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Lust: Studying Fantasy and Finals Notes

Welcome to the final weeks of the fantasy football season. As a special addition this week, I’ve compiled a list of things that will surely help you in your study habits.

  1. Procrastinate. The more you put off studying, the more fun it is when you wake up with an hour to go before your exam.
  2. Make sure you do the things you want to do before you do the things you need to do. Nothing says “I’m ready for this exam!” like stumbling into your classroom from a long night of not studying.
  3. Everyone knows the key to efficient studying is making sure you take breaks when you need to. If you’ve read a page in that book, or completed a question on that study guide, reward yourself with a nice four hour nap or a lunch break that eventually fades into a dinner break. One question is enough, don’t overwork yourself!
  4. Organize your fantasy team before you organize your studies. History teachers love seeing “LeSean McCoy” under “Who was the 38th President of the United States?” You want to let your teachers know that you have your priorities straight.
  5. Reward yourself. Make sure that after you do the things you want to do, you continue doing the things you want to do. Because otherwise, you’ll have to do the things you need to do, which means studying.

I have to reiterate again, don’t lose sight of what’s important. These are the final weeks of the fantasy season. Consolation bowl and super bowls are being matched, final trades are being made, and last minute roster changes are starting to wrap up.
It may be finals week for school, but it’s the final weeks for fantasy football.
Here are my picks for this oh-so-important week.
QB Picks for Week 15
1. Definite Start: Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. Washington Redskins): This pick completely depends on his status as of Sunday, but what needs to be taken into consideration is Manning’s previous stellar success against the Redskins this year. In their matchup in week four, Manning posted a monstrous 32 fantasy points, which came out of 300 yards and four touchdowns. Not to mention the fact that the Redskins have given up the highest amount of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (surpassing the Jets, which held the record for successive weeks). And, the Redskins have also allowed opposing signal callers to rack up the ninth highest average completion percentage at 65%. If Eli gets better by Sunday, he’s an easy start this week.
2. Sleeper Start: Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys): On Thanksgiving, Sanchez surprised us a little bit. He seemed to be slowly molding into something we’ve never really seen from Sanchez: a quarterback. He put up substantial numbers, totaling 217 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing and one passing). Sanchez seemed all too comfortable against the Cowboys lax secondary that has allowed 16.6 points per game to opposing quarterbacks as of this week. With Sanchez still being started in only 11% of leagues (ESPN), he deserves a second look as he takes on the Cowboys at home.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): As much as I adamantly advocate that this kid’s attitude belongs on a high school football team, he can run the ball. And pass it enough to probably beat the Bengals. The Bengals defense has allowed a similarly disappointing rookie in Blake Bortles 247 yards and two touchdowns this year, so Manziel should be able to produce something at least semi-solid. Not to mention the fact that the Bengals have also produced the second least amount of sacks per game, which gives Manziel all the more room to run around in a circle and eventually score (as is his common strategy).
4. Beware of Starting: Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins): Let’s just look at the facts here. In week one against the Dolphins, Brady only managed 11 total fantasy points — which is just sad considering his first name is Tom, which is closely followed by his last name, Brady. Just by simply looking at the statistics of it, the Dolphins defense has been absolutely stellar this year, as they rank highly in the most prominent categories. They’ve allowed the 4th least amount of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, the 3rd least passing yards per game, and the 2nd least yards per completion. The Dolphins defense has been more than promising this year, so don’t expect them to let up against the Patriots.
RB Picks for Week 15
1. Definite Start: Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Atlanta Falcons): This is easily an obvious choice, I’m only putting him on here to help those with three top notch running backs make the best decision on who to put in their number one spot. The Falcons run defense this year has been just plain awful. They’ve given up an abysmal 22 points per game to opposing backs this year, and Bell has averaged an unheard of 33 points over his last three games. If you by chance have to make a decision on whether or not to play Bell, I just made your decision for you.
2. Sleeper Start: Chris Ivory, New York Jets (@Tennessee Titans): The Titans are just about as bad as the Falcons this year when it comes to rush defense (literally, they’re second to the Falcons in fantasy points allowed). The Titans have also allowed 17 touchdowns to opposing backs this season, which provides ample room for Chris Ivory to power through and put up a solid amount of points for a flex or RB2 position.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Another injury dependent pick means you have to pay attention to his status, but Stewart should be a pretty good pick this week against the Buccaneers, especially for an RB2 position. The Bucs have given up 18 points per game to opposing running backs this year. Over the past four games, they’ve given up an average of 20 points per game. If Stewart is feeling up to playing, he should provide solid points for a flex or RB2 position.
4. Beware of Starting: Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers (@Buffalo Bills): This is a tough decision, to be honest. The Bills have only surrendered an average of 12 points per game to opposing running backs this year. BUT, the Bills did surrender three touchdowns on 122 yards to C.J. Anderson of the Broncos last week. Lacy and the Bills defense haven’t met yet this year, so it could go either way. But basing it solely off of the statistics, the Bills have a very good chance of keeping Lacy to a minimal amount of points this week.
WR Picks for Week 15
1. Definite Start: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants (@Tennessee Titans): This is another pick for those of us who have too many star receivers to choose from. Beckham easily deserves a start this week. Since he has exploded on to the scene in week five against Atlanta, Beckham has averaged a solid 13 points per game. We unfortunately didn’t get to see him play against the Redskins in week four, but I wouldn’t expect anything less than an air show against a sad Redskins defense that has allowed 20 points per game to opposing quarter backs and 23 points per game to opposing receivers. Not to mention his impeccable average of 14 yards per reception.
2. Sleeper Start: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Atlanta Falcons): The Falcons has only allowed opposing receivers less than 20 total points per game once this year. Week three against the Bucs. Other than that, they’ve allowed at least 20 points per game, averaging at around 24 points per game. Not to mention, they’ve allowed an average of 14 passing first downs a game; third in the NFL. Being on the opposite side of the field of star receiver Antonio Brown means Bryant will get some extra looks from Big Ben this week.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston Texans): The Texans pass defense this year has given up 6th most completions per game (23.8) and the 9th most yards per completion (11.1) to opposing receivers. Not to mention the 2nd most fantasy points per game to receivers (26.5). Moncrief has been the definition of boom or bust, with a mostly bust season, but had a few huge booms. In week eight against the Steelers he posted one touchdown on 113 yards, and in week 13 against the Redskins porous defense he posted two touchdowns on 134 yards, on just three receptions. That means if he’s open down field, Andrew Luck is going to be looking for him for the big play. Moncrief definitely deserves a second look this week.
4. Beware of Starting: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (@Philadelphia Eagles): With such a porous pass defense throughout this year, I think we all expected the Cowboys, specifically Romo and Bryant, to beat up on the Eagles back in week 13. But quite the opposite happened. The otherwise mediocre Eagles defense (giving up 25 points per game to opposing receivers as of this week) held the star receiver to just 73 yards on four receptions the last time they met. And the weird thing is that they were in Dallas. This week Bryant takes on the Eagles again, except in the cold in Philadelphia. Even with such an easy going defense, I wouldn’t expect the Eagles to do anything less than they did last time.
TE Picks for Week 15
1. Definite Start: Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (@Chicago Bears): To some of you this may seem like an obvious pick. To others, it may not. Graham has totaled 2.5 points in the past two week combined. For someone whose team had to release multiple players to make cap room for him, I expect more. But I still have faith. Even after his week of 0 targets, I kept faith in him. Graham is a monster, and will continue to be so for the next few years. He will always be an essential weapon for the Saints versatile offense. So to those of you who’ve lost faith over the past two weeks, don’t give up just yet. The Bears lead the league in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
2. Sleeper Start: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Dallas Cowboys): Ertz had a pretty solid game last week against a tough Seahawks defense, putting up one touchdown on 39 yards. This week he’ll face the Cowboys at home, who have allowed about 8 points to opposing tight ends over the past three weeks. With a seemingly (somewhat) capable Mark Sanchez at the wheel, this versatile Philadelphia offense seems to be going places this year. I would expect Ertz to get some serious looks from Sanchez after coming off a big week.
3. Free Agent Pickup: Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints (@Chicago Bears): It could be extremely dangerous to play two of the same position from the same team, but not in the case of the Saints. As I mentioned before, Graham has only accumulated 2.5 points on 25 yards over the past two weeks, while Watson has managed 14.3 points on two touchdowns over that same time span. The Saints offense is so varied and random, you can never really be sure about who’s going to get the ball the most. But you can be sure that with such an open Bears defense, Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and the Saints offense will be putting the ball all over the field.
4. Beware of Starting: Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears (vs. New Orleans Saints): Bennett is a favorite of Cutler for sure, but I would be wary of starting the big man this week. The Saints have allowed more than 10 points to opposing tight ends just two times this year: week 11 against Cincinnati and last week against Carolina. Other than those weeks, opposing tight ends have averaged just 3.5 points against the Saints this year. I would explore your other options at tight end this week, as Bennett could be seeing a ton of black and gold up close and personal this week.

Taylor LustOle Miss student Taylor Lust is a Fantasy Football guru and can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu.

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