Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Kirk Cousins (QB – Washington)
Streaming quarterbacks is a thing and becomes especially important now that you’re in the playoffs. A lot of the guys with good matchups this week are probably owned, including recent strong performers like Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith. Cousins steps into the lineup and should fire away against a terrible secondary. You can definitely do worse than Cousins if you’re streaming a QB this week.
Jordan Todman (RB – Jacksonville)
Running backs come out of nowhere as the season moves towards its end. This week we have numerous backup running backs getting an opportunity because the normal starters are banged-up. Todman is one of those guys and he has two things going for him this week: his 4.4 40-yard-dash and the fact that the Bills have given up at least 100 yards and a touchdown to running backs over the last four games. It doesn’t look like Maurice Jones-Drew is suiting up because of his hamstring injury, so feel confident with Todman as a flex option.
Chris Ogbonnaya (RB – Cleveland)
Ogbonnaya is another guy with a chance to shine this week. The Bears are fucking miserable against the run as you saw on Monday night when DeMarco Murray abused them. Ogbonnaya isn’t exactly Murray, but he is averaging over five yards per carry. He also has caught 41 balls this year, which means he’ll be a true three-down back against the third-worst fantasy defense against running backs.
Roddy White (WR – Atlanta)
It’s safe to say the receiver with the biggest ass in the NFL is back to his old form. White’s managed 217 total receiving yards in the last two games, which is what we expect from a receiver who was in the top 15 of most draft boards before the season. Washington has given up on the season and their secondary wasn’t much good to begin with, so look for White to continue his revival.
Steve Smith (WR – Carolina)
Smith hasn’t been nearly the player he was in years past through this season’s first 13 games. He is historically known for the big play, but he hasn’t passed 69 yards in any game this season. With some teams nursing wide receiver injuries, Smith could easily jump into the starting lineup against a secondary that has been giving up big plays for weeks. Plus, can’t you see Smith jawing it up with Antonio Cromartie and then breaking off a long touchdown catch? I can.
Delanie Walker (TE – Tennessee)
The concussion symptoms look to be over for Walker, which is great for him and and his fantasy owners. Arizona’s defense is stingy, but has been the worst at defending tight ends. They’ve given up 14 touchdowns this year and Walker is decent at finding the end zone. Oh, did I mention that Arizona also has given up 162 more receiving yards to TEs than any other team this year?
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Andy Dalton (QB – Cincinnati)
I’m not going to tell you to bench your stars this week, so Tom Brady isn’t listed here even though his situation without Rob Gronkowski at Miami isn’t a good one. Dalton has been playing like the Vincent Jackson of quarterbacks this year. I think the only time you can feel confident starting Dalton is against a poor defense and Pittsburgh is reasonably effective at limiting opposing quarterbacks. Dalton put up 16 points against them in Week 2, but this is a road game. The risk of a crummy performance is too high for me to start Dalton with faith this weekend if your other available options are better.
Le'Veon Bell (RB – Pittsburgh)
The Bengals have done a good job limiting running backs despite losing Geno Atkins five games ago. Since that game, Cincinnati has buckled down and only allowed a maximum of 102 yards, while keeping the other three opponents under 100 yards on the ground. They also haven’t given up a rushing touchdown since Week 3, which speaks to their ability to limit the big play on the ground and defend in the red zone. While Bell is usually nice because of his volume and pass-catching, there might be a better situation for you this week.
Chris Ivory (RB – N.Y. Jets)
Ivory has been a decent flex option for most of the season, including double-digit points in three of his last five games. This week he’s likely to hit a wall against the second-best defense at handling fantasy running backs. There’s also likelihood for the Jets to fall behind early and feature Bilal Powell more often than Ivory in a hurry-up offense. As an example, I’d start both Ogbonnaya and Todman over Ivory.
T.Y. Hilton (WR – Indianapolis)
There’s some talk in Indianapolis about getting Hilton going, but the reality is he’s nursing a shoulder injury while seeing the opponent’s best cover corner on a regular basis. This week that means Johnathan Joseph and a Texans defense in the top third of the league when it comes to limiting fantasy wide receivers. With guys like Da'rick Rogers and Lavon Brazill giving Andrew Luck other options to throw to and the likelihood of a heavy run offense if Indianapolis gets an early lead, look for Hilton to continue to struggle.
Marques Colston (WR – New Orleans)
The Rams have better cornerbacks than you think and Colston won’t be dropping three touchdowns every week. Before his effort against Carolina, Colston only had two touchdowns and one 100-yard game all season.
Dennis Pitta (TE – Baltimore)
It’s great that Pitta came back as quickly from his hip issues as he did because he’s hard-nosed and fun player to watch. He also gives Joe Flacco another quality option to look for. Unfortunately, he now goes up against a Lions’ defense that’s only given up one touchdown to TEs this year and has limited them to the third fewest fantasy points. Pitta’s no sure thing, so don’t get too excited about his return.