by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 15 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Adrian Peterson – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
It was a shocking development that Peterson was going to return this week, but now it adds an intriguing twist for fantasy owners. According to Bob Holtzman of ESPN:
I asked one of Adrian Peterson’s teammates how Peterson looked behind closed doors at practice this week and here’s what he said: “He looked ready to me. Looks like Adrian.”
Given the lengthy absence it remains to be seen exactly how much usage Peterson is going to get this week. In fact there appears to be significant doubt in regards to his usage this week. According to Mike Triplett of ESPN (click here for the article):
“Peterson says he’s playing Sunday, but the Vikings have cautioned this week that he’s got some things to get reacquainted with, particularly considering the fact Pat Shurmur wasn’t the offensive coordinator the last time Peterson played,” Goessling said. “The Vikings have been in the shotgun two-thirds of the time since Shurmur took over for Norv Turner, and shotgun sets haven’t exactly been Peterson’s preferred method of getting the ball. Still, the Vikings are likely to use him for the potential of explosive plays.”
Hardly a must use option, depending on your alternatives be willing to fire him up as a TD dependent RB2/FLEX.
Kenneth Farrow – Running Back – San Diego Chargers
With Melvin Gordon out you know fantasy owners are hoping that Farrow can step up and fill the role. That said Ronnie Hillman is going to be involved, so it’s not like Farrow is going to assume a full-time role and all of the touches left behind.
While he did get 16 carries in Week 14, he didn’t do much with them (55 yards) though he also draws a favorable matchup (Oakland has allowed the sixth most points per week to opposing running backs over the past four weeks) and has proven capable in the passing game. Does that make him a great play? Of course not, but there is some upside. Depending on your alternative he’s a RB2 (especially in a PPR league), but more likely a FLEX in all formats.
Alshon Jeffrey – Wide Receiver – Chicago Bears
Jeffrey returns from a four-game suspension and should step immediately back into the top receiver role (as no one stepped up in his absence). Of course he’s going to have to deal with Matt Barkley as his QB, as well as the elements playing a role. Sure there are going to be opportunities, but it’s impossible to trust him as anything more than an upside WR3 given the obstacles ahead of him.
Rashard Jennings – Running Back – New York Giants
We all know that the Giants haven’t been a very good run offense this season, and now Jennings will have to battle a solid run defense all also the potential loss of touches to Shane Vereen. As Jordan Raanan tweeted:
Shane Vereen cleared from concussion protocol, per sources. #Giants should finally have Vereen + LG Justin Pugh back
Consider Jennings nothing more than a RB3 at this point, given the questions hanging over him.
Amari Cooper & Michael Crabtree – Wide Receiver – Oakland Raiders
Both of the Raiders top wide receivers are listed as questionable, and both are also coming off poor performances in Week 14. That said both also posted solid numbers in the previous matchup with San Diego:
- Cooper – 6 receptions, 138 yards, 1 TD
- Crabtree – 3 receptions, 47 yards, 1 TD
Obviously Cooper had the better day, but Crabtree has enjoyed his own share of big performances this season. That said the matchup is not a strong one, with San Diego allowing the second fewest yards over the past four weeks to opposing wide receivers (357, more than just the Denver Broncos). While both are viable options (we’d have Cooper ranked ahead), neither should be viewed as a must use player depending on your alternative.
Mark Ingram – Running Back – New Orleans Saints
He’s going to play, but he draws one of the toughest run defenses in the league in the Arizona Cardinals (second fewest points per game to opposing running backs). He also has hardly been a dependable option of late, getting seven carries in three of the past four games. Part of that is due to his injury, but it’s not the sole reason (as Tim Hightower and Travis Cadet will remain in the game plan). Just keep in mind that Ingram has topped 80 yards twice this season (and 62 yards just three times) and neither of his big performances came courtesy of a hefty workload:
- at San Francisco – 15 carries for 158 yards and 1 TD
- vs. Los Angeles – 14 carries for 146 yards and 1 TD
He has the potential to pop off a big game, but there’s also a very low floor. With your title on the line, you’d be wise to look towards an alternate option.
Michael Thomas – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
The question with Thomas is whether or not he’s going to draw Patrick Peterson, or if the Cardinals’ star corner back will instead get matched up against Brandin Cooks. If Peterson is shadowing Cooks, along with the Cardinals’ strong run defense, Thomas’ upside would be rather high. Of course if Peterson is lining up across from him the floor suddenly plummets. Coming off an injury he’s going to be a boom or bust option, but figure him as more a WR3 depending your alternatives.
A.J. Green – Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals
Listed as doubtful it’s highly unlikely that Green plays today. According to Britt McHenry (via Twitter):
“AJ Green noy likely to go Sun, but I’m told they still plan on working him out early before gm, see if he can do anything. Not optimistic”
In other words, even if he dresses the chances of him doing much is unlikely. Don’t plan on utilizing him.
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN
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