Fantasy Football Insider - Week 15

by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix on December 17, 2010 @ 19:30:00 PDT


Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.


  • Mixed views on the availability of Kyle Orton (ribs). Based on Orton looking shabby in practice, our Denver Broncos insider isn't confident he'll play, but offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said yesterday that he expects Orton to play. Keep tabs. Either way, Tim Tebow should see more action.
  • Our Philadelphia Eagles sage thinks the notion that the New York Giants shut Michael Vick down is overblown; Philly had several dropped touchdown passes in that game.
  • Can cheese cry? We'll find out from Green Bay Packers fans with Aaron Rodgers (concussion) likely to be replaced by Matt Flynn. Expect an increase in short-range passing with a bunch of rollouts and bootlegs to utilize Flynn's mobility. He has more of a pea shooter than a cannon, and our insider couldn't pinpoint a target that improves with Flynn's presence.
  • Though Shaun Hill (finger) looks like he's making better throws, the Detroit Lions are preparing as if Drew Stanton will start under center.
  • We didn't believe it, either: Apparently, Rex Grossman has a good grasp of the Washington Redskins' offense - enough to push Donovan McNabb to the No. 3 QB spot for the season's final two games. This is a three-game audition for Grossman. Consider McNabb a goner.
  • The Buffalo Bills' passing game could try to test the Miami Dolphins deep early on ... to see if they can still go for distance with Lee Evans (ankle) out for the season. If not, consider Ryan Fitzpatrick and Buffalo's passing game "neutered."
  • Don't overestimate the Tennessee Titans' locker room "divide" over Vince Young. Our whisperer puts the opinion at about 90 percent against Young. This might come down to the club keeping either Young or Jeff Fisher for 2011.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars are 6-0 when David Garrard attempts 22 or fewer passes.
  • The New Orleans Saints blitzed the heck out of Sam Bradford. His second INT, in the red zone, was the first time St. Louis Rams observers have seen the rookie look flustered.
  • Last week, Chad Henne fell apart because he had nowhere to go; the New York Jets stuck Darrelle Revis on Davone Bess and bracketed Brandon Marshall with Antonio Cromartie and a safety. Look for similar treatment, until Henne figures it out. But don't hold your breath. "I'm still waiting for that one game where I say, Wow, this guy's got talent."
  • Washington Redskins QB Donovan McNabb
    McNabb benched? Gross, man
  • Mark Sanchez's accuracy and mechanics haven't been good recently, but last week against the Miami Dolphins, he had to deal with a wet ball, too. Will the New York Jets bench him? Maybe not heading into a contest, when the alternatives are Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens. But the Jets can't afford to let this season go down the tubes, so if Sanchez is really struggling in a game, they have to do something like make a halftime switch.
  • The Cleveland Browns will ride Colt McCoy for the rest of this season and into 2011, when Jake Delhomme will probably clearly be his backup. It sounds like Seneca Wallace and Eric Mangini are a mutually exclusive deal.
  • John Skelton didn't make it rain, but his receivers let him on several occasions, and his poise was impressive. It's conceivable that he'll start the Arizona Cardinals' final couple of games after this week. Besides, why push Derek Anderson (concussion)?

Running backs

  • Potential mud bowl conditions at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium could negate the passing games of the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos; the stadium is below sea level, which means it could become muddy quickly with driving rain. The running games could rule the day.
    Our Raidahs insidah warned that Michael Bush could take some more work from Darren McFadden if conditions complicate DMC's sledding. More likely in the mud: The Raiders pound it with a healthy dose of both.
  • Speaking of McFadden, props to Raiders center Samson Satele. His top-notch second-level blocking has sprung DMC loose on many occasions this year.
  • Much of LeSean McCoy's success has come late in games. The Philadelphia Eagles don't like to run much unless they have a lead. Plus, he has torn up worn-down defenses. The Eagles' O-line isn't big, but their conditioning is excellent.
  • Chris Johnson can thank increased touches, the Indianapolis Colts' shoddy run D and Kerry Collins' presence behind center for his improved performance in Week 14. The Tennessee Titans are trying to get CJ2K back into his 2009-esque rhythm. Rusty Smith starting at QB last time against the Houston Texans didn't help that.
  • As long as the Washington Redskins don't need to be in hurry-up mode, Ryan Torain will get the first chance to see the majority of work.
  • Tim Hightower's fumbling issues keep his role insecure. He'll keep starting for the Arizona Cardinals, but his performance and Beanie Wells' showing will probably continue to determine the touch split each week.
  • Working in favor of the New York Giants' Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw against the Philadelphia Eagles is the absence of linebacker Stewart Bradley (elbow). Can Jamar Chaney fill in competently in the middle?
    Jacobs' good stretch can be partially attributed to the fact that he's fresher, thanks to his light early-season workload.
  • Expect Pierre Thomas to take most of the New Orleans Saints' carries this week, with Reggie Bush in on a number of snaps. We hear game-time decision Chris Ivory (hamstring) isn't expected to play. And though you can't tell by his stats, the brittle Bush is playing at full speed.
  • Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson
    All Day ... but not Monday?
  • The Green Bay Packers' run game showed little punch in Week 15, with James Starks seeing few carries. They didn't want to tip their hand on him right away, and they wanted to give Dimitri Nance some more work. With Matt Flynn quarterbacking for GB, Starks should see a bigger workload, along with the rest of the running game.
  • The patchwork interior of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive line might hang LeGarrette Blount out to dry this week against the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh.
  • The Detroit Lions have committed to the running game more in the last few weeks with Drew Stanton taking snaps, plus an injured Shaun hill playing on Thanksgiving. Also, they've been in close games of late, so they haven't had to play catch-up as much. Maurice Morris (the expected starter) and Jahvid Best are still risky plays, though.
  • Will some of the Minnesota Vikings' vets choose to sit out this week? Adrian Peterson owners, we're looking at you. For more, read on.
  • The Baltimore Ravens didn't see big-time results last week, but they expect to widen running lanes a bit with the addition of mauler Oniel Cousins to the lineup at right tackle. Those missing lanes are a big reason for Ray Rice's decline in yards per carry. The situation should improve, but don't expect the move to make a huge difference.
    On a related note, Baltimore hopes to rely on the run a little more this week because of some potentially inclement weather - and the quick-strike ability of the New Orleans' Saints' offense.
  • Rashad Jennings has been playing so well lately that the Jacksonville Jaguars have no qualms giving him more touches in the interest of helping Maurice Jones-Drew (knee) avoid overdoing it. If MJD takes a hit squarely on his knee, it could become a real issue. This week's game is about the best chance this season for the number of touches between these two to be close.
  • It's not looking good for Marion Barber III (calf) this week. If he doesn't go, look for the rough two-thirds, one-third split between Felix Jones and Tashard Choice that you'd expect. If Barber does go, it's anyone's guess as to how the Dallas Cowboys will divvy up touches.
    Oh, and do you still think that Jones' added weight in the offseason has slowed him down? The reports on that are totally exaggerated. The real issue: his vision when running between the tackles.
  • The Indianapolis Colts obviously like Javarris James near the goal line, so expect that to continue versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. He and Donald Brown are probably looking at about a 50-50 split of the workload.
    Brown is pretty smart and works hard, but he just doesn't seem to get the Colts' read-and-react approach to the run. Bill Polian said that, when he drafted Brown, he knew the back was more of a one-cut-and-go runner.
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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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