You'd never know it, but fantasy football turns the big 5-0 this year.
Funny, it doesn't look a day over 20.
According to the wonderful folks who write for the Internets, fantasy football was invented in 1962 by a member of the Oakland Raiders ownership group and some football writers. It was called the Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League. Which, put in acronym form is pronounced gaw-puh-puh-puh-el.
The GOPPPL began play in 1963, and the idea caught on in Northern California and eventually spread from there.
It's kind of ironic that they decided to call it fantasy football, since the decisions an owner makes have very real consequences – especially at this time of year. One wrong move and you're playing an exhibition matchup against your uncle Gus.
So, to help you out, here's another edition of the ultimate starting lineup for week 15. Again, this list excludes your studs, since you're going to start them anyway. And if you're not starting guys like Calvin Johnson and Drew Brees, I want you in my leagues next year.
QB: Carson Palmer, Raiders. It's fitting the Raiders play in a place nicknamed The Black Hole, because their defense is in a constant state of collapse. As a result, Palmer has become the Master of Garbage Time, mopping up cheap and easy points after the game is long out of hand. Who cares about an interception or two, 330 yards and three TDs more than makes up for it.
Also consider: Russell Wilson, Seahawks. Seattle's offense has been picking up steam and the Bills defense is very quarterback friendly.
RB: David Wilson, Giants. Going into the playoff weeks, it looked like the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw was poised for some really good games. But one sprained knee later, and David Wilson inherits those opportunities. With Bradshaw out, Wilson gets to face the Falcons and their 23rd-ranked run defense. Sounds like 100 yards and a score to me.
Trent Richardson, Browns. He hasn't been racking up the yards, but he has been scoring touchdowns. Maybe he's hitting the rookie wall, but against the Redskins that shouldn't matter. Defense isn't Washington's strong point, and this could be Richardson's last 100-yard rushing game with a TD until next year.
Also consider: Jamaal Charles, Chiefs. This pick is kind of cheating as he's an obvious no-brainer start. But Charles is here because he may have a special week -- like a 200-plus yard rushing week.
WR: Danario Alexander, Chargers. Since being named a starter in Week 10, Alexander has had 100 yards or a TD in four of those five games. The Chargers are home against the Panthers, and East Coast teams usually don't pack their defense when they head West.
Mike Williams, Bucs. Vincent Jackson may be the No. 1 option for Tampa, but Williams has been playing a nice second fiddle. And with the Saints on the schedule this week, there will be a few touchdowns to go around.
Also consider: Eric Decker, Broncos. Remember when he used to be Payton Manning's favorite target? Apparently Peyton remembered that last week too. Demaryius Thomas will get the Ravens' focus, while Decker will get a TD or two.
TE: Tony Scheffler, Lions. Detroit WR Calvin Johnson is the Chuck Norris of the NFL. He doesn't catch passes, he ALLOWS the quarterback to place the ball in his hands. But apart from Johnson, who else does Matthew Stafford have to throw to? Injuries have devastated the Lions receiving corps, leaving Scheffler as one of the few healthy targets standing. Johnson will draw plenty of attention, and Scheffler will find some space.
Also consider: Greg Olsen, Panthers. Cam Newton has been playing like the superstar he thinks he is. And that elevates Olsen, who is Newton's favorite red zone target.
K: Phil Dawson, Browns. While kickers normally score about the same each week, sometimes teams wage a battle of field goals and a kicker gets RB or WR numbers. Here's a hunch that the Browns and Redskins play a 19-16 game today.
Also consider: Ryan Succop, Chiefs. They're playing Oakland and his name sounds funny. No other reasons.
Def: New England Patriots. Did you notice, New England likes to make statements when it plays good teams? Exhibit A: Patriots 42, Texans 14. The 49ers are a very good team, so how much do you think Bill Belichick wants to prove his guys are better? A lot.
Also consider: Detroit Lions. Normally, no sane person would rely on the Lions during the fantasy playoffs. But Detroit gets to play Arizona this week, and the Cardinals offense is beyond horrible.
Adrian Peterson wasn't supposed to have this kind of year. He got an ACL injury for Christmas in 2011 and full recovery time usually takes about 9 to 12 months.
But if he can average 134 yards in his last three games, Peterson will become only the seventh player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.