With the race for the playoffs ramping up, teams making an increasing amount of moves, and fantasy craze amongst us all, it is time to consider options that are critical versus non-critical this week. Contender or pretender you will want to pay attention as there is always a spot to be stolen in the field of those chasing the Crown. Afterall, the playoff picture has begun to take picture and if you are in, don’t you want to stay in, and if you’re completely out…at least burst somebody’s else bubble for making the playoffs. Besides, the latter is the funner of the two options.
Jason Jones (DE-DET)- Jones has had a productive three game stretch where he has provided fantasy owners with a respectable stat line, including two sacks, a pass defensed and a tackle for loss. However this week, SIT him versus Oakland as Derek Carr is extremely mature for a second year quarterback and Detroit lacks any sort of run defense. Latavius Murray may not be a stud, but he will carve up the Lions this week. Jones will net you a handful of tackles this week, nothing else versus an improved Oakland offensive squad. (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
Calais Campbell (DE-ARZ)- As much as I respect the cardinals defense, I cannot trust Campbell this week, because the Bengals find ways to win. Kudos to the cards last weeks for knocking off the Seahawks late, but this Bengals team is explosive; led by Dalton and Green. The Bengals do not have the strongest running game, but Dalton has only five picks versus eighteen passing scores, meaning the Cardinals secondary will be hard pressed to keep up with Green and Jones this week. Campbell is in a cold spell right now, with a dynamic running back duo on tap, so find a replacement if you are able to.
Preston Brown (LB-BUF)- This is a difficult matchup for the Bills to begin with. Add in that Preston Brown can be exposed versus the pass and he is a sit under all circumstances. Brown had a nice showing in the Bills first match versus the Patriots in Week 2 with a forced fumble and recovered fumble, but he will be a non-factor Week 11 in an AFC East Showdown. His past three weeks, Brown has a combined 20 points MLFF.
Melvin Ingram (LB-SD)- Ingram is coming on strong of late, and may be finally developing into the player the Chargers thought they were getting when they drafted him in 2012 out of South Carolina. They drafted him to provide pressure off the edge and get into the backfield, but until recently this season, he had yet to continuously show the ability to do so. The Chiefs should present some opportunities for big plays, but they are more crafty than expected without Charles, so expect the Chiefs to keep the Chargers defense guessing. Ingram is a solid bet, regardless to produce a solid stat line as he is peaking at the right time for fantasy owners. (Photo courtesy of boltbeat.com)
Kevin Johnson (CB-HOU)- The Texans rookie has has a decent matchup versus the Jets offense. He may be a bit undersized for a corner, but make no mistake about it, he is a baller who can come up to meet the ball carrier and play press coverage. Let’s be honest for a second, Decker and Marshall do not exactly have a young Peyton manning throwing to them, and Fitzpatrick will not test Revis, meaning Johnson will see increased looks. He is a high risk/upside play that has more upside this week than risk. I’ll go out and say he hauls in an interception.
Kurt Coleman (S-CAR)- Am I insane recommending that Coleman is only a decent play this week? No! Look at Coleman’s past three opponents: a Colts offense that is still sorting out its issues, a discombobulated Packers offense, and a rookie quarterback who can be induced to throwing ill-advised passes (Mariota). Cousins may not be a stud, but he has been a life-saver for the Redskins offense this season, and is making a case for their QB of the future.He has an 8:1 TD:INT ratio the past three weeks. The Panthers have an aggressive, stout defense, but Cousins has vastly matured this season, which casts doubt over Coleman’s value this week, given he may not get many opportunities to make plays.
Star Lotulelei- No, you should not trust the Panthers secondary players this week, however, their defensive line players are a different story. The Redskins do not know who their RB1 is and remain committed to a running-back-by-committee approach, meaning none of their backs knows how to attack an aggressive run defense. Indecisiveness on the part of running backs is where Lotulelei makes his living as it affords him the opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield and create sack opportunities. It is not often you hear of DTs having big weeks, but this is one of those weeks. (Photo courtesy of deseretnew.com)
Akeem Ayers (LB-StL)- Since the turn of the calendar month, Ayers has been on a tear and a very mediocre Joe Flacco should only help him continue his emergence on an explosive Rams defensive line. With Ogletree lost for the season, someone had to step up for the Rams, and it has been Ayers. Do not expect him to slowdown either as he has been undervalued for a while and is now showing his true value. The Ravens offensive line is decent, but Ayers is due for another sack-so Flacco be warned.
Robert Alford (CB-ATL)- There’s talk of this Colts-Falcons matchup I hear. Well, as a Falcon fan I’ll admit our secondary has been vulnerable, but at the same time, opposing QBs are avoiding Desmond Trufant, leading to increased targets for our weaker safeties and corners. Do not discredit Alford as he has shown the ability to hold his own versus the pass, as evidenced by his two picks and seven passes defensed on the season. The Falcons defense has looked confused, but hopefully a week off will cure them of their ills and get them back on track. With Andre Johnson still learning the offense and the Colts running game hit/miss, Alford should see some opportunities versus Luck and the Colts this week.
Eric Berry (S-KC)- Bold prediction here: Berry goes off for three passes defensed, a pick for twenty five yards and a handful of tackles. Yes, that will be quite the stat line, but lest us remember what Berry is when he is at 100% on the field: a turnover machine. Rivers has an 11:3 TD:INT ratio since October 12, but that will change for the worse as Berry looks hungry and healthy now. From the looks of it, Berry will be a force to be reckoned with on a weekly basis in the pass game going forward, and an ever present danger to take a pick to the House.
Texans D/ST- In a surprise, give the texans the edge over the Jets, as the Texans are playing smart defense of lately and recently shutdown the explosive Bengals offense. Winners of their three of their last four, the Texans are showing the ability to not only play defense, but also smart, conservative offense that keeps games to a low scoring affair.
Vikings D/ST: Nobody knows what is wrong with the Packers offense, but this will become evident, the Vikings know how to attack the Packers this week: Open up the run game with Adrian Peterson, then see Cordarrelle Patterson wear down the packers defense with his kick return abilities. Unless the Packers offense figures out things quickly, the Vikings will pick off a Lacy-light Packers team and control first place in the NFC North.
Deuces until next time and enjoy a great week until next time. If you need me, you know where to find me, so holler at Facebook or gmail. I just hope all you readers are in the playoffs, if not in a position to play major spoiler.
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