Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs. They sound so great, but are just as deadly. One wrong move, one bad start could mean the end of all the work you put in throughout the year. At the same time, the possibility of winning it all fuels you even more than the fear of messing up, and you are so close to finishing it all off, just a few more weeks and it is all done.
If you are in a league that plays until week 16 and you are still alive, then your mind must be going crazy; on the other hand, if the playoffs are just beginning for you, then there is much work to do and I know those goose bumps are certainly coming as one move could prove costly. Not only do we have to deal with injuries, but we have to deal with good teams possibly resting their good players soon, planning for the future is never a bad idea when you already got your starters set. Let’s see:
- Drew Brees – NO – vs TB
Where did it all go so wrong? Brees had 9 interceptions through the first 10 games, and now he has 9 interceptions the last 3 games. After failing to throw a touchdown for the first time in over 50 games, we all expected a bounce back, yet we saw only one touchdown along with 2 interceptions. Fear not, if Drew is ever going to get out of this funk, it is this week. The Saints play at home against the Buccaneers, who allow the 2nd most points to quarterbacks, and just allowed 381 yards to Nick Foles and the Eagles. Brees had 377 yards and 4 touchdowns on their previous meeting in Tampa, and Brees can use the easy match up at the Superdome. If you were doubting if you should bench Brees after 2 sub par weeks, no need to worry.
- Josh Freeman – TB – vs NO
The Saints defense gave their fans a glimpse of hope after they were able to stop Matt Ryan for 165 yards and 1 touchdown, and they followed it by allowing 4 touchdowns to Eli Manning. To put it simply, the game against the Falcons was a fluke. Josh Freeman threw for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Saints and against a potent offense like New Orleans, he might have to do it again. The Buccaneers still have some hope of making the playoffs, which should turn into a more aggressive approach to the game. Every game against the Saints is a shootout.
- Carson Palmer – OAK – vs KC
Well Carson Palmer has been a nice commodity this year. Sure the turnovers are there, but the amount of completions, yardage and touchdowns are there and growing. This is due specially by the amount of garbage time the Raiders have been on. Palmer is not the same quarterback he once was, but in Fantasy Football he hasn’t changed at all. The Chiefs allowed the 6th most points to quarterbacks, and almost 2 touchdowns per game. I would not be surprised to see 3 touchdowns out of Palmer at home against Kansas City.
- Brandon Weeden – CLE – vs WSH
This is most likely Weeden’s last chance at throwing for 3 touchdowns in one game. Against the Redskins who allow the 5th most quarterback points in fantasy, and his last game at home for his rookie season, this might well be his best game of the season. Even if he doesn’t hit the trifecta of touchdowns, Weeden should still have a decent day in a battle against Griffin III (Hopefully!). Not a bad option to have.
- Jamaal Charles – KC – vs OAK
3 straight weeks with over 100 rushing yards and 4 times out of his last 5 games, Charles is the main focus of the Chiefs offense and with good reason. Going for 165 rushing yards and a touchdown against a decent Browns defense, things should get easier against the Raiders. The Browns allowed the 17th most points to Running Backs, compared to the Raiders allowing the 2nd most. With an average of 94 rushing yards per game for Charles, you can pencil him in for another day of over 100 yards.
- Matt Forte – CHI – vs GB
The Packers have allowed 5 rushing touchdowns in their last 5 weeks. Even though Forte hasn’t exactly been spectacular this season, things are clearly going better. The only problem we deal with is Michael Bush and his effectiveness in the goal line. But even with Bush in the equation, and with a banged up Jay Cutler, whether he plays or not, Forte should be the main offense for the Bears against their rivals. Forte hasn’t reached 100 rushing yards since week 9, but his catching ability helps with his yardage points. He’s gotten back to double digit points in the last 2 weeks after 3 straight games with less than 7 fantasy points. If the Bears want to win, Forte should be the key.
- Alfred Morris – WSH – vs CLE
Morris doesn’t have the most incredible match up this week, but after 3 straight weeks with over 100 rushing yards, Morris has been a tough running back to stop. The Browns just came off allowing 165 rushing yards to Charles 18 carries. With an injured Robert Griffin III, it is quite easy to expect Morris to carry a bigger load than usual, which should make for a great fantasy day.
- Reggie Bush – MIA – vs JAC
Talk about an up and down season. Reggie has had 8 single digit fantasy games to only five games over 10. He also has a mere 5 touchdowns, just 1 over back up Daniel Thomas. So why is Bush getting the nod this week? Well its because of the Jacksonville Jaguars of course. Jaguars allow the third most points to running backs with 20.6 total points. Reggie combined for 103 total yards against the 49ers, so the stage is set for a good fantasy performance against the Jaguars at home.
Good Desperation Options:
- Joique Bell – DET – vs ARI
Bell has been outstanding in both the passing game and running game, which has only led to more touches. If he is available on your league, he is a great pick up for this week and the next playoff rounds. In PPR leagues he should for sure be own as he has made the most of his touches. The Lions offense provides enough space and opportunities for Bell to pile up the yards, and while he won’t get many touchdown opportunities, the yardage should suffice.
- Benjarvus Green-Ellis – CIN – vs PHI
The Law Firm failed to get to 100 rushing yards after achieving the feat the last 3 games. He was still able to combine for 102 total yards however. Green-Ellis should be in line for a double digit day against the Eagles. There is nothing spectacular about him, but if you are looking for a consistent and decent player, the Law Firm is the guy who could help.
- Michael Crabtree – SF – vs NE
Kaepernick has surpassed everyone’s expectations after 4 games as a starter. One of the biggest surprises has been his connection with Michael Crabtree. The last 2 games, Crabtree has had 16 catches for 194 yards. The best part is the 22 targets Crabtree has gotten. As long as Colin Kaepernick plays, he will look towards Crabtree in tough situations. With the Patriots allowing the 8th most points against wide receivers, Crabtree should be in for quite a nice day. As long as the San Francisco defense can keep the Patriots from blowing the game out of reach early in the game, Crabtree should get enough opportunities to make this week worth while.
- Jeremy Maclin – PHI – vs CIN
Since Desean Jackson went on IR, Maclin is the most dangerous player in the Eagles system. 17 receptions in 25 targets in 3 games, including a 13 target game leaves a ton of opportunities for Maclin on Thursday Night. The Bengals have allowed only 2 touchdowns to wide receivers in the last 5 weeks, but there’s only one threat in the passing game of the Eagles, so Maclin should be able to break that streak. Without Desean Jackson and Brent Celek, its all up to Maclin now.
- Josh Gordon – CLE – vs WSH
Gordon has become the main target in the Browns offense, and Brandon Weeden has made it very clear. Since their bye week, Josh Gordon has 33 targets to lead the team, the next best is 20 targets for Greg Little. With the Redskins allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers, Gordon is going to be able to make enough plays for this to be a successful fantasy day. With no less than 7 targets in the last 4 weeks, Gordon is averaging 100+ yards the last 2 games, and it seems we can count on that this week.
- Eric Decker – DEN – vs BAL
Decker has one of the best quarterbacks in the game leading his team, which will always give him a chance for an amazing game. Decker took advantage of Demaryuis Thomas leaving last Thursday night’s game and got 8 receptions for 88 yards as the main target for Peyton Manning. Well the Baltimore Ravens allow a big amount of receptions to #2 receivers, and Decker should be good enough to take advantage of that since Thomas appears to be fine.
Good Desperation Options:
- Justin Blackmon – JAC – vs MIA
This pick depends on 2 things. First, if Cecil Shorts is going to play or not. If Shorts indeed sits down, Blackmon will for sure receive the most targets just like the 12 he received against the Jets last week. The other condition is if the league is PPR. Blackmon is certain to received the most targets, but at the same time, he will have a harder time making a play happen with all the attention on him. It is hard to think he is the most dangerous player on a team, but that’s how many injuries the Jaguars have had. It will also depend on the play of Chad Henne. Playing against his former team will be added motivation.
- Mike Williams – TB – vs NO
Against a team like the Saints, everyone gets a chance to have a break out game, and Mike Williams could surely use it. It is no surprise the Saints allow the third most points to wide receivers, and with Vincent Jackson surely expected to have a great game, Williams should also be considered for a great fantasy day in what will surely be a shoot out in the Super dome.
- Danario Alexander – SD – vs CAR
Quarterback Philip Rivers has found a trustworthy receiver in Alexander. He has a touchdown or a 100 yard game in 4 of the last 5 games, and against the Carolina Panthers defense, he should find a way to do at least one of those feats, if not both.
- Brian Hartline – MIA – vs JAC
Even though he hasn’t scored since week 4, Hartline could finally get in against the Jaguars. They have allowed 4 touchdowns to wide receivers in the last 4 games, Hartline has to break out from his funk eventually, and this seems like the perfect week to do so.
- Brandon Myers – OAK – vs KC
The Myers experiment started and ended for a lot of people last week. After a 14 reception week, a one catch game ruined was most owners expected to be a great pick up. Most people believe Myers will only get receptions on garbage time and that isn’t enough to make him worthy of a start. As much as that sounds right, Myers is in the Raiders, one of the teams that finds themselves in garbage time more than any other team. The 2 target game was only brought on because Palmer lost confidence after throwing an interception in Myers direction, Palmer has an easier match up against the Chiefs, his confidence should be back. In PPR leagues, Myers is a great option, not only for now, but for the upcoming weeks.
- Jermaine Gresham – CIN – vs PHI
Gresham is a perfect option for PPR leagues, even though he didn’t catch a touchdown last week against the Cowboys, he stuck to his 4 reception prowess. As long as Dalton plays well, Gresham should benefit a lot. The Eagles have been a terrible defensive team all over the place, quite inconsistent, Gresham should be worth the start at least on PPR leagues.
- Martellus Bennett – NYG – vs ATL
The Falcons and the Giants are trying to prove who the best team in the NFC is. In what should definitely be a great game, yards will be hard to come by, and that’s where Bennett comes in. Bennett has caught 5 balls in the last 2 games with a touchdown in each one of those games. Bennett has heated up since Hakeem Nicks returned to the Giants, which was to be expected since Nicks creates more space for Bennett to make things happen, specially in the red zone.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – BUF – vs SEA
Fitzpatrick might be better than any of the Cardinals quarterbacks, but the match up is still not great. The Seahawks have allowed an average of 10 points to quarterbacks, the 2nd fewest to only the Bears. Even though Fitzpatrick will definitely have a better game than Ryan Lindley, he is still not the best quarterback to start.
- Joe Flacco – BAL – vs DEN
The Denver Broncos have been playing out of their mind forcing a turnover in 8 straight games. Even though Flacco is playing at home, The Broncos don’t allow many deep passes which takes away Torrey Smith, and Champ Bailey has been shutting down receivers all year. Without an incredible tight end, the Ravens will have their work cut out for them. Flacco doesn’t have the right matchup, and he hasn’t reached 200 passing yards in 3 of the last 4 games, it is much easier to trust other quarterbacks now.
- Jay Cutler – CHI – vs GB
Cutler suffered an injury, so he is not 100%. Even though he should be able to play Sunday, Cutler hasn’t had much luck against the Packers. He has failed to reach 250 yards in 4 out of their last 6 meetings. With 126 passing yards and 4 interceptions in their previous meeting in week 2, Jay Cutler does not look well for his week 15 match up.
- Andrew Luck – IND – vs HOU
The first of 2 match ups in the last 3 weeks, Luck will have trouble in Houston. Most of Luck’s turnovers come away from home. The Houston Texans couldn’t stop Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but Andrew Luck is not one of them, not yet at least. With the added motivation of winning the division on their home turf, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Texans playing with added motivation. They have been sloppy against the pass sometimes, but they should be able to put it together for the sake of a division title.
- Vick Ballard – IND – vs HOU
Only the 49ers have allowed fewer fantasy points than the Houston Texans to running backs. Ballard might once again have the backfield all to himself with Brown placed on IR, but it is much safer to stay away from Ballard against a team that allows 11.3 points to running backs. Maybe he’d be better in Indianapolis, but in Houston, he is no safe option.
- Beanie Wells – ARI – vs DET
Wells had a great game with 2 touchdown when he came back, and there was a lot of hope that he could produce, but the Cardinals give little hope. Wells has 88 combined rushing yards in 3 games since his return, and I don’t see how it gets better against the Lions. It’s just better to sit all possible Arizona Cardinals for the playoffs, it’s not time to play around with match ups.
- Jonathan Dwyer – PIT – vs DAL
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not a run heavy attack anymore, and that doesn’t bode well for Dwyer. Dwyer won’t get enough opportunities against the Cowboys, and he hasn’t eclipse the 60 yard mark at all since he missed a game on week 9.
- Larry Fitzgerald – ARI – vs DET
I thought writing Fitzgerald in the Sit ‘em list last week was one of the craziest things I had done, considering all he has done without a quarterback since Warner, I figured he is still a superstar. But this quarterback duo is beyond ridiculous. Fitzgerald caught one ball on 11 targets. He has 3 one catch games in the last four weeks, and a total of 6 receptions on an incredible 37 targets. Whether it is Lindley or Skelton, Fitzgerald will need someone to throw the ball to him rather than in his general direction. Neither of those quarterbacks can do it, so benching Fitzgerald seems like the best way to go.
- James Jones – GB – vs CHI
Jones has completely disappeared after the bye week. With 8 touchdowns total before the bye week, Jones had been the biggest surprise in the Packers offense, but since then he only has 1. In four games since the bye week, James Jones has a total of 6 catches. It was a great ride all season for Jones, but I think things are just not the same. The offense seems to move through Randall Cobb and the Packers are trying to involve Jennings a little bit more.
- Torrey Smith – BAL – vs DEN
Champ Bailey can pick and choose whether he wants to cover Smith or Boldin, either way, both of them have a tough match up ahead. Smith will try to look for the big play as he always does, but the Broncos defense has been playing great. Broncos allow the 10th fewest points to wide receivers. The Ravens need to run the ball with Ray Rice, and all in all it looks like Smith should be used more as a decoy to open up more space for others.
- Scott Chandler – BUF – vs SEA
Chandler has been up and down all season, against a Seahawks defense, I’m going to take the down side. It’ll either be a touchdown day, or a 5 catch day, either way, Chandler is going to have to work hard for those extra yards against a tough Seattle defense.
- Jermichael Finley – GB – vs CHI
The Bears allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points to tight ends, but they are also one of only seven teams to allow more than 70 receptions to tight ends this year. In PPR leagues, Finley could be a nice option, but it is hard to know what to expect in regular standard leagues.
This is a post submitted by Gino Bernasconi. Gino is currently a Florida International University student going for an electrical engineer major with a journalism minor. He is a huge New Orleans fan and a Miami Dolphins season ticket Holder. He has written fantasy football tips and articles for over 8 years and is prepared to defend any and all arguments you have against his picks. Gino is always looking for new leagues, new challenges, and new victims to build his confidence. Twitter:@GinoBuddah Facebook: Facebook.com/GinoBer