By Kristine Reese & Corinna Evans
So you made it to the playoffs in your fantasy football league? I bet you feel accomplished. Now all those late nights of studying free agents, early morning trade requests to your co-workers & unexplained anger due to injured players is finally paying off.
If you made it to the playoffs, congrats! If you didn’t this post isn’t for you… (Don’t worry we still love you & wish you the best of luck next year!)
Let’s get straight to it this week with our Fantasy Football Fix advice to you as you enter the first week of the playoffs. Here are the top players we suggest… And the top players we suggest you bench.
Drew Brees – The Saints QB is a must start every week. He has reward fantasy owners this season with 385 completions of 543 attempts for a grand total of 4,368 yards. As the end of the regular season approaches it is important to keep in mind that the teams are preparing for playoffs. In Brees situation, chances are he will continue to see the same amount of playing time. Especially since the last 2 games are crucial wins.
This week Brees travels to Minnesota to take on the Vikings, which should result in significant fantasy points. In week 16 the Saints host the Atlanta Falcons, who are still in the hunt of a playoff spot. To close out the season the Saints will host Cam Newton & the Panthers.
If you have made the playoffs with Drew Brees on your team, you be insane not to start him. Period.
Aaron Rodgers – As the Packers come closer to the end of their perfect season, it’s a safe bet that Rodgers will keep up his productivity. With healthy bodies on the field, Green Bay should have no problem continuing to make it happen on the field. In the 2011 season, Rodgers have completed 305 of 438 passes for 4,125.
The Packers travel to Kansas City this weekend & with the season the Chiefs have been having this is a positive matchup for anyone with Rodgers as their fantasy QB. To end the season the Packers will have to face the Bears & Lions.
As I stated with Brees, if you have Rodgers & don’t start him you are a fool. End of story.
Tom Brady – With a struggling New England defense, Brady is forced to lead his team to victory. Which works out for fantasy owners since he has completed 328 passes of 496 attempts for 4,273 yards. Tom Brady will face
the overhyped Tim Tebow in week 15. You should expect Tom Brady to have a high scoring week as usual.
The key to winning in the playoffs is that if it isn’t broken why fix it. Don’t try to get all fancy at the end.
- Shonn Greene (Philadelphia, Giants, Miami)
- Willis McGahee (New England, Buffalo, Kansas City)
- Arian Foster (Carolina, Indianapolis, Tennessee) – You can include Ben Tate as well.
- Felix Jones (Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, New York Giants)
- Rashard Mendenhall (after his SF match-up, St.Louis, Cleveland)
- Steven Jackson (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
Calvin Johnson – The Detroit wide receiver seems like a no brainer to start, but the upcoming schedule makes him look even more promising. This week the Lions will face the struggling Oakland Raiders. If things go according to plan this should be another beneficial week for your fantasy team. Johnson has already recorded 72 receptions for 1,121 yards this season.
Following the trip to Oakland, the Lions will take on the Chargers who have also had a tough year. To finish out the season the Lions will meet the Packers. Even with an undefeated season, the Packers won’t be able to stop Johnson’s productivity completely.
Hakeem Nicks – The Giants are still fighting to claim their spot in the playoffs. That means you can expect Eli Manning & Hakeem Nicks to be connecting as often as possible to snag a few last minute victories. The Giants will take on the Redskins this week, which is a favorable matchup for the Giants.
Before clinching their spot, they will need to face the New York Jets & fellow division rival the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys & Giants are fighting it out for the playoff spot, which will make week 17′s game even more interested. With 65 receptions for 1,023 yards in the 2011 season, Nicks is always a safe start in your fantasy league.
Wes Welker – With Tom Brady on this list, it’s obvious that the other end of the Patriots dynamic duo makes the list. Welker has proven he is the top target in New England week in & week out. Even with other highly productive targets, Welker always finds a way to be a clutch part of their offense. In 2011, Welker has managed to catch 100 passes for 1,339 yards.
The worst teams against the TE according to football outsiders are Carolina, Minnesota, New England, Washington. Guess who ranks top against opposing tight ends? The St.Louis Rams.
- Rob Gronkowski (He is match-up proof but he faces Denver, Miami, Buffalo)
- Jimmy Graham (Minnesota, -ATL-, Carolina)
- Brent Celek (Jets, Dallas, Washington)
- Owen Daniels (Carolina, Indianapolis, Tennessee)
- Anthony Fasano* (Buffalo, New England, New York Jets) *If Matt Moore is the starter
- Antonio Gates (Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland)
- Vernon Davis (Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis)
Let’s be honest here, your fantasy kicker has never made or broken your team… But those few extra points could be the difference between the next round in the playoffs & an early vacation. The top 3 kickers I suggest going forward are as follows: John Kasay – New Orleans, Mason Crosby – Green Bay & David Akers – SF.
If you have one of these kickers you have an extra advantage. If you don’t, well I think you’ll live. Especially since you already made the playoffs.
- You’re obviously starting your Ravens defense.
- Broncos (Buff wk 16, KC wk 17)
Bottom Line - You’ve already made it this far… Don’t screw it up by trying to reinvent the wheel.
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This week’s Fantasy Football Fix is brought to you by Kristine Reese & Corinna Evans. Kristine Reese is the lead New York Jets writer and Corinna Evans is the lead Jacksonville Jaguars writer for Aerys Sports. They are also regular contributors of Fantasy content for Aerys Offsides. You can follow them on Twitter @kristinereese or @RoarBlackNTeal.