Published December 07, 2017
It's must-win from here on out in the fantasy football playoffs.
In general, you should start the players who helped you make the playoffs, but you'll still need to carefully evaluate this week's NFL matchups so that you'll make the best decisions when submitting your lineup. We've identified several players to start and others to avoid this week. If your season-long fantasy season is over, these can also work in daily leagues.
-- Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. New Orleans
The Saints defense is much improved, however they've given up multiple TDs to QBs in three straight games and an average of 22 fantasy points per game (FPPG) during that span. For his career, Ryan has averaged 300 passing yards and 30 TDs against eight INTs vs. the Saints.
Josh McCown, NY Jets at Denver
The Broncos have allowed the most passing TDs (26) this season, including 14 in their last five games. McCown has been a solid streaming option for most of the season, and has averaged over 28 fantasy points over his last two games.
-- Dion Lewis, New England vs. Miami
In the past, we fantasy players have shied away from starting Patriots RBs because we were never sure how coach Bill Belichick would utilize them week to week. However, Lewis has emerged as a reliable back who has averaged 13 carries over the past three weeks. He's been effective, averaging 6.6 yards per carry (YPC) during that span. He rushed for 112 yards in his last game against the Dolphins.
Alfred Morris, Dallas at NY Giants
Opposing RBs have rushed for 4.5 YPC against the Giants in their last five games, and they've given up an average of 27 FPPG to the position during that span. Morris has rushed for 4.8 YPC over his past four games, and is coming off of a solid 127-yard rushing game in Week 13.
-- Samaje Perine, Washington at LA Chargers
Perine is firmly entrenched as Washington's early down back and should see enough volume to take advantage of a favorable matchup against the Chargers, who've given up 4.8 YPC and an average of 130 yards per game.
-- Michael Crabtree, Oakland at KC
If Amari Cooper is able to play this week, he'll be limited. That should make Crabtree the Raiders' top targeted receiver. The Chiefs have given up the most FPPG to WRs in PPR scoring, and they've suspended their top CB, Marcus Peters, for Week 14.
-- Josh Gordon, Cleveland vs. Green Bay
Gordon looked good against a tough Chargers secondary in his first game since 2014. He led the Browns in targets (11) and has a favorable matchup against the Packers, who've given up the fourth most FPPG to WRs in PPR.
Tyreek Hill, KC vs. Oakland
Hill has averaged just under seven receptions per game over the last three weeks, and caught six passes for 125 yards and a TD in his last game against the Raiders this season.
-- Stephen Anderson, Houston vs. San Francisco
With Rob Gronkowski suspended and Zach Ertz in the concussion protocol and potentially sidelined, fantasy players may need to find an alternate starting TE. With C.J. Fiedorowicz on injured reserve, Anderson will likely be the Texans' starting TE going forward. He was targeted 12 times in Week 14, and caught five passes for 79 yards, including a TD. The 49ers have given up six TDs over their past six games.
-- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NY Jets at Denver
The Broncos have given up five TDs to TEs in their last six games, and the third most FPPG to the position in PPR. Seferian-Jenkins leads the Jets with 10 red zone targets.
Cam Newton, Carolina vs. Minnesota
Newton has been bothered with shoulder discomfort all season and has been inconsistent. Most recently, he's been dealing with a sore thumb and he takes on a Vikings team that's given up an average of 10 FPPG to QBs over the past three weeks, and the fourth fewest FPPG to QBs overall.
-- Kirk Cousins, Washington at LA Chargers
The Chargers have given up the fourth fewest FPPG to QBs, and haven't surrendered multiple TDs to the position in seven straight games. Cousins has averaged just 14 FPPG over the past two weeks.
-- Kareem Hunt, KC vs. Oakland
Hunt hasn't scored a TD in his last nine games, and has 11 or fewer carries in three of his last four games as well. Opposing RBs have 3.2 YPC against the Raiders over the past month.
-- Carlos Hyde, San Francisco at Houston
Hyde hasn't had a 100 yard rushing game since Week 2 and hasn't scored a TD in his past six games. He's scored less than 12 FPPG in PPR scoring formats over his last three games. The Texans have yielded the third fewest FPPG to RBs.
-- Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore
Although he may see an uptick in targets with JuJu Smith-Schuster serving a one game suspension, Bryant has a tough matchup against the Ravens, who haven't given up a TD to a WR in six of their last seven games. The Ravens have surrendered the third fewest FPPG to WRs in PPR, and held Bryant to three catches for 48 yards in Week 4.
-- Davante Parker, Miami vs. New England
The Patriots defense has improved since the start of the season. They haven't given up a TD to a WR in two straight games, and they held Parker to one catch for five yards in Week 12. Parker hasn't scored a TD since Week 3.
-- Jared Cook, Oakland vs. KC
Cook has recorded just four receptions in his last three games, and the Chiefs have given up just one TD to the position.