To paraphrase that fine singer Mr. Kenny Loggins, “This is it.” After four months of NFL action the fantasy football playoffs are finally here (in most formats). Weeks of pouring over replays, statistics and rankings to set our weekly lineups have hopefully led us to the promised land.
Yes. The big dance starts this week and it’s time to pick up our tuxedos from the dry cleaners and get ready to boogie.
Let’s see how many cheesy clichés I can fit into the opening of this week’s article. Hey, we need to keep things light as the tension of the ‘win or go home’ portion of the season is upon us.
There weren’t many changes to the ‘studs’ lists once again as I didn’t see any performances that were worthy of shaking things up.
As we head into the playoffs keep in mind that if you happen to own a couple of ‘studs’ on your team (this especially applies to the quarterback position) and wonder which I prefer, simply check my weekly rankings. I rank them in the order I would would start them.
Let’s get to it!
Matthew Stafford, DETROIT vs. Chicago – It’s time to believe in Stafford once again after a fine performance against the Saints last week in which he put up 341 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. This week, he faces a banged up Bears defense at home. In the last four games, Chicago has allowed seven touchdown passes while posing just one interception. The Stafford train rolls on in Week 14.
Andy Dalton, CINCINNATI at Cleveland – This matchup is too sweet to leave “The Red Rifle” out of our lineups. The Browns are one of the softest defenses in giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks having allowed 28 touchdowns and an average of 268 passing yards per game. Even without A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, Dalton will have a field day against a porous Cleveland secondary.
Eli Manning, NY GIANTS vs. Dallas – Eli had a bit of a rough outing last week at Pittsburgh throwing a pair of interceptions. Manning did manage to throw two touchdowns and now has five straight multi-score games. The Cowboys have been giving up a lot of fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last three games having given up 1,126 passing yards and seven touchdown passes without an interception. In the Week 1 victory over Dallas, Manning threw for three touchdowns.
Jameis Winston, TAMPA BAY vs. New Orleans – We chased the Saints defense last week with Matthew Stafford and it paid off. This is a nice matchup for Winston and the red hot Buccaneers as New Orleans has allowed at least two touchdown passes in eight of the last ten games and over 300 passing yards six times on the season. Winston will target Mike Evans all day long and the Saints will have no answer for the duo.
Cam Newton, CAROLINA vs. San Diego – It’s too hard to trust Newton at playoff time when he’s put up only one touchdown in four of his past six games. The Panthers appear to be circling the drain and will be facing an opportunistic San Diego defense. In the last five games, the Chargers have racked up seven interceptions while allowing eight total touchdowns to quarterbacks. It’s too risky to roll out Newton as he is trending in the wrong direction.
Tyrod Taylor, BUFFALO vs. Pittsburgh – Taylor has kept himself fantasy relevant by rushing for five touchdowns in the last six games. It’s the passing totals that concern me as in those six games, Taylor has thrown for only three touchdowns and topped 200 passing yards just twice. Relying on a rushing touchdown on a weekly basis is a risky proposition and especially so this week. The Steelers defense has allowed just 82 rushing yards to quarterbacks on the season and has not given up a rushing score to the position.
Ryan Tannehill, MIAMI vs. Arizona – The Dolphins and Tannehill came crashing back to earth last week in a blowout loss to the Ravens. Tannehill was awful throwing three interceptions and looked lost last week. The Cardinals defense has been tough on quarterbacks allowing only 14 total touchdowns while racking up 31 sacks and 11 interceptions through 12 games. No thanks.
Trevor Siemian, DENVER at Tennessee – The matchup with Tennessee isn’t a daunting one as they’ve allowed 22 total scores to quarterbacks in 2016. It’s a matter of how healthy Siemian will be after missing last week with a foot injury. Hopefully, Denver doesn’t rush the kid back because of how poorly Paxton Lynch played last week. The Titans have put up 30 sacks on the season while Denver has allowed 33. If the less than nimble Siemian is still nursing the foot injury then he will be in for a long day. I’m suggesting avoiding this situation all together.