs). The hunch here is that Jordy Nelson will get a small bump in reps -- as will Cobb -- while Driver and Jones play the same amount but see more targets. Driver's not terrible this week in PPR formats and Cobb's boom-or-bust kind of production is now on par with Jones'. Here's the reality: Even if one of these receivers does well this week, there's absolutely no guarantee they'll do it again next week against the Bears. Be careful with these guys. (Driver started in 4 percent of leagues in Week 14; Jones in 16 percent and Cobb in one percent.)

Bust Alert: Steve Smith(at HOU): It's going to take a lot of heart and conviction to leave Smith on your bench, but if you're thinking about it, then you're no doubt wishing you would have done it at several points in the last five weeks. Smitty hasn't been the same since his bye week, getting to a dozen Fantasy points and falling into six or fewer Fantasy points three times. After scoring four touchdowns and owning five 100-yard games in September and October he's put up one score and one 100-yard game (last week) since. Playing the Texans will not help: Their defense has yielded five passing touchdowns in their last eight games and they've done a good job covering deep-ball receivers (Julio Jones and A.J. Green are recent victims). With Wade Phillips taking a medical leave and the Texans fighting for a bye week in the playoffs it wouldn't be a shock if they made it a priority to shut Smith down -- just like several teams have of late. (Started in 89 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Tight end

Start 'Em

Brandon Pettigrew (at OAK): We were encouraged by Pettigrew's game last week against the Vikings. Against a porous pass defense he caught six passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, open as a check-down target mainly because the Vikings double-covered Calvin Johnson. The targets have been there for him, it's just a matter of making the most of them and producing like a low-end Fantasy starter. He should get another chance here as the Raiders have allowed a tight end to score on them in three of their last four. (Started in 37 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Week 15 sleeper TEs
Joel Dreessen, HOU vs. CAR
Kevin Boss, OAK vs. DET
Jared Cook, TEN at IND

Jake Ballard (vs. WAS): If you're searching for a low-rent starter with some safety at tight end this week, Ballard's a good choice. He's coming off of a big game but could be in for another after the Redskins got clobbered by Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez last week. In fact, the Redskins have allowed 500 yards and five touchdowns to tight ends over their last six games. Ballard has caught at least three balls in nine of his last 10 and had 59 yards receiving when no one heard of him against the Redskins in Week 1. He should be fine this week. (Started in 26 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Anthony Fasano (at BUF): Another safe choice at tight end is Fasano, who has had five or more Fantasy points in five of his last six games. The Bills have been shredded by tight ends of late, yielding six touchdowns in their last four matchups including one to Fasano in Week 11! The rub here is that J.P. Losman might start for the Dolphins on Sunday in place of Matt Moore (head/neck), but he'll be motivated to play well against his former team and could find himself leaning on Fasano, who is simply a key part of the Dolphins' offense. (Started in 9 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

Jermaine Gresham (at STL): The Rams are the 49ers of defense against tight ends: They've allowed only one touchdown all season to tight ends and none of the players at that spot have had more than 51 receiving yards. Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Fred Davis and Brent Celek have played the Rams and left with little statistically. Why should Gresham, who has been held to less than 70 yards receiving in his last seven games (three touchdowns in that span), be any different? (Started in 40 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Brent Celek (vs. NYJ): Only two tight ends have found the end zone against the Jets this season: Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski (who'd you expect?). And while the Jets have given up some yardage to tight ends over their last few games, Celek hasn't been a factor like he was earlier this season. He hasn't scored since Week 8 and has seen his yardage totals slide over his last couple of games. There is a chance he finds a favorable matchup with Jim Leonhard not patroling the Jets' deep middle, but he's just not fully reliable. (Started in 44 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Kellen Winslow (vs. DAL): Not only is the matchup bad for Winslow but questions about his quarterback's ability and health sure don't help. Only one tight end has scored on Dallas over the last six weeks and only one tight end (Celek, Week 8) has had more than 74 yards against them on the season. Winslow's Fantasy production has declined over the last four weeks and he hasn't had more than eight Fantasy points in 12 of 13 games on the season. (Started in 48 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Bust Alert: Vernon Davis(vs. PIT): The Steelers are another team that's good against opposing tight ends. Only four have scored on them all season and none have had 100 yards (Rob Gronkowski had 94 yards but did not score). Since Week 5, no tight end has had 10 Fantasy points against the Steelers. Davis has 102 yards over his last three games and isn't the sure thing we thought he was back in the summer or when he started to play well earlier in the season. (Started in 82 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Defense/Special Teams

Start 'Em

Cardinals (vs. CLE): What a tremendous matchup for the Cards. The Browns have given up 33 sacks on the year and have matched or exceeded 21 points once in 13 games. Their run game is a mess and their pass game is even worse! Only three DSTs this season have scored less than 10 Fantasy points when playing the Browns -- the Cardinals won't be one of them. They are a must-start unit in Week 15. (Started in 8 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

Broncos (vs. NE): The Patriots are coming. Only four DSTs have had double-digit Fantasy point outcomes against the Pats this season. Denver's secondary won't be at 100 percent and it could mean more numbers for Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and the rest of New England's offense. The Bengals, Seahawks and Falcons DSTs have more upside. (Started in 60 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Kicker

Start 'Em

Lawrence Tynes (vs. WAS): Washington's giving up points every which way, including between the goal posts. No one's allowed kickers to score more than the Skins. Kickers have totaled at least eight points in eight of their last nine games. To boot, Tynes has totaled 20 points in his last two games. He should continue to see field goal tries. (Started in 8 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

Sit 'Em

Matt Bryant (vs. JAC): Bryant's been on a cold streak, totaling seven or fewer points in each of his last three games. He'll see the Jaguars this week, a team that allows plenty of points but not a lot of field goals. Opponents have attempted just 22 field goals against the Jaguars this season. (Started in 65 percent of leagues in Week 14.)

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Gavin Escobar a threat to Jason Witten?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:13 am ET) Cowboys rookie tight end Gavin Escobar, who entered the day with just four catches all season, wasn't highly targeted Week 7 against the Giants, but he made the three targets he did get count, scoring two touchdowns, including one on an impressive 26-yard grab between two defenders in the third quarter.

In all, he had three catches for 65 yards -- numbers that would be easier to overlook if not for the two touchdowns and the fact that fellow tight end Jason Witten, to this point a mainstay in Fantasy, had only two catches for 27 yards. And it's not like he and quarterback Tony Romo were just failing to connect. Witten was targeted only twice the whole game.

Witten's production hasn't been up to his usual standards this season -- in seven games, he's averaging 3.3 catches for 38.0 yards -- but just based on their history together, you figured Romo would have a need for him sooner or later. Now with the emergence of Escobar, it's no longer so clear.

Escobar himself isn't worth adding except in deep leagues of 16 teams or more that don't have enough tight ends to go around. In those formats, he's the new Timothy Wright. But in leagues of 12 teams or fewer, Witten may be on the outs. He deserves a couple more weeks given his history, but keep an eye out for the next big thing at the position.


Larry Donnell here to stay?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:55 am ET) After catching just one pass in his previous two games combined, Giants tight end Larry Donnell got back on track Week 7 at Dallas, catching seven passes for a season-high 90 yards.

Considering it was the Giants' first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, Donnell was expected to play a bigger role in the passing game, but a resurgence of this magnitude should remind us all how he came to be owned in 83 percent of Fantasy leagues in the first place. Over the first four weeks, he averaged 6.3 catches for 59 yards, scoring four touchdowns.

One potential pitfall for Donnell is that he lost two fumbles in Week 7, giving him three fumbles lost for the season, but with so few tight ends capable of his kind of production in a given week, the Giants would have to suggest his playing time is in jeopardy for me to pass on Donnell in Fantasy.

His production fell when rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham entered the mix in Week 4. Now that Cruz is out of the mix, Donnell's production figures to rise again.


Odell Beckham shows he's worth adding
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:42 am ET) Only three games into his career, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has emerged as one of quarterback Eli Manning's favorite red-zone targets, which is especially good news with another one of his favorite red-zone targets, Victor Cruz, lost for the season with a knee injury.

Beckham didn't have a lot of chances Week 7 at Dallas, but he made the most of the ones he got, scoring on catches of 9 and 5 yards. In all, he had four catches for 34 yards. His six targets were third-most on the team, behind wide receiver Rueben Randle's nine and tight end Larry Donnell's seven.

The six targets were a season high for Beckham. He has yet to catch more than four passes for more than 44 yards, but because he keeps getting looks in the end zone, he's worth adding in Fantasy even if it's just to stash him on your bench until you're ready to put your trust in him.


An encouraging performance for Eli Manning
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:34 am ET) Playing his first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, who's out for the season with a torn patella tendon, Giants quarterback Eli Manning still managed to bounce back from arguably his worst game of the season with one of his best Week 7 at Dallas, completing 21 of 33 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

It was his fifth game in six with multiple touchdown passes and his second with at least three. And he did it against a defense that had generally kept quarterbacks out of the end zone, recording nearly as many interceptions (seven) as it had allowed touchdown passes (eight) prior to Week 7.

Though two of his touchdown passes went to rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, who wasn't even available to him the first four weeks, Manning did a nice job of spreading the ball around. None of the touchdowns went to his two leading receivers, Larry Donnell and Rueben Randle.

Judging by this performance, Manning knows how to make use of the weapons the Giants have and doesn't need Cruz to remain successful in Fantasy. His bad games can be really bad, but his good games have been frequent enough for you to give him another shot when he returns from a bye Week 9 against Indianapolis.


Andre Holmes comes back down to earth
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:26 am ET) Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes, who blew up for 121 yards and two touchdowns Week 6 against San Diego, took a long time to get going Week 7 against Arizona, catching his first pass about midway through the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, he finished with just three catches for 34 yards. 

It's not like he was invisible before then. He nearly had a great catch on a long pass along the sidelines in the second quarter, but it was ruled incomplete. He did have only two targets apart from his three receptions, though.

Clearly, it was a disappointing showing, but it's not like quarterback Derek Carr forgot about him. Only James Jones and Darren McFadden had more targets, tying for the team lead with eight. Holmes spent much of the game covered by Patrick Peterson, who remains one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. Holmes still has incredible play-making ability and will have better days.

But this performance shows why you can't trust him on an every-week basis yet. His matchup Week 8 against Cleveland is another tricky one because of cornerback Joe Haden, who has struggled at times this season but limited the Jaguars' Cecil Shorts to three catches for 12 yards in Week 7. You might want to leave Holmes on your bench for this one.


49ers' Phil Dawson makes 1-of-2 field-goal attempts in Week 7
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) 49ers knicker Phil Dawson made only one of his two field-goal attempts in Week 7, adding two extra points in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos.

Dawson couldn't deliver from 51 yards out in the first quarter, pushing the attempt wide left, but was true from 22 yards out in the second quarter. He's 13 of 16 on field-goal attempts this season but had been 10-for-10 in his previous three games coming into Week 7. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers TE Vernon Davis catches two passes in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caught just two of his five targets for 21 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Davis was coming off an ugly Week 6 performance in which he dropped two passes, and he didn't fare much better in the team's blowout loss against the Broncos. He has 14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns heading into the team's Week 8 bye. The 49ers will face the Rams after the week off.


49ers WR Michael Crabtree held to 27 yards in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught four of his seven targets for just 27 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

While the 49ers averaged 11.1 yards per reception as a team Sunday, top options Crabtree (6.8 YPC) and Anquan Boldin (7.1 YPC) could find no room to work, leading to disappointing performances despite the offense dialing up 46 passes in the loss. Crabtree hasn't topped 50 yards in any of his last four games, and he owns 32 receptions, 322 yards and three touchdowns in seven games this year. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


Anquan Boldin catches seven passes in 49ers' Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:13 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught seven of his 10 targets for 50 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Boldin had at least one bad drop in the game and was unable to find much room to work downfield. He came into the week average 12.4 yards per reception but managed just 7.1 YPC against the Broncos. Boldin has collected 39 receptions for 447 yards and one touchdown in seven games. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers WR Steve Johnson scores touchdown in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Steve Johnson caught five passes for a team-high 79 yards and one touchdown in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Johnson hauled in a four-yard score in the back of the end zone with only 11 seconds left in the first half to send the 49ers into halftime with a 21-10 deficit. The Broncos took over from there, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. Johnson has reached the end zone in three of his last four games, and he's up to 25 receptions, 315 yards and three scores on the season. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


 
 
 
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