NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
QB – Drew Brees – Sure, he led you into the playoffs, but before you start clearing out a spot for that championship trophy in expectation of a monster fantasy effort from Brees on Thursday night, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration. At first glance, a match up against the Bears 28th ranked pass defense appears to hold promise galore for the elite signal caller, but upon further examination, the luster is diminished to some extent. For starters, this game will be played in Chicago. Brees has struggled all year on the road even against weak opposition. You may be surprised to know that in 6 away games this season, he has thrown just 7 TD passes to 10 interceptions. It also doesn’t help that the game will be played outdoors in what is expected to be below freezing conditions. In addition, the Chicago secondary is shaky, but they are not quite as terrible as their ranking suggests. In fact, their 19 interceptions tie them for second most in the NFL. We realize that this sounds like a glowing endorsement to bench Brees, but that is not the case. We are simply pointing out that this match up is not primed for a dominant Brees performance under the circumstances. Regardless, Brees is too valuable to leave on the bench and remains a must start.
RB – Reggie Bush – If week 14 was any indication, Bush appears to be back on track and his knee injury is no longer a concern heading into week 15. What should be of concern is the 6th ranked run defense of the Chicago Bears. The Bears only allow 91 yards rushing per game. While this match up does not bode extremely well for Bush on the ground, the versatile RB could prove useful in the Saints passing attack. For that reason, we recommend using him as a mid to low end RB2 or flex with this match up. Those of you in PPR leagues should benefit the most from having Bush on your fantasy roster.
RB – Pierre Thomas – With at least 1 TD in each of his last 4 games and a 102 yard rushing effort just last week, Thomas has proven to be a valuable commodity for fantasy owners recently. That said, he will likely have his work cut out for him in week 15 against Chicago’s 6th ranked run defense. While Thomas maintains decent fantasy value as the Saints goal line back, yards may prove difficult to come by with this match up. Chicago does give up 1 rushing TD per game on average, so that bodes well, but they only allow 91 rushing yards per game. Given that he will be sharing carries with Reggie Bush, a big yardage game doesn’t appear likely. Thomas should be considered a risky RB2 or flex play for Thursday night.
RB – Deuce McAllister – With an on again off again 4 game suspension looming and the emergence of Pierre Thomas, McAllister’s fantasy value has plummeted in recent weeks. He should not be a factor in week 15’s match up at Chicago and he should not be used in fantasy play.
WR – Marques Colston – In spite of his vast talents, Colston has been very hit or miss since returning from injury in week 9. In part because of the emergence of Lance Moore, but also because of his value as an attractive decoy in the Saints offensive game plans of late. While a Thursday night match up against Chicago’s 28th ranked pass defense is certainly favorable, it is difficult to gauge Colston’s value given his inconsistency this season. We love his potential with this match up, but he is no longer the slam dunk fantasy option of yester year. We suggest using him as a WR2 and hope for the best.
WR – Lance Moore – After 5 consecutive games with at least 1 TD reception, Moore was held in check last week by the Falcons with only 3 receptions for 35 yards. It was the second straight week in which he has seen a decrease in targets from QB Drew Brees. While his lack of targets of late will have a slightly negative impact his fantasy value for week 15, Moore remains a dangerous and very capable weapon in the Saints passing game against a suspect Bears secondary. The potential for a big game is there, but unfortunately, he is no longer a fail safe fantasy option. Moore should be considered a low end WR2 for Thursday night.
WR – Devery Henderson – He has certainly had his moments this season, but unfortunately, those moments have been few and far between for you to seriously consider using Henderson on your week 15 fantasy roster. While capable, Henderson makes for a very risky flex option at best in a very crowded Saints receiving corps.
TE – Jeremy Shockey – While his numbers of late are fairly solid and consistent with respect to others that play the TE position, they are still below par for the lofty expectations of most fantasy owners. The fact is that this may be as good as it gets, at least for this season. It is promising that he is finally starting to develop a nice rapport with Drew Brees, a fact indicative by his vast increase in targets over the last few games, but the truth is that Shockey is just one of many potential play makers in the crowded Saints passing game, and he isn’t likely to steal the show any week. That said, it would be nice to see him get into the end zone at least once before season’s end. We think that is a real possibility in week 15 and at the very least, Shockey should have a decent stat line with this match up. He makes for a good, but not great, starting TE for fantasy rosters this week depending on your options.
TE – Billy Miller – In spite of a fairly solid season, Miller’s role in the Saints offense appears to be on the decline. In fact, he has gone 2 out of the last 4 games without recording a single catch. Each week he seems to be losing more and more targets from Brees in favor of Jeremy Shockey. Miller has certainly proven to be a capable receiving option, but he is far too risky to utilize in fantasy play at this point. He should only be used in a desperate situation as a very risky TE2 for week 15.
K – Garrett Hartley – Since taking over the starting kicking duties for New Orleans in week 10, Hartley is a perfect 11 for 11 on field goals and 15 of 15 on his extra point attempts. He is quickly becoming one of the better fantasy kickers out there, and yet he remains on the free agent list in the majority of fantasy leagues. Based on his excellent performance to this point, we really like his potential for a solid week 15 performance, but we do have one major concern with this match up. The weather conditions for Thursday’s game in Chicago are expected to be less than favorable for a kicker. The temperature is going to be well below freezing and winds are expected to be around 15 miles per hour. This could prove troublesome for a guy that normally kicks indoors and has yet to kick in a game with conditions this poor all season. We love Hartley, but we hate the potential kicking conditions. You might want to go with a safer kicking option under these circumstances.
Saints Defense – This defense ranks in the bottom half of the NFL in practically every statistical category relevant to fantasy football including points allowed, sacks, and takeaways. Do not use the New Orleans defense on your week 15 fantasy roster against a very capable Bears offense.
QB – Kyle Orton – He is certainly a capable fantasy QB and the match up at home against the Saints 26th ranked pass defense is very favorable. That said, do you really want to wager your fantasy championship hopes on the arm of Kyle Orton? We seriously doubt it. We like his chances on Thursday night, but unless your fantasy team is stacked otherwise, Orton is only safe as a QB2 in 2 QB leagues or as a flex option in leagues that allow QB’s in that position.
RB – Matt Forte – He is coming off of one of his more disappointing weeks, and that’s really saying something considering Forte totaled 106 yards against Jacksonville. He should have better luck with a promising week 15 match up on Thursday night against the Saints. The New Orleans run defense can best be described as mediocre ranking 20th in the NFL and giving up 113 rushing yards per game. In addition, the Saints have allowed 5 rushing TD’s in their last 3 games. Forte is a must start for week 15.
WR – Devin Hester – He has been solid in his last 3 contests totaling 239 yards and a TD. Hester is finally starting to emerge as the big play receiving threat that fantasy owners anticipated at the beginning of the season. As that big play threat, we really like his potential against a shaky Saints secondary that has become notorious for giving up the deep ball. While Hester is not a failsafe fantasy option by any means, he could prove very useful as a WR3 or flex play on Thursday night.
TE – Greg Olsen – After a fairly significant slump, it was nice to see Olsen piece together a solid week 14 fantasy effort. While the momentum from last week could carry over into a week 15 match up against New Orleans, you probably should not count on it. The Saints are pretty bad against the pass in general ranking just 26th in the NFL in pass defense, but they have been solid against TE’s. In fact, only 7 NFL teams have allowed fewer fantasy points from TE’s than New Orleans. Olsen is certainly capable, but he is probably more of a liability for your playoff fantasy roster than an asset with this match up. He should be considered a fairly risky starting option.
TE – Desmond Clark – In spite of his week 14 TD catch, Clark has pretty much been a non factor in fantasy for the majority of the season. Do not use him on Thursday night. Check injury report: hamstring
K – Robbie Gould – He is a fairly solid kicker overall, but as a fantasy option he can be hit or miss especially at home. Gould is a perfect 10 for 10 on field goal attempts on the road, but at home, he has 4 misses in 14 attempts. This can probably be attributed to the harsh weather conditions playing outside in Chicago. Those conditions are expected to be especially harsh on Thursday night with below freezing temperatures and steady winds of 15 miles per hour. Gould should get some FG opportunities with this match up, but the weather could play a factor. You are best served going with a safer kicker for week 15 under the circumstances.
Bears Defense – They are solid against the run, rank 2nd in the NFL with 19 interceptions, and have a respectable sack total, but this defense gives up far too many big plays to opposing passing attacks and the 21.4 points per game they allow is fairly mediocre. They should force New Orleans into some mistakes, but a match up against the high powered Saints offense appears risky to say the least for this defense. We recommend going with a safer defense for week 15.