Fantasy matchups: Jones should produce in Week 15

By Derick Moss

THURSDAY

Denver at Houston
8 p.m., NFL Network

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS

Suit 'em up: Selvin Young starts in the backfield, is coming off a big game, and figures to be a solid RB2. Brandon Marshall remains a WR1, and with other receivers hurting, Ben Watson might even be a play at tight end.

Sit 'em down: Don't expect Jay Cutler to throw four touchdown passes this week against a Texans defense that can put pressure on the quarterback. Brandon Stokley and Javon Walker are game-time decisions, so look elsewhere for help.

SCOUTING THE TEXANS

Suit 'em up: It's time to stop fawning over the Denver secondary. Yes, it's seventh against the pass, but it's also allowed 21 touchdowns this season, sixth most in the league. Houston will be forced to take to the air, so Sage Rosenfels is a nice QB2, Andre Johnson (despite being covered by Champ Bailey) remains a top option, Owen Daniels is a TE1 and even Kevin Walter might be of some use.

Sit 'em down: Ron Dayne likely won't play, meaning that Darius Walker and Adimchinobe Echemandu will split carries. Neither is much of an option, with Walker getting a slight edge.


SATURDAY

Cincinnati at San Francisco
8 p.m., ESPN

SCOUTING THE BENGALS

Suit 'em up: It's hard not to like most of the Bengals in this one, especially in the passing game. Carson Palmer should have a fine day, and Rudi Johnson (TDs in his last three games) has resumed his role as the featured back and is a good RB2 play.

Sit 'em down: Chris Henry started fast but has faded since returning from suspension, and Kenny Watson has virtually dropped off the radar since Johnson's resurgence.

SCOUTING THE 49ERS

Suit 'em up: If you need quarterback depth off the bench, take a waiver wire shot at Shaun Hill, who looked pretty good last week in his debut and faces the 25th-ranked pass defense this week. Frank Gore is a safe RB2, and with other receivers limited, Vernon Davis could be a TE1 this week.

Sit 'em down: Despite a touchdown last week, Arnaz Battle is not healthy at all and could see his snaps limited. No other receiver is worth looking at.


SUNDAY

New England at New York Jets
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE PATRIOTS

Suit 'em up: It's hard to sit any Patriots any week, but this game could be a little more low-scoring than you think. Three reasons: 1) The Jets are ranked 11th against the pass, 2) This game takes on a personal tone between coaches and players and 3) there might be a snow storm to deal with. Go ahead and start the usual Patriots, but temper your expectations.

Sit 'em down: Laurence Maroney might get more than eight carries this week, but the Pats are so pass-happy that he can't really be relied on as more than a flex play.

SCOUTING THE JETS

Suit 'em up: Thomas Jones is playing well down the stretch, and the Patriots run defense looks shaky all of a sudden. In what could be a smash mouth game, Jones is a decent RB2. If the game gets out of hand, Leon Washington might catch enough passes to be a flex play.

Sit 'em down: Kellen Clemens is a little banged up, and the conditions for this game point to a ground attack by the Jets. Laveranues Coles hardly practiced this week, and that ankle will stiffen up in the cold weather.

Baltimore at Miami
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE RAVENS

Suit 'em up: Willis McGahee struggled last week, but nothing gets you better quicker than a trip to Miami. The same could be said for Derrick Mason, who's 12 catches away from 100 for the season and has plenty of personal goals to aim for (fantasy players love that).

Sit 'em down: It's a great matchup, but the leash might be short for Kyle Boller with Troy Smith waiting in the wings. Look elsewhere for quarterback help.

SCOUTING THE DOLPHINS

Suit 'em up: If Miami is going to win a game, this is their best chance. With cornerback Chris McAlister out, Cleo Lemon might have a chance to be a fantasy factor (if he hangs on to the ball). We've said this before, but this is a prime opportunity for Ted Ginn Jr. to break out.

Sit 'em down: Jesse Chatman says he'll play Sunday, but the Ravens defense swallows up running backs. Chatman or Samkon Gado would be flex plays, depending on who starts.

Buffalo at Cleveland
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE BILLS

Suit 'em up: Marshawn Lynch is healthy, and this matchup (against the 28th-ranked run defense) is his best chance all season to shine. Fred Jackson is a flex option because the Bills are determined to keep the ball on the ground, and Jackson is a nice change of pace.

Sit 'em down: Despite his big game last week, Trent Edwards can't be counted on in the bitter winds of Cleveland. That would also take away the deep ball, hurting Lee Evans' value. Even in bad weather, the Bills defense is shaky because of the high-powered Browns offense.

SCOUTING THE BROWNS

Suit 'em up: Unless the weather is simply hideous, it's tough to sit Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis. Winslow and Lewis might be upgraded further this week if the weather gets bad. If that's the case, the Cleveland defense would be a sneaky play.

Sit 'em down: Joe Jurevicius is becoming less of an option in the passing game, and hasn't topped 82 yards all season. Outside of the Big Four mentioned above, no Browns player is worth starting.

Tennessee at Kansas City
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE TITANS

Suit 'em up: The Titans have been streaky, and so have their players. LenDale White is on-again, off-again, but could be back on again as the Titans look to establish the run this week against the league's 25th-ranked run defense. Vince Young is a QB2, likely to get many of his fantasy points as a runner.

Sit 'em down: Justin Gage and Roydell Williams are too inconsistent to start with confidence, and conditions are not likely to favor a downfield passing game.

SCOUTING THE CHIEFS

Suit 'em up: Tony Gonzalez is a TE1 every week, but maybe more so this week considering short passes should be the norm. Dwayne Bowe is a WR3, maybe a little better, as the Chiefs will likely put it in the air a bunch with the RBs hurting.

Sit 'em down: The fact that the Titans are 10th against the run and Kolby Smith is banged up mean that Smith is a flex option this week, at best. Eddie Kennison should never see the light of day on your roster.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE FALCONS

Suit 'em up: The Falcons are not just a sinking ship, they've sunk. This might be the week Jerious Norwood gets enough carries to be valuable. That might have happened last week, but Atlanta fell too far behind too quickly. Roddy White remains a low-end WR2, but the Bucs do present a tough pass defense.

Sit 'em down: Chris Redman has been decent the last two weeks against poor pass defenses, but Tampa Bay is fourth against the pass. Also, take a pass on Warrick Dunn, who's finally losing carries to Norwood.

SCOUTING THE BUCCANEERS

Suit 'em up: Earnest Graham has been great since taking over in the backfield, and gets the 28th-ranked rush defense this week. Consider him a solid RB1. Joey Galloway has always been great against Atlanta, and the Bucs defense could have a field day.

Sit 'em down: The quarterback situation is in a bit of flux. Jeff Garcia says he'll start, but Luke McCown could also play, especially if the Bucs get an early lead. It's best to look elsewhere.

Green Bay at St. Louis
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE PACKERS

Suit 'em up: Ryan Grant will continue to be a RB1, while Brett Favre and Greg Jennings are also top plays this week, and Donald Lee is fast approaching that status, as well. The Packers defense is also a solid play.

Sit 'em down: It's hard to sit any Packers this week, but Donald Driver, while still an option in PPR leagues, hasn't caught a touchdown pass since Week 2.

SCOUTING THE RAMS

Suit 'em up: Despite a tough matchup, Steven Jackson is still a borderline RB1 this week. Torry Holt just can't be sat no matter who's throwing the passes.

Sit 'em down: Marc Bulger appears to be ready to start, but he'll have a short leash coming off a concussion and might be a little rusty having missed a few weeks. He's a high-end QB2, if he starts, Brock Berlin would be on the low end.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE JAGUARS

Suit 'em up: Two good defenses here. The Jags want to run the ball, but they may find more success through the air. Check the weather, but it's possible David Garrard might be forced to go to the air more than the Jags would like. He's a low-end QB1, while Reggie Williams (four TDs in six games) is a WR2 this week.

Sit 'em down: Fred Taylor's streak of 100-yard game will likely end this week. He and Maurice Jones-Drew are both RB2s, and no wide receiver other than Williams is worth starting.

SCOUTING THE STEELERS

Suit 'em up: Willie Parker continues to rack up yards despite his inability to reach the end zone. He's a solid RB1 this week. Expect Heath Miller to rebound and have a nice game, as well.

Sit 'em down: Ben Roethlisberger didn't practice Thursday, so monitor his situation. Hines Ward is a fine start, but Santonio Holmes is hurting and Nate Washington is too streaky to count on.

Arizona at New Orleans
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE CARDINALS

Suit 'em up: This high-scoring affair is a fantasy player's fantasy, but the Cardinals have injury issues. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, however, are No. 1 options, while Jerheme Urban and Bryant Johnson are flex options.

Sit 'em down: Anquan Boldin isn't likely to play. Edgerrin James continues his slide into oblivion, and is now losing third-down time to J.J. Arrington. He's a low-end RB2, even against the Saints.

SCOUTING THE SAINTS

Suit 'em up: The Cardinals defense is getting burned through the air these days, meaning Drew Brees and Marques Colston are high-end options this week. Aaron Stecker might be a sneaky RB2 this week.

Sit 'em down: Pierre Thomas isn't getting enough touches to be an option. The other WRs, even though they have the ability to break out any time (like David Patten's 122 yards last week), are too inconsistent to count on. Devery Henderson would be the best of that bunch, and he's a flex play.

Seattle at Carolina
1 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE SEAHAWKS

Suit 'em up: The Panthers are terrible, one of the three worst teams in the league. Matt Hasselbeck is a QB1, while Bobby Engram might also be a first-teamer. Defenses playing Carolina recently have been racking up fantasy points at hysterical levels, so the Seahawks are about as good a play as any this week.

Sit 'em down: Fred Taylor's streak of 100-yard game will likely end this week. He and Maurice Jones-Drew are both RB2s.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS

Suit 'em up: What a bad offense. There is no player, including Steve Smith, that is a sure-fire start. Smith is a low-end WR2, and DeShaun Foster might be a low-end RB2, only because he's inexplicably getting more considerably carries than the more talented DeAngelo Williams.

Sit 'em down: It'll be either Vinny Testaverde or Matt Moore at quarterback, but neither is worth starting. Keary Colbert probably won't play, pushing Drew Carter into the lineup. But if you're counting on Drew Carter at this point in the season, you're in trouble.

Indianapolis at Oakland
1 p.m., CBS

SCOUTING THE COLTS

Suit 'em up: Interesting matchup considering Oakland's strong pass defense. Joseph Addai is a solid RB1 this week against their poor rush defense, and you can't take a chance on benching Peyton Manning or Reggie Wayne no matter the matchup.

Sit 'em down: Anthony Gonzalez won't have a second big week in a row in this matchup. Kenton Keith is a bit banged up, so despite a good matchup and the potential for garbage time carries, take a pass.

SCOUTING THE RAIDERS

Suit 'em up: Justin Fargas can't be considered a RB1 this week because of his injury problems, but he's a solid RB2 against a suspect run defense. Don't expect the Raiders to do too much on offense.

Sit 'em down: Josh McCown starts, but JaMarcus Russell will also see a few snaps. That takes away from both players' value, so stay away. Ronald Curry, once a fantasy factor, can now be safely benched.

Detroit at San Diego
4:15 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE LIONS

Suit 'em up: Kevin Jones is coming off a fine game and will get chances this week to make more plays. Jon Kitna is a safe play as a low-end QB1, and Calvin Johnson is in line for a breakout effort, my sneaky pick of the week.

Sit 'em down: T.J. Duckett won't duplicate last week's effort, and Mike Furrey is behind Shaun McDonald in the pass-catching pecking order.

SCOUTING THE CHARGERS

Suit 'em up: The Chargers get a great matchup this week against a reeling Lions defense. LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates are top plays, but consider Philip Rivers a sneaky play, as well, at least as a high-end QB2. Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson are low-end second options this week.

Sit 'em down: The Chargers defense has struggled against the pass at times, and Detroit has the ability to pass a bunch. But will they?

Philadelphia at Dallas
4:15 p.m., FOX

SCOUTING THE EAGLES

Suit 'em up: Brian Westbrook is a must-start every week, and take a chance on Kevin Curtis against a shaky Cowboys pass defense.

Sit 'em down: Donovan McNabb has had some success against Dallas in the past, but he's not playing very well. Correll Buckhalter won't play at all this week.

SCOUTING THE COWBOYS

Suit 'em up: Terrell Owens shredded the Eagles the last time he faced them (10 catches, 174 yards, TD) and this seems to be a personal thing with him. Tony Romo and Jason Witten are no-brainers, while Marion Barber is a low-end RB1 this week.

Sit 'em down: Patrick Crayton is overcoming an ankle problem and will likely take a firm backseat to Owens this week. Julius Jones is no more than a flex option because he only gets the ball between the 20's while Barber cashes in.

Washington at New York Giants
8:15 p.m., NBC

SCOUTING THE REDSKINS

Suit 'em up: Clinton Portis will get enough carries to at least be a solid RB2, while Ladell Betts figures to catch enough passes to be a flex option. Chris Cooley is a must-start as the Redskins figure to keep the passing game short and simple.

Sit 'em down: Todd Collins had a nice game off the bench last week, but he's not a good option against a pass defense that puts a ton of pressure on the quarterback. That combination relegates Santana Moss to a flex option, more than likely.

SCOUTING THE GIANTS

Suit 'em up: Brandon Jacobs looks close to 100 percent for the first time in a while, and Plaxico Burress is getting healthier after fooling many fantasy owners last week.

Sit 'em down: Eli Manning has no more than one touchdown pass in five straight games and might not do much better against a solid Redskins defense. Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey are paying the price for that – you can't afford to sit Shockey, but leave Toomer alone.


MONDAY

Chicago at Minnesota
8:30 p.m., ESPN

SCOUTING THE BEARS

Suit 'em up: A bad matchup for Chicago. But you could take a chance on Kyle Orton (at least as a QB2), who gets the start this week against an improving but still shaky Vikings secondary. Bernard Berrian is a solid WR2, but take a chance on Devin Hester as there seems to be more of an effort to get him into the offense. He could turn a screen pass into a long touchdown and justify the WR2 start in just one play.

Sit 'em down: Chicago's Adrian Peterson gets a terrible matchup against the league's most stifling run defense. Muhsin Muhammad hasn't topped 87 yards in a game all season, so despite the matchup, look elsewhere.

SCOUTING THE VIKINGS

Suit 'em up: The other Adrian Peterson is a great bounce-back candidate against Chicago's bad run defense, while Chester Taylor is a low-end RB2. Take a chance on Tarvaris Jackson as a QB2 – he's playing pretty well and might add to his value by scrambling for first downs. This also might be a good time to start the Minnesota defense.

Sit 'em down: Although Sidney Rice has shown flashes of brilliance, he's a flex play because of his inconsistency. The same could be said for all the Vikings pass-catchers.

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