By this time of the year you should have a good idea of whether or not your team is going to be going to the fantasy playoffs in your league. If it’s looking like you’re going to make it in, now would be the time to take a look at your flex players or the non-stud guys on your roster and see what their schedule looks like for the playoffs. Now would be the time to make a trade for a guy with a better playoff schedule or who is coming off injury and looks to be healthy for your playoff run. You might also want to see if your quarterback, wide receiver or kicker is going to be playing in any stadiums that could potentially run into cold or windy weather during those critical weeks.
If your schedule is filled with dome games or warm weather stadiums, you could be in good shape for putting up good numbers. The opposite goes for your running backs; you want a guy that could be getting more carries because of the weather. The end of the season is where more running yards come from due to these cold climate games. Stadiums for the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are all open air and could have cold or windy weather during your playoff weeks. Now onto the calls for the week.
Are you on the Tim Tebow bandwagon yet? This week you’re going to want to be. Since he has become the starter this year, he’s averaged more than 80 yards rushing and has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game. He might not get you the passing yards (he averages 152 a game), but makes up for it with his rushing totals. This week in Kansas City Tebow should continue his streak of helpful fantasy games and you should have him in your starting lineup.
Mark Sanchez has been right below starter material for fantasy this year. This week he goes up against New England and its pitiful pass defense. In their meeting earlier this year Sanchez went 16-for-26 with 166 yards and two touchdowns. This is a home game and Sanchez should be able to improve on those previous numbers. In three-fourths of their games, the New England pass defense has allowed more than 300 yards and/or two touchdowns. Sanchez would be a good call this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to have a tough game this week against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have a Top 10 defense against quarterbacks, and haven’t allowed a 300-plus yard passer since Week 1. Fitzpatrick has really slowed down since his hot start. In three of his last five games he has failed to throw for more than 200 yards. Fitzpatrick should not be in your starting lineup this week.
Josh Freeman gets his toughest matchup of the year when faces Houston this week. Houston has been a Top 10 defense against every fantasy position. In the last three games, quarterbacks facing Houston have averaged 120 yards and one touchdown. Freeman is going to have a tough time getting much more than that against the tough Texans defense. Freeman would be a bad call this week.
Would you believe that Willis McGahee has four 100-plus yard rushing games this year? I’d say that McGahee is absolutely the No. 1 running back in Denver, which is good because Denver goes to Kansas City this week and faces the Chiefs’ weak running defense. The last three No. 1 running backs to face the Chiefs have all gone for more than 100 total yards. After racking up 163 yards and two touchdowns last week, McGahee should be able to put up some good numbers for you this week.
Tampa Bay’s run defense is so bad that even Ben Tate should be able to put up a useable fantasy stat line this week. Tate has been doing a lot with the minimal touches he sees, including his 12 runs for 115 yards and a touchdown last week, and 15 carries for 104 yards three weeks ago. Tate is actually averaging 5.7 yards per carry this year. Defenses just don’t get a break when Arian Foster comes off the field. Having Tate in your lineup would be a good call this week.
Darren Sproles has been on fire this season, but this week would be the time to sit him (and next week with his bye, of course). Sproles has eight touchdowns this year, but has scored all those touchdowns at home. This week on the road against Atlanta and its seventh-ranked defense against the run is the time to sit Sproles.
If you started Brandon Jacobs last week you made a good call and got rewarded with his 72 yards and a touchdown rushing and 28 yards through the air. This week it would be a bad call to start Jacobs. Even if Ahmad Bradshaw is out again, San Francisco is really tough against the run. The 49ers haven’t allowed any running back all year to gain more than 64 yards rushing against them, and Jacobs’ performance last week was his best of the season. Sitting Jacobs this week would be the right call.