Week 15 officially means all fantasy football playoffs have started. This week was particularly hard for me to find bust players because there are so many great matchups and if you are in the playoffs it probably means your lineup has been pretty consistent. For quarterbacks this week I found two guys who are within the top 12 for points that I think will fail to live up to expectations. If I am going to tell you two guys that are going to be outside the top 12 I need to tell you two guys that will make their way in this week. For running back and wide receiver I found players that are usually wavering on the flex position or guys that have been inconsistent this year. Even in a tough week there are players that you definitely want to play and ones that I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
Good luck! And remember, if you lose it’s your fault but if you win it’s mine!
Kyle Orton: For those of you who own Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick and need to stream a quarterback this week, Kyle Orton is your man. He is coming off a performance where he threw for 355 yards and a touchdown in a game where they trailed Denver from the start. I suspect the Bills will be in a very similar situation this week when they host the red-hot Packers. Orton will also benefit from the sub-par Packer pass defense that has allowed quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdowns 9 times this year.
Matthew Stafford: Calvin Johnson has been healthy for 8 games this year and in 4 of those contests Stafford has thrown for at least 290 yards and 2 touchdowns. The common denominator? Both of those games have come over the last 2 weeks. On paper this is not a great matchup for Stafford as the Vikings have held 7 quarterbacks to single-digit fantasy performances in 2014. Look for Stafford to have a rebound game at home with his favorite target in the lineup.
Mark Ingram: The Saints have won 3 of their last 8 games, woof! In those wins Ingram’s stat lines read as follows; 24 carries 172 yards 1 TD, 30 carries 100 yards 2 TD, 23 carries 122 yards 0 TD. If the Saints want to win the worst division in the NFL they should follow their running back rather than their struggling aerial attack.
Chris Ivory/Chris Johnson: The Titans have allowed opposing teams to run for over 97 yards in 11 games. They’ve also given up a touchdown on the ground in 9 of their 13 contests. Ivory and Johnson have combined for 65 carries over the last 2 weeks and should continue to pile up the touches in week 15. Both are solid flex options in week 15. Oh yeah, and this is a revenge game for the former CJ2K.
Isaiah Crowell: Cleveland backs ran for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns in their first meeting with the Bengals. This week, Crowell should benefit from Johnny Manziel’s dual-threat abilities, which should open up the Bengal defense some. Even in a shared backfield, Crowell should still see a healthy carry count. Cincinnati was shredded last week against the Steelers and Le’Veon Bell, allowing 194 yards and 2 scores on the ground.
Sammy Watkins: After 4-straight disappointing performances, Watkins had a huge week 14, catching 7 balls for 127 yards. After watching the Monday night game it became very evident to me that the Packers’ defense is below average. They have allowed 10 touchdown to receivers over the last 4 games and are fortunate to have such a great offense that forces the opposing offense into catchup mode. The Bills should try and control the ball against the Pack to keep it close, but if they are not able to, get ready for some big garbage time points out of Watkins.
Roddy White: This pick is somewhat dependent on Julio Jones’ status. If the burner doesn’t play, White becomes a must start. Even if Jones does suit up I still think Roddy could have a solid game. In each of their last 6 games the Steelers have allowed at least 1 touchdown catch to receivers and are allowing 205 yards per game to opposing wideout corps. The Steelers are also very susceptible to the big play giving up pass plays of 69, 80 and 81 yards over their last 3.
Russell Wilson: Two weeks ago in San Francisco, Wilson rushed for 35 yards and passed for 236. As bad as the 49ers’ offense has been their defense has still preformed as a top-5 unit, holding opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards passing 5 times this season.
Joe Flacco: The Jacksonville pass defense has been surprisingly solid over their last 3 games. During that time, they have surrendered only 2 scores and just 211 yards through the air per contest. On the contrary, Flacco has not put up big numbers recently considering the success of his team. He hasn’t thrown more than 2 touchdowns in a game since week 6 and has only broken the 300 yard mark 3 time all years. Baltimore will have to continue their success by running the ball and playing sound defense.
Frank Gore: In his previous meeting with Seattle, Gore rushed 10 times for 28 yards. The Seahawks defense is holding opposing teams to an average of 26 rushing yards per game over the last 3. Avoid Gore against a defense that seems to be turning their swag back on.
Lamar Miller: Miller hasn’t eclipsed 100 total yards in any game since week 3. He also has only 6 touchdowns on the year and has received more than 15 carries just once. With New England almost completely shutting down opposing run games over the last month plus, I’m sitting Miller if I can.
DeSean Jackson: Jackson was held to 1 catch for 9 yards in his earlier meeting with the Giants. Since that time, the Redskins quarterback situation has become a complete mess and the Giants pass defense has improved. The Giants haven’t allowed a receiving corps to break 200 yards since week 3. With the Redskins being what they are and Jackson not being 100% healthy don’t expect that streak to end in week 15.
Randall Cobb: With it being the playoffs it would be pretty hard to bench Cobb, but maybe you own a couple other receivers with better matchups. Cobb has only broken 100 yards and scored a touchdown once in his last 5 games. If you own him, you probably have to start him. Just know that Buffalo has a strong pass defense and a big day out of Cobb is probably unlikely.
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Payton is the newest fantasy football contributor to The Sports Script. Be on the lookout for more of his work in the coming weeks and follow him on Twitter @PaySand!