Fantasy Football Week 15: Buying and Selling Breakout Performers from Last Week

Let it snow.

Wait, don’t, it really messes with fantasy football results. How else can you explain the insanity that was Week 14?

Whether it was five touchdowns in the final 2:07, Antonio Brown‘s near-miss miracle or Tom Brady’s furious comeback, plenty of fantasy drama was to be had last weekend. There were also plenty of big performances to dissect, despite the bad weather across the country.

Buy: Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos

Statistics: 8 receptions, 117 yards, 1 touchdown

Yes, Eric Decker‘s performance was a “sell” last week—especially considering he was heading into a matchup against a Tennessee Titans defense that had given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season—but his performance last week was far more believable.

Decker might get even more action with Wes Welker likely out with a concussion this week. He has gotten a lot of attention from Peyton Manning, and opposing defenses won’t simply be able to hone in on him with Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno to worry about.

Not only that, but Decker gets to go up against a soft Chargers defense. Sure, he had just three catches for 52 yards the last time he faced them, but that was before he turned into a target machine for Manning.

Sell: Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Statistics: 6 receptions, 107 yards, 2 touchdowns

There are some in the draft community who had been waiting for Da’Rick Rogers to get his chance on the field. He possesses great talent, but off-field issues knocked him clean out of the 2013 draft, forcing him to work his way up from undrafted free agency thus far.

He was finally activated last week, and he had quite the debut. The problem is he still has T.Y. Hilton, Lavon Brazill and Darrius Heyward-Bey ahead of him on the depth chart.

Perhaps his performance has earned him a promotion, but he could really submarine your fantasy teams a la Ladarius Green.

Buy: Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

Statistics: 20 carries, 65 yards, 1 touchdown—3 receptions, 25 yards

This is, of course, pending the outcome of the ankle injury he suffered during the game, but Eddie Lacy should continue to produce for the Green Bay Packers.

Of course, Lacy could have had a much bigger game against an Atlanta Falcons team that had given up roughly 17 million fantasy points to running backs this season. The ankle injury slowed him down, to be sure.

Sell: Marcel Reece, FB, Oakland Raiders

Statistics: 19 carries, 123 yards, 1 touchdown—2 receptions, 38 yards

It was Marcel Reece time for the Oakland Raiders in New Jersey last week with Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings sidelined due to injury. Starting him was a risky proposition, however, especially considering the New York Jets have been so good against opposing running backs this season.

Last-minute gamblers were rewarded handsomely if they started Reece. His 68-yard touchdown run was longer than most starting running backs had in entire games against the Jets.

The problem here is Jennings should be back this week, rendering Reece practically useless. He will probably be a Hail Mary in starting lineups if owners choose to start him.

Buy: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

Statistics: 21-of-28, 249 yards, 3 touchdowns

Philip Rivers stormed the fantasy realm at the outset of the 2013 season, his scorched earth policy astounding those who held faith or written him off alike. Things slowed down for him a bit after the first four weeks, however, and he had not regained that form until recently.

Last week marks the second in three with three touchdown passes for Rivers, who had an unexpectedly great game in Kansas City. Having a great receiver like Keenan Allen helps, but having a nice schedule is even nicer.

The Chargers get the Broncos and Raiders to close out the fantasy season, both generous defenses to opposing quarterbacks.

Sell: Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets

Statistics: 16-of-25, 219 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception—5 carries, 50 yards, 1 touchdown

Just one week ago we were left wondering if Geno Smith would start another game for the Jets this season. Then he got to face the Raiders.

Prior to last Sunday, Smith hadn’t completed double-digit passes since Week 8. He had as many touchdowns as he had receptions, a rushing score against the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.

There is simply no reason to trust Smith will score with any consistency.

Buy: Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins

Statistics: 7 receptions, 97 yards, 2 touchdowns 

When Dustin Keller went down with a gruesome knee injury in the preseason, Charles Clay was the next man up. But who could have predicted the season he has had?

The third-year tight end has put up an All-Pro-caliber season, both in real and fantasy football. Last Sunday, he put on a show.

While he won’t be scoring two touchdowns a game, his performance is nothing new.

Clay has caught at least six passes for 80 yards in three of the past four games, scoring in two of them. He has become one of Ryan Tannehill’s favorite targets, and he gets the generous New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills defenses next.

Sell: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

 Statistics: 5 receptions, 141 yards, 1 touchdown—1 carry, 6 yards

Of all the performances to discount because of the snow last week, just about anything that happened in the final two minutes in Baltimore can be thrown out the window.

Those pandemonium-filled minutes of hot potato were punctuated by performances that would have been unlikely under normal weather conditions, especially Cordarrelle Patterson’s 79-yard touchdown catch that saw Baltimore defenders tiptoeing and slipping.

Patterson is quite the talented individual, but he is a boom-or-bust prospect.

Buy: Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots

Statistics: 3 carries, 9 yards, 1 touchdown—12 receptions, 153 yards 

What will the Patriots do without Rob Gronkowski? Something tells me they will manage, and Shane Vereen will be a big reason why.

The second-year running back had a huge game, particularly as a pass-catcher. This was nothing new, as Vereen has done a marvelous job out of the backfield this season. But Last week’s performance was his biggest yet, and New England will likely lean on him more with Gronkowski out for the rest of the season.

Remember, Vereen had a big game in Week 1 with Gronkowski out. There is precedent here.

Sell: Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Statistics: 22 carries, 127 yards, 1 touchdown—3 receptions, -4 yards 

Bobby Rainey had another huge day against the lowly Bills. This wasn’t the first time he has had such a game, so why the skepticism? 

For starters, 80 of his 127 yards came on the first play of the game, a long touchdown run. He managed just 47 the rest of the way.

Then there is the fact he goes up against the San Francisco 49ers this week, who are unlikely to give up such a scamper.

Follow @AlexMiglio

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