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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, April 21, 2014

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Chicago Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown has been a fantasy stud since taking over for Jay Cutler. Will he play again this week? (PHOTO: Jim Biever / Green Bay Packers)

Fantasy football week 15 picks


It's week 15 in the NFL and likely the semifinals of your fantasy playoffs (or in your consolation bracket. Or "Toilet Bowl.") Well, whatever level of the postseason you're in, congratulations for having made it to this point.

That means the choices are that much harder at this point, mainly because your roster has been set for weeks and you have your go-to players.

But maybe you got to this point despite the fact that Adrian Peterson got hurt, or maybe you caught lightning in a bottle with a late waiver pickup a few weeks ago.

We're here to help you advance to the next round of the fantasy playoffs with these week 15 projections:

Start 'em

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots vs. Miami
Amendola has been, largely, a fantasy bust this season after coming in with high expectations and starting the year with 10 catches for 104 yards. Then he got hurt, and stayed hurt, and the Patriots offense moved on. But, Amendola has caught at least four passes in four of the last five weeks while seeing 30 total targets. Those numbers figure to rise as tight end and top Tom Brady target Rob Gronkowski is once again out for the year. The Dolphins are a tough matchup on opposing wide receivers, but Brady's top targets always get their catches and yards.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback vs. Pittsburgh
It seems like Dalton is about to go on another one of his patented hot streaks and it could lead you to your league championships. After being average (and sometimes bad) for the last four weeks, Dalton threw three touchdowns and for 275 yards last week. Earlier in the year Dalton hit a three-game stretch where he threw 11 touchdowns and averaged 344.7 yards. He's prone to such streaks, and while, on the whole, the Steelers are allowing the 10th fewest fantasy points to QBs in Yahoo! leagues, they have given up 12 passing touchdowns in the last six weeks.

Sit 'em

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears quarterback vs. Cleveland
There may be no hotter QB outside of Denver than Chicago Bears backup QB Josh McCown, but it became clear earlier this afternoon that starter Jay Cutler will be under center on Sunday. Cutler hasn't played a full game since Oct. 10. He was playing better before injuring his groin (then an ankle), tossing two touchdowns in back-to-back weeks against the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints for 620 total yards. But it's impossible to say how sharp he'll be on the road against a decent Browns pass defense. Yes, Tom Brady got the Browns with 418 yards and two touchdowns last week, but it was the first time all year any QB has thrown for more than 275 yards and just the fourth time any QB threw for 250 yards or more. The Browns have also come up with nine interceptions and three fumble recoveries against QBs this season.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back vs. San Francisco
Like McCown, Rainey maybe helped your team into the playoffs – and probably a win last week – with a couple of big games. Despite being a starting running back now, this is a terrible matchup for the unheralded back. The 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher all year and just nine touchdowns on the ground. The one area where the Niners are weak against running backs is in the pass game, but Rainey only has 12 catches this season in 16 targets.

Sleeper

Buffalo defense vs. Jacksonville
Can you still be a sleeper at this point when you're facing the Jacksonville Jaguars? You can be if you're the Bills, which has been an up-and-down (but largely down) defense all year. But, the Jags are the Jags and in the playoffs, you can't have your defense coming up with little to negative points. The Bills have the capability of putting together big games and against the Jaguars, the odds of giving up a ton of points is slim. Buffalo has 43 sacks, 18 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries. They've recorded multiple-sack games in all but two games and have had multiple-turnover games six times. They could be better alternative than your defense if you don't own one of the top four or five.

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