Sunday - Jan 17, 2021

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Playoff Push

I have a term for fantasy football players who routinely turn in three straight four-point performances on the heels of a twenty-five point outing…ULCERS! The good news is that if you are positioned for a deep playoff run you probably don’t have many ulcers on your team, but if you do, now is the ideal time to move them before they cost you a championship with an untimely implosion.


There is no doubting Michael Vick’s ability to put your fantasy team on his back and carry it, but you can’t ignore his tendency to disappear from time to time. Much of Vick’s contributions rely on him being able to tally significant rushing numbers. He has only passed for more than 250 yards in five games. He will likely put up good numbers with upcoming games against the Cardinals and Patriots, but he faces defenses that are stingy against fantasy quarterbacks in the Jets, Cowboys and Dolphins in weeks 14-16. Chances are you drafted Vick with a pretty high draft pick and you are reluctant to trade him away, but if you are just outside of the playoffs and need a boost, you need to try to move him for multiple players to bolster your roster.


Given the scarceness of reliable starting running backs, I would never suggest dumping an inconsistent back. I would however, encourage you to capitalize on those few good starts and move a player for a more consistent back. On the heels of two good performances you might be able to find a trading partner for Reggie BushDaniel Thomas was expected to be the Dolphins’ primary ball carrier, but he has been hindered all season with hamstring problems. Bush is running better than he ever has in his pro career, but just isn’t trustworthy in the long term and despite Thomas’ inability to stay healthy, Bush only has six more carries.
  In previous seasons you could count on Bush to contribute in PPR leagues, but this season he has only been targeted 26 times. Move Bush while you still have an audience.


I have warned against trusting Chris Beanie Wells all year, so I’m not going to change my tune now. Wells has turned in a few respectable performances anchored by a three touchdown outing in week four, but his knee problems are not going to get any better as long as he doesn’t rest. Given his propensity for injuries and a playoff stretch of matchups that include tough running defenses, now is the ideal time to trade Wells if you can find the right deal.


Don’t be afraid of Chris Johnson or LeGarrette Blount if the price is right.
  Johnson should continue to get back on track this week against a weak Panthers’ run defense. His conditioning issues should be less of a factor at this stage in the season. Throw in some soft playoff matchups and Johnson is a risk I would be willing to take. Blount’s placement is largely due to his overall talent and the fact that in weeks 13-16 he gets to matchup with the Panthers’ run defense twice.


Marques Colston gets a lot of attention based on name recognition and being part of an explosive offense, but he has not been the model of consistency this season. Colston has only managed to haul in more than five catches in three contests and has only tallied 100 yards in one game. As long as Colston is a Saint, the ability to explode for a huge game will exist but unless he can quickly establish a reliable track record, you can’t pencil him in with any real confidence.

Much has been made of the poor season that Phillip Rivers is having. The other sides of Rivers’ struggles are that his go-to receiver Vincent Jackson’s numbers have bottomed out. Jackson has three 100-yard games, but he also has four games of less than 50 yards making him the quintessential fantasy receiving ulcer.


It may be too late to tempt the Andre Johnson owner in your league, but if you can put the right package together, there is no underestimating Johnson’s talent. He has relatively soft playoff matchups and should be well rested.


You drafted your team with the playoffs in mind so remember it is never too early to start preparing your team throughout the season. Don’t disassemble the team that has served you well to this point, but don’t let a deep playoff run slip through your hands because you are forced to start a team of inconsistent ulcers!

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