Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker are interesting Week 15 options
by Nando Di Fino | Senior Fantasy Writer
Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya has seen his production decrease steadily over the last four games, dropping from a season-high 69 rushing yards in Week 11 to eight yards in Week 14. The drop was likely hastened by fumbles in consecutive games (in Weeks 11 and 12).
Complicating Ogbonnaya's value in Week 15 is Willis McGahee's health and the presence of Fozzy Whittaker. The Browns have a dream matchup against the Bears, who have given up eight straight 100-yard games to running backs, with three backs running for 130 or more in the last four. And McGahee was concussed at the end of Sunday's game against New England.
While this would seem to open the door for Ogbonnaya, his recent production dip may point to an increased role for Whittaker. The Browns know what they have in Ogbonnaya; they have yet to give Whittaker more than nine touches in a game. And while Ogbannaya has pretty much doubled Whittaker's snap percentage, there's always the possibility that Whittaker slides into McGahee's role, while Ogbonnaya stays put in his.
The simplest way for events to play out would be for McGahee to play in Week 15. But if he's out, it becomes a logical move (to start Ogbonnaya) versus a huge upside gamble (starting Whittaker) against the league's most permissive run defense.
His quarterback is on a roll, and so is Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The 26-year-old speedster has caught a touchdown pass in three straight games heading into Week 15 vs. Cincinnati.
With Ben Roethlisberger locked in, Pittsburgh can support multiple Fantasy wideouts. Sanders is averaging eight targets during his scoring streak and complementing Antonio Brown's brilliance. Sanders already has career highs in receptions (58), yards (661) and touchdowns (5).
In Week 2, Sanders caught five passes for 78 yards at Cincinnati, his third-highest output this year. That was before the Bengals lost top corner Leon Hall to a torn Achilles. Play Sanders as a WR3 on Sunday night.
Browns running back Willis McGahee has carried the ball 14 times in two straight games, and scored a touchdown in Week 13. But a concussion suffered at the end of Sunday's game against the Pats could knock him out for what could be his best matchup of the season.
The Browns face Chicago in Week 15, and the Bears have allowed a running back to reach the 95-rushing yard mark in eight straight games. Seven of the last eight have featured a 100-yard rusher. And backs have scored 11 touchdowns since that streak began.
McGahee would probably snap that 95-yard game streak, but he'd likely be able to at least eclipse his season-best 72 rushing yards. The key here is his health; if McGahee plays, he may have some flex consideration in deeper formats. If he's out, consider Chris Ogbonnaya or Fozzy Whittaker instead.
Getting a season-high 14 targets, Texans tight end Garrett Graham turned in one of his best performances of the season Week 14 at Jacksonville, catching eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. It was his first touchdown in three games. He put up ess than 40 yards in each of the previous two.
Though his production has been inconsistent, his targets haven't. He has averaged 11.5 in his last four games, getting no fewer than nine in any of them. That bodes well for his matchup Week 15 at Indianapolis. The Colts rank 18th against the pass, allowing 241.5 points per game. They've allowed the 10th-fewest Fantasy points to tight ends, but they haven't faced any notable ones since Week 7 against the Broncos, when Julius Thomas had five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown against them.
Graham had four catches for 46 yards when he faced the Colts in Week 9, but he wasn't being targeted as much at the time. As many looks as he's getting now, both Jamey Eisenberg and Nathan Zegura like him as a top-12 tight end for this week. Dave Richard is a little more reserved, ranking him 15th.
Just like he did in 2012, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is headed for another strong finish after an uneven start to the season. Wilson moves onto the Giants in Week 15 after the 49ers stopped his hot streak Week 14, so this could end up being an ugly week for the New York defense.
Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in seven of his last nine games. He's been held to less than 20 Fantasy points just three times in his last nine games.
The Giants did have a run of games from Week 7 through Week 11 where they held quarterbacks to less than 10 Fantasy points over a four-game span. But quarterbacks have averaged 22 Fantasy points in the last three games against the Giants, so the defense is starting to have its problems again. Through the first six games this season, quarterbacks were averaging 27 Fantasy points per week against New York.
The 49ers were a tough matchup for Wilson, who has combined to total 23 Fantasy points in two games against the NFC West foe. The Giants won't be as difficult of a matchup, so consider Wilson a viable Fantasy start in all formats Week 15.
Browns quarterback Jason Campbell is coming off the best game of this season, passing for 391 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots. The 35 Fantasy points were his most of the season.
But Campbell has to go up against a Bears defense in Week 15 that has allowed an opposing quarterback to score 20 points just once in the last four games. And only one quarterback in the last four has passed for more than 167 yards against Chicago. This is mainly due to Chicago's run defense, which is the worst in the league -- so passing isn't necessary in most instances.
To counter that, there's the "playing against his former team" element. Campbell spent 2012 with the Bears and could find a little extra motivation for this game. And for something a little more tangible, there's this -- Campbell has passed for multiple touchdowns in three of his last four non-concussed games. Also, he has Josh Gordon to throw to.
Still, this all adds up to Campbell being more of a top-16 option, not top-12. And with advancement in the playoffs on the line, Campbell may not be a risk worth taking this late in the season.