Immediately after you read this post, drop what you’re doing and finish your Christmas shopping. What you get doesn’t matter, you just need something. Get little Jane a black banana, and little Billy a fresh new onion. Completion is the only end goal, because Sunday distractions need to be eliminated, and if you ignore traffic lights you can probably get everything done before the Thursday nighter.
This is more than just fantasy playoff time now, because for some leagues it’s championship week. You’ve been cementing that couch groove for 14 weeks, but now the distractions of December can cause a lapse in focus, leading to something dangerous and deadly, like DeMarco Murray owners neglecting to pick up Felix Jones. Don’t waste three months of time wasting.
Yes, remarkably it’s Week 15, and the third week of our composite rankings with Yahoo’s Brandon Funston, ESPN’s Matthew Berry, NFL.com’s Michael Fabiano, and Dave Richard of CBSSports.com. This means that in just a few weeks we’ll all have to just watch a football game for the sake of watching a football game, and we’ll have no personal stake in a team called Brady Quinn, Medicine Woman.
This is sad and frightening, and it’ll be even worse if you lose to your roommate, and the loser has to get a tattoo of a scorpion-horse man.
You have to win this week, so here’s some guidance from me, and four other guys who probably know more than me. I break the ties in the “average” column, because I’ve given myself that power.
|1. Aaron Rodgers (@KC)||2||1||1||3||1.75|
|2. Drew Brees (@MIN)||1||2||3||1||1.75|
|3. Tom Brady (@DEN)||3||3||2||4||3|
|4. Tony Romo (@TB)||5||5||5||2||4.25|
|5. Matthew Stafford (@OAK)||6||4||7||5||5.50|
|6. Eli Manning (vs. WAS)||4||6||6||6||5.50|
|7. Tim Tebow (vs. NE)||9||8||4||8||7.25|
|8. Cam Newton (@HOU)||7||7||10||9||8.25|
|9. Matt Ryan (vs. JAC)||8||11||8||7||8.50|
|10. Michael Vick (vs. NYJ)||11||9||13||10||10.75|
|11. Philip Rivers (vs. BAL)||10||10||9||15||11|
|12. Carson Palmer (vs. DET)||19||12||15||12||14.50|
|13. Andy Dalton (@STL)||12||20||14||13||14.75|
|14. Rex Grossman (@NYG)||13||19||17||11||15|
|15. Mark Sanchez (@PHI)||17||14||19||16||16.50|
There’s a predictable consensus at the top with Rodgers and Brees. On the bottom end, Grossman’s cannon could quickly be neutralized by a Giants pass rush that’s tied for sixth with 36 sacks, and is led by Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s been particularly beastly of late with two sacks last week, and 12.5 overall. Those aren’t favorable numbers for Grossman while he’s playing behind an offensive line that’s allowed their quarterback to be hit 92 times this year.
If you’re desperately searching for some insurance since it’s looking like Ben Roethlisberger may not start, hopefully you acquired depth during the season in the second and third tier of quarterbacks. I’d favor Matt Moore, Dalton, or Palmer over Grossman, and the Raiders veteran is especially appealing because he’s facing a Detroit defense that could still be greatly depleted, and Denarius Moore should be set to return.
|1. Arian Foster (vs. CAR)||1||1||1||2||1.25|
|2. Ray Rice (@SD)||2||2||2||3||2.25|
|3. Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. ATL)||4||5||6||1||4|
|4. LeSean McCoy (vs. NYJ)||3||3||5||8||4.75|
|5. Adrian Peterson (vs. NO)||6||6||7||Not ranked||4.75|
|6. Chris Johnson (@IND)||7||4||4||5||5|
|7. Michael Bush (vs. DET)||5||9||3||4||5.25|
|8. Marshawn Lynch (@CHI)||8||7||11||9||8.75|
|9. Shonn Greene (@PHI)||15||13||8||7||10.75|
|10. Roy Helu (@NYG)||11||10||10||13||11|
|11. Beanie Wells (vs. CLE)||17||8||15||6||11.50|
|12. Felix Jones (@TB)||10||11||13||12||11.50|
|13. Reggie Bush (@BUF)||12||12||14||10||12|
|14. Michael Turner (vs. JAC)||13||14||9||14||12.50|
|15. Cedric Benson (@STL)||9||20||16||11||14|
|16. Ryan Mathews (vs. BAL)||16||15||17||19||16.75|
|17. LeGarrette Blount (vs. DAL)||18||21||12||16||16.75|
|18. Steven Jackson (vs. CIN)||20||16||20||21||19.25|
|19. Willis McGahee (vs. NE)||14||17||21||25||19.25|
|20. Darren Sproles (@MIN)||22||19||19||18||19.50|
I’m confused over the confusion surrounding Benson, as there’s a difference of seven spots between his highest and lowest ranking. Sure, Benson hasn’t exactly been a reliable, powerhouse rusher, and he’s had six games with less than 60 yards. But he’ll be running against St. Louis, a team with the worst rush defense in the league (averaging 156.8 yards per game), and with both Sam Bradford and A.J. Feeley hurting, this game could get really bad, really fast.
That’ll mean more one-on-one time with the football for Benson as he’s asked to grind the clock down, just like Murray did for the Cowboys back in Week 7 in a blowout game when he had 253 rushing yards. In fact, if you have Murray and were beaten to Jones, there’s little reason for concern this week if you can bring Benson off your bench.
The other prominent note here is Richard taking the overly-cautious approach with Peterson and excluding him entirely, presumably because of his lingering ankle injury. Peterson is on track to start despite being limited in practice this week, and he has a favorable matchup against a New Orleans front seven that’s giving up 4.9 yards per carry.
|1. Wes Welker (@DEN)||1||1||2||7||2.75|
|2. Hakeem Nicks (vs. WAS)||6||2||3||4||3.75|
|3. Calvin Johnson (@OAK)||3||3||1||9||4|
|4. Roddy White (vs. JAC)||2||7||5||2||4|
|5. A.J. Green (@STL)||5||8||4||8||6.25|
|6. Jordy Neslon (@KC)||4||6||6||15||7.75|
|7. Victor Cruz (vs. WAS)||8||5||8||10||7.75|
|8. Larry Fitzgerald (vs. CLE)||7||10||11||3||7.75|
|9. Percy Harvin (vs. NO)||12||11||9||1||8.25|
|10. Mike Wallace (@SF)||13||4||10||11||9.50|
|11. Marques Colston (@MIN)||9||12||7||13||10.25|
|12. Steve Smith (@HOU)||10||13||19||12||13.50|
|13. Laurent Robinson (@TB)||11||15||26||6||14.50|
|14. Stevie Johnson (vs. MIA)||22||19||16||5||15.50|
|15. Antonio Brown (@SF)||15||14||15||19||15.75|
|16. Brandon Marshall (@BUF)||16||16||13||18||15.75|
|17. Miles Austin (@TB)||14||20||14||22||17.50|
|18. Dez Bryant (@TB)||20||17||20||14||17.75|
|19. Julio Jones (vs. JAC)||21||18||18||17||18.50|
|20. Santana Moss (@NYG)||25||24||17||21||21.75|
I would have accepted Welker as low as about the No. 8 hole. But c’mon Richard, 15th?
I understand the Champ Bailey effect, and the Gronk effect, and the overall God effect whenever Tebow is present. But Welker’s averaging 117.3 yards per game on the road, and eight of his nine touchdowns have come when the Patriots are far away from Foxboro.
Richard’s stance on Nelson is also troubling. He’s the Packers’ No.1 wideout now with Greg Jennings out for the remainder of the regular season. I understand some apprehension about how Rodgers will adjust to life without Jennings, and I understand that Brandon Flowers is still tied for third in the AFC with four interceptions.
However, the Chiefs’ secondary is still giving up a mediocre 7.7 yards per pass attempt, and Nelson has 175 receiving yards over his last two games.
Richard is beyond being against the grain with his wide receivers. He takes the grain, destroys it, and makes a new grain that runs vertically on his piece of fantasy wood, which is impossible, but he makes it work. Throw in his rankings for Stevie Johnson and Laurent Robinson, and rolling with Richard’s receiver advice is like turning down the first showcase in the Showcase showdown on the Price is Right.
You may have just turned down the car and RV you don’t need for a trip around the world. Or maybe you get a new kitchen set, complete with a stainless steel sink.
|1. Rob Gronkowski (@DEN)||1||1||2||1||1.25|
|2. Jimmy Graham (@MIN)||2||2||4||2||2.50|
|3. Antonio Gates (vs. BAL)||3||4||1||5||3.25|
|4. Tony Gonzalez (vs. JAC)||4||3||5||6||4.50|
|5. Jermichael Finley (@KC)||5||6||3||4||4.50|
|6. Jason Witten (@TB)||6||5||7||3||5.25|
|7. Owen Daniels (vs. CAR)||7||8||6||12||8.25|
|8. Brandon Pettigrew (@OAK)||9||10||8||7||8.50|
|9. Aaron Hernandez (@DEN)||8||7||9||11||8.75|
|10. Vernon Davis (vs. PIT)||11||9||14||13||11.75|
|11. Dustin Keller (@PHI)||12||12||15||9||12|
|12. Kellen Winslow (vs. DAL)||10||14||11||16||12.75|
|13. Jake Ballard (vs. WAS)||14||11||12||17||13.50|
|14. Jermaine Gresham (@STL)||15||16||13||10||13.50|
|15. Greg Olsen (@HOU)||16||13||19||8||14|
Unless there’s a particularly horrific matchup, it’s quite difficult to slot Jimmy Graham any lower than No. 2. But Funston found a way, likely due to apprehension after the Saints tight end was hobbled last Sunday due to a back injury.
With the divide much more rigid among the tight ends than any other position, this remains the main area of consensus. However, Keller should be several slots lower, and perhaps flipped with Ballard.
Keller hasn’t been stretching the field down the middle recently like he was earlier in the year, and he’s averaging only 6.6 yards per catch over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Ballard and Winslow are both averaging at least 40 yards per game since Week 12, which is fine production from a second tier tight end.