Thursday Night Football Fantasy Versus | Week 15
The Week 15 NFL matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football won’t have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Not when it comes to good football or a lot riding on the game, at least.
However the Falcons do have playoff positioning to player for, and it should still be interesting to see if the Jaguars team that rolled off 41 unanswered points last week can show up and make a game of it. It’s doubtful, but it’s not without hope.
The real reason most NFL fans will be tuning into this one will actually have more to do with the fantasy football ramnifications, rather than the outcome of the game. That’s where we come in, as we’re making sure you feel good about any fantasy options you use this early in the week.
To help make that decision, here’s our Week 15 Thursday Night Football Fantasy Versus column:
Matt Ryan (Falcons) vs. Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars)
I saw improvement in Gabbert last week, but the Jaguars still run the ball as much as possible, and Gabbert is still light years away from being a reliable fantasy option. Ryan is coming off of a big week and the Jags can definitely be passed on. Ryan is your guy, and he’s a top-15 option this week.
Michael Turner (Falcons) vs. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars)
Turner has the easier matchup, but the Jags are still pretty decent against the run, and Turner hasn’t scored a touchdown in three straight weeks. On the flip-side, MJD is coming off of a huge four-touchdown game and Jacksonville’s offense is him. It’s hard to go against him, so try to ride the wave and start MJD over Turner.
Roddy White (Falcons) vs. Julio Jones (Falcons)
Consider them 1A and 1B, although it’s hard to predict who is A or B in any given week. Jones is clearly the more explosive option, but it’s important to note that his four career touchdowns have come in just two games. White, meanwhile, has scored in each of the last three games, and gets far more targets than Jones on a regular basis. Both guys should be quality plays tonight, but play White over Jones in this one.
Harry Douglas (Falcons) vs. Jarrett Dillard (Jaguars) vs. Chastin West (Jaguars) vs. Kassim Osgood (Jaguars) vs. Taylor Price (Jaguars)
Douglas has been extremely quiet since breaking out with 130+ yards in week 10, and with Julio Jones healthy, you can safely bet his production will remain fairly mediocre. Over on Jacksonville’s side, both Mike Thomas and Cecil Shorts have been ruled out with injuries, giving potential value to the Jaguar receivers listed above. Dillard is the guy with the best combination of talent and potential in this game, and he’s also the top receiver. Go with Dillard over Douglas and the other Jaguars’ options, but don’t expect the world.
Tony Gonzalez (Falcons) vs. Marcedes Lewis (Jaguars)
Gonzo gets the nod here, and there really isn’t anything to debate. However, if you don’t own Gonzo and you’re considering Lewis for the week, I actually think he could be a very solid play. With Jacksonville’s top two receivers out, I could see an extra 4-5 passes go his way. And judging by his 77 yards last week, his connection with Gabbert could be improving.
Matt Bryant (Falcons) vs. Josh Scobee (Jaguars) vs. Brandon Coutu (Jaguars)
Atlanta should win this game and they shouldn’t have much trouble putting up points. Even if you were feeling like taking a risk with Scobee, you have to worry about his availability. It’s not worth chancing. Go with Bryant, who shouldn’t disappoint.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars can be usable with the right matchup, but they’ve had a ton of injuries across the board and they’re tough to predict. The Falcons are playing for playoff positioning right now and still have a slim shot at their division. I don’t see them blowing this one, while their defense goes up against Blaine Gabbert, who still doesn’t have the kind of pocket presence that exudes confidence. I’ll take Atlanta, and it’s really not close.
Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. Roberts also finished 2nd in the Wide Receiver position in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings in 2010 and 3rd in the Quarterback position in 2011. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup's NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin