Fantasy Football Week 15: Players Who Might Help You Win Your League's Playoffs

Patrick Scott PattersonContributor IIDecember 14, 2010

Don't stress out like Kubiak.  I'm here to help you with your playoff roster needs.
Don't stress out like Kubiak. I'm here to help you with your playoff roster needs.Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's the most fun and most stressful time of the fantasy football season.

Many leagues started their playoffs last week, and most others will start them in Week 15.

With weather and injuries coming into play more and more as your teams play in a win-or-go-home situation, roster decisions become more vital than ever.

This week I'm putting all the fantasy player info in one article. Simply put, there are not enough players out there at each position to split into the normal three slots, and the playoffs warrant more detailed discussion.

If you rode your team to the playoffs on the back of an Aaron Rodgers or Frank Gore and now find yourself needing help in key positions, or if you managed to make the cut despite the disappointing years of Randy Moss and Ryan Mathews, this column is for you.

Here are key considerations for quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end as your fantasy playoffs go into full gear.


Many fantasy owners saw the nightmare news of Aaron Rodgers' second concussion of the year this week. Many who started playoffs this week may even have been eliminated as a result of this injury or risk elimination next week. 

The odds of Rodgers missing significant time appear high.

What you need is someone off the wire who can come in and get you points fast.

Matt Flynn is not the answer. Yes, he is the backup, but with good reason. Flynn did nothing to make him look like a safe alternative for your playoffs. Nor did Tarvaris Jackson or Joe Webb.

Rather then go with a second-stringer who's proven nothing as of yet, go with the numbers.

People have been snoozing on Dallas Cowboy Jon Kitna ever since he came in to relieve the injured Tony Romo. I have no idea why. With talented receivers, Kitna has been producing similar numbers to Romo while filling in for him, and Dallas has been producing over 30 points a game since the coaching change.

Kitna is STILL available in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Wake up! 

If you are in one of the sane 36 percent of leagues, consider John Skelton of the Arizona Cardinals. He showed a strong arm and will continue to start with some quarterback-friendly matchups on the horizon.

Some managers dropped Matt Cassel last week after his appendix had to be removed. If you have a shot, grab him right away! Cassel has been incredible this season and will recover quickly enough.

Josh Freeman may still be available as well. While difficult to trust fully for fantasy play, he's a far better option than Flynn, Jackson or Webb.

Running Backs

The heart and soul of fantasy play this time of year is often found on the ground.

There are a lot of one-week wonders in fantasy play the past few weeks. This past week, hot wire pickups such as Tashard Choice and James Starks did little. 

Here you have to judge the matchups.

Many fantasy managers gave up too quickly on San Francisco's Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon, making the odds you can grab at least one of them off the wire look strong.

Westbrook has been gaining fewer yards on the ground than the young Dixon but is making up for it with receiving yards.

Either week your league holds the championships could work out with Westbrook and Dixon. The 49ers go to St. Louis in Week 16 and host Arizona, a team that couldn't stop the Niners' backs with a sawed-off shotgun weeks ago, in the final game of the season.

Ryan Torain is clearly back after gouging Tampa Bay for 172 yards. He is still available in over half of fantasy leagues following weeks of injury.

Also available in many leagues is Tim Hightower, who also ran wild on Sunday. With a QB under center with a strong arm and less work going toward Beanie Wells, he looks like a good option.

Don't put your hopes on Rashad Jennings. He is still Maurice Jones-Drew's backup and should only be considered a handcuff for MJD owners.

Wide Receivers

Okay. Randy Moss disappointed. Dez Bryant looked great but then was lost to injury. Vincent Jackson doesn't look like his long-awaited return will matter much. The Jets offense has gone to sleep.

Deion Branch is playing well (as are all of the Patriots) yet is only 70 percent owned as of this writing. If you can, pick him up without delay.

Houston's Jacoby Jones is worth consideration if you are in dire straits, as is Anthony Armstrong in Washington. Hard to trust either week to week, but they have talent and quarterbacks with good arms and could potentially have a good day for you at the right time.

Tight Ends

I've avoided including TEs in fantasy advice columns, as it's been hard to predict.

In a rough year at the position, we've seen injuries to highly drafted names such as Jermichael Finley and Dallas Clark and disappointments from others such as Brent Celek. It's hard to know which Patriots TE will be a factor from week to week, and now Todd Heap is hurt.

Now what?

Owen Daniels saw a lot of targets for Houston on Monday night, teasing the century mark against the tough Ravens in limited time. If he is really back in form and healthy, he is worth grabbing ASAP.

Martellus Bennett has been seeing more snaps and targets in Dallas and is worth a roll of the dice in PPR formats if you are out of options.

Best of luck to everyone. I know how it feels to win a championship as well as the sting of an early exit from the playoffs.

Let me know how your season went or is still going in the comments section below.