It’s Week 15 of the 2011 season, and that means one thing. If you’re still reading this you’ve likely advanced to the fantasy playoffs, quite possibly in spite of, and not because of, the recommendations I’ve offered here this season.
However, someone has to tell you what not to do, so 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)
Darnell Dockett – DE, Arizona Cardinals (vs. CLE): Dockett’s stats have suffered in his move to a role as more of a “true” 3-4 DE, but the eighth-year veteran should be in for a big day against a Cleveland Browns team that has fallen apart offensively.
Michael Johnson – DE, Cincinnati Bengals (at STL): After falling out of favor and from the starting lineup in Cincy Johnson has bounced back, has a sack in each of the past two games, and possesses a very favorable IDP matchup with the Rams this week.
Jabaal Sheard – DE, Cleveland Browns (at ARI): There seems to be no “rookie wall” for Sheard, who has 14 tackles and two sacks in his past three games and faces an Arizona Cardinals squad this week that has allowed the third most sacks in the NFL this year.
London Fletcher – ILB, Washington Redskins (at NYG): It goes without saying that you should start Fletcher this week, but I wanted to give the old man props for leading the National Football League in tackles at 36 years young.
David Harris – ILB, New York Jets (at PHI): Harris has been something of a disappointment IDP-wise this season, but he should have a solid shot at a big day in a top 10 fantasy matchup with the even more disappointing Eagles Sunday.
Jerod Mayo – WLB, New England Patriots (at DEN): Mayo appears to have rounded back into form at the perfect time for his IDP owners and matches up at Mile High this week with a Fighting Tebows team that loves to run the ball.
DeAngelo Hall – CB, Washington Redskins: Hall is just good enough to occasionally make the big play but not so good that opposing quarterbacks have any reservations about throwing his way, which makes him an intriguing IDP option, especially in favorable matchups such as this one.
Darian Stewart – SS, St. Louis Rams (vs. CIN): The second-year pro was one of the few bright spots in the Rams ugly loss to the Seattle Seahawks last week and has emerged as one of the few reliable tacklers on an atrocious Rams defense.
Chris Long – DE, St. Louis Rams (vs. CIN): Howie’s kid has had by far his best season in the NFL in 2011, but whether it’s his gimpy ankle or a horrible matchup there are multiple reasons to consider shying away this week.
Brian Robison – DE, Minnesota Vikings (at MIN): Robison has shown some flashes and served as a decent depth guy or bye-week fill-in this year, but unless you’re beyond desperate look elsewhere, as the Saints just don’t give up many sacks.
Justin Tuck – DE, New York Giants (vs. WAS): First it was his neck, then his groin, and now his freaking toe? Did Tuck break a mirror over a black cat’s head while walking under a ladder with an umbrella open inside or what?
David Hawthorne – MLB, Seattle Seahawks (at CHI): It’s been an up-and-down season for Hawthorne as he’s battled knee injuries, and with a matchup on tap against a Chicago Bears offense in free-fall he’s a risky playoff option.
Patrick Willis – ILB, San Francisco 49ers (vs. PIT): Odds are Willis returns to the field this week, and he may well have a big day, but given that it’s a Monday night game waiting on him in the playoffs without a backup plan is ballsy at best and foolish at worst.
Colin McCarthy – MLB, Tennessee Titans (at IND): McCarthy’s been a rock since entering the Titans lineup and will almost certainly be the Opening Day MIKE in 2012, but this week’s matchup with the craptastic Colts is, well, crappy.
Reed Doughty – SS, Washington Redskins (at NYG): With LaRon Landry done for the year it will be DeJon Gomes, and not Doughty, who will start at SS for the Redskins…at least until Mike Shanahan changes his mind 15 minutes from now.
Jason McCourty – CB, Tennessee Titans (at IND): McCourty should return to the field this week after a concussion sidelined him against the Saints, but a matchup with the Colts will likely just leave his IDP owners with a headache.
Bernard Pollard – SS, Baltimore Ravens (at SD): Pollard makes his second straight appearance on the duds list, but while I hated his matchup last week I love it this time. I just have reservations about how much time he may be on the field for it.
Have a question about a particular player? Check out the Fantasy Sharks IDP Forum or E-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll do my best to help!