Tom Lorenzo, Senior Editor RotoExperts.com
At this point, doing a straight-up waiver wire piece won’t do you any good. Since, for the most part, if you’re still alive in your Fantasy Football league you’re likely only one of four teams still standing. And even then, if you got this far you probably have no use for me telling you about Demaryius Thomas emerging as Tim Tebow’s go-to guy. Since, after all, you don’t get to the semi-finals without already having a strong core. And I would never suggest you starting Thomas over someone like Larry Fitzgerald just because I like Thomas’ matchup better. It’s not in your best interest to get too cute during the playoffs and over-think your roster. I’m not telling you to simply “go with what go you here,” but I’m telling you to take talent over matchup. You’re going to kick yourself if Thomas puts up a 3/27/0 line, which he very well may, while Fitzgerald puts up 7/122/1 while on your bench.
That said, there are things that active Fantasy owners should be paying attention to this week. Same goes for those who aren’t active. Just because your season is over that doesn’t mean you can’t do your research now for next year. How else are you going to find the next Arian Foster or Jamaal Charles?
What a gift it would be to get your RB1 back just when you need him the most: playoff time! Peterson has been out for the last three weeks with an ankle injury, and while it’s always risky to start a player coming off a pretty severe injury, in this case you’re not just starting any player. It’s Adrian Peterson. If he does get the OK, which is seems like he’s going to, you have to get this top-tier RB back in your lineup. Toby Gerhart owners; I’m sorry, the party’s over.
With DeMarco Murray (ankle) out, the Cowboys will once again turn to Jones, who was the team’s starter to begin the season. Jones last week carried the ball 16 times for 106 and also added six catches for 31 yards. He did fumble twice, but that comes with the territory in this case. The good news is, the Cowboys play one of the absolute worst defenses in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Bucs. Heck, you and I could probably post 100 yards against the Bucs. This is a highly favorable matchup and one that should be exploited by Jones and the Cowboys.
With Greg Jennings (knee) out, Jones now steps in as the starter alongside Jordy Nelson. As we know, whenever you’re given extra targets and snaps in this Green Bay offense, it’s likely going to turn into some extra fantasy value. Jones is now a high-value guy, worthy of a start at WR2. Having caught a TD pass in all but four of his games this season, he’s actually been consistent, to a point. With Jennings now on the sidelines, I can easily seem him finish out the year with a touchdown in each of the next three weeks.
Sorry, guys. You’re not going to be seeing Darren McFadden suiting up for your fantasy team any time this season. He hasn’t officially been ruled out, but it’s not looking good. He still hasn’t practiced this week, and with the Raiders finding success in the running game with Michael Bush, don’t expect to see them push McFadden to return anytime soon. It was a nice run, while it lasted, but I guess there’s some consolation in that you still get to start Michael Bush.
I know Maclin practiced on Wednesday, but he didn’t fully practice. Coming off his hamstring injury, Maclin was not only limited last weekend against the Dolphins, but he suffered a bit of a minor setback in practice on Wednesday. I know there’s still time between now and Sunday, but given what we saw last weekend and seeing as he was limited in practice, I don’t trust him in a must-win situation for you and the Eagles lining up against the Jets.
I wouldn’t put too much faith into starting him on Monday night against the 49ers. Roethlisberger (ankle) was seen in a walking boot on Wednesday at practice, and granted the Steelers don’t play until Monday, giving him an extra day of rest, I still don’t like that fact that he’s not only dealing with an injury but he’s got the 49ers lining up against him. If you have a healthy option—a stable one, not Josh Freeman—you should certainly sit Roethlisberger. He might play, but beyond that it’s no given that he’ll perform well.
…If he’s healthy. If you’ve watched the Chiefs play over the last five weeks, first, I’m sorry on behalf of the NFL, and, second, you know just how terrible they’ve been with Tyler Palko under center. We’re already now hearing that if Orton (finger) is healthy he is going to start against the Packers. That’s actually not a bad matchup. It’s not advised that you start Orton this week, but if he does play this means you now have to get Dwayne Bowe back in your lineup.
…He’s absolutely not worth starting. With Javon Ringer (hand) out, Harper now becomes the primary backup to Chris Johnson. He’s in no way going to steal more than a handful of carries from Johnson, but there is some appeal in watching him run. He’s a bigger back, who could get a goal-line carry or two. Harper has no Fantasy appeal this week, but when you consider that Chris Johnson continues to wear out his welcome in Tennessee and Ringer can’t stay healthy, it’s always worth getting a good look at a runner who may find himself in the lead role at some point down the line.
…You don’t want to get too cute and start him. Not this week, nor this year. Look, if you’re in the semi-finals you probably got here with a Top 10 quarterback on your team. And if that quarterback was Roethlisberger and you don’t feel comfortable starting him, I’d still rather have a Rex Grossman or Andy Dalton starting over Locker. Sure it was a promising performance last week and yes the matchup against the Colts is highly favorable, but we still don’t know whether or not Locker is ready. You can’t start him on a playoff team, not after one week. I will say, though, you should watch him play and scout him for next season. The job will eventually be his, and getting a look now, before he really blows up, is exactly how you find the so-called diamonds in the rough.
…His 6-game win streak will come to an end. I don’t see any way the Patriots don’t pick the Broncos apart. But, that’s not to say that Tebow can’t do the same against a underwhelming New England defense. I know there’s little fantasy implications here, since if you own Tebow you have to start him, but I didn’t feel right writing a football column without mentioning the most popular-unpopular player in the NFL. Actually, here’s some Fantasy advice for you: The only QBs I start in favor of Tebow are Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Tony Romo Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford. The choices seem pretty obvious, but aside from these seven guys, I’m not sitting Tebow for anyone. Not even you, Michael Vick.
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