Carroll County Times

Fantasy football: Make the right calls to win a championship

Congrats, if you are still reading this, it means you've made it to your league championship game or semifinals if the title game is next week, or you're just really enthusiastic about consolation round games.
If not, you're probably already thinking about next season. No fear, I'm hoping to have a 3-round 2014 mock draft ready to go by next week.
Not much else to discuss this week, so let's get right into who you should play, who you shouldn't and who you might want to take a flier on this week.

Start 'em if you got 'em
QB Kirk Cousins. The Dallas Cowboys defense is atrocious. Josh McCown and Matt Flynn have destroyed them each of the past two weeks. Cousins is better than both of them. Peyton Manning, Nick Foles, Drew Brees and Matt Stafford owners are the only ones who shouldn't at least consider Cousins.
QB Andy Dalton. Minnesota's pass defense rivals Dallas' when it comes to ineptitude. Dalton can be streaky, but he's generally good at home, especially against plus match-ups like this one.
RB Ryan Mathews. He's gotten a ton of work the past two games and is playing well. There is no reason to believe his volume will go down against Oakland, or that the Raiders will be able to stop him, so fire him up again this week.
RB Giovani Bernard. Gio's had a few duds, but he's got a gem of a match-up against Minnesota and the Bengals are giving him goal line carries as well lately. It sets up for one of his better games of the year at the right time.
WR Torrey Smith. After a few disappointing outings, Smith should get more looks against the Patriots, who are getting torched by opposing No. 1 WRs recently, and he's got a track record of torching the Pats.
WR Julian Edelman. The Patriots offense might be struggling in real life, but in fantasy, business is booming for a guy like Edelman, who Brady is practically forcing the ball to because of his lack of weapons elsewhere. Danny Amendola is an above average start as well.
WR Rod Streater. He wasn't so hot last week, but he's getting a ton of looks with Matt McGloin at quarterback and had a nice game the last time he faced the Chargers.
TE Delanie Walker. Following an 8 for 53 and a touchdown performance against Arizona, he's a TE1 again this week facing the second-worst defense against fantasy TEs, Jacksonville.


Scale 'em back
QB Ryan Tannehill. He's been terrific as of late, but Buffalo does a pretty good job of limiting quarterbacks fantasy-wise. I wouldn't feel especially confident rolling with him with a championship on the line.
RB Andre Brown. Last week, I predicted he would be fine against Seattle. Whoops. The entire New York Giants squad is now in disarray and he gets another tough match-up against Detroit. I can't trust him here.
RB Rashard Mendenhall. Despite some pretty impressive performances recently, traveling to Seattle is a recipe for disaster for all but the elite running backs. Mendenhall is not one of those.
RB Steven Jackson. While his resume against the 49ers (with the Rams) is solid, he struggled yardage-wise with a cake match-up last week, even though he made up for it by scoring 2 TDs. If he doesn't score -- which is hard to predict -- there's a good chance he's a total bust this week.
WR T.Y. Hilton. Finally productive last week, expect Hilton to struggle again with the Colts playing outdoors against a pretty solid Chiefs secondary. There's always a chance he breaks a big play, but just as likely he goes 3-28 in your most important week.
WR Michael Floyd. Struggling in touch match-ups the past few weeks after looking dominant in the weeks prior, things don't get any easier against Seattle. Larry Fitzgerald might not play, meaning he'll draw Richard Sherman, and Carson Palmer is hurting too. Add to it Floyd's bum ankle and I want nothing to do with this guy.
TE Timothy Wright. St. Louis has been remarkably stingy against tight ends, even elite ones. Wright has been on fire, but we've seen him post several duds this season too. I can't trust him in a championship match-up.

Taking a flier
QB Jason Campbell. Two weeks ago, he was great. Last week, awful. He gets a Jets defense that is going to shut down the run but struggles against the pass. If you're incredibly desperate, you can roll with him and hope Josh Gordon has another monster game running after the catch to add to his passing numbers.
RB Jordan Todman. I'm playing known commodities over him, but if you're in a pinch, it makes sense if the Jags hold MJD out one more time and get a long look at Todman, who did a nice job in week 15.
RB Dennis Johnson. He's the man in Houston with Ben Tate out. Johnson's had a few strong showings, but you worry how many touches he'll get against Denver if this one turns into a laugher.
WR Doug Baldwin. Playing some pretty good football over the past month or so, and against a banged-up Cardinals secondary, he's a nice WR3.
WR Michael Crabtree. If you've stashed him this long, this certainly seems like the week to turn him loose as a WR3 or flex unless you have elite options. He's looked good with limited opportunities in recent weeks and Atlanta's defense could allow him a big game.
TE Tyler Eifert. With Jermaine Gresham out, Eifert got the opportunities he needed to showcase his talents last week. Against Minnesota, he's a heck of a sleeper.