The fantasy football playoffs are here, for most of us at least, and if you are playing this week it usually means your team was not good enough to earn a bye. Which means you probably have room for improvement or the need to tweak your lineup. Be sure to check out my recommendations to help you through this week. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @mikekelleydlp with any additional sit/start questions you might have. Or you can join my Facebook Group, Dynasty League Problems and be a part of the conversation.
START of the Week:
QB Philip Rivers (S.D.)
When Rivers played the Raiders early this year he went of for 359 yards and four touchdowns and only completed 21 passes, which means there were a lot of big plays that day. I am completely expecting a repeat of that game. With it looking more and more likely that Gordon will not play this week, the Chargers could be looking to pass more than they did the first time around. At this point the Chargers are hanging on by a thread to their playoff hopes, and if you can’t make the playoffs then there is nothing better than ruining someone else chances at winning something. Like the Raiders quest for winning the division and possibly getting a bye. Rivers strikes me as the type of guy that would enjoy that. I look for him to throw for over 300 yards in the one and even three or more touchdowns as well. Good weather, two teams playing for something, two high scoring offenses, what more can you ask for in the fantasy playoffs?
SIT of the Week:
RB Todd Gurley (L.A.)
This is a tough one for me. I know Gurley has not produce at level we all expected. But he has produced at a low RB2 level all year and pretty consistently. This week he travels to one of the hardest places to play, Seattle. While the Rams did take down the Seahawks back in week two, both teams have changed a lot since then, especially the Rams. The Rams have not looked good at all, and that is about as nice as I can put it. They have no identity, no leadership, no direction, and now no coach. To make it worse they also have a short week as they play on Thursday night. This is the type of game that always has the potential to shock people because the players are playing for a new coach and that typically bring a little bounce to a teams step, but if the Seahawks can come out early and take the bounce away they game could get out of hand really quick and early. I am banking on the ball gets deflated early, and not the good kind that helps the Patriots steal wins, but rather the motivation to win this week for the Rams. I think this week is too important to risk starting Gurley, if you have other options use them.
START Tom Brady (N.E.)
All year I have reserved my quarterback sit spot for the QB playing against the Broncos and for the first time this year I am saying start the QB facing the Bronco’s defense. As a die hard Jets fan, can’t believe I just admitted that publicly, you will be hard pressed to find someone that hates the Patriots and Brady more than me. So I am not saying this because I am some Brady support, but rather because the Patriots just always seem to find a way. According the statics Brady should struggle, and if the Bronco’s can get to him he could, but you have to think they are game planning this one and some how Brady will find a way to put of solid numbers. Maybe not top QB1 number, but I still think he hits low end QB1 numbers.
SIT Drew Brees (N.O.)
In his last two games Brees has thrown for 583 yards. A little low for a guy like Brees but still a very healthy number for a quarterback. Where the concern comes in is the zero touchdowns and six interceptions in those two games. It has been well documented that Brees has his fair struggles away from the dome he calls home, and this week he travels to Arizona to take on the Cardinals who are one of the leagues best at stopping opposing passing attacks. I don’t think he will continue with no touchdowns this week, but I would not be counting on a good game from him. You might be better off finding a QB2 playing in nice weather with a decent match up over Brees, who has not looked good lately, going up against on the better pass defenses in the league.
START Carlos Hyde (S.F.)
The were consider a top run defense this year and say were because Hyde just torched for 193 yards on only 17 carries. Imagine if Hyde was on a good team like the Cowboys, I think we would be talking about him for MVP instead of Ezekiel Elliot. This week Hyde goes from seeing one of the top run defenses to one of the worst in the Atlanta Falcons. My only concern here is if the Falcons go up big early it could take him out of the game, but if the 49ers want to at least keep the game close they will look to control the game and clock with a heavy dose of Hyde. I don’t see him pushing 200 yards again, but going over 100 should be very doable for him this weekend.
SIT Devontae Booker (DEN)
The Broncos seem to be abandoning run pretty quick these days. Some might argue that it is because Booker is not an every down back, some might say opposing defenses are challenging the Bronco’s to throw the ball, and some would say the offense is just taking what is given them. What ever the reason it means Booker is not scoring fantasy points. I still think Booker has a future, but until the Bronco’s can balance out their offense he will have limited value.
START Tyreek Hill (K.C.)
If you get points for return yards at all Hill is a must start no questions asked. If you don’t Hill is still a very solid start. To quote his coach the dude is “freaky fast”, and I think that is putting is mildly. So for those of you in PPR leagues where you get return yardage points, you must start Hill. He is a touchdown waiting to happen at anytime. Whether you get return points of not, the Chiefs are looking to get Hill the ball. Currently Hill has a kick return, punt return, receiving and rushing touchdown. Any guy that gets that many opportunities is a must start for me. To me the best players out side of studs to start are the guys that get the most opportunities to score and Hill is one of those guys.
- Doug Baldwin (SEA)
- J.J. Nelson (ARI)
SIT Brandon Marshall (NYJ)
There are multiple things at play here for the justification of benching Marshall here. First the Jets season is over. Second Bryce Petty has more of a connection with Robby Anderson from all their time practicing as second stringers together. Finally Marshall is not 100 percent healthy and there is no reason to over use him at this point. While I do not think his playing time is in any danger I just see no need to force him the ball, when the clearly don’t have too.
START Travis Kelce (K.C.)
In his last four games Kelce has 28 receptions and 450 yards, for an average of 7 receptions and 112 yards per game. You cannot ignore those kinds of numbers. The only negative here is the zero touchdowns he has in that same span, but in PPR he is still averaging 18 plus points a game and 11 in standard. Those are still some very good numbers from your tight end. This week he faces a good Titans defense, but if a guy like A.J. Derby can find room for five receptions for over 50 yards with an anemic Broncos offense Kelce should be able to get his fifth 100 yard game in a row. Start him with confidence.
SIT Coby Fleener (N.O.)
The Arizona Cardinals shut down opposing tight ends bottom line. You also cannot ignore the current struggles of Brees. I know Fleener as been a low TE1 all season, but right now the Saints seem to be calling it in and a match up with a very fast linebacking group in Arizona make for a must sit. There are a good amount of favorable TE match ups this week and I suggest looking for one of them.
START Houston Texans
Blake Bortles has not been good at all this year. His throws have been off all year. He seems to have very little chemistry with his offense and has not been make good choices. Perfect opportunity for the Texans to come out and put pressure on the Jaguars in a must win game for them to stay on top of their division.
- Arizona Cardinals
SIT San Francisco 49ers
The Falcons just might be one of the top offenses in the league and a match up against the 49ers weak defense in a must win game for them, sets up perfectly for the Falcons to put plenty of points on the board.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Michael Kelley is the founder of Dynasty League Problems. You can find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses. Or you can join his Facebook Group, Dynasty League Problems and be a part of the conversation.