The great Gordon Gekko once said “Don’t get emotional over stock, it clouds the judgment” (Michael Douglas Wall Street-1987). The same holds true with Fantasy football.
Now that Week 13 is in the books, you are most likely left with some rough decisions to make no matter what position you are in. If you’re locked into the playoffs, your thoughts are, how will my starting lineup help me secure the championship? If you’re fighting to make the cut, you’re looking for the big guns to put you over the top. Needless to say, emotions are running high.
This is the time when you must leave your emotions by the door and tap into the Einstein in you that can think this through logically. Now is not the time to stick with a poor performer because you like him, he was great in the beginning, or he plays for your favorite team. Instead you want to glance ahead at the schedule and see which guys have the more favorable matchups and more importantly, can they be exploited. Here are a few names that may have you wondering after a few sub-par performances, should I sit him, play him, or drop him.
Peyton Manning-QB-Indianapolis Colts
If you’re a Manning owner, like me, you’ve probably found yourself questioning his performance as of late. Better still, you may be thinking, “Did I pick Eli Manning by mistake?” Week 13 saw Peyton record not one more interception but four! Really? Manning recorded 365 yards passing and two TDs, which is decent by fantasy standards but couple that with a few other of his less than stellar productions (Bengals, 185 yds, 0 TD) and the cause for concern is great.
The lack of a any real run game has hurt Peyton’s production along with the loss of Dallas Clarke for the season and Austin Collie for the past few weeks. You have an optimal situation for interception-hungry defenses. Week 14 is supposed to provide Manning with a favorable matchup against the Houston Texans who are ranked 23rd against the pass, so I’ll roll with him and see if he can bounce back.
The matchup I am really worried about is Week 16 when he will matchup against a Raiders defense that shut down Philip Rivers and is ranked ninth against the pass. If you have an option on your bench like Michael Vick or Drew Brees, you might want to think about playing them during that week. Vick draws the Minnesota Vikings and Brees, the Falcons. Both, much more favorable than Peyton’s matchup.
Chris Johnson-RB-Tennessee Titans
Much in the way Peyton Manning has a favorable matchup against the Titans pass defense, CJ has a gift in the Colts run defense. Conventional wisdom says he should go on a tear for no less than 110 yards and a TD. However, this year has not been so kind to Johnson.
In the last two weeks, Johnson has recorded 58 rush yards total. Yes, I said total! He also needs a navigational system in order to find the end zone because he hasn’t found that in the last three weeks. In Johnson’s defense, he has not seen as many carries as he normally would.
Week 12 saw a very “rusty” Rusty Smith assume the QB duties and single-handedly destroy any Titans player's fantasy stats. But still, this is serious and I can’t let a soft sport for Johnson cloud my judgment. If the stock doesn’t produce this week then I’ll have to seriously think of sitting him in Week 16 in favor of Chris Ivory-RB-Saints.
Ivory will draw the Falcons, who are eighth against the run. Not the most ideal matchup, but in Week 13 they allowed LeGarrette Blount to run for 103 yards and a score. I’m sure Ivory can repeat this given the chance and if he’s producing in the next two weeks then he will get the start.
Also check the waiver wire for possible replacements. If you’re hurting at the receiver spot, don’t be afraid to let go of an unproductive Larry Fitzgerald for a Sidney Rice. Yes Fitz is a better player but without a quarterback to get him the ball, he might as well be Hank Baskett! Rice had a great day with an ok quarterback in T-Jax, recording 105 yards on five receptions and two TD’s. I can’t remember the last time Fitz saw two TD’s in a game? He’s 70 percent owned in Yahoo leagues so if you can snag him, do it!
So what’s the biggest lesson here? Cut ties where you need to. Don’t play someone week in and week out just because you’ve built an attachment. It’s like having your best friend working for you. At one time they may have done the job but lately they don’t seem to pull their own weight. Your job is to put the best guy on to get the job done. To quote another famous movie, “It’s not show friends, it’s show business.”