Each week FFSpin will analyze the match ups and provide our take on which Quarterbacks you should start and which should be sitting on your fantasy pine. We take several variables into account including matchups, injuries, potential weather problems, arrests, baby mama trouble, etc.
Numerous injuries could have fantasy owners scrambling to the waiver wire. Big Ben gutted his way through a high ankle sprain but is less than 50/50 to play this week on Monday night in San Francisco (a Charlie Batch start would be dramatic downgrade for Steelers passing game). Mike Vick returned in week 14 but his fractured ribs limited his production – a matchup with Revis and the Jets won’t help him regain fantasy stardom in week 15. Kevin Kolb (concussion) and Sam Bradford (ankle) are major question marks but if you were relying on them your fantasy season likely ended months ago. Rookie Jake Locker could garner a start after an impressive performance in relief of an injured Matt Hasselbeck (calf). Those looking for an injury replacement should take a look at our Week 15 Waiver Wire Recommendations.
In this article we go under the premise that you are starting your studs unless they face elite pass defenses. Mike Vick will faceoff with Revis Island this week and is just a borderline QB1.
As we approach the home strength of the 2011 season – the trend continues that this is a passing league. There are eight passing games averaging more than 270 YPG including New England, New Orleans, Green Bay, San Diego, Carolina, NY Giants, Dallas, and Pittsburgh.
The following defenses have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing QBs (more than 22 FPG): New England, Minnesota, Denver, Green Bay, Oakland and Buffalo.
On the flip side, the top defenses at defending the pass in 2011 (allow less than 17 FPG) are Baltimore, Cleveland, Houston, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and the NY Jets.
UPGRADE: Tim Tebow (vs New England) – Tim Almighty is making GM John Elway eat his words. The 2010 first round pick has made former coach Josh McDaniels look like a genius for taking him well ahead of where Mel Kiper had him slotted. Over his eight starts the Broncos are 7-1 and the ultimate dual threat is 151 YPG through the air and 60 YPG on the ground. Tebow has 11 passing TDs with only two INTs and the 6’3 245 pounder has added 6 rushing TDs much to the chagrin of Willis Mcgahee owners. In week 15, Tebow’s passing skills will be put the test against Tom Brady and the Pats. It’s highly unlikely that the Broncos will be able to wait until the 4th quarter to hit the accelerator. On the plus side Denver faces a New England pass defense allowing a league worst 309 YPG. With the emergence of 2nd year WR Demaryius Thomas paired with Eric Decker – Tebow is a surefire QB1 this week.
Plus Matchups: Tony Romo (@ Tampa Bay) - Bucs 27th ranked pass defense (249 YPG) has allowed 22 passing TDs, Joe Flacco (@ San Diego) - Chargers 7th ranked pass defense but have allowed 22 TDs through the air – could be a sneaky play in deeper leagues.
More impressive is the fact that he’s averaging 46 YPG on the ground with 13 rushing TDs. Newton is 2nd to only Aaron Rodgers in fantasy scoring at the QB position but if you have another top 10 option this might be the week to consider keeping the youngster on the bench as CB Jonathan Joseph should keep Carolina’s only legit WR Steve Smith in check.
What a difference a year makes as the Houston secondary was a laughing-stock in 2010 but a few free agent signings have vaulted them into elite status this season. The Texans allow the 3rd fewest passing yards (184 YPG) and have yielded just 13 passing TDs in 13 games. The signing of CB Jonathan Joseph has paid major dividends as the Texans are tied for 2nd in INTs (17). The Texans are allowing just 16 PPG and their run defense is ranked 4th in the league. Cam will be hard pressed to come anywhere near his 23 fantasy PPG average this week so consider your alternatives before penciling him into your starting lineups.
Not so Fast: Mike Vick (@ NY Jets) - Jets 6th ranked pass defense has allowed just 12 TDs through the air (15 INTs). Phil Rivers (vs Baltimore) - Ravens 5th ranked pass defense has allowed a league low 9 passing TDs through 13 games.
The rookie from Florida State has flashed solid poise in the pocket and accuracy. His mobility is a huge plus playing behind one of the worst O-lines in the NFL. Ponder had his best fantasy day to date in week 13 as he completed 29-of-47 passes for 381 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in a loss to the Broncos. His week 14 performance left a lot to be desired as the rookie was a turnover machine and was eventually benched in favor of Joe Webb who nearly led the Vikings to a last second comeback win. Over eight games, Ponder is averaging 204 YPG with 11 TDs and 11 INTs. The 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft has had his ups and downs in his rookie season but the Vikings will be forced to throw early and often in order to keep up with a Saints offense that could approach 40 points against a porous Viking secondary.
Sleeper Potential: Jake Locker (@ Indianapolis) – Colts 21st ranked pass defense has allowed 23 passing TDs with a league low 3 INTs. Titans yet to announce starter but whoever is under center will be a solid option in week 15. Rex Grossman (@ NY Giants) – Giants 29th ranked pass defense (264 YPG) has allowed 24 passing TDs.