NFL fantasy football: Week 15 game recaps

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Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens

Analysis by Michael Fabiano

The Broncos ran the football a ton for the second straight contest, as Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman combined for 36 carries. Moreno had another solid stat line with 118 yards, one touchdown and 18.60 fantasy points. He did leave the contest late, but it didn't look to be a concern. He's a must-start against the Cleveland Browns in Week 16. ... The team's success on the ground has hurt the value of Peyton Manning, who had 204 yards, one touchdown and 12.16 fantasy points. He has now scored fewer than 15 fantasy points in each of his last two starts. ... Amazingly, more than 50 percent of Manning's yards went to Eric Decker. The veteran went off for eight catches, 133 yards and one score. His teammate, Demaryius Thomas, wasn't as successful with just 13 yards. ... The Broncos defense recorded three sacks, a touchdown and 14 points.

Fantasy leaguers who started Ray Rice were likely knocked out of the postseason, as he put up 38 rushing yards and a mere 4.10 fantasy points. That was the fewest points Rice has scored in a game all season. ... Joe Flacco was unimpressive with 254 yards, two touchdowns, two turnovers and 13.96 fantasy points. He'll be a risk next week, even at home against the New York Giants and their questionable pass defese. ... Torrey Smith was held to just one reception and 14 yards before leaving with a possible concussion, while fellow wideout Anquan Boldin was held without a single catch. ... Dennis Pitta was a fantasy hero in this contest, at least for those who started him, recording seven catches, 125 yards, two touchdowns and 24.50 fantasy points. He'll be a hot name off the waiver wire for fantasy championship weekend.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Analysis by Jason Smith

Andrew Luck was under pressure virtually the entire game against Houston, and as a result he put up his second straight disappointing game in a row. Maybe his knee is holding him back a little bit, but he's still a tremendous start next week against Kansas City. ... Vick Ballard is also a great flex option for Week 16 after ripping off big chunk yardage against Houston in a 105-yard day. The running game is his, and he looked very good, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. ... T.Y. Hilton remains a good flex play, or even a low-end No. 2. He stretches the defense and has big-play potential every time he's on the field. Reggie Wayne had a TD reception called back due to a penalty, which would have made his day mediocre instead of miserable. Wayne's gradually slowed a bit since his tear to start the 2012 season, but you're still playing him against the Chiefs. Face it, you're playing all your weapons against K.C. - except for maybe Dwayne Allen, who's still too risk/reward to put in your lineup.

It was a pedestrian game for Arian Foster, but this is why NFL games are 60 minutes long. Foster had 75 yards rushing on the Texans final drive to finish with 16.5 fantasy points. The only thing missing was a touchdown or two but he had one called back after a holding penalty. ... Matt Schaub had a terrific matchup against this Colts D but had a typical day with 161 yards passing and a TD. Schaub remains a matchup-based starter and a low-end one at that after his last two weeks. ... Andre Johnson continued his late-season tear - just two 100-yard games and two TDs the first nine weeks, Dre Day has three century-plus games along with two scores in his last five. ... Owen Daniels had a four-point fantasy day. He's really slowed down the last five weeks - with over six fantasy points just once in that span. ... If you've been riding the Texans defense all year, no reason to stop next week - I can't see Christian Ponder coming in and lighting up the scoreboard. Yes, Adrian Peterson may get his yards, but as opportunistic a defense as Houston is, the possibility for big fantasy points is huge.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

Analysis by Akbar Gbajabiamila

Tampa Bay didn't show up to play in a big NFC South showdown. The Saints defense shutdown the entire Bucs operation while putting up 22 fantasy points. Don't look for the same production on defense against the Dallas Cowboys.

The New Orleans Saints looked like they are back to elite form bringing multiple talent into the fantasy fold. It all started with Drew Brees putting up 29 fantasy points. Brees is in late season form and is primed to continue to have a big game in the fantasy Super Bowl. Having Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Lance Moore, and Joe Morgan all put up double-digit fantasy points adds to the success factor of all the playmakers.

New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons

Analysis by Matt "Money" Smith

If you started any Giants, chances are it cost you the week, especially if Victor Cruz was a second round pick of yours and you rely on him for major production. Plain and simple, the Giants delivered last week to help you advance and this week there was nothing to be had. Shut out for the first time in over 15 years,the Giants rough week was led by Eli Manning and his two interceptions with no touchdowns. Coming off the biggest week in Giants history from an all-purpose yards standpoint, David Wilson did little outside of a first quarter 35-yard run to make you feel as though you lucked out by being awarded the claim in your league's waiver wire. Hakeem Nicks had one big reception, but like Wilson little else.

The flip side, of course, was the points bonanza the Falcons put up, save Roddy White who was nicked up going into is one, so we knew to proceed with caution if he was a start. Julio Jones scored two touchdowns, Tony Gonzales had one, while Michael Turner put one into the end zone for a productive afternoon. Meanwhile, one of the most productive QBs early this season, found his groove with nearly over 200 yards and 3 TDs and zero interceptions. Matt Ryan likely won people the week considering where he was drafted and the type of performance he submitted.

Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers

Analysis by Adam Rank

There weren't a lot of fantasy points scored in San Diego on Sunday. Cam Newton was expected to have a monster game, but thanks to being magnanimous (and perhaps to stick it to the Chargers), Mike Tolbert gobbled up a pair of quick scores early which limited Newton to just 17.94 points. Certainly not a game to kill your fantasy playoffs, but clearly not as many points as you would have figured or have liked. ... Newton's big score came on a touchdown pass to DeAngelo Williams. Yes, let that sink in for a few moments, Williams has now had back-to-back solid fantasy performances. A lost fumble kept him from having a 20-point fantasy performance. ... Steve Smith caught a touchdown pass and finished with 13.20 fantasy points. The Panthers play host to the Raiders next week, so Newton, Williams and Smith are all viable starts in Week 16.

Philip Rivers continued his disappointing season. Rivers couldn't get anything going and it clearly hurt the production of Danario Alexander who had a string of double-digit performances snapped with a donut. That's right, Alexander scored zero points for you in your fantasy semi-finals. ... And if you've held out hope for Ryan Mathews to have any fantasy production for you this season, it's over. Mathews broke his clavicle early in this one.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys

Analysis by Elliot Harrison

In perhaps Sunday's most exciting day, the two starting quarterbacks made it quite interesting. From a fantasy angle, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger had a nice day accumulating nearly 20 fantasy points, but with his shaky offensive line, I can't recommend playing Roethlisberger versus the Bengals' pass rush. Check your options. Ditto the Steelers running backs. Jonathan Dwyer scored a touchdown, but only gained 22 yards rushing. As far as wideout, I think you have to play Mike Wallace as a WR2 and Antonio Brown as a flex (especially in return leagues!) Both had nice days at Cowboys Stadium and benefitted from Roethlisberger's ability to buy time. Brown was in double digits, while Wallace racked up 95 yards receiving. And, once again, Heath Miller looked strong with 92 yards and a touchdown. He's a must start.

Tony Romo continues his strong play at quarterback, and is a must start versus the Saints defense. His mobility is unparalleled as it relates to evading pressure, and he somehow makes up for a deficient offensive line. ... DeMarco Murray proved doubters wrong against the top-ranked Steelers defense, having a 15-point day while being relevant in the passing game. He has the coaching staff's confidence in short yardage, which makes any running back viable in fantasy. ... Dez Bryant's finger is a huge concern, but wouldn't you know it, the dude got into the end zone again. The Cowboys look to him so often in the red zone that you have to play him. Miles Austin came up with a nice game as well, getting 79 yards receiving. That might not look great on paper, but how often have you failed to even sniff eight points in your flex spot this season? The Saints present a nice matchup and Austin could get you in that 8-10 point range. Lastly, Jason Witten put up over 10 points in a game that saw him get into the end zone. Romo still looks for Witten on third down often, and with New Orleans coming to town...well, you have to think that's an easier matchup than the Steelers defense.

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