With the start of the fantasy playoffs already underway, we’ve got a bunch of players in prime spots to help us get to next Sunday. Now is not the time to get cute with our lineup decisions, we’ve got to make accurate and educated moves to help us advance.
We’ve got to dance with who brought us here, so let’s bust some moves.
Let’s get into this week’s Starts and Sits.
Coming off of a short week, Cousins is in a prime spot against the Lions. He’s been one of the better QB’s this year in fantasy, at it seems like it’s been forever ago since the Vikings had their troubles on offense. This week he’ll be at home against a Lions defense that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA, and since Week 10, has ranked dead last in the league in passing success rate allowed. Cousins is in a prime spot to help owners advance to the next round by himself.
Tannehill has been one of the hottest QB’s the past couple of weeks, averaging 220 and 2 over the past three weeks, helping the Titans remain in the AFC playoff picture. He should have no issues continuing this run against the Raiders tomorrow, a secondary that has had its issues, ranking 28th this year in pass defense DVOA, as well as ranking 31st in explosive passing rate allowed. Tannehill is a unlikely QB1 during this time of the year, but a QB1 nonetheless.
After a hot few weeks, Baker cooled down a little bit against a tough Pittsburgh defense. Well, this is no time to panic, as he’ll get to rebound against the Bengals. While they did do a good job against the Jets last week, I don’t have any confidence they’ll be able to string two wins in a row tomorrow against the Brownies. This is a Bengals secondary that ranks 31st in pass defense DVOA, and 32nd in explosive passing rate allowed. I like Mayfield this week as a low-end QB1 if you need him.
Allen has been on a decent run as of late, but I think he should be left on benches for the first round of the playoffs this week. While the Bills will be at home, they’ll face off against a Ravens defense that will prove to be too much to handle. If the Bills want to be successful tomorrow, it’ll have to come on the ground and on defense.
Last week I talked about how Garoppolo shouldn’t be used as a starter on the road in Baltimore, and I think the same is true for this week on the road in New Orleans. This is a tough Saints defense, one that ranks 9th in pass defense DVOA, and 6th in rush defense DVOA. In what may turn out to be a preview of this year’s NFC Championship, I don’t think Jimmy GQ is QB we should be using in fantasy.
So I’m putting Brees here, but only with an asterisk. That asterisk being, that if you need him and you don’t have any other options, then go for it. However, with the nature of the Saints offense being a slow-paced, ground-and-pound offense, combined with the tough matchup against the 49ers defense, Brees is far from being a must-start.
Gordon has had a decent spell these past few Sunday’s, but this is a matchup where his fantasy owners will be licking their lips. This Jags rush defense has struggled all season, ranking 31st in rush defense DVOA, and 29th in explosive rushing rate allowed. Gordon is in a prime spot here, and has Top-10 upside. He’s a must start.
It’s been a season to forget for Freeman, who’s struggled all year long, and has yet to rush for a touchdown. However, this is a spot to use him as an RB2/flex against Carolina. The Panthers rush defense hasn’t been very effective this year, ranking dead last in rush defense DVOA. This is a spot to use a struggling Freeman, as he has Top-15 upside.
This Pats offense has struggled greatly so far in recent weeks, but White has been a staple for Tom Brady. This week should bring the best out of White, who will look to produce in the passing game against a defense that ranks 30th in rush defense DVOA. White is a great flex option in PPR leagues.
Mack will be #back, but if you start him, you’re pretty whack. Thank you, I’ll be here all week with these rhymes. Anyway, Mack is making his return since injury, but we don’t know if he’s 100% yet, and even if he was, this is a stout Bucs rush defense, and Mack isn’t worth starting just yet.
Not only am I not starting Jones, but I’m also not going to start Peyton Barber either. This Tampa Bay backfield is very hit or miss, and against a tough Colts defensive front, I don’t think they’re worth starting. Especially knowing that if they miss a block, they’ll get benched for the rest of the game.
This backfield is sort of a mess, with no clear back leading the way. We do have Mostert, but with a tough matchup against a great Saints defense looming, he’s far from being a must-start.
Parker absolutely erupted last week for 159 yards and 2 TD’s, and has been on a nice little tear as of late. I have no doubts he should be able to continue this run this week against the Jets. His floor should be around 4 catches for 50 yards and a TD, which is what he did the last time these two teams play. He’s got Top-10 upside this week.
Sutton and Lock seemed to really click last week, with Sutton finding the endzone twice with 74 yards as well. This week, Sutton is in a prime spot this Sunday against the Texans a secondary that ranks 25th in pass defense DVOA. Coming in as the projected #15 receiver according to our projections, Sutton is a perfect WR2/3 this week.
Crowder has been struggling recently, but with a matchup against the Dolphins looming, Crowder should be a solid WR3/flex option. Against the Dolphins in Week 9, Crowder racked in 8 catches for 83 yards and a TD, and I have confidence he’ll be able to repeat in a similar performance.
Deebo has had a mediocre two weeks, and I don’t think he’ll be an attractive option this week against the Saints. Our projections have him outside of the Top-40 at the position, and he should probably be left on benches.
I talked about not wanting to go with Brown last week, and I feel the same way about him this week in a tough matchup against the Bills secondary.
While Tate will play this Monday against the Eagles, he’s only just fully recovering from a concussion and has cleared the protocol, but the risk isn’t worth the reward, even if it is a good matchup.
Doyle is coming off quite the performance against Tennessee last week, and I think he should continue to perform this Sunday against the Bucs. This Tampa Bay defense has struggled a bit against Tight Ends this year, and with T.Y. Hilton not being able to go once again, Doyle should remain active and productive.
McDonald is an excellent streaming option this week against a Cardinals defense that doesn’t seem to understand that a Tight End is a position that you have to cover. If you need help at the position, McDonald is your guy.
Howard had a productive outing last Sunday against the Jaguars, but I don’t like his chances to repeat it against a tough Indy defense.
Kickers and D/ST
Dan Bailey (vs. DET) – Razzball Projection: #1 K
Indoors and against against a weak defense, this Vikings offense should be movin’ early and often, and Bailey should have plenty of kicking opportunities.
At home against Washington, the Packers are a perfect streaming option.
Matt Prater (@ MIN) – Razzball Projection: #30 K
Not sure how active Prater should be come Sunday. There are other options to explore
A good unit, but they have the unlucky task of guarding Lamar Jackson.
Good luck to everyone in the first round of the fantasy playoffs, and I will be back on Thursday for another edition of Ambulance Chasers!
You Can Find Me on Twitter here