Fantasy Fodder: Helping you survive the playoffs

We are into the nitty-gritty of the fantasy playoffs, so let's get down to business with some injury updates, a few waiver-wire pickups if you're desperate, and more. If your squad needs help, shoot me a note. And feel free to leave your fantasy sob stories in the comments section if your team has already been dismissed.

Down goes DeMarco Murray: This is a huge blow if you own Murray, who was a waiver-wire All-Star this season and one of the most productive fantasy players over the past two months. The best option to replace him is probably already on your bench, but Felix Jones will be a popular pickup this week as pickings are slim. Jones ran for 106 yards after Murray busted his ankle, but his inconsistency could kill your team.


Down goes Greg Jennings: Jennings suffered a knee injury as the Packers lit up the scoreboard against the Raiders, and now it looks as if he will be out for at least a couple of weeks -- a couple of weeks that are very important to fantasy players. Jordy Nelson should see even more looks with Jennings out, and if you want to add a Packers receiver, go with James Jones, not the ancient Donald Driver or the inexperienced Randall Cobb.

Two more WR injury updates: Jeremy Maclin apparently experienced tightness in his injured hammy in his return to the Eagles' lineup last week. I would steer clear of him since he hasn't yet showed he can play a full game. The same logic should apply to Andre Johnson, but I can't imagine the Texans trying to rush him back now that they are playoff-bound. If you really want to start one of them, make sure you check the inactive list Sunday morning.


The return of Adrian Peterson: The Vikings running back is expected to return to the lineup Sunday, which is a huge relief to me and other Peterson owners. If he does end up suiting up, he's a must-start against the Saints. The Vikings desperately need a running game to protect their young quarterback, Christian Ponder.

Fantasy penthouse: Tony Romo and Matt Ryan each threw for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns. Maurice Jones-Drew scored four touchdowns. Marques Colston had 105 receiving yards and two scores. Rob Gronkowski had 160 receiving yards and two TDs, setting a single-season TD record for tight ends.

Fantasy doghouse: Christian Ponder was a disappointment, turning the ball over four times. Willis McGahee had 34 yards on 17 carries. Plaxico Burress and Jermichael Finley had zero catches.

The wire: 1. I already mentioned James Jones and Felix Jones, but let's do it on more time. … 2. I'm still high on Santana Moss if you need a third receiver. He is averaging nearly nine targets a game since he returned. … 3. Demaryius Thomas has been targeted 19 times in the past two games. Sure, it's Tim Tebow who is targeting him, but still. … 4. Antonio Brown plays for the Steelers, but don't hold it against him. He has put up at least eight fantasy points for seven consecutive weeks. ... 5. Marion Barber III was the reality football goat for the Bears last week, but he is still worth starting.

I'm here to help: But I've been really swamped with the Ravens beat, so I haven't been checking the blog comments as much as I'd like. If you have a question, email me and I'll get back to you.

Extra point: Just a little more on Gronkowski, who is having an all-time great fantasy season. He has scored more fantasy points than every wideout in the league, and only three backs -- Jones-Drew, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy -- have scored more fantasy points than him. I'm going up against Gronk this weekend in the semifinals in one league. I'm fully expecting three touchdowns from him.

Matt Vensel is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun who uses this column to tinker with his fantasy football team on the clock. Send your questions and comments to or @mattvensel on Twitter.