Each week FFSpin.com takes a look at some of the break out and break down performances that may have real fantasy football implications. We speculate on the short term and long term fantasy football fortunes of each player. Here are the best and worst performances of Week 15 with our Fantasy Football Spin…
Matt Flynn – Wow. Flynn more than held his own. Yes, he blew it at the end of the game, but can you really blame him. That seemed to us as much about poor coaching at that moment as it did poor execution by the rookie. Flynn was 24/37 for 251 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. He dueled a master in Tom Brady and he posted better numbers, but in the end still lost. You have to give the kid credit though; he played well in a tough situation.
Final Spin: Flynn showed some good things on Sunday night. Should Flynn get the start in Week 16, and we doubt he will, it will only get tougher. The Giants have a much better defense than the Patriots and are in a must-win situation. Flynn would be no more than a low end QB#2. Dynasty owners should pay attention. There are going to be teams looking for QBs in the offseason and Flynn may be catching some eyes.
Josh Morgan – Alex Smith returns and Josh Morgan looks like a player all of the sudden. Morgan followed up his Week 14 performance (3/82/1) with a bigger performance in Week 15 (7/106).
Final Spin: Next week Morgan and the Niners play against the very average pass defense of the Rams. In their first meeting of 2010, Morgan had just one catch, but it went for 65 yards. Morgan has no real long term value to speak of.
Brandon Marshall – Look who showed up to play! Marshall had a very big game against a very poor defense. He hauled in 11 passes for 106 yards and 1 TD. Marshall has now scored TDs in two consecutive games. Unfortunately, it is clear that Chad Henne has caught some kind of Trent Edwards virus which prohibits him from throwing downfield, so don’t expect any big plays from Marshall.
Final Spin: Marshall has a great matchup in Week 16. He should be able to post 8 or more catches and approach 100 yards against the Lions secondary. The dynasty prognosis depends on what the Dolphins at the QB position and with the head coach. As it stands now, his value will be lower entering 2011 than it was entering 2010 if they don’t get some answers.
Brandon Jackson – Who knew he had it in him? Apparently all it takes for Jackson to post numbers is for the #2 RB and starting QB to be out of lineup. Easy right? Jackson ran the ball 22 times for 99 yards and added one reception for 3 yards.
Final Spin: This won’t happen again. The stars aligned just right. Next week Starks and Rodgers will be back, meaning they will run less and Jackson will probably split those carries. The Giants also present a tougher front than the soft Patriots defense. Jackson doesn’t have much long term value.
Vincent Jackson – I would love to ask A.J. Smith what he was thinking in not trading Jackson and not giving him what he wanted. I get the fact that he didn’t want to pay him, but get something for the guy. He obviously has skills. Like the Brandon Jackson situation, circumstances contributed to his break out performance (5/112/3). Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates being inactive opened up the door for a fresh Jackson to break out.
Final Spin: Vincent Jackson should have company in Week 16 as word is Floyd will probably play. That will limit his upside a bit but against an average Bengals secondary we think he is still a low end WR#1. His keeper/dynasty value is high, but it largely dependent on where he lands.
Rex Grossman – Those people slamming Shanahan for benching McNabb as though he is some kind of great QB- get real. Shanahan may have misplayed this, and several other situations, for the Skins this year, but Washington is realizing what Philadelphia has known for years; McNabb is drastically overrated. Grossman led his team back and made it a game, something McNabb rarely does when behind, in the second half tossing three of his four TDs on the day after halftime on the way to a big fantasy performance that included 322 yards passing.
Final Spin: There is no long term on Rex, so let’s talk short term. Grossman is a decent QB#2 heading into a Week 16 matchup against a lackluster Jaguars defense. He could even be a pretty good emergency starter. The Jags should score at will against a defense that has quit and has no heart. So, it should be another shootout.
Donald Brown – Heading into this matchup, Donald Brown’s career high single game rushing total was 69 yards. He easily surpassed that with a 129 yards and a TD on just 14 rushes against the porous Jaguars defense. There is speculation that Joseph Addai will return next week and that would limit the value of Brown.
Final Spin: The Colts need Brown to prove that he can carry the load and Sunday might have gone a long way. Addai is in a contract year and it has been the Colts way not to sign rushers to big contracts. Lots will be determined after the season closes. As for Week 16, the Raiders have the 26th ranked run defense in the league. If Brown is the only healthy back, he is a fantasy RB#2. The return of Addai would hurt significantly.
Pierre Thomas – So much for that theory that Thomas would thrive in the absence of Chris Ivory. Thomas looked awful against a good defense. He managed just 20 yards on 6 carries. Next week Chris Ivory may be back and that is not promising for Thomas owners.
Final Spin: The Saints Week 16 opponent is the Atlanta Falcons who have a solid, but not outstanding defense. They do have the advantage of that great song in the NFL Play 60 commercial on their bus, but I’m not sure how that translates to stopping the run yet. Thomas should be on your bench if Ivory is back. Without Ivory, Thomas might be considered for the flex position, but in PPR leagues Reggie Bush is probably a better play. Who knows what’s going to happen in the off season. Thomas has some value, but we don’t think he is likely to be a Saint next year.
Dwayne Bowe – Like many Bowe owners, I was holding out hope that he would look like the mid-season version, but it looks like he is destined to close the season looking like the early season, underperforming version of himself. Bowe managed just 2 catches for 53 yards. Over the past three games Bowe has the sad stat line of 3 catches for 53 yards.
Final Spin: Bowe will have to face the aggressive Cortland Finnegan in Week 16 and that spells trouble. If you have a decent replacement option, it’s time to bench Bowe. He is still worth rolling the dice on as a WR#3 because he could catch a TD in any game. Bowe’s dynasty value is really difficult to measure. He certainly seems like a keeper, but his attitude and work ethic have to be right. Pay close attention to that.
Arian Foster: Seeing 11 carries for 15 yards is shocking for Foster, who has been a revelation for the Texans in 2010. He did manage to add 6 catches for 46 yards, so in PPR leagues he was still a decent contributor. The poor production can be attributed to a combination of injuries including an ankle issue that slowed him during the week and muscle spasms during the game. Foster did say that he could have gone back into the game.
Final Spin: If Foster plays in Week 16, and all indications are that he will take the field, he is a clear RB #1. He faces a Broncos defense that opposing rushers have shredded for a league worst 22 TDs. This has the makings of a game where Foster can carry your squad. You don’t need us to tell you that Foster is super high end dynasty option.
Knowshon Moreno – What a shame. I was looking forward to Moreno doing something stupid again like an end zone dance while down by about 30. Alas, it was not to be. Moreno left the game after posting just five yards on 4 carries and adding a catch for a whopping 1 yard. The latest update is that Moreno has a rib injury; they can vary widely, and is questionable for Week 16.
Final Spin: Man, how dumb do the Broncos look for trading Peyton Hillis for a football and a kicking tee? If Moreno can go for Week 16 he is a RB#2 against a bad defense. He is also an RB#2 keeper/dynasty player.
Hines Ward – The veteran was targeted three times in this game and hauled in a meager two passes for 34 yards. The performance was all the more disappointing because it comes on the heels of an 8 catch 115 yard gem.
Final Spin: Ward faces the eight ranked pass defense in Week 16. The Panthers defense is allowing just 203 yards per game through the air and they have not packed it in yet despite having no playoff aspirations. Consider Ward no more than a WR#3. On the keeper front, we are seeing the passing of the torch but Ward doesn’t look done. His numbers may have suffered from the concussion, but he can still play and produce as a WR#3.
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