Fantasy picks are back this week, as we return from the turkey-loving, black friday shopping festivities over the holiday break. For most leagues, this is just in time for the playoffs. This week, let’s examine what players can guide you towards your championship run and what players to avoid in this high-stakes playoff push.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick(MIA)- Do you trust Fitzmagic enough to start him with your season on the line? At this point, your team might be best with him at the helm. The past two games, the magic man scored 23 and 26 points in plus matchups. This week against the Jets is no different. The Jets are ranked 17th in fantasy points allowed to QBs and have been among the league leaders against the run. This is a huge opportunity to surprise your opponent by inserting Fitzpatrick in the lineup, only to see him go off against the Jets. 250 yards and 2 touchdowns is the floor for this journeyman quarterback. Imagine defeating an opponent with the fiery veteran in your lineup. This would make victory that much sweeter. My projection: 20.5 points
RB: Derrius Guice(WAS)- We are finally getting to see just what Guice is capable of doing when healthy. After dealing with two separate knee surgeries, there were questions whether or not Guice would be able to regain his burst from before. Those concerns were erased by a 60-yard sprint last week and two rushing touchdowns en route to a monster fantasy day. Guice is set to split the backfield with fellow running mate, Adrian Peterson. The Packers’ 25th ranked run defense means there’s plenty to go around for both. The Redskins’ lack of competitiveness means that they will most likely test the waters with Guice for the rest of the season. He’s guaranteed plenty of touches. Guice is a safe flex option with enormous upside, if he is able to break off another big play this week against the Packers. My projection: 12.1 points
WR: DJ Moore(CAR)- At this point, Moore is a boardline WR1 on a week to week basis. This week, he’s absolutely certain to have a matchup-winning performance against the lowly Falcons defense. Kyle Allen has been consistently feeding Moore the ball for the past 5 weeks, allowing him to score more than 17 PPR points in each week over that spam. Moore’s biggest problem was not finding the end zone, which he has now done three times in the last two weeks. Look for Moore to stay hot against a Falcons pass defense in which he had 8 receptions for 95 yards against in week 11. He certainly has the upside to finish as the WR1 this week if he can find the end zone multiple times. My projection: 19 points
TE: Jack Doyle(IND)- As the tight end landscape continues to dwindle, Doyle is a friendly face you can turn to. The Colts were forced to pass the ball 40 times last week, causing Doyle to receive 11 targets with catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. The Colts now face the Buccaneers, who can easily be beaten through the air. With Marlon Mack (hand) most likely out for a third consecutive week, the Colts will have to lean on the air attack once again. No Eric Ebron to contend with does not hurt either. Doyle is set up to be a top six tight end with a safe floor. My projection: 13.5 points
QB: Drew Brees(NO)- Brees will always be plagued as a roller coaster fantasy quarterback. With no rushing ability, he must throw for touchdowns. The tricky part about relying on Brees to throw for touchdowns is picking the right matchups, which has not been easy. The Saints face a tough Niners defense to pass against, so the probability of him having a huge game is not likely in this huge NFC showdown. Brees is still a startable option, but look for better matchups if available. My projection: 16.7 points
RB: Kenyan Drake(ARI)- Since his week 9 outburst in his first game in the Cardinal red, Drake has rescinded back to a more mediocre RB2/Flex option. Now, the Cardinals get the fun task of dealing with the Steelers’ stifling defense against opponents since the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick. Drake’s work has been reduced to more of a timeshare with David Johnson and Chase Edmonds regaining health. Expecting anything more than a low end RB2/Flex option would be very optimistic as the upside in this backfield will continue to be capped if someone does not get injured. My projection: 11.3 points
WR: Terry McLaurin(WAS)- Since rookie QB Dwayne Haskins has taken over as the starter, Terry has seen a massive drop off in fantasy value. Since week 6, McLaurin has not had a single touchdown and only one week with 10 or more fantasy points. He is seeing targets still, but Haskins continues to miss him on the deep balls that Case Keenum was having success with early in the season. Against a decent Packers secondary, the Skins will attempt to run the ball effectively, which is why Guice is a favorite. Terry will have to find the end zone to even be flex worthy, which he has not done in almost two months. My projection: 9.1 points
TE: Noah Fant(DEN)- Undeniably speaking, Fant has a bunch of untapped potential. He will be a hot commodity at next year’s fantasy draft as a potential breakout candidate. This season, Fant has shown the occasional flash of being a future star, but hasn’t played with consistency. This week sees a tough matchup for him against the Texans, who have been stingy at allowing yards at tight end all season. Owners may think to look his way in this rough tight end landscape, but there are plenty of better options that can get you more points. Fant has top 5 upside every week due to his ability to break off a huge play, but his floor is scoring zero points. Keep him on waivers or on the bench in dynasty leagues. Come next season, I guarantee that he will be in my fantasy draft preview. My projection: 6.4 points
Good luck to those in the playoffs this week. For those who did not make it this year, learn from your mistakes so you can bounce back next year.