A heads up, a lot of the players I would have written about here I have already written about in my plug and play week 17 waiver wire article, as such I’m only going to write about players I haven’t written about in that article.
Matt Ryan- He’s turned out to be the fantasy QB you wanted in the fantasy playoffs. Not Peyton Manning(27 points), not Aaron Rodgers(46 points), not Andrew Luck(36 points), not Drew Brees(48 points) but Ryan, using ESPN standard scoring,(67 points) with no game under 15 fantasy points. He gets a Panthers team that hasn’t been tested since playing Drew Brees 3 weeks ago(although they blew the Saints out that game so it wasn’t much of a test) and I think he will continue his strong play to close out the year.
Russell Wilson- He’s a top 5 QB and the only QB to have scored more than Ryan in the fantasy playoffs(week 14-17) with 77 fantasy points in ESPN standard leagues during that time and he gets the Rams this week, who he drubbed for 35 points the last time they played.
Tony Romo- This depends on how much he plays but Washington gives up the most fantasy points to opposing QB’s and Romo should be able to torch them if given the opportunity.
Jonathan Stewart- The Falcons aren’t that much better against running backs. They have given up 482 yards(272 rushing, 210 receiving) to opposing backs the past 4 weeks and 7 TD’s in that span(5 rushing, 2 receiving). Stewart has had 20+ carries the last three weeks with 2 100+ yard games and a rushing and receiving TD in that span.
Kelvin Benjamin- The Falcons have given up at least 200 yards to opposing receivers in every game since their week 9 bye and Benjamin the target monster is due for a big game and I expect it in this showdown for the worst division in football. Benjamin is tied with Vincent Jackson(surprisingly) for 5th in the NFL in targets, averaging 9.4 a game.
Colts, Saints, Broncos- I could see a scenario where the Titans and Buccaneers and Raiders lay down and settle for their high draft picks.
Tom Brady- Brady and the rest of the Patriots starters can’t be trusted this week. The Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs withe Denver losing to the Bengals and will likely not play their starters the whole game against the Bills.
Phillip Rivers- He’s banged up, he will be missing weapons(Ryan Matthews and Keenan Allen) and the Chiefs give up the 8th least fantasy points to opposing QB’s.
Jamaal Charles- With only 10(or less) fantasy points in his last two games and dealing with an injury(questionable heading into the game) I was already hesitant on Charles for this game. Take away Alex Smith and have San Diego stack the box and I am definitely hesitant on him.
Frank Gore- He had a great week last week(capped off by a long TD run) but he only ran the ball 6 times for 10 yards the last time he played the Cardinals. The Cardinals haven’t been as stingy in their run defense lately but they are still a bad match-up for Gore this week.
DeMarco Murray, Joseph Randle- Hard to know which one will play or get the bulk of the workload. Dallas might be inclined to rest Murray against Washington heading into the playoffs, which would seem to give Randle the boost but Dallas hasn’t been conservative with Murray all season so we will see. Washington also plays well against the run, as they rank 10th in rushing yards allowed per game and give up the 2nd least fantasy points to opposing running backs.
T.Y Hilton- He play this week but I am dubious whether how productive he will be or if he plays the whole game. The Colts are locked into the 3 or 4 seed(the difference is negligible) and don’t really have anything to play for.
Sammy Watkins- He has only strung together consecutive 10+ fantasy point games once this year(Weeks 7 and 8 when he lit up the Vikings and Jets) and he had 75 yards and a TD last week, so this means this should be the bad week.
Rob Gronkowski- See above
Travis Kelce- No Alex Smith isn’t going to bode well for the only fantasy relevant pass catcher on the Chiefs
Panthers- They have played well the last two weeks but it’s time for them to go back to the bench this week. Atlanta hasn’t given up more than 7 fantasy points during the second half of the season and they will be firing on all cylinders looking for a division crown.