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Start Carson Palmer, Sit Brandin Cooks in Week 15

Daniel Dobish December 15, 2016 8:57AM EST

QUARTERBACKS

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Kirk Cousins (Redskins) vs. Panthers: The Monday Night Football game between the Redskins and Panthers is expected to be a track meet, which is always very pleasing to Fantasy owners. Cousins will find plenty of open spaces against Carolina’s beleaguered pass defense, which ranks 30th in the NFL allowing 272.4 yards per game with 24 touchdowns allowed. They have also given up 11 pass plays of 40 or more yards, second-most in the NFC.

Carson Palmer (Cardinals) vs. Saints: Palmer will light up the Saints, a team allowing 268.3 yards per game with 39 pass plays of 20 or more yards allowed. Facing New Orleans will allow the good times to roll, as Palmer has cobbled together four straight games with two or more touchdown strikes. He had managed just three games with two or more TD strikes over his first eight starts. Finally, Palmer has re-emerged as the Fantasy option owners hoped for, and right in time for the playoffs.

Carson Palmer's matchup with the Saints is too good to pass up. Photo Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

Carson Palmer’s matchup with the Saints is too good to pass up. Photo Credit: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) at Cowboys: The Bucs will have plenty of difficulty trying to wend through the difficult Cowboys’ rush defense, so look for Winston to pass early and often against a Dallas pass defense ranking 28th in the NFL. For all of Dallas’ success, they have managed just five interceptions and are very susceptible to the big play, giving up 40 pass plays of 20 or more yards.

Sit ‘Em

Blake Bortles (Jaguars) at Texans: Bortles has faced a Top 10 pass defense for the better part of a month, as his Fantasy appeal has gone out the window with matchups against Denver, Minnesota and now Houston. The Texans rank fifth in the league allowing just 212.8 yards per game through the air, and their four pass plays of 40 or more yards is second-best in the league.

Tom Brady (Patriots) at Broncos: Fantasy owners who have ridden TB12 to this point can’t be terribly excited about his trip to the Mile High City this weekend. The Broncos are the only team allowing less than 200 yards per game through the air, and they’re the only pass defense with more interceptions than touchdowns allowed. Brady looked awfully good against a good Baltimore defense last weekend, but Denver is a whole different animal.

Andrew Luck (Colts) at Vikings: Luck has thrown for 262 or more yards in each of his past four outings and he has totaled 14 touchdowns with six interceptions over the past six games. However, with the exception of the Monday night game at N.Y. Jets two weeks ago against an overmatched Gang Green defense, Luck has been very regular on the road. He has thrown for just one touchdown in three of his six road outings. The Vikings won’t give him much, as they rank third in the NFL allowing just 202.2 yards per game with a total of 15 touchdowns through 13 games.

RUNNING BACKS

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LeGarrette Blount (Patriots) at Broncos: While the Broncos are expected to continue their outstanding pass defense, they have been poor against the run. Blount will tenderize their front seven in the first half and pile up big numbers in the second half in a game which is expected to be a defensive battle.

Devonta Freeman (Falcons) vs. 49ers: Freeman and his backfield partner in crime, Tevin Coleman, are going to go off for big stat lines in this one, especially if WR Julio Jones (toe) is limited or sidelined. The Niners rush defense is horrific this season, allowing a league-high 170.8 yards per game. Frisco has also allowed 15 runs of 20 or more yards and 4.9 yards per rush.

Lamar Miller (Texans) vs. Jaguars: Miller will gobble up huge chunks of real estate against a poor Jacksonville rush defense yielding 113.2 yards per game. That will lessen the sting with high-priced QB Brock Osweiler likely to struggle against a Top 5 pass defense. Miller has been dealing with an ankle and ribs injury, but who isn’t dinged up at this point of the season. He is coming off his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season, and he should produce a fifth one this weekend.

Sit ‘Em

Jeremy Hill (Bengals) vs. Steelers: Hill has posted mixed results since Giovani Bernard went down, giving way to Hill on a full-time basis. While he has managed a touchdown in each of his past two, and five of the past seven, his yardage totals and average per carry has been in the pichadu, outside of a solid performance last week in Cleveland. Hill will be back to his sub-3.0 yards per carry total against the fourth-ranked rush defense in the NFL. Pittsburgh held Hill to 22 yards on 11 carries in the Week 2 meeting, and you can expect more struggles this weekend.

Doug Martin (Buccaneers) at Cowboys: Martin will struggle against the NFC’s best rush defense, as Dallas yields just 83.1 yards per game. Martin is also likely to lose snaps to scat back Jacquizz Rodgers, who is nifty out of the backfield with his hands and has the ability to shake free of tacklers whereas Martin is better on the ground. If Tampa is to be successful in Dallas it will have to be with the pass game, because they won’t be running anywhere.

Ryan Mathews (Eagles) at Ravens: Mathews is expected back from injury with Darren Sproles banged up and a question mark, and Wendell Smallwood done for the season. Perhaps Mathews is back with 10-15 total touches, but facing a Baltimore rush defense ranking No. 1 in the league and averaging just 3.4 yards per carry won’t be good for any Philadelphia ball carrier.

WIDE RECEIVERS

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Jarvis Landry (Dolphins) at Jets: Landry watched his starting QB Ryan Tannehill (knee) go down to a knee injury. Backup Matt Moore came on and seemed to have quite a nice rapport with Landry, as the PPR standout posted his first 100-yard game since Week 3. Landry has four or more catches in each of his past five, and he is averaging 95.0 yards per game over the past two. Even with Moore under center Landry will be able to post big numbers, as Moore’s passing radius will not be as great and he’ll be looking to short to medium routes. That’s Landry specialty.

JJ Nelson (Cardinals) vs. Saints: Nelson is expected to step up and start opposite Larry Fitzgerald with the team jettisoning Michael Floyd this week after his DUI arrest. Nelson showed off his wheels last weekend with a receiving score and a 56-yard rushing touchdown in Miami. The Saints are horrible against the pass, allowing 268.3 yards per game, so expect Nelson to roll up several grabs, flirt with the century mark in yardage and continue his forays into the end zone.

Tyrell Williams (Chargers) vs. Raiders: Williams saw his four-game touchdown streak halted in Carolina last week, but look for a new streak to start Sunday against the Raiders. He posted five grabs for 117 yards and a touchdown against Oakland in the first meeting back on Oct. 9, one of three 100-yard performances. The Raiders rank 27th in the NFL against the pass, giving up 264.3 yards per game with a league-high 50 pass plays of 20 or more yards.

Sit ‘Em

Brandin Cooks (Saints) at Cardinals: Cooks was blanked three games ago with zero catches, and he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 10 against the Broncos. He’ll have a difficult time against an Arizona pass defense ranking second in the NFL by allowing just 13 touchdowns through 13 games with 12 interceptions. Cooks won’t be as big of a Fantasy killer in PPR leagues, as he should post several grabs, but he won’t help many in standard formats with a poor yardage total.

T.Y. Hilton (Colts) at Vikings: Hilton had a huge performance last weekend against the Texans, posting 115 yards with a touchdown for back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time this season, and his best stretch since a three-game triple-digit run in 2014. However, you can expect a huge drop in production this week against Minnesota, the team with the No. 3 pass defense in the NFL. The Vikings give up the least amount of points to opposing wideouts in the NFC, and second-least in the NFL.

Malcolm Mitchell (Patriots) at Broncos: Mitchell found the end zone Monday night against the Ravens, and continues to be a red zone target of Brady. However, the Patriots pass defense is really going to struggle against the league’s No. 1 unit and Mitchell should be limited to three catches for 30-35 yards. He isn’t someone you will want to rely upon in your Fantasy playoffs for this tough matchup.

TIGHT ENDS

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Ladarius Green (Steelers) at Bengals: Green burst back onto the scene two weeks ago by gutting the New York Giants for six grabs, 110 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. He slid back to mediocrity in Buffalo, as the Steelers leaned upon RB Le’Veon Bell early and often. Green and the pass game will be back in business this week against a Cincinnati defense allowing 82 catches, 937 yards and seven touchdowns against opposing defenses.

Kyle Rudolph (Vikings) vs. Colts: The Colts pass defense has allowed 73 receptions for 882 yards and four scores against opposing defenses. Rudolph will look to find the end zone for a second straight week while posting 45 or more yards for a fourth straight outing.

Sit ‘Em

Coby Fleener (Saints) at Carinals: Fleener did a big disappearing act last week in Tampa, posting just one grab while tying a season-low with six yards. Don’t expect a turnaround against an Arizona pass defense which ranks best against opposing tight ends by allowing just 40 grabs, 344 yards and just one touchdown.

Delanie Walker (Titans) at Chiefs: Walker, like everyone else in the Tennessee pass attack, struggled against Denver last week. Things do not figure to get better in Week 15, as the Chiefs have allowed just 45 grabs, 540 yards and two touchdowns against opposing tight ends.

KICKERS

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Dustin Hopkins (Redskins) vs. Panthers: Hopkins will post big numbers in what is expected to be a high-scoring game against the visiting Panthers on Monday night.

Sit ‘Em

Chris Boswell (Steelers) at Bengals: Boswell is a Fantasy player’s least favorite kicker, or at least head coach Mike Tomlin makes him so. He often gambles and goes for two after touchdowns, even early in games, rather than kick the point after. Boswell’s chances will be limited in Cincinnati in what could be a defensive battle.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

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Bills vs. Browns: It has been a great idea to use whatever defensive unit is facing the winless Cleveland Browns, and this weekend is no exception.

Sit ‘Em

Panthers at Redskins: Again, as mentioned, the Carolina-Washington Monday night game is expected to be a high-scoring affair, so steer clear of both of their defenses for Fantasy purposes.

 

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