Free Agent Focus

Fantasy Football Tips: Week 15 Free Agent Focus

By Jared Smola 8:17am EST 12/16/13

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins (Available in 83.2% of ESPN Leagues)

Tannehill was awesome in Sunday’s huge win over the Patriots.  He completed 25 of 37 throws for 312 yards and 3 scores.  It continued a recent streak of big-time production.

Tannehill has tossed multiple TDs in 3 straight and topped 300 yards in 3 of his last 4.  He added sneaky value with 4 of his 5 best rushing-yardage totals in the 4 games before Week 15 (just 1 carry for -1 yard against the Pats on Sunday, though).  Tannehill has also limited his downside risk by going 7 straight games with 1 INT or fewer.

Next up is a shaky Bills defense that allowed him 3 scores earlier this season (albeit on just 19 completions for 194 yards).  The game is in Buffalo, so we’ll have to keep an eye on the weather.  But Tannehill looks like a borderline QB1 for Week 16.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins (available in 95.1%)

Cousins lit up the Falcons for 381 yards and 3 scores Sunday.  He’s now tossed for 300+ yards and multiple TDs in both of his career starts.  He’ll get his 3rd start next weekend against Dallas’ historically bad defense.  That would be the same Cowboys D that surrendered 4 TD passes to Matt Flynn during a brutal 2nd-half comeback in its own house Sunday.

Cousins completed an impressive 64.4% of his passes at Atlanta and averaged a terrific 8.5 yards per attempt.  He'll be on the QB1 radar for Week 16.

Jordan Todman, RB, Jaguars (available in 97.6%)

Todman was a workhorse for the Jags on Sunday.  Starting in place of Maurice Jones-Drew, he carried 25 times for 109 yards.  Todman also tied for the team lead with 4 catches (for 44 yards).

MJD didn’t practice all week and was listed as doubtful on the injury report, so he’s not a lock to return for Week 16.  If he’s out again, Todman will at least be a solid RB3 or flex play against a weak Titans run defense.  Tennessee entered Week 15 as the 4th-friendliest matchup for fantasy RBs and allowed 2 rushing scores to Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday.

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers (available in 74.7%)

Crabtree is rounding into form.  He hauled in 5 of 6 targets for 45 yards and his 1st score of the season on Sunday.  That was up from 2 catches in his 1st game back and 4 last week. 

Next week could be his real breakthrough game, though.  Crabtree gets a Falcons defense that ranked ranked 20th in pass defense before giving up 381 yards and 3 scores to Kirk Cousins and Washington on Sunday.

San Francisco has also relied on the pass a bit more lately.  Colin Kaepernick reached 28 attempts just twice over 8 games from Week 2 through Week 10 but has done so 4 of the past 5 weeks.  Of his 5 games with 200+ passing yards this season, 3 have come over the past 4 weeks.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks (available in 82.8%)

Baldwin entered Week 15 ranked a surprising 33rd among WRs in fantasy points.  He’ll climb higher after posting a 6-71-1 line against the Giants on Sunday.

Baldwin’s 7 targets led the team but marked his largest total since Week 10.  Baldwin has topped 60 receiving yards in 5 of his past 6 outings, though, and scored in 4 of those contests.  That includes 4 games of 71 yards or more.

Baldwin passed Golden Tate on Sunday for the team lead in receiving yards for the season and took over the team lead in TD catches.

He’ll be a on the WR3 radar next Sunday against the Cardinals.  Baldwin’s slot role will keep him away from CB Patrick Peterson.

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans (available in 77.3%)

Walker was fantasy’s top TE from Week 10 to Week 12, catching 27 balls for 199 yards and 2 TDs over those 3 games.

He returned from a concussion Sunday to post an 8-53-1 line against the Cardinals, who entered the week as the league's worst TE defense.

Next comes another terrific matchup.  Jacksonville’s ranks 31st vs. TEs and allowed Walker 62 yards and a score on 8 receptions back in Week 10.  Walker will sit comfortably in TE1 territory for Week 16.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles (available in 98.1%)

For the 2nd time in 3 weeks, Ertz capitalized on a plus matchup.  He hauled in 6 balls for 57 yards and a score against the Vikings on Sunday.  That came 2 weeks after a 5-68-2 line against the Cardinals in Week 13.

Those 2 defenses entered Week 15 among the worst 3 in the league vs. TEs.  In between, Ertz did nothing against Detroit in the snow.  On its own, that 0-catch line could stand as a weather-driven anomaly, but it was the 2nd time in 4 games that Ertz finished without a reception.  That reminds of the downside with a guy who has still surpassed 3 catches just 3 times all season.

But all 3 of those have come within the past 6 games, and Week 16 brings another favorable matchup.  Chicago sports the 25th-ranked TE defense and has allowed TDs to the position in 2 of the past 4 games.

Rams D/ST

St. Louis gets a Week 16 home visit from the struggling Bucs.

Tampa has provided 4+ sacks to 3 of its past 4 opponents, including the Niners in Sunday's loss.  The Bucs have scored 13 points or fewer in 2 of their past 3 contests and fallen short of 250 total yards in 3 straight.

The Rams' talented front 4 should give Mike Glennon fits, and the secondary just finished picking off Drew Brees twice while limiting the explosive Saints to only 16 points.

Deep League Options:

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Titans (available in 96.3%)

It ain’t pretty, but Fitzpatrick continues to rack up fantasy points.  After Sunday’s 402-yard, 4-TD outing, he’s now posted 25+ points in 4 of 7 starts.  One of those big games was against his Week 16 opponent, the Jaguars.  Fitzpatrick went for 264 yards and 2 TDs through the air, plus 13 yards and another score on the ground in that one.  He’ll be a strong QB2 for the rematch.

Andre Caldwell, WR, Broncos (available in 99.5%)

Caldwell benefitted from WR Wes Welker's absence Thursday night.  Playing a season-high 37 snaps -- mostly in the slot -- Caldwell hauled in 6 balls for 59 yards and 2 scores.  He led the team with 10 targets.  Welker still hadn’t been cleared as of Friday.  If he's not ready in time for next Sunday's game against the Texans, Caldwell will be a viable WR3 flier.

Andre Holmes, WR, Raiders (available in 99.5%)

He drew just 7 targets on a day where Oakland threw it 41 times while playing in frantic catch-up mode.  But Holmes matched Rod Streater for the team lead with 4 catches and finished just 1 yard behind him.  Holmes added a TD catch to notch his 2nd starter-worthy fantasy outing in 3 weeks.  He also made a terrific 1-handed grab at the sideline earlier in the game.  Holmes' low-volume profile makes him less attractive, but Week 16 brings a San Diego D that's allowing the 4th most passing yards per game for the season.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars (available in 99.5%)

Lewis has quietly scored in 3 straight.  He also set season highs on Sunday with 4 catches and 54 yards.  He benefitted from WR Cecil Shorts’ absence, but Shorts might be shut down for the season with a groin injury that will require surgery.  That’d help Lewis’ Week 16 fantasy stock against Tennessee’s 23rd-ranked TE defense.

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