Week 15 means all fantasy leagues should be in their respective playoffs. And if for some unknown reason you're not...shame on you. This is when the matchups really start to matter. Sure, you're starting your studs the rest of the way. But what about those two players vying for your flex spot? A quality matchup in one of the few remaining weeks could be what earns them the starting nod for your team.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (at OAK, vs. IND)
The Chiefs have found the perfect time to re-discover that Jamaal Charles is on their roster. Though it makes you wonder what took so long. Nevertheless, two games upcoming against two of the weaker run defenses in the league is reason to be enthusiastic. Add to it, the loss of Dwayne Bowe for the rest of the year and that's one more reason for Kansas City to use its main weapons.
2. Miami Dolphins (vs. JAC, vs. BUF)
Reggie Bush has epitomized the recent up-and-down nature of the Dolphins' offense, but matchups with the Jaguars and Bills could be the cure for what ails him. It could even be a shot in the arm for Ryan Tannehill and his receiving corps. It's probably not enough to automatically throw any Miami players in your lineup, but if you're torn between a couple of different guys, this could help you decide.
3. Carolina Panthers (at SD, vs. OAK)
Cam Newton has come alive in the second half of the season, scoring fantasy points with his arm as well as his legs. Now he gets to finish the fantasy season against a pair of defenses that have had their problems slowing quarterbacks at time this year. He's once again a legitimate dual-threat, deserves serious weekly starting consideration and is bringing Steve Smith with him.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at NO, vs. STL)
The Bucs might not make the playoffs, but that doesn't mean they can't help you win yours. Tampa Bay's Week 16 game against the Rams isn't great, but fantasy owners can certainly make hay with Josh Freeman, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin against the Saints defense in Week 15. That's almost like pillaging a spot in the fantasy Super Bowl.
5. New York Jets (at TEN, vs. SD)
A Week 15 game against the Titans could do wonders for the backfield duo of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Gang Green seems to have learned that you can't put the gam on the arm of Mark Sanchez, which means both backs could see a significant number of carries. That still might not be good enough in the final week against a Chargers team that could still be fighting for a playoff spot as well.
1. San Francisco 49ers (at NE, at SEA)
Colin Kaepernick's added dimension as a runner has made him more of a threat than Alex Smith -- and remains in line with San Francisco's philosophy as a run-first offense. Too bad they finish the season against two teams that have excelled at stopping the run this season. Between Kaepernick, Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree, there could be some fantasy points to be had. There just might not be many. And Vernon Davis? That's a headache most fantasy owners probably don't want right now.
2. Buffalo Bills (vs. SEA, at MIA)
Injuries to players are never a good thing. But Fred Jackson being out of the lineup could mean the Bills have to focus more of their efforts on getting the ball to C.J. Spiller. He'll have his work cut out for him over the next couple of weeks. But he's still a better option than Ryan Fitzpatrick and his band of merry targets.
3. Seattle Seahawks (at BUF, vs. SF)
This is a good news-bad news situation. It's good news that Russell Wilson leads an offense against the Bills this week. The bad news is that Wilson has struggled away from home this week and the Bills defense has started to play a little better. But it's good news that the 'Hawks are back home for Week 16. If only that game wasn't against the 49ers. Choose your matchups wisely -- which might mean avoiding some of these altogether.
4. Baltimore Ravens (vs. DEN, vs. NYG)
With a new offensive coordinator in the fold, the Ravens become something of a mystery. Hopefully, it means lots of Ray Rice. Considering the two defenses Baltimore will run up against in the next two weeks, the team's maddening offensive inconsistency makes just about anyone not named Rice a risky play.
5. Arizona Cardinals (vs. DET, vs. CHI)
Okay, so...Week 14 happened. Let's just leave it at that. All things considered, the Lions haven't been great against quarterbacks this season. Fortunately for the Lions, the Cardinals don't have a quarterback. They don't have much of a running game either. Then comes a game against a Bears team that could be fighting for its playoff life. Fantasy owners don't want any part of this.