Featured Pros: Who will disappoint in week 15?

Dec 16, 2011

Here’s a quick test for you. Name the players who put up the following numbers last week (images to the right):


Tough test, right? Without the benefit of multiple choice, you’re maybe thinking to yourself that Player A’s line looks like a typical Donald Brown game. And perhaps Player B is a Josh Cribbs caliber player. Or…. you know we’re setting you up.


If you guessed this guy (Player A) and this guy (Player B) then you’re correct, and you obviously watch way too much football (that’s a good thing). Either way, no one would have predicted those numbers for those players – the #2 RB & #1 WR – heading into last week. But if there’s one thing we’re certain of it’s that there are bound to be a few surprising underachievers every week.


For this week’s Featured Pros, we’re jumping ahead of the action and asking the most accurate experts at each position to predict the top underperformers before the games happen. A novel concept, we know. Without further ado, let’s find out who the experts think could disappoint their owners in week 15.




Q1: According to our Expert Consensus Rankings (as of Wed), these are the Top 10 RBs for Week 15. Which guy do you think will disappoint his owners the most? Why?


Arian Foster (vs CAR)
Ray Rice (@ SD)
Chris Johnson (@ IND)
LeSean McCoy (vs NYJ)
Maurice Jones-Drew (@ ATL)
Michael Bush (vs DET)
Adrian Peterson (vs NO)
Roy Helu (@ NYG)
Marshawn Lynch (@ CHI)
Shonn Greene (@ PHI)


Expert: Scott Pianowski (#1 RB Accuracy)

Site: Yahoo! Sports

While I would be thrilled to start any of those backs, I see Shonn Greene having the biggest downside. The Jets haven’t been an underdog since Week 10 – Philly isn’t a dream team, but this is no pushover – and I’m not in love with how New York runs the ball in short-yardage spots.


Expert: Sablich Brothers (#2 RB Accuracy)

Site: The New York Times

The way Marshawn Lynch has been playing over the past six weeks, it feels odd saying that he is going to disappoint fantasy owners in Week 15. But out of this group, he certainly has the toughest matchup, facing a Bears team that allows just 15.2 standard fantasy points per game to running backs (5th toughest matchup for running backs). A closer look at the Bears run defense over the past eight weeks will do nothing to ease the minds of Lynch owners. Since allowing 163 yards on 12 carries to Jahvid Best in Week 5, the Bears have not allowed a running back to rush for more than 71 yards in a single game (LeSean McCoy, 71 yards on 16 carries in Week 9). During this same span, starting running backs are averaging only 3 yards per carry. Last week, Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee combined for just 83 yards and zero rushing touchdowns. Lynch will have his work cut out for him for sure.





Q2: According to our Expert Consensus Rankings (as of Wed), these are the Top 10 WRs for Week 15. Which guy do you think will disappoint his owners the most? Why?


Wes Welker (@ DEN)
Calvin Johnson (@ OAK)
Hakeem Nicks (vs WAS)
Roddy White (vs JAC)
Jordy Nelson (@ KC)
Percy Harvin (vs NO)
Marques Colston (@ MIN)
Victor Cruz (vs WAS)
Larry Fitzgerald (vs CLE)
A.J. Green (@ STL)


Expert: Joe Dyken (#1 WR Accuracy)

Site: FantasyFootballNerd

Calvin Johnson is a weekly consensus Top 5 WR, however he has the opportunity to disappoint this week. His matchup is favorable as Oakland gives up the seventh most fantasy points (ppr) to opposing WRs, but he may have difficulty meeting the expectations that arrive with his Week 15 ranking. Megatron has seen the end zone just once in the past five games and was held to a season-low 29 yards last week against the Vikings, another favorable matchup. After their Week 9 bye, the Lions have essentially used Johnson as a very talented decoy. There is enough talent around him that Stafford can get the ball to someone else in single coverage. There were times in the Vikings game last week where Johnson had two defensive players line up on him with another waiting over the top. When he commands that much of the defensive attention, Stafford has to hold onto the ball longer for him to get open which makes targets more difficult to come by. If you own him, you’re going to start him. The Lions will find a way to get him the ball, but the expectations that we put on a consensus top pick may be difficult for him to reach.


Expert: Mike Woellert (#2 WR Accuracy)

Site: FantasyFootball.com

Of these top WRs, I think the one that stands out, is Larry Fitzgerald, just because of the matchup with the Browns and Joe Haden, but that’s not who I’m selecting. I think it could be Marques Colston that ends up disappointing fantasy owners this week, which pains me to say. On the surface, he’s got a great matchup against the Vikings, who are giving up the 3rd most points to fantasy WRs, allowing 175 total yards and a score per game. The Saints spread the ball around so much, that last week it was Colston, this week it could be Robert Meachem, Lance Moore or Devery Henderson. Plus, Jimmy Graham is practicing fully and he’s also in the mix. The running game with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas is producing, so there are a lot of weapons and targets to go around in New Orleans and the opportunity for Colston to repeat a big game is much less because of the spread offense in New Orleans.





Q3: According to our Expert Consensus Rankings (as of Wed), these are the Top 10 QBs for Week 15. Which guy do you think will disappoint his owners the most? Why?


Aaron Rodgers (@KC)
Drew Brees (@MIN)
Tom Brady (@DEN)

Tony Romo (@TB)
Matthew Stafford (@OAK)
Eli Manning (vs WAS)
Cam Newton (@HOU)
Tim Tebow (vs NE)
Matt Ryan (vs JAC)
Philip Rivers (vs BAL)


Expert: Chris Wesseling & Gregg Rosenthal (#1 QB Accuracy)

Site: Rotoworld

Cam Newton has a tough matchup, but I have to say Philip Rivers is the easy answer here. The Ravens defense has been dominant the past three weeks, not allowing more than 10 points in any of the three games. The Chargers offensive line hasn’t been tested against the Bills and Jaguars. It will be a different story with Terrell Suggs & Co. playing at such a high level





Q4: According to our Expert Consensus Rankings (as of Wed), these are the Top 10 TEs for Week 15. Which guy do you think will disappoint his owners the most? Why?


Rob Gronkowski (@ DEN)
Jimmy Graham (@ MIN)
Antonio Gates (vs BAL)
Tony Gonzalez (vs JAC)
Jermichael Finley (@ KC)
Jason Witten (@ TB)
Aaron Hernandez (@ DEN)
Brandon Pettigrew (@ OAK)
Owen Daniels (vs CAR)
Vernon Davis (vs PIT)


Expert: Pat Fitzmaurice (#1 TE Accuracy)

Site: ProFootballWeekly

Vernon Davis owners might be disappointed this week. In San Francisco’s loss to Baltimore on Thanksgiving night, the Ravens destroyed the 49er offense with an array of stunts and blitzes. The 49ers couldn’t stop Baltimore pass rushers coming off the edge. The Steelers have a similar defensive style, and it’s a good bet that the 49ers will try to counter it by keeping their tight ends home as blockers more frequently. And even when Davis gets to run patterns, it’s not as if he’s going to be running free through the Pittsburgh secondary — the Steelers are too good for that. It’s hard to see Davis putting up decent fantasy numbers in week 15.


Expert: Walter Cherepinsky (#2 TE Expert)

Site: Walter Football
Of those guys, I’d say Brandon Pettigrew. Two reasons: (1) Pettigrew has scored nine or more fantasy points five times this year, including Week 14. In the other four instances, he’s averaged 5.2 fantasy points the week after. (2) The coaching staff told the media that it plans on involving Calvin Johnson more this week, since Megatron hasn’t really produced much since the Week 9 bye.



Thanks to this week’s Featured Pros for stopping by to share their thoughts. Predicting underacheivers is never easy to do but if anyone is going to get things right, it’s these experts. They’ve proven their accuracy merit throughout the course of the season.


Let us know if you have your own predictions for this week’s biggest disappointments. Best of luck that your own players stay off the lists!


Photo Credits: #1, #2, #3, #4

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