“This is why you play – to get an opportunity to play in the playoffs.” -Derek Jeter
We are now in the playoffs, so what do you need to be successful while you are here? Is it a flex running back? A platooning quarterback? Or are you all set and just need good luck to keep going strong?
Well, we can help you, with everything but the luck thing of course, she is a fickle little thing and if I could figure her out then I would probably be able to afford my own island.
Everything else is simple enough to figure out. You just need to determine what your needs are and then prioritize them, if needed, after that make the best plan to land that player. Now, hopefully for you that player is on waivers and in a position in which you can grab them.
If that’s the case, then you could be very happy in 3 weeks when your league is crowning a champion. In order to make that happen, you have to know who it is that you need to target, that is where I come in. I’ve got fairly interesting ideas as well as no-brainers on players that can help you in this first week of the playoffs. So let’s dive in, and as always, let’s start with quarterbacks.
Brock Osweiler threw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on Sunday when his Texans lost in a snow covered game at Lambeau field on Sunday. Osweiler also faces Indianapolis and Jacksonville over the next two weeks.
He seems to be pulling it together, he is playing teams that are usually nice to opposing quarterbacks and he is available in 92% of leagues, so he is definitely a quarterback you would want to target this week, right? On second thought, no.
Osweiler did have a better week, and he is facing an easy schedule, but he has just not been that good this year. Don’t be fooled by one nice week. He has yet to throw for 275 yards in a game this season and he only has one more (14) touchdown than he does interceptions, (13).
He would be an interesting risk this week to take during bye weeks but these are the playoffs, and most likely the person you are playing has a good quarterback and you can’t afford to drop a bunch of points to this position so Osweiler is not your answer.
If you are in the playoffs and need quarterback help, then this week you are lucky as I’ve got two top-ten quarterbacks for you. The first of which is Andy Dalton.
Statistically speaking, Andy Dalton is the 4th ranked quarterback in the NFL this season and he is available in 40% of your leagues. Now, we all know that actual statistics and fantasy statistics are two different things, but the point is that Dalton is actually having a nice year. He just threw for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bengals win over the Eagles this last Sunday and he plays Cleveland this next week.
Even if his game hasn’t always translated to the fantasy side of things, this season you can rest assured that the Bengals team that has been very unlucky this year with injuries will be very motivated to take out their frustrations on possibly one of the worst teams ever in the history of the NFL. I know you can pick up Dalton this week and plug him in with no worries, if you need a quarterback.
On the same exact note is Joe Flacco. Flacco is, statistically speaking, the 8th ranked quarterback in the NFL and he is a top-10 fantasy quarterback, and yet he is still available in 75% of your leagues out there.
Flacco threw for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns last weekend in their 38-6 smack down over the Dolphins. He has been in a real nice groove lately and this week he gets to face the Patriots. Normally, that would be a bad thing but the Patriots are down a couple of players but are still very potent, which means we could see a Brady/Flacco shootout next week and there is nothing nicer than having the starting quarterback of a team involved in a shootout.
In that same game, we have a running back that many are going to be looking at on the waiver wire this week, Baltimore’s Kenneth Dixon. At 52% available and with a couple weeks in a row of about 50 yards rushing and 4 catches per game, he is looking as a viable option in deep and PPR leagues.
He is also facing the Patriots this week as mentioned earlier, and there is where I have a problem. I think this game will be a shootout or a Patriots blowout. Either way, Flacco is going to be attempting a lot of passes; I don’t see the running game being a big factor this week. So I can’t suggest you take Dixon, even though at first glance, he seems like a strong pickup.
You could, however, pick up Mike Gillislee. Gillislee should be available to you since he is still available in 74% of leagues. Gillislee has been seeing a lot of action lately even though he is the clear backup to LeSean McCoy.
This last week, he ran for 49 yards but more importantly, it seems that when they get near the goal line they like to give the ball to him as he secured not 1 but 2 touchdowns. One definition of vulture is “a contemptible person who preys on or exploits others.” If you talk to McCoy owners, I’d say they believe that a picture of Gillislee belongs right next to that definition in the dictionary.
The good news is that you can be on the happy side of that definition if you just go pickup Gillislee. There should be many opportunities to score next week as they go up against the Steelers in what should be a high-scoring game.
If you would rather put your playoff trust into a starting running back, and I understand if you would, then consider a man I talked about last week, T.J. Yeldon.
Yeldon is available in 40% of leagues, and with Glass Joe being Glass Joe, I’m sorry, I meant with Chris Ivory being Chris Ivory, Yeldon has the backfield to himself. This last week he faced one of the NFL’s toughest defenses in the Denver Broncos and was able to procure 55 yards on the ground and 27 in the air off of 3 catches.
You can expect more of the same this week as they face another of the league’s toughest defenses in the Minnesota Vikings. The good news is it gets easier after that for the last two weeks of playoffs as the Jags go up against the Texans and Titans, still two good defenses, but not at the level of the Broncos and Vikings.