-GO WITH YOUR GUT: Regardless of whether you listen to us here or check out 25 different websites, make the final call on your lineup your own. It is recommended that owners gather the most information possible to make an educated guess, but in the end it’s YOUR fantasy team. Don’t let anybody make the call for you as you are going to be the one that has to live with the consequences.
TURNING THE PAGE
(Here’s a quick at players that will warrant discussion as first-round picks heading into 2013)
--QUARTBERACKS: A. Rodgers (GB), T. Brady (NE), R. Griffin III (WAS), D. Brees (NO) – This year has been another reminder that there is a tremendous amount of depth at the quarterback position, particularly with younger players coming along quicker. Of this group, Rodgers is still probably the only likely I’d pull the trigger on in Round 1 and would be later. However, it may be a better option to wait a few rounds and target the likes of Cam Newton, Eli Manning, or Matt Ryan.
--RUNNING BACKS: A. Peterson (MIN), R. Rice (BAL), A. Foster (HOU), T. Richardson (CLE), D. Martin (TB), M. Lynch (SEA), J. Charles (KC), C. Spiller (BUF), C. Johnson (TEN) – Grabbing running backs early and often is still the recommended method to build your team. Peterson right now is the guy that tops my list, but all of these runners should go off the board within the first 12 picks.
--WIDE RECEIVERS: C. Johnson (DET), A. Green (CIN), B. Marshall (CHI) – Like quarterback, wide receiver is a position deep in talent. However, these three players are warrant consideration very early based off their talent and the absurd amount of targets they get in their offenses. I’d be surprised to see more than a couple of wideouts go in round one though.
--TE Rob Gronkowksi (NE) – While Aaron Hernandez and Jimmy Graham could come close to matching his production, Gronk is the cream of the crop in my eyes. Still, he’s more a second-to-third round pick on my board. Expect him to go much earlier than that. Consistent tight end production is hard to find and no player is more consistent when healthy than the Patriots’ tight end.
--Dez Bryant (finger): It appears that the Cowboys wide receiver is going to delay surgery and attempt to play through his broken left index finger. It leaves owners in a precarious situation as few players have been hotter over the past five weeks than Bryant. The matchup with Pittsburgh raises additional questions. Bryant is a HUGE gamble. Owners with comparable options should play it safe, but unless you have a top 20 WR to plug in as his replacement, it may be worth the risk rolling with him.
--Robert Griffin III (knee): RGIII is dealing with a sprained knee, but has practiced in a limited capacity the past two days. It appears as if he’s going to play Sunday vs. the Browns, but owners will need to check his status on game day. If active, owners will be hard-pressed to sit the Redskins’ rookie.
--Ahmad Bradshaw (knee): Bradshaw has yet to make it on to the practice field and is questionable for Week 15’s matchup at Atlanta. Some of the team’s beat writers have speculated that Bradshaw may not even make the trip. Rookie David Wilson, who exploded onto the scene a week ago, becomes a borderline RB1 option if Bradshaw is deemed inactive.
--Roddy White (knee): White will be a game-time decision for Week 15 after being held out of practice again on Thursday, according to head coach Mike Smith. The Falcons are optimistic that White will be able to go and if he is active owners shouldn’t hesitate rolling with him. However, this situation is one that will need to be watched leading up to kickoff.
--Cecil Shorts (concussion): The Jaguars’ wide receiver has been cleared to return to practice and game action following missing last week with a concussion. Barring a setback he’ll be active versus Miami and be a viable WR2 option in most formats.
Injuries to Watch: Jay Cutler (neck), Jordy Nelson (hamstring), Sidney Rice (foot), Danny Amendola (heel/foot), Brandon Pettigrew (ankle).
(Owners facing uphill battles in Week 15 may want to roll the dice on some of these high-upside waiver wire finds)
--Montell Owens: After rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown a week ago versus the Jets, Owens showed he could provide some boost to owners decimated at running back. This week’s matchup against the Dolphins isn’t as nearly as friendly, but Owens is going to get the bulk of the carries as the last man standing in the Jaguars’ backfield and could be a top 30 option at the position.
--Dennis Pitta: Despite being inconsistent throughout the season, Pitta has scored three times over his last five games and faces a Broncos’ defense that has given up fantasy points in bunches to tight ends all season long. While Denver has been better of late at defending the position, expect Pitta to be heavily involved in the Ravens’ game plan on Sunday in a game that promises to have plenty of balls going up in the air.
--Lions DEF: Recommending the Lions as your staring defense in a week with so much on the line seems a bit bold, but given the fact they are facing the Cardinals makes them the most attractive option at the position in Week 15. Look for them to come up with plenty of turnovers and sacks and keep the yardage and scoring totals low against the Ryan Lindley led Arizona offense.