Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after a touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

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Eric Thompson for Page 2 fantasy

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Minneapolis Star Tribune sports Michael Rand. ORG XMIT: MIN1210171625110917

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles reacts to the crowd after his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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Oakland Raiders' Rashad Jennings breaks away from Houston Texans' D.J. Swearinger (36) for an 80-yard touchdown run during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson smiles during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant (88) celebrates a first-quarter touchdown against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 in Chicago. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

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Week 15 RandBall Fantasy Football Challenge

  • December 11, 2013 - 10:12 PM

Week 15 of the Page 2 Fantasy Football Challenge is upon us. Each week, a guest picker chooses a quarterback, wide receiver and running back. The only players off-limits are those selected by the previous week’s guest picker. The guest — Eric Thompson, who lives in St. Paul and is a writer for the Vikings blog Daily Norseman — will go head-to-head against Star Tribune writer Michael Rand, who is not allowed to pick anyone projected by experts to score in the top 10 this week at their respective positions:

eric thompson’S WEEK 15 FANTASY PICKS

QB: Peyton Manning, Broncos QB projection: No. 3

Matchup: Chargers

Yeah, I know, really going out on a limb here. But judging from last week’s game, Manning is determined to prove that throwing it 95 times in the Denver cold doesn’t bother him. Thursday night games have the tendency to be sloppy, but San Diego’s pass defense is sloppier.

RB: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs RB projection: No. 1

Matchup: Raiders

His matchup against Oakland isn’t as ideal as Manning’s, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t choose the guy who carried me to the most overall points in one of my leagues. He is a 15+ fantasy point machine.

WR: Calvin Johnson, Lions WR projection: No. 4

Matchup: Ravens

(I’m making such racy choices!) He was held to only three catches in the Snow Globe Game last week in Philadelphia. Expect a big performance after Cordarrelle Patterson shredded Baltimore.


QB: Drew Brees, Saints QB projection: No. 12

Matchup: Rams

I’m a little stunned that Brees is ranked outside the top 10 and is therefore eligible to be picked, but I’m not about to complain since I have to go up against the TD machine in Denver. Brees might not be as prolific, but if he can top 300 yards and throw at least two touchdown passes, that will do.

RB: Rashad Jennings, Raiders RB projection: No. 12

Matchup: Chiefs

Jennings has sneakily become a pretty nice fantasy play, with at least 10 points in each of his past five games and 15 or more in his last three. Let’s hope he keeps up that pace.

WR: Dez Bryant, Cowboys WR projection: No. 16

Matchup: Packers

Judging by the Monday night game against the Bears, the Cowboys will have to put up a bunch of points to win. Enter Bryant, who could feast on the Packers’ secondary.


Winner: Michael Rand — Nick Foles (19.5), C.J. Spiller (4.8), Andre Johnson (15.4). Total: 39.7

Loser: Paul Lambert — Tom Brady (22.8), Ray Rice (10.9), Victor Cruz (4.2). Total: 37.9

Overall standings: Guest pickers 9-5.

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