With the conclusion of bye weeks, the National Football League is heading into the final phase of the regular season. In the fantasy world, it is the time for final preparations that will propel your team into the playoffs, and set yourself up for a championship run. At this point, most leagues have a clear distribution of teams who will definitely make the playoffs, teams that are at the bottom who are pretty much out (or not even playing anymore) and a bunch of in-between entries that still have a fighting chance.
If you are managing a team on the bottom of the pile and still want to get yourself into any kind of decent position, try to make a jump via some drastic trades. Seriously, go for the trades even though you may have to put yourself on what seems like the short end of the stick right now. You don’t have much to lose, and a big trade may change the whole outlook of your team. The big trade also allows you to pick up random players available on the waiver wire that could fit your newly formed weaknesses, such as Laurent Robinson, Brandon Jacobs or Michael Bush who are purely getting huge points due to significant injures to the starters on their teams.
Contrarily, if you are sitting on top of the heap, you should try your best at this point to just maintain your position. If you haven’t already, make sure you have players with solid matchups for the playoffs so that you won’t have to worry when that time comes. Though you should already be prepared to win it all, a few improvements can easily be accomplished by way of small trades and matchup-based pickups.
Finally, if you’re in more of that middle-of-the-road area, you must do your best to follow up on lingering injury issues and player performance. From here on out, the fantasy advice provided here will be most helpful for those borderline teams whose seasons could be made or broken based on one move or starting call.
With that said, let’s begin with some key injuries to watch. Both Ahmad Bradshaw and Darren McFadden will probably be out, meaning tailbacks Brandon Jacobs and Michael Bush will be great plays yet again. Don’t count out Jacobs as many have; the Philadelphia run defense is very shaky.
Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub suffered an injury that may leave him out for the season. He wasn’t too great a quarterback this year to begin with, so you should not be too worried if you have Schaub. If you haven’t had a good backup QB, you should definitely look into Tim Tebow or Carson Palmer if they’re not already taken. Wide receiver Miles Austin is still injured, raising Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant’s stock. This is especially apparent with the Cowboys’s offense rolling lately. Two other players to pick up are running backs Reggie Bush and Marshawn Lynch, who have both played great games over the last few weeks against some relatively weak opponents.
Players that you should be wary of starting include anyone on the Chargers offense, any of the running backs for the Redskins or the Patriots and Ryan Fitzpatrick as they all have been struggling. Don’t be afraid to start Larry Fitzgerald against the stout 49ers defense. He’s been great lately and the 49ers don’t have a DB to answer for him. Both Tony Romo and Eli Manning have been fantasy greats throughout the season (surprising on Eli’s part), but especially as of late. Both of them have put up fantastic numbers and their rivalry matchups this week will likely lead to huge numbers again. Contact Albert Raminfard at [email protected]