I am a better fantasy football player than Baba Booey is.
Gary Dell'Abate, executive producer of "The Howard Stern Show" on SiriusXM Radio, known to millions as "Baba Booey," is actually my longtime friend. Regular readers of this column (or listeners to the podcast) know that I am both a huge Stern fan and that I've played in the show's fantasy football league for a few years now.
So with four seasons' worth of data to back it up, I feel very confident in saying that I am better at fantasy football than Gary is. That's not an insult to Gary at all. Gary knows what he is doing, is a good casual player and generally does well in his leagues. If Gary were writing this, he'd tell you the same thing. I'm better. And I should be. It's a hobby for him; it's my job. And yet, there's a very good chance I am going to lose to Gary this weekend.
I know, most people hate hearing about other people's teams, but there's a point to all this, I promise, so just go with me for a second. We're in the semifinals of the league. I was the No. 1 seed, so I had a bye last week and Gary defeated Scott the Engineer to advance. Had we played last week, I would have crushed him. But this week? He's got a good team with amazing matchups. The league is standard scoring, except six points for a touchdown pass, and we play three wide receivers.
Gary's team? Eli Manning, Jamaal Charles, Isaiah Crowell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Jordan Matthews, Antonio Gates, Golden Tate, the Jets' D and Stephen Gostkowski. So obviously he's done a nice job over the year, picking up Matthews, Beckham and Crowell, and his top picks of Charles and Brown have worked out very well.
My team is better. It was the No. 1 team in both record and for total points in the league. It's led by Aaron Rodgers, and also includes Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Brandon Marshall, Rob Gronkowski, Dan Herron, the Patriots' D and Dan Bailey.
So, a pretty good team (I bought low on Lacy after Week 3, in case you were wondering), right? Over the course of a full season, I like my team better than Gary's. I have advantages at QB, RB, TE and defense, though you can obviously stream that, which is what we've both been doing. He has an advantage at WR, but if Marshall were healthy, it's close. So overall, while I like his team a lot, I like mine more.
I'm just not sure I like it more this week.
Eli and Beckham should go crazy against Washington. Beckham might have 300 yards against them. Charles and Brown are studs against even good defenses, so expect increased production against bottom-tier Oakland and Atlanta defenses, respectively. The up-and-down Gates has a nice match with a Broncos team giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. I believe Crowell gets a boost with Manziel at quarterback, especially against a Bengals team that is 26th against the run the past five weeks. Matthews scored against the Cowboys last time, and nothing in their defense suggests they'll be able to stop him this time, either. The Jets are a decent streaming defense against Jake Locker and the Titans, he's got a good kicker and while I don't love Tate, as his flex or fourth WR, he's fine. He should have a monster week.
Meanwhile, I have my Green Bay one-two punch on the road at Buffalo against a Bills team that just shut down Peyton Manning, and Lacy is banged up. Julio Jones is banged up. Hopkins likely draws coverage from Vontae Davis, who shut down last time they played. Marshall is out for the year; I'm probably gonna have to go with Marquess Wilson. Despite recent struggles, Miami's pass defense is pretty good; the Dolphins get Finnegan back this week, and I expect a run-heavy game, so Gronk probably doesn't go off here. I like Herron, but it certainly wouldn't be a shock if he didn't score (only one TD on the year). While I do really like the matchup for Forte, I'm not sure it's enough.
So it's very easy to imagine a scenario where I lose this weekend. Likely, in fact. My personal projections have him winning. Which will suck. But in one week, anything can happen. Just ask anyone who had Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin or any number of big-name stars who disappointed last week. Are you an idiot for starting Peyton Manning or Drew Brees? Of course not. That was the correct call. It just didn't work out, which happens sometimes in fantasy football. Hey, it could happen to Gary this week and, despite his team being perfectly set up to win, his players fall flat, or mine blow up, and I steal the win. Luck can cut both ways. But maybe it doesn't have to. Or at least, as much. There will always be a little element of luck involved, but the more we can minimize the effects it'll have, the better the experience is, as it's even more skill against skill.
That's why I love the playoff format of ESPN standard leagues. For those that don't play that format, it's a 10-team league and four teams make the playoffs. You play two-week playoffs. So team 1 plays team 4 during Weeks 14 and 15, with the aggregate being the final score. Same thing happens between teams 2 and 3, and then the winners meet in a two-week playoff during weeks 16 and 17. Doesn't eliminate all bad luck, because there's always a chance some guy has a crazy five-TD game or something that's impossible to come back from, but in general, over two weeks, the team that should win will most often be victorious. And for those that don't want to play in Week 17, just end your regular season in Week 12 and play Week 13/14 and Week 15/16.
Of course, there are many ways to play fantasy football, which is why our custom league manager is so popular. I asked my Twitter followers to share some of their interesting rules. Maybe some will inspire you to adopt them for your own league. Some will take a bit more work than others, but each one can be used in an ESPN custom league either as a setting option, or by having the League Manager adjust scores and schedules.
10 luck-limiting rule changes you may want to consider for your league
1. No more waivers. You must use a predetermined budget for picking up free agents, and there is a daily bidding on players.
2. Regular-season scoring like we do in the Stern league. Every week, you compete for two wins: one head-to-head against your scheduled opponent, the other for being one of the five highest-scoring teams, regardless of matchup result. So every week, your record is 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2. In case you were wondering, we do the standings by hand, and my Stern show record this year was 19.5-6.5. Your LM can set the playoff matchups based on your alternate standings.
3. If that's too much work for you, consider making your league "roto points" style, with the four (or six, etc.) highest-scoring teams making the playoffs. I also like the rule that our NFL Insider Adam Caplan has in his league: It's a 14-team league, and six make the playoffs. The sixth team is the highest-scoring team that's not already in, regardless of record.
In short, total points is a better gauge of a fantasy owner's skill than record, and that's what should be used for both getting into the playoffs and then advancing in the playoffs. I like the idea of all four team getting in, and then the top two scoring teams advancing, as opposed to the two teams that won their matchups.
4 If you insist on assigning playoffs by record, then there's no need for divisions. The NFL does divisions because of geographic proximity. You can easily get rid of it if you don't like it.
5. No kickers. Even All-Pro kicker Blair Walsh, official kicker of the 06010 podcast, says he drafts kickers in the last round of his three fantasy leagues. What does that tell you?
6. Set your scoring to decimal and give a 0.1 for rushing and receiving yards. Among several benefits, it will keep you from losing an entire point on a series of QB kneel-downs. Or just have a rule where the commish will adjust scoring after the fact to negate QB kneel-downs. (For passing yards, you'd set it at .04 points/yard to get to 1 point every 25 yards).
7. Defensive touchdowns scored against your fantasy defense don't count. In other words, if you're starting the Jets, you shouldn't be penalized when Geno Smith throws a pick-six. You LM can make the scoring adjustments.
8. Designate a player on your bench prior to Sunday at 1 p.m. ET as your "official sub." Should a starter leave a game prior to halftime with an injury and not return, the "sub" is automatically inserted in place of the starter. (So, no deciding who has the better game or anything like that. It's either an automatic sub or not. You choose before what you want to happen.) Use the scoring adjustment tool to reflect this. If you're only looking for a smaller adjustment, you can also change your quarterback slot to "Team QB" and get all the stats generated by a team's quarterback, no matter who starts or finishes the game.
9. There needs to be something for everyone to play for. Non-playoff teams need to fight for a consolation prize, staying out of last place, draft pick next year, something. Having something to play for allows fair game on pickups, makes sure everyone is on the up-and-up all season long and just makes it more fun.
10. Give half-points for a WR drawing a pass interference call, rounding up. So, a 40-yard pass interference call is worth two points in standard scoring. You'll need to track that one yourself as well and adjust the scoring. Consider giving half the points to the quarterback, too.
Those are the rules I like. What are yours? Tweet them to me using the hashtag #TMRRULE and let's see what we can do to continually increase the skill quotient. Because that way, when you lose, you know you lost just because the other guy (or girl) was better.
No matter which rules you play under, let's get back to your current playoff matchup. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are for the past five weeks, as that's a better representation of a team's current state. And as always, a huge shout-out to Zach Rodgers of ESPN Stats & Information. He's one rule that should never be changed.
Quarterbacks I love in Week 15
Peyton Manning, Denver: I should not be getting questions about whether you should start Peyton Manning. But coming off a two-point game (that's not a typo), after a combined 15 points in the past two games and a stretch of three games of the past four where he's been held under 15 points, I sorta get it. Sorta. Because we are in a game where recency bias is really prevalent and yes, Julius Thomas is banged up, as is Demaryius Thomas. They've also gone fairly run-heavy recently. All that said, this is a warm weather game in a solid matchup (Peyton threw for 286 and three scores last time they faced the Chargers) and I expect Peyton to make a point. More to my point, if you're gonna lose, go down swinging with your best guy. That's Peyton Manning. Don't get cute.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Fantasy happiness occurs most often when two good offenses play against two bad defenses. We saw it with Chicago and Dallas last week, we saw it with Green Bay and Atlanta last week and I suspect we will see it again with Atlanta and Pittsburgh this week. They are 21st and 23rd in scoring defense, respectively, the past five weeks, and when Ben throws a dump-off to Le'Veon Bell, it counts as passing yards. We also know how good Ben is rolling out and extending the play, right? In fact, he's thrown seven touchdowns outside the pocket this season, tied for the most in the league. The Falcons have allowed a league-high 10.9 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks outside the pocket, including a 67 percent completion percentage (the second-highest mark in the league). I'm cherry picking stats there, but only because it's fun. Every stat for Atlanta's 32nd-ranked pass defense is bad. I expect Atlanta to put up points at home, which means Ben will have to throw to keep up. I'm the highest on him this week.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia: I love him, I hate him, I love him again. It's been an up-and-down season for me with Sanchez, but so far, I've been right on him every week. Not that it took a genius to not like him against Seattle, but hey, just because it's an extra point doesn't mean you can't miss one from time to time. Isn't that right, Greg Zuerlein? Anyways, Philadelphia's run game has re-emerged recently, which certainly helps set up play action, which is key to his game. In six games this year, Mark Sanchez has completed 69 percent of his play-action passes, with six touchdowns to one interception. No team has allowed more touchdowns on play-action passes than the Dallas Cowboys. Expect them to bite on stopping LeSean McCoy, while Sanchez burns them with Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews.
Philip Rivers, San Diego: One of the reasons the Broncos have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing QBs is that they face more pass attempts against them than any other team; that makes sense, because teams are always down on them and throwing. It's another reason why they are the second-best defense against the run as well. All of this a long way of saying Rivers is gonna be throwing a lot against Denver (and had three scores the last time they played, as well), and he's a top-ten play for me this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta: I'll feel a lot better about this assuming Julio Jones plays, but with over 700 yards, six touchdowns and 50 fantasy points the past two weeks, he's a solid start at home against the 18th-ranked pass defense in what should be a high-scoring game (see Roethlisberger, Ben).
So you're saying there's a chance: Death, taxes and a brutal pass defense for Washington. Some things are forever. Eli Manning had five total touchdowns against them earlier this year, and that was in the pre-Odell Beckham Jr. era. ... I can understand being gun-shy about Tony Romo against Philadelphia after what we saw in the Thanksgiving game, but he should be fine coming off the game last Thursday with extra time to prepare. The Eagles are 23rd in the NFL against the pass. ... It's definitely risk-reward territory, but based mostly on rushing upside, I do think Johnny Manziel is an interesting cheap option in daily games this week, and is also a legit QB2.
Quarterbacks I hate in Week 15
Joe Flacco, Baltimore: He'll be fine of course, and I like his chances more if Torrey Smith plays (I don't think he does as I write this on Wednesday night), but I'm putting him here because I believe most people see Jacksonville and think automatic start. Here's the thing: The Jaguars haven't been terrible against opposing QB's since their bye three weeks ago. In fact, they've allowed 11.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in the past three weeks. That includes giving up just 14 points to Andrew Luck in Indy. Whatever you think of Eli Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick, both performed below their season averages as well. Flacco is outside my top 12 this week, and I'm looking elsewhere in daily.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami: Tannehill did nothing with two cake matchups, and now has to go to New England in December. Brrr. he has a 213 passing yards average and only one passing touchdown total in his two games in New England (along with three interceptions); this could be a long day for young Ryan. Opposing quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning have averaged only 13.6 fantasy points per game in New England this season.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco: "I need to play better. I need to play better. I need to play better." Well, his fantasy owners could have held that press conference for Kaepernick the past eight weeks. He has struggled horribly against Seattle, averaging only eight fantasy points per game in four regular season games against them, including just one single point against Seattle on Thanksgiving this year. I'm pretty sure that must be a typo, right? Even if you are desperate, the answer is no. I didn't even rank him in my initial top 25 quarterbacks. Want one bad Colin stat, just for funsies? Kaepernick has completed 17.6 percent of passes thrown at least 15 yards downfield since Week 11, which is second worst among qualified quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Seattle has limited opposing quarterbacks to six fantasy points per game during the past five weeks, by far the fewest in the league during that span. What has your fantasy team ever done to you?
Running backs I love in Week 15
Alfred Morris, Washington: I know. After last week, how can I have him anywhere near the top 12? Well, for starters, I'm expecting Robert Griffin III to start this game and Morris has been much better throughout his career when RG III starts. Also, Morris plays well against the Giants, averaging double-digit points against them in five career games. Plus, you can run on New York, the 30th-ranked run defense and a team giving up the second-most yards per carry this season.
LeGarrette Blount, New England: Since returning to the Patriots, Blount has averaged 4.8 yards per carry, which would rank ninth among qualified running backs for the season. As my friend Mike Clay pointed out in his 32 tips article this week, since joining New England Blount is 17th in fantasy points among running backs and has 42 carries in the three games, 24 more than the rest of the team combined. In a cold-weather game in December, expect Bill Belichick to let Blount get rolling since the Dolphins have allowed 5.8 yards per carry (second-most in the league) the past three weeks.
Joique Bell, Detroit: Back-to-back 20-point games, at least 80 yards in three of the past four and most importantly to me, at least 17 touches in four straight. The Vikings struggle against the run (23rd in the NFL) and certainly, there should be a lot of scoring chances here. And when the Lions get in close, they like to run with Bell. Only three running backs have more rushing attempts inside an opponent's 10-yard line, so Joique has as good a shot at scoring this week as anyone in the NFL.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland: The rookie is averaging 2.9 yards before contact, ninth among qualified running backs and gets a boost with Johnny Football, as running backs can often do better with mobile quarterbacks because defenses have to account for an extra running threat. Plus, expect the Browns to simplify the game plan in Johnny's first start and lean heavily on the run against a Bengals squad allowing the second-most rushing yards before contact this season.
Fred Jackson, Buffalo: One way to keep Aaron Rodgers off the field? Run the ball against that 25th-ranked run defense. And if the Bills get down, well, no worries as F-Jax has averaged six targets per game this season, fourth-most among running backs. The Packers have given up scores to opposing running backs in two straight games.
So you're saying there's a chance: What are the Jets gonna do, let Geno throw it? Exactly. Chris Ivory (RB2) and yes, even Chris Johnson (flex) are worth considering against a Titans squad coughing up the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. ... Very quietly, Steven Jackson now has double-digit fantasy points in five of his past six games, he's getting consistent work (at least 15 touches in every game) and has a decent chance at a score in what should be a high-scoring game. ... I know, I know, he was brutal last week, but Rashad Jennings is not on the injury report this week, and for all the faults Washington has, it's a pretty good run defense. Which means more passing and dump-offs, which means more Rashad.
Running backs I hate in Week 15
Ryan Mathews, San Diego: He's received fewer than 15 touches in three straight games, and I think the Chargers will be down in this game. And since returning from injury this season, Mathews has earned almost half (46 percent) of his rushing yards after contact. Normally good, but the Broncos have allowed the fewest rushing yards after contact this season. I don't love his chances of getting into the end zone here, which leaves him outside my top 20.
Lamar Miller, Miami: I know, I know. I've long been a big Miller supporter and he should be OK here, but as you've read, I don't have a lot of high hopes for the Dolphins' offense in Foxborough this week. Miller has been held to less than 60 yards rushing in three straight and in five of the past six, so you're really hoping for passing game involvement (possible) or a score. In addition, the Patriots have not allowed a rushing touchdown in the past five weeks. You probably don't have a better option, so my guess is you're starting him in a season-long format (I have him just inside my top 20), but I'm avoiding him in daily play.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina: There have been only two games this year when Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert were all active, so super-small sample-size caveats apply. But in those games, Stewart averaged only 10.5 carries and 52.5 rushing yards per game with no touchdowns. Both Tolbert and Williams are expected to be active for this game and the Panthers will be without Cam Newton. Less-mobile quarterbacks tend not to help running backs, plus there's a chance Tampa Bay will have Lavonte David back after losing him to a concussion last week. For what it's worth, in the first game of the year against Tampa Bay, with Anderson at QB, Stewart had 12 touches for 37 yards and no scores. Since he's averaging just 34 rushing yards per game in his past three games against the Bucs, Stewart is outside my top 20, despite last week's heroics.
Tre Mason, St. Louis: Another guy outside my top 20. Since taking over as the lead back in Week 7, Mason has averaged 3.8 yards per carry in his seven games against teams other than the Raiders. And not shockingly, the Cardinals are tied for the second-fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs this season. I expect a low scoring game here, making Mason merely a potential flex play this week.
Frank Gore, San Francisco: Fun while it lasted, Mr. Gore. Fun while it lasted. But since the return of Bobby Wagner, Seattle has allowed only 3.1 yards per carry, second-fewest in the league during that span.
Wide receivers I love in Week 15
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: I'm putting him here because I have him as a top-five play this week, over much bigger-name guys. He might go for 300 yards against Washington. And as I mentioned, I'm playing against him in the Stern show league, so I guarantee he's going off. Where's the Bitter Berry for me to squeeze? Dude is an all-world talent going against the 28th-ranked pass defense and one that very possibly has quit on the season, given all the drama there.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts: Death, taxes, Washington's secondary is brutal and you start Hilton against the Texans. In five career games against them, T.Y. has averaged more than six receptions and 120 yards per game with six touchdowns. The Texans have allowed the second-most touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season and the game is in Indy, on the turf. Dude. Worth the price in daily.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina: Cam, Schmam, I'm all about the Benjamin. I wanted to put him in here because I'm not worried about Cam Newton not playing in this game, as Benjamin will still get a number of targets. Now, Johnthan Banks (who will be on Benjamin a lot) has had a nice year, but the sheer amount of targets Benjamin will get will mitigate that. Benjamin had more than 80 yards and a score in his first game this year (also with Derek Anderson at QB, also against Tampa). How good has Benjamin been this season? The only wide receivers with more touchdowns on deep passes (15-plus yards) this season are Mike Evans and Jordy Nelson. Want more? The Buccaneers have allowed opponents to complete 57 percent of their deep throws this season, the third-highest rate in the league.
Kenny Stills, New Orleans: Yeah, yeah, last week was tough. Get in line. I'm back in. Dude has caught 75 percent of his targets at least 15 yards downfield, best among qualified wide receivers. And the Bears have allowed the second-most receptions (57) and the 2nd-highest completion rate (57.0 percent) on deep passes. Much like the Steelers-Falcons game, this is another "good offenses facing bad defenses" game, and I expect a fair amount of scoring on Monday night.
So you're saying there's a chance: Marquess Wilson gets the Brandon Marshall job for Chicago, and given how much Cutler will have to throw it in this game, all the targets can't go to Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. It's definitely a risk, but I feel he's a risk/reward top-30 guy this week. ... If Torrey Smith plays, you can ignore this, but if Torrey misses this game, I like Kamar Aiken, who has posted nine catches for 166 and a score over the past two games and saw a lot of work (seven targets, second on team) with Smith hobbled last week. ... Donte Moncrief is the second-best WR on the Colts and there's a pretty good chance Andrew Luck knows it. Moncrief's value will take a hit if Wayne plays (Wayne practiced Wednesday), but he's still an interesting flyer in deeper leagues, or a cheap daily-league dart throw. ... With Percy Harvin banged up, even more looks should go to Eric Decker against the Titans' 20th-ranked pass defense.
Wide receivers I hate in Week 15
Golden Tate, Detroit: No scores and less than 80 yards a game since Calvin Johnson came back, Tate has reverted back to a WR3, and while Minnesota isn't amazing, the Vikings aren't terrible in the secondary, giving up just two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their past three games. Tate's outside my top 20.
Steve Smith, Baltimore: See Flacco, Joe. The Jags are better than folks think they are in the secondary, and in his past three games at home, Smith has averaged less than three receptions and 28.6 yards per game with no touchdowns. Plus, the Jaguars have limited opposing wide receivers to the fifth-fewest receptions over the past five weeks. Now, I know I did recommend Kamar Aiken up above in this same matchup, but again, the premise of Love/Hate is that it's about expectations. After last week, my guess is folks think Steve Smith is back to early-season form, but I'm not convinced. Meanwhile, Aiken is most likely on your waiver wire and is a Hail Mary play for those that are scrambling.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston: Man I hope I am wrong on this one, since I have to start him and have no other options. But assuming Vontae Davis is back for this game, he's been as good a corner as there is in football and I expect him to spend more time on Hopkins than Andre Johnson, which is what happened in the first game between the two teams. Hopkins had just one catch for 12 yards in that game. In general, Indy's played well recently, allowing the fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers during the past five weeks. Hopkins is outside my top 20 this week, he's a WR3 and not a daily-league option.
Mike Wallace, Miami: Revis Island, and feel Tannehill struggles here. Yes, Wallace did catch a touchdown and have 81 yards when these teams played in Week 1, and some of that did come against Revis. But Week 1 in Miami is a lot different than Week 15 in New England. In their past four home games, Revis and the Pats have given up just one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver.
Pierre Garcon, Washington: I am assuming that DeSean Jackson and Robert Griffin III both play in this game. Assuming that's the case, in the five games with RG III at quarterback this season, Garcon has averaged three receptions and just 26.4 yards per game with zero touchdowns. The Giants play him well, too, having limited him to just 48.3 yards per game with no touchdowns in the pas three meetings. I'm not chasing last week's stats.
Tight ends I love in Week 15
Delanie Walker, Tennessee: Bad Week 14 against the Giants, but the encouraging thing is that he got 10 targets. In the first three weeks, the only games in which Jake Locker played the entire game, Walker had 17 catches for 233 yards and two scores. He's currently fifth among tight ends in targets this season, and is one of the few healthy pass-catchers for Locker facing a Jets squad that has allowed the most touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago: Second only to Rob Gronkowski for tight end targets, Bennett's targets have actually increased each of the past three weeks, including a season-high 14 last week. During that same three-week time frame, the Saints have allowed the second-most receptions to opposing tight ends. With the injury to Brandon Marshall, I expect even more looks his way.
Larry Donnell, New York Giants: Perhaps you remember his last game against Washington. You know, the one where he had three touchdowns? Hey, what do you know, there's another negative stat about the Washington defense! No team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than they have.
So you're saying there's a chance: Jared Cook is averaging 13.0 yards per reception, eighth most among tight ends, and gets an Arizona team he's had a lot of success against. Well, many tight ends have had a lot of success against them, as the Cards have allowed the most yards to opposing tight ends this season. ... Jordan Cameron looked solid in his return last week, and I could certainly see him bailing out Johnny Manziel a lot in this game, because the Bengals are top-10 in most fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends.
Tight ends I hate in Week 15
Jason Witten, Dallas: Witten has no touchdowns in his past seven games against the Eagles, and he was brutal like the other Cowboys in that Thanksgiving game against Philly. He's just too inconsistent to be a top-10 start against an Eagles team allowing the fewest touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.
Mychal Rivera, Oakland: He was ice-cold, he was hot, he was ice-cold, he's back to being hot. But I think he'll be ice-cold again when we meet next week. Rivera struggled against the Chiefs last time, and Kansas City has given up the fewest receptions and yards to opposing tight ends this season.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis: Dwayne Allen is back, and this just in: Coby Fleener is not a good football player. There's only one tight end with a lower reception rate than his this season, and in his previous game against the Texans (in which Allen also played), Fleener was limited to two receptions for 11 yards. Now one of them was a short touchdown, but I don't want to count on that. The Texans have not allowed a touchdown to an opposing tight end in their past five games. Fleener's outside my top 10.
Defenses I love in Week 15
St. Louis Rams: Since Week 9, the Rams lead the league in defensive fantasy points, with 94. That's 23 more than the next-closest team during that span. St. Louis also leads the league with 29 sacks in the past six weeks. And, you know, Drew Stanton. Somehow, this group is still available in about 40 percent of leagues.
Baltimore Ravens: Very simple. No defense facing the Jaguars has scored fewer than seven points this year, and opposing D/STs average more than 13 points per game. In total, the Jaguars have allowed 33 more points to opposing fantasy defenses than any other team this season.
New England Patriots: In the Patriots' past five home games against the Dolphins, New England's defense has averaged 12.8 fantasy points per game, including 15 points or more in their two home games against Ryan Tannehill. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have allowed 6.9 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses on the road this season.
New York Giants: They were on the love list last week, so I'm back for more. They have 34 fantasy points in the past two weeks (third most in the league), and have a league-high 15 sacks in that span. The Redskins have allowed a league-high 13 sacks in the past two weeks, and the way RG III is struggling (and the coaches seemingly being very public about their lack of faith in him) do you think they're really gonna coach him up this week?
So you're saying there's a chance: The Cleveland Browns have averaged 8.4 fantasy points per game at home this season, scored 17 fantasy points against the Bengals in their previous meeting and it's never a terrible idea to bet against Andy Dalton.
Defenses I hate in Week 15
Miami Dolphins: Since 2010, the Dolphins' defense has averaged exactly one fantasy point per game in its nine games against the Patriots, including minus-2 fantasy points combined in the past four games in New England. Opposing fantasy defenses have totaled minus-14 points in six games in Foxborough this season.
Houston Texans: In their past four games against the Colts, the Texans have averaged only 4.5 fantasy points per game, and only 2.5 in the two games in Indy. Furthermore, the Colts have limited opposing defenses to two fantasy points per game in Indianapolis this season.
Buffalo Bills: This season, the Bills' defense has averaged two fantasy points per game against Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and 12.5 against the rest of the league. Hello, Aaron Rodgers. Which side do you think Rodgers is more like? Exactly. Oh, and there's this, too: The Packers have not allowed an opposing defense to score positive fantasy points against them since Week 8.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- hopes your biggest mistakes all turned out as happily as his did. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. You also may have heard: He has written a book.