Week 15 matchups to exploit or avoid: Friday edition

Posted Dec. 16, 2011 @ 12:32 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

It seems when you have high-powered offenses that better-than-average fantasy players tend to perform well. That happens when you keep seeing one team over and over and it's what gives players like Santana Moss and Anthony Fasano greater value certain weeks. How much more is the question, but we never know that answer until the games are played.

QB Tony Romo, Cowboys (at Buccaneers)
Romo's two-game average against the Bucs is impressive; 329.5 yards and four TDs with no interceptions. One game was Week One of 2009 and the other was Week 12 of ’06 — far from recent activity — but when it's fantasy playoff time, you don't leave any stone unturned. Considering that the Bucs' "D" has struggled in all facets this season, it merely validates the fact that Romo should do well. He is averaging 280.5 yards and two TDs per game with 0.7 interceptions and his owners are drooling right now, as the Bucs' defense is allowing opposing QBs 220 yards and 1.75 TDs per game the past four weeks. Romo will exploit this matchup. 

RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (vs. Redskins)
Bradshaw's recent history against the Redskins is not very good, with an average of 15.5 utilizations for 42 yards from scrimmage and 0.5 TDs the past two games vs. Washington. You can't really bench Bradshaw but it's not like he's playing great football right now as he has yet to come back fully from his foot injury. And, though he should start this weekend, he will be sharing time with Brandon Jacobs. The Redskins are a middle-of-the-road defense that's allowing 106.8 rushing yards and 0.5 TDs per game the past four weeks. Bradshaw has had success against them, including Week 13 in 2010 when he had 25-97-2 rushing, but it will be tough this week. For owners with deep lineups you might want to consider other options as it might not be able to exploit this matchup.

WR Santana Moss, Redskins (at Giants)
Moss has a solid two-game history against the Giants with 7.5 catches for 75 yards. In his career, he is averaging five catches for 67 yards and one TD vs. New York. The Giants' "D" is allowing 215.3 yards and 2.5 TDs per game the past four weeks. Moss' broken hand is healthy and his Week 14 performance (3-81-1 on nine targets) is a positive sign that he can exploit this matchup. He's a must-start.

TE Anthony Fasano, Dolphins (at Bills)
Fasano has a two-game average of 3.5 catches for 61 yards and no TDs. That's not shabby at all and gives him consideration in larger leagues. His Week 14 output (3-56-0 on eight targets) was solid as well. However, you're taking a risk with him against the Bills. He has a four-game average against Buffalo of 3.3 catches for 39.5 yards and 0.25 TDs. Those aren't attractive numbers, including in Week 11 this season when he caught 2-8-1, with the TD salvaging his day. The Bills are allowing opposing TEs 41.8 yards and one TD per game the past four weeks — well within the average. That makes him a fringe fantasy player. He's worth consideration in larger leagues, as he can exploit this matchup, though I wouldn't want to play him.

TE Antonio Gates, Chargers (vs. Ravens)
Despite the perception of the Ravens' defense, Gates gets his against them. He has a three-game average against Baltimore of five catches for 74.7 yards and 0.7 TDs. That shows he can perform against anyone. This season, he has a four-game average of 5.8 catches for 62.5 yards and one TD on 7.5 targets and is coming off an outstanding Week 14 performance (7-68-2 on nine targets). If the Ravens have a weakness, it's the TE position, as they're allowing 46 yards and 0.5 TDs to the position. It might not sound like much but it's in the bottom half of the league. Gates has the history, is currently trending up in statistical play and should be able to exploit this matchup.