For many managers, this week begins the fantasy football playoffs, while a good amount of you are in your final regular season week. But either way, every step going forward will be crucial.
This week provides us with a couple of interesting matchups as well as some interesting news and stats that could have an effect on your team.
1. The Saints are going for perfection, making all available Saints players good to go in fantasy for the remainder of the year. Just keep an eye on the situation in case Sean Peyton flip-flops, or the Saints drop a game.
2. The Cowboys haven’t had a winning December since 1996, while the Chargers have won 15 consecutive December games dating back to 2006. Miles Austin could be the only worthwhile Fantasy option in this matchup.
3. There is nothing bigger than Philly and New York near playoff time in a divisional showdown, and we highlight this matchup in this week’s column as our Fantasy Playoff Matchup of the Week…again!
4. San Francisco’s season is on the line on MNF. If the 49ers can pull the season sweep of the Cards, they keep their playoff hopes alive, and they will own the wild card over the Cardinals should it come down to it. I see a more defensive game than offensive.
Remember, every game this week has its own little storyline attached to it, so upon reading the rankings below, make sure you post any additional questions you might have in the comment section and myself, along with the Top Fantasy staff, will do everything we can to get you squared away.
Let’s take a look.
1. Derrick Mason
The Lions have one of the weakest pass coverages of any team in the NFL, and the Ravens are in must-win mode.
After Monday’s drubbing by the Packers, the Ravens will have plenty of chances to rebound against the roar less Lions.
Welker continues to be in the top five each and every week, and although Jacksonville is a tough matchup, The Slot Machine should still give PPR leaguers a ton to cheer about.
Seattle can’t cover big guys down field, making Johnson an all-day start.
The Jaguars showed everyone last week that it doesn’t really matter who you cover Johnson with, he still is going to get open in time. Seattle doesn’t have a player as good as Cox in the secondary.
T.O. has a very favorable matchup against a weak Chiefs secondary, and although the big man hasn’t done much this year, the one thing he has done is provide big-time in recent weeks against lesser teams. He’s a must start.
Colston is still highly looked at as a viable WR in most formats especially against the Falcons.
In their first meeting, Colston had a respectable 85 yards and a score, but with the emergence of Meachem, the defensive focus on the Saints will be too thin, leaving one-on-one matchups for Brees to pick at all day long.
Top Ten Starts:
No. 1 Mike Sims-Walker
Garrard has been all over the place in recent weeks, but that should change drastically against a porous Dolphins defense. Start Sims-Walker with confidence.
No. 2 Robert Meachem
Six TDs in his last 5 games makes Meachem the most improved Fantasy WR to date, and it also makes him Bress’ current favorite target.
No. 3 Miles Austin
If there is anything constant on the Cowboy’s offense it’s Austin. San Diego is a tough team, but Dallas will stop at nothing to get its star player involved.
No. 4 Vince Jackson
On the other side is V-Jax, who is starting to raise a few eyebrows with his lacking play as of late. This is due largely to Antonio Gates’ success, and you can be sure the Cowboys will provide some opportunities for Jackson to rebound.
No. 5 Mike Wallace
Hines Ward is a risky play—if he plays at all—which mean Wallace could be a passing focal point against a horrid Browns defense.
No. 6 Larry Fitzgerald
The Cardinals are starting to heat up at just the right time, and the 49ers will have their hands full with both Cardinals receivers.
No. 7 Anquan Boldin
Where ever Fitz is in a ranking, Boldin is not too far behind. Start both with confidence.
No. 8 Brandon Johnson
Denver should give the Colts their fifth-rated pass defense some trouble, making chances for Johnson to score and contribute early pretty good. He should excel for PPR leaguers.
No. 9 Roddy White
Matt Ryan should return this week, considering the Falcons are hanging on by a thread, making White—the biggest scoring threat for the Falcons—a low-end WR start.
No. 10 Kelly Washington
Washington is a player who usually sees extended playing time against lesser teams, making his chances for a big game this week pretty high considering the Lions are on the other side of the field.
Must Sit of the Week
Bryant returns to "Must Sit" after a couple of nice weeks (207 yards in two games). The consensus is Bryant is once again a high-caliber fantasy option, and that his season-long knee injuries are completely over is a bit inflated if you ask me.
I don’t trust this guy at all, and two good games is not enough to shed him of his season-long tag of bust . This week, he faces The Shadow (Darrelle Revis), and if he is anywhere other than on your bench you will be sorry.
Going forward, you would be wise to keep him sitting in favor of better players—should you have them—considering playoff season is no time to be riding the bandwagon-style of forecasting I sometimes see, which is something that appears to be surrounding Bryant.
Two Through Ten:
No. 2 Hines Ward
Ward will be a game time decision, but even if he plays, he may seem limited action if the Steelers jump out early. I think he is too risky to start.
No. 3 Steve Smith (Car)
Nope, don’t do it, I’m warning you!
No. 4 Donnie Avery
Avery has had very low fantasy output this season, and he now has a bum shoulder that could keep him sidelined. If you haven’t already dropped him, do so now.
No. 5 Santana Moss
Against Oakland? Seriously?
No. 6 Calvin Johnson
The Green Bay Packers’ receivers were able to exploit the Ravens secondary, but that is because Aaron Rodgers was at the helm. The Lions should have their hands full with a hungry do-or-die Ravens team.
No. 7 Michael Crabtree
Crabtree will produce to a degree, but dealing with Rodgers-Cromartie will keep his overall output low.
No. 8 Limas Sweed
Sweed will see increased action if Ward doesn’t play, but he has been in the dog house all season due to poor play. It is this type of situation that makes him too risky to gamble on, even if he is playing the Browns.
No. 9 Chris Chambers
Going forward—next season that is—Chambers could have a lot of worth, but he has done as much as he is going to do this year, and the Bills’ secondary is too good to think Chambers will succeed.
No. 10 Mohamed Massaquoi
If Brady Quinn ever develops some on field consistency; Massaquoi will be a huge option. So wait until next year to take him for a spin
Fantasy Matchup of the Week: Eagles vs. Giants Part Two.
Well, he we go, the second installment of the Eagles against Giants saga. This matchup—at this time of year, with so much on the line—is going to be a cornucopia of fantasy fodder for all to consume.
This week, we want to break down the game as a whole, once again, and afford you all a good look at a marquee matchup.
Wide Receiver Breakdown
In their last meeting, the Eagles used a slew of big plays early to put the Giants so far back on their heels that it was over before it began. This week the Giants will inevitably have to put more focus on two-deep coverage, instead of the man-on-man they employed the first time around, if they are to contain the Eagles wideouts.
The Eagles are not very good at long, sustained drives, and the Giants are not very good at overall coverage. So, if the Eagles can jump out early again, this could be another long day for the G-men.
The Eagles will have more than just DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to throw the ball around to, as Avant and Celek have been playing well in recent weeks. So, each receiver could have a ton of targets, but little to show in the TD department thanks to the increased play at RB.
For the Giants, Steve Smith will be the focal point considering his ability to create separation from the line of scrimmage, and with the possible return of Joselio Hanson, and Asante Samuel’s penchant for trying to jump hot routes, Smith could be primed for a big day in regard to touches and yards.
But again, the TDs could come from an equally resurgent ground game. The Giants make each of these receivers a good start for PPR leagues, but a risky start for Standard scoring leagues.
Running back Breakdown:
The Giants have seen better play out of Brandon Jacobs, and Ahmad Bradshaw is a lot healthier this time around than in the first meeting, which will bode well for the Giants since they will look to keep the Eagles off the field as much as possible.
Bradshaw should be used as a set-up man, while Jacobs will be employed, primarily, as the goaline threat and clock killer. Both players are an ideal start in both leagues, and should see plenty of action.
The Eagles have also seen a vast improvement in their ground game in recent weeks, and should see that continue against a weakened Giants defense at middle linebacker. Leonard Weaver is an especially intriguing start considering Andy Reid’s affection for the fullback. McCoy will have plenty of opportunities to contribute, as well, making both running backs great starts in all formats.
Intangibles and Sleepers:
As stated above, Leonard Weaver has been used quite frequently in Reid’s offense out of the backfield, and in goal-line situations. This is very odd considering Reid, historically, shies away from fullbacks, but there is something about weaver that gives the Eagles an X-factor type player whenever he is on the field. Weaver is still sitting on the low end of ownership in most leagues, and is a sound waiver pickup if you are in the market.
Domenik Hixon, on the other hand, could turn out to be the Giants X-Factor, considering they are one of the league’s best in special teams play. In addition, Sav Rocca is not exactly the best kicker in inclement weather, especially not in the cold, which makes this situation perfect for the explosive return man.
In ESPN leagues particularly, kick return guys have huge value, as I learned the hard way last week, so Hixon could be a great pickup for a single week play if you have an open spot on you roster.
DeSean Jackson, five catches for 68 yards
Jeremy Maclin, six catches for 72 yards
Jason Avant, four catches for 59 yards
Brent Celek, four catches for 60 yards and one TD
LeSean McCoy, 20 rushes for 85 yards – four catches for 32 yards, and a TD
Leonard Weaver, 10 rushes for 65 yards – 3 catches for 50, and a TD
Steve Smith, seven catches for 80 yards
Hakeem Nicks, three for 38 yards
Mario Manningham, two catches for 40 yards
Kevin Boss, four catches for 82 yards, and a TD
Brandon Jacobs, 25 rushes for 101 yards, and TD
Ahmad Bradshaw, 11 rushes for 50 yards and 4 catches for 45 yards, and a TD
Final score, Giants 24 Eagles 21 in OT
Good Luck this week all!
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