Week 15: PPR Watch
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Confident - I'm glad I'm not playing anyone with Ryan Mathews this week. Mathews has obviously been disappointing on the year. Ronnie Brown has been stealing receptions, he's only scored once, and he's averaging 3.8 per carry. Still, San Diego played well last week against the Steelers. While Mathews only averaged 2.6 YPC and had no receptions, he did get the lion's share of carries with 25, and he should find the Panthers a considerably more friendly matchup. Carolina has allowed the third most fantasy PPG to RBs in PPR, and it is largely because they've given up 92 receptions for a league high 648 yards. The Fresno State product has great hands as a receiver, and with Brown nursing a hamstring injury, I suspect he'll be heavily involved in the passing game. If you like to play the matchups, Mathews is a no brainer this week.
Confident - Though any owner should be a little nervous starting a Jags receiver in the semi-finals, I've got to bite the bullet and call Blackmon a solid play. With Cecil Shorts unlikely to play again this week, Blackmon should continue to lead the team in targets. Blackmon had 12 against the Jets; and while his 6 catches for 57 yards wasn't stellar, it was still pretty solid production against a NY secondary that is still one of the best in the league. The strength of Miami's defense is clearly the run, and while Jacksonville may have some problems with their pass rush, there should be some plays to be made. The Dolphins are still in the bottom half of the league for fantasy points allowed to WRs. If you've been rotating Blackmon into your lineup lately, he might be a surprising part of why you've made it this far. Roll the dice, the first WR off the board in the draft is in the top 20 in PPR over the last 5 weeks.
Confident - Yep, I'm all in on Josh Gordon. The youngster has size and speed and is developing into more than just a deep threat...critical for PPR. Gordon is 17th in PPG over the past 5 weeks, averaging about 6 catches on 8 targets and 75 yards a game. Washington's secondary has improved during their 4 game winning streak, but they're still vulnerable. Like the Redskins, Cleveland is a young team on the rise with a lot to prove at home. They've won 5 of 8 since starting the season 0-5, and it is not in small part due to the weapon Gordon is turning into. There's obviously risk playing a rookie in the fantasy playoffs, but even if you rank him slightly below where his PPG suggests he should be, there's still a good chance he should make it in your lineup as a flex. Especially with bigger names like Miles Austin, Kenny Britt, and Steve Johnson facing brutal matchups.
Caution - Boldin's been on a nice run of late -- 21st in PPG over the past 5 weeks -- and coming off the monster game against Washington. It is going to be hard to sit him now, but I'm going to do my best to talk you into it. To begin with, while Boldin has been targeted a ton, he's barely made good on more than 50% of those opportunities. Now the Ravens are switching offensive coordinators with just 3 games to go, and honestly, who really knows what this means for their passing game? I'm not going to start any Raven receivers until I see how they look, and especially not against a Denver defense that's been excellent all year. Last week was nice, but I need more upside in my lineup for week 15 than a guy in a difficult matchup averaging 4 catches and 63 yards a game on the year. How about you?
Caution - As a sleeper, I think Scheffler is worth a speculative add (even this late in the season), but I'd only target him in 14+ team leagues where I was really desperate. What I like about Scheffler is we know he has good hands, we know he can participate in the passing game, and assuming Pettigrew is out, he should have an expanded role this week. Unfortunately, he caught only 3 of his 10 targets against the Packers, and he's about to go on the road against a Cardinals defense that's allowed just 38 receptions to TEs all season -- best in the league. He did work out of the slot a few times last week, and I suppose he has upside as a hail mary kind of play, but I hope you have someone better to play.