Week 15 Startability Index (Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em)
UPDATED: Given the tragic events in Connecticut Friday we decided not to complete and publish our full Startability Index until Saturday morning.
Please tell me everyone who was here last week and the week before is back. Back for the second round of your playoffs! Let’s assume the answer is yes, because the alternative is too depressing to bear. In a lot of ways the screeching halt of the fantasy season, whether due to a scoreless Bryce Brown or being Megatron-ed out of the playoffs, is harder on us than for actual NFL players and owners when they suffer a similar same fate. Sure, Tom and Gisele were bummed after the Super Bowl, but then they got to go home to their palace and stare in the mirror. All we have are stressful holidays (raise your hand if you forgot to send your holiday cards) and Homeland headed to hiatus.
In any event, let me turn back to the majority of you – fantasy successes, still alive in your Super Bowl quest.
As always the Startability Index works like this: every player listed is given a score between 1-10 based on how he will perform that week. Some players will be given the same score, in which case you can either request a tiebreaker or use your own hunch. (If you’ve come this far, they’re probably pretty astute.)
Best of luck, and hope to see you back next week!
Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay (4): Cutler is coming off another bad performance and never plays well against Green Bay. See Week 2: 1 TD, 4 INTs, 126 yards.
Robert Griffin III at Cleveland (6): Joe Haden and Cleveland’s defense is wildly underrated. Griffin looks like he’ll play, but with a right sprained knee that could be re-aggravated or slow down his productive, he’s a risky play this week.
Peyton Manning at Baltimore (7): Manning has thrown for at least two touchdowns or over 300 yards every week since Week 2. But beware: the Ravens defense have only allowed 12 passing touchdowns all year.
Ben Roethlisberger at Dallas (8): Big Ben is coming off a successful return (285 yards, 3 TDs), at least fantasy-wise. The Cowboys will bring pressure but Roethlisberger should respond.
Tony Romo vs. Pittsburgh (7): One of the most consistent fantasy QBs out there. Although knock him down a point if Dez Bryant is inactive. The Steelers are reeling and have played poorly on the road.
Matt Ryan vs. New York Giants (6): Ryan came back to life last week but we’re not far removed enough from his Week 13 stinker (185 yards, 1TD) to be confident he can lead you to the championship. Especially when Roddy White is a game-time decision. There goes fantasy imitating real life again.
Russell Wilson at Buffalo (6): Sneaky road test for Wilson. The Bills have a solid enough secondary that it’s hard to imagine Wilson lighting it up. The emphasis should be on the ground game in this one.
Justin Blackmon at Miami (3): Blackmon’s AFC East tour isn’t going so well with only 66 total yards against Buffalo and New York the past two weeks. Way too risky for this time of the season.
Kenny Britt vs. New York Jets (7): Britt has had a nice last few weeks, catching two of his three touchdowns for the season. He is gelling at the perfect time for owners and will continue to receive ample targets.
Randall Cobb at Chicago (6): Cobb was not influential in the first meeting between these two but with Jordy Nelson out, he will get his targets. Critical game for both sides. We assume Aaron Rodgers will be looking to make a statement, which will obviously be to Cobb’s benefit.
Josh Gordon vs. Washington (8): Gordon has 202 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks en route to becoming the no.1 receiver in Cleveland. Washington ranks 31st in pass defense and has allowed four touchdowns to wide receivers the pats three games.
T.Y. Hilton at Houston (4): Hilton is wildly inconsistent. 33 yards one week. 100 the next. Despite Houston’s MNF debacle, their secondary will be looking to remind the NFL world that they’re still a top notch unit.
Torrey Smith vs. Denver (5): Like many fantasy players, Smith is frustratingly inconsistent. He continues to get targets but half the time he can’t produce. His chances for a breakthrough game are slim considering he’s facing Denver’s Top 10 pass defense, but he may be able to sneak in a couple big plays. Roll of the dice.
Wes Welker vs. San Francisco (7): Welker missed a lot of his targets last week and is dealing with an ankle injury. San Francisco also has one of the league’s top secondaries. But they also have one the league’s best run defense. But watch for Brady to throw slants to Welker all day.
Roddy White vs. New York Giants (5): This is a public service announcement to inform you that White is a game-time decision. Boost him to a (7) if he plays. At least he’s an early game participant.
Joique Bell at Arizona (5): Bell is coming off a Week 14 in which eh produced 96 all-purpose yards and again outperformed Mikel Leshoure. But because Bell is still relegated to a backup role I cannot fully endorse him.
Reggie Bush vs. Jacksonville (6): Bush has not scored in three weeks, although he’s also faced tough opponents in SF, NE and Seattle. Owners would like to see his game carries increase but should be encouraged by his five receptions last week.
Matt Forte vs. Green Bay (5): With Cutler’s new MCL injury, the Bears are going to shove a lot of Forte at the Packers. But he had an unproductive Week 2 against the Packers and just is not running well enough these days to recommend.
Darren Sproles vs. Tampa Bay (6): Sproles is coming off his most productive game of the season. But he’ll face a tough test in Tampa, which has shut down every opposing running back as of late. The Saints seem to be reacclimating Sproles to the passing game, thus making him a dual threat.
DeAngelo Williams at San Diego (4): While Williams has been slightly productive the last weeks, he has not shown enough to think he can circumvent San Diego’s top 5 run defense.
David Wilson at Atlanta (8): Wilson, who will be the lead ball carrier due to injuries to Ahmad Bradshaw, is poised for a repeat performance of his spectacular Week 14. The Falcons rank 23rd in recent in run defense and seem to regressed in recent weeks.
Martellus Bennett at New York Giants (7): Bennett has scored in two straight games and is back as a key part of this offense. Expect a shootout here with ample targets for Bennett,
Owen Daniels vs. Indianapolis (4): Daniels has only scored once in four games and had been losing plays to fellow TE Garrett Graham. With Graham out with a concussion, Daniels could play a bigger role. But there is no indication of that happening.
Vernon Davis at New England (3): After a promising game in Colin Kaepernick’s first start Week 11, Davis has hung out with the crickets. He is a scoring threat in theory…but just in theory.
Jermichael Finley at Chicago (5): Finley hasn’t scored in several weeks although he does have a few good performances in that time span. Tight ends tend to do well against Chicago, although Finley only had 26 yards a lost fumble in their Week 2 affair.
Kyle Rudolph at St. Louis (6): After scoring three straight, Rudolph produced a donut last week against the Bears. But having built up capital as an integral part of this offense he’s due for a big one.