LIONS INSIDER

Fantasy Football Analysis: Who to start, who to sit - Week 15

Posted Dec 13, 2012

Tim Twentyman offers his advice to fantasy football owners. Among some of the top picks this week: start Bucs' QB Josh Freeman, sit Bears' RB Matt Forte.

It’s playoff time in Fantasy Football land and in most cases this week will decide who plays in the Super Bowl in your league. Here’s a few keys heading into this week’s slate of games:

LIONS' FIVE

Lions defense, MUST Start: It’s been a pretty good strategy to start whatever defense has been playing the Cardinals.  Opposing defenses have scored double-digit points in each of the last four games against Arizona.

Tony Scheffler, TE, Start: Scheffler’s been targeted 15 times over the last two weeks and that number could go up significantly if Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) isn’t able to play. The Cardinals have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in three straight games.

Joique Bell, RB, Start: I’d still start Leshoure over Bell, but Bell could be a nice flex option this week. He’s continued to get carries and has scored at least 10 points in two of his last three games. The Cardinals have allowed double-digit points to running backs in four straight games with five touchdowns over that span.

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Start: Leshoure has scored double-digit points in three of his last four games with three touchdowns over that span. The Cardinals defense allowed four rushing touchdowns last week.

Kris Durham, WR, Sit: Durham got a solid five points last week on 54 yards, but the Cardinals have the league’s fifth-ranked pass defense and have allowed only one receiving touchdown over their last four games.

START

Josh Freeman, QB, Bucs: Just look at what the Bucs signal caller did in the first meeting vs. New Orleans Week 7. He had 420 yards, three touchdowns and 35 fantasy points, his highest total of the season. The Saints are allowing the most points to quarterbacks this year.

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers: Wallace was an easy sit when he didn’t have Ben Roethlisberger throwing him the football. Big Ben was back last week, though, and Wallace had seven catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers are fighting for a playoff spot and Roethlisberger is likely to dial up his favorite target early and often Sunday at Dallas.

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Olsen has 21 points in his past two games against the Chiefs and Falcons, with four touchdowns in his past five outings. The Chargers are the fifth-best team against tight ends on the year, but have allowed three touchdowns over their last five games to the position.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Murray has over 20 carries in each of his last two games and has recorded 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Steelers are allowing the fourth-fewest points to running backs but have allowed four touchdowns in their last six games.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: The backfield is once again all Spiller’s now that Fred Jackson is on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Seahawks are good against the run (No. 10 in league), but have given up an average of 22.5 points to backs in their last two on the road.

SIT

Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Interesting stat for Forte when it comes to playing the Packers – he’s never rushed for 100 yards against them in his career. He’s only scored one touchdown, too. He’s averaged 49.5 yards against the Packers throughout his career.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was recently fired and he’s facing a Broncos team who held some pretty big names (Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Andy Dalton) under 18 points.

49ers defense: They’ve been the fifth-best defense all year, but only the Cardinals in Week 2 were able to score double-digit points when facing the Patriots. The Patriots are averaging 36 points per game and have only 10 turnovers all year.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Injuries have plagued Wells all season (what’s new) and he simply can’t be relied on from week-to-week. He has one double-digit output this year and the Lions haven’t allowed a double-digit point rusher in three of their last four games.

Eli Manning, QB, Giants: In his past four road games at San Francisco, Dallas, Cincinnati and Washington, Manning has a combined 39 points with only two touchdowns.

SLEEPERS

Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers: Alexander has quietly become a consistent fantasy contributor with double-digit points in four of his last five games. He’s coming off a two-touchdown performance at Pittsburgh last week and faces a Panthers defense that’s allowed five receiving touchdowns over the past four games.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns: If you have RG3 and are scrambling for an available backup, Weeden might suffice this week. The Redskins have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and nine have scored at least 23 points.

Mike Tolbert, RB, Panthers: The Panthers are still without Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and Tolbert is back in San Diego, where he spent the first four seasons of his career.

Dallas Clark, TE, Bucs: Remember when he was in Indy and was a must-start every week? He scored his only touchdown of the season against the Saints in Week 7. The Saints have allowed a tight end to score in four out of their last five games.

Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: Gordon has been targeted 20 times the last two weeks with 14 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown. The Redskins have allowed  15 receiving touchdowns this year.