You made it.
13 grueling, stress-filled weeks of fantasy football and now, you have arrived. It’s the playoffs (playoffs?) and fantasy owners, I’ve got some bad news for you.
The stress is only going to worsen.
An ongoing dilemma has owners stuck come playoff time. Do I side with the talent or the matchup? Depending on who the talent is and just how “talented” they’ve been lately, I think the matchup is a better option. Lately, there have been some struggling signal callers that have fantasy owners on the fence. For instance, Andrew Luck is averaging less than 13 fantasy points over his last two contests, while Tony Romo is averaging slightly over 17. Colin Kaepernick continues to be in and out of fantasy lineups, and with other guys emerging at the position, who do you play?
Here are some sneaky quarterback plays for the first week of the fantasy playoffs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick @ Denver Broncos: If we were in a fantasy beard league, Fitzpatrick would be a first round pick, for sure. But still, The Amish Rifle has been a sneaky good fantasy quarterback as of late, averaging a very healthy 22.5 fantasy points over his last four outings. He’s been consistent, too, posting totals for 27, 17, 27 and 17. His Week 13 game would have been much better, as he threw for a touchdown, ran for one, but threw three back-breaking interceptions. I love him this week against the Broncos defense that, granted, has been playing better lately, but is still surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to signal callers, coming in at 22.94 per contest. Tennessee should be playing from behind in this game, which should result in some appealing volume for Fitzpatrick. He’ll also contribute with his legs, as Fitzpatrick has ran the ball 26 times over the last five weeks. Opposing offenses are also averaging 41.2 pass attempts per game this year, so we could very well see some Fitz-Magic this week.
EJ Manuel @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A bit more of a deep league option here, but Manuel has been pretty fantasy relevant over his last two outings. He’s eclipsed 20 fantasy points in both games, and continues to provide some fantasy value with his legs, as well. On Sunday, Manuel threw for 210 yards and a score, while also running for his first career rushing touchdown. A few untimely fumbles hurt Manuel’s chances of being great, but he could quite possibly post his third consecutive 20-point performance this week against the Buccaneers. The Bucs have surrendered nine touchdowns through the air over their last four games, and on the season, are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game. 24 touchdowns have been allowed through the air by Tampa, which is the second-most in football. Also, shutdown corner Darrelle Revis may not suit up for this game, which only helps. Over the past eight weeks, seven quarterbacks have eclipsed 20 fantasy points.
Alex Smith @ Washington Redskins: Don’t look now, but Smith is starting to look more and more like a legitimate fantasy signal caller. He has tossed seven touchdowns over his last three games, resulting in over 25 fantasy points in each contest. Smith has also averaged 41 pass attempts during that span, and with his four or five rushing attempts mixed in, there is appealing volume here. The Chiefs defense is crumbling a bit, which could mean more passing from Smith. The matchup is ideal, as the Redskins secondary is very poor, as this unit is a bottom-five pass defense. Washington is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (22.77). Smith is beginning to make some impressive throws that travel more than just five yards down the field.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.