Baltimore Ravens: Are there any Ravens you can trust going into the fantasy playoffs?
Baltimore has suffered so many injuries this season, most of which have come on the offensive side of the ball. They've lost their #1 options at QB, RB and WR in Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett and Steve Smith, who have now been replaced by Matt Schaub, Javorius Allen and Kamar Aiken. All of these guys had a decent game against Cleveland on Monday night, but they don't get to play a defense that porous every week. They have a decent match-up in Week 13 against Miami, but then they play Seattle and Kansas City in Weeks 14 and 15 respectively, before playing Pittsburgh in Week 16, who had been playing pretty good defense recently, at least until Seattle put 39 points up on them last week. Aiken and Allen could put up some decent numbers just based solely on volume, but they shouldn't be trusted as every week starters.
Cincinnati Bengals: Is A.J. Green a surefire starter for your teams in the final weeks?
Green has actually been a disappointment by his standards in most games this season, only racking up four games with 10 or more fantasy points. Also, 28 percent of his total fantasy points for the season came in Week 3 against Baltimore, when he put up 10 catches for 227 yards and 2 TDs for 34 fantasy points. The Bengals' offense has a pretty good schedule for the last quarter of the season (at Cleveland in Week 13, home against Pittsburgh in Week 14 and at San Francisco in Week 15), except for the final week of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues, as they play in Denver against the Broncos in Week 16. He'll likely be in your lineups no matter what, both because of his name and because you have no better option, but that game in particular is going to be tough on the entire Bengals' offense.
Cleveland Browns: Same question that was posed for the Ravens, can you trust any Browns in the fantasy playoffs?
I know I'm recycling this question from the earliest version of this series after Week 4, but with the news that QB Josh McCown is out for the remainder of the season with a broken clavicle, my answer to this question is an easy no. I know Gary Barnidge has been a Top-5 TE this season, but that's come pretty much exclusively with McCown in at QB. WR Travis Benjamin has been useful at times with both McCown and Manziel, but you can't count on production from him every week. The RBs -- Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson -- have been out of starting consideration for a while now. What will be interesting to watch is if the Browns will stick to their guns and keep Johnny Manziel on the bench behind Austin Davis. Either way, I don't expect a lot from this offense going forward.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Can Ben Roethlisberger stay on the field long enough to help fantasy teams in the playoffs?
This is a question that applies to both Roethlisberger and the other offensive players on the Steelers, because without Big Ben, the offense is obviously not as effective. He left last week's game against Seattle with a possible concussion and is now in the protocol, but it sounds like he could play this week. Without Ben, WRs Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant are much worse options in fantasy and it would be tougher sledding for RB DeAngelo Williams. Pittsburgh does play at home against Denver in Week 15, but otherwise has a pretty good schedule going into the fantasy playoffs. As long as Big Ben can stay healthy, this offense will put up fantasy points in bunches.
Buffalo Bills: Can Sammy Watkins be trusted from this point forward?
I love Watkins' talent and he's shown it several times this season, including last week in a 6 catch, 158 yard and 2 TD performance against Kansas City. Buffalo has a match-up against Houston this week, which has been playing defense as well as any team in the league for the past four games or so. After that, they get games at Philadelphia, at Washington and at home against Dallas, none of which are particularly scary. There are two main questions for Watkins: will he be able to maintain his health (which he hasn't done for long stretches this season) and will the Bills' offensive game-plan get him involved to the degree that he should be? You can't predict injuries and I think Rex Ryan and the Bills' coaching staff knows Watkins is one of their best offensive weapons. I'd count on him being in the WR2 range in the final quarter of the season.
Miami Dolphins: Now that another coaching change has been made in Miami, can we count on Lamar Miller again?
When the Dolphins made their first round of firings this season, including previous head coach Joe Philbin, they came back from their bye and had a more balanced offense, getting RB Lamar Miller much more involved in the game-plans than he had been prior to that. It's now been a while since all that occurred and OC Bill Lazor has now been let go for going back to his old ways, putting too much pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill and not running the ball enough. Unfortunately, Rookie RB Jay Ajayi has also been playing well lately on minimal touches, so Miami could want to see what he can do if he was more involved in the offense. I love Miller's talent and don't really understand why he's never gotten the chance to get the full workload, but at this point I just can't trust that Miami is going to do what's right, even with a change at OC.
New England Patriots: What is the Patriots' offense going to look like with so many offensive weapons out?
The Pats have suffered as many offensive injuries as any team in the league, losing WR Julian Edelman, RB Dion Lewis, WR Danny Amendola and now TE Rob Gronkowski, who it sounds like will luckily only miss a few games. This leaves QB Tom Brady with basically WR Brandon LaFell and a bunch of backup and practice squad type players to throw the ball to. It's going to be almost impossible to sit Tom Brady, but his ceiling is going to be pretty capped until Amendola and Gronk are able to come back. It's already hard to know when RB LeGarrette Blount is going to be a big part of the game plan in New England, even last week against Denver, in a game that looked perfectly scripted to be a "LeGarrette Blount game", he only got 9 rushing attempts. Don't waste time trying to decipher when you can put Blount in your starting lineup.
New York Jets: What should you do with Chris Ivory for the last few weeks?
Ivory was one of the best RBs in both real life and fantasy football early on during the season, but had a three game slump in which he didn't run for more than 2.4 yards per carry (ypc) from Weeks 7-10. He's had at least 4.1 ypc in the Jets' most recent three game stretch, but had only 8 carries in one of those games. The Jets' upcoming schedule actually isn't as great as it looks, as Tennessee, Dallas and New England all have decent-to-good rushing defenses. Even with that in mind, Ivory has to be considered at least a RB2 as we move into the fantasy playoffs.
Houston Texans: Are there any Texans' players you should be starting other than DeAndre Hopkins?
Basically? No. Hopkins had an off game last week in what was a great match-up against New Orleans, but that was mostly due to game-flow, as the Texans got out ahead of the Saints early and stayed that way, with their defense continuing a dominant run in the last several weeks. QB Brian Hoyer is strictly a streaming option and there's not really any match-ups in the final few weeks that stand out as great options. You can't trust anybody in Houston's running game, as the RBBC is in full effect and there's no other receiving options that should get enough work to be a good option. Like I said, Hopkins is the only guy you should be starting in playoff lineups.
Indianapolis Colts: Can Frank Gore be a starting running back for fantasy teams in the final quarter of the season?
Gore has been disappointing recently, averaging only 2.5 ypc over the past four games -- albeit that two of those games were against the likes of Carolina and Denver -- and scoring just 1 TD in that time. The Colts have games against Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Houston and Miami left, which doesn't look like as good of a schedule as it used to. With backup Ahmad Bradshaw now out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury, I'd expect Gore to continue to carry the load for the Colts running game and QB Matt Hasselbeck has played better than anyone could have expected. All things considered, I'd continue to trust in Gore as a RB2 option, especially with the amount of touches he's been getting.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Is T.J. Yeldon a reliable starter leading up to the end of the season?
Yeldon has gotten the overwhelming majority of touches out of the Jaguars' backfield in his rookie season, but that hasn't always amounted to a lot of statistical success. On the season, Yeldon only has three games with double digit fantasy points, only two games with over 100 rushing yards and only 1 rushing TD. I just can't see myself starting a guy that offers hardly any upside, no matter how many touches he's getting. He's probably a low-end RB2 or flex, but that's it.
Tennessee Titans: Who should you be starting in this offense?
Delanie Walker. That's it, that's the whole list. RB Antonio Andrews has been getting the majority of carries in the backfield, but that hasn't led to a lot of fantasy points. The WRs are all hit or miss, including Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas and Dorial Green-Beckham. QB Marcus Mariota has definitely had his big games this season, but has also had some typical rookie struggles and shouldn't be relied upon as a starter. Walker has been by far the most consistent guy in this offense, getting at least 5 fantasy points in every game he's played in except one this season. He can serve as an every week starter if necessary.
Denver Broncos: Now that the Broncos are running Gary Kubiak's offense, can you really start both running backs in this situation?
Ronnie Hillman has gotten the majority of touches over C.J. Anderson for a while now and he's scored double digits in fantasy points in every game he's gotten double digit carries except one (6 of 7 games). That being said, Anderson has averaged at least 4.5 ypc in all of the past five games, including a 15 carry, 113 yard and 2 TD performance against New England last week. If I had to choose one option it would be Hillman, but I think Anderson should at least be in the RB3/flex consideration.
Kansas City Chiefs: Can you start any Chiefs' starting RB going forward?
Apparently so...I mean, have you seen what's happened since Jamaal Charles went down? Charcandrick West averaged 22 rushing attempts and 20.7 fantasy points in a three game stretch before going down with an injury in Week 11. Then rookie Spencer Ware took over and has only scored 21 and 17 fantasy points in the past two weeks. In either case, whether it's West coming back or Ware continuing on, whichever guy is starting for the Chiefs looks like a RB1.
Oakland Raiders: Is Derek Carr someone you can trust as an every week starter in the playoffs?
Surprisingly, I'm going to say yes here. Carr has tough games against Kansas City and Denver in the next two weeks, then plays Green Bay and San Diego in the fantasy playoffs. Carr had a very disappointing game against Detroit in Week 11, but has been extremely solid besides that. Since the Raiders' Week 6 bye, Carr has at least 23 fantasy points in every game except that game against the Lions and he had 29 or more in all but those two. Carr is definitely a solid QB1 for me.
San Diego Chargers: Besides Philip Rivers, who can you count on in the Chargers' offense?
The obvious answer here is TE Antonio Gates, who showed back up last week with 4 catches for 53 yards and 2 TDs. But Gates has been hobbled by knee and hip injuries recently and I don't know if he'll be as consistent as everyone expects. How about WR Stevie Johnson? Johnson has had at least 8 targets and 7 receptions in each of the past three games and scored 15 fantasy points last week against the Jaguars. With so many injuries in the Chargers' receiving game, Johnson is one of Rivers' most reliable targets and should continue to be this involved. In that case, Johnson should be a low-end WR2 and at worst a WR3/flex play.