Wednesday, December 11, 2013

PLAYER RANKINGS - Week 15 (Playoff Edition

by Michael H. Osinski
@mhosinskiLLP


Most Fantasy players know the worst thing is to have multiple star players injured. There is no bigger impediment to getting in the playoffs. And, if it happens early in the year, it can make for a long season.

In one league in which I pay, I lost Mike Vick, Julio Jones, Danny Amendola, David Wilson and a couple others before Week 5. I did have time to scramble and somehow ended up just short of the playoffs. It certainly wasn't the season I envisioned after the draft in August. I kinda took it as a challenge and ran with it. But, for most folks who had similar misfortune, it was a long season.

But I was thinking today, it would be worse to have a good season, get in the playoffs...and THEN lose your best player. That is exactly what has happened to owners of Adrian Peterson or Rob Gronkowski.

I play 3 leagues and the guys who owned Peterson ALL made the playoffs. Couldn't find a stat to support it, but I'll bet most owners of Peterson and Gronk are in the playoffs.

And think about it...the waiver wire is a bare cupboard right now. Are you going to trust your playoff run on Toby Gerhart? At least TE has become a deep position, but playing Tim Wright instead of Gronk is still not a recipe for victory.

Of course the owners facing teams that had Peterson or Gronk go down are thanking their lucky stars. There is opportunity to advance.

All I can say is, be glad you made the playoffs and hope for a bit of luck...or realize your bench is a deep one and that guy you stashed a couple weeks ago has a chance to give you a chance.


QB

Funny how a QB not playing is having the biggest impact on the NFC Playoff run. Aaron Rodgers not playing not only hurts the Packers, this week it hurts the Eagles as the Packers play Dallas with Matt Flynn. The Lions and Bears are no doubt pretty happy with this as well. With Rodgers back from here on, I'd expect the Packers to finish 9-6-1, meaning both the Bears and Lions would need to win out as well. No such pressure without Rodgers.

So no Rodgers this week. Cutler still out. RGIII being held hostage so Shanahan can get fired and collect his $7M.

Last week we had a colossal whiff on Stafford. Of course, we didn't know he was going to play in a blizzard. We were obviously light on McCown, but most of the rest (besides Luck's bounceback) were in line.

1. Peyton Manning (DEN): Be assured this Manning brother will take advantage of the matchup.
2. Nick Foles (PHI): No blizzard indoors, and Minn doesn't stop people.
3. Cam Newton (CAR): You can go deep on the Jets and the Jets may stop CAR run attack (except Cam).
4. Drew Brees (NO): STL has good rush, but Brees is a whole different player indoors.
5. Matt Ryan (ATL): WSH is bad right now and Matty Ice will throw a ton in the dome.
6. Phil Rivers (SD): Expect a lot of points Thurs night. DEN also allows 25+ points a game.
7. Matt Stafford (DET): Matchup not great, but he is back indoors.
8. Josh McCown (CHI): Won't be as good as he was Monday, but Brady torched the Browns for 400+, most in 2nd half.
9. Russell Wilson (SEA): Might be some weather, but that'll just force him to run a bit.
10. Tom Brady (NE): No Gronk, a decent defense and he wasn't so hot vs. Dolphins earlier this year.
11. Andrew Luck (IND): HOU is a dumpster fire and Luck killed them last time.
12. Alex Smith (KC): He is better than Geno Smith.

Just out: Romo, Kaepernick, Flacco

Try to avoid: Manning (The one who plays for NYG)

Possible sleeper: Tannehill

RB

Most of the RB news is about Adrian Peterson. Don't expect him to play. Maurice Jones-Drew is probably out as well. Reggie Bush and Eddie Lacy figure to play.

We had LeSean McCoy way too low last week. Too high on Ben Tate, but the rest were not so bad.

1. LeSean McCoy (PHI): Minn made Ray Rice look good again.
2. Eddie Lacy (GB): He'll get all the carries he wants to keep Matt Flynn away from mistakes.
3. DeMarco Murray (DAL): Team is finding good things happen when they hand him the ball (At least on offense). Good matchup too.
4. Knowshon Moreno (DEN): Expect TDs all over and they are missing Welker, so bump up other weapons.
5. Jamaal Charles (KC): Only this far down because they'll get a big early lead, then Knile Davis will mop up.
6. Matt Forte (CHI): CLE a bit tough on run, but he will get a bunch of touches in the passing game.
7. Marshawn Lynch (SEA): He is better than Ryan Mathews, who pummeled NYG for over 100.
8. Shane Vereen (NE): He will get some of Gronk's targets and like last week will make the most of them.
9. Alfred Morris (WSH): Expect lots of carries to protect Kirk Cousins.
10. Zac Stacy (STL): NO has become a good defense, but ARZ is the only team to stop him so far.
11. Andre Brown (NYG): Tough matchup, but they may have more luck running than passing (a la SF last week).
12. Gio Bernard (CIN): Better matchup than it looks, and he killed PIT in 1st meeting this year.
13. Frank Gore (SF): Solid, but expect a rout and the other backs to deaden the 4th Q clock.
14. Reggie Bush (DET): No ice to slip on indoors at home.
15. Rashad Jennings (OAK): They'll be able to run a bit. Q is how soon will they have to throw each down.
16. Ben Tate (HOU): He's been a bit inconsistent, but he is playing for a contract.
17. CJ Spiller (BUF): JAX defense has been better of late, but CJ's O-line can't get flagged every time he breaks one.
18. Chris Johnson (TEN): ARZ bottled up Stacy. CJzeroK's only shot is to break a long one.
19. Steven Jackson (ATL): He is starting to look a little like the guy we thought he'd be.
20. Toby Gerhart (MIN): Hammy issue, but with AP out, he'll get 20+ carries.
21. Bobby Rainey (TB): Matchup isn't great, but he has been OK in tough matchups before.
22. Andre Ellington (ARZ): TEN great vs. pass...not as great vs. the run.
23. Ryan Mathews (SD): Has been great last 5 games, but expect SD to throw a lot to keep up.
24. Le'Veon Bell (PIT): Bad matchup and a game CIN really needs more than PIT.
25. Chris Ogbonnaya (CLE): McGahee out. He may steamroll the 3 little bears defense.

Just out: Pierre Thomas, Rashard Mendenhall, Daniel Thomas

Try to avoid: Chris Ivory, Ray Rice

Possible sleeper: Danny Woodhead

WR

No Wes Welker this week. Bumps to all the other DEN weapons.

Last week we whiffed on Megatron, though the face full of snow was worth it. Besides that and having Alshon Jeffery too low (again), we were pretty good.

1. Josh Gordon (CLE): Think if he hadn't missed the first 2 games.
2. Calvin Johnson (DET): It will not be snowing Monday night against the Ravens.
3. Demaryious Thomas (DEN): Good matchup. Won't have to share with Welker.
4. DeSean Jackson (PHI): Lots of TDs in this one. Deep ones, too.
5. Andre Johnson (HOU): He is about to get 100 catches and 1,400 yards for 4th time in his career.
6. AJ Green (CIN): He just seems to get open. How I have no idea. Marvin Jones as a credible decoy?
7. Alshon Jeffery (CHI): That catch in the corner of the end zone was fantastic. Loved shot of Marshall looking at AJ's feet.
8. Eric Decker (DEN): See Thomas above.
9. Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ): Playing in the slot seems to agree with him.
10. Brandon Marshall (CHI): Seems odd ranking him 2nd on his own team. Not sure that's ever been done.
11. Dez Bryant (DAL): Not sure what is happening here. Only 4 targets Monday night.
12. Keenan Allen (SD): He just keeps getting better. Good matchup and River's 1st option.
13. Riley Cooper (PHI): Will no doubt get a couple deep balls.
14. Torrey Smith (BAL): You can throw on DET.
15. Antonio Brown (PIT): CIN is a tough matchup, but Brown has been close to matchup proof.
16. Roddy White (ATL): Healthy now, and moving back up the ranks to where he belongs.
17. Pierre Garcon (WSH): Down this low because of QB change, uncertainty of Reed drawing attention.
18. Vincent Jackson (TB): Tough matchup as Glennon will spend a lot of time on his back.
19. Michael Crabtree (SF): Gradual improvement and Revis probably will follow Boldin.
20. Marques Colston (NO): Maybe not as good as last week, but he seems to be back.
21. Julian Edelman (NE): Brady's trusted WR. Was getting 10+ targets/game when Gronk was out before.
22. Brandon La Fell (CAR): He will get a long one over top the sketchy NYJ deep pass defense.
23. Rod Streater (OAK): A lot of it will come in garbage time.
24. Michael Floyd (ARZ): Nicked up and questions about Palmer's ability to throw deep have him lower.
25. TY Hilton (IND): Last time vs. HOU had 121 and 3 TDs.

Just out: Harry Douglas, Cecil Shorts, Jordy Nelson

Try to avoid: Victor Cruz, Anquan Boldin

Possible sleeper: Cordarelle Patterson

TE

The position most in flux. Rob Gronkowski is out. Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker figure to be back. Fringe guys John Carlson, Athony Fasano both are iffy.

Besides Charles Clay, we didn't really have anyone too low. A couple of guys were too high, but the population of guys at this position is small.

1. Jimmy Graham (NO): With Gronk out, he becomes de facto 1.
2. Julius Thomas (DEN): Same reasons as Decker/Thomas bumps.
3. Delanie Walker (TEN): ARZ is worst in the league defending TEs.
4. Greg Olsen (CAR): NYJ can be thrown on and Cam looks his way first.
5. Vernon Davis (SF): He is usually a lock for a TD each game.
6. Antonio Gates (SD): DEN has had trouble defending TEs as well.
7. Charles Clay (MIA): Did you see what Jordan Cameron did against NE last week?
8. Jason Witten (DAL): He only had 1 catch last week. I thought it was a typo.
9. Dennis Pitta (BAL): Had no snap count and scored already. Flacco needs him to make a run to playoffs.
10. Martellus Bennett (CHI): CHI offense will probably look good again and he'll see some of it.
11. Tony Gonzalez (ATL): Has been inconsistent.
12. Jordan Cameron (CLE): Had been slumping before last week. Repeat or regress?

Just out: Jordan Reed, Coby Fleener, Garrett Graham

Try to avoid: Jared Cook

Possible sleeper: Ladarius Green

DEF

We wrongly believed in OAK and not KC last week.

1. SEA...NYG still turning ball over.
2. CAR...NYJ not a good road team and have no consistency.
3. KC...OK I believe again...and they are playing OAK
4. SF...gets a rookie QB.
5. ARZ...Fitz good for picks.
6. JAX...not a typo...averaging 10 pts/game over last 5.
7. PHI...Minn will turn it over, regardless of who plays QB.
8. CIN...Because usually they tackle better than they did last week.
9. ATL...I'm not sold on Cousins.
10. IND...HOU swirling down the drain.

Just out: PIT

Try to avoid: SD, DAL, CHI

Possible sleeper: BUF

K

As I have been saying, even before it started getting cold/snowy, try to get dome kickers and guys playing in warm weather.

1. Matt Prater (DEN)...the exception
2. Alex Henery (PHI)...zero in the snow...lots indoors
3. Adam Vinateri (IND)...dome
4. Justin Tucker (BAL)...dome
5. Matt Bryant (ATL)...dome
6. Kai Forbath (WSH)...dome
7. Greg Zuerlein (STL)...dome
8. Blair Walsh (MIN):...dome
9. Garrett Hartley (NO)...dome
10. Dan Bailey (DAL)...dome

Just out: anyone else in a dome

Try to avoid: Josh Brown

Possible sleeper: Be real, no such thing as sleeper kicker...

Good luck in the playoffs everyone. I am available for questions at @mhosinskiLLP

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