Food for Thought from the Fantasy Chef

Fantasy Football: Week 15 Pickups

Fantasy Football Week 15 Pickups

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Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill (MIA)--At this point in the season it is hard to make a change at the quarterback position, but if you are on the market, Tannehill is an interesting addition for the remainder of the season. Not only has he been getting it done with his arm over the last few weeks, but has shown his ability to move around and create plays with his legs. He is no Russell Wilson or Robert Griffin by any means, but those added rushing yards are a compliment in the Dolphins growing passing game. He finishes out the season with game against the Patriots, the Bills and the Jets, all of which have struggled defending the pass in 2013. While I don't think he will perform much better than what we has seen over the last few weeks, he still has a good chance of continuing recent trends and is worthy of a start in either a deep league or in a desperate situation. 

Jason Campbell (CLE)--Despite losing to the Patriots in the last few seconds of Sunday's game, the Browns played one of their best games of the season, and it was with Campbell under center. Campbell's Week 14 performance was his best of the season, finishing 29-of-44 for 391 yards and three scores. The Browns will continue to role with Campbell under center, considering he is the only option with any experience at this point. Looking ahead, Campbell will face the Bears, the Jets and the Steelers to round out the season, which should lead to more productive outings the rest of the way. Not to mention he has the best wide receiver over the last month of the season to throw to, which makes any situation better. 

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Running Backs

Toby Gerhart (MIN)--With Adrian Peterson's status unclear for Week 15, the Vikings will likely have to turn to Gerhart to man the backfield in his absence. Following Peterson's ankle injury on Sunday, Gerhart rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, finishing with his highest fantasy point total of the season. We all know that Gerhart's ability is not even comparable to that of Peterson, but the lack of a consistent passing game should lead to 20-plus carries if he is given the start. The Vikings reported that Peterson plans to play on Sunday, but it is too early to speculate, considering he is still in a walking boot. Either way, Gerhart should be owned at this point in the season, even if only as a precaution.

Daniel Thomas (MIA)--Despite all the negative reports on Thomas this year, he continues to resurface, this time due to a concussion suffered by Lamar Miller. Thomas had his best performance of the season in Week 14, against a solid Steelers defense, rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries while adding one catch for four yards. It was somewhat of a surprise that Thomas even suited up on Sunday, after missing time due to an ankle injury, but he looked good when on the field, even if he wasn't 100 percent. The Dolphins schedule is favorable for Thomas over the next few weeks, so if he is sitting on the waiver wire after early reports indicated he may be done for the season, now is the time to pick him up, even if you are only adding depth. 

Marcel Reece (OAK)--Similar to what happened a season ago around this time, Reece emerged on Sunday with both Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings inactive, finishing the week as a top five running back in standard leagues. Although the matchup wasn't great, Reece was able finish the game with 123 rushing yards and a score on 19 carries, while adding 2 catches for 38 yards on five targets. It is unclear if either Jennings or McFadden will be suiting up for Week 15, and if they don't, Reece will be in line to start for the second straight week. Considering both players ahead of him are dealing with injuries, it would be wise to add Reece regardless of whether or not he is the starting running back come Sunday at this crucial time of the year.

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Wide Receivers 

Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN)--As the season progresses, the Vikings continue to get the ball into the hands of their big playmaker in Patterson as much as possible, whether in the passing game or in special teams. Patterson finished Week 14 with five catches on seven targets for 141 yards and a touchdown as he continues to receive an increase in snaps, resulting in more productive outputs. The Vikings will go up against the Eagles, the Bengals and the Lions to round out the rest of their schedule, which gives Patterson favorable matchups in all three contests. There is a chance he was snagged off the waiver wire two weeks ago after an eight-catch performance, but if he is still sitting out there, he is the type of player you want on your team this time of year, considering his big time playmaking ability.

Da'Rick Rogers (IND)--After playing only 13 snaps in Week 13, Rogers was given the opportunity to prove himself on Sunday and did so in a big way. Not only did Rogers record his first catch of the season in the loss to the Bengals, but finished the game with six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. His performance in Week 14 should earn him extended playing time opposite T.Y. Hilton, with Darrius Heyward-Bey failing to stake his claim following the loss of Reggie Wayne. However, Rogers was not the only bright spot in the Colts passing game, with LaVon Brazill also finding the end zone twice on Sunday. At this point it appears it will be Rogers who gets the most snaps behind Hilton, so my money would be on Rogers over Brazil in free agent bidding this week.

Justin Hunter (TEN)--For the second time in three weeks, Hunter has surpassed the 100-yard mark as he continues to solidify his role in the Titans offense as their deep threat option in the passing game. Since Week 12, Hunter has totaled 11 receptions for 232 yards and two touchdowns and is quickly becoming a favorite of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who loves the long ball. Hunter has to compete with Kendall Hunter and Delanie Walker (once healthy), but considering the Titans play from behind in most contests, that should not be an issue. Although next week's matchup with the Cardinals isn't the most favorable of matchups, he goes up against the Jaguars and the Texans the following two weeks, which are very appealing, with both teams giving up a lot of production to opposing wide receivers.

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Tight Ends

Dennis Pitta (BAL)--Prior to the Ravens Week 14 game with the Vikings, the team made it clear that they were going to limit Pitta's snaps in his season debut. However, that was clearly not the case, after he tied Marlon Brown for 11 targets, which was a team-high. Pitta finished his season debut with six catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, and more importantly, did not suffer any setbacks. As I noted a week ago, Pitta and quarterback Joe Flacco have a great relationship on the field, and is his favorite weapon, especially in the red zone. With his snaps likely to increase as the season progresses, so should his fantasy value. His Week 14 performance should be considered Pitta's floor moving forward, making him a solid pickup for those who are lacking production at the position or who have recently lost Rob Gronkowski.

Brandon Myers (NYG)--After many weeks of little to no production, Eli Manning has finally started to target Myers in the passing game, which has led to an increase in production from the Giants tight end. Following four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown in Week 14, Myers has now found the end zone three straight weeks, making him a borderline top 10 fantasy tight end in that timeframe. The Giants have a tough matchup in Week 15 against the Seahawks, but having allowed touchdowns to opposing tight ends each of the last two weeks, makes him a decent pickup if you fail to acquire Dennis Pitta this week.

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