Week 15 Sleepers: Players with Matchups to Exploit This Weekend

Tim KeeneyContributor IDecember 12, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 09:  Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets runs for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 9, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

If you're currently in the semifinals of your fantasy league, chances are you don't need my help. But you're going to get it anyways. 

Bad defenses—or bad offenses—are creating a lot of intriguing sleepers in Week 15, and whether you need one final boost in the playoffs or you're trying to fill out that perfect weekly salary-cap team, there are several under-the-radar options worth checking out. 

Let's take a look at one from each position.


QB: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Is there anyone who is more quietly having a better fantasy season than Josh Freeman?

Through 14 weeks, he's thrown for under 200 yards just three times and failed to find the end zone just once. Moreover, he has tossed double-digit touchdowns in eight of his last nine. That's something Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers can't say. 

Although the young QB is suddenly an elite option no matter who he faces, things are about to get even better—the Bucs face New Orleans this week.

The Saints have been destroyed in the air this year to the tune of 285 passing yards allowed per game and 8.2 yards per pass allowed, which are good enough for 30th and 32nd in the league respectively. 

Not only do I like Freeman this week, but I'm ranking him No. 1 among all QBs in fantasy. Yeah, I went there. 


RB: Bilal Powell, New York Jets

By golly, I think the Jets have figured out the secret equation to life: The less Mark Sanchez touches the ball, the higher the chances of winning become. 

That seemed pretty clear last week against the Jaguars as Shonn Greene received 20 carries, Bilal Powell got 19 and New York rolled to a win. 

Powell, who is owned in just 3.1 percent of ESPN leagues, is the one we're worried about here. 

The workload is clear. He's received double-digit carries in four straight weeks. 

The production is clear. He's totaled 218 yards in those four contests to go with four touchdowns. 

Most importantly in this case, the (lack of a quality) opponent is clear. The Tennessee Titans.

The Titans are giving up just 127.0 yards per game on the ground (23rd in the league), but they've surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns in 13 games and can't really keep teams off the field. 

Powell to the people! 


WR: Greg Little, Cleveland Browns

Remember when Greg Little was good?

Yeah, neither do I. 

The second-year receiver who showed so much promise as a rookie has been plagued by drops, an inconsistent quarterback and a true No. 1 receiver named Josh Gordon getting in the way.

Still, despite the disappointment, Little is second on the team in targets with 71 and has quietly turned 12 over the past two weeks into eight catches for 117 yards.

Certainly not overwhelming numbers, but expect a large increase against a Washington Redskins secondary that is second-to-last in the NFL in passing yards allowed. 


TE: Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

Pitta started off the season with such promise—18 catches, 188 yards, two touchdowns in the first three weeks.

Then he proceeded to anger everyone as he never approached those per-game numbers over the next month-and-a-half.

But Pitta, albeit inconsistently, is finally working his way back into our lives. In the past five games, he's had three with at least five catches and a touchdown.

(Of course, the other two have been one-catch, zero-score efforts, but we'll, uh, ignore that)

This week, Pitta squares off against a Broncos defense that, according to ESPN, is giving up the second most fantasy points to tight ends. A midseason offensive coordinator change is a little concerning, but I'm calling Pitta a top-12 play this week. 


D: Detroit Lions

The Cardinals just turned it over again.