First and foremost, congratulations on being in the fantasy playoffs. I’m fairly certain that you wouldn’t be reading this just for your weekly reading (if you are, I’m highly flattered). Chances are that your team is pretty stacked since you got to this point and you might not even use the bottomless resource we like to call the waiver wire. Of course some of you may have lost DeMarco Murray, Greg Jennings or you’re just worried about Big Ben (don’t be too worried, but you should definitely have a backup), so we have you covered. There are not a lot of injury replacements besides the two gentlemen mentioned above and we pretty much hit on most of the other guys last week too (i.e. DeMaryius Thomas and Ryan Grant).
One quick other piece of advice is that it’s rarely a good idea to get cute and bench a guy that got you here. This doesn’t necessarily apply to running backs as much as quarterbacks because playing Rashard Mendenhall this week sure does seem like a roll of the dice (vs. San Fran). Also Cam Newton is fairly risky to start at Houston. Personally, I have a huge decision to make between him and Matty Ice by Thursday. If you're in a jam, don’t forget that you can ask me any start/sit question on Twitter @MikeSGallagher at any time for a second opinion.
T.J. Yates (13)
Jake Locker (14)
Rex Grossman (15)
Felix Jones (1)
Ryan Grant (3)
Kahlil Bell (6)
Chris Ivory (8)
Montario Hardesty (10)
Jamie Harper (12)
Evan Royster (16)
Demaryius Thomas (2)
James Jones (4)
Nate Washington (5)
Devin Aromashodu (7)
Doug Baldwin (9)
Donald Driver (11)
T.J. Yates- Yates engineered a very nice comeback on the road on Sunday by topping the Bengals in Cincinnati. The Bengals did an outstanding job in limiting Arian Foster to his worst game since his hamstring woes. Yates put up 300 passing yards and two scores against the Bengals on 26-of-44 passing. This week should be a little easier on Arian with the soft Carolina D, so don’t expect Yates to put it up over 30 times. Although the Panthers D should be susceptible to allowing several points as they travel to Houston. Even though there is a chance that he can throw for two scores, Yates isn’t a top-12 QB this week.
Bottom Line: He's really only for two-QB leagues.
Jake Locker- Matt Hasselbeck is dealing with a calf injury and will retain the reins to the O as long as he is healthy. The Titans are one game behind the Jets for the last spot in the playoffs which gives the Titans little to no incentive to give their rookie a shot. For what it’s worth, Locker has looked pretty good throwing and running the football. If you’re going to have a backup, might as well go for upside.
Bottom Line: Owners shouldn't really cut any guy for value to grab Locker. Although if your opponent has a weak QB, it might not be a bad idea to play keep away since he has a nice matchup against the Colts.
Rex Grossman- If you saw Sunday Night Football, you should know why Rex Grossman is on this list. The Giants D had more holes in it than all the holes in the donuts that the Ryan brothers eat all week. There are about 15 quarterbacks I’d start over Grossman though.
Bottom Line: It's Rex. Proceed with caution.
Felix Jones- Honestly, there’s really no need to explain why to pick up Felix. As for reasons for starting him, check back later for Running Back Rankings.
Bottom Line: Yep.
Ryan Grant- Grant bumped into Ponce de Leon at some point last week to help reinvigorate his career at tailback. Grant torched the Raiders for 85 yards and two scores on Sunday in his best game of the year. The Packers aren’t likely to roll the dice on James Starks based on the way Greg Jennings just went down. What’s more, Brandon Saine also suffered a concussion and is probably going to sit this one out as well. The Packers get the Chiefs who just allowed 187 yards from scrimmage to Shonn Greene and 37 points to the Jets.
Bottom Line: He’s the last man standing in Green Bay and is a very strong start this week as a RB2.
Kahlil Bell- If you were Lovie Smith would you be willing to give Marion Barber the ball after Sunday? I wouldn’t. Bell got 14 touches in a game where the Bears were not trailing until the game ended (click here for Price is Right sound effect). Bell is a decent bet to clear 15 touches and could be lethal on some slip screens against the aggressive Seattle defense.
Bottom Line: Bell has a very nice matchup next week too against the Pack and might emerge as an RB2 with a solid day Sunday. He’s worth a look in almost all PPR leagues.
Chris Ivory- Ivory led the team with 13 carries on Sunday against the Titans. The Tiffin University product was effective with 51 yards and figures to be the lead dog again against the vulnerable Vikings. Mark Ingram's turf toe is unlikely to heal and Ivory should see a similar workload. The Saints will likely destroy the Vikings and Ivory could see a nice chunk of carries in the second half.
Bottom Line: It's going to be tough to start Ivory in most leagues this week. If he has a big week that could change in Week 16, so owners in deep leagues might want to be ahead of the curve.
Montario Hardesty- The chances of the Browns bringing back Peyton Hills seem awfully slim and Hardesty is a good bet to be the starter in 2012 (assuming they don’t draft Trent Richardson; which could definitely happen). Hardesty and the Browns get a suddenly hot Arizona D, so the matchup isn’t as alluring as it was about five weeks ago. They also get Baltimore in Week 16. Yuck.
Bottom Line: Hardesty is barely worth owning because of his tough schedule. Deep-league owners could do worse though.
Evan Royster- Royster has passed Ryan Torain on the depth chart. The Redskins get the Vikings in Week 16.
Demaryius Thomas- We touched on DeMaryius Thomas last week and he came through. Sunday was another big game with seven catches for 78 yards and a TD. The GT product saw a whopping 13 targets! He gets a fantastic matchup and the Broncos will have to loosen the leash on Tebow and the passing attack.
Bottom Line: He needs to be owned in all leagues an the Patriots allow the most points to fantasy wide receivers.
James Jones- In case you’ve been under a rock, Greg Jennings will miss the rest of the fantasy season with a sprained MCL. Jones lined up on the outside quite a bit while Jennings was in the locker room and figures to get a nice chunk of work against the Chiefs. The stat sheet shows that he was only targeted three times, so it’s not like he’ll be a must-start guy. He has huge upside with the way the Packers stretch the field and he could certainly catch a bomb.
Bottom Line: He should at least be grabbed in almost all leagues in case he busts out. Chances are there is a guy on your bench that doesn’t even come close to his upside.
Nate Washington- Nasty Nate played extremely well on Sunday to tally 130 yards on six catches. This happened with Nate dealing with back spasms and a bum ankle. He also saw nine targets and caught a TD on a beautiful throw from Jake Locker. In Locker’s two games he has heavily favored Washington, so if Locker does in fact start, Washington is a very strong candidate to start this week in most leagues.
Bottom Line: He is worth owning for his upside on the off chance Hasselbeck sits this one out.
Devin Aromashodu- Devin the Dude played 81 snaps yet again on Sunday for the second week in a row. He also saw 10 targets and reeled in four of them for 47 yards. The Vikings will need a lot out of him to hang with the Saints on Sunday.
Bottom Line: He certainly has upside this week with the way the Saints are giving up number to WR2s.
Doug Baldwin- Baldwin was everywhere on Monday Night Football with a block on special teams, a nice return and a wonderful job at wide receiver. It's still a little tough to count on him with the way the Hawks try to pound the rock.
Donald Driver- As old as Driver is (36), he has been productive in his last two games. Two weeks ago he scored twice and last week he saw six targets and caught four of them for 75 yards. He’s a decent guy in some PPR leagues.
Bottom Line: It’s hard to be enamored with his upside since he doesn’t run a lot of deep routes. He’s a decent guy for some PPR leagues though.
Nobody really emerged this week that we haven’t talked about multiple times. As always, feel free to ask me on Twitter or post your comment below on which players you’re considering.
Good luck this week! You can ask me anything you want about your fantasy in the comments or @ me on Twitter @MikeSGallagher