AFC East Week 15 Preview
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots
The NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers travel across the country to face the AFC East champions New England Patriots. Could this game be a Super Bowl preview? Many pundits would agree. Both teams are loaded with talent on opposite sides of the football. The 49ers are a top tier defense and showcase multiple Pro Bowlers in their starting lineup. The Patriots on the other hand are immensely talented on offense. Led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots offensive efficiency is uncanny.
The 49ers will not burn you with deep pass play but they will slowly break you with their power running game. If you add in the threat of the option run with new starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Patriot’s defense will have their hands full.
On offense the Patriots exploit any weakness their opponent may have. This is something they do to perfection. They can beat you in many different ways. Despite star tight end Rob Gronkowski nursing an injury, they still have an arsenal at their disposal. Head coach Bill Belichick always has his team prepared and Sunday night will be no different.
An unstoppable force meets an immoveable object best describes this contest. The game may come down to coaching and minimizing mistakes. No matter the outcome, football fans everywhere will be witness to a great game.
Tom Brady is having and MVP season. Fantasy owners have been riding his arm in to the playoffs and there is no reason to stop now. Tight end Aaron Hernandez had his breakout game last week, look for him to continue this trend against the 49ers. Wide receiver Wes Welker is on pace to have yet another 100+ catch season so start him unless you have a better option.
Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills
The Seattle Seahawks are coming off one of the most impressive wins of the season, a 58-0 blowout of the Arizona Cardinals. On the other hand the Buffalo Bills are coming off a disappointing loss to the St. Louis Rams. This Sunday Seattle will travel a great distance to face the Bills in a matchup of AFC opponents. Historically teams that travel across the country don’t typically fare well. Seattle will be looking to buck this trend as they travel to Toronto, Ontario for the Bills yearly game at the Rogers Centre.
The Bills are all but officially eliminated from playoff contention and from this point forward will only be playing for pride. With uncertainty looming after the season head coach Chan Gailey may be auditioning for a job after the season. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to rally the troops to finish the season on a winning note. They will have to do this without work horse running back Fred Jackson who will likely miss the remainder of the season due to injury. Running back C.J. Spiller will need to pick up the slack, something he has done well so far this season.
Running backs Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller are two good starting options in this matchup. With the fantasy playoffs well underway now is not the time to gamble on a fringe starter. Dance with who brought you. (Start the players that got you to the playoffs)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins
After a disappointing west coast trip the Miami Dolphins will look to recover from the tough loss to the San Francisco 49ers. This time they will not have to travel as the Jacksonville Jaguars will make the instate flight down to south Florida. The Dolphins will go up against a very familiar foe. Quarterback Chad Henne was the Dolphin’s starter before drafting current starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Miami has been in several close games this season and had a difficult time closing those games out. The Dolphins face a 2-11 Jaguars team with a quarterback that will be looking for pay back from the team that failed to resign him.
The Dolphins will look to attack Jacksonville on the ground with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. Neither team will light it up on offense so look for this game to be a low scoring affair. The Dolphins will be playing without Tannehill’s security blanket slot receiver Davone Bess who is out with an injury. Miami has lost five out of the last six games and is looking to right the ship Sunday with a victory against the Jaguars.
Be careful with this game if you are fighting for your playoff life. Reggie Bush is an intriguing start but he can disappear at times. Start Bush only if you do not have a better option. Same goes for any other Dolphins player. This advice also applies to the Jaguars players.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans
When the schedule makers put out the schedule for this Monday night, they had hoped for two playoff contenders playing for high stakes. Instead they got two teams that have been all but eliminated from playoff contention with little to play for. The Jets are still mathematically alive for the final playoff spot but would need to win out and have some serious help from some other teams.
The Jets have been the media darlings all season long and while most fans want to see quarterback Tim Tebow starting under center, head coach Rex Ryan is sticking with his quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has struggled for most of the season and what’s more the offense is lacking any type of playmaker. The season is not over yet and the Jets will need to finish strong for many in the organization to keep their jobs. The Jets face a tough off season and they will have many questions to answer but before this happens they must finish out the remainder of this tumultuous season.
The fantasy outlook for this game is simple. STAY AWAY FROM IT! Your fantasy life is on the line now. Don’t gamble unless you are willing to live with the consequences. The only guy to roll the dice on is running back Chris Johnson. The Jets are giving up a lot of yards on the ground but CJ2K has been a fantasy disappointment for the most part this year. Start him only if you have to but be aware of his tendency to lay fantasy eggs.