We are finally here, Week 14, The Playoffs! Playoffs? Yes the Playoffs! And if you are reading this most likely you have made it this far. Congratulations. The playoffs have already started in a couple of leagues that I am in, but for the majority of owners crunch time begins now. By now your rosters should pretty much be set and you should have a good feel for your team. But there will always be that one or two decisions each week that can make ya or break ya. So this week we go a little further. Each player, from top to bottom will be ranked in order of their effectiveness or ineffectiveness depending on which category they are in. Again, if you have any specific questions you can email me directly at SteveDeAngelo@gmail.com.
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QB’s Start Em
Matthew Stafford vs Minnesota
Stafford shed the splint and took off the gloves last week and finished with a fairly solid game at New Orleans throwing for 400 yards with one TD. This week it gets even better vs Minnesota and their Swiss cheese defense which is giving up the most amount of points QB’s. Stafford is an excellent start this week, at home, in a game where Detroit needs to win.
Phillip Rivers vs Buffalo
With Malcolm Floyd returning on Monday night, Rivers tore up the Jaguars by throwing for just under 300 yards with 3 TD’s. Floyd give Rivers another deep threat and opens things up for Gates, Jackson and Matthews. With his full arsenal healthy, look for Rivers to keep it going at home in a must win game against Buffalo.
Matt Ryan @ Carolina
Ryan had started to heat up of late, but hit a bit of rough patch last week against a solid Houston secondary. But this week I think he picks it back up again at Carolina in what should be a fairly high scoring game. Michael Turner will be getting a lot of carries in this game as he matches up with the porous Carolina run D, but that means Atlanta will be moving the chains and Ryan will see plenty of scoring chances. Look for Ryan to finish with around 250 yards passing with 2-3 TD’s.
Sleeper/Desperation Play- Rex Grossman @ New England, Carson Palmer @ GB
Both these guys are facing teams that will dictate their offense to throw early and often. Also the Patriots and Green Bay both have been giving up a lot of yards through the air all year. It’s playoff time and it’s hard to trust these guys, but if you have to rock with them, then go for it. I give Palmer the slight edge over Grossman.
Mark Sanchez @ Kansas City
Have to avoid Sanchez in this matchup if you can. This will most likely be another ground it out, defensive, low scoring battle. The Jets will be looking to pound the rock once again with Shonn Greene and win it with defense. When Sanchez is throwing he will have a tough time vs an improved Kansas City pass D giving up the 6th least amount of points to QB’s.
Andy Dalton vs Houston
Dalton hasn’t thrown for more than one TD in his last three games. Granted they were all tough matchups against Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but the matchup is tough once again against Houston allowing the 4th fewest amount of points to QB’s. Don’t sit AJ Green, that guy is matchup proof, but Dalton’s most likely needs to be on your bench.
Ben Roethlisberger vs Cleveland
Playoffs have started, you own Big Ben, he’s playing tonight and your are itching to get a player in your fantasy lineup! I feel you, I’ve been there before and made some stupid starts just because I wasn’t patient and wanted to see my player perform right away. But If you have better options, you need to sit Ben this week. Cleveland’s secondary is for real, they have been all year and teams attack them on the ground. The Steelers will control this game, so you will see a heavy dose of Rashard Mendenhall and Issac Redman. Ben will probably have a subpar game, so keep him reserved.
Possible Benching- Tim Tebow @ Chicago
I’m a Tebow fan, I love this dude and I have defended him all year, but this might be a spot you want to sit him. The Bears have the defensive speed with Urlacher, Briggs, and Peppers to contain Tebow’s running and slow down the Broncos run game. Tebow really hasn’t had a bad game all year scoring 18 points or more every week, but this could possibly be his worse game of the year. If you have stronger options, consider benching Tebow this week and if you advance get ready to start him next week against New England.
RB’s Start ‘Em
Rashard Mendenhall vs Cleveland
After a slow start, Mendenhall comes into Thursday night’s game with 5 TD’s in his last three games. The Steelers will be giving him the rock early and often in this one and Mendenhall should find the endzone at least once if not a couple of times. Cleveland has been struggling against the run giving up the 24th most points to the RB position so get Mendy in your lineups tonight.
Michael Turner @ Atlanta Falcons
Turner usually always produces when the matchup is right, so this week should be no different against Carolina. Last week vs the Panthers, Legarrette Blount put up an absolute stinker, but that was mostly because the Bucs were forced to throw early. The Falcons will be in this game and Turner will have his chances to score and will reach the 100 yard mark. Get him in your lineups.
Marshawn Lynch vs St. Louis
Lynch has been in absolute beast mode the past seven weeks as he has four 100 yard games and is averaging a TD per game. On Monday night, Lynch has a perfect matchup against the Rams who have been giving up chunks of yardage to RB’s all year. The Rams will be focused on Marshawn, but that doesn’t mean they can stop him, Lynch has been running through guys with ease. He should come close to 100 yards and find paydirt at least once.
PPR Specials- Ryan Matthews vs Buffalo, Reggie Bush vs Philly and CJ Spiller @ SD
All three of these guys will have solid games this week. Bush didn’t catch any passes last week, but still had 100 yards and TD, he has been great of late and is a must-start. Spiller had an impressive game finishing wth 83 yards on the ground on just 14 carries. He ended up with one TD and could of had another on a 41 yard run, but it was called back due to a holding penalty. Get Spiller in your lineups. Ryan Matthews also enjoyed a nice game against Jacksonville rushing for 112 yards on just 13 carries with a TD. He now has back to back 100 yard rushing games. He will go up against a Buffalo defense that is allowing the 4th most points to RB’s. I would rank them Matthews, Bush, Spiller, but it’s close between the three and all should be in your lineups if possible.
Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams vs Atlanta
Williams was supposed to be a nice play last week going against the Bucs, but he was terrible, proving you can never trust this guy. Stewart has been a little more reliable and actually had a good game last week, but he needs to be benched this week as well. Atlanta has been stout against the run, allowing the 6th fewest points to RB’s.
Beanie Wells vs San Francisco
49ers Stud MLB Patrick Willis could miss this game, but you still need to bench Beanie. The 49ers D hasn’t allowed a TD all season and are No.1 against the run. Beanie has been good, but he needs to benched here.
Cedric Benson vs Houston
Benson will get the carries, but don’t expect much yardage. He did fare well in a tough matchup against Baltimore with 2 TD’s, but that was kind of a fluky performance. If you have better options, sit Benson against Houston who is allowing the 2nd fewest amount of points to RB’s.
WR’s Start ‘Em
Santana Moss @ New England
Fred Davis just got suspended for the remainder of the year for smoking the chronic, so Moss instantly becomes the No.1 target on the Skins. This really is an ideal matchup for Moss. Him and Rexy have showed rapport in the past and he should find Moss open against the Pats struggling secondary. Moss still has good speed, runs good routes and knows how to find the open areas in zone defenses. He’s a nice little start this week as the Skins will be throwing the football a ton. Moss had 13 targets last week.
Damien Williams @ New Orleans
Williams has been the most targeted wideout on the Titans of late and for good reason. The Titans will be forced to throw and Williams should benefit.The Saints have been allowing the 2nd most points to WR’s just in front of New England.
Mike Williams, TB @ Jacksonville
Williams has been rock solid of late with three straight games over 80 yards and 2 TD’s in his last three. As we saw on Monday night, the Jaguars secondary has been decimated by injuries losing their top three corners to injury. Josh Freeman has been bad, but he is finding his favorite target, so expect Williams to produce.
DeSean Jackson @ Miami
After watching Jackson drop two TD’s against the Patriots, get benched in the 4th quarter of that game and then follow it up with his sideline pouting and blank stare on the sidelines against Seattle last Thursday night, I can’t trust this guy. His head is just not on the game right now and it’s really hard to give him a chance at this point. Stay away.
Dwayne Bowe vs New York Jets
Revis Island time. Steer clear.
Pierre Garcon @ Baltimore
Colts QB Dan “The Polish Plumber” Orlovsky came in and revived Garcon last week as Pierre went off for two TD’s, but Garcon can’t be started against Baltimore.
TE’s Start ‘Em
Kellen Winslow @ Jacksonville
Beautiful spot for Winslow owners to use him here. Jacksonville is giving up the 2nd most points to Tight Ends, get Winslow in there.
Brent Celek @ Miami
Before Vick’s injury he was hitting Celek consistently. Even Vince Young was getting the ball to Celek. Brent had five straight games over 50 yards before last week, so he should get back on track this week against Miami who are allowing the 10th most points to Tight Ends.
Anthony Fasano vs Philly
Tony Sporano is getting all his playmakers involved during Miami’s resurgence and Fasano has been apart of that plan. His numbers have been mediocre overall, but Fasano has started to come alive some with two 60 yard outings in his last four games. If you were a Fred Davis owner and need a tight end this week, he’s not a bad option.
Brandon Pettigrew @ Minnesota
This appears to be a good matchup on paper, but Pettigrew has been brutal of late with six straight games of being held under 40 yards with just one TD in those six games. Last week, the frustration seemed to be getting to Pettigrew as he drew a stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and also had two terrible drops. Avoid.
Owen Daniels @ Cincy
Daniels has also been ice cold of late as he hasn’t found the endzone in his last eight games and hasn’t gone over 40 yards in his last four. The offense is focused on running more than ever now with TJ Yates under the helm and when they do throw, Yates likes to get it down the field.
Jermaine Gresham vs Houston
Dalton will be slowed, Benson will be slowed and so will Gresham. Houston is 3rd best at defending the Tight End.
IDP’s Start ‘Em
Chris Clemons, DE, Seattle Seahawks vs St. Louis Rams
Rams giving up the most sacks in the league, 3rd String QB Tom Brandstater possibly playing in this game, Clemons is a very solid start this week as he looks to add on to his eight sacks this year.
Earl Thomas, S vs St. Louis Rams
Thomas should enjoy a nice game, not only will he rack up the tackles from the Rams run heavy approach, he could end up with a interception with how bad the Rams QB play has been.
Lance Briggs vs Denver
Urlacher is a must-start this week, but Lance Briggs also warrants a start here. Briggs will rack up the tackles against the run-heavy Broncos.
DeAngelo Hall, CB, Washington Redskins @ New England
No interceptions or pass deflections for Hall this week. Tom Brady will be on his “A” game, per the usual.
Kameron Wimbley @ Green Bay
Don’t like this matchup for the talented Wimbley. Aaron Rodgers will be ridding of that ball throwing lasers all over the field. Wimbley’s sack chances will be limited.