It’s Week 14 of the 2011 season, and that means that in many leagues the regular season’s a done deal and it’s playoff time, with each successive week meaning that you’d better go big or go home.
As you get your playoff affairs in order here’s a look at some players you should give serious consideration to getting into your lineups or who could outperform expectations (Studs) and some that, for whatever reason, you may want to consider leaving alone, or at least take into account that they may be a relative disappointment this week. (Duds)
Da’Quan Bowers – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at JAX): Bowers had a huge Week 13 with eight tackles and 1.5 sacks and gets a very favorable matchup with a Jacksonville Jaguars squad allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing defensive linemen.
Chris Clemons – DE, Seattle Seahawks (vs. STL): No team in the National Football League surrenders more sacks than the Rams, who may be forced to start their third-string quarterback against a Seattle defense that plays much better at home.
Justin Smith – DE, San Francisco 49ers (vs. ARI): Smith has been whisper quiet of late but has an excellent shot at rebounding this week against the Arizona Cardinals, who are a top five fantasy matchup for opposing defensive linemen.
Derrick Johnson – ILB, Kansas City Chiefs (at NYJ): The Jets give up the fourth most ponts per game to opposing fantasy linebackers, and with the Jets likely to be milking the clock late in the game Johnson should see a ton of tackle opportunities.
Rey Maualuga – MLB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU): If there was ever a game for the third-year pro to break out in it would seem to be this week’s tilt with the Texans, who allow the second most tackle opportunities in the National Football League.
Colin McCarthy – MLB, Tennessee Titans (vs. NO): The rookie has been an absolute beast sine he entered the Titans lineup, and that should continue this week against a New Orleans Saints team that gives up the most tackle opportunities in the NFL.
Roman Harper – SS, New Orleans Saints (at TEN): Harper has struggled through a couple of down games in a row but spending more time in the box chasing Chris Johnson should turn the sixth-year veteran back into the IDP stud we all know and love.
James Sanders – SS, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR): Sanders has supplanted William Moore as the starter at strong safety for the Falcons and matches up with a Carolina Panthers team giving up the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing defensive backs.
Alterraun Verner – CB, TEN (vs. NO): With Jason McCourty likely sidelined by a concussion Verner slides back into the starting lineup for the Saints, and Verner showed a year ago that he’s more than capable of posting solid IDP numbers when given the chance.
Trent Cole – DE, Philadelphia Eagles (at MIA): Cole will be locking horns with stud offensive tackle Jake long this week, so while the Dolphins are a favorable IDP matchup there is some risk involved with starting him Sunday.
Ray Edwards – DE, Atlanta Falcons (at CAR): Where to begin? Putting one of this year’s IDP disappointments at his position on a list of duds is like putting water on a list of things that’s wet. If you have any other viable options, bench the bum.
J.J. Watt – DE, Houston Texans (at CIN): Watt’s had an excellent rookie campaign, but the Bengals have been exceeding ly stingy this season both in sacks allowed and fantasy points allowed to opposing defensive linemen.
Pat Angerer – MLB, Indianapolis Colts (at BAL): Angerer injured his knee on the first play of last week’s game, leaving his status for this week in doubt and making him a risky IDP option even should he take the field.
Jamar Chaney – MLB, Philadelphia Eagles (at MIA): Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, in his infinite wisdom, has gone back to Casey Matthews as the MLB in the nickel, which robs Chaney of tackle opportunities and IDP value.
David Harris – ILB, New York Jets (vs. KC): Harris has been a so-so IDP option this season, and that’s not likely to improve this week against a Kansas City Chiefs offense that is, shall we say, um…..not good.
Jordan Babineaux – SS, Tennessee Titans (vs. NO): After being a steady IDP producer at strong safety while Chris Hope was sidelined Babineaux and Hope are now rotating reps, which renders both players more-or-less worthless.
Reed Doughty – SS, Washington Redskins (vs. NE): Doughty could be a very sneaky play against the Pats if he starts, but it’s just as possible that Shanahan rolls out DeJon Gomes at strong safety just to screw with us.
Bernard Pollard – SS, Baltimore Ravens (vs. IND): Pollard’s IDP value has increased significantly as he’s received more playing time, but this week’s matchup with the winless Indianapolis Colts is about as bad as it gets from a fantasy perspective.