Well kids after a brutal couple of days dealing with Bronchitis, I am back. I have to apologize for not having the column up sooner, but being bed ridden is not exactly the environment suitable for predictions, especially in fantasy playoffs.
Remember, the playoffs put more emphasis on playing the matchups NOT necessarily the player's name.
Keep in mind who is starting at QB (like Joe Webb for Minnesota, or David Garrard's injury), and keep in mind the weather forecast for each game.
Also, make sure to understand the individual one on one matchups, such as the Jets' elite corners versus the Steelers' high end receivers....this situation favors the corners NOT the receivers.
OK, without further ado, let’s get right too things, and if you posted any questions elsewhere feel free to repost them here since it may take me just a bit to get to the other ones.
|1. Reggie Wayne – Colts: Despite Manning’s up and down play each week, Wayne has continued to consistently produce on a weekly basis, and he has recently caught fire.
This week, Wayne comes in as my Must Start for several reasons.
The Jaguars are horrible at getting to the quarterback, rank 28th against the pass, and give up more yards per throw than any other team in the NFL.
If that’s not enough, Wayne torched the Jags in their last meeting (15 catches for 196 yards) and in his last two games, he has amassed 306 yards on 18 catches with one TD. Oh yeah, and the matchup will under a dome!
|2. Roddy White – Falcons Roddy White against a Seahawks pass D that is horrendous and ranks 30th? Yeah, start him with confidence!
|3. Marques Colston – Saints: Colston is one of the hottest trending receivers in fantasy right now, which is perfect for the fantasy playoffs. The Ravens are easily burned by deep receivers—as shown in the team coughing up 28 points to Houston last week—so Colston is a great start for your team.
|4. Andre Johnson – Texans: Johnson is one of the best fantasy plays this week in a matchup that even Vegas is predicting as the highest scoring game of the week. Look out Mr. Finnegan!
|5. T.O. – Bengals: T.O. is looking to move towards the end of the season with a bang, and the best way to do that is against a Cleveland defense he already torched for 222 yards and a score in their first meeting.
|6. DeSean Jackson – Eagles: Jackson’s foot will not be an issue, and you can expect the Eagles to go to Jackson early, in an effort to jump on top of an injured Giants squad.
|7. Calvin Johnson – Lions: The Bucs have lost shut down corner Aqib Talib, monster FS Cody Grimm, and one of their best pass rushers Gerald McCoy to IR. Megatron should have no trouble lighting it up against a significantly compromised Tampa pass D.
|8. Steve Johnson – Bills: Johnson is one of just a few receivers in Week 15 with favorable weather, and probably the only receiver who will not only garner most of the targets—thanks to a Lee Evans injury—but also the only wide out to face a trio of undrafted rookies as the guys trying to defend him. You’d be foolish NOT to start him.
|9. Miles Austin – Cowboys: The Redskins are without LaRon Landry making their 29th ranked pass D even more vulnerable. Expect Austin to have a breakout week.
|10. Mike Williams – Buccaneers: The Lions can’t cover for squat and CB Nathan Vasher has declined in recent weeks (the guy Williams will face) so Williams is in line for a big day. Start him with confidence.
|The Risk List:
|1. Hakeem Nicks – Giants: It’s not that Nicks isn’t necessarily worth starting, but the Giants will be without Steve Smith, and Mario Manningham will try and play through a hip-flexor strain he is dealing with. This is likely to push the Giants to a run first approach, with more focus on their TE Kevin Boss, than Hakeem Nicks who is likely to be double teamed.
What really makes him a high risk/high reward player is the fact that the Eagles will inevitably try and jump on the injured Giants early, and if that’s the case, the Giants will be forced to turn to Nicks in catch-up fashion.
If you have someone with a more reliable matchup, I would use them. If not, then play Nicks.
|2. Ocho Cinco – Bengals: With T.O. almost guaranteed to draw more coverage, Ocho will inevitably have more opportunities and targets. His ankle is a concern, however, since he has a long history with ankle injuries. If you have to use him in a playoff setting do so, but if you have someone more reliable go with them.
|3. Brandon Lloyd – Broncos: Kyle Orton is dealing with some heavy injuries to his ribs and arm and hasn’t taken any reps outside of some minor ones in practice. While he will be listed as a game time decision, even if he does start, he is too much of a risk and it shows in his declining play. This deteriorates Brandon Lloyd’s fantasy value significantly, and unless you are forced to play him this week, you may want to start someone more favorable.
|4. Brandon Gibson – Rams: Gibson has been systematically gaining more targets, and has been producing quite nicely for a WR3. But this week against Brandon Flowers is not the type of situation you want to flirt with in a playoff environment unless you have to.
|5. Sidney Rice – Vikings: It is “highly likely” that Joe Webb will get the nod this week with Tavaris Jackson on IR, and Favre still not able to practice heavily. The problem is, this downgrades Sidney Rice’s fantasy value from a starter to a risky play at best. Ironically enough, if you’re looking for a W-R-T type of player go ahead and grab Webb who has QB and WR eligibility in Yahoo leagues.
Betcha ya’ll didn’t know that, did yas?
|The Sit List:
|1. Mike Sims-Walker – Jaguars: Put a fork in this guy, he’s done. MSW hasn't topped 50 receiving yards in five weeks, only has two games for over 100 yards receiving, and is pretty much one of the biggest fantasy dissapointments of 2010.
MSW may see a slight increase in targets this week only because fellow teammate Mike Thomas is good enough to have opposing defenses double cover him, but don't expect too much even against Indianapolis.
Not the guy you want to start in a playoff enviroment.
|2. Hines Ward – Steelers: This game should be a FG fest, with little to zero scores. Ward will have a tough day with the Jets’ elite corners.
|3. Santana Moss – Redskins: How many of you know that Rex Grossman will start at QB, NOT Donovan. How many of you actually trust Grossman? That’s what I thought, sit Moss this week.
|4. Robert Meachem – Saints: The Saints are rolling with Colston right now, leaving Meachem out of the picture once again. Find another, more reliable, receiver this week.
|5. Donald Driver – Packers: Too much uncertainty surrounding Driver’s health, and QB Aaron Rodgers’ health. Sit him this week.
|Make sure to leave you specific questions below, and good luck this week!
Special Game Highlight: Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
When doing a start sit column there aren’t always enough spaces to mention every player who should be, and in the case of this week’s game between the Eagles and Giants, it is even more prevalent.
So this week, I thought I would give a quick breakdown of the main event, and how it will all affect the fantasy landscape.
The Giants are looking to find some way to finally beat these Eagles and certainly have the fire power to do it. But for fantasy owners, it comes down who is the absolute best player to give the nod to, especially if you have to choose between more than one Giants, or Eagles player you may own.
Keep in mind this is basically for the division so both teams will be playing at a very high level. Steve Smith is out, Mario Manningham is slightly injured but will play, and this game could be a shootout, but will probably wind up being a methodical run first type game.
What You Should Know:
Weather should play a small factor in this game with the anticipated precipitation, and the all-too-famous swirling winds in Giants Stadium. Jeremy Maclin had a breakout game the last time he faced the Giants torching them for 120 yards on 9 catches, but failed to register a score.
DeSean Jackson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jackson, Hakeem Nicks all had pedestrian outings—all failing to register a single score as well.
Who To Watch:
As mentioned above, the Giants may be forced to turn to a run first approach, which should increase the value of running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, but also ILB/MLB Jamar Chaney of the Eagles who is definitely worth a look in IDP leagues.
I also like TE Kevin Boss in this match up as well with Steve Smith being out, and Mario Manningham banged up.