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NFL fantasy Week 15: Passing above all


The playoff push recorded several more casualties in Week 14, and it is certain to do the same this week.

As the flickering flame of playoff hopes continue to be doused, the fantasy football landscape will continue to change. Last week the decision to name Johnny Manziel a starting quarterback in the league (again) appeared to be a good one. Matt Cassel? Not so much.

While the NFL, for many teams, will be a completely different experience next week, this week offers several great decisions for daily fantasy players.

When the Kansas City Chiefs go into Baltimore they will face a Ravens defense allowing the second-most fantasy points per game (19.3) to opposing quarterbacks.

Prior to a less-than-stellar performance against the San Diego Chargers in inclement conditions a week ago, Chiefs signal caller Alex Smith had been on a bit of a hot streak recording back-to-back 20-point performances.

At a more than manageable salary of $7,000 Smith’s ability to run, throw and protect the ball make him a smart play.

The four highest scoring fantasy quarterbacks all face defenses in the bottom eight for points allowed to the position. While Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer and Russell Wilson are each great plays this week it is the Seattle Seahawks signal caller who has been on an absolute tear.

Wilson has scored more than 32 fantasy points in each of the past three weeks, and facing a Cleveland Browns defense giving up 18.3 per game (eight most) there is no reason to think he won’t continue his run.

With both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount now out for the remainder of the season, third-stringer James White will now take over the feature back duties for the New England Patriots.

The Pats will undoubtedly lean even more on the passing attack, but with 18 catches in the past four games White has shown that can be a reliable target through the air. With his slim salary of $6,400 and what is sure to be an increased workload, White is an excellent value play.

In a previous matchup with the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson toted the ball 20 times for 103 yards while making two catches for six yards. He was however held out of the Soldier Field endzone, and held to a modest 11.9 fantasy points. That will not be the case in Minnesota, this Sunday. Start him.

The Ravens have not only coughed up massive numbers to passers, they’ve done the same favor for the pass catchers (27.9, most). Averaging over 20 fantasy points per game over the past three weeks, Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin is a very heady value play at $6,700.

Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown, that has been the question for fantasy owners much of the season.

And though the Carolina Panthers defense have been stout all year, the Denver Broncos’ has simply shut down the opposition’s receiving game, allowing less than 10 fantasy points per game to the position.

“OBJ” against the Panthers is the safer bet, though DeAndre Hopkins against the Indianapolis Colts is worth some consideration.

The Oakland Raiders are one of just two teams allowing double-digit fantasy points to opposite tight ends. When they face the Green Bay Packers this Sunday they will be facing an emerging star at the position.

Richard Rodgers is another solid value start. If you have the salary wiggle room, though, Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski will be one week healthier and an even bigger part of a passing attack that should be highly active.

While the Atlanta Falcons have struggled to score with any consistency since, essentially, the first half of the season, kicker Shayne Graham has reaped the reward of opportunity.

Now, one of just four kickers averaging double-digit fantasy output, Graham has become an excellent start, especially since he will not be facing the perils of winter weather as the Falcons head to tropical Jacksonville, Florida to face the Jaguars.

The Browns are riding the emotional high with their third win of the season coming last week. That was against the lowly San Francisco 49ers, however, and not the Seahawks.

The way the Seattle offense has been rolling Cleveland’s Manziel will be forced to throw a lot and, as he proved last week, he doesn’t do that very well when under pressure, which he will be all game.

Difference being, the Seattle secondary makes those wild flails hurt, where the 49ers’ doesn’t. “The Legion of Boom” is an excellent play this week, but if you want to save $200 of salary for another position the Chiefs against a questionable Ravens offense is no bad choice itself.

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