To streamline the content in this column so you can get right to the information you need to win in the playoffs, we’ve opted to cut out the “dead wood” players who will likely only post 2-3 points like Dallas Clark, Andrew Hawkins, etc., or any of the Browns QBs.
Minnesota Vikings at BALTIMORE RAVENS
Through 12 games, Flacco has 15 TDs and 14 INTs. It’s true, look it up. It’s been difficult to trust him, but if ever there was a week to do so, this is it. The Vikings have given up the most points to opposing fantasy QBs, and Flacco should post at least 260 yards and 2 scores. He’s a high-end QB2 this week.
Ray Rice is a flex option. Who’da thunk it? Has lack of production has been truly stunning, given that he’s consistently seen a reasonable (or better) workload all season since he’s been fit. He should put up a slightly better game than he did against Pittsburgh last week, with around 80 total yards.
Smith has been Baltimore’s most reliable fantasy player this season, ahead of even the great Blair Walsh. He’s had double digit points in each of the last 3 weeks in standard leagues, and that streak should continue this week against a shoddy secondary. We like him for 80+ yards and a score, and he has the potential to double that. He’s a borderline WR1.
If you need a high-upside play this week, you could a LOT worse than Jones. He’s a boom-or-bust player going against a poor defense, and has every chance to take a long one to the house. If you’re an underdog in the playoffs, Jones should be on your radar.
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Indianapolis Colts at CINCINNATI BENGALS
Dalton was a huge letdown last week with just 10 points in what looked like a juicy matchup with the Chargers. Although their defense has been stingier, we like him to put up more points against the Colts and break his mini-slump. Dalton should put up over 275 yards and 2 scores.
Bernard had a poor game last week for fantasy purposes, but he’s due a decent game after a couple of sub-par outings. He’s somewhat hard to trust after Green-Ellis’ strong showing last week, but Bernard has the ability to make playing him worthwhile with just one play. If you can play him as an RB2 or even a flex, don’t hesitate to do so.
We’ll eat some crow on BJGE, after he posted 13 standard points last week. However, that was his best game of the season, and his first double digit outing since week 5. This week, we as usual suggest he’s played as nothing more than a flex, and benched if at all possible. His upside is just so limited.
Green’s upside, conversely to Green-Ellis, is unlimited. Outside of his week 11 goose egg, Green’s posted double digit points in standard leagues since week 6. He’s Dalton’s favourite target, and for good reason. 100 yards and a score, as always.
Cleveland Browns at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
As we’ve said all season, Gordon is one of the highest upside players in all of football. We urge a note of caution this week, as the Patriots are notorious for taking away an opposition’s best player. But you likely drafted Gordon as your WR2, and his baseline this week should be around 70 receiving yards. As we’ve seen all year, his upside is spectacular.
Cameron stands to be the potential beneficiary of the Patriots’ attention on Gordon. He’s averaged 8 targets per game over the last 3 weeks, which is good for 6th most in the league over that span. He’s going to explode at some point, why not this week? In all likelihood you don’t have a better option anyway, so roll with Cameron.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at Miami Dolphins
Big Ben is quietly the 11th ranked QB in standard scoring leagues, and the #8 in 6-point per passing TD leagues. The Dolphins are giving up the 3rd fewest points to opposing QBs, with just 4 passing TDs given up over the last 8 weeks. Not quite an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, but it provides an interesting dilemma. Some people are reluctant to start Ben this week, but we like him at a similar level he’s been all season – a high-end QB2.
Before his injury against the Ravens, Bell was having one of his best games of the season, showing off his power and vision. He’s passed the concussion protocols and should be a full go for Sunday’s game. The Dolphins are much weaker against the rush than the pass, and Bell should see his usual steady workload only slightly lessened after the injury. We like him for at least 90 total yards, and he’s a good bet to score.
Brown’s 3 worst games this season have all come against AFC North opponents. Outside of those, he’s had at least 80 yards in every game but one, and he scored in that. The Dolphins are an imposing matchup, having allowed just one WR TD all season, per ESPN. This might be a game on the lower end of Brown’s potential production, but he should still have at least 80 yards. He’s a lower end WR2.
We really like Miller this week. The Dolphins have given up the 5th most points to opposing TEs on the season. He’s averaged 9.3 targets over the last 3 weeks, trailing only Garrett Graham and Rob Gronkowski. He’s our 7th ranked tight end this week.