Marion Barber figures to be the feature back for Chicago while Matt Forte is on the mend.
Tarvaris Jackson- Chances are that if you're in the playoffs, your quarterback is probably going to just a tad bit more reliable than T-Jax. If you're in a two-QB league or something or have been playing waiver-wire bingo because you lost Schaub or Jay Cutler, Jackson could be a player to consider. The Seahawks get the Rams on Monday Night Football. The Rams passing D may seem like an unfavorable matchup considering they're ranked eighth in passing yards, but their personnel is really thin. Darian Stewart was unable to go as one of their best defenders in the secondary. Plus they have corners prone to the deep ball (i.e. Crabtree on Sunday).
Bottom Line: Desperate times call for desperate measures for this high-upside QB.
Alex Smith- I like Smith a little less than I did before Sunday's game. Why? Patrick Peterson had his best game as a pro in coverage against the Cowboys. Based on that, P^2 would probably stick Smith's favorite target in Crabtree. Besides Peterson, the Cards do need some help in the secondary with Adrian Wilson looking slower than ever while Richard Marshall has been struggling on the other side of Peterson. This game is also at U of P, so the weather-proof factor is a nice selling point.
Bottom Line: If you’re not a fan of rolling the dice, Alex Smith should be a safe bet for double-digit fantasy points.
Marion Barber-There's not a lot of analysis needed here. Matt Forte suffered a Grade-2 MCL sprain and now his season is in jeopardy. Barber will take over the featued loaded and received 14 carries in Sunday's action. Secondly, when the Bears get in a goal-line situation, one would think that handing the ball to Barber seems like a prudent move compared Caleb Hanie throwing the ball at. all. They do get a red-hot Denver rushing defense this week and Seattle's fourth-best YPC allowed in Week 15. A featured back is still a featured back.
Bottom Line: Barber needs to be added in all leagues.
Maurice Morris- The details of Kevin Smith’s ankle injury have not yet been disclosed, so we’ll be forced to speculate. I'd guess Smith does have a high ankle sprain. His foot went inward with ease twice even when his steps looked harmless. This usually indicates that the ligament connecting the tibia to to the fibula on the lateral (outside) side is probably sprained. Of course an MRI would give a conclusive diagnosis. This would mean Smith would certainly be out this week and possibly for the rest of the season. Morris caught nine balls on Thanksgiving and filled in admirably vs. New Orleans. Expect for him to touch the ball over 10 times against the Vikings on Sunday.
Bottom Line: Morris and the Lions have some great matchups for the rest of the season and Morris is likely to be a decent flex while Silent Bob is out. Stay tuned for Smith updates.
Ryan Grant- James Starks is dealing with an ankle injury and is unlikely to put in his usual work at practice. Starks has been dealing with minor ailments of his ankle and knee all season and there’s at least a chance he doesn’t play vs. Oakland. The Raiders just allowed 100 yards to Reggie Bush and got absolutely whipped at Sun Life Stadium. Grant doesn’t have much upside with the way Green Bay passes so much, so he's ceiling is more of a flex.
Bottom Line: Grant could emerge as a flex this week. Owners should keep an eye on Starks this week at practice.
Dexter McCluster- McCluster had a nice fantasy day thanks largely due to the Hail Mary from the hand of Tyler Palko. McCluster also had a team-high 61 rushing yards on his nine carries in the stunning win at Chicago. Jackie Battle has fallen out of favor and Thomas Jones’ contract is up after this season. That lack of any back chomping at the bit to take this job means the Chiefs will probably get creative with their play calling which would benefit the Ole Miss product. McCluster isn’t a great option this week against the Jets and there’s a chance Todd Haley allows Thomas Jones to get more carries against his old team.
Bottom Line- If McCluster lays a foundation on Sunday, he could be a nice flex play against Green Bay for Week 15. He’s worth grabbing in some 12-team formats.
Other deep-league options: Brandon Saine, Stevan Ridley Mossis Madu
Golden Tate- There was a whole lot to like about Golden Tate from Thursday Night Football. He showed excellent body control on adjusting to passes while the ball was in the air on top of displaying a nice rapport with T-Jax. Tate’s stat line won’t make owners salivate with only four targets leading to four receptions for 47 yards and that aforementioned TD catch. On the other hand, he gets a great matchup and the Seahawks should be able to score some points on Monday Night Football against the Rams.
Bottom Line: It will take a little slice of crazy to start Tate. He has a nice chance to break out for more than six catches and flirt with 100 yards.
Devin Aromashodu- D.A. played a ridiculous 81 snaps on Sunday for the Vikings and was targets a whopping 16 times in the loss to Denver. I don't have the stats to prove it, but that has to be one of the most snaps ever played at receiver. Despite the gaudy snap count, most fantasy owners may be a bit apprehensive to add the former Bear based on how he only has 15 catches on the entire season. However, that amount of snaps and targets in conjunction with how he has a great matchup against the Lions makes him a player that has value.
Bottom Line- Aromashodu is an intriguing matchup play this week and he's probably going to be my weekly deep sleeper I'll be mentioning on Twitter.
Nate Burleson- Burleson is probably already owned in your league. If he’s not, he could be injected with some new life by his competition falling behind. Titus Young inexcusably covered up the tight end at the line of scrimmage against the Saints as well as making other mistakes in the loss. Young could be put on the back burner for Detroit’s plan with his lapse of judgment and more targets could continue to come Burleson's way.
Bottom Line: The Vikings are missing six players in their secondary and Burleson is a high-end WR3 this week.
Demaryius Thomas - Please read the bottom line for Burleson again. OK. Thomas took full advantage of that joke of a secondary in Minnesota to allow him to accumulate four catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He got seven targets and was wide open for most of the game, too. Thomas had many fantasy owners (including me) falling head over heels after his 10-target game in Tebow’s first start in Miami. Thomas also had a TD in that game, however, he has barely been a blip on the radar since his gem. It wouldn’t be wise to trot Thomas out there in your lineup this week, but….
Bottom Line: The Broncos play New England Week 15 and Thomas might be someone that could become a WR3 as long as he performs this week. He’s worth stashing in several formats.
Damian Williams- Nate Washington is dealing with an ankle injury and he is likely going to be a game-time decision against the New Orleans Saints. All season long fantasy owners have been trying to figure out whether it’s Washington or Williams as the WR1 for Tennessee. That debate could be moot since Washington might be out, which sets up Williams for what could be a monster game against the soft NO secondary.
Bottom Line: He’s a great matchup play and could be a WR2 in a perfect, non-Washington world.
Brad Smith- Smith lead the Bills in snaps two weeks ago and this week he fared well with seven catches for 72 yards. He saw a team-high 10 targets despite facing an adept corner in Jason McCourty most of the game. In a bit of a surprise, the Bills didn’t give him any carries, but that should change sooner rather than later. This week the Bills get a nice matchup for their passing game with A. Cason and Q. Jammer struggling at their corner positions (Jacksonville game doesn’t count).
Bottom Line: The former Missouri QB is a decent option in PPR leagues and is armed with a nice schedule.
Others to consider: Andre Roberts, Brandon Gibson, Chaz Schilens and Kevin Walter
Logan Paulson- Is Logan one of the best 32 tight ends in the league? No. One could argue he’s not even in the top 50. This sounds a lot like the old saying, "what do you call a guy that goes through med school and finishes his residency with the bare minimum? You call him a doctor." The fact is Paulson is starting and the Redskins will have to keep a tight end on the field to help set up the run. In other words, they aren’t going to be able to run four- and three-wide sets all game.
Bottom Line: Tight end has been a mess this year for many owners and maybe Paulson becomes an asset in two-TE leagues.
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