The biggest story heading into week 15 of the National Football League season is not who is playing, but who is not. Injuries took its toll on many football players last week, and there are a few fantasy regulars who are either out or doubtful.
In Miami, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill sprained his ACL and MCL last week against the Arizona Cardinals and will not play this week against the New York Jets. He will be replaced by former Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore.
Other notable fantasy football injuries include running backs Matt Forte of the New York Jets (torn meniscus in his knee), Melvin Gordon of the San Diego Chargers (hip strain and knee sprain) and Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles (concussion). Meanwhile Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with a middle finger injury and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is dealing with a turf toe ailment. Forte, Sproles and Jones are questionable, Gordon is doubtful, and Stafford is probable.
There are four intriguing matchups this weekend. The first two are Sunday morning with the Tennessee Titans playing the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions playing the New York Giants. In Kansas City, the Chiefs (10-3) have the fourth best defense in the AFC and have been excellent at home as they have a record of five wins and one loss. Tennessee (7-6) meanwhile is coming off a 13-10 win over the Denver Broncos in another defensive battle. Both the Chiefs and Titans are tied for first place in their division. Kansas City is tied with Oakland and Tennessee is tied with Houston. With the game being in Kansas City, I like the Chiefs.
In New York, the 9-4 Giants play the 9-4 Lions. There are two difference though between the Giants and Lions. One has a healthy offense and the other is leading their division. In Detroit, the NFC North leading Lions are not only faced with a quarterback who has a sore finger, but a running back in Theo Riddick who has a sore wrist. The Giants also have some momentum on defense as they surprisingly limited the high power Dallas Cowboys to seven points last week. Giants should win this one tight.
In Denver Sunday afternoon, the 11-2 Patriots play the 8-5 Broncos. Denver’s offense lately has just simply been inconsistent. I take Tom Brady over Trevor Siemian any day. This could be a defensive battle as both teams are within the top three defensively in the AFC. However I say “could” instead of should because traditionally Brady has had great success against the more successful defenses in the NFL.
In Dallas Sunday night, the 11-2 Cowboys host the 8-5 Buccaneers. This will be an important bounce back game for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who was terrible last week in New York. The Cowboys have the slight edge, but don’t forget the Buccaneers have already delivered impressive wins so far this season against Atlanta, Kansas City, Carolina and Seattle.
My projected fantasy stars of the week are Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryan is at home against the San Francisco 49ers, while Brown and Bell play the Cincinnati Bengals. If you have been living under a rock this past week, Bell set a Steelers record for rushing yards in a game last week (236) in a 27-20 Steelers win in Buffalo