By Andy Goddard (@godsy1985)
It’s playoff time in fantasy football. No matter how well you have done up to now, one mistake could cost you the season. To help you as much as possible we have broken the games down. For this article we will be looking at just 4 games;
- Panthers @ Falcons
- Dolphins @ Jets
- Chargers @ Jaguars
- Steelers @ Cardinals
QB – Sam Darnold (NY Jets) vs Miami Dolphins
Yes, Darnold had an absolute stinker against the Bengals. The Jets did the typical Jets thing and got beaten by the only remaining unbeaten team in the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite the awful performance last week I would still persist with Darnold against another poor opponent in the Miami Dolphins. Prior to the Bengals game, Darnold had produced at least 21 fantasy points in three straight games and the Dolphins have allowed 29 touchdowns and the third most fantasy points to opposing QB’s this season. A divisional game at home, surely the Jets will make a massive improvement on last weeks performance.
QB – Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs Carolina Panthers
In the slate of games that we are covering here, the only other quarterback I would start is Matt Ryan. The Falcons have stated that they won’t be shutting down Matt Ryan or Julio Jones even though this has been a very disappointing season. Ryan had a solid performance in week 13 throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons do have injuries on offense but all signs point towards Jones and Hooper being back to face the Panthers. The Falcons have struggled to run the ball this year so Ryan will need to get the offense going again. Look for him to eclipse 300 yards once more and find the end zone at least twice. Although this one does carry risk.
RB – Austin Ekeler (LA Chargers) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Melvin Gordon has taken over the lead running back role from Ekeler but he still putting up good fantasy numbers. He has scored at least 16 points in the last two games and he has a favourable matchup against a Jaguars defense that have allowed 6 touchdowns and the second most fantasy points to running backs since week 10. Ekeler has become a massive weapon in the passing game for the Chargers, with four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown last week. He may not be the number one back but he will continue to see plenty of action.
RB -Benny Snell Jr. (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
A free spot in the flex? I would be tempted to start Benny Snell. With James Conner being unavailable Snell has become the main man in the backfield for the Steelers leading the team in both snaps and touches during the last two games. He had 16 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown last week against the Browns. The cardinals have surrendered 11 total touchdowns and account for 9 of the top 20 fantasy performances by opposing running backs this season.
WR – D.J. Moore (Carolina Panthers) at Atlanta Falcons
D.J. Moore is posting great fantasy numbers recently. In fact, he has scored at least 17 fantasy points in the past 5 weeks and has an average of 103 yards per game! This run includes an impressive 31.4 fantasy points against the Saints in week 12. He has a very good chance at keeping this run going against a Falcons defense that has given up 10 touchdowns and the fifth most fantasy points to receivers lined up out wide. Moore has averaged over 32 routes per game in that position and he has at least 9 targets in the previous six games.
WR – James Washington (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
With JuJu Smith-Schuster very likely to miss another week, I would not hesitate in starting Washington who made the most of JuJu being missing last week with four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown against the Browns. The Steelers may have mediocre QB play but Washington is making the most of his opportunities. He has topped 90 yards and scored a touchdown in 3 of the last 4 games and boasts a massive 19.3 yards per catch average! This week he is up against a Cardinals defense that has been giving up deep shots all season, surrendering an average of nearly 5 plays per game of over 20 yards!
TE – Ryan Griffin (NY Jets) vs Miami Dolphins
Griffin is up against the Dolphins who have been very generous to opposing teams tight ends this season allowing more than 15 fantasy points to the position since week 10 and Griffin has already scored 11 fantasy points against the Dolphins in week 9 where he had six catches on eight targets for 50 yards. With tight ends at a premium this season, Griffin is a solid option this week.
TE – Vance McDonald (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Arizona Cardinals
McDonald hasn’t put up any real fantasy numbers in recent weeks but here come the Cardinals who have been hit hard by tight ends all season long. The Cardinals have given up 13 touchdowns to opposing tight ends and although McDonald may be a risky choice, he should see plenty of targets this week, especially in the red zone.
QB – Philip Rivers (LA Chargers) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars defense have allowed just 16.7 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and just 8 touchdowns on their home field. Rivers could also be benched as the Chargers playoff hope disappear and Rivers will soon be a free agent.
RB – Kenyan Drake (Arizona Cardinals) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Drake may well be the leading back for the Cardinals but he could be in for another quiet day against the Steelers.
WR – D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars) vs LA Chargers
Prior to last weeks game against the Broncos, the Chargers have contained number 1 receivers very well and Chark is trending down with 10 fantasy points or fewer in three of the past four games. Chark is a risk that is not worth taking in the playoffs!
TE – Jaeden Graham (Atlanta Falcons) at Carolina Panthers
Graham had a very productive week against the Saints in week 13 with 16.10 fantasy points but don’t be tempted by one performance. Hooper will be back so Graham’s chances may be limited.