Regular season fantasy leagues are over, but there’s a lot of fantasy playoff leagues as well, and if you haven’t joined one yet, be sure to check out our Sporting News playoff league and/or our playoff challenge at NFL.com.
Saturday, 4:30 PM
New York Jets @ Cincinnati
Despite Cincinnati’s stoutness against the run during the regular season I think Thomas Jones is a relatively solid play. You know he’s good for 80 yards and if there’s any sort of touchdown opportunity for the Jets he’s the man, no doubt. So I’m giving him a little bit of a downgrade for the matchup but he is still the main man. Shonn Greene continues to see more work and will get enough work to be of some use in a run heavy offense.
Jets: Jones +1, Greene -1
Although the Bengals weren’t really trying to win last week their offensive struggles concern me. Regardless of where he ends up signing in the offseason (I think he’ll stay in Cincy) Benson will almost certainly be overrated for next season. This playoffs might be the beginning of that. I don’t like the matchup here against the tough Jets defense.
Bengals: Benson -3
Saturday, 8 PM
Philadelphia @ Dallas
Brian Westbrook has had 23 looks to Lesean McCoy’s 10 in the last 2 games. Add in Leanord Weaver getting a goal line carry here and there and you have a difficult choice. Westbrook doesn’t look the same, but he is clearly the number one back right now. I can’t really enthusiastically recommend him and the others aren’t getting enough work.
Eagles: Westbrook -1, McCoy -2, Weaver -3
The Eagles defensive statistics don’t indicate how truly bad they’ve been against the run this season. I should know; I’m an Eagles fan. They are just undersized up front and too bent on playing the pass/running exotic blitzes. In the last 3 weeks Marion Barber has had 58 looks to Felix Jones’ 48. Jones is healthy for now and is worth using, especially in return yardage leagues like Sporting News. Barber is still getting most the goal line looks so is the safer choice, but against the Eagles both could get theirs. I am giving both an upgrade for the matchup because like I said the Eagles can’t stop the run.
Cowboys: Barber +2, Jones +2
Sunday, 1 PM
Baltimore @ New England
Ray Rice is too dynamic to keep down, but that’s what Belichick does; he focuses on taking the biggest threat out of the game. Can he do it on Sunday? Couldn’t tell you. The Patriots defense is very middle of the road and their offense could struggle in the absence of Wes Welker. If they don’t get up early, you could see a lot of Rice and McGahee no matter how successful they are.
Ravens: Rice +1, McGahee 0
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bill Belichick found Christian Okoye and put him out there on Sunday. Fred Taylor’s back in the mix now but you can’t play him; I’d be surprised if he gets many touches. Maroney and Taylor both fumbled recently so Sammy Morris could be in line for a good chunk of carries, but nothing is a lock with BB.
Patriots: Morris 0, Maroney -1, Taylor -2
Sunday, 4 PM
Green Bay @ Arizona
I really like Ryan Grant in this game. The Cardinals started the season tough against the run, but have been poor of late. Grant is the feature back and won’t lose too many touches to Brandon Jackson. It’s a warm weather contest which should bode well for both team’s offenses.
Packers: Grant +4
Tim Hightower’s role in the offense has diminished a lot lately. The Packers defense is really solid but the Cardinals passing game should force them to play back and open up some holes in the running game for Arizona. I look for Wells to get a lot of work unless the Packers get out to a quick lead.
Cardinals: Wells +1, Hightower -2