The second-guessing of lineup choices intensifies as fantasy football playoffs roll along.
Chances are, if you're reading this, you've done a fair job on your choices. I wouldn't read a fantasy article if I had already been eliminated. I don't even think I'd want to write one.
Past success does not guarantee confidence in future selections, though, and predicting the NFL can cause anyone a little stress and doubt.
At any rate, the following guys have caused their share of second-guessing this season, and I want to put that to an end for this week. The following four players and one defense can all be started without hesitation this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Week 15 Opponent: Washington Redskins
The Falcons' abysmal season has seen Matt Ryan's production drop, and he's been a shaky start at quarterback as this season has progressed. After starting the year with six games where he threw at least two touchdown passes, Ryan has thrown for more than one score just twice since.
He will find things a little easier this week going against the awful Redskins and their terrible defense.
Washington is 31st in points allowed, 27th in passing yards allowed and 31st in yards allowed per pass. In a nightmare season, Ryan will have a gem of a game.
Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Week 15 Opponent: at Indianapolis Colts
Ben Tate has been insanely frustrating lately. In Week 12, he had seven carries for one yard, and it looked like he was washed up. I felt it was safe to throw in the towel on his fantasy season.
The very next week, he rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns against the Patriots.
He was far better against the Jaguars this past Sunday, but that still meant he tallied just 53 yards and no touchdowns.
Next week, he should find it fairly easy to victimize the Colts. In Week 9, he had 81 rushing yards. He didn't pick up a score, but then again, the Colts were playing far better than they are now.
The Colts are 29th in rushing yards allowed per game and 24th in yards allowed per rush. This is as safe a week there is to start Tate.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
Week 15 Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles
Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson hasn't been good enough to call a fringe starter. That changed on Sunday. He flashed his tremendous big-play ability while pulling in five catches off of seven targets for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens.
He added a carry for six yards, and in his maturation into a role similar to the one held by Percy Harvin last year, in the last two games he's combined for three carries for 33 yards.
I expect the Vikings to try and help Patterson keep his hot hand rolling by dialing up some plays specifically designed to get him the ball. They will be doing so against an Eagles defense that has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than any other team.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Week 15 Opponent: Arizona Cardinals
This one will definitely have to be monitored. Delanie Walker suffered a concussion against the Colts in Week 13, and he did not play this last week.
There is no guarantee that he will be ready to go next week, but I'm betting he will. He will be worth a start.
In the two games prior to the game he left early with his injury, Walker saw his two most heavily targeted outings of the season.
In that two-week stretch, he pulled in 15 catches off 18 targets for 137 yards and a score.
Should he play against the Cardinals, he will face a defense that is top-five in yards allowed per pass and rush but can't seem to stop tight ends.
The Cardinals have allowed a league-worst 14.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends.
Week 15 Opponent: at Minnesota Vikings
If you're like me, you surf the waiver wire for defenses. I like to play the matchups and save the draft pick.
This week, the Eagles have a solid matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings have allowed opposing defenses and special teams to score 8.6 per game against them. This is the seventh-worst mark in the league.
On top of that, workhorse Adrian Peterson tweaked his ankle this past Sunday:
I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see the Eagles pick up a pick-six in this one. Being owned in just six percent of leagues, this is a great target for those looking to add a defense.