Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
The fantasy playoffs have finally arrived. Congratulations to all of you who qualified for postseason play. If you’ve got any last-minute questions, we’re here to help. The GameDay live chat kicks-off at 10:30am eastern on Sunday and will run for one full hour. Topics include Starts & Sits, injury updates, weather reports and points spreads.
FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 5-8)
Last week: DENVER BRONCOS (-7.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Win)
The Buccaneers came up short on their backdoor attempt at Denver last weekend which brought an end to the nice little losing streak we had going.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+2.5) vs. New York Jets: Rex Ryan is going back to Mark Sanchez? Good. Then I’m going back to the counter to fade the Jets.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
4-1 last week. A new personal best. I think I wet my pants.
DALLAS COWBOYS (+3) at Cincinnati Bengals
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (+2.5) at New York Jets
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-7) vs. San Diego Chargers
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (+5) at New York Giants
HOUSTON TEXANS (+3.5) at New England Patriots
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.
FANDUEL WEEK 14 SALARY CAP CHALLENGE
We’re upping the ante this week and for those who think you can hang, we welcome the action. Same format as before, but the prize pool totals a healthy $4k, with only 178 total spots available.
CLICK HERE to enter.
START ‘EM UP
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans (at Patriots): The Houston signal-caller is averaging a tasty 349.6 passing yards per game over his last three starts, with eight touchdown passes and a completion percentage of 67.4%. But the big plus here is that with the exception of the Green Bay debacle back on October 14, Schaub has demonstrated a knack for showing up in big-time games (think Denver, Baltimore). We’re anticipating an exceptional performance in the race for home field advantage as the Texans head to New England to face a Patriots defense that ranks 29th in the league against the pass (279.9 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 22.1 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (sixth-most in NFL).
ICONBradshaw should see a heavy workload Sunday against the Saints.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants (vs. Saints): In his first start since backup Andre Brown was lost for the season, Bradshaw carried the football 24 times, his highest total since October 14. Look for Big Blue’s workhorse to see another healthy dose of touches Sunday against a dreadful Saints defense that currently ranks dead last in the league against the run (153.8 yds/gm) while giving up an average of more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the business (23.9 pts/gm).
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans (at Colts): We keep hearing the same rhetoric out of Tennessee week after week: The team needs to get the football to wide receiver Kenny Britt. But despite the unimpressive five catches he’s totaled over the last two weeks, Britt has found the end zone in each of his last two starts. Sunday offers up an exceptional opportunity for the Titans to get their aerial game back on track as the Colts currently rank 20th in the league against the pass (240.4 yds/gm) while surrendering an average of 25.8 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (fourth-most in NFL).
Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams (at Bills): A charter member of the 2012 Sits category, Jackson has a very favorable matchup on the horizon that should finally give his owners something to smile about. Buffalo’s defense has been shredded against the run this season, allowing an average of 139.2 yards (30th in NFL) and 22.7 fantasy points per game (fourth-most in NFL). Welcome back to the Starts category, S-Jax.
Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints (at Giants): Colston hasn’t topped 75 receiving yards in a game since October 7, but we really like his chances for a breakout performance on Sunday afternoon. The Giants have been gutted through the air this season and currently rank 22nd in the league against the pass (245.2 yds/gm) while giving up an average of 25.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts (fifth-most in NFL). And after Drew Brees’ five-interception performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13, you can bet the New Orleans quarterback is looking to light it up on Sunday.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers (vs. Lions): A bust based on his draft position and overall lack of production this season, we still like Finley’s chances for success on Sunday night. The Green Bay pass-catcher has rolled up 177 receiving yards over the last three weeks and squares-off against a Lions defense in Week 14 that is surrendering an average of 9.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season (fifth-most in NFL).
Seattle Seahawks, D/ST (vs. Cardinals): Arizona ranks dead last in the NFL in total offense (279.1 yds/gm), while the Seahawks are surrendering an average of just 13.8 points per game at home this season. What else do you need to know?
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at Steelers): If Jim Harbaugh was Captain Comeback, than Philip Rivers is Captain Iceberg. Seriously, have you ever seen a team that was so talented at finding new and inventive ways to lose football games? Rivers has topped 300 passing yards in a game just one time over his last seven starts and has thrown a grand total of only one touchdown pass in his last two outings. Leave him on the bench this Sunday at Pittsburgh when the Bolts take on a Steelers team that leads the league in pass defense (166.7 yds/gm) while giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than any other team in the league (13.0 pts/gm).
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots (vs. Texans): Ridley has been fantasy gold for owners over the last few weeks, as the second-year back out of LSU has found the end zone in five straight starts. But we advise you to exercise caution in Week 14 as the Houston Texans come to town with the league’s second-ranked run defense (87.6 yds/gm) that is surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (11.3 pts/gm). This is going to be a physical, hard-hitting matchup.
Poor quarterback play has absolutely killed Larry Fitzgerald's stat line this season.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (at Seahawks): We love Larry Fitzgerald. But the guy’s talents are being wasted worse than a fat bankroll at a Vegas strip club. Fitzgerald has found the end zone just one time over his last six starts and hasn’t notched a 100-yard performance since Week 3. We don’t see any reason to believe that Arizona has miraculously solved t heir quarterback issues, so leave Fitz on the bench this Sunday against a Seattle defense that ranks fifth in the NFL against the pass (203.4 yds/gm) while giving up an average of just 17.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (third-fewest in NFL).
Reggie Bush & Daniel Thomas, RBs, Miami Dolphins (at 49ers): Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers are pissed. San Francisco just fell in overtime to the St. Louis Rams and has an upcoming schedule that features road dates at New England and Seattle over the next two weeks. This is a must win situation, so you should expect a big performance from the league’s third-ranked run defense (90.6 yds/gm) that is giving up an average of just 12.2 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Jets): One of the 2012 season’s top waiver wire acquisitions, Shorts has found the end zone in four straight starts. But there are two reasons why you should leave the surging Jaguar on the bench this Sunday. For starters, he suffered a concussion at the end of last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills and may not be cleared to play in Week 14. Second, for as bad as the Jets have been this season, the team still ranks fourth in the league against the pass (198.3 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of only 18.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (sixth-fewest in NFL). We advise you look for another receiving option in Week 14.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers (at Steelers): The sun is setting on the San Diego tight end’s Hall of Fame career. Gates hasn’t topped 60 receiving yards in a game in any of his last six starts and hasn’t found the end zone since November 11. Throw in a Week 14 date against the league’s top pass defense that is giving up an average of just 6.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (second-fewest in NFL) and you have the recipe for another lackluster performance.
Houston Texans, D/ST (at Patriots): Over their last three outings, the Houston defense is giving up an average of 445.6 total yards and 26.0 points per game. That’s a not a good trend when you’re heading into a Monday night road showdown at New England against a Patriots offense that ranks first in the NFL in total offense (426.2 yds/gm) and scoring (35.8 pts/gm).
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh