2014 In-Season Accuracy: 57.0% (2nd out of 21 Experts, 59.8% Highest, 46.0% Lowest).

Week 14 marks either last the week of the regular season or the first week of the playoffs, depending on your style. Either way, we’ve reached the can’t-lose portion of the season. Apologies for abandoning you all during the playoff push, but I’m back from Argentina, full of steak and wine and empanadas, and ready to do nothing but watch football (not futbol, which I had to put up with for the last 2 weeks).

Because the upcoming games will likely dictate how much you enjoy the next 9 months, it’s time to re-wire your brain for the playoffs. Preseason assumptions stopped being meaningful long ago, but even players we thought we knew 2 weeks ago might not be the same. You obviously know that Chris Borland is an IDP god sent here to wreak havoc on all that he touches. But there are some other players who aren’t as much of a sure thing, and that can be dangerous in the playoffs. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Danny Lansanah – It’s been a weird year for Lansansah, who has oddly remained among the top 50 LBs since Week 3. Early on, that was due to one big game (10 tackles), combined with 2 pick sixes, which artificially inflated his stats. But the last two weeks, with Lavonte David out, he’s stepped in and put up 21 total tackles. Just because an IDP stud gets hurt doesn’t mean that his backup will immediately contribute, but if a guy like Lansanah does put up numbers when he starts, there is no reason to doubt him. It sounds like David could be back on the field this week, but situations like this (as well as those in Cincinnati, Cleveland, etc.) are worth monitoring and can make a huge difference in the playoffs.

Clay Matthews – I’ve avoided talking about Matthews’ highly publicized move to MLB, because honestly I don’t think it makes much of a difference. His game is all about rushing the passer and containing outside runs, and his few games in the middle have done nothing to make me think otherwise. I’ve given him a rankings bump recently, but by no means do I consider him to be a must-start. This is an important reminder that even an elite talent in a great situation might not equal IDP points.

Muhammad Wilkerson – It’s been a bit of a down year based on Wilkerson’s lofty standards from 2012 and 2013, but he remains a must start when he’s healthy. That last part is key however, as he’s missed most of the last two games with a nagging toe injury. He’s out of his walking boot, but even if he does suit up against Minnesota, it will likely not be at full strength. These are not games that we can afford to see a goose-egg out of any lineup positions, so if there is any doubt about Wilkerson’s health on Sunday, it may be better to look for an alternative, even if their ceiling is lower.

Calais Campbell – On the flip side of that, once a stud shows that he’s back, he’s usually back for good. Campbell had a rough go in his first week back from injury, but since then he’s put up 24 tackles and 5 sacks in five games. You should be quicker to move on from injured players in the playoffs, but you also need to trust the guys that got you here if they show that they’re 100%. The biggest decision point on this front will be Chris Long, as he looked pretty good against Oakland on Sunday, but then again I could have probably put up a sack or two in that game. Proceed with caution there until we see him against an actual NFL team.

Defensive Backs – Now more than ever, there is no reason for loyalty. And really no reason to start CBs over Safeties. In the playoffs you want guaranteed points, which means that outside of the top 10 or so, you’re all about streaming based on matchups and health. Avoid starting DBs against the Bengals, Raven and Texans, start even mediocre DBs against the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, and even though guys like Jason McCourty, Joe Haden and Johnathan Joseph have had great years, go with safer options like Reggie Nelson and Antrel Rolle.

My rankings below reflect these ideas, however each team (and league) is different, so make sure to use common sense as it applies to your situation. As always I welcome specific questions in the comments. Good luck!


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

  1. Dom B says:
    (link)

    So with Ellington down and out and same with deangelo Williams who would you start at RB 2 Johnathan Stewart or Fred Jackson

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
      (link)

      @Dom B:

      Close one for this week. Freddy is steady, but I like JStew’s high ceiling this week.

  2. david says:
    (link)

    Important Question. Playoff week for me. You said avoid DB’s when they play the Texans. Should I not start Cyprien this week? Is he matchup proof? I see you have him ranked at 8. My other options are Ihedigbo and Clinton-Dix. I can start 2 of the 3, what do you think? Thanks

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
      (link)

      @david:

      Cyprien is pretty much matchup proof, but that doesn’t been he can’t be benched. Because you’re able to start 2 DBs, I think it’s safe to start him alongside one of the other two (I prefer HHCD but it’s a coin flip essentially). If you could only start 1 DB, I’d be nervous to rely on Cyprien against Houston.

  3. goodfold2 says:
    (link)

    eh, back from honeymoon. nice. In 20 team dynasty i got 17th and clearly missed playoffs. I won twice, one time by 4 that was taken away almost a week later, and just this past week yahoo screwed up and changed my score twice, taking me from winning 211-210, to losing 193-195, to now losing 201-203. Had i played Boyue (15.2 pts) over B.W. Wilson (8 pts) i’d have won. But i guess it’s better for me draft pickwise, had i won i’d be 16th. This was mostly due to losing Peterson for 12 weeks, and WAS’s offense in general being completely awful. This is end of season roster for IDP’s. All questions are for future value of course
    LB: David/Jenkins/Butler/Hightower/Trevathan (IR)
    DE: Campbell/M.Johnson/Heyward
    DT: Donald/Paea
    S: Meriweather/Bucannon/Moore (left on IR)
    CB: Breeland/B.W.Wilson/Bouye/D.Hall (IR)
    After putting up with Brockers getting 1 total tackle per week at most for a long time i dropped him to stream DT #2 slot. used Kelly a bunch, but then i noticed this Paea guy. He’s now averaged 5.14 pts per week on season, and around 6 in last month.
    1. stick with Paea or one of Kelly/C.Jones (NE)
    2. i have no idea how Fantasy Pros no longer rank Wilson/Bouye, as both average over 9 pts PER GAME! It’s probably too early to ask about which of these CB’s i’ll have to drop for next year’s draft (plus you knows about Hall’s recovery, he reinjured the leg making popcorn or somesuch shit)
    3. guessing for next year Hightower is the LB drop when Trevathan returns again.
    Deep as hell IDP’ing sure was fun, only regrets not holding K.Robinson/S.Moore, and to lesser extent Brockers when there were better ranked guys available, as well as forgetting who Smith S(MIN) was when he was dropped (i could’ve had him), as well as Ihedigbo. Right now i could have those 2 as my S’s. I f’ed that up (having 2 top 14 S’s sure would be better). I did grab J.Jenkins (MIA)/C.Campbell by others dropping people though.

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      @goodfold2: i also have byrd S (NO) IR’d. just noticing something.
      4. drop meriweather/moore for any of goldson/gipson/ishmael? actually i’d have to drop 2 players at this point to add anybody (since i’ll have to take moore off IR first, unless meriweather gets IR’d). this could be
      4A. one of my CB’s (all these 3 seem to have big upside though)
      4B. one of taliaferro/sims/c.michael
      4C. one of my TE’s in reed/donnell/ASJ
      Maybe i get lucky and in a few days Meriweather is IR’d. then i’d only have to drop 1 total player if in fact one of those S’s is better.

      • goodfold2 says:
        (link)

        @goodfold2: also it is interesting that the basic strategies for smaller leagues almost don’t apply in my league, none of the recommended names are available to just go grab. I consider it a major error that names such as Campbell/Ihedigbo/Smith/Jenkins were ever dropped (and worse error that i didn’t notice 2 of them) in a league like mine.

        • Kevin Kumpf

          Kevin Kumpf says:
          (link)

          @goodfold2:

          With a roster that is based on Washington’s, I’m honestly surprised you fared as well as you did. Hopefully things get better next year, and you’re certainly set up nicely on defense.

          For DT and CB specifically (and Safety to a lesser extent), it’s really all about streaming. I would definitely hold on to elite performers (Hall and Moore, though they’re never healthy), as well as high-upside young guys (Donald, Buccanon), but the rest I wouldn’t worry about. You obviously want the most competitive roster possible, but I have no problem dropping an average talent for a high-upside lottery ticket.

          To answer your questions:

          1. I’d probably go with Jones based on youth. Paea is a better pass rusher, but Jones’ tackles will be more consistent. Regardless, this is a position to stream.

          2. Rankings CBs is often a fool’s errand. Wilson and Bouye have certainly had some big games, but it’s been difficult to predict when they will happen. I’d lean towards BWW moving forward, but this is another position to stream. I will often go into the offseason with 1 or even 0 DBs on my roster if I don’t have a no-doubt starter.

          3. Hold off on making an LB decision for as long as you can. Trevathan benefited from situation more than talent last year, much as Jenkins and Hightower have this year. Any one of these three could be pushed to the bench or even cut depending on how their teams choose to proceed. If all three remain starters, that’s a good problem to have, and I’d probably get rid of Hightower, but this is a situation to monitor.

          4. With Byrd/Buccanon already on the roster, I think you have your weekly starters moving forward. I’m a huge Moore fan, but he’s admittedly never healthy, and Meriweather has his own issues (but brings the WAS benefit for you. I don’t necessarily have a problem with dropping one of those two for Goldson (my favorite of the three you listed), but I don’t think you have to make a move. Moore’s upside and Meriweather being on WAS are likely more valuable traits for your 3rd and 4th safety. I wouldn’t get rid of any of your offensive guys for a safety.

          • goodfold2 says:
            (link)

            @Kevin Kumpf: we only need to have 10 total players instead of 12 from our team name now. This includes IR stashes, currently i still have stashed jerry rice jr (worthless i’m sure, but counts as WAS player, so i have 12 right now)

            • goodfold2 says:
              (link)

              @goodfold2: since my season is over (we don’t have consolation or anything like that, i’ll simply have the 4th overall pick, we do snaking, even after first season) my decisions become simpler, since i’ll only want the best future valued players (so moore goes down in value, being older, and always hurt); also it’s good since next forced roster decision will be how many people i keep going into the draft (30 man rosters). I’ll have pick 4/1 pick from 21-28)/37th.

              • goodfold2 says:
                (link)

                @goodfold2: as far as CB’s go, i only even knew about wilson and bouye since they were moved up in fantasy pros ranks for a bit (bouye really only one week)

                • goodfold2 says:
                  (link)

                  @goodfold2: all three of breeland/wilson/bouye are no more tenured than their 2nd season, so that “young CB get targeted often” rule certainly seems to apply to these three guys. Also, these are the very ones who AREN’T ranked highly during almost entirety of season, so they’re easy to grab midseason.

  4. david says:
    (link)

    Thanks Kevin! I hate to ask another question, but the questions seem light this week so here it goes anyways. I can start 4 of these linebackers this week. Standard IDP scoring with 1 pt for solo and .5 pt for asst. Also sacks, FF, FR, and INT are all 3 pts. Passes defensed are also 1 pt.
    Thanks in advance!

    CJ MOSLEY BAL @ MIA ( the matchup scares me but he seems like a must start every week)
    M. KENDRICKS PHI V. SEA
    N. BRADHAM BUF @ DEN (the matchup scares me but hes been so good)
    T. SMITH JAX V. HOU
    E. LAMUR CIN V. PIT
    A. WILLIAMSON TEN V. NYG

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
      (link)

      @david:

      Mosley and Kendricks are must-starts. I’ve never been the biggest Bradham fan, so he’s last on my list here. That leave Smith, Lamur and Williamson for three spots. I like Williamson the best here, and with Burfict out again, Lamur probably has a higher ceiling than Smith. I’d consider Smith the safer bet, and that’s typically how I rank, but if you already have Mosley, Kendricks and Williamson going, I’d probably start Lamur with the hopes of a bigger day than Smith.

  5. Blake says:
    (link)

    I have dunlap – how do you think he will do this week?

    Everson griffen, Oliver Vernon and Sheldon Richardson are available. I know you ranked dunlap higher but I guess I am going for total upside?

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
      (link)

      @Blake:

      Richardson has the best matchup on paper, but without Wilkerson, he’ll see more double teams than usual. Vernon has the worst matchup, of the other 3 so it’s a choice between Griffen and Dunlap for me. I’m lower than the ECR for both, but I trust Dunlap more for his consistency. If you’re in a big-play league then the possibility of multiple sacks would have me lean towards Griffen, but otherwise I’d stick with Dunlap.

Comments are closed.