This is the playoffs people! That means predictions are a must! Here’s what I got:
Texans 20 Raiders 13
Seahawks 20 Lions 16
Steelers 31 Dolphins 17
Packers 27 Giants 23
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Ben Roethlisberger vs MIA, $8,500
Ben Roethlisberger is the best QB play of the week. It’s just that simple. As far as high priced QBs go, I’m taking him over Aaron Rodgers all day every day in this matchup. He’s at home where he has averaged 7.42 more completions, 2.07 more TD passes, 90.87 more yards, and .51 less INTs with Le’Veon Bell also on the field this season. The dude has thrown for at least 3 TD passes in all but one of his starts at home this season. Plus, his matchup against the Dolphins secondary is not one that worries me at all. The Dolphins tied for the 6th most pass TDs allowed on the year.
Eli Manning vs GB, $7,500
Eli Manning gets the nod as my #2 QB this week simply because he plays with Odell Beckham. I believe the Giants lose this game meaning Eli will have to throw a lot. The Giants run game isn’t all that good anyway. With Odell Beckham likely seeing targets on targets on targets (I’ll talk more about that in a bit), he could have a special game which would obviously benefit Manning a lot as well. The matchup is one Manning should be able to take advantage of anyway. The Packers gave up the 2nd most passing yards and tied for the 3rd most pass TDs allowed this season.
Russell Wilson vs DET, $7,700
Just like the Giants, the Seahawks legit can’t run the ball right now. That puts Russell Wilson in position to have a good game because I think they win this game in large part due to the arm (and possibly the legs as well) of Wilson. He’s at home in a favorable matchup as the Lions gave up the 14th most passing yards and the 2nd most pass TDs this season.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Play
Matt Moore vs PIT, $6,900
If looking to save some money at the QB position, I’m not opposed to playing Matt Moore this week. I believe the Steelers win this game somewhat easily, meaning Moore is going to have to throw. He’s thrown for at least 2 TDs in each of his three starts this year and I could see it happening again on Sunday. However, the Steelers did finish the regular season tied for the 26th most pass TDs allowed. Translation: they didn’t give up many.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Le’Veon Bell vs MIA, $10,300
This is easy to me. Don’t overthink it. Take the free square and move on. I believe the Steelers win somewhat easily and obviously Le’Veon Bell is going to be a huge reason why. The guy does it all in both the rushing and passing games in one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. Plus, he’s at home against a Dolphins defense that gave up the 3rd most rushing yards this season.
Lamar Miller vs OAK, $7,100
The Texans went 7-1 at home this season and they get to face a Raiders team starting their third string QB. Those facts bode well for Lamar Miller who should have the benefit of positive game flow in this one. I believe the Texans will get the W mostly off of their strong defense and solid running game. The Raiders allowed the 10th most rushing yards and tied for the 6th most rush TDs allowed this season. Plus, Miller had over 100 yards rushing and a TD against this same team back in Week 11.
Zach Zenner vs SEA, $6,200
Zach Zenner’s matchup obviously isn’t great this week on the road at Seattle but honestly I really don’t care. He’s had two really solid games in a row and I believe he’s a talented RB. Last week in a big game, he saw 24 touches and no other RB even got a single opportunity. Theo Riddick is on Injured Reserve freeing up the pass-catching role and Zenner is a better receiver than you probably even realize. Volume = $ especially at the RB position. I honestly have no idea what’s not to like. Fire up Zenner and win all the monies.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Odell Beckham vs GB, $8,900
I love them both, who doesn’t, but give me Odell Beckham over Antonio Brown this week as the top WR. Beckham doesn’t have a monster in his backfield taking opportunities away from him like Brown does with Le’Veon Bell. The dude averaged more targets per game in the regular season with 10.5 than any other player on the entire slate (Brown finished with 10.3). In a must win game, the best player on the Giants offense by a country mile is going to be pelted with targets on targets on targets. He saw 20 of them just two weeks ago against the Eagles and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he comes close to that number again on Sunday. Regardless, I think 12 targets is literally the minimum Beckham will see. He’s way too good to not dust a bad Packers secondary with that amount of volume. The Packers gave up the 2nd most passing yards and tied for the 3rd most pass TDs allowed this season.
Doug Baldwin vs DET, $6,900
I’m attacking Tyler Lockett’s injury this week. I think it’s the ultimate leverage play. Since it just happened two weeks ago, I highly doubt many building lineups are going to value Seattle’s WR corps appropriately this week. I love love love the other pass catchers from a GPP perspective (which is all we care about, right?) and I’ll get to that in just a bit but first, let me state the obvious. Doug Baldwin averaged 11.5 targets in the two weeks where Lockett either got injured or did not play because of his injury. That stat is skewed because of the 19 targets he saw in Week 16 thanks to a ton of negative game flow in a loss to the Cardinals. I don’t think Seattle loses this game, which means I don’t think Baldwin comes close to seeing 19 targets but if he gets close to that 11.5 average he could hit in a favorable matchup. The Lions gave up the 14th most passing yards and the 2nd most pass TDs this season.
Jarvis Landry vs PIT, $6,400
Jarvis Landry averaged 8.2 targets per game this season which was more than Doug Baldwin saw. Yet, Landry is priced cheaper than Baldwin. I think there is some leverage to be had there. In a game I believe the Dolphins lose, I believe Landry will benefit from positive game flow. I can see him seeing double digit targets in this one. Although the Steelers finished the season with good numbers against the pass on paper, I still believe they’re beatable and I also believe in Landry.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Plays
Jermaine Kearse, $4,900 & Paul Richardson, $4,700 vs DET
This is where I really want to attack the Tyler Lockett injury from a leverage standpoint. I honestly won’t be playing much Doug Baldwin. Instead, I’m loading up on Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson thanks to their cheaper salaries (That whole roster construction thing, you know?). I truly believe one of them will be on the GPP winning lineup in your tournament. The Seahawks legit can’t run the ball right now. That means Russell Wilson will be throwing a lot this weekend at home in a favorable matchup. The Lions gave up the 14th most passing yards and the 2nd most passing TDs this season. With Tyler Lockett’s season-ending injury happening just two weeks ago, I doubt many will value the Seahawks pass catchers accurately this weekend when building lineups. However, over the last two games, Jermaine Kearse has averaged 8 targets and Paul Richardson has averaged 6 targets. That’s a bump of 2.4 for Kearse from his overall season average and a 3.6 bump for Richardson. Clearly, both are benefiting from a fantasy standpoint from Lockett’s absence. In a week where I’ll be paying up for studs like Le’Veon Bell and Odell Beckham Jr., I’ll need some cheap GPP plays to put me over the top. I’ll be using both Kearse and Richardson to get some exposure to Russell Wilson. I like both guys a lot but if choosing between the two, I give a slight edge to Richardson simply because I believe next to no one is going to roster this guy in GPPs. All it takes is one!
Randall Cobb vs NYG, $5,300
Aaron Rodgers is legit playing out of his mind right now. I think the Packers win at home this weekend and I think they do it in large part (again) because of the arm of Aaron Rodgers. That means you’re going to have to get the Packers pass catchers right if you want to win a GPP. It’s a little bit more tricky this week because of the matchup. The Giants have been phenomenal against the pass all season long. Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have played great on the outside and it shows in the stats as they gave up the 2nd FEWEST pass TDs this season behind only the Denver Broncos. Aaron Rodgers has a history of avoiding tough matchups and that bodes well for Randall Cobb who will do most of his work over the middle of the field where the Giants are much more vulnerable. Now, Cobb has been dealing with an ankle injury so make sure he’s going to play before locking him in, but all signs point to him being on the field on Sunday. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t. Cobb caught 9 of 11 targets for 108 yards back in Week 5 against this same defense.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Jared Cook vs NYG, $5,200
Literally everything I wrote about the matchup in the Randall Cobb section applies for Jared Cook as well. Cook is my favorite TE play of the week and it’s perfect because he’s a great GPP option as well. Once upon a time there was this fictional prize that everyone in the fantasy football community wanted. It was called: Ladarius Green’s upside. Little did we know, there was only one way to turn this prize into a reality: A matchup with the New York Giants. Green put up 6 for 110 and a TD on this defense back in Week 13. My DFS teams will be hoping Cook is the next perceived high upside TE to mash this Giants defense. Cook caught 6 of 11 targets for 105 yards and a TD against Washington back in Week 11 with Josh Norman guarding Jordy Nelson for some of that game. With Janoris Jenkins likely on Jordy on Sunday, I could see Cook putting up a similar stat line.
Ladarius Green vs MIA, $5,900
Speaking of Ladarius Green, I like him a lot this weekend as well. Outside of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, I believe Green is who you want to grab some exposure to Big Ben at home. I’m telling you right now, Green is going to be lower owned than he should be this weekend because of his concussion. As long as he is cleared, and all signs point to that being the case, he should be all systems go on Sunday. It’s not like he’ll be returning from a knee injury or something like that where he’s going to have to work his way back into the rotation. Plus, the Steelers signed Green to a big money free agent contract to help them win a Super Bowl so I’d be shocked if they were shy in utilizing him this weekend. Just like Cook playing with Rodgers, Green possesses plenty of upside catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger. Remember, before the concussion Green was being heavily targeted when he was on the field. Really all you need to know is Green still saw 6 targets in Week 14 at Buffalo despite not playing all that much due to Le’Veon Bell going absolutely berserk in the snow. Big Ben should throw more than he did that day, meaning a healthy number of targets should be coming Green’s way.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Matt Prater vs SEA, $4,900
I believe in Matthew Stafford to put points on the board on Saturday, but I don’t think there will be many TDs scored. That means field goal opportunities for Matt Prater who we know has 50+ make upside.
Robbie Gould vs GB, $4,500
Similar to Prater’s situation, when Odell Beckham isn’t dancing in the end zone, I don’t see the Giants scoring many TDs. Eli should put up points though, which means opportunities for Robbie Gould.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Houston Texans vs OAK, $4,800
I want a defense from a game featuring Brock Osweiler and Connor Cook. I’m turning to the home team that finished the regular season 7-1 at home. Plus, the Texans get to face rookie Connor Cook in his very first start. There’s really nothing to dislike from this situation.
Oakland Raiders vs HOU, $4,700
On the other side of things, the Raiders get to face Brock Osweiler who finished the regular season with more INTs than TD passes. We all know by now that Osweiler is dreadful. With defensive scoring being somewhat fluky and hard to predict in fantasy anyway, the Raiders are a solid option facing such a bad QB. Plus, this gives you the opportunity to roster Khalil Mack as well.