Here we are… the fantasy playoffs! You've made it this far and there is no reason to think I can't take you all the way to the end. At this point there isn't anyone on the waiver wire worth picking up and starting, so just leave those problems to the owners still thinking they can find a diamond in the rough. What that means is you should pay no mind to Dominick Rhodes now that the Colts have resigned him. The Colts are a pass-first offense and even if Rhodes does get some carries, his fantasy value is bouncing off zero on the meter.
Now, let me step into NFL coverage for a second because I am an NFL first and foremost. Everyone is talking about how exposed the Jets are now that the Patriots put an alley-cat beating on them, but why are people not saying the same thing about the Chicago Bears? Yes, the Bears are 9-3 on the season. But of the teams they have beat, only the Packers and Eagles have a winning record and their opponents have a combined record of 38-70. If the Jets are not as good as their record indicates, then the Bears too are just an early exit from the NFL playoffs waiting to happen.
Fantasy football etiquette 101: There is no bigger fantasy faux pas than being the person in your league that is in dead last, but throws it out there that you are in 1st place in your OTHER league. Seriously, if you finished last… just own it.
Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben broke his nose in a very physical game last week, which resulted in surgery this week to fix his beak. That has a lot of you emailing me asking if he should be sat down in favor of lesser options like Matt Cassel or Jason Campbell. The answer is no. The Bengals secondary gives up 222.4 YPG and has allowed 18 passing TDs this season, so play him as a low-end QB1 this weekend.
Jay Cutler: After I blast the Bears in this article I will also have to give Cutler some love because of his matchup. The Patriots have the second worst pass defense in the NFL (276.8 YPG and 21 TDs allowed) and the Bears running game has been anemic as they struggle to hit 100 yards combined (102.9 YPG).
Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD set a new career high last weekend when he rushed for 186 yards against the Titans. This weekend he gets a generous Raiders run defense that allows 124.3 YPG on the ground. I fully expect another 100-plus yard game from MJD this weekend and see no problems putting him atop of the RB rankings for week 14.
Knowshon Moreno: Moreno had a career day against the Chiefs in week 13, but that is to be expected when it is a cold and windy day and your QB is ineffective because of it. This weekend the Broncos face the Cardinals 30th ranked run defense and he should be a high RB1 play this weekend.
Greg Jennings: Jennings is owned in 100 percent of leagues and started in 95 percent of those leagues, so we all know exactly who and what Jennings is. That being said, this weekend he faces the Lions and they're the best player on your fantasy team. The Lions give up 240.7 YPG to receivers and Jennings is #1 on my WR list for this weekend.
Jeremy Maclin: Maclin is one of those fantasy players that is pretty much boom or bust because he averages 4.7 catches and 68.3 YPG. He does have 820 yards receiving this season and eight touchdowns to his credit, and those numbers should only get better as the Eagles are 28th in receiving yards (267.8) and have allowed the second most receiving TDs this season at 25. I'd play both DeSean Jackson and Maclin as WR1's this weekend.
Jason Witten: Witten is dealing with a high ankle sprain, but since he never misses games I would fully expect him to be out there on Sunday. Since the Cowboys have changed coaches, their offense is clicking and Witten has 19 catches, 189 yards and a TD over the past three games.
Atlanta Falcons defense: The Falcons are one of the surprising teams of 2010 and the Carolina Panthers are dead last in the NFL at total offensive YPG at 261.1. Of those yards, 103.8 yards come on the ground and the Falcons are 8th in rushing defense, allowing just 98.5 YPG. This is a recipe for disaster for the Panthers and fantasy gold if you own the Falcons defense.
Jason Campbell: Campbell and the Raiders face off against the Jaguars and their 27th ranked pass defense this weekend. But, the Raiders passing offense is ranked 28th and I don't see a single person on the Raiders team I would count on for receptions or receiving yards any more this season. Shoot, I'd play Mark Sanchez before I'd play Campbell!
Mark Sanchez: Speak of the devil. Sanchez is not someone I would be remotely interested in playing this weekend either. He is still owned in 68 percent of all leagues and started in just 25 percent of them, meaning people own him just to let him rot on their bench. The Dolphins are 5th against the pass, allowing just 201.2 YPG in the air.
Danny Woodhead: Woodhead dual qualifies at RB and WR, so even if you are not in a flex option league you can use him in either position. However, this week the Patriots face the Bears stingy run defense and Woodhead is not an unknown anymore. I wouldn't use Woodhead as anything more than a flex option this week.
Mike Goodson: Goodson is more of a cut altogether player than he is a sit 'em player, but he makes the list either way. Jonathan Stewart is the lead back in the Panthers offense heading forward and Goodson suffered a sprained AC join in his right shoulder, so he shouldn't be anywhere in your line-up.
Hines Ward: Ward is no longer a fantasy option most weeks, but 92 percent of people still own him and 58 percent of people are starting him. Ward has six 1,000 yard seasons in his 11 year career, but this season he has just 523 receiving yards so far this season. I don't trust him as anything more than an average WR3 play from here on out.
Steve Smith (NYG): Smith is on track to play this weekend against the Vikings, but his role in the offense is not defined just yet. Add to that the fact that he will be shadowed by Antoine Winfield and you have a sitter for his first week back.
Brandon Pettigrew: Pettigrew actually checks in as the #5 fantasy TE as of week 14, but he is owned in just 64 percent of leagues and started in 36 percent of leagues. However, the Lions are forced to roll with Drew Stanton at QB this week and he was less than impressive last week as he finished with 178 yards passing and a TD. He didn't throw an INT even know the Bears are tied for 5th in INTs, but that is no reason to get excited about him or to play Pettigrew until Matthew Stafford gets back.
Minnesota Vikings defense: The Vikings defense is owned in 60 percent of leagues heading into the fantasy playoffs, despite being tied for 17th in the NFL in total points allowed with 253. This week the Vikings face the defending Super Bowl champion Saints and their #3 ranked offense (389.4 total YPG). The Vikings season is over and their defense is a weak play this weekend, so make sure you get into the second round by sitting the Vikings defense this weekend. The Browns are owned in just 28 percent of leagues and they play the Bills woeful offense this weekend, give them a run.
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