AFC North Fantasy Preview: Championship Edition

Two simple words for you if you’ve made it this far into your fantasy season – GOOD LUCK!

 

Minnesota Vikings at CINCINNATI BENGALS

 

In the two games after his clunker against the Chargers, Andy Dalton threw for over 500 yards, 5 TDs and 0 INTs. Last week against the Eagles the Vikings defense gave up over 400 yards passing. Dalton is a legitimate top-10 option this week. This also bodes well for A.J. Green, with the Vikings giving up the second most points to opposing wide receivers. 100 yards and a score is a very realistic proposition, and Green may even exceed that. Marvin Jones is also a viable option if you’re in desperation mode, though the possibility of him putting up a goose egg is just as likely as a score. Giovanni Bernard is a great RB2 this week, and should break off a long run or catch as the Vikings don’t have the LBs to keep up with him. He should flirt with 100 total yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis shouldn’t be viewed as more than a low-end flex. As has been the case all season, it’s too hard to trust either Tyler Eifert or Jermaine Gresham, who cannibalise  each other’s value. It is worth noting that the Vikings are giving up the third most points to opposing TEs, however.

 

CLEVELAND BROWNS at New York Jets

 

Josh Gordon has scored at least once in each of his last 5 games. The Jets have nobody in the secondary who can cover him, and he could have a field day this week. He’s our number 3 WR this weeek, and should have at least 100 yards and a score. No Browns RB is worth starting against a stout Jets defensive line. Jason Campbell is also impossible to trust, and has low-end QB2 status this week. Gordon’s stat line will make up most of Campbell’s, as Jordon Cameron is out with a concussion. No other Browns TE is worth considering starting in his stead. A special mention goes to the Browns D/ST who face “the GenoCoaster”, who has had the Christmas spirit all season, giving gifts of interceptions to opposing teams. The Browns are a legitimate top-5 option this week.

 

New England Patriots at BALTIMORE RAVENS

 

If Joe Flacco fully fit, we like him for around 250 yards and 2 TDs against a generous Pats defense of late. However, last week’s horror show against the Lions will give many owners cause for concern. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce should both be riding the pine, as they’ve simply not shown they’re worth even considering starting, even against an injury depleted Patriots defense. We like Torrey Smith to top 80 yards and a score, but he should still only be deployed as a WR2. Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown should see in the region of 40 to 60 yards each, but neither should be in consideration for a spot on your team in the championship game. Dennis Pitta is as safe an option at tight end as there is outside of the elite players at the position. He could have anywhere from 50 to 120 yards, but he has a high floor. Justin Tucker won’t replicate last week’s heroics, but he could have a big say in determining the winner of this game, and yours. Start him.

 

PITTSBURGH STEELERS at Green Bay Packers

 

Per ESPN, the Packers’ defense has given up seven passing TDs over the last 3 weeks. Last week’s showing against the Bengals aside, Ben Roethlisberger has been one of fantasy’s hottest QBs, and he’s a borderline QB1 against this vulnerable Packers unit, and around 275 yards and 2 scores is realistic. Antonio Brown would have had a respectable enough stat line last week with just his 5 catches for 66 yards and a score, but he tacked on a special teams score also. He’s a sure-fire WR1 this week, and he’s our 6tth ranked wideout this week. Le’Veon Bell had almost as many receiving yards as he did rushing last week, and he may repeat that feat this week. He should eclipse 100 total yards, and is a good bet to score. He’s a borderline RB1. Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders are hard to trust, but Heath Miller is a nice play this week. We like him for around 60 yards and a score.

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