Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Your league's playoffs start in a few weeks. We break down the fantasy implications.
Week 9 brought in ridiculous numbers for fantasy owners. Doug Martin completely devastated the Raiders run defense, Brandon Marshall couldn't be stopped by the Titans secondary and Jimmy Graham was back to being Jimmy Graham.
Your fantasy playoffs are rapidly approaching, and it's becoming crunch time for owners trying to grab the last spot in. The Packers, Browns, Redskins and Cardinals are all off this week, so you may be left with a few tough lineup decisions.
Let's take a look at a few players you can start this week to help put you in the win column, and a couple names who will only hurt your chances in Week 10.
Ryan Tannehill, quarterback - The rookie threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Colts. This Sunday he'll face a Titans defense that gave up 20 touchdowns in their first nine games. We've only seen two weeks where opposing quarterbacks have thrown for a single score against Tennessee. Tannehill also hasn't recorded a turnover since Week 4. If you're in need of a replacement for Aaron Rodgers or RG3, give Tannehill a look. He's probably available in your league.
C.J. Spiller, running back - How do you have a running back average 7.2 yards per carry and only hand him the ball six times in one game? Spiller finished with 11 total touches last week and still managed to produce 102 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, expressed the need to get Spiller the ball more often. Hopefully Chan Gailey heeds his advice. The Patriots are relatively solid against the run, but their pass defense is horrible. Spiller is bound to find the end zone after failing to score the past two weeks. Only his coach can hold him back.
Michael Crabtree, wide receiver - Crabtree enjoys playing St. Louis, there's no doubt about that. He's caught 22 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns in his last four games against the Rams. To makes matters worse for Jeff Fisher's squad, the Rams have given up six touchdowns over the last three games to opposing receivers. Alex Smith connected with Crabtree for two scores in their last matchup, so we can only expect him to realize his No. 1 receiver is, you know, his No. 1 receiver for a reason.
Dustin Keller, tight end - Keller missed several weeks with a hamstring injury earlier this season, but he's turned into a reliable target for Mark Sanchez once again in his last two games. Back-to-back seven-catch performances should be a good indication of things to come. The Seahawks defense is a solid group overall, so Sanchez might need to safety valve more often in this week's matchup. Expect Keller to see plenty of targets. He's not a sure-fire fantasy stud, but he's an option if you're in need of TE help,
Dolphins D/ST - Miami is sixth in the league in fewest points allowed per game. The Dolphins only allowed 83.9 yards on the ground per game, so don't expect Chris Johnson to have a field day in Week 10. Jake Locker is expected to start, but even though he provides more of a spark in the passing game than Matt Hasselbeck, we shouldn't expect a monstrous performance right away after he missed multiple weeks with a shoulder injury. Stars the Dolphins D/ST against a team that averages just 20.2 points per game.
Matt Schaub, quarterback - Schaub draws the short end of the stick in Week 10. He'll take on a Bears defense that is abusing opposing offenses. They've only allowed six passing touchdowns in 2012. Schaub played well in his past two outings, but c'mon, it's Chicago. How confident can you feel about him going up against the team that allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks? Don't roll the dice here. Save yourself.
Steven Jackson, running back - He wasn't dealt before the trade deadline, so he's still stuck in a timeshare in St. Louis. Jackson only saw seven carries in his last game with Daryl Richardson continuing to eat into his playing time. Neither running back will do you much good in Week 10. The Rams face a 49ers defense that allowed six, yes six, rushing yards on eight carries to LaRod Stephens-Howling before their bye. It looks like Jim Harbaugh has his team back to its dominant ways against opposing ground games. Jackson splitting carries against an incredibly tough run D? Doesn't sound like an equation for success.
Sidney Rice, wide receiver - Sure, go ahead and point out he's scored three touchdowns in the past four weeks. How many wideouts has Antonio Cromartie locked down in 2012? That's who will likely matchup against Rice in Week 10. It's promising to see Rice elevate his game as of late, but you can't expect solid production here. Quarterbacks have an overall passer rating of 48.5 against Cromartie this season according to Pro Football Focus. Find another option.
Brent Celek, tight end - Week 9 was not the brightest moment in Celek's career. He started off his Monday night matchup against the Saints by tipping a pass that resulted in a 99-yard touchdown for Patrick Robinson, and he ended by fumbling while the Eagles were trying to mount a comeback. This week he faces the Cowboys, a team that hasn't allowed a touchdown to a tight end since Week 3. Last week Dallas kept Tony Gonzalez to four catches for 36 yards. Add in the fact that the Eagles offense is constantly struggling, and Celek is simply not a safe play.
Chargers D/ST - Were you impressed by the San Diego holding Kansas City to just 13 points last Thursday? Well you shouldn't have been, because it was Kansas City. The Chargers face the Buccaneers on the road this week, and seeing the way Tampa's offense is operating these days, it would be wise to look for a better matchup. The Bucs are averaging 36 points per game since their bye. Time to find a better option at D/ST.