Week 15 fantasy football: Anything can happen
By BRYAN RUBIN
College Contributor Network
Week 15 moves us into the semifinal round of the fantasy football playoffs after you left it all on the line last week.
If you started Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, I hope the fantasy gods brought you luck with the rest of your lineup. Hopefully they blessed your team with Le'Veon Bell, who stole the spotlight from DeMarco Murray for top running back performance of the week. Or maybe they helped you fly high on Monday night behind Julio Jones and Matt Ryan's big games.
But whether you won handily or got blown out, let Week 14 be a lesson to you: anything can happen. (Disclaimer: except being able to fly if you drink a Red Bull, which caused the company to be sued last year (only in America) for false advertising even though it's blatantly obvious you cannot fly from drinking a heavily caffeinated and sugary energy drink.)
No matter how stacked you think your team is, there is always a chance of losing in this game. For instance, a team last week with Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Randall Cobb, LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, Antonio Gates, Steven Hauschka and the San Francisco defense would have combined for 26.52 fantasy points with NFL.com standard scoring. Eleven different players put up more points than that team alone.
So despite the star-studded lineup you think you have, there are always moves to be made. Last week those that pulled the trigger on Andre Williams over Rashad Jennings conquered the pre-game Giants' backfield 'mish mosh.' If you counted on another big game from Joique Bell you got it along with his legendary "AHHHHH OHHHH AYYY OHHHH" touchdown dance, a personal favorite of mine. And if you finally were able to unleash your St. Louis Rams defense/special teams stash against the sorrowful Redskins, Tavon Austin housed a punt to cap off their perfect performance.
While I said last week that you should basically be rolling with the starters that got you here at this point, that doesn't meant you shouldn't keep an eye out for the waiver wire. In fantasy football, it's a known fact that you can't ever stop improving your bench, especially during this time of the year. You have to leave it all on the line now and with only four teams remaining, taking a flier on an emerging player can't hurt.
So as we move on to Week 15, here are a couple new guys on the block to consider adding to your championship contending squad:
1. Charles Johnson -– WR -- Minnesota Vikings
In the past four weeks, Johnson is the 16th-leading scorer among fantasy wide receivers, outperforming Dez Bryant, Randall Cobb and Jeremy Maclin during that time. He's emerged as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite deep-threat target and officially stripped Cordarelle Patterson of any fantasy dignity he had remaining this season. With a matchup against the league's No. 1 run defense next week, look for Johnson to get plenty of targets on the road in Detroit.
2. Latavius Murray -– RB –- Oakland Raiders
After pathetic seasons from Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, the final three weeks should be the Latavius Murray showcase. While Marcel Reece remains in the mix for touches, Murray faces the Chiefs this week who he torched for 112 yards and two touchdowns on only four carries in Week 12.
3. Marquess Wilson –- WR -– Chicago Bears
Remember the name. Wilson (6-foot-4, 184 pounds) has the raw talents to morph into a beast and will become the third option in the passing game behind Alshon Jeffrey and Martellus Bennett with Brandon Marshall out for the year. The Saints' defense has been a bigger disaster under Rob Ryan than the Jets' offense has been under his brother Rex this season (which is saying a lot), so don't overlook Wilson as a potential flex play for Monday night.
If anything can happen, why not you? Win Week 15 and you are one win away from a championship. Hope to see you in the finals!
Bryan Rubin is a senior at Syracuse University. He once ate Chipotle three times in one day and woke up at 3:46 a.m. on a Wednesday morning to make a roster move to his fantasy football team (while his friends were sleeping) to avoid wasting his No. 1 waiver claim. Follow him on Twitter: @bryan_rubin