For many, it’s the start of the fantasy playoffs. Some are fighting for their league’s version of “The Shiva” while others are hoping to avoid the dreaded “Sacko.” If you’re looking for some help to capture that league championship, use my Start ‘em or Sit ‘em list.
These rankings assume a standard 10-team fantasy league; one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one Flex and one Defense. If I missed a player or you have a question, sound off in the comments.
Texans at Jaguars
Texans: Ben Tate, RB; Andre Johnson, WR
Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
Tate had a great performance last week, so you can’t sit him against the Jaguars. Johnson has played well all season, and MJD has put up solid numbers lately.
Texans: Case Keenum, QB; Garrett Graham, TE; Texans D
Jaguars: Chad Henne, QB; Cecil Shorts, WR; Jaguars D
Shorts has struggled the past few games, so it’s probably safe to sit him this week. Even against the Jags offense, the Texans D isn’t a top-10 play.
Bills at Buccaneers
Bills: C.J. Spiller, RB; Fred Jackson, RB
Buccaneers: Bobby Rainey, RB; Vincent Jackson, WR
Rainey has struggled the past two weeks, but those games were against some of the best run defenses. He has a much better match-up this week and is worth a start. Spiller and Fred Jackson are low-end plays this week. Vincent Jackson has been a quality play since Mike Glennon took over as QB.
Bills: E.J. Manuel, QB; Stevie Johnson, WR; Scott Chandler, TE; Bills D
Buccaneers: Mike Glennon, QB; Timothy Wright, TE; Bucs D
Johnson has not had a great season, and isn’t playable in a 10-team league. The rest of these players should be obvious sits.
Vikings at Ravens
Vikings: Adrian Peterson, RB
Ravens: Ray Rice, RB; Torrey Smith, WR; Ravens D
Rice has a great matchup this week, as the Vikings defense surrenders the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. Smith and Peterson are obvious starts. The Ravens D has a great matchup this week.
Vikings: Greg Jennings, WR; Cordarrelle Patterson, WR; John Carlson, TE; Vikings D
Ravens: Joe Flacco, QB; Malcolm Brown, WR
These should be obvious sits.
Browns at Patriots
Browns: Josh Gordon, WR; Jordan Cameron, TE; Browns D
Patriots: Tom Brady, QB; Shane Vereen, RB; Julian Edleman, WR; Rob Gronkowski, TE; Patriots D
Gordon, Brady and Gronk are obvious starts. Vereen is getting the majority of the touches and is the ideal flex player. Edleman has played well the past few games, and is still getting more looks and catches than Danny Amendola. Cameron hasn’t put up big fantasy points, but he’s getting a lot of targets. He’ll have a bounce back game soon. Both defenses are low-end plays.
Browns: Brandon Weeden, QB; Chris Ogbonnaya, RB; Greg Little, WR
Patriots: Stevan Ridley, RB; Brandon Bolden, RB; LeGarrette Blount, RB; Danny Amendola, WR; Aaron Dobson, WR
If you own a RB that isn’t named Shane Vereen in this game, sit him. Amendola hasn’t been getting enough looks to justify a start. The rest of these are obvious sits.
Colts at Bengals
Colts: No one
Bengals: Giovani Bernard, RB; A.J. Green, WR; Bengals D
The Colts have several players worth a start in a 12-team league, but not in a 10-team. The Bengals players listed should be obvious starts.
Colts: Andrew Luck, QB; Donald Brown, RB; Trent Richardson, RB; T.Y. Hilton, WR; Coby Fleener, TE; Colts D
Bengals: Andy Dalton, QB; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB
You can probably get away with playing Luck, Brown, Hilton or Fleener in a 10-team league, but there should be better options out there this week.
Lions at Eagles
Lions: Matt Stafford, QB; Reggie Bush, RB; Calvin Johnson, WR
Eagles: Nick Foles, QB; LeSean McCoy, RB; DeSean Jackson, WR; Riley Cooper, WR
These are obvious starts. Both defenses can give up a lot of yards and points, so this game could be a fantasy goldmine.
Lions: Joique Bell, RB; Brandon Pettigrew, TE; Lions D
Eagles: Bryce Brown, RB; Brent Celek, TE; Eagles D
None of these guys should crack your starting lineup.
Falcons at Packers
Falcons: Steven Jackson, RB; Harry Douglas, WR; Roddy White, WR; Tony Gonzales, TE
Packers: Eddie Lacy, RB; Jordy Nelson, WR
Lacy, Nelson and Gonzales are quality plays. Jackson, Douglas and White are low-end plays, but are still worth starting. White had a great game last week, but be careful with him and the nagging injuries he has dealt with.
Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB; Falcons D
Packers: Aaron Rodgers, QB; Jarrett Boykin, WR; James Jones, WR; Packers D
Ryan has not been worth a start for much of the year and that doesn’t change this week. I don’t know if Rodgers plays this week, or how effective he will be, so play it safe and keep him on your bench. Boykin and Jones aren’t worth playing in a 10-team league this week without Rodgers. That will change when Rodgers gets back.
Chiefs at Redskins
Chiefs: Alex Smith, QB; Jamaal Charles, RB; Chiefs D
Redskins: Alfred Morris, RB; Pierre Garcon, WR
Morris, Charles and Garcon are obvious starts. Smith has a great matchup against the Redskins and is a low-end play. The Chiefs D has struggled, but I think they bounce back against a bad Redskins squad.
Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, WR
Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB; Jordan Reed, TE; Redskins D
RGIII and Reed are the 11th best plays at their positions this week, meaning they just miss out on being worth a start. Don’t freak out if you don’t have any other options than these two though; you could do a lot worse.
Dolphins at Steelers
Dolphins: Mike Wallace, WR
Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, RB; Antonio Brown, WR
I expect a big day from Wallace, because he’s going up against his former team. Brown has played well all year, and Bell is worth a start if he is able to go after a scary hit he took last week.
Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB; Lamar Miller, RB; Brian Hartline, WR; Charles Clay, TE; Miami D
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, QB; Emmanuel Sanders, WR; Heath Miller, TE; Steelers D
These should be obvious sits.
Raiders at Jets
Raiders: Raiders D
Jets: Chris Ivory, RB
Not much going on here fantasy-wise. Ivory is worth a start because of the amount of touches he should get. The Raiders D is a nice matchup play against a terrible Jets offense.
Raiders: Matt McGloin, QB; Rashad Jennings, RB; Darren McFadden, RB; Rod Streater, WR
Jets: Geno Smith, QB; Bilal Powell, RB; Jets D
Jennings has played well, but he is facing a Jets defense that allows the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Throw in the return of McFadden, and both RBs should sit on your bench this week.
Titans at Broncos
Titans: Chris Johnson, RB; Kendall Wright, WR
Broncos: Peyton Manning, QB; Knowshon Moreno, RB; Eric Decker, WR; Wes Welker, WR; Demaryius Thomas, WR; Julius Thomas, TE
Aside from Wright, these are all obvious starts. Wright has put up a sneaky-good season, and is a low-end WR2 play this week.
Titans: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB; Delanie Walker, TE; Titans D
Broncos: Montee Ball, RB; Broncos D
You can’t play Ball in a 10-team league unless Moreno is hurt, so Ball should remain on your bench.
Giants at Chargers
Giants: Andre Brown, RB; Victor Cruz, WR
Chargers: Phillip Rivers, QB; Keenan Allen, WR; Antonio Gates, TE
Brown, Rivers and Cruz are all quality plays this week. Allen and Gates are low-end plays, but represent nice touchdown potential.
Giants: Eli Manning, QB; Rueben Randle, WR; Hakeem Nicks, WR; Giants D
Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB; Danny Woodhead, RB; LaDarius Green, TE; Chargers D
Randle has struggled the past three games and Nicks has not put up more than five points since week 6. Keep them on your bench. Matthews and Woodhead have a tough matchup against a Giants D that is good against the run.
Seahawks at 49ers
Seahawks: Russell Wilson, QB; Marshawn Lynch, RB; Seahawks D
49ers: Frank Gore, RB; Vernon Davis, TE; 49ers D
These are obvious starts. It could be a defensive-minded game, but the four skill position players are too good to leave on your bench.
Seahawks: Golden Tate, WR; Percy Harvin, WR
49ers: Colin Kaepernick, QB; Michael Crabtree, WR; Anquan Boldin, WR
Crabtree could garner some starting consideration next week, but he has a bad matchup this week. Same goes for Kaepernick.
Rams at Cardinals
Rams: Zac Stacy, RB
Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, WR; Michael Floyd, WR; Cardinals D
These are obvious starts, especially given the way Stacy and Floyd have come on during the season.
Rams: Everyone else
Cardinals: Carson Palmer, QB; Rashard Mendehall, RB; Andre Ellington, RB
Rams and Cardinals don’t have much else going for them in fantasy. Mendenhall and Ellington continue to split carries.
Panthers at Saints
Panthers: Cam Newton, QB; Greg Olsen, TE; Panthers D
Saints: Drew Brees, QB; Jimmy Graham, TE
These are obvious starts, although Olsen is a low-end play this week.
Panthers: DeAngelo Williams, RB; Mike Tolbert, RB; Jonathan Stewart, RB; Steve Smith, WR
Saints: Pierre Thomas, RB; Darren Sproles, RB; Marques Colston, WR; Saints D
The Panthers are great against the run, so sit all the Saints RBs. Colston has struggled lately and has a tough matchup. The Panthers are back to a running back-by-committee approach, and Williams is battling an injury. Avoid all three of them. Smith is not worth a start this week, in a 10-team league.
Cowboys at Bears
Cowboys: Tony Romo, QB; DeMarco Murray, RB; Dez Bryant, WR; Jason Witten, TE
Bears: Josh McCown, QB; Matt Forte, RB; Brandon Marshall, WR; Alshon Jeffery, WR; Martellus Bennett, TE
This is another game I expect to be high-scoring. McCown and Romo are low-end plays at QB this week, but they have a high ceiling. Bennett is a low-end play at TE, but he should enjoy going up against his old team.
Cowboys: Miles Austin, WR; Terrance Williams, WR; Cowboys D
Bears: Bears D
Austin and Williams have struggled and both defenses aren’t safe plays.Back to the Fantasy Football Newsfeed