Hot/Cold List Playoff week 1
The playoffs are about to begin!! This list will include a handful of players at each skill position that has either a very favorable matchup or a matchup to avoid each week in the playoffs. May those players you selected for your fantasy playoff pools appear frequently on the steamy side while those you avoided stay frigid throughout the post-season.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina (vs. N.Y. Giants): Don’t be fooled by Delhomme’s lack of passing yards recently. He’s thrown for two TDs in three of the past five weeks and his yardage will impress this week as the G-Men continue to struggle stopping the pass.
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh): In two games vs. Pitt this year, Palmer has thrown for 454 yards, three TDs and two INTs. Palmer’s groin injury will not affect him and he’ll lead Cincy up and down the field despite the Steelers blitzing like crazy.
Chris Simms, Tampa Bay (vs. Washington): Simms had his best game of the season against the Redskins throwing for 279 yards and three TDs back in week ten. This week, Tampa will concentrate on the run and when Simms does pass, the Redskins will apply pressure and will shut down his main target in Galloway.
Mark Brunell, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): The last time Brunell threw for more than 200 yards was back in week 10 against these same Bucs. With the Redskins likely to lean heavily on Portis, Brunell will be asked to simply not lose the game which does not bode well for the fantasy world.
Willie Parker, Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati): In the two games against the Bengals this season, all Parker did was average over six yards per carry. Expect more of the same this week as the Steelers want to keep Palmer & Johnson off the field as long as possible.
Clinton Portis, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): To say Portis has been on fire lately is a huge understatement. He’s rushed for over 100 yards in each of the past five games. Portis ran for 144 yards against Tampa Bay back in week 10 and he’ll get plenty of chances to make his mark again this week.
Corey Dillon, New England (vs. Jacksonville): Dillon’s calf injury should not be a factor this week but don’t expect Dillon to be the top point-man in New England. The Pats will find success in the air which should translate into fewer opportunities for Dillon to post big stats.
Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh): Johnson is another back that doesn’t have a bad matchup, but his offense will work the aerial attack keeping his chances to a minimum. Johnson could still post 60-70 yards, but he’s still not worthy of a playoff-roster spot on your fantasy team.
Steve Smith, Carolina (vs. N.Y. Giants): As Smith goes, so goes Delhomme. You can’t predict a solid day for Delhomme without including Smith very close behind. Smith has 100+ receiving yards in nine games this season and he should crack that mark again this week.
Deion Branch, New England (vs. Jacksonville): Branch has only posted one game of 100 receiving yards this season, but fear not. The Brady-Branch connection will be a formidable duo starting this week. Don’t miss out.
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati (vs. Pittsburgh): CJ has a few tricks left in his TD-celebration bag and we’ll see at least one of them this week. My bet is an old-school dance from the MC Hammer catalog. Please CJ, don’t hurt ’em.
Santana Moss, Washington (vs. Tampa Bay): This one is a tough call, but with Brunell likely to struggle, Moss is unlikely to surpass his numbers from the last time he faced the Bucs when he caught four passes for 79 yards with no TDs.
Hines Ward, Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati): Big Ben will not post big stats which means Ward’s inconsistent season will continue for another week as Pitt runs Parker and the Bus all day long.
Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants (vs. Carolina): I like Burress, I really do. What I do not like, is the chances of Eli Manning in his first playoff game producing enough offense for Burress to make his mark. Carolina will swarm Manning and pressure him into some very poor throws making you wish you didn’t start any member of the Giants passing attack.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati): The last time Miller played in Cincy he caught six passes for 58 yards and a score. While his stats may not be that high, Miller will be a target near the goal-line and five catches is not out of the question as Big Ben will be looking for his safety valve more often than he wants.
Ben Watson, New England (vs. Jacksonville): There’s not many TE locks this week, so I’m banking on the rookie performing well in his first playoff game. Watson has at least 30 yards receiving in seven of the last nine games with three TDs during that stretch. You can expect around 4-5 catches with 30-40 yards receiving and potentially a score.
Jeremy Shockey, N.Y. Giants (vs. Carolina): See Burress. A bad day by Manning will translate into below average numbers for Burress, Shockey and every other member of the Giants passing game.
Alex Smith, Tampa Bay (vs. Washington): Given Simms chances of struggling this week, Smith will have to take a back seat to Ben Watson in the “rookie TE that will post the better stats” category.