It’s become a cruel running joke in the NFL, but the injury bug continues to treat the league and DraftKings and FanDuel leagues around the country as a punchline.

Some of 2015’s top performers and waiver-wire wonders went down in Week 14 including: Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls (ankle), Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (thumb) and tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion), Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (knee), Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson (knee), Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (ribs), Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (knee) and running back Jonathan Stewart (foot), Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (hip), and Saints running back Mark Ingram (shoulder).

Each injury will not only affect the value of the injured star but lots of other players who rely on their production to excel. Cases in point, Bengals receiver A.J. Green could see a huge drop off in production without his quarterback and the tight end that’s drawn away coverages, as could Jacksonville receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and quarterback Cam Newton might have limited options with both his best pass catcher and rusher injured and Carolina likely to exercise caution before the postseason.

Options would appear to be limited and difficult to parse, but once again our weekly rankings are here to help. Here’s our full breakdown of Week 15 and the players weekly fantasy league players should target at each position.


1.Cam Newton, Panthers

2.Tom Brady, Patriots

3.Carson Palmer, Cardinals

4.Alex Smith, Chiefs

5.Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Bonus: Matthew Stafford, Lions and Drew Brees, Saints

If you were asked to put the list of MVP candidates in some order it would have to look like our top three QB rankings for Week 15, no? Newton might have a limited Olsen and Stewart, but he’ll stare down the Giants dreadful secondary, while Brady meets a Titans D that’s dealt with too many turnovers from its offense all season and he gets Rob Gronkowski with another week of rest. Palmer should terrorize Philadelphia’s woeful third-worst D against opposing QBs, and Smith meets a Ravens secondary allowing 18.3 ppg to QBs. Rodgers would be higher if Eddie Lacy was more consistent, but he has a favorable matchup against Oakland’s sixth-worst D versus QBs. Stafford and Brees should put on an incredible show with little to no defense on display.


1.Adrian Peterson, Vikings

2.Todd Gurley, Rams

3.Jeremy Hill, Bengals

4.David Johnson, Cardinals

5.Lamar Miller, Dolphins

Bonus: Ameer Abdullah, Lions

Peterson’s only ahead of Gurley because he has a better matchup with a Bears frontline allowing 16.7 ppg, compared to Gurley’s matchup with Tampa Bay’s No. 8 defense versus opposing backs. However, Gurley’s defied expectations all season and should torch the Bucs on Thursday night. Hill and Gio Bernard will see the ball a lot more as Cincy focuses on the run until Dalton returns, and they have a perfect matchup with San Francisco’s last place D against RBs. Johnson will soar over an Eagles D allowing 17.4 ppg to RBs, and Miller’s the only thing to like about Miami’s offense in the short-term.


1.DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

2,John Brown, Cardinals

3.Doug Baldwin, Seahawks

4.Sammy Watkins, Bills

5.Alshon Jeffery, Bears

Quarterback Brian Hoyer’s concussion leaves questions around Hopkins’ value, but then we remember how well Hopkins has played despite Houston’s QB carousel this season and he gets Indy’s third-worst D versus WRs. Brown should benefit from Philadelphia focusing on Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and its league-worst 27.1 ppg to opposing receivers. Baldwin gets to shine against Cleveland’s fourth-worst D vs. receivers, and Jeffery takes advantage of a slumping and hurt Vikings D.


1.Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

2.Greg Olsen, Panthers

3.Richard Rodgers, Packers

4.Gary Barnidge, Browns

5.Mychal Rivera, Raiders

Even if Olsen was 100 percent Gronk’s the pick due to New England’s lack of options in the receiving corps, but Olsen’s a great choice should he be healthy enough to face the Giants No. 29 D against tight ends. Also expect a lot of Rodgers-to-Rodgers action when the Packers face the Raiders second-worst D versus opposing tight ends. Barnidge may have Cleveland’s only highlights against Seattle.


1.Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions

2.Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

3.Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

4.Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

5.Vernon Davis, TE, Broncos

Expect big numbers from Johnson as he lines up against a New Orleans secondary that’s surrendered 36 receiving touchdowns, by far the worst in the NFL and seven more than the next closest squad, Philly with 29. Lacy’s No. 2 because owners may take his Week 14 production for granted, but he meets a Raiders’ D that’s just No. 13 in the league with 4.2 yards per carry and 101.1 yards allowed per game. Vincent Jackson’s injury may mean more targets for Evans, who’s probably a stronger play in PPR rather than straight up leagues versus a Rams secondary that’s coughed up just 16 passing touchdowns all year, tied for fifth-best in the league.


1.New England

2.N.Y. Jets



5.Kansas City

It’s really a coin flip between the Jets and Patriots, but the latter’s No. 1 because of their stronger pass rush against a Titans o-line that’s let up 44 sacks, second-worst in the league. But the Jets will still feast on Dallas’ ineptitude and 23 turnovers, tied for fifth-worst in the NFL. Once again making a late-season push, Seattle will rough up Johnny Manziel and the Browns, and even though the Bengals pass rush is just No. 18 in the league it may snap Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers in half. Meanwhile, the Chiefs get the Ravens and Jimmy Clausen or the Ravens and Ryan Mallett. Either way K.C. rolls and puts up huge numbers.