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Week 15: Start and Bench Advice

Below is our Week 15 Start & Bench Advice for the 2012 fantasy football season.

Who do you start? Who do you sit? From Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em scenarios to Weekly Projections, we got all of your Week 15 fantasy football content right here!

Let’s get to it!

Week 15 Start Bench Advice: Second Chances

Bryce Brown (vs. CIN)

I know, Bryce Brown completely failed fantasy owners in Week 14, rushing for 6 yards on 12 carries… Not that it will take away the week 14 heartburn, but it’s important to remember that the Bucs rank No. 1 against the run when it comes to rushing yards… Week 14 was a tough match-up for Brown, not to mention that the stage just was not ever set for Philly to run the ball. So what do we know for sure? Well, nothing, it’s a lot of guess work at this point, at least when talking about Brown’s future. Before we get to Week 15, let’s address Brown’s long-term value, as many of you dynasty league owners out there are dying to know what’s in store for Brown in 2013 and beyond!

If you think he is a lock to be elite, you’re mistaken. He is an upside guy and his value really just depends on where you get him, how much you have to give up to trade for him, etc., etc… What we do know is that Brown is special. If you aggressively disagree, well, then I venture to say that you are a LeSean McCoy dynasty owner. And, there is nothing wrong with that, I also own McCoy in several leagues, but I have enough leagues that it’s not all that difficult to separate myself from the situation and judge things without a whole lot of bias. Brown is a stud. He is. Will he ever be a long-term elite fantasy player? Honesty, I don’t know the answer to that – yet, at least.

I want to make this point very clear, and I’ve continued to preface things this way over and over when talking about Brown…. Bryce Brown has the talent to be a top 5-10 runner in fantasy football, however, his situation is complicated, and there is a chance that he never gets a shot to become the player that he is capable of becoming. LeSean McCoy will return, no question… Will the team trade Brown, though? Will the two runners share carries all season next year, something that would hurt the values of both runners? Who knows… All I know right now for certain is that this kid has elite talent… and currently (in Week 15), he has elite situation, as he is the team’s bell cow, and he should get a grip of touches at home in Week 15 against the Bengals.

If you own Brown and are considering benching him in Week 15, I can understand that, and by all means, if you have a better option, use it! I have to be honest, despite the success of Alfred Morris, I am considering benching Morris for Brown this week, as I still think Brown is capable of being a strong fantasy RB1 down the stretch (for as long as he starts for the Eagles).

Bryce Brown Week 15 Projections: 110 rushing yards, 1TD, 2 receptions for 10 yards

Alfred Morris Week 15 Projections: 90 rushing yards, 1TD, 2 receptions for 12 yards

CJ Spiller (vs. SEA)

I know it’s easy to doubt CJ Spiller, just like it’s easy to doubt Bryce Brown, but Spiller has explosion written all over him this week. Bills coach Chan Gailey, a frustrating coach I admit, recently said that Spiller will “get (the ball) as much as he wants” now that Fred Jackson is out. Yes, it is officially Spiller time again! But, Spiller has been playing mediocre football lately, right? Wrong, he just hasn’t received the carries. Take a look at his yards-per-carry over his last three games: 7.6, 5.5. 5.3… he has been playing great per touch/carry, and that really hasn’t changed at all this season… his poor fantasy output ONLY has to do with his lack of carries – He is averaging 6.6 yards-per-carry this year! That’s incredible. Fred Jackson (MCL) is out for the season, so expect Spiller to get 14+ carries per game, and some receiving work on top of that! That puts Spiller in the 120-140 total yard department, and a score, on a weekly basis moving forward.

CJ Spiller Week 15 Projections: 120 rushing yards, 1TD, 4 receptions for 35 yards

Week 15 Projections


Below are Week 15 Fantasy Football Projections. These projections are based on a standard PPR scoring format.


1. Cam Newton (@ Chargers): 280/2 70/1 rush 1 INT
2. Matt Stafford (@ Cardinals): 340/3 1 INT
3. Peyton Manning (@ Ravens): 320/3
4. Drew Brees (vs. Bucs): 320/3 1 INT
5. Tom Brady (vs. 49ers): 300/3 1 INT
6. Matt Ryan (vs. Giants): 300/3 1 INT
7. RGIII (@ Browns): 280/2 60/0 rush 1 INT (if active)
8. Eli Manning (@ Falcons): 280/3 1 INT
9. Matt Schaub (vs. Colts): 360/2 1 INT
10. Aaron Rodgers (@ Bears): 310/2 30/0 rush 1 INT
11. Russell Wilson (@ Bills): 260/2 75/0 1 INT
12. Carson Palmer (vs. Chiefs): 310/2 1 INT
13. Collin Kaepernick (@ Patriots): 260/1 60/1 rush 2 INTs
14. Andrew Luck (@ Texans): 280/2 15/0 rush 1 INT
15. Josh Freeman (@ Saints): 280/2 1 INT
16. Andy Dalton (@ Eagles): 280/2 1 INT
17. Tony Romo (vs. Steelers): 280/2 2 INTs
18. Ben Roethlisberger (@ Cowboys): 280/2 2 INTs
19. Phillip Rivers (vs. Panthers): 275/2 1 INT
20. Joe Flacco (vs. Browns): 290/1 1 INT

Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson (@ Rams): 150/2 2/15/0
2. Marshawn Lynch (@ Bills): 120/2
3. Jamaal Charles (@ Raiders): 140/1 2/25/0
4. Doug Martin (@ Saints): 125/1 3/25/0
5. Arian Foster (vs. Colts): 110/1 2/20/0
6. Ray Rice (vs. Broncos): 100/1 3/20/0
7. CJ Spiller (vs. Seahawks): 80/1 4/35/0
8. Trent Richardson (vs. Redskins): 100/1 1/10/0
9. Alfred Morris (@ Browns): 110/1
10. Darren McFadden (vs. Chiefs): 75/1 3/45/0
11. Reggie Bush (vs. Jaguars): 80/1 3/30/0
12. Matt Forte (@ Packers): 80/1 2/20/0
13. Frank Gore (@ Patriots): 80/1 1/10/0
14. Chris Johnson (vs. Jets): 70/0 2/15/1
15. Mikel Leshoure (@ Cardinals): 95/1
16. Shonn Greene (@ Titans): 90/1
17. Demarco Murray (vs. Steelers): 65/1 3/25/0
18. Knowshon Moreno (@ Ravens): 80/0 3/20/0
19. Steven Jackson (vs. Vikings): 80/0 2/20/0
20. Stevan Ridley (vs. 49ers): 95/0

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

1. Calvin Johnson (@ Cardinals): 10/120/2
2. AJ Green (@ Eagles): 8/110/2
3. Brandon Marshall (vs. Packers): 10/110/1
4. Vincent Jackson (@ Saints): 7/110/1
5. Andre Johnson (vs. Colts): 7/110/1
6. Julio Jones (vs. Giants): 8/100/1
7. Reggie Wayne (@ Texans): 7/100/1
8. Demaryous Thomas (@ Ravens): 6/110/1
9. Mike Wallace (@ Cowboys): 5/120/1
10. Roddy White (vs. Giants): 8/90/1
11. Jimmy Graham (vs. Bucs): 8/90/1
12. Victor Cruz (@ Falcons): 5/100/1
13. Wes Welker (vs. 49ers): 7/90/1
14. Randall Cobb (@ Bears): 4/75/1 2/20/0 rush
15. Pierre Garcon (@ Browns): 5/95/1
16. Cecil Shorts (@ Dolphins): 4/100/1
17. Danario Alexander (vs. Panthers): 5/90/1
18. Steve Smith (@ Chargers): 8/110/0
19. Hakim Nicks (@ Falcons): 6/80/1
20. Kenny Britt (vs. Jets): 6/80/1
21. Eric Decker (@ Ravens): 8/80/1
22. Marques Colston (vs. Bucs): 6/80/1
23. Miles Austin (vs. Steelers): 6/80/1
24. Jeremy Maclin (vs. Bengals): 5/80/1
25. Justin Blackmon (@ Dolphins): 4/80/1
26. Steve Johnson (vs. Seahawks): 7/100/0
27. Sidney Rice (@ Bills): 4/65/1
28. Tony Gonzales (vs. Giants): 4/65/1
29. Jason Witten (vs. Steelers): 6/100/0
30. Michael Crabtree (@ Patriots): 6/100/0
31. Anquon Boldin (vs. Broncos): 4/50/1
32. Antonio Brown (@ Eagles): 5/90/0
33. Lance Moore (vs. Bucs): 6/80/0
34. Mike Williams (@ Saints): 4/45/1

X’s Week 15 Start/Bench Thoughts

If you are reading this, most likely you have won a playoff game or your league just started their playoffs. Either way, it’s what we all play for and for whatever reason this time of year we tend to doubt our lineup choices even more than usual. My advice is to play your studs and let the chips fall where they may; easier said than done I know, but there is no worse feeling than losing a playoff game knowing you sat one of your better players because of matchup or weather concerns. Of course, it is choices between borderline players or players of equal value that really drive fantasy owners to indecision. The only advice I have is to trust your instincts. Below I’ve outlined a few players that I like this week based on matchups or just because I have a gut feeling about them.


At quarterback, a guy I was pressing for owners to trade for weeks ago has paid dividends over the last few weeks. Cam Newton has had back to back monster games, scoring six times over that span, three of those over 50 yards and one of those on the ground. This week Newton goes on the road to face the Chargers, a team ranked in the bottom third against the pass, evidenced by the 300 total yards and three scores Big Ben laid on them last week. Newton is a must start if you own him and should be considered a top five option for the rest of this season. For those who are heading into their playoff game with Robert Griffin III as their primary weapon, I would plan on looking for an alternative now. Although the early indications are only pointing to a mild sprain, I seriously doubt the Redskins are going to risk their franchise player this weekend in spite of the fact they are in the middle of a playoff push. I could be wrong of course, but I just don’t see him playing. Options at the position include Nick Foles who had a huge game last week (32/381/3) or Carson Palmer who has been one of the bigger fantasy surprises of the season. My mid-tier pick of the week is Josh Freeman who has a great matchup against the Saints this week; they rank 30th against the pass and dead last in passing TDs against (27).

Running Backs

The biggest surprise at running back over the last few weeks has to be Bryce Brown of the Eagles who had amassed huge numbers in weeks 12 and 13 only to fall back to Earth last week with just six yards rushing. His status this week may be in doubt since LeSean McCoy has finally passed concussion tests, but the Eagles have nothing to play for and risking McCoy’s health doesn’t make a lot of sense for them. I still consider Brown a solid start moving forward and RB2 material against the Bengals this week – don’t hesitate to start him in spite of the poor performance last week. A real deep reach for those in need of a starter is the Lions Joique Bell. Bell has been steadily improving over the last month and seen more and more carries as the weeks have gone on, cutting into starter Mikel Leshoure’s touches. On Sunday night in Green Bay, he was clearly the more effective of the two and finished with more touches and yards. It is clear to me that this is now an equal timeshare, but the bonus with Bell is he is used far more in the passing game. This week Detroit faces Arizona and both guys should have a nice week, although I have to admit I would play Bell over LeShoure if given the option.

Wide Receivers

There are about 15 guys at wide receiver that I would consider must start material, after that, going with matchups is a legitimate reason to bench any of the rest. I won’t go through my list of those fifteen here, but one in particular I want to mention is AJ Green who hasn’t scored in his last three games after scoring at least once in every other contest outside of week 1. I expect Green to get back in the end zone this week and go over 100 yards on the road against the Eagles – he is due. A couple of injuries at WR will have teams scrambling this week; Dwayne Bowe has broken ribs and looks to be done for the year, and Dez Bryant is rumored to be having season-ending surgery for a broken finger. Bryant is a huge blow to owners in the playoffs, and he will be tough to replace, but this position has plenty of depth. My favorite to emerge of late is Danario Alexander of the Chargers who has posted 25 catches, 360 yards and 4 TDs over the last four games – an automatic start right now. A real deep option is Rod Streeter of the Raiders who has gone for just under 200 receiving yards and a TD in his last two games – he gets the Chiefs this week so makes a nice spot start.

Good luck in your playoff games!

Looking For Week 15-Only Rankings?

By Mile_High_Man

View these Weekly Line-Up Rankings here (week 15 only, and we have both PPR and Non-PPR).

Note: These rankings are maintained by Mile_High_Man and will be updated throughout the week.


  1. notice no love for Josh Gordon on WR list…he has a nice D to play against this week

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    • We have variation across the above pieces of the article for a reason, variation is very useful. I myself like Gordon a lot every week… I think he is very capable of being a top 15-20WR, with upside for more every few weeks.

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    • Gordon could go for 100 yards and a TD like he did in week 13 or he could not get into the end-zone since has has only 1 TD in the last 6 games. Hard to project a big week when looking at recent performance. Capable…yes. Project it…No.

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  2. Hey Smitty,

    Lotta love for Bryce but hes not on the rb ranks.

    In nonppr, Would you start Darren, Demarco, or Knowshon over him?

    Also, If Dez if active, do you automatically start him over Danario?

    Thanks for all the help this season!

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    • Hey GoPack: It shows that the Rankings are JRMRRT’s. Those aren’t mine. That’s why they don’t match :)

      And I start Brown over all those options, but DeMarco is starting to look intriguing. Still, Brown should have a nice day. Is there risk? Absolutely, but there is risk with all those guys.

      At WR, wow, that’s tough. I think we will know more later, so I can’t answer that question unless we know how much Dez will play. Playing doesn’t mean he will play the entire game. So stay on the news for that one, but if he can’t go, or if he is very, very risky and iffy, Alexander isn’t a bad play at all.

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      • Brown did not make my top 20 because I am guessing that McCoy will be cleared this week. Could be wrong but there was not word when I did the projections.

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  3. Pick one: Mike Williams, Lance Moore, Justin Blackmon.

    Also, who do you think wins in my playoff matchup (standard scoring)?

    His vs Mine
    Cam vs Stafford
    Foster, Bush vs Trent, Spiller
    Jennings, Gordon, Shorts vs Cruz, McFadden, WR from above
    Gates vs Myers (Gronk still hurt)
    Browns vs Bengals
    K vs K

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    • Toss a coin with those WRs, but I go Moore. Best offense, lots of passing, I just hope Moore is Brees’ guy this week. Close call on who wins the week… If Foster has a big game, I think the Cam/Foster team has the best shot. If Foster isn’t used like we all hope, which sometimes happens when winning teams hit this Week 15/16 range, your team could have a strong shot at knocking off the Cam/Foster machine. Stafford is hit and miss, but fully capable of having a moster game. Spiller and TRich are two of the most underrated RBs entering this week, and Cruz can be the best fantasy WR in football one week, and just ok the next. You have serious upside, no question.

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  4. SMITTY!!!!

    I have some rough decisions to make this week! Please help!

    Pick one QB — Brady (vs SF) or Freeman (@NO)

    Need 1 WR, non-ppr — Wallace (@Dal), Gordon (vs Was), Amendola (vs Min), or Givens (vs Min)

    Also, I have the Patriots Defense; should I drop one of the above WR’s and pick up the Jets Defense?

    Thank you a ton! I appreciate it!

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  5. Thanks for all the help this season! This week is our final game of season and then the playoffs. Any help would be great.


    QB: Brady, RGIII

    WR: AJ Green, Pierre Garcon, Michael Crabtree, Danario Alexander, Jordy Nelson, James Jones

    RB: Doug Martin, McFadden, Reggie Bush, Marcel Reece, David Wilson

    QB, WR, WR, RB, RB, FLEX. I have somewhat of an idea of who to start, but would love some help. Any thoughts? Thanks!

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    • RG3,Glad we could help this year,Rg3 if healthy if not brady,
      AJG/Garcon/ DX /Martin/dmac

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      • Thanks for the help. Because of you guys, I have been #1 in our league for 14 weeks. For us, playoffs are weeks 16 and 17. Props to you all for all your help for taking me to the playoffs

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    I got some serious decisions to make this week. I have had Aaron Rodgers as my starter since week one, he was my first pick in the draft. But now, I am thinking of picking up a Matt Schaub or Russel Wilson. What do you think?

    Also, I have Denario Alexander, Frank Gore and The Law Firm as options for my flex. Who do you think?

    Thanks man. You’ve really helped me this season.

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    • hey gabe, if i picked one up it might me wilson and DX is a great flex play! GL buddy

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  7. standard non ppr week 15
    Ridley vs SF-tough matchup
    or Leshoure vs AZ-great matchup but J Bell.

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  8. I am deciding between Bryce Brown and the Law Firm for my RB2 position for Thursday night. It sounds like you’d stick with BB despite the terrible week 14 performance?

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  9. What do you think of Josh Gordon? Would you put him the lineup with these other players? My league starts 2 WRs, 2 RBs, and one flex; non-PPR league.

    RBs : Chris Johnson, Muscle Hampster, Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers.

    WRs: Reggie Wayne, Jordy Nelson, Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, Josh Gordon

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    • i would roll with CJ/martin and wayne britt and gordon..dont like maclin with Foles at qb for now and Nelson is iffy

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  10. A couple things (no ppr, 6 pts for all td’s):

    D. Wilson or Murray at flex

    With RG3 still listed as questionable I have situation. I have Dalton on my bench but with him playing a Thursday game I am hesitant to start him over RG3 with his status for Sunday still being up in the air. I also picked up Russell Wilson. So…do I just pull the trigger and start Dalton tomorrow night or wait it out to see what’s up with RG3 and start Wilson if RG3 ends up being inactive Sunday?

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    • welcome John,
      Rg3 will play, like Murray if Bradshaw starts but wilson could see double digits either way..GL

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  11. Start 3 WR – I put stars next to the one I think will be better bets. Scared Lance Moore will not get the ball but a tasty match up. Dez Bryant scares me with the injury. I can also pick up Miles Austin if you think the Ike Taylor injury will help the Dal WR’s.

    *Mike Wallace, Pit WR @Dal
    Lance Moore, NO WR @TB
    *Steve Smith, Car WR @SD
    Dez Bryant, Dal WR @Pit
    *Randall Cobb, GB WR @Chi

    Pick a TE – I was going to go Owen this week then hopefully Witten in the Championship against NO.

    Jason Witten, Dal TE @ Pit
    Owen Daniels, Hou TE @ Ind

    Thanks for your help!!

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    • Iwith Dez injury that puts austin/Witten in command of the targets

      wallace/smith/cobb and Dez is soo hot be hard to sit him..

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    • hey Jeff,solid play but for a deeper answer take this to the forum for a great friendly debate!

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  12. For TEs should I start Brandon Myers or Tony Scheffler.

    And at QB, I have Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton. Daltons at the Eagles this week and theyve been pitiful while Ryan is going against the Giants who are so off and on its nuts. What do I do..

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    • welcome Jkaemm, i would roll out myers he has been getting the targets especially in the redzone,Ryan, dalton may get out to a big lead and then BJGE takes over!

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  13. I know u guys appear to favor Bryce this week. In a nonppr, i am still debating between him and McFadden, Murray, and Moreno.

    I looked back at the rb stats on thurs night gms. Not including thanksgiving and the min/tb gm, rbs have not fared well. Would that sway your decision to not play Bryce?

    Thanks guys!

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    • No your other options would say me though! I like Dmac/Murray/moreno/brown in that order..GL

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  14. Hi Guys,

    I am in non-PPR, redraft league and I need to pic 2RBs, 2WRs and 1Flex from the following. Who should I start?

    AJ Green vs PHI
    Dez vs PIT (injured)
    Alexander vs CAR
    White vs NYG
    Ridley vs SF
    Gore vs NE
    Forte vs GB
    Leshoure vs ARI
    Moreno vs BAL

    Thanks for your help.

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    • Hey Raj…Id start White/Green at WR and Moreno/Gore at RB. Flex is a tough choice. Id probably start Leshoure in Non-PPR against the 29th ranked rush defense. GL.

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      • What do you think of starting Alexander over White and Forte at Flex? I am just worried about Leshoure because Bell is gaining time share in Detroit.

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    • Hey Tim, If Bradshaw doesn’t go then Wilson for sure. If Bradshaw goes then I would probably go with Brown. GL.

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  15. I’ve got brown tonight, Bradshaw has not been ruled out yet but I also got Dwyer sitting on bench against Dallas. So should I run with Wilson and if Bradshaw does play go with Dwyer at that’s point. This is for my #2 back I’ve got AP #1…I’m torn and this is to get into championship game. Any and all suggestions would help thanks.

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    • tim,
      Like JR said wait see what happens with Bradshaw keep updated on it. roll with brown if it looks like bradshaw is playing

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  16. All right DC! I need some advice on my line up this week.

    Regular 12 league

    QB: Freeman
    RB: Foster, AP, D.Martin
    WR: Dez, G.Jennings, Amendola, Blackmon, Boldin
    TE: Witten, Sheffler

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    • How RBs do you start and how many WRs do you start? If only 2 backs, I go Foster and AP, although, it’s extremely tough sitting Martin. Extremely. It’s even tougher sitting either of the other RBs, though. Start all three if you start a flex. At WR, if you start two, I go Dez and Jennings, but check Jennings’ status heading into kickoff… if he looks iffy at all SUN, go Boldin? Witten.

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  17. I can’t decide between Ridley or Joique Bell. 12 team, 1 ppr. I have Bell in right now, but have ridden Ridley all year. I’m the #1 seed.
    QB: Newton
    RB: Foster
    RB: Ridley or Bell?
    WR: Julio
    WR: Dez
    TE: Olsen
    Flex: M. Williams
    Def: Rams
    K: Janikowski

    Anybody have thoughts on Ridley or Bell?

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  18. I cant decide between shonn greene and david wilson at rb
    Or danario alexander and wes welker (with a tough matchup) at wr.
    Need help quick!!

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