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Quick Fantasy Hits for Week 15

Senior Fantasy Writer
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As we wade into a 15th week of action, there are some nuggets that are too in-depth for the podcast, too long for Twitter and a little too short for the full column. Enjoy these Week 15 Quick Hits.

Thursday nights are hell on quarterbacks. We took a look at the Thursday Night Effect earlier in the season, but with the games wining down -- and owners throwing Andy Dalton's name around as a possible starter for Week 15, it might be prudent to update the numbers.

So far this season quarterbacks have thrown 36 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in Thursday games. The average line: 19/32, for 235 yards, two sacks, and one touchdown and interception. Just eight quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns (and four of those performances were from feel-good Thanksgiving Day games), while nine quarterbacks (with 20 or more attempts, in order to weed out backups) have thrown zero touchdowns in a Thursday night game. In fact, the list of Thursday night quarterbacks who have thrown one or fewer touchdowns in a game includes:

Cam Newton
Russell Wilson
Andrew Luck
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Drew Brees
Jay Cutler
Aaron Rodgers
Eli Manning
Joe Flacco
Ben Roethlisberger
Matt Ryan
Peyton Manning
Matt Schaub

It's a list of names of which Andy Dalton could easily find himself in the middle. Thursday games have a strange effect on quarterbacks, and it's not an especially good thing.

Joique Bell is getting more touches If you're one of the many owners stressing over what to do with Mikel Leshoure, here's some more stress to pile on, just in time for the holidays: In Week 14, Joique Bell had five receptions and 12 carries, for a total of 17 touches. This was a new season-high for Bell (his previous high of 16 came in Week 9, during a 31-14 win against the Jaguars).

Neither the receptions nor carries alone were highs for Bell, but it was his most impressive total to date, suggesting that his involvement in the offense may be on the rise. In the past three weeks, Bell has averaged 9.3 Fantasy points per game -- a number which is elevated in PPR formats. Leshoure, meanwhile, had just 14 carries and no receptions in Week 14, meaning that Bell outpaced him in touches.

It would be too much to ask, as a Fantasy player, to be able to look at the numbers and simply say, "Well, it looks like Bell is outpacing Leshoure; I suppose Bell is the better option!" Things are rarely that easy. Leshoure has managed a touchdown in three of his last four games. Bell has three touchdowns for the entire season. So while playing Bell ahead of Leshoure in some leagues -- and this is a very real scenario, as Bell was added as Leshoure's handcuff in plenty of formats -- seems like an option, it really ends up coming down to individual scoring. In PPR, Bell may, indeed, be the better choice, as he catches more passes than Leshoure. But Leshoure's tendency to score touchdowns -- he has six in the last five games, thanks mostly to that three-TD performance in Week 9 -- still makes him the better option in standard leagues, even with a chunk of his touches going to Bell.

Fun Fact for Week 15! The Arizona Cardinals rank 28th in passing yards and 32nd in rushing yards ... but are seventh in the NFL in passing attempts.

Interpretation of Fun Fact for Week 15 It means the Cardinals are at least trying. And while it has become fashionable to dump on the offense and give up on Larry Fitzgerald, he is still the sixth-most targeted wide receiver in the league. In the four weeks since the bye, Fitzgerald has just six total receptions, but has averaged 9.3 targets per week.

Detroit, Fitzgerald's Week 15 opponent, has given up the 12th-fewest receiving yards this season but 14th-most receiving touchdowns. And the Lions are just two weeks removed from giving up three touchdowns to Colts receivers. From Weeks 6 to 11, the Lions gave up at least one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver per week.

Additionally, in five career games against the Lions, Fitzgerald has scored four touchdowns. And December is traditionally one of his strongest months -- in 35 career December games, Fitzgerald averages 70.3 yards, with 23 total touchdowns (the best rate of any month).

So while it may look rather grim right now for Fitzgerald, there are some signs here pointing to at least a little bit of hope as the season winds down.

The running backs with the most receiving yards over the past three weeks are:

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Darren Sproles, 140 yards
Shane Vereen, 91 yards
Knowshon Moreno, 88 yards
Ray Rice, 87 yards
Steven Jackson, 78 yards

Not on the list, but meriting a mention for his involvement in the passing game is Bryce Brown, who has been targeted 15 times in the last three games. He's caught 10 of those passes for 31 yards.

The biggers tory here, though, may be Moreno, who has value in the 72 carries over those three games -- enough to lead the league -- but who has been virtually ignored for his involvement in the passing game. Moreno may not have the best yards-per-carry average, but he's caught four passes in each of his last three games, and is turning those receptions into significant gains. Of the top 10 targeted receivers, Moreno is second to only Arian Foster in terms of converting targets to receptions. So not only is he carrying the ball a good amount, he's also catching passes that might have otherwise been pegged for Ronnie Hillman, and isn't missing many of the balls thrown his way.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyFB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasyfootball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Chiefs sideline reporter doesn't expect Jamaal Charles to play
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9/20/2014) Chiefs sideline reporter Kendall Gammon told CBS Sports Radio's Eye on Fantasy Football on Saturday night that he does not expect Jamaal Charles to play at Miami on Sunday. Gammon said Charles practiced a little bit on Thursday and Friday and was moving around okay but still was showing the effects of a high-ankle sprain.

Knile Davis is likely to start and see a bunch of snaps in place of Charles at Miami.


Raiders promote Bojay Filimoeatu
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Raiders have promoted linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu from the practice squad, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Filimoeatu has been up and down plenty this season. He was active for the team's first game, but was waived shortly after. It appears he'll be back for Week 3. 


Report: Lions part ways with Kevin Ogletree
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Lions have released wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, according to ESPN.

Ogletree had been inactive for the club's first two games this season. He caught eight balls last season with the Buccaneers. 


49ers exchange tight end for quarterback
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The 49ers have promoted tight end Asante Cleveland from the practice squad.

In order to make the move, the team released quarterback Josh Johnson. Johnson had been inactive for the first two games this year. 


Melvin Ingram placed on IR - Designated to return list
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram has been placed on the IR - Designated to return list.

Ingram had been dealing with a hamstring injury, but was officially listed on IR with a hip issue. He'll be able to return Week 11 at the earliest. The club cannot place any other players on the IR - Designated to return list while Ingram is on it. 


Matt Schaub unavailable Sunday with emergency
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Raiders backup quarterback Matt Schaub will be unavailable to play Sunday for a non-injury related reason, the team announced.

Schaub made the trip east for the team's Week 3 game against the Patriots but had an emergency come up, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Should something happen to starter Derek Carr, the team will have to turn to Matt McGloin.


Ravens add Fitzgerald Toussaint, waive Deonte Thompson
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Ravens signed running back Fitzgerald Toussaint from the practice squad and waived wide receiver Deonte Thompson Saturday. The move allows the team to have more depth at running back with Bernard Pierce (thigh) questionable to play in Week 3.

Dee Milliner doubtful on Jets' final Week 3 injury report
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (quad/ankle) is doubtful to play in Monday night's game against the Bears.

Milliner sat out practice for a second straight day Saturday and is unlikely to suit up Monday. Wide receiver Eric Decker is questionable to play Monday, but the rest of the team's injured players participated in practice fully Saturday and are good to go, the Associated Press reports. Those players include running back Chris Johnson (ankle), safety Josh Bush (quad) and linebackers A.J. Edds (hamstring), Nick Bellore (hip) and Quinton Coples (elbow).


Panthers sign Darrin Reaves to active roster
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Panthers signed running back Darrin Reaves from the practice squad Saturday, the team announced. The team has three running backs on the injury report this week and is looking to improve depth heading into Sunday night's game against the Steelers.

Eric Decker questionable to play Monday vs. Bears
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring) is officially questionable to play in Monday night's game against the Bears.

Decker was able to get in a limited practice session Saturday and will likely wind up being a gametime decision. He has caught nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown over his first two games.


 
 
 
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