Terry Blount: Patriots receivers will face challenging matchups at Denver

Welcome to Week 15.

 

Before you ask, I’m NOT recommending Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware again this week. His matchups have looked good, but they haven’t materialized. My mistake.

Moving on.

New England quarterback Tom Brady leads the NFL’s fourth-ranked passing offense to Denver’s Mile High Stadium for a Week 15 matchup with the Broncos. Denver has allowed only six receiving touchdowns to opposing wideouts in 2016 and the fewest fantasy points per game to the position.

It’s tough to go against Brady and company, but Denver’s vaunted secondary must be considered. Brady should produce decent fantasy numbers, but he’ll likely spread the ball around to get better matchups. I have little confidence in his receivers or tight ends as a whole this week, particularly in a road game versus the Broncos.

Even wideout Chris Hogan, who has shined of late replacing the injured Rob Gronkowski’s targets could struggle versus Denver’s cornerbacks. Call Hogan a WR3 at best with teammate Julian Edelman as a flex.

Normally, telling someone to bench Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the equivalent of fantasy football suicide, but after throwing no touchdowns and six interceptions in his last two games, my concern for his performance this week is warranted. Toss in the fact that he’ll face a Cardinals defense that has allowed only 13 touchdown passes in 2016 (tied for second in the league) and suddenly I believe Brees’ owners should pause before submitting their lineups.

Another issue: Brees has failed to throw for more than 300 passing yards in four of his six road games, and he’ll be playing in Arizona. I DON’T suggest doing something silly such as benching Brees for Tyrod Taylor or Sam Bradford, but consider other options carefully. Brees’ mini-slump combined with Arizona’s tough defense might make for a bad fantasy outing.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan should continue his statistical beatdown of opposing defenses this week when he faces a San Francisco unit ranked second in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (22.4 points per game, sixth in the league) and second in passing touchdowns (26). Owners probably have Ryan in their lineup anyway, but I wanted to point out this should be a big, BIG game for him.

With seven rushing touchdowns in his past five contests, Oakland running back Latavius Murray remains a solid fantasy play and this week should be no exception. Last week Murray came out of his loss to Kansas City (I had to mention it) with 103 rushing yards and one touchdown. This week Murray should fleece division rival San Diego, a defense that has yielded 14 rushing touchdowns to running backs (tied for third in the NFL) and 20.5 fantasy points per game to team running backs (ninth in the league).

Buffalo wide receiver Sammy Watkins has something this week that all wide receivers dream of: a matchup versus the lower-than-lowly Browns’ pass defense — a unit that has allowed 25.1 fantasy points per game (eighth in the league) and 17 touchdowns (fourth in the league) to the position. Watkins tallied four receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown last week, his best performance since coming back from injury in Week 12. Watkins should perform well versus Cleveland as at least a WR3.

While he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5, San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde has been a yardage-gobbling monster of late, rushing for 92 yards in Week 13 and an eye-popping 193 yards in Week 14. While his Week 15 matchup versus the inept Falcons run defense appears tasty, I can only recommend Hyde for flex consideration.

Sure, he’ll face an Atlanta defense that has allowed opposing running back units 21.4 fantasy points per game (fourth-highest in the NFL), but I’m more concerned if San Francisco finds itself playing from behind, thus scuttling the run in favor of the pass. I like Hyde, but I don’t like this possible scenario. I call Hyde a flex play in Week 15.

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