In fantasy football you just have to trust your best players. If you were a Tom Brady or Alvin Kamara owner in the first round of the playoffs, it may have been your last week in the postseason. If you survived, however, count your blessings. Either way, you can’t blame yourself for starting those guys.
Thursday’s action pits the Broncos against the Colts. You won’t want to start either quarterback and the running backs are low-end flex options at best. You might get lucky with C.J. Anderson or Frank Gore plunging into the end zone on a goal line situation. Otherwise, the only real decent players to start are T.Y. Hilton and Demaryius Thomas. Hilton is definitely a boom or bust type player. Like I said, though, sometimes you have to trust your best players. Here’s who else you should start, and sit, in Week 15.
START THESE GUYS
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: He’s been fully cleared to return to action and if you held him on your team this whole time then now’s the time to insert him into your starting lineup. Don’t worry about rust. He has a tough matchup against the Panthers, but he was a QB1 in every week but the one in which he was injured. Relax.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars: The last time he faced the Texans he wasn’t very special. The Jaguars leaned on their running attack in that contest. In his last six games, however, Bortles has attempted at least 27 passes in each of those contests. He has six touchdowns and just one interception over his last three games.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: He’s had to face tough pass rushes in each of his last three games and it’s shown up in the box score. Cousins should have a decent game against the Cardinals this week. He’s only had one game in which he didn’t throw a touchdown pass.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: Hyde has been a consistent, although quiet, scorer all season long. The amount of touches he gets provides for a nice minimum score every week. Though he has a tough matchup against the Titans, the emergence of Jimmy Garoppolo can open things up for the running game.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins: He’s had two straight 100-yard games and has a great matchup against the Bills this week. Weather may be a factor, so he may end up with more carries than usual.
Mike Davis, RB, Seahawks: It looks like the Seahawks have finally found a running back they can trust. The Rams give up a lot of points to running backs. Davis has 36 touches over his last two games. He’s dealing with a rib issue, but if he practices near the end of the week, you should start him.
Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers: Nelson hasn’t been even a good flex option since Week 6. With the return of Rodgers, Nelson’s value get a big boost. The Panthers are tough, but Rodgers-to-Nelson is often matchup proof.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders: The Cowboys’ defensive backfield has started playing better lately, but Crabtree should have a decent game Sunday night. Amari Cooper is in danger of missing the game with an ankle injury so Crabtree could end up getting more targets than usual.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers: The rookie returns from his one-game suspension and Martavis Bryant didn’t do enough last week to supplant him as the No. 2 receiver on the team. Smith-Schuster has a nice matchup against the Patriots this week.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Cardinals: He had just one catch last week, but it went for 20 yards. I’d expect him to continue to be targeted on deeper routes. Seals-Jones has a nice matchup with the Redskins.
Lions defense/special teams: The Lions are coming off a nice game and scored a touchdown the last time they faced the Bears.
SIT THESE GUYS
Jared Goff, QB, Rams: He had a tough time the last time he faced the Seahawks, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns in Week 5. There are better options than Goff this week, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he comes out with a decent game as Robert Woods returns.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: Mariota has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in each of his last three games. His mobility may suffer as well as he deals with a minor knee sprain. With not a lot of reliable receiving weapons, I don’t like him in a good matchup with the 49ers.
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: The Bengals are in a tailspin so I probably don’t have to tell you to sit Dalton. Have no doubt that he’ll have a rough day against a very good Vikings defense.
Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers: He scored two touchdowns against the Falcons the last time he faced them. That was on just five carries. I wouldn’t bank on him having that kind of success again this week. The Falcons are in the top third in limiting running backs in fantasy scoring.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions: Abdullah is still dealing with a neck injury, but it’s apparent that his poor play is part of the reason he’s not being rushed back into action. He may be active this week, but don’t insert him into your lineup with Theo Riddick having a bigger impact recently.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles: Though he has a good matchup this week, it’s starting to look like Jay Ajayi will be a bigger factor for Philly. Blount has 15 carries over his last two games while Ajayi had 15 last week.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers: He hasn’t had a decent game since Week 11 and the Falcons are a tough matchup this week. If any receiver has a good game this week for the Bucs, it will be Mike Evans.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams: The Rams face the Seahawks and Robert Woods is likely returning to the field. With Cooper Kupp and Woods in the picture, I think Watkins will be the odd man out.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens: He’s been hot as of late, but the last time he faced the Browns he was targeted just three times and made one catch for seven yards.
Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Though he’s healthy enough to play, he hasn’t looked like the player we’re used to. He hasn’t had a good game all year, even before his injury.
Trey Burton, TE, Eagles: He was great with a healthy Carson Wentz and an injured Zach Ertz last week. Those circumstances have changed, obviously.
Contact Cat Vasquez at 512-445-3677. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @AAS_Cat.