Fantasy Football 2013: Ravens at Lions Week 15 Preview
Baltimore Ravens (7-6) at Detroit Lions (7-6)
Monday, December 16, 8:40 PM ET
Capping off the Week 15 action on “Monday Night Football” will be an intense NFC-AFC matchup with heavy playoff implications. The Baltimore Ravens will be heading to Detroit to take on the Lions, with Wild Card and divisional positioning on the line in both conferences. The Ravens (7-6) are coming off a miraculous (and snowy) win over the Vikings in Week 14, while the Lions (7-6) took a tough (and snowy) loss to the Eagles.
There are plenty of noteworthy fantasy names in the mix here, and they’ll make or break a lot of owners’ playoff lives. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look a the major players on both sides.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens: Before the Vikings game, Flacco had been riding a three-week wave of blah statistics. In that span, he totaled just three touchdowns and three interceptions. He seemed destined to repeat that trend until the fourth quarter in Week 14, when he posted a pair of TD passes to give him three on the day. Flacco also had a trio of interceptions, too, so it evens out. With the relatively low ceiling, he’s bench fodder this week.
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Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: There’s no way around it: Stafford had a crummy day against the Eagles. Much of his struggles were due to the snow, as it made passing near impossible. As a result, he finished with just 148 yards and a whopping five fumbles. If you’re still in fantasy contention with Stafford at the helm of your squad, he’s still a good option. We won’t be seeing a statistical aberration like that again--especially not indoors.
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens: Rice flirted with the end zone a couple of times against the Vikings, but ultimately came up short. He’s now gone three straight weeks without a touchdown. That said, he still ended up with 109 total yards on 22 touches, so he wasn’t exactly a bust. Rice has been a disappointment in fantasy this season, as he’s struggled to get anything going at all. If you’ve got him on your team, though, you’ve got to stick with him and just hope for the best.
Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions: Those fantasy owners who missed the announcement (just before kickoff) that Bush was injured in pre-game warm-ups and wouldn’t be playing got a big, fat goose-egg in the points department. He re-aggravated a calf injury after slipping on the field before the game and had to sit out. As of right now, Bush is considered day-to-day, so he’ll likely be a question mark all the way up until game time. Owners will have to keep a very close watch on him. If he can’t go, Joique Bell isn’t a bad option in replacement.
Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Smith has had some great outings this year, but Week 14 wasn’t one of them. He was a victim of Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who shut him down to the tune of one catch for 11 yards. He also lost looks to returning TE Dennis Pitta, who was making his season debut after a hip injury. Smith is an obvious must-start in fantasy, but owners may have to contend with the fact that things are a little more crowded in the receiving corps now.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: Johnson is the consensus No. 1 WR in all of fantasy, and he’s showcased his electric talent several times this season. That said, he posted just three catches for 49 yards against Philly, thanks to the crummy weather putting a stop to the passing game. Things should turn around for Johnson this week, so you can expect his string of double-digit fantasy performances to resume.
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