We are inching closer and closer to playoff season in fantasy football. It’s make or break time, and for some fantasy teams it is all about taking huge risks to put their team over the top.
There are a lot of conservative fantasy football players out there. Those are the owners that refuse to start a guy who is coming off of a big performance because they want to see more consistency. They are the owners that refuse to start a player because the matchup is bad.
But there are also owners, like me, who are into taking big risks. Taking that risk can be the difference between a 40-point win, or a five-point loss.
NFL Soup presents it’s Week 13 Fantasy Football High Risk/High Reward plays.
Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New Orleans
Benson owners have to be frustrated with his performance this season. Inconsistent players frustrate fantasy owners more than benching a player who finishes with 25 points.
But we know Benson has all of the ability, he’s just not taking the opportunity and running with it. Pun intended. The matchup is somewhat favorable. New Orleans isn’t great against the run, but their defensive line can take advantage of weak offensive lines like Cincinnati.
Benson has just four touchdowns and two 100+ yard performances on the season, but New Orleans has given up nine touchdowns on the ground and 4.2 yards per carry.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo
Buffalo’s run defense is one of the worst in the league, and Gerhart could be a fantastic Week 13 risk to take on one condition: That Adrian Peterson sits or misses any time.
The verdict is still out on Peterson’s ankle injury, so be cautious. However, Gerhart had 22 rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown filling in for AP in Sunday’s win over the Redskins. If Gerhart does get the start, then plug him in, but he is a guy to look at as his role could increase just in case the Vikings decide to give AP less touches to avoid another injury.
Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants vs. Washington
Brandon Jacobs is the “starter” in New York right now. But the term “starter” can be a bit loose at times. Ahmad Bradshaw will still see quite a few touches, but Jacobs has been getting his fair share, and is running well when getting more than 10 carries, not to mention he is always a factor for goal line carries.
The matchup bodes well as Washington’s run defense is about as good as vegetables to a child. You can take a risk and start him as your Flex, but Ahmad Bradshaw is still the feature back as far as I’m concerned.
Chad Henne, QB, Miami Dolphins vs. Cleveland
What a Week 12 performance for Chad Henne, who wasn’t even slated to start. Henne has been off and on all season, and will most likely be without Brandon Marshall. However, not having Brandon Marshall didn’t slow him down on Sunday after he threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
The Browns defense has been up and down all season, and is known for their inability to tackle and give up big plays in the passing game. While they’ve improved somewhat, they are still vulnerable against the run which could set up Chad Henne for another solid game.
Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville
There’s a chance that Kerry Collins could start against Jacksonville. Although he may not be 100 percent, the Titans need a breath of fresh air from Rusty Smith who has been worse than rusty.
Jacksonville’s pass defense struggles heavily as their safety play is questionable at best. Collins won’t light up the scoreboard at all, but he can produce, and has Randy Moss and may get Kenny Britt back. You’ll have to be the judge if you’re desperate enough for a QB2.
Brian Westbrook, RB, San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay
Westbrook looks to take the starting spot in San Francisco with Frank Gore going down with a season ending broken hip. He’s not the same Westbrook from Philadelphia, but Monday Night’s performance was encouraging to say the least.
Green Bay’s rush defense is nothing special, but they rarely give up touchdowns on the ground. They do give up 4.5 yards per carry and Westbrook can make plays out of the backfield. It’s not the most favorable matchup in terms of touchdowns, but Westbrook could make the impact you need to put you over the top for that last playoff spot.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos @ Kansas City
I’m higher on Moreno than most, and it’s because I think he’s more underrated than anything. Moreno isn’t going to rush for 100 yards in most weeks, but he finds the end zone and makes plays in the passing game.
Kansas City’s rush defense is pretty solid overall, only giving up six rushing touchdowns and 4.0 yards per carry for the season. Moreno should still be started as he is a play maker, but doesn’t see the flashy numbers. He’s a Flex option at the least.
Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego vs. Oakland
There are a few people who are down on Malcom Floyd right now. Floyd was injured for a few weeks after a great start to 2010, and then laid an egg on Sunday night against the Colts in Week 12.
But the entire Chargers passing game took a hit on Sunday, and with Vincent Jackson to miss Week 13 and Antonio Gates still not 100 percent, Floyd is the favorite to see the bulk of the targets. Floyd is still a play maker, and the Raiders have given up 21 touchdowns on the season and over seven yards a pass attempt.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers @ Seattle
Stewart has been another frustrating running back all season long. He’s battled a concussion and has played on one of the worst offenses in all of football. Many owners are disappointed that they wasted a fourth or fifth round pick on the guy who saved their season at the end of 2009.
Stewart won’t see all of the carries with Mike Goodson running well and making plays, but his Week 12 performance against the Browns was very encouraging. Stewart should still see between 12-17 touches and could get in the end zone against a Seattle run defense that’s struggled since the loss of Red Bryant.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys @ Indianapolis
Felix Jones has finally become relevant in fantasy football, and owners who stuck with him are finally being rewarded in the Flex spot. Jones hasn’t rushed for a lot of yardage, but he’s making the most of his touches, and making plays in the passing game.
Indianapolis obviously struggles heavily against the run, look for Jones to get around 16-18 carries, as well as a few passes from Jon Kitna. With Marion Barber sitting, it opens up the door for a few more touches against a struggling defense in Indianapolis.