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Fantasy Football Playoff Preview

It’s been a long, grueling marathon of a season but we’ve finally reached the fantasy football playoffs. One of the most time honored beliefs about the postseason is that when in doubt, go with your studs. The old cliche goes that you want to stick with the guys that brought you to the Big Dance to begin with.

While I think this is generally good advice, I do think sometimes owners get mixed up between ‘Studs’ and ‘Name’ players. The crucial thing is to not ignore the facts on the ground. If you have a guy you drafted as a stud but he’s been underperforming all season long and yet you somehow have made it this far, now is not the time to think that this bust is going to turn things around.

Now is the time to put in the players who’ve produced. If you’ve made it to the postseason you’ve been using a sound strategy and deviating now from what you’ve been doing to gain a false comfort-level by putting an undeserving ‘Name’ in your lineup isn’t advisable. This is the fantasy playoffs and the stakes are as high as it gets and owners need to stick with what they’ve been doing in this unpredictable season.

This year’s fantasy playoffs have a number of storylines, which will have a direct impact on who gets crowned champion. Let’s take a look at some of the most compelling fantasy storylines of the next several weeks.

Which Elite Quarterback should owners consider benching for most of the Fantasy Playoffs?

Before we get started, I want to put an important preface here. I’m only advocating benching this elite QB if owners have superior options on their bench and I’m not talking about the
Eli Mannings
and
Colin Kaepernicks
of the world. It needs to be someone solid like
Nick Foles
or even
Russell Wilson
if you’re going to consider benching a fantasy stud like
Drew Brees
.

That’s right, my friends, with two matchups in the coming weeks against arguably the best defense in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers, owners might want to consider having Brees ride the pine for a little bit. You can put Brees back in the lineup in Week 15 against the Rams but those Panthers matchups are very shaky.

All of us saw the Seahawks dismantle Drew Brees and his Saints on Monday night. That was a massacre and it was brutal. Over the last four games, fantasy QBs have been averaging around 13 points against that tough Panthers defense. In most situations, you’re starting Brees regardless, but, in the scenario where you have a better, bolder option on your bench, owners need to give this lineup move some serious thought.

For these fantasy playoffs, the only Saint I absolutely trust is
Jimmy Graham
, who still managed to have a passable game against the Seahawks, the only fantasy player on his team to do that. The future 2014 first rounder is as safe as it gets and carries a high ceiling for owners every week, regardless of the matchup.

Who do you trust more in the Fantasy Playoffs: Roddy White or Brandon Marshall?

With the incredible amount of fantasy seasons that
Roddy White
has torpedoed this season, we’re getting pretty close to fantasy heresy to even put him in the same sentence as a
Top 5

wideout like
Brandon Marshall.
 And yet, in two out of the last three weeks, Marshall’s scored a measly four points, due to the ridonkulous play of emerging fantasy stud
Alshon Jeffery
. It’s getting a little hard to trust Marshall lately, especially at this crucial part of the season.

On the other hand, Roddy White is coming off his best game of the season with 10 catches for 143 yards receiving. His next two matchups against the Packers and Redskins are the stuff fantasy playoff dreams are made of. White, who said after the game that he’s
still being bothered

by his various injuries has finally started producing.

With White’s recent injury history and the fact that I still don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, I’m going to go with Marshall as the more trustworthy option, but this question isn’t as crazy as it was a month ago. If Marshall turns in another dud performance at the worst possible time for owners and White continues to flourish, I might have a different answer in Week 15.

Who is the most underrated player in fantasy football for the playoffs?

For the first month of the season,
Maurice Jones Drew

was a certified bust and was rightly lumped in with all the rest of the first round RB busts like
CJ Spiller

,
Arian Foster
and
Ray Rice
, to name a few. What MJD has done over the last month of the season, though, has helped redeem his season and he’s becoming especially valuable in PPR formats, catching 16 passes for 109 yards receiving. In his last five games, he has 456 total yards. He’s also been a touchdown machine, with four total touchdowns in his last quartet of games, including somehow a touchdown pass last Sunday against the Browns.

MJD is a real comeback story for the season. He’s no longer an elite RB1 but he’s certainly a rock solid RB2, which is still a valuable commodity. I trust him more than C.J. Spiller,
Alfred Morris
and
Eddie Lacey

for the rest of the way.  Speaking of Alfie…

Who is the most overrated player in fantasy football for the playoffs?

I think Alfred Morris is a sensationally talented player, which is easy to see for anyone whose seen the Redskins play this season. If you’ve seen the Redskins play, you’ve also seen how sparingly Morris can be used in the game plan. Entire halves of games can go by with Morris only getting a couple of touches like last Sunday against the Giants. 

Morris’ stats have been heading in the wrong direction for the last month. He’s gone from 13 points three weeks ago, to nine points the following week to finally five points last Sunday. Even though he’s demonstrated the ability to catch the ball on multiple occasions, coach Shanahan still prefers
Roy Helu
in the game on passing downs. 

This has put Morris owners in a real bind because if they’re actually watching the games, they’re seeing a very special player in Morris who just isn’t getting the opportunities, highlighted by an 11-carry performance in Week 13. If Shanahan gave Morris more opportunities, he would be a no-brainer, but with the way he’s being used in the offense, or not used, he’s an exceptionally dicey start in the fantasy playoffs.

Who will be the MVP of the fantasy playoffs?

This one’s easy. How about the guy that’s had back-to-back games of 200 receiving yards? I’m talking about
Josh Gordon
. He’s been the best fantasy wide receiver over the last several weeks and he’s a player who was drafted in the second half of most drafts last August. At this point, things like schedule, matchups, which jabroni the Browns have throwing him the ball; all of those things don’t matter. We’re talking about a player that could go in the late 1st round in next year’s drafts. No player will have a bigger impact for a better value, based on ADP, in this year’s fantasy playoffs.

Good Hunting!

Ed Bonfanti

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