The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 12, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 15 Cheat Sheet

Get-into-finals-free card?

By Eric Pehowic
The Daily Item

Whether you were in the playoffs last week -- congratulations, you're in a good league -- or if you start in the semifinals. The best of the best are rostering teams this week for a seat in the championship.

Barring injury, your team probably doesn't need any help. You're going to start the players that got you here.

However, you should consider one addition.

PICK UP: Jacob Tamme, TE, Denver

After Wes Welker's brain bruise last week -- his second in four weeks -- Tamme played in 45-of-46 snaps.

Tamme finished with a less-than-sizzling four catches on five targets for 47 yards. But that was nearly identical catch and yardage performance to his game Nov. 24, when he caught five-of-five for 47 and a touchdown. That performance led the Broncos' receivers in a 34-31 loss to the Patriots.

The other options to pick up Welker's slack are Andre Caldwell, Virgil Green and Joel Dreessen. Caldwell has a 17.4 yards per catch average. one of his catches was a 36-yarder. The others' statistics are irrelevant.

Caldwell could be the call, but my money is on Tamme, who is available in 87% of Yahoo leagues.

Fantasy football semifinalists who have a weak flex player, or who lost Rob Gronkowski to injury, should pick up Tamme and start him with confidence.

SIT: The Giants. Yes, all of them

Like I said on Monday, players across the NFL have been defying the matchups, but past performance is one of our strongest tools.

If the fantasy points against are right, the Giants will be as cruddy against the Seahawks Sunday as they have been all year.

No team has been stingier across all six of the fantasy football positions in the last five weeks. Seattle has allowed the third-least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and has been the toughest matchup for opposing wide receivers and defenses over the span. The Seahawks allowed the sixth-least points to opposing tight ends and eighth-least points to opposing kickers.

The only matchup that isn't extremely poor is at running back, where the Seahawks have allowed 20.2 fantasy points over the last five weeks. That makes them 11th-toughest against opposing running backs.

It's tough to sit Victor Cruz and Andre Brown, but if you've made it to the semis with those guys on your roster you probably have other options. Consider those options this week.

SHOOTOUT OF THE WEEK: Broncos at Chargers, Thursday Night

Tonight's matchup between Denver and San Diego is looking like the fantasy gold mine of the week.

Vegas' early betting line has an over/under of 54, the highest in the league this week. Denver is favored by 10, making for a projected 32-22 win. 

Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and, maybe, Ladarius Green, should put up some points, at least in garbage time. 

It's also a great matchup for Ryan Mathews, who has more 100-yard games (4) than everybody in the league except LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson, who have five each. The Chargers' other running back, Danny Woodhead, is a solid PPR play.

A lot has been said already about the Broncos offensive weapons, who are virtually matchup proof, but fantasy owners who rode the Chargers' early hot streak, or Mathews strong performance over the last few weeks, should have a pretty strong lead going into the Sunday contests.

PLAYOFF BONUS: SHOOTOUT II: Washington at Atlanta

It's the playoffs, so here's a little something extra for you. Vegas is predicting the Falcons will score the second-most points this week, 28, against Washington. The early over/under and line point to a 28-22 game, which means four touchdowns on Atlanta's side and three on Washington's side.

Fantasy points against over the last five weeks points us to big games from: RBs Alfred Morris and Steven Jackson, TE Tony Gonzalez, K Kai Forbath and the Falcons defense.

PLAYOFF BONUS II: Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
Tannehill's not getting any love in the early rankings, but fantasy owners who have made the semifinals with a musical chairs approach at quarterback should consider him this week.
Tannehill has posted at least a top-15 fantasy QB performance in each of the last five weeks. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees can't say that. Tannehill isn't leading the league in points or anything, but he's been in the top 10 in each of the last three weeks and has a good, on paper, matchup against the Patriots.
He's also available in 71% of Yahoo leagues.

Good luck this week.