Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) causes New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) to fumble the ball from behind during the 1st quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Fantasy Starts and Sits of Week 15: Bring On The D


After a week that saw offensive football at it’s finest, the complete reverse may be coming in week 15 of the NFL fantasy season.

Start – Carolina Panthers defense against Geno Smith

After getting embarrassed in New Orleans, the Carolina Panthers get to return home to lick their wounds and perhaps take their frustrations out on the New York Jets.  Geno Smith played well last week, so everybody knows the dip in the rollercoaster is coming.  The rookie looks consistently terrible when under pressure, and the Panthers’ powerful front seven should do plenty of that in Charlotte.  Having already demolished one team from the Big Apple, the time has comes for seconds.

Sit – Bobby Rainey against San Francisco 49ers

TampaBay certainly seems to have an eye for running backs.  Bobby Rainey is only their latest uncovered gem and he has put one some great performances in 2013.  Unfortunately is run should hit a serious bump when the sturdy San Francisco 49ers defense pays a visit.  Fresh off their slugfest against Marshawn Lynch, they have no reason to fear Rainey.  Expect the 49ers to shut him down early and force Mike Glennon to throw.  That of course will be accelerated if Colin Kaepernick can build an early lead.

Start – Seattle Seahawks defense against Eli Manning

Despite their loss in San Francisco, the Seattle Seahawks defense was suffocating as ever.  Their show should continue on the road against a dispirited and erratic New York Giants team.  Eli Manning has played nowhere near his usual level this season.  His woeful performance in San Diego further proved that.  Now he must face the toughest secondary in football with a bunch of receivers who can’t make plays with any consistency behind an offensive line that can’t block.  Recipe for disaster, or NFL fantasy gold mine?

Sit – Ryan Mathews against Denver Broncos

Philip Rivers is the story for the San Diego Chargers, but he’s been helped a lot by the steady, productive running of Ryan Mathews.  Don’t expect that luxury to continue.  For their faults, the Denver Broncos defense has remained fairly good about stopping the run.  They rank 7th in that category, which likely means the Chargers will go in with a game plan to throw.  If Mathews sees much action, it will be on the occasional draw plays.

Start – Tony Romo against Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers avoided elimination by beating a bad Falcons team playing without their best receiver, but that will change in Dallas.  The Cowboys return from the ice box at Soldier Field to thaw out and likely are itching to get back on the field to prove their ugly showing in Chicago was an anomaly.  Tony Romo did throw three touchdown passes and he’s sure to get some opportunities against a Packers defense that has struggled at times putting pressure on the quarterback.  If that happens Romo should have a big day, especially if he doesn’t have to worry about Aaron Rodgers.

Sit – Jimmy Graham against St. Louis Rams

Sounds crazy, right?  There are few must-start players around NFL fantasy land, and Jimmy Graham would seem like an obvious choice.  However, there are some things going against him in week 15.  The St. Louis Rams have one of the best pass rushes in the league and will make life tough for Drew Brees when throwing the ball.  On top of that the Rams boast some highly athletic linebackers including Alec Ogletree who can match up with Graham and keep him occupied.  There is always the chance he goes off, but this game will present enough challenges to warrant caution.

Sleeper – Detroit Lions defense against Joe Flacco

Perhaps the most inconsistent team in the league.  The Detroit Lions have their faults, but one thing is clear:  they are a load to handle at home.  Following their humiliation in Philadelphia, the Lions defense will be extra ornery when they take the field.  The Baltimore Ravens are always a tough challenge, but Joe Flacco could be in trouble.  He doesn’t always perform well against teams with strong defensive fronts.  Unless his rather mediocre offensive line can protect him, it’s hard seeing him able to keep pace with Matthew Stafford, and the last thing Flacco will want to do is play from behind in that building.

Tags: Bobby Rainey Carolina Panthers Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Eli Manning Featured Geno Smith Green Bay Packers Jimmy Graham Joe Flacco Popular San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Tony Romo