A solid 2-0 last week sees me in the Final Four of each of my three fantasy leagues. I ended as the regular season champ in my first league going 10-4 and scoring the most points in the 10-team league. The Hogs Haven league playoffs began last week and I was victorious in my first-round tilt. My team is now 9-5 on the season and I have the first place team in the playoffs this week. I feel poised for the upset. Last week I got to take it easy in my third league having received the bye to start our playoffs as I'm the #2 seed overall. It's a 14-team league and the top six make the playoffs with the top two getting the first-round bye. This week is obviously huge for all three of my teams. Sorry about missing any advice on last night's game, but luckily it was a match-up that didn't have a ton of fantasy implications.
Here's who I'm looking at this week:
Matthew Stafford, DET (vs Minnesota Vikings) - Coming off of a 311-yard, 3-TD performance last week, Stafford is trending up. He'll be at home this week fighting for playoff positioning and has 701 yards, 5 TD's, and 0 INT's over his last two games... 300 yards and 2 TD's.
Jay Cutler, CHI (vs New Orleans Saints) - The Saints is about as good as it gets for opposing QB's and this game is at home in cold, windy Chicago. The Saints like playing in their dome. Cutler is dicey, but if his OC is making nice with him, this offense could put it together for one week, especially with this match-up. 300+ yards, 2 TD's, and 10-20 rushing yards.
Philip Rivers, SD (vs Denver Broncos) - Rivers always does well against the Broncos. I can't really explain it as I don't understand it, but it's true. He's helped by playing at home and the resurgence of Keenan Allen. It's also a good time to start Rivers because there is sure to be a lot of scoring and throwing in this one as he'll need to keep up with Manning. 300 yards and 2+ TD's.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (@ New England Patriots) - The sledding is surprisingly tough this year going against the Patriots defense and Tannehill has cooled a bit recently. He's had better match-ups over the past couple weeks and failed to capitalize. It's playoff time. You can do better. 225-250 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and 10-20 rushing yards.
Derek Anderson, CAR (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The match-up is good, but Anderson is a far cry from even an 80% Cam Newton. He's being surprisingly thrust into this one and the Panthers offense isn't exactly loaded with talent. If you lost Newton for this week, you can find better as your team's replacement, even if the Panthers can't... 225 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
Russell Wilson, SEA or Colin Kaepernick, SF (against each other) - This a defensive match-up, especially this time of year. Kaep's been struggling recently and the Legion of Boom is very good, especially at home. The '9ers defense is very good too, though. Wilson didn't do much when they played on Turkey Day, and nobody else at the QB spot has really done much against them all year (for the most part). Expected a lot of running and defense.
Justin Forsett, BAL (vs Jacksonville Jaguars) - Consistency. He produces consistently every single week. He's been my (and anyone else who picked him up this year) best pick-up by far. It's been six games in a row of stellar play from the vet and this week he gets the Jags. When it comes playoff time, you know your team is good, you need consistency. The game is also in Baltimore. 130 rushing yards, 1 TD, and 10-20 receiving yards.
Joique Bell, DET (vs Minnesota Vikings) - He's hot lately and the Vikings defense is surprisingly lenient against the run. The Lions are a good team right now and Bell is a good back. 80+ rushing yards, 1 TD, and 10-20 receiving yards.
C.J. Anderson, DEN (@ San Diego Chargers) - He's now officially a must-start. It doesn't matter who they're playing, when you're the RB of a Peyton Manning offense and you're as good as Anderson, you get started. He's been consistently great for over a month now. They could get a lead and run the ball. 100 rushing yards, 1 TD, and 20-30 receiving yards.
Alfred Morris, WAS (@ New York Giants) - Jay Gruden is coaching for his job (possibly), he has an excellent RB, no great QB's (and the likely starter is banged up), and is facing one of the worst run defenses in the league. He's going to run it this week. 100 rushing yards, 1 TD, and 10-20 receiving yards.
Frank Gore, SF (@ Seattle Seahawks) - The Seahawks in Seattle against a 31-year-old RB on an offense that is falling apart at the seams. He's kind of reached the end now. Not likely to have a strong game. 40-50 yards.
Andre Williams or Rashad Jennings, NYG (vs Washington Redskins) - Our defense does statistically pretty well against opposing RB's. It also looks like Jennings is getting healthy which could mean a pretty event split. 40-50 yards each.
Eddie Lacy, GB (@ Buffalo Bills) - Look, I'm not saying you have to sit him. If he's on your team and you're in the playoffs, you're likely starting him. I'm just saying this could be a down week by his standards. The Bills have a pretty good defense, especially against the run. They're also playing on their home field. I should also point out that he has a bruised hip and James Starks is waiting in the wings. Beware. 70-80 total yards.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs New Orleans Saints) - He's been beasting lately and that's even when Cutler doesn't play especially well. Both will play well at home against the lowly Saints defense. Plus, Marshall is out, so you know Jeffery is going to get a lot of targets. 90-100 yards and 1 TD.
Pierre Garcon, WAS (@ New York Giants) - He's been a bust. You don't want to start him. It's the playoffs. He's risky. I get it. The Giants have a very bad, banged up secondary. Garcon actually came to life last week and who knows about Jackson this week. You don't have to take my advice, but I'm recommending Garcon this week. 60+ yards and possibly a TD.
Michael Crabtree, SF (@ Seattle Seahawks) - He's been pretty bad all year and now goes against Seattle in Seattle. Their offense is in disarray. Stay away. 40 yards.
Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs San Francisco 49ers) - See Wilson, Russell above. The 9er defense is good and I expect a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch. You can do better. 30-40 yards.
Mike Wallace, MIA (@ New England Patriots) - He doesn't get a ton of looks/catches and that's a problem. It makes him TD dependent. Now he goes to Revis island. The Pats defense has been pretty darn good, especially at home. 40-50 yards.
Greg Olsen, CAR (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - He is the security blanket for Derek Anderson and I expect a lot of looks. He's been one of the top guys all year and is really the core of their offense (besides Newton). Also, the Bucs defense is pretty bad. 70+ yards.
Delanie Walker, TEN (vs New York Jets) - Uhh... he's playing the Jets. He's the #1 receiver in Tennessee and he's playing the Jets. Don't over-think this. The Jets. 60 yards and 1 TD.
Antonio Gates, SD (vs Denver Broncos) - He's at home and Rivers always does well against Denver. They'll also have to throw and score a lot to keep up. He's Rivers favorite red-zone target and I love the TD potential. He's still got it. 60-70 yards and 1 TD.
Jordan Reed, WAS (@ New York Giants) - Gruden is leaving him on the field and he's had success with McCoy and RGIII. Also, the Giants have a bad defense and Reed is crazy talented. He's been targeted 18 times over the past two weeks. 60 yards.
Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs New Orleans Saints) - Read what I wrote about Cutler and Jeffery. He's been pretty good all year. 70 yards and 1 TD.
Julius Thomas, DEN (@ San Diego Chargers) - Again, not saying you have to sit him. Just think he could have a down week. He's very banged up, didn't do much against the Chargers the last time they played, is on the road, and the Chargers are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to stopping TE's. So just know all that. 30-40 yards and possibly a TD.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (@ Detroit Lions) - It's been a disappointing season for Rudolph and the Lions defense is no joke. He has a rookie throwing him the ball and they have almost no other weapons on that offense that really scare the Lions right now. He's alright, but you must have a better TE option. 20-30 yards.
Vernon Davis, SF (@ Seattle Seahawks) - Basically don't start the SF offense against Seattle in Seattle. 20 yards.
Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can. It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's match-ups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make. These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up. Good luck!