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Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em

Josh Freeman looks to keep Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes alive Sunday in New Orleans. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This December 14, 2012, 01:30 PM EST
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Still alive in the quest for fantasy glory? Then join us Sunday morning beginning at 10:30am eastern for our one-hour GameDay fantasy live chat. Topics of discussion include Starts & Sits, injury updates, weather reports, point spread selections and more.

FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 5-9)

Last week: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+2.5) vs. New York Jets (loss)

If you had bet $1,000,000 fading each of these picks this season, you would currently be up $3.5 million on the year. That’s enough to buy Dick Clark’s former Malibu beach residence. You’re welcome.

ARIZONA CARDINALS (+6.5) vs. Detroit Lions: Why the hell not?

LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS

Week 15 marks the start of the LVH SuperContest’s “Mini-contest,” in which $10,000 will be awarded to the contestant that posts the best record over the final three weeks of the season.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys
ATLANTA FALCONS (-1.5) vs. New York Giants
DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+3) at Oakland Raiders
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-5.5) at Buffalo Bills (at Toronto)

CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.

FANDUEL WEEK 15 SALARY CAP CHALLENGE

We saw a big response to the new format we implemented last Sunday, so we’re going to expand on that concept for this week. Introducing Fanduel’s $65,000 Bomb Tournament. First place pays a healthy $8,500, with cash prizes being awarded all the way down to 255th place. Winning this bad boy could make for a very merry Christmas.

CLICK HERE to enter!

START ‘EM UP

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Saints): You couldn’t ask for a better showdown than the one Freeman’s walking into in Week 15. Through 13 starts this season, the Saints are surrendering an average of 297.6 passing yards and 2.07 touchdowns per game to opposing signal-callers, which amounts to a staggering 24.8 fantasy points per matchup (most in NFL). Freeman has thrown for over 300 yards in two of his last three starts against New Orleans and has the added incentive of postseason hope aiding his preparations. We’re expecting fireworks in this one.

Ryan MathewsThis appears to be a picture of Ryan Mathews scoring a touchdown--something he has only done once this season.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Panthers): His overall stat line for 2012 has fallen well short of expectations as Mathews has yet to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game this season and hasn’t found the end zone since October 7. But we liked the way he ran last week at Pittsburgh (25-65-0) and think Sunday’s showdown against the Carolina Panthers offers an enticing Start opportunity. Ron Rivera’s defense is currently surrendering an average of 20.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (sixth-most in NFL), which includes a league-high 648 receiving yards allowed to the RB position on the year. Hopefully the Chargers recognize this and try to incorporate Mathews into Sunday’s passing attack.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. Redskins): The rookie from Baylor is averaging 8.25 targets per game over his last four starts and has a soft Week 15 matchup with a Washington Redskins defense that ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass (289.3 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 27.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (second-most in NFL). Having won three straight, the Browns are playing their best football at the moment. We expect a solid effort here.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at Raiders): He’s topped 100 rushing yards in four of his last five starts and faces a defense on Sunday that is giving up an average of 22.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (third-most in NFL). Take note that the Raiders have surrendered 11 rushing touchdowns and an average of 165.0 rushing yards per game over their last six starts.

Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints (vs. Buccaneers): He’s amassed 21 targets, 11 receptions and 210 receiving yards over the last three weeks and the last time he squared-off against the Buccaneers, Moore rolled up nine catches for 121 yards. Tampa ranks dead last in the NFL in pass defense (311.6 yds/gm) and is giving up more fantasy points to opposing wideouts than any other team in the league (28.7 pts/gm). The 29-year-old makes for an excellent WR2/3 in Week 15.

Dennis Pitta, WR, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Broncos): Pitta’s found the end zone in three of his last five games and has a tasty Week 15 matchup with a Denver Broncos defense that is surrendering an average of 9.9 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (third-most in NFL). In addition, the Broncos have already given up nine touchdowns to opposing TEs in 2012, which is tied for first with the Washington Redskins.

Detroit Lions, D/ST (at Cardinals): Arizona ranks dead last in the NFL in both total offense (269.5 pts/gm) and scoring (14.3 pts/gm), which makes it unsurprising to learn that no team in the league is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing D/STs than the Cardinals (14.9 pts/gm). Looking for a favorable D/ST matchup for Week 15 that is still sitting on the waiver wire? Here you go.

SIT ‘EM DOWN

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Steelers): His most prolific weapon (Dez Bryant) is nursing a fractured left index finger while his opponent is nursing a bruised ego suffered in last weekend’s humiliating home loss to the San Diego Chargers. With Cincinnati winning on Thursday night, you can take it to the bank that Pittsburgh is going to come ready to play in Week 15. The Steelers currently lead the NFL in total defense (262.4 yds/gm), passing defense (169.2 yds/gm) and fantasy points surrendered to opposing quarterbacks (13.7 pts/gm). Take note that Dallas is 5-17 against the spread in their last 22 home games.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills (vs. Seahawks, in Toronto): With Fred Jackson done for the year, Spiller will be tasked with handling a very high percentage of the Buffalo workload for the remainder of the season. In theory, that should be music to fantasy owner’s ears. The problem, however, is the fact that Seattle currently ranks 11th in the NFL in run defense (105.4 yds/gm) while giving up an average of just 14.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (t-fourth-fewest in NFL). In addition, the Seahawks have surrendered just two rushing touchdowns over their last four outings while winning four of their last five games. This team and its defense are red-hot right now.

Kenny BrittICONBritt (left) is coming off a big game against the Colts. Unfortunately, we don't think that trend will spill over into Week 15.

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (vs. Jets): Britt has found the end zone in two of his last three starts and is coming off a very impressive showing against the Indianapolis Colts (8 receptions, 143 yards on 9 targets). But Monday night offers a stiff test in the New York Jets, who currently rank third in the NFL against the pass (196.0 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of just 17.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (third-fewest in NFL). It’s hard to believe, but the Jets are still in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Titans are going to be facing a highly motivated team in this spot.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis Colts (at Texans): A respectable waiver wire acquisition in 2012, we advise you to stay away from Ballard this Sunday. The rookie from Mississippi State has found the end zone only twice this season, has yet to eclipse 100 rushing yards in a game and is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry through 13 appearances. On the other side of the field, you can bet the Texans are coming into this one pissed off after getting throttled at New England on Monday night. The last thing Houston needs right now is for Indianapolis to think they have a realistic shot at winning the AFC South. Look for a big effort from Wade Phillip’s defense on Sunday, which is surrendering an average of just 12.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (fourth-fewest in NFL).

Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots (vs. 49ers): Lloyd was held out of the end zone in seven of his previous eight starts prior to last Monday’s performance (7-89-2) against the Houston Texans, so we aren’t about to change our overall opinion of him based on one game. The bottom line is that Lloyd has amassed 45 or fewer yards in six of his last seven outings and takes on a San Francisco defense this Sunday night that ranks second in the NFL against the pass (184.7 yds/gm) while giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing wideouts than any other team in the league (16.4 pts/gm). Leave this guy on the bench this weekend.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers (at Chargers): He’s scored four touchdowns over his last five starts, but we think it’s best for owners to look for a tight end with a more favorable Week 15 matchup than Olsen. The Bolts are giving up an average of just 6.5 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (fifth-fewest in NFL) and when you couple that with the fact that Carolina is traveling all the way across the country to face a non-conference opponent, we don’t see all that much upside.

San Francisco 49ers, D/ST (at Patriots): The Patriots are scoring an other-worldly 36.3 points per game this season and are at home on Sunday night, where they thrive in December football games. The Niners should make this one interesting, but we aren’t banking on their D/ST to deliver the goods like they have in previous weeks.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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