Most fantasy football leagues are looking their championship week right in the face right now, and others are coming up quick.
These fantasy playoffs have been hard to a number of key players. First, Aaron Rodgers owners had to deal with the Green Bay Packers' stat-producing machine going down with a concussion. This week saw Terrell Owens and Arian Foster leave games early with injury, and Adrian Peterson's last-minute benching on a Monday night gave few owners a chance to make a substitution.
These injury difficulties are not lost on me. I was eliminated in the semifinals in one of my leagues this week by a stomach churning 0.5 points. The in-game losses of Owens and Foster cost me dearly.
However, I am still alive in my other league, which holds its semifinals this week. If you are reading this, I can only assume that you are as well.
Here are my thoughts on many players on the radar this week for those who might need unexpected help at key positions over Week 16 and/or Week 17 if they want to win a league championship.
Seems there are a sudden number of quarterback situations. We still don't know when or if Aaron Rodgers will be back, it really does look like Donovan McNabb is done, and some teams are starting to clinch divisions.
I still don't know how and why Jon Kitna is still available in half of Yahoo! leagues. He's been sensational filling in for the injured Tony Romo, going over 300 yards most games with multiple touchdowns.
Kitna's the safest QB upgrade/fill-in on your wire, if he's there. The Cowboys have been averaging around 30 points a game since the coaching change and take on a horrible Cardinals defense this week. No reason whatsoever Kitna should be on the wire in so many leagues.
Tim Tebow looks as if he will continue under center for the rest of 2010. He looked great in his first start, ran the offense well, and scored twice while protecting the ball.
A running threat as well as a passing threat, Tebow faces the Houston Texans this week, a team that gives up massive fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Too good of a match-up to pass on if you need help at QB.
I want to say I have a hard time trusting Rex Grossman, noting his yardage and touchdown totals came against a questionable Cowboys secondary on Sunday. However, I cannot ignore the fact that he takes on another one this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kerry Collins looks like a safe bet off the wire if nothing else is out there, with decent match-ups the next two weeks. Joe Webb is not. Matt Flynn looked decent on Sunday but would have to be a last-ditch pick.
Shockingly, there are leagues where Michael Vick is still available. If you are in a championship situation in one of these insane leagues, get him!
The loss of Terrell Owens to injury cost me a trip to the championship game in one of my leagues. The lack of production of guys like Randy Moss have made life hard for many others.
I have liked Anthony Armstrong all year and it looks like Grossman will actually be targeting him. Against a Jacksonville secondary that has holes Armstrong might be a good fill-in play.
Mario Manningham and Jacoby Ford should be picked up right away if available, as they look like they will be solid plays for the final games.
Austin Collie's third concussion of the year should put him out from here. Randy Moss hasn't caught a cold recently. Neither should continue to take up a roster spot during championship weeks.
Here is where handcuffs become important.
Derrick Ward should be picked up now. While Arian Fosters' injury might not be serious, as a just-in-case Ward is a grab right now. He had a 1,000 yard year in a timeshare in New York in 2008. Foster owners who are still alive need to jump.
Toby Gerhart is the same for Adrian Peterson owners who managed to survive his unexpected scratch Monday night.
Still sleeping on LaGarrette Blount? Shame on you.
Rashad Jennings has been seeing time in the air and on the ground while backing up Maurice Jones-Drew. A must-handcuff for MJD owners and worth considering as a pick-up for everyone else.
Brian Westbrook and Anthony Dixon have good matchups from here. Week 17 championship leagues need to note the Niners play Arizona that week, a team they torched on the ground already this year, in what might be a must-win game.
A very tough spot this year. I can see this position possibly costing a fantasy owner at this point of the year.
I wouldn't put my trust in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski from the Patriots. Both are sensational, but it's proven impossible to rely on either one week-to-week. You'd be gambling with either, hoping for one of those two-TD weeks while risking one of those non-factor weeks.
Jimmy Graham looks like a safe TE that is likely available. Following a two-score week, New Orleans faces Atlanta and Tampa in his final two games, and therefore should have the opportunity to do it again.
Owen Daniels and Kevin Boss are available heavily and are safe bets. Brent Celek still is not.
Good luck to everyone out there.