So you survived Week 1 of the playoffs, eh? Or are you just in one of those off-putting leagues that first starts playoffs in Week 15? (Quick side note: I had to look up “off-putting” because I thought it was “off-pudding,” which in hindsight makes no sense. Why would pudding be disconcerting? Everybody loves pudding. It’s delicious.) Or, do you fall into the third category where, despite being eliminated from the playoffs, you are still setting your lineup in an effort to still pick up as many wins as possible?
There’s nothing wrong with walking through Door No. 3 there. Nothing at all. We actually got an email recently from one of our fans, Patti, who was having an issue in her league as far as picking up players from the waiver wire. Patti had been eliminated from the playoffs but was still going about picking up players in an effort to still win each and every week. However, people in her league did not take so kindly to that, as they felt those team owners still in the playoffs should have first crack at the waiver wire people and then all teams eliminated could then pick up whoever they wanted.
And I say that’s ridiculous. Just absolutely abusrd. Patti has the right idea. Fantasy football is about pride more than it is about money. And just because your team isn’t in the fantasy playoffs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care whether you win or lose. I still set both of my lineups last week on the teams that didn’t make the postseason. Why the heck not?? I’m a highly competitive individual (just ask my ex-girlfriend) and I want to win, even if the dumb league won’t let me win the Championship. Why shouldn’t you want to win? Why join if you don’t care about winning? No, winning isn’t everything, but it is just about everything. At least in fantasy sports. So, just because you are no longer in the playoffs, or didn’t even make it in the first place, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. As Jimmy V said, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
In that spirit, here are the guys you should never give up on…at least for this week. These dudes have the greatest matchups to succeed in for Week 15, so take a glance. If you’re debating between starting two guys and one of them is on this list, I would highly recommend leaning that way. However, that’s not to say you should bench Drew Brees for Kerry Collins just because Collins is on this list. Use some common sense. Don’t ever bench Drew Brees. He’s Rafiki (see photo).
First Team All-Matchup Studs
QB: Kerry Collins vs. HOU
Seriously, were you expecting me to just sidestep picking a QB against Houston’s defense this week? Even if that QB is Kerry Collins, you should most definitely start anybody going up against the Texans’ porous defense. Collins came through with 3 tuddies last week against the Colts, so there’s no saying he can’t at least duplicate those numbers against Houston.
RB: Darren McFadden vs. DEN
As my colleague, Scott, wrote in his recent article, McFadden could very well be 2010’s fantasy playoff MVP. He dominated last week and this week, he is going up against one of the cushiest defenses against the run. Denver not only allows an average of 23.2 fantasy points per week to opposing RBs, but think back to the last time Run DMC ran against DEN. Yep, you’re right, it was that 40 point day where McFadden had 4 tuddies and 200 total yards. Don’t expect that to happen again, but Oakland’s top back should be good for at least a score and 100 total yards.
RB: Tim Hightower vs. CAR
Hightower has very clearly emerged as the only Arizona back worth owning and after his 24-point day last week against Denver, he looks like he could make a running at McFadden’s crown as Playoff MVP. This week, he matches up against Carolina, who is the third worst team against opposing RB. Just look what Michael Turner did against the Panthers last week.
FLEX: Michael Turner vs. SEA
Another front-runner for the Fantasy MVP trophy, Turner has seemingly put his inconsistent and frustrating ways behind him. He’s finally living up to his billing as a Top 5 draft pick. This week, he should continue to keep rolling as the Seahawks have allowed 20.7 points to RBs per game and Atlanta hasn’t locked anything up yet, so Turner should still play the whole game.
WR: Roddy White vs. SEA
The Seahawks’ D is just shoddy all around, as they are also the third-worst team against WRs, allowing 25 points per week. White is head, shoulders and elbows above the next receiving option in terms of pecking order of targets, so he should eat up a large amount of that 25 points. Think 13 points at least, with room for more.
WR: Reggie Wayne vs. JAC
The Jaguars have a brutal defense in terms of limiting fantasy points and WR is no exception. Wayne torched these guys for 15 catches and 196 yards in Week 4. That’s 19 points without even finding the endzone. This week, Indy is playing for their playoff lives and with their season on the line, Peyton Manning will get the ball just that much more. Look for him to find his favorite target early and often in a good matchup.
TE: Kevin Boss vs. PHI
The Iggles have allowed 9 TDs to opposing TEs, including 2 to Jason Witten last week. Boss is very much like Witten and has emerged as Eli Manning’s most reliable target (i.e. he hasn’t gotten hurt). Boss should boss his way into the endzone at least once this week (yeah, that wasn’t a good use of his name, but that’s all I have for now. Sorry.).
K: Neil Rackers vs. TEN
Tennessee is one of the worst defenses against Ks and with the way Houston’s offense is playing right now, Rackers should get plenty of opportunities to kick and score.
D/ST: Chicago Bears vs. MIN
The Vikings are the second worst D/ST team while Chicago is typically one of the best (last week is being excluded, of course). If Brett Favre can go, he’s nowhere near 100 percent and one hit could knock him out of the game. And then that means likely Patrick Ramsey or whoever is healthy enough to play behind Favre. Plus, even if the Bears’ D doesn’t score a lot, you know Devin Hester is a threat to break one at any time in the return game.
Second Team (‘cause one team is just not good enough)
QB: Peyton Manning vs. JAC
See “Wayne, Reggie” above.
RB: Jonathan Stewart/Mike Goodson vs. ARI
Arizona is the worst RB defense and Carolina has seemingly been drinking the juice that made their running game so successful the past two years. Stewart has three straight games above 90 yards since he came back from a concussion, something he never even came close to in the season’s previous 10 weeks. And Goodson’s value hasn’t dipped all that much in that span, either, with a touchdown in each of those contests. Both should be solid-to-very good plays this week against the Cardinals.
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew vs. IND
Chris Johnson just torched IND for 20 points last week and MJD is having an arguably better season. Plus, as I said above, both teams are playing for the division and if the Jags have any hope of winning the AFC South, they need to lean on their best player, which if you know anything at all about football, is Jones-Drew. He’ll get plenty of touches against a bad RB defense.
FLEX: Santana Moss vs. DAL
Moss is coming off one of his biggest games of the season while Dallas is coming off a terrible, terrible stretch against opposing WRs. The Cowboys have allowed at least 30 points to WRs the past three weeks and have allowed at least 21 points since Week 1, when Washington WRs finished with just 8 points. However, Dallas is a different team since then, with nothing to play for. And Moss is the No. 1 passing option, so he should see a large majority of the 28 points Dallas allows to opposing WRs each week.
WR: Miles Austin vs. WAS
Despite a rather solid showing last week, Washington’s defense is awful. And Jon Kitna has rejuvenated the Cowboys’ passing offense so this game could very well turn into a shootout. And if Dallas throws, Austin is the most likely target.
WR: Marques Colston vs. BAL
Colston has really come on lately with 5 TDs over his last four games. Normally, Baltimore’s defense is a scary matchup, but did you see what Houston and Andre Johnson just did against them on Monday night? Colston should be in for a pretty solid game. Baltimore has had some serious trouble against good passing offenses this year.
TE: Anthony Fasano vs. BUF
He’s likely available in your league and it’s definitely worth a pickup. Fasano is a lock for 4 fantasy points every week despite the matchup, but this week he’s going up against a unit that allows an average of 8.6 points per week to TEs. It’s not an awesome play, but it is good if you need some help at the tight end position.
K: Dan Carpenter vs. BUF
Miami’s offense really hasn’t been moving the ball all that well lately, but they should against arguably the NFL’s worst overall defense. And Carpenter has been one of the more solid fantasy options at the K position, so he should be good to go. That is, if Chad Henne stops throwing INTs…
D/ST: San Diego Chargers vs. SF
The Chargers are clearly one of the top fantasy defenses this year and with another must-win game on the slate, the D/ST unit should be another very good option this week. With a short week for both teams and the Merry-Go-Round at QB for the 49ers, the Chargers’ D will win out. Start with confidence.
There you have it. Go forth and win your week. And then come back and thank all of us here at RantSports and stay tuned for next week’s articles on matchups and all that fun stuff.