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Fantasy Football: Week 15 starts, sits 12.12.14 at 10:38 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 15 starts and sits! It’s high-stakes fantasy football in all leagues this week. A loss means a spot in the consolation round next weekend while a win earns you a trip to the bowl game … unless you play in a league that uses Week 17 (bad idea) for its big game. I’ve done my best to find some good talent that is not too obvious or obscure. I mean, if you have an elite quarterback, you don’t need me to tell you to start him. If you are looking for advice on players not listed in this space, you can check out my full lineup rankings over at Rotobahn. They are comprehensive and they are free of cost or obligation.

Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon.

If you want to keep track of all our fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh articles and chats as well.

QUARTERBACK

Start

Jay Cutler, Bears vs. Saints

He’s got QB1 upside in all formats, but he’s always a potential adventure, and I am sure some of the Cutler owners out there are concerned about the loss of Brandon Marshall. It’s certainly not a positive, but the Bears have enough depth at the skill positions to weather the storm. I expect new starter Marquess Wilson to perform well, and Cutler still has Alshon Jefferey, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte to work with. The Bears’ starter can help you. He’s my 11th-ranked QB this week.

Mark Sanchez, Eagles vs. Cowboys

I am sure that last week scared some people off of Sanchez as a fantasy option. Even by my own math, there are about 12 options that I would rather use, but if Sanchez is your highest-ranked option, you need not worry too much. He’s more than capable of posting QB1-caliber numbers this week at home against Dallas. Collectively, the Eagles receivers are more talented than the Cowboys defensive backs.

Eli Manning, Giants vs. Washington

He’s not a lock for a great performance, but he’s a viable play this week, and Odell Beckham gives him a weapon potent enough to score from any spot on the gridiron. Manning can help you this week if you need a quarterback in any league. You throw to beat Washington, and I suspect that is what the Giants will do … throw a lot and win.

Johnny Manziel, Browns vs. Bengals

If you are looking for a lock starter, then Manziel can’t help you. Guys making their first NFL start will always be a bit unpredictable, but there is a place for Manziel in a lot of lineups. I know I will have him active in a few leagues this weekend on teams where I have been streaming my quarterback all season long. To me, Manziel and his foot-point potential offer a higher floor and ceiling than most of the other streaming options such as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco or Kyle Orton. He should be good for decent numbers and has plenty of upside because he can score for you as a runner or a passer. It’s Johnny Football time, and he’s playable if you need him.

Sit

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Patriots

New England is a tough matchup for Tannehill on paper. It goes something like this: The Patriots are outstanding at funneling the underneath routes to the middle of the field, which should limit the Dolphins in terms of moving the chains. The deep game is limited by Tannehill himself, as his deep-ball accuracy has been exceedingly poor. I’m not touching the Dolphins passing game this weekend if I can avoid it.

Andy Dalton, Bengals at Browns

He’s a one-trick pony right now going up against a deep defense that can handle Dalton’s single trick (A.J. Green) while slowing down the running game. Dalton will need to play well above average to post good numbers here, and I am not betting on that in such a crucial situation.

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Read More: Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Johnny Manziel
5 things to know about Dolphins 12.08.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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Rookie Jarvis Landry has become a key part of Miami's offense and special teams this year. (David Banks/Getty Images)

Rookie Jarvis Landry has become a key part of Miami’s offense and special teams this year. (David Banks/Getty Images)

Five things you have to know about the Dolphins (7-6), who travel to Gillette Stadium for a date with the Patriots (10-3) Sunday afternoon.

This isn’t the same offensive team that beat the Patriots in South Florida in September.

In that one, the Patriots were gashed time and again by running back Knowshon Moreno, who ran for 134 yards on 24 carries. (It still stands as the most rushing yards New England has yielded to an individual in a single game this season.) However, Moreno went down with a season-ending knee injury in October, and since then, the Dolphins have struggled to get consistent yards on the ground. Four of their last five games, the Dolphins have failed to top at least 100 yards — that includes last week against the Ravens, when Miami had just 63 rushing yards as a team. Lamar Miller became the starting back, and has 162 carries for 782 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Dolphins. Much of their success on offense has been because of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has become one of the more accurate passers in the league — he has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in his last six games. When he looks to throw, Tannehill (67 percent completion rate, 3,044 yards passing, 21 TDs, 9 INTs) has a nice variety of targets. There’s rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry (63 catches, 573 yards, 5 TDs), veteran receiver Mike Wallace (57 catches, 700 yards, 7 TDs) and tight end Charles Clay (41 catches, 387 yards, 2 TDs).

Specifically, there are some soft spots on the Miami offensive line.

The Dolphins did a miserable job protecting Tannehill last year, as he took a league-high 58 sacks. Things are a little better this year, but he’€™s still taken 34 sacks through 13 games (including six on Sunday against the Ravens), and is on pace for 42 before the year is done. Right tackle Dallas Thomas yielded three sacks against Baltimore, and if Miami doesn’€™t change things up on the edge, it could be a winnable matchup for New England no matter who lines up opposite him. (Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Akeem Ayers are all possibilities to try and bring pressure off the edge for the Patriots against the Dolphins.)

Cameron Wake is still just as terrifying as ever.

The edge rusher is having a terrific season for Miami. The 32-year-old is tied for 12th in the league with 9.5 sacks, and has the potential to make it a very long afternoon for whatever tackle is lined up opposite him. The 6-foot-3, 262-pounder was a disruptive presence in the season opener in Miami, coming away with three tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hits and a pair of forced fumbles. One more defensive note — prior to this past weekend’s action, according to Football Outsiders, Miami has the best DVOA against opposing tight ends. It’s also worth noting that, at least historically, the Dolphins have done better than most at containing Gronkowski, as in his seven career games against Miami, he’s averaged four catches for 54 yards per game, some of the lowest averages for any opponent he’s faced over the last few seasons. (That includes four catches for 40 yards in the season opener.)

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Read More: Miami Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill,
Fantasy Football: Week 13 starts, sits 11.28.14 at 10:14 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and I really hope that none of you started Tony Romo. It’s money time for a lot of us, and I have some suggestions below as I always do. Full Week 13 lineup rankings have been posted at Rotobahn. So, if you want my take on players not listed here, check them out.

Don’t forget to tune in Sunday morning for another episode of the Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett. If you have last-minute lineup concerns, you should check out my Sunday chat. It takes place right here at WEEI.com and it runs from 11 a.m. to noon every Sunday.

If you want to keep track of all my fantasy football content, both here and at Rotobahn, follow me on Twitter. I send out links to all fresh content.

QUARTERBACK

Start

Eli Manning, Giants at Jaguars

This is not a hard call. The Giants may be out of it, but they still are trying to get their new offense perfected, and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. has breathed some life into things. I expect starting-caliber numbers from Manning in Week 13.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins at Jets

I still have some trust issues with Tannehill, but he has a lot going for him in this game. The Jets defense may not be awful, but you clearly throw to beat them. That will help Tannehill, as will his improved cast of receivers, led by rookie Jarvis Landry, who has given him the go-to option he’s lacked since taking over the job back in 2012. The Jets also will be susceptible to deep threat Mike Wallace, as they have issues on the back end. I see fantasy success for Tannehill on Monday night.

Zach Mettenberger, Titans at Texans

He’s not an option to consider for most of you. Having said that, if you need help in a deep format, Mettenberger has proven worthy of consideration. He’s an interesting case in that his college skill talent was better than his NFL skill talent. The rookie played at LSU and his outside weapons were Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. He also had Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue in his backfield. Not bad, right? The plus in this is that Mettenberger has a natural inclination to trust his receivers, and that’s probably rooted in playing with Beckham and Landry — who both make ridiculous catches with stunning regularity. The point of my long-winded explanation is that Mettenberger has a weapon in Justin Hunter, and the key to unlocking him is trust, because he’s a receiver who is never really covered due to his size advantage and leaping ability. This is a quarterback-receiver relationship that could go either way over the long haul, but if things click, they could click in a major way. This is a connection to watch over the rest of 2014, and Mettenberger is a player to consider in 14-team leagues.

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Read More: Brian Hoyer, Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Zach Mettenberger
Fantasy Football: Week 13 waiver wire 11.25.14 at 10:29 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 13 waiver wire! I have to say, I am surprised at the amount of high-quality options that are still available in most leagues. If you need to do some fine-tuning this week, you are in pretty good shape based on current ownership rates. The fact that you are here reading this means you still have something to play for and that’s good news in and of itself. Let’s make Week 13 count!

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

If you play in a large format with 12 or more teams, check out my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn. It will be posted early this afternoon. Check it out –€” it’€™s free.

To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACK

Eli Manning, Giants — 54 percent

As I have said in recent weeks, Manning has a good closing schedule and one of the best young receivers in the game. You can ride Manning and Odell Beckham down the stretch in most leagues and you’€™ll be very competitive. Not bad for a couple of waiver wire players.

Mark Sanchez, Eagles — 53 percent

Again, it wasn’€™t pretty, but at the end of the day the numbers are there and I expect that to continue for the most part for Sanchez. The Eagles do play Seattle at home in Week 14, but that’€™s the only game where you may want to pull him.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 65 percent

His schedule is mediocre down the stretch, but he’€™s been productive in some tough matchups, so consider him a viable option in all formats. Tannehill travels to play the Jets this week on Monday night.

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Read More: Eli Manning, Fantasy Football, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehill
Fantasy Football: Week 12 waiver wire 11.18.14 at 10:06 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 12 waiver wire! Now that we’ve cleared the bye weeks for 30 of the league’s 32 teams, it’s time to think about depth and redundancy, especially in larger leagues. So, if you play in a large format, this is a day to check out my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn. It will be posted early this afternoon and I will highlight more key handcuff options. Check it out — it’s free.

As always, I do not list players with high rates of ownership. That said, Mike Evans is not owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues. While that doesn’t merit an official listing here, it’s worthy of a mention. Make darn sure that he’s been taken in your league. The guy is a clear-cut WR1 right now. Amazingly, he was on our waiver wire just a few short weeks ago. If you listened to us on Evans and Odell Beckham Jr., you are sitting pretty right now.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my co-host Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez, Eagles — 53 percent

He’s paid the bills so far. It may not look pretty, but Sanchez is making plays and has a nice group of weapons to work with. His schedule is friendly with the exception of Seattle on Week 14. He can help you as a backup or spot starter. The former Jet has big-game potential on most weeks.

Eli Manning, Giants — 59 percent

Yes, I am recommending five-pick Eli. He’ll be dumped in a lot of leagues this week, and he can be a QB2 for you and even a matchup starter. The Giants have a very nice closing schedule for the passing game, and he throws to that Odell Beckham guy.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 60 percent

He makes a very solid QB2 in smaller formats and he’s available in enough leagues to list him here. The Dolphins are improving in the passing game with a deeper group of receivers than they have had in the past, led by Mike Wallace and rookie Jarvis Landry.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 57 percent

The ageless Steve Smith has begun to show his mileage a bit and the Ravens have not been a picture of consistency as a passing attack, but they have some tasty matchups remaining on the schedule and that makes him a nice matchup play down the stretch if you need some options.

Brian Hoyer, Browns — 14 percent

The numbers might say, “Move along,” but I think Hoyer is worth a look with Josh Gordon returning this week. The Browns’ remaining schedule is far from scary, and they may be throwing more now that they have an elite receiver on the field.

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Read More: Eli Manning, joe flacco, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehill
What we learned Sunday: Bills, Dolphins blow chance to make up ground on Patriots 11.10.14 at 12:32 am ET
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Kyle Orton and the Bills had the Chiefs on the run Sunday, but couldn't close the deal. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Kyle Orton and the Bills had the Chiefs on the run Sunday but couldn’t close the deal. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

1. The Bills missed out on a golden opportunity to edge closer to the Patriots

Buffalo was at home and controlled the pace for most of the first three quarters, but 14 fourth-quarter points from Kansas City were enough to upend the Bills and come away with a 17-13 win in Orchard Park. Buffalo had a ton of chances all afternoon and appeared to be on the verge of blowing out the Chiefs at one point, but they ended up settling for a pair of field goals after an early touchdown, and added some ill-timed turnovers to make things even worse. The first came on the opening drive of the second half when running back Bryce Brown — three steps from the end zone and posting a touchdown that would have made it 16-3 in the third quarter — had the ball punched away by a Kansas City defender and out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. The second one came when the usually sure-handed punt returner Leodis McKelvin muffed a return attempt in the fourth quarter that paved the way for what would ultimately be the game-winning touchdown, an 8-yard run from quarterback Alex Smith that put the Chiefs ahead for good. With the win, Kansas City has returned to the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Meanwhile Buffalo, which entered the contest 1 1/2 games behind New England in the division, now falls to 5-4, a full two games back of the Patriots.

2. So did the Dolphins

Miami faced a steeper hill to climb, going into Detroit to try and take down the Lions. And like the Bills, they were in control for most of the game. Despite only finishing with one offensive touchdown, the Dolphins built leads of 13-10 and 16-13 in the second half. But with 29 seconds left, Matthew Stafford delivered an Uncle Rico-esque sidearm sling to Theo Riddick, an 11-yard scoring strike to lift the Lions past the Dolphins for the 20-16 win. Ryan Tannehill finished 27-for-38 for 207 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Something to keep in mind when the Patriots meet the Lions in a few weeks in Foxboro — Detroit has become quite adept at winning close games. Sunday’s victory against Miami was the fourth straight win for the Lions, with their last three wins coming by a combined six points.

3. With the losses by Buffalo and Miami, the divisional picture became even clearer

The Bills and Dolphins both fell to 5-4, a full two games in back of the first-place Patriots. And while there’s a lot of football still to be played (seven games for all three of the team in the division that still have a pulse, to be exact) and Buffalo and Miami still have yet to visit Foxboro this season, it’s starting to appear less and less likely that either team will be capable of overtaking New England down the stretch. That matters because if the Patriots are able to wrap up the division between now and the final three games of the season, the visits from both the Dolphins (Dec. 14) and the Bills (Dec. 28) could be far less impactful that initially believed, at least from a divisional standpoint. In addition, if either Miami or Buffalo has little to play for at that point in the year, it would make it a lot easier for New England to finish up the season with a flourish if there’s home field on the line, or even a first-round bye. (For what it’s worth, the Bills and Dolphins play Thursday in Miami, and the loser will most likely write off any hopes of making the postseason, at least this year.)

4. The Jets helped the Patriots with a win over the Steelers

The Steelers went into MetLife and were shocked by the Jets, 20-13. In what will undoubtedly go down as the high point of the season for Gang Green, New York held Pittsburgh to just three points through the first three-plus quarters. Meanwhile, the Steelers defense — which had shown plenty of signs of improvement over the previous three weeks — were unable to do much to contain Michael Vick and the Jets. The veteran quarterback threw two touchdown passes and became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 6,000 yards in the win, which avoided a franchise record for consecutive losses.

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Brock Osweiler, Bryce Brown, Leodis McKelvin
Fantasy Football: Week 10 waiver wire 11.04.14 at 9:58 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 10 waiver wire. We’re knee deep in the bye week crunch and I am sure many of you are in win-now mode. Let’s see what we can do to help. Based on the ownership rates on Yahoo!, there’s significant hope because I see big names available in most small to midsized leagues. As always, if you play in a deep format, head on over to Rotobahn later today for my expanded waiver wire. I’ll have more options at all the positions plus some recommendations for defensive pickups and even a kicker or two.

As always, the ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that.

To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

QUARTERBACKS

Mark Sanchez, Eagles — 5 percent

This is the obvious move and I suggest you make the ex-Jet a priority this week if you have any QB needs. If it helps, think of it as drafting Chip Kelly’s quarterback rather than Mark Sanchez. As mediocre as the former Trojan has been at times, he’s a functional NFL QB and the Eagles offense is a fabulous fantasy platform.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 61 percent

He’s been consistent and his surrounding talent is now fully healthy. Palmer can help you as a weekly starter in most leagues, so go get him if he is available. Arizona hosts St. Louis this week.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins — 57 percent

He’s past his bye and posting good numbers most weeks. Tannehill also has a solid cast of developing weapons like our guy Jarvis Landry. Tannehill does have a relatively weak matchup in Week 10 at Detroit — the good news is he’ll have to throw the ball.

Kyle Orton, Bills — 9 percent

He’s been good so far and he can help you during the bye weeks as a solid stop-gap option. He has weapons to work with — primarily rookie sensation Sammy Watkins, who has been unleashed by the veteran quarterback in recent weeks.

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Read More: Carson Palmer, kyle orton, Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehill
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