Fantasy Fodder: Six players to target for playoffs

I whined in last week's Fantasy Fodder about not getting fantasy football questions from my readers, and you guys delivered with some good ones. This question from reader Andrew inspired the main topic for this week's post: "Is there anybody you would suggest trying to make a move for in a trade over the next few weeks, based on: a) strong week 15/16 matchups b) starter-caliber talent, but likely available for trade at a reasonable cost?"

Andrew's premise is pretty self-explanatory. I'll give you six players — a quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers and a tight end — likely to come up big in the fantasy playoffs who you should target in a trade. Just promise me you won't key my car if they end up missing the mark, OK?


QB: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers. If you don't have a stud under center, you can get great value with Freeman, who has juicy matchups in Weeks 14-16. Bonus: He's a free agent in many leagues.

RB1: Knowshon Moreno, Broncos. I was high on Moreno entering the season, but injuries slowed him down -- until now. I like his running matchups at season's end, plus he has the potential to be very effective as a receiver in the Broncos' pass-happy offense.


RB2: Shonn Greene, Jets. I'm sticking to my guns here. Greene is slowly running his way out of Rex Ryan's doghouse, and LaDainian Tomlinson will need rest down the stretch. Buy Greene low.

WR1: Mike Williams, Buccaneers. I liked what reader Chris in Hawaii was thinking on this one, so I'll let him explain his rationale: "Check out Tampa Mike Williams. He's got good matchups come playoff time (Washington, Detroit, Seattle) and he won't cost you an arm and a leg. But you better do it fast because after this week, he's matched up against Carolina then San Fran."

WR2: Wes Welker, Patriots. Losing Randy Moss has hurt Welker's production, but he and Tom Brady will figure it out here shortly. Welker's worth may never be lower than it is right now, so act fast.

TE: Todd Heap, Ravens. Joe Flacco has been spreading the ball around nicely, so I'm aware that all the Ravens' skill players are hit-or-miss. But Heap's matchups in Weeks 14-16 could result in a couple of strong weeks for this undervalued tight end.

Fantasy penthouse:

Aaron Rodgers (289 passing yards, three passing TDs, 41 rushing yards), Peyton Hillis (220 total yards, two TDs), Seyi Ajirotutu (111 receiving yards, two scores), Jacob Tamme (11 catches, 108 yards, one TD)

Fantasy doghouse:

Chad Henne (three INTs, zero TDs), Jonathan Stewart (30 rushing yards, one fumble), Chad Ochocinco (one catch for 15 yards), Brent Celek (zero catches)


Start 'em or sit 'em:

David Garrard, Jaguars. Start 'em. He's one of the league's hottest quarterbacks at the moment, and he is going up against the Texans' shaky secondary.

Jay Cutler, Bears: Sit 'em. If you haven't cut Cutler loose yet, you certainly don't want to play him against the Vikings defense, which started to get its pass rush going last weekend.

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos: Start 'em. Denver coach Josh McDaniels says that Moreno is as healthy as he has been all season. I'm guessing it shows against the Chiefs.

Marion Barber, Cowboys: Sit 'em. The jig is up.

Steve Johnson, Bills: Start 'em. Johnson is a must-start until otherwise noted.


Roy Williams, Cowboys: Sit 'em. Now this is the Roy Williams we all know. He hasn't clicked with Jon Kitna and is about to get passed on the depth chart by rookie Dez Bryant.

The wire:

Ajirotutu came out of nowhere with a big game, but I wouldn't go crazy trying to get him. Reinforcements are on the way for the Chargers. You know, like Vincent Jackson. Go get him. ... Nate Burleson has played well of late, but the Lions' QB situation could derail this run. ... See, I told you James Jones would come through. ... Tim Hightower looks to be the lead back in Arizona again, for whatever that's worth. ... Tamme is doing a pretty convincing Dallas Clark impersonation. ... Kevin Smith will have value if Jahvid Best gets even more banged up down the stretch.

There's a man down:

Falcons wideout Roddy White (knee) expects to play Thursday night against the Ravens. ... Matthew Stafford (shoulder) might be out for the season. ... The status for Jonathan Stewart (concussion) for Sunday is unclear, as is the case with DeAngelo Williams (foot). ... Austin Collie (head) could be heading back to the sidelines. ... It's the Chargers' bye week, which means Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Ryan Mathews will get some time to heal up. ... Hakeem Nicks (ankle) should be OK.

You give me fantasy advice:


In one league, I have Arian Foster, Ray Rice and Michael Turner. Are you cool with me trading Rice or Turner and Marques Colston for Hakeem Nicks and Ronnie Brown (and which back should I try to keep)?

Reader question of the week:

Fantasy nut Chris in Hawaii asks, "Who do you think is the most undervalued RB right now?"

Did you know that Matt Forte is the 12th-ranked back in fantasy football, according to ESPN's rankings? He has racked up more points than Rice, Steven Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew, yet most owners probably don't feel good about starting him each week considering how inconsistent he and the Bears offense have been. Still, it's hard to top that kind of production if you're using Forte as your No. 2 back.

Extra point:

Matthew Stafford's latest shoulder injury is a major bummer to savvy fantasy owners who picked him up three weeks ago — this guy included. The past two weeks, Stafford averaged 226 passing yards and three touchdowns and gave owners twenty-plus fantasy points each week. Now he's likely on the shelf for the rest of the season, leaving us to find a new fantasy savior at the QB position.


Stafford's backup, Shaun Hill, put up fine numbers, too, before injuring his forearm. But with Hill down and Stafford out, the Lions might turn to Drew Stanton. Trust me, you don't want to play that guy.

My weekly Fantasy Fodder column will run in some fashion on the Virtual Vensanity blog every Wednesday. E-mail your fantasy questions to, Tweet them to or leave them in the comments section below. Carrier pigeons are also acceptable.