By Derek of The Sportmeisters
Welcome to the best time of the year, Sports Fans. Here is where I will tell you who I think you should start or sit for your fantasy team.
This year, I will give you the obvious must starts (guys you start every week no matter who they play), a few players from each position who you should start, a sleeper start 'em, and a must sit 'em.
Also, I will be giving projections for those players. It’s playoff time! Enough talk, let’s get down to business!
QB Obvious Must Starts
Drew Brees – NO vs. DAL – Projection: 300 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Tom Brady – NE vs. BUF – Projection: 255 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Philip Rivers – SD vs. CIN – Projection: 270 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Aaron Rodgers – GB vs. PIT – Projection: 250 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Kurt Warner – ARI vs. DET – Projection: 310 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
QB Start 'Em
Matt Schaub – HOU vs. STL – Schaub threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns last week and is facing the lowly St. Louis Rams and their 19th-ranked pass defense. Start 'Em. Projection: 300 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brady Quinn – CLE vs. KC – Quinn has had a few really good games and a few really bad ones. This week, he may be in for one of those good games against the Kansas City Chiefs and their 24th-ranked pass defense.
It’s a risk in the playoffs, but if you need a QB, why not take a chance on the matchup? Sleeper Start 'Em. Projection: 255 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
QB Sit 'Em
Eli Manning – NYG vs. WAS – Eli has actually been pretty good lately, throwing five touchdowns to just one interception in his last two games. However, he hasn’t fared so well against Washington.
In his week one matchup against them, he threw for 256 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and fumbled twice. Plus, in his last five games against them, he has just four touchdowns to five interceptions.
Not to mention that they are ranked fourth in the NFL vs. the pass. Not someone you really want to trust in the playoffs. Sit 'Em. Projection: 235 yards, 1 ID, 1 INT
Jay Cutler – CHI vs. BAL – Cutler started the year great, but has gotten to the point where you just can’t trust him not to throw an interception (he leads the NFL with 22). This late in the year, you can’t have a Fantasy QB like that, especially against the Baltimore Ravens and their 12th-ranked pass defense. Must Sit 'Em. Projection: 215 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
RB Obvious Must Starts
Adrian Peterson – MIN vs. CAR – Projection: 125 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 35 yards
Steven Jackson – STL vs. HOU – Projection: 115 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 30 yards
Chris Johnson – TEN vs. MIA – Projection: 110 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 3 receptions, 30 yards
Ray Rice – BAL vs. CHI – Projection: 100 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 5 receptions, 50 yards
RB Start 'Em
Thomas Jones – NYJ vs. ATL – With Kellen Clemens at QB, The Jets looked to Jones to carry the load last week against Tampa Bay, and that he did. He ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
This week, he should put up similar numbers against the Atlanta Falcons, who are ranked 23rd against the run. This is playoff time, don’t get cute and stick with your studs. Start 'Em. Projection: 100 yards Rushing, 1 TD
Jamaal Charles – KC vs. CLE – Charles has scored a touchdown in four straight games and put up monster numbers last week against Buffalo (143 yards rushing, 1 TD, 7 receptions, 38 yards).
This week, he faces Cleveland Browns and their 29th-ranked run defense. Start Em’. Projection: 100 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 30 yards
Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk – NE vs. BUF – Was anyone watching last week when Jamaal Charles torched the NFL’s worst run defense for 143 yards? With Brady a little banged up, they may rely on the running game a bit more this week, and Maroney and Faulk should be the main benefactors.
Especially with Faulk being such an asset in the short passing game. Start 'Em Both. Projections: Maroney: 85 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 15 yards – Faulk: 50 yards Rushing, 5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD
Beanie Wells – ARI vs. DET – Wells has been steadily receiving more playing time and this week it should pay off against the Detroit Lions and their 24th-ranked run defense. Sleeper Start 'Em. Projection: 75 yards Rushing, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 15 yards
RB Sit 'Em
Matt Forte – CHI vs. BAL – This has been the biggest disappointment in Fantasy Football this year. Forte has reached 100 yards just twice (one 121 yard rushing game and one 120 yard receiving game) and has just four touchdowns.
You can’t trust him in the playoffs, especially against the Baltimore Ravens and their sixth-ranked run defense. Sit 'Em. Projection: 40 yards Rushing, 4 receptions, 25 yards
Rashard Mendenhall – PIT vs. GB – The Steelers have been a mess lately and this week’s matchup vs. the Green Bay Packers and their second-ranked run defense, doesn’t look like much help for Mendenhall. Sit 'Em. Projection: 50 yards Rushing
Ryan Grant – GB vs. PIT – As bad as Pittsburgh has been recently, the one thing that has been consistent is their ability to stop the run. They have allowed just four rushing touchdowns all year and I don’t expect Grant to have much success against a fired-up Steelers defense that badly needs a win. Must Sit 'Em. Projection: 40 yards Rushing, 2 receptions, 15 yards
WR Obvious Must Starts
Randy Moss – NE vs. BUF – Projection: 6 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD
Wes Welker – NE vs. BUF – Projection: 12 receptions, 100 yards
Larry Fitzgerald – ARI vs. DET – Projection: 6 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD
Anquan Boldin – ARI vs. DET – Projection: 8 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD
Andre Johnson – HOU vs. STL – Projection: 9 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD
Marques Colston – NO vs. DAL – Projection: 5 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD
WR Start 'Em
Miles Austin – DAL vs. NO – What a surprise this guy has been this year. Austin has 58 receptions for 999 yards and 10 touchdowns, putting him near the top of the fantasy Wide Receivers.
He has a touchdown in three straight games and will be Tony Romo’s main target yet again against the New Orleans Saints and their 23rd-ranked pass defense. He has been money for you this far, don’t get cute in the playoffs. Start 'Em. Projection: 6 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD
T.J. Houshmandzadeh – SEA vs. TB – As much of a disappointment as Housh has been this year you still have to love the matchup against Tampa Bay and their seventh-ranked pass defense.
Despite a top half ranking, they have allowed 24 passing touchdowns this year. This may be the week that Housh finally returns to the end zone. Start 'Em. Projection: 7 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD
Robert Meachem – NO vs. DAL – Here is another guy who has surprised a lot of people this year. Besides making a great play two weeks ago against Washington, stripping the ball after an interception and running it back for a touchdown, he also has 601 yards and eight touchdowns on the year.
He appears to be Drew Brees’ new number two target and should see his share this week against Dallas and their 21st-ranked pass defense. Sleeper Start 'Em. Projection: 4 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD
WR Sit 'Em
Bernard Berrian – MIN vs. CAR – Carolina has one thing going for them this year, their pass defense. They are ranked sixth in the NFL and practically shut down Tom Brady last week. Not to mention that they completely fazed Randy Moss out of the game plan.
Doesn’t look good for Berrian this week, especially since the Vikings will probably feed AP the rock all game long. Sit 'Em. Projection: 4 receptions, 40 yards
Santonio Holmes – PIT vs. GB – Green Bay is ranked third vs. the pass and Holmes may draw one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Charles Woodson. Sit 'Em. Projection: 5 receptions, 45 yards
Roddy White – ATL vs. NYJ – As hard as it is to bench a stud receiver like White, especially in the playoffs, you have to this week.
With Chris Redman likely starting again this week and facing Darrelle Revis and the No. 1 pass defense of the New York Jets, you need to leave him on the bench. Must Sit 'Em. Projection: 4 receptions, 35 yards
TE Obvious Must Starts
Antonio Gates – SD vs. CIN – Projection: 6 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD
Tony Gonzalez – ATL vs. NYJ – Projection: 7 receptions, 75 yards, 1 TD
Jason Witten – DAL vs. NO – Projection: 7 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD
Vernon Davis – SF vs. PHI – Projection: 5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
TE Start 'Em
Kellen Winslow – TB vs. SEA – Winslow has been quiet these past two weeks, catching just eight balls for 95 yards.
However, rookie QB Josh Freeman should look his way often against Seattle and their 29th-ranked pass defense. Start 'Em. Projection: 6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
Dustin Keller – NYJ vs. ATL – With Kellen Clemens starting at QB, Keller saw limited action, catching just one pass for three yards against Tampa Bay.
However, even if Clemens starts again, he should see more action this week against Atlanta’s 30th-ranked pass defense. Sleeper Start 'Em. Projection: 5 receptions, 40 yards, 1 TD
TE Sit 'Em
Greg Olsen – CHI vs. BAL – So much for this being his breakout year. He hasn’t caught a touchdown since week nine and has just four catches for 15 yards in the past two games. I don’t trust anyone in the Chicago offense right now, especially in the playoffs. Sit 'Em. Projection: 2 receptions, 20 yards
Zach Miller – OAK vs. DEN – Denver has the second ranked pass defense in the NFL and he suffered a concussion last week. Plus, now he doesn’t even have Bruce Gradkowski to throw him the ball.
This week, it will be Charlie Frye, who hasn’t started an NFL game since Oct. 12, 2008. But, it’s got to be better than JaMarcus Russell….right? Must Sit 'Em. Projection: 2 receptions, 20 yards
D/ST Start 'Em
Denver Broncos vs. OAK – What’s better….facing Charlie Frye, or the possibility that JaMarcus Russell may come into the game if they beat up on Frye? This is too good a matchup to pass up. Start 'Em.
Arizona Cardinals vs. DET – Daunte Culpepper is a shell of his glory days in Minnesota and the Cardinals should tee off on him this week. Start 'Em.
D/ST Sit 'Em
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. GB – As much as I think this will be a Defensive game, there is always the possibility that Green Bay’s dynamic offense will wreak havoc on the Steelers.
You really can’t take that chance in the playoffs; if you have a better matchup, use them instead. Sit 'Em.
Dallas Cowboys vs. NO – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: you just don’t start a Fantasy Defense against Drew Brees and that New Orleans Offense. Sit 'Em.
There you have it, Sports Fans. Any questions or concerns, please email me at Derek@Sportmeisters.com .