It’s playoff time! The whole season has been leading up to this. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the emerald city at the end of the yellow brick road, a fantasy football championship, all the same thing really.
Congratulations to those of you, who made it to the playoffs in your league, and even if you didn’t, hopefully you’ve still got some incentive to win. Whether it be a higher pick in next years draft, or maybe to avoid an embarrassing last place punishment. What ever your reason might be, you came to the right place.
By now, it will be too late to trade, so your roster is likely set. With that being said, and this being the last issue for the fall semester, my goal is to provide you with a few players who have a solid outlook for the rest of the fantasy playoffs, or lack thereof. Sound good? Cool. Enough chitchat.
Matt Ryan vs. ARI, CAR, TB: This one may sound like a no-brainer. Ryan is QB5 on the season. Yet, his point totals have been trending down as of late. He has scored less than 15 fantasy points in two of his past four games, and since week four, Ryan is just QB13 on a points per game basis. (I stole that last stat from Matthew Berry.) Still, I wouldn’t let this recent decline dissuade you. He has dream matchups for the championship round. The Panthers and Buccaneers both allow an average of over 20 points per game to quarterbacks this season. Ryan has already carved up both teams this season for over 27 points each. Not to mention, both are divisional games
Atlanta will have to win if they hope to make playoffs, which means Ryan will likely play in week 17, unlike some fantasy studs who are on playoff-locked teams like the Chiefs or Rams. And if Ryan doesn’t play in week 17, whatever you do, please don’t play Matt Schaub.
Spencer Ware vs. LAC, SEA, OAK: No doubt Kansas City’s releasing of Kareem Hunt, while justified, was a crushing blow for fantasy owners. Hopefully you were lucky enough to grab Ware off the waiver wire, or savvy enough to have kept him for insurance. While his first game as a starter in week 13 left something to be desired, Ware saw an increase in touches and overall efficiency in week 14 against a tough Ravens defense. (Week 13: 15 touches, 3.6 yards per touch. Week 14: 20 touches, 6.4 yards per touch.) Over the next three weeks, Ware will face the Chargers, the Seahawks, and the Raiders; all bottom-15 fantasy defenses against the RB position. As the head of the Chiefs backfield, the upside for Ware is tremendous. The only thing to beware of with Ware is the chance he is rested with the starters in week 17, something coach Andy Reid has been known to do. If not, he should be considered a top-ten running back for the rest of the fantasy playoffs.
Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, vs. LAR, HOU, WSH: Jeffery returned from injury with a bang earlier this season, scoring 20 plus points in three of his first four games. Yet, since week 7, Jeffery has failed to top 50 yards in any game and has recorded double-digit points just once. Tate has experienced similar struggles. Five weeks since being traded to the Eagles, he has topped 48 yards and scored double-digit points just once. Even Carson Wentz has struggled this season, by his standards. He sits at just QB18 on the season. The only person that can truly be trusted on this offense from a fantasy perspective is Zach Ertz. Fade all other Eagles if you can.
Derrick Henry vs. NYG, WSH, IND: I must be crazy, right? The guy just ran wild on the Jaguars in week 14 with 238 yards and four touchdowns for a total of 47 fantasy points. But the chances he scores you that many points again are low. The chances he scores you that many points combined for the rest of the season are even low. Did you know aside from last week’s game, Henry hasn’t topped 60 total yards from scrimmage even once? While he may have 8 rushing touchdowns in his past 6 games, he has struggled from a yards per carry standpoint and is still splitting carries with Dion Lewis. This is the playoffs, win or go home. This is no time to be chasing the points. Play it smart, sit Henry.