For a lot of owners the final week of the regular season is essentially the playoffs; win and in; lose and all hope of winning a championship is over. The worst part about this week is, if you lose, you will remember the wrong decisions that you made and will have all off-season to think about it. I’m sure Eddie Lacy owners in a win and in situation are already doing this.
Now I understand that not all owners are in the playoffs, or in the playoff hunt for that matter. If you aren’t – first of all you probably aren’t reading this so what I am about to type might be irrelevant; don’t be that guy who doesn’t set a lineup this week because you got eliminated from playoff contention with a loss last week. Just because a win doesn’t matter to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to someone else. Personally I have two leagues where every single matchup has either a team fighting for a playoff spot or fighting for a bye.
Another thing that comes up at this point in the season is people who try to manipulate the playoffs by tanking. For example “My team is good and I am already in the playoffs, but if I intentionally lose my matchup and my opponent wins, one of the best rosters in the league will get left out of the playoffs.” There is also a variant of that where people could try to lose to setup a matchup with one specific team. Play your game and always try to win, don’t tank on purpose. If you were in the other person’s shoes, how would you like it if someone lost on purpose just so you didn’t make the playoffs. If you are considering it, just remember, fantasy karma is real.
Good luck in your matchups this week. Clinch that playoff spot or play spoiler as the regular season comes to a close.
As always if you have any direct start player A or player B questions you can ask me on Twitter @TheSportsGuy40 or in the comment section below and I will try to help you figure out the best option.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Colts (56% started): He’s averaging 334 yards per game so far this season, although it has come with only about 1.5 touchdowns per game. Roethlisberger is in for some touchdown regression; the yards are there and the touchdowns will be coming. He should be good to go for Sunday night, but you might want to make sure on Sunday morning that he hasn’t had any setbacks with his concussion, or non-concussion.
Andy Dalton at Browns (68% started): The Cleveland defense is not good. Matt Schaub just looked like a pretty good quarterback against them. There are a lot of good weapons in the Bengals offense; they can easily put up another 35 plus point game this week against a bad opponent.
Blake Bortles at Titans (35% started): Bortles is still a top-10 quarterback this season. He struggled the last time they played the Titans, but I would put that performance more on the short week. The Jaguars also might think it is a rule that running backs are not allowed to score rushing touchdowns. If the Jaguars score it comes from Bortles, and they should be able to do that a few times against a subpar Titans defense.
Philip Rivers vs. Broncos (39% started): Rivers had a great bounce back game last week against the Jaguars, but this week he gets the polar opposite in terms of the opposing defense. Without Demarcus Ware the Broncos defense has not been the dominating force it was early in the season, but it has still been one of the better defenses in the league. I would be looking for other options this week.
Matt Ryan at Buccaneers (34% started): Low floor and surprisingly low upside. I wouldn’t be surprised if in January we find out Ryan was nursing some sort of undisclosed injury.
Drew Brees vs. Panthers (45% started): He gets to play at home, but it’s against the Panthers. I think Brees gets a new touchdown streak started; his streak of 45 straight games with a passing touchdown came to an end last week. I don’t think Brees puts up a good overall game this week against this defense; the Panthers are rolling along. Brandin Cooks is by far the best weapon in the passing game, and the Panthers have had a long week to be able to prepare to stop him.
Check out some quarterback streaming options here. I still like those four, and you could also toss Ryan Fitzpatrick into that mix. I would slightly change the order. Now I would rank them Cutler, Mariota, Taylor, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Eagles (76% started): This should be a big Blount game. Not necessarily because of Rob Gronkowski’s injury, but because I expect Blount to get 10 plus carries in the fourth quarter as they salt away a blowout win. Blount is also probably their best option near the goal line now.
David Johnson at Rams (54% started): The backfield is all his. Johnson is both a goal line and pass catching back (a rarity in the NFL), and should handle 20 plus touches against a struggling Rams team.
C.J. Anderson at Chargers (60% started): He got more work than Hillman last week and this is a great matchup with the Chargers. The Broncos are a run first team and he should be able to get around 15 touches per week. In the weeks Anderson has received at least 10 touches since coming out of their buy week, he has scored 17 points per game. Also Anderson has 33 touches in Brock Osweiler’s two starts, the past two games.
Lamar Miller vs. Ravens (73% started): The coordinator change doesn’t really matter to me. Miller has only had two good running games this season, and the Ravens are one of the better run defenses in football having only allowed two teams to get over 100 yards on the ground this season (Le’Veon Bell and Chris Johnson).
DeMarco Murray at Patriots (71% started): The workload week in and week out is nice, but the matchup isn’t great. The Eagles have been beyond terrible lately and New England is not the team you want to face if your team is struggling. The Eagles are, more than likely, going to have to throw a lot in the second half with Darren Sproles in the backfield rather than Murray.
Todd Gurley vs. Cardinals (91% started): I put him as a sit early in the season, against the Cardinals now that I recall, and it went horribly. I would have a hard time seeing the Cardinals not putting eight men in the box permanently. There is no threat in the passing game and I think the Cardinals can stop Gurley by focusing all their attention on him. With all that said I still think Gurley is a top 15 running back this week, but with newly found players like Thomas Rawls and David Johnson, along with the fact that Gurley was a middle round pick, there is a good chance you may have some other running back options with better matchups.
Frank Gore at Steelers (40% owned): Banged up and facing a team that has been good against running backs this season. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game all season and has only scored once in his last six games.
Darren Sproles at Patriots (13% started): I expect to see a lot of Sproles with the Eagles playing from behind, very far behind, for a large part of this game.
Martavis Bryant vs. Colts (71% started): Bryant is very boom or bust on a weekly basis. I think he booms in a big way this week against a Colts secondary that has allowed touchdowns to receivers in all but two games this season.
Emmanuel Sanders at Chargers (61% started): He looked to be over the ankle injury last week. I do think this is a run first team now, but that doesn’t mean Sanders can’t still perform as a solid top 20 receiver.
Danny Amendola vs. Eagles (42% started): It looks like he is going to play this Sunday, but if you don’t have another option in the late or primetime games it might be tough to rely on him. The matchup is good, and with all the injuries in the Patriots offense, Amendola should be the most targeted in the passing game.
Dez Bryant at Redskins (66% started): It is hard to bench him because of what we all know he can do, but can he do it with Matt Cassel?
Jeremy Maclin at Raiders (60% started): If you look at Maclin’s game log you might be able to notice a pattern. Maclin doesn’t get big numbers in games the Chiefs don’t have to come from behind to win.
Sammy Watkins vs. Texans (58% started): Great talent, but he is extremely boom or bust with very little in between. The matchup doesn’t bode well for him either.
Kamar Aiken at Dolphins (31% started): In games Steve Smith didn’t start, Aiken has 47 targets in 5 games (9.4 per game). To put that into perspective, that would put him right behind T.Y. Hilton in terms of targets per game and ahead of players like A.J. Green and Rob Gronkowski. Aiken doesn’t do nearly as much as those two with his targets but the volume makes him a top 30 receiver.
DeVante Parker vs. Ravens (4% started): If you need to swing for the fences Parker could be someone who could surprisingly put up a big game. Parker is one of the guys who, after a good performance this week, could end up being the top waiver priority in a lot of leagues by Wednesday.
Jordan Reed vs. Cowboys (59% started): Repeatedly putting his name in here is starting to get crazy. In terms of points per game Reed has been sixth ranked tight end, once taking out Austin Seferian-Jenkins for the lack of a sample size.
Julius Thomas at Titans (59% started): No Allen Hurns this week, so fire up Thomas as a top 10 tight end. Thomas has been getting more and more involved as the season has gone on.
Scott Chandler vs. Eagles (58% started): I don’t like Chandler as much as a lot of other people do. Chandler is an average player and a really bad blocker. With the state of the Patriots offensive line that could be something that limits his snaps. This is not one of those “next man up” situations. Rob Gronkowski is a generational talent. Chandler should be like many of the lower end of the top 10 tight ends, around 60 yards with a 50/50 chance of a touchdown.
Antonio Gates vs. Broncos (59% started): He is beat up and facing the Broncos. Tight ends can be taken away by the defense if the defense wants to focus on it, and I expect them to.
Jason Witten at Redskins (42% started): No touchdowns since Week 1. Take one of the tight ends that has upside; Witten’s ceiling is about 70 yards.
Jesse James vs. Colts (0% started): Heath Miller is ruled out and James should benefit.
St. Louis Rams vs. Cardinals (86% owned): They have been extremely disappointing and are at the point to where they are droppable if you have better options available. Looking at their remaining schedule, only a Week 15 matchup with the Buccaneers looks like a matchup I would like.
Chandler Catanzaro at Rams (56% owned): Great team in a great matchup.
Cairo Santos at Raiders (46% owned): He gets a good matchup with the Raiders who have given up three or more field goal attempts six times.
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