A few of you aren’t stressing too bad about the idea because you’ve either clinched your playoff spot already, or your record indicates that your season is already over.
Many of you, though, are fighting tooth and nail for the last available spots in your league. The difference between keeping your season alive or playing in the superbly underwhelming consolation bracket could be an Andrew Luck pass to his left tackle…
(Good for you, Anthony.)
…or a Joe Haden interception.
So who will be the difference maker for your squad when EVERY…POINT…COUNTS? You’re looking for who’s hot, who’s consistent, and who has the best matchup:
Aaron Rodgers, that’s who. Rodgers has led his team to back-to-back 50 point games. He averaged 328 yards and 4.5 touchdowns without having to play in the 4th quarter of either of those games. His top 2 wide receivers, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, are on pace to break the league’s record for combined touchdown catches in a season, set by Wes Welker and Randy Moss in 2007. Now Rodgers faces a Vikings defense that has allowed a 75% completion percentage in their last 4 meetings and 3 or more touchdowns in 5 of the last 8 games against him.
Despite the team’s turmoil in the offseason, and having to deal with a pair of touchdown vultures in Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett has been one of the league’s most consistent backs not named “DeMarco Murray”. Forsett has totaled at least 85 yards in each of his last 8 games and leads the league with 5.4 yards per carry. The Ravens are coming off a bye week to face the Saints on Monday Night Football and that should bode well for Forsett. The Saints have allowed a total of 430 yards to Jeremy Hill, Frank Gore, and Eddie Lacy in 3 of the last 4 weeks.
Who has the best matchup?
Aside from the guys who Rodgers throws to, it’s Dez Bryant against the Giants. Bryant leads the league in targets from within the 5 yard line with 7, which is more than the carries that most of the top running backs are getting from that distance. Bryant’s been on a scoring tear since his catching 9 passes for 151 yards in Week 7 against the Giants. He’s averaging 6 catches and 94 yards in his last 5 games against New York who will be without Prince Amukamara this weekend.
- Don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s cold outside (everywhere but Miami). I’m not sure if anybody has had it as bad as upstate New York, but I’m becoming a bigger Bills fan each for it. From Scuzzy Kicker Dan Carpenter shoveling 4 feet of snow out of his elderly neighbors’ driveways or Mario Williams helping out Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, they’re just so damn likable. If you want to feel better about your current climate, I recommend checking out this compilation of snowy photos by the Bills players. Buffalo is expecting 7 feet of snow this Sunday so wherever they play, anticipate some #OrtonMagic against the Jets (he threw 4 TDs against them in Week 8)
(I don’t apologize for embedding this at all.)
- Why isn’t JJ Watt available as a tight end yet in most league? He officially kicked off the Ryan Mallett era in Houston last weekend catching his 2nd touchdown pass of the season…and I’m sure Mallett would love having Watt line up for him in the red zone for the rest of the season. Note: Watt has 4 touchdowns total this season. If the Texans actually made a run at the playoffs, he could be your MVP this season.
- Speaking of MVP candidates, is Gronk in the conversation? He should be. A big reason for New England’s turnaround since Week 4 is Rob Gronkowski returning to form. He has 5 touchdowns in his last 3 games, and 9 total on the season. Gronk is also doing it after the catch, which makes life easier for Tom Brady.
And on that note…mail time? Mail time.
DB Moenning on Facebook: “Who to start – Denard Robinson v. Colts, Trent Richardson v. Jags, Jonas Gray v. Lions?”
If you hadn’t asked about him, Denard Robinson would likely have gotten a shoutout much earlier in this post for his consistency. Since taking over #1 running back duties in Week 7, he’s averaging 97 rush yards per game and scored 4 touchdowns in the 4 weeks before the bye. He faces a Colts defense this week that has allowed 140+ total yards to backs in 3 of their last 5 games. And they also let *gasp* Jonas Gray happen…By now, you know the story. His 200 yards and 4 touchdowns last week against Indy are probably why Jonas Gray is a part of this question right now. It was a classic Bill Belichick game plan. If his opponent is weak against the run, he will stomp them with whoever lines up in the backfield. That won’t be the case this week against the league’s best run defense. Expect more work for Shane Vereen through the air…While Trent Richardson isn’t a bad play against the Jaguars and no Ahmad Bradshaw, Robinson is your guy this week.
Pat Bauers on Facebook: “Owen Daniels or Vernon Davis?”
Does Vernon Davis still play for the Niners? You really couldn’t tell by the way he’s been used this season. He had a plum matchup against the Giants last week and caught just one pass. Based on the way this entire season has gone for Davis, I really don’t expect anything special from him this weekend…even against Washington. Go with Owen Daniels. Saints haven’t allowed much to tight ends, but Jermaine Gresham did score twice last week against them. Daniels is also another week healthier coming off the Ravens bye week and was picking up more and more targets going into it.
Craig Bucy on Facebook: “Charles Sims, Chris Ivory, or Jerick McKinnon?”
Not very high on any of your options, but Jerick McKinnon is your best bet. He and Matt Asiata combined for 118 yards against the Packers in their previous meeting, and it will be in the Vikings best interest to play the “time of possession” game this weekend. The Packers are also allowing the 8th most rush yards this season, and McKinnon is clearly the best run option up until the Vikings get to the 5 yard line…Next best will be Chris Ivory who has slipped as of late, but did score 2 TDs against the Bills in their previous meeting.
Billy Quesse on Facebook: “Flex: Mohamed Sanu, Cecil Shorts, Cordarrelle Patterson or Fred Jackson”
With Sanu losing targets dramatically because of AJ Green’s return, Fred Jackson having to face the stout Jets run defense and not 100%, and Cordarrelle Patterson just being bad…go with Cecil Shorts. He’s picking up all the targets that Allen Robinson left by going on IR. Allen Hurns is more boom or bust on the opposite side of the field while Shorts is the possession option.