Thursday, December 17, 2015

Staff Thursday Cash Plays - Week 15

Once again we had a week where the loss of players—Andy Dalton, Greg Olsen, LeGarrette Blount, Thomas Rawls and Jonathan Stewart in particular—sank some lineups. Week 15 is here, so there is no time for the wicked to rest—the staff is back at work and has entered some lineups for your Thursday night perusal.

You can see all the staff picks here but I’ve cherry picked some of the selections I thought were interesting to discuss.

Staff Trends

Three Weeks with David Johnson

Johnson is in the majority of Thursday lineups again this week, even with the price up to $6500. The matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles is a good one with the Eagles giving fantasy running backs an average of 29.3 points per week during the last three games. As Chad Parsons points out in this week’s Value Article: “Johnson's price looks like a misprint for Week 15, a clear starting running back - with plenty of pass-catching upside - on a quality offense for cheap RB2 prices. 15 touches or more is his floor with multiple touchdown potential. Plugging Johnson into lineups this week is the easiest decision out there.” Until the price goes up, expect the staff to keep riding him.

Maximum Maclin

All six staff members have Jeremy Maclin in their lineups, and at $6700 against the woeful Baltimore Ravens pass defense, it’s no surprise. Alex Smith may not be Drew Brees when it comes to passing yards, but he does enough and Maclin should easily beat his somewhat disappointing numbers from last week. 80-100 yards and a touchdown on half a dozen or so catches would not be out of the question—solid production for a bargain price.


We know the Saints (normally) give up a lot of points and yards, while also scoring them. It’s a self-fulfilling circle of life—score a lot, get scored on a lot. Which means that the Lions are in a good place to score a ton of points this week and if they are scoring, Calvin Johnson is catching. The $8000 is a little steep, coming off two below-average games but that might also mean people will pass him by. It could be a good way to get points others will not be looking at. Deep threats get over on this defense—Calvin Johnson should add to that this week.

Diamonds in the Rough

Brandon Bolden ($5500) should get most of the work between the tackles against the Titans and while it’s actually not an easy matchup on the ground, he did well in limited snaps last week against Houston. 

At $7800, Matt Stafford might not seem a value until you remember how bad the Saints defense is. I love guys like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Tom Brady but you save yourself a thousand or so going with Stafford or Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7800). Stafford has the prime matchup, but Fitz has been on a tear and is a worthy player with two weapons (Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker) who could be over 1,000 yards by the end of the year. Both Stafford and Fitzpatrick are quality starters who could be top fantasy quarterbacks this week.

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