Now that the fantasy playoffs are here, the Fantasy Doctor will be making regular house calls, answering readers' fantasy questions each Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Send your questions to the Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I squeaked by the first round of playoffs last week despite some poor starting choices and desperately need help this week. I have three great backs, Chris Johnson, LeSean McCoy and Knowshon Moreno, but I don't know which two to start. Your thoughts? Meanwhile, I have to decide between Calvin Johnson and Deion Branch for my remaining WR spot. Do I go with the highly rated Johnson or hope Branch has begun an incredible fantasy streak? Thanks for your help.
— Sarah, Chicago, Ill.
Those are some tough choices, Sarah, but at least you have good options.
In the backfield, I still view Chris Johnson as a must-start. He came out of a slump last week with 179 total yards and a TD, and while Houston completely shut him down a few weeks back, that was with Rusty Smith at QB. The presence of QB Kerry Collins and WR Kenny Britt gives the offense a downfield threat, so CJ2K should have more running room this time around. I definitely like him, and I think McCoy would be my other choice. He lit up the Giants for 14-111-1 rushing last time around, and he has become one of the most dependable fantasy backs. It's tough to bench Moreno, but he appears to be your worst option this week.
At wideout, I would not be sitting Calvin Johnson no matter what the circumstances. True, the Bucs have been good against the pass, but now they're missing top CB Aqib Talib, which makes them much more vulnerable. And the Detroit QB situation doesn't scare me, as Johnson has put up stats regardless of who is under center. Branch has been on a tear, but Green Bay has a good pass "D" and could focus on containing the red-hot Tom Brady. I'm banking on another solid day from Megatron.
I am faced with a very tough decision in the first round of my league's playoffs. I have Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Peyton Hillis and Darren McFadden, and I can start three. I also am waffling on whether to start Miles Austin or Sidney Rice. Any advice would be very helpful.
— Jon, San Clemente, Calif.
Wow, Jon, I didn't think it was possible to recommend sitting A.P., but in your case, I basically have to.
Foster is an automatic start at this point, and I can't possibly say to bench McFadden after what he did both last week and against the Broncos in Week Seven. That leaves Hillis and Peterson, which is an extremely close call. However, I like Hillis' matchup against a poor Cincy run defense, and he had 27-102-1 rushing last time he faced them. A.P., meanwhile, has to face a Bears run "D" that ranks No. 2 in the league and limited him to 17-51-0 rushing in Week 10. Plus, with Minnesota starting third-string QB Joe Webb, Chicago will stack the box to stop him. I don't see him doing a whole lot in this situation, making him the worst of your bunch.
The choice is easier at WR, as Rice is a poor start this week given the fact that Webb will be his QB and the game will be played outdoors in freezing weather. Austin, on the other hand, torched the Redskins for 10-146-1 in Week One and is the only healthy Dallas wideout remaining.