NFL fantasy football: Week 15 matchups

The season is getting later. The stakes are getting higher. We could spend a lot of time hyping up why this week is so important. But you already know that. Let's just get to the matchups.

Analysis: Washington is in disarray, but Kirk Cousins has an excellent opportunity to showcase his abilities against a poor Atlanta defense. He should have a quality game. From the receiving corps, Pierre Garcon is probably the only wideout you can trust -- especially with Jordan Reed still likely out of action. Don't forget Alfred Morris, who should find plenty of running room. Start your Falcons. Start your Falcons. Start your Falcons. Matt Ryan, Steven Jackson, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and even Harry Douglas are nice fantasy options this week.

Analysis: Welcome back, Jay Cutler. The matchup -- and his array of offensive weapons -- makes him look like a good option. But if you're starting him, take into account his long layoff and the potentially cold and snowy conditions he could face in Cleveland this weekend. Yet even if he struggles, the guys around him should still have nice days. Jason Campbell has sleeper appeal this week. That goes double for Chris Ogbonnaya against a slumping Bears defense. Josh Gordon has landed in automatic start territory while Jordan Cameron could continue his end-of-season resurgence.

Analysis: Recently the Colts defense has been vulnerable, but not so vulnerable that you'd trust your playoff fate to Case Keenum. You might, however, give Ben Tate a look this week, as well as Andre Johnson, who's a nice choice at WR2. Beware of chasing points with Garrett Graham this week. Andrew Luck has been inconsistent over the past few weeks and if you have a better matchup, you can leave him on the bench. Similarly, it's hard to trust any of the Colts offensive options in such a critical week.

Analysis: Don't be fooled, the Jaguars defense has been better than you might think. That means Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are risky options this week. There is some limited value with Stevie Johnson, but he's little more than a WR3/flex pick. Without Maurice Jones-Drew, there aren't many Jags offensive players worth starting this week. Cecil Shorts has a nice matchup, but he has failed to produce so often this season that he's a risky option.

Analysis: Without Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady has gone back to being an average fantasy quarterback. He's a low-end QB1 this week, but you're forgiven for considering other options. However, Shane Vereen has a lot of scoring potential in Week 15. If you're looking for a Patriots pass-catcher, Julian Edelman is your best bet. Ryan Tannehill is a nice sleeper this week and Charles Clay could be one of the top tight ends in fantasy this weekend. The duo of Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas could also see nice prodution, but neither should be more than a flex.

Analysis: The Eagles offense has been red-hot -- even in the snow last week. That should continue this week against a poor Vikings defense. If you have a Philly offensive player on your roster, make sure he's starting this week. Keep an eye on the pre-game inactives. That will determine if you're starting Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart. If by some chance, it's Matt Asiata, you'll need to look elsewhere. The only Minnesota pass-catcher you should seriously consider this week is Cordarrelle Patterson.

Analysis: The Giants have been good at home defensively, but Russell Wilson has been good enough this season that he's worth taking a chance on in a so-so matchup. Similarly, Marshawn Lynch has found ways to produce against tough defenses. That doesn't extend to Seattle's receivers. On the other side, there's not much to like about the Giants fantasy potential this week. If you're in a pinch, Andre Brown is worth consideration. Stay away from Eli Manning or his receivers this week.

Analysis:Colin Kaepernick is a nice sleeper this week against the Bucs. Michael Crabtree is a deep sleeper, but Anquan Boldin is probably a better option if you're looking at Niner WRs. Beware of Frank Gore this week. Vernon Davis is a must-start, as usual. There aren't many Buccaneer options you're considering this week. Bobby Rainey could have decent production as a RB3/flex.

Analysis: Stay away from any Jets players you might have on your roster. Chances are, Chris Ivory is the only member of Gang Green rostered in a lot of leagues but he's best left on the bench against the Panthers ferocious defense. The matchups don't look super appealing for Carolina's weapons, but Cam Newton has earned the trust of fantasy owners -- even when things don't look great. However, the Jets have struggled against QBs lately. That's good news for Newton and his receivers. Look for Brandon LaFell as a sleeper this week.

Analysis:Alex Smith's inconsistency makes him a risk to start this week, even with a favorable matchup. But Dwayne Bowe has flex appeal in this one. It goes without saying that Jamaal Charles is a must-start this week. The Chiefs defense has also re-asserted itself as a fantasy force to be reckoned with. As long as Rashad Jennings goes, he has a chance to be in your lineup. Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are also both sleeper plays this week.

Analysis:Matt Flynn is starting this week, but he's yet another QB that doesn't deserve your trust in a playoff scenario. Whether it's Eddie Lacy or James Starks getting the start this week, a Packers running back is a quality fantasy option. Jordy Nelson should start as a WR1/2 with James Jones as a flex choice. Tony Romo's December doldrums seem to have taken effect again, but DeMarco Murray has a big chance to break out this week. The Packers have been tough on tight ends lately, but few have been as talented as Jason Witten. You can start him, but beware that his numbers could be lowered.

Analysis:Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham remain the only Saints players you can start with a high level of confidence. If you're looking elsewhere in New Orleans' offense, Pierre Thomas has good fantasy potential this week. Darren Sproles is a RB3 at best this week. Avoid starting most of your Rams. Zac Stacy is the only player for St. Louis with any real fantasy appeal. He's found a way to perform even with the matchup seems stacked against him.

Analysis:Carson Palmer's recent hot streak is likely over. Sit him this week. While you're at it, exercise caution with Larry Fitzgerald and a banged-up Michael Floyd. Rashard Mendenhall could be a low-end RB2 while Andre Ellington is a sleeper this week. Delanie Walker has plenty of appeal against a Cardinals defense that has been awful against tight ends. Beyond that, there aren't too many Titans that deserve a lot of fantasy attention against the Arizona defense.

Analysis:Andy Dalton has been a fount of frustration and if you can avoid starting him this weekend, you'll probably be better off. That doesn't mean A.J. Green can't excel in Week 15. Gio Bernard should have a nice game but likely not a spectacular one. BenJarvus Green-Ellis could do the same. Things don't look good for Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell against the Bengals defense. Antonio Brown is a WR2 this week while Emmanuel Sanders shouldn't be anything more than a flex option.

Analysis: This matchup is made for Torrey Smith to succeed this week, even if Joe Flacco only provides mediocre fantasy numbers. Jacoby Jones could share some of the wide receiver fun as well. Once again, stay away from Ray Rice. But at this point, you knew that already. Reggie Bush says he'll play. The matchup isn't favorable, but at this point, he's earned a spot in your lineup -- especially because of his pass-catching ability. After that, if there's a Lion you normally would start ... start 'em.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG

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