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Recent posts by William Del Pilar
There are a lot of solid matchups this week for key players and also some easy decisions for players we tend to question whether to start or not. We're all at the critical stage in the fantasy playoffs and if you have injuries, it's more important to make sure you maximize your points. The question is whether to go high-risk, high-reward or conservative, but do that position by position and let the matchups dictate the start.
QB Carson Palmer, Raiders (vs. Lions)
Palmer has a two-game average of 260 yards and 1.5 TDs, and if you can live with interceptions — five in his last two games — he has a solid matchup this week. The Lions are allowing 282 yards and 2.2 passing TDs per game over the past four weeks, and this could be a shootout. Palmer might not have his top WRs, but Darrius Heyward-Bey had a nice run earlier in the season and the Raiders still have RB Michael Bush to keep defenses honest. In larger leagues and two-QB leagues, Palmer is worth a start.
RB Marion Barber, Bears (vs. Seahawks)
The Seahawks are allowing 90.8 rushing yards and 54.8 receiving yards and one TD per game to opposing backs, giving Barber value — and Kahlil Bell, as well — in large leagues where you need an injury fill-in. Make no mistake, Bell is a long shot, but he did have 64 yards from scrimmage last week. Barber had 140 yards from scrimmage and one TD and is viable in all formats.
RB Felix Jones, Cowboys (at Buccaneers)
Jones came on strong with a great Week 14, with 16-106-0 rushing and 6-31-0 receiving on seven targets after DeMarco Murray (ankle) went down. Now a featured back, Jones faces a Bucs team that is allowing 157.2 yards from scrimmage and 1.5 TDs to opposing backs the past four weeks. That makes Jones a must-start with Murray out for the rest of the year.
WR Percy Harvin, Vikings (vs. Saints)
It's surprising, no, perplexing to see Harvin in some mailbag questions. He's red hot right now with a four-game average of eight catches for 98.3 yards and 1.3 TDs. To top it off, this week he faces the Saints, who are allowing 259.7 yards and one TD per game to opposing WRs. He's a must-start.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (vs. Patriots)
Thomas has taken over the team's fantasy production at WR with another great week, going 7-78-1 on 13 targets in Week 14. He has led the team in targets in back-to-back weeks and has a two-game average of 5.5 catches for 111 yards and 1.5 TDs. He's boom or bust but the Patriots are allowing 250.5 yards and 1.5 TDs per game, giving Thomas more than enough in potential opportunities to start him.
WR Mike Williams, Buccaneers (vs. Cowboys)
Williams (3-35-0 on seven targets) took a step back after a three-game run, but faces a Cowboys team slipping defensively. They're allowing 218.5 yards and one TD per game to opposing WRs the past four weeks. Williams has the talent and matchup this week. He has been inconsistent but still warrants a start.
WR Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (at Giants)
When Santana Moss is healthy, he usually commands the opposing team's top corner, giving Gaffney some opportunities. He had that last week, totaling 6-92-1 on eight targets and faces a weak Giants secondary this week. They're allowing opposing WRs 215.3 and 2.5 TDs per game the past four weeks making Gaffney a solid start.
TE Jake Ballard, Giants (vs. Redskins)
The way that QB Eli Manning is playing gives many players value. That includes Ballard, who has a three-game average of 3.3 catches for 48.7 yards and 0.3 TDs. The Redskins struggle against the TE position, allowing 100.3 yards and 0.8 TDs per game the past four weeks. That makes Ballard a viable start in larger leagues.
RB Michael Tolbert, Chargers (vs. Ravens)
It has gone downhill for Tolbert since Ryan Mathews got healthy. Tolbert has a three-game average of 7.7 attempts for 29.7 yards and 0.7 TDs. This week brings the Ravens, who are allowing only 103.8 yards from scrimmage and 0.5 TDs per game to opposing backs the past four weeks. Mathews has been playing outstanding and Tolbert's numbers reflect that, making him a player you sit this week.
RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (at Texans)
Williams has had a great run and has a three-game average of 61.7 yards and one TD. Last week, he had a 74-yard TD run, his longest of the season, but his other six rushes netted 2.2 yards per carry. The Texans are allowing 62.5 rushing yards over the last four games, and unlike Jonathan Stewart, Williams is not known for his hands and is rarely used in the passing attack. This could be the week to sit him.
WR Malcom Floyd, Chargers (vs. Ravens)
Another inconsistent player, but the decision is fairly easy this week. Floyd caught 2-29-0 last week after going 4-108-1 in Week 13 and faces the Ravens this Sunday night. They're only allowing 120.8 yards and 0.3 TDs per game to opposing WRs the past four weeks. This is not the week to think Floyd will have a solid game.
TE Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (at Rams)
Gresham has been a mixed bag this season, and has a current three-game average of 3.7 catches for 50 yards and 0.3 TDs, so he has value. However, the Rams are tough against opposing TEs, allowing only 23.8 yards and no TDs over the past four games. The Bengals are too inconsistent as a whole and Gresham is representative of that. This might be a good week to sit him.
TE Heath Miller, Steelers (at 49ers)
Don't look for a turnaround from Miller this week. On many rosters he carries value, but has been streaky this season and is currently in a four-game slump, averaging two catches for 18.5 yards and no TDs. The Niners are one of the best against opposing TEs over the past four weeks, allowing 12.5 yards and 0.3 TDs per game. Considering the tough defense and Ben Roethlisberger's high ankle sprain, don't get cute — keep Miller on your fantasy bench.