There is never a shortage of stars emerging each week in the NFL, but the owners who succeed in fantasy football know the difference between a one-week pony and a playoff horse that might take him or her to the fantasy Super Bowl.
While players like Ben Tate and Torrey Smith had great performances in Week 13, will those stats hold up during the fantasy playoffs? Let's discuss these two and more in another roundup of start 'em, sit 'em.
Start 'Em: Nick Foles, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
The recent fantasy asset for many owners has put up no less than 22 points in standard scoring leagues over his last four games. The backup to Michael Vick at the beginning of the season has solidified himself as the starter for the remainder of the season, making him a hot commodity in fantasy.
If you have Foles, you almost have to start him against the Detroit Lions. While the Lions were able to keep the Green Bay Packers in check last week, it was Matt Flynn behind center, not Aaron Rodgers.
Foles should continue to put up great numbers against the 26th-ranked pass defense in terms of yard per game, more than a favorable matchup for a guy who is capable of putting up seven touchdowns in one game and has yet to throw a pick on the year.
Prediction: 26 fantasy points
Sit 'Em: Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger has been a great pickup for owners who lost quarterbacks due to injury or were in need after their initial QB1 struggled. But this week poses a tough test for the Steelers signal-caller, as he faces a tough Miami passing defense.
The Dolphins are the ninth-best passing defense, allowing 222 passing yards per game, and have given up just 12 passing touchdowns to 16 interceptions, which ranks tied for third and second in the league, respectively.
If starting Big Ben is a must this week over guys that have been disappointing lately like Andrew Luck or Tony Romo, put him in the lineup. Otherwise, Roethlisberger might need to ride the pine for at least one week.
Prediction: 14 points
Start 'Em: Ben Tate, Running Back, Houston Texans
Good lord, what a week for Ben Tate. The backup-turned-starter ran for more than 100 yards and three touchdowns and was hopefully used as a good flex play in most leagues. Need a quick recap? The Texans' official Twitter account provided one:
This week, Tate and the Texans face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While the Jaguars have been better as of late, they still rank 29th in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (130.4) and rank 31st with 16 rushing touchdowns given up on the year.
Owners who made the mistake of benching him last week should not make that mistake again. Tate will likely be a good RB2 option this week for the playoffs, but get him in lineups early since this game takes place on Thursday night.
Prediction: 19 points
Sit 'Em: Zac Stacy, Running Back, St. Louis Rams
Stacy has been one of the highest-scoring running backs in the league for the last few weeks, putting up double-digit points in five straight games before last week's seven points against the San Francisco 49ers.
While the biggest surprise of the season suffered a concussion against the Chicago Bears, he appeared fine against the 49ers but wasn't able to get on track.
This week, Stacy faces an Arizona Cardinals defense that ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game and has given up just four—yes, four—rushing touchdowns on the season. The Cardinals are also better at home, giving up just 10 fantasy points to running backs on average.
Prediction: Eight points
Start 'Em: Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith has not exactly been a fantasy stud this season, but his game against the Pittsburgh Steelers might have provided a glimpse into what fantasy owners can expect for the playoffs.
The Ravens No. 1 wide receiver finished Thursday night with 93 receiving yards and a touchdown, a total of 15 fantasy points for loyal owners who gave him the start. While many of those came on a 55-yard pass and a one-yard touchdown on the same drive, Smith has become a reliable target for Joe Flacco.
WR Torrey Smith is on pace to set the Ravens single season receiving mark, but said he's still not satisfied.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 4, 2013
This week, the Ravens face a porous Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks 30th in passing yards per game (287) and is giving up the fifth-most points to fantasy wide receivers according to ESPN leagues.
Prediction: 17 points
Sit 'Em: Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Fans in the 415 are excited about the return of Michael Crabtree, and rightfully so. But after a decent performance of six points in his first week back, fantasy owners might want to wait one more week before starting Crabtree.
The Seattle Seahawks are the No. 1 passing defense in the league, giving up just 177 yards per game and 13 touchdowns on the season. Not exactly the team a guy coming off an injury just one week prior wants to face.
Unless you're in a 14-team league and don't have a true WR2 or flex player on your roster, don't gamble with Crabtree against the Seahawks.
Prediction: Five points