If you are reading this column it can only mean one thing for your championship hopes…they are alive and well.
For most leagues, this week marks the semi-finals and that means owners are just one win away from finishing in the money. As always, injuries are going to be a huge factor this week and with a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the Monday night game, owners need all the help they can find.
Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
In what was a truly triumphant return last week from a hamstring injury, Nicks burst back onto the scene and was targeted a team-high nine times by Eli Manning. With Steve Smith out for the year and Mario Manningham dealing with nagging ailments, Nicks will be looked to early and often which should produce prolific results.
Despite the fact that the Giants are leaning more and more on the ground game as the weather gets a little more slick, Nicks will still be counted on to keep the chains moving. View Nicks as a “Roddy White lite” type of wideout for the remainder of the fantasy football playoffs.
Owen Daniels, TE HOU
After finding himself shelved for most of the year while recovering from knee troubles, Daniels has slid right back into his familiar role as a favorite option for QB Matt Schaub. Daniels grabbed five balls for 91 yards last week and figures to be a large part of the offense from here on out. Daniels is a constant red zone threat, and owners can safely pencil in Daniels to their fantasy football lineups.
Darren McFadden, RB OAK
In what has turned out to be a roller coaster year for McFadden and his owners, the young power back from Oakland appears to be peaking at the perfect time. With a tasty matchup against the lowly Broncos looming this week, McFadden could very well carry your team into the championship. Coming off of a performance of 200+ total yards and three touchdowns, owners would be hard pressed to sit the Arkansas product.
Deion Branch, WR NE
Since the Patriots dumped Randy Moss a few months back and opted to bring back what many considered to be damaged goods in Deion Branch, the offense has clicked in a big way. When the Patriots acquired Branch a while back, they envisioned him as the type of receiver that could spread the middle of the field for other options and keep the opposing defense honest.
Branch has really surprised owners by rekindling his great chemistry with Tom Brady and finding pay dirt with great regularity. With three scores in the last four weeks, Branch has provided a phenomenal ROI for his owners.
Anquan Boldin, WR BAL
It’s been a headache of a season for Anquan Boldin’s owners. Despite being classified as Joe Flacco’s primary option, Boldin has really struggled to string together consecutive solid outings. He hasn’t caught more than five balls in any contest since the Ravens bye week, and has only found the painted area twice in that same span. Deploy him at your own risk.
Brandon Marshall, WR MIA
With all of the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position in Miami, Marshall’s numbers have certainly suffered. His touchdown last week was just his second of the year and with only two grabs to go along with it, the value just hasn’t been there.
The sledding doesn’t appear to get any easier with a matchup against a surprisingly solid Buffalo Bills secondary this week, and owners shouldn’t expect any miracles.
Mike Goodson, RB CAR
After emerging onto the scene out of nowhere, Goodson was considered to be a very real threat in the fantasy football playoffs. Unfortunately, the return to health of Jonathan Stewart seems to have sapped his overall value for the remainder of the season.
While he has found the end zone twice in as many weeks, Goodson has seen his carries dwindle quite a bit which means the opportunity to break through just isn’t there.
Jay Cutler, QB CHI
In what many have considered to be bounce back year for Jay Cutler in 2010, owners have got to be pleased with his renewed effort. Unfortunately, he seems to be falling apart at the absolute worst time for the Chicago Bears and his owners alike.
He is still turning the ball over far too often and his yardage numbers have been in steady decline for weeks now. With a brutal outdoor matchup in the frigid conditions against the Vikings this week, Cutler should not be counted on for anything extraordinary.