Welcome to the playoffs. At this point, every league should be in the playoff portion of the season schedule. Congratulations if you’ve gotten this far. You’re in, that’s all that matters. Anything can happen. Fortunately I have made it into the playoffs in all but one of my leagues (came in 5th in the one I missed). It’s a great feeling to get into the playoffs. It’s an even better feeling to be the Champ, but to get there you need to win this week. Let’s see what we can do to help.
Andy Dalton: I personally am rooting for the Bengals to lose (My Browns are somehow still in the playoff picture in the AFC). Dalton has also not been very good the past two weeks. However, it’s hard to look past the excellent matchup he has this Thursday against the Eagles. They haven’t allowed less than 2 TD passes in a game since week 6.
Russell Wilson: I went back and forth here between Wilson and Brandon Weeden. While I like both of them this week and both are facing rain/snow questions for Sunday, I would feel more comfortable starting Wilson due to the greater possibility of rushing stats. The Bills have actually been better on defense recently, but prior to last week’s dud Wilson had no fewer than 20 points over his last 4 games.
Bryce Brown: We all knew the amazing run had to end somewhere, but don’t overreact to Brown’s dud last week. The Eagles recognized they couldn’t get anything going against one of the league’s best run defenses. He only got 14 touches so he should be rested for the short week and the Bengals can be run on.
Shonn Greene: Yuck. We know the Jets will have to run a lot, even if he and Powell split carries he should get the opportunities for 10+ points.
David Wilson: It looks like Ahmad Bradshaw now has a sprained knee to add to his list of dings. It’s safe to say that even if Bradshaw suits up, he will most likely be limited. Wilson broke out of the doghouse last week with a massive 28 points. He showed plenty of explosiveness, and he should be in the range of 10 points if he gets just 14-16 touches against a porous Atlanta run defense.
Danario Alexander: I am starting DX even with a tough matchup this week. Over his last 5 weeks he is averaging 6 receptions, 98.8 yards and a TD per game. He is simply destroying everyone. Malcom Floyd is just good enough to take some defensive attention away as well.
Mike Wallace: No one has benefited more from the return of Roethlisberger than Wallace. He busted out with a huge game last week and should continue to roll this week.
Mike Williams: I expect Vincent Jackson to have a big game this week, but as the game goes on that should draw the defensive attention to his side, leaving plenty of room to get open for Williams. He has been very inconsistent this year, and Josh Freeman has been down for a few weeks. A game against New Orleans can cure all of that though.
Jason Witten: It’s a rough week for TEs, with only 4 of the top 15 TEs in terms of projections having matchups against the bottom 15 defenses against TEs. Witten in particular is facing the #1 defense against TEs, making it a very tough matchup. However, I think Witten has the talent to overcome this and I think the Cowboys may need to lean on him more because of Dez Bryant’s finger.
Martellus Bennett: I’m going to keep riding the wave. He’s clicking with Manning over the last two and is one of the few top 15 TEs with a decent matchup.
Detroit D/ST: A matchup against Notre Dame’s offense would be a tougher assignment than the Cardinals. Seriously, Larry Fitzgerald might have a shot of NFL comeback player of the year next season because his QBs have been so bad it’s like he had some sort of catastrophic injury.
Joe Flacco: If Flacco struggled against the Redskins, how is he going to do against the Broncos? Granted, it will be interested to see how new play-calling affects his performance.
Andrew Luck: A week after a sub-par game against and easy opponent in the Titans last week, Luck gets his first taste of the Houston Texans defense. While the Texans were just torched on Monday night by Tom Brady, I think JJ Watt and company will be out to make sure it’s not 2 weeks in a row.
Ahmad Bradshaw: I can’t trust him even if he does try to play this week. It’s a good matchup, but he’s got so many nagging leg injuries that I can’t see him lasting the whole game if he does suit up.
Ryan Matthews: Can’t trust him even with a good matchup.
Jonathan Dwyer: Since Dwyer was announced as Pittsburgh’s unequivocal starter two games ago, he has combined for 24 carries, 81 yards (3.3 ypc) and a TD. He has just 14 points over his last two as the full-time starter. Also, the Steelers offensive line is a league-worst in run blocking, providing only 0.91 yards per carry before contact. While Dwyer ranks among the league’s best at yards after contact at 3.06 ypc, you’re still looking at under 4 yards per carry as a best case scenario.
Dez Bryant: Bryant has been on fire as of late, and it seemed like only an injury could…. Bryant came out of last week’s game with a nasty broken finger that would probably end his season if the Cowboys were out of the playoff picture. It sounds like a pretty painful injury, but the Cowboys need him out there to take some defensive attention. He can still run just as well, but I would expect the injury to affect his ability to catch the football. If he has a big game it would be fairly surprising to me.
Kenny Britt: Britt always gets attention as a breakout WR because of weeks like his 8-143 line last week. The problem is that he has many more 3-30 and 4-60 days than those big games. He also has trouble staying on the field because of injuries. I recommended sitting Britt to a friend last week, and that ended up being the wrong call. I wouldn’t expect Britt to make it two weeks in a row.
Torrey Smith: Smith seems to either look like a stud or disappear completely in games. He’s been disappearing lately and like I said before with Flacco I don’t really like the matchup. Same rules apply with the new offensive coordinator though.
Vernon Davis: Even with a great matchup, Davis has managed just 3 receptions for 19 yards in Kaepernick’s three starts.
Antonio Gates: We may have witnessed the end of Gates as a top-10 TE this year. He is the healthiest he’s been in a long time and he just hasn’t gotten it done. In his last 4 games, his best output has been 4 points.
Ravens D/ST: Last week it was RGIII, this week it’s Peyton Manning. That’s not much easier to deal with.
Good luck everyone! If you have any lineup or keeper questions, feel free to comment below or hit me up on twitter (@ask2guys).
Last Week’s Results: Season Totals in Parentheses
Starts: 5-6, .454 (69-85, .448)
Matt Schaub: 7pts = L, Brandon Weeden: 9pts = L, DeMarco Murray: 13pts = W, Knowson Moreno: 21pts = W, Vick Ballard: 10pts = W, Josh Gordon: 8pts = L, Greg Jennings: 2pts = L, Eric Decker: 8pts = L, Martellus Bennett: 9pts = W, Jermichael Finley: 1pt = L, Browns D/ST: 16pts = W
Sits: 7-4, .636 (90-64, .584)
Carson Palmer: 18pts = L, Ben Roethlisberger: 28pts = L, Ryan Matthews: 6pts = W, Reggie Bush: 9pts = W, Darren McFadden: 12pts = L, Stevie Johnson: 7pts = W, Steve Smith: 10pts = L, Miles Austin: 4pts = W, Brent Celek: 0pts = W, Jermaine Gresham: 4pts = W, Ravens D/ST: 1pt = W
With a 12-10 mark this week, my season totals stand at 159-149 (.516).