I am back just in time for playoffs! I had to take last week off to work on all my finals here at Syracuse. Although I'm still in the midst of countless exams, I couldn't miss writing some playoff articles for you all. I usually highlight about three to four players each week after the rankings list, but after missing some time I have a lot I want to say. Plus it's the postseason, that itself warrants extensive coverage.
For those of you chasing the league title, these rankings should help you move closer to that trophy and all the bragging rights that come with it. For those of you in the consolation bracket...at least you tried. But, you still have something to play for: not being last. You may not being going for first place, but the champion of the Toilet Bowl bracket is still a champion, right?
|2||Odell Beckham Jr.||NYG||@MIA|
|49||Ted Ginn Jr.||CAR||ATL|
Let's start off by talking about a guy I love this week for the playoffs: Jeremy Maclin. He has hit his stride at just the right moment. He's had nine catches in the last two games for a total of 275, three of those being touchdown grabs. Over that same span, Alex Smith has completed nearly 86% of his passes when throwing Maclin's way. Although San Diego's defense has been tough against opposing wideouts, I can't help but ride the hot hand, especially when he's at home.
No Jimmy Graham? No Marshawn Lynch? No problem. Just throw it to Doug. Over the past two weeks, much like Maclin, Seattle's Doug Baldwin has been on fire. He has five touchdowns in the last two games. Baldwin's production has skyrocketed since his Week 9 bye and even more so now that some key Seahawks are unavailable. Something has clicked with Russell Wilson. After going seven consecutive games with only one passing touchdown, Wilson has thrown 11 in the last three weeks. Currently holding the final wildcard spot in the NFC, every game is make it or break it for the Seahawks and they have been making it. I'm sticking with Baldwin moving forward, he's a strong WR2 this week.
A receiver I have talked about in the past a lot is Sammy Watkins. Every week I text my friend Pete, a Bills fan, and tell him where I've ranked Watkins, and every week he is mad at me for ranking him too low (although, he probably wants him at number one every week). Well this week, I'm buying Watkins. He's a top-15 play. Watkins is finally showing us why he was deserving of the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. He has torched the last two defenses he has played and has made some incredible catches while doing it. I also love him this week because of his big play potential. Since Week 10, he is tied with only Martavis Bryant for the most targets of 25 yards or more (12), according to ESPN Fantasy. To make him even more enticing, Watkins faces my Eagles this week, the worse passing defense in the league. Start him with no hesitation. I hope you enjoy this ranking, Pete. Maybe Watkins will do well, but your Bills will not beat my Eagles!
Some other notable guys I like this week:
Allen Hurns. He's coming back from injury this week and gets to face the Colts. Last time they met in Week 4, Hurns burned them catching went for 11/116/1 for a total of 29 points. Now he gets the at home after they surrendered 303 passing yards to the Steelers the week prior. Hurns is a solid WR2.
Stevie Johnson, assuming he is available to play. He's battling a groin injury, but if he returns, he's the number one guy in a pass first offense. Not to mention, the Chiefs defense has given up the most yards to receivers this season.
Now a quick looks at guys I don't like this week:
Dez Bryant. With Matt Cassel under center, I'm just not feeling Bryant. He was invisible all of last week until one 42-yard catch on the final drive. Cassel has thrown one touchdown in his past three games, just one. I can't put much stock into any receiver if I can't put much stock into the quarterback throwing to him. Dez Bryant is still elite, no doubt about that. When he has the ball he always has the potential to make a play. But, he hasn't had more than five receptions in the seven games he's played in this season. The truth is: you'll probably end up using Bryant due to lack of better options, but if you have the resources on the bench, I wouldn't blame you for tossing him to the side.
Jordan Matthews has scored in his last two outings, but I still don't find him viable to anything more than a more than a flex play. He doesn't get used as much as owners hoped he would this season. In the last four games he hasn't eclipsed six targets, 4 receptions, or 60 yards, according to ESPN Fantasy. That's not something I want on my team, especially for PPR. Matthews is completely touchdown dependent. Gamble with him if you want. But, if he doesn't find pay dirt, he's pulling you in low single digits.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. The reason being the Denver defense has been a monster against the pass. They have only allowed one touchdown to a wideout all season: Mike Wallace back in Week 4. Neither Crabtree nor Cooper was able to record a double digit fantasy point day when these two teams played back in Week 5. With their offensive production so close, they are both WR2 for me this week with low floors and low ceilings.
For more information/question on guys I did not covered here, ask me on twitter @NickPetraccione.