First of all, if you are reading this you’re more than likely in the playoffs, so congratulations! I hope my previews have helped you get there, now let’s win some championships!
St Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals (Sunday 4.25pm ET)
Carson Palmer has lead his team into the playoff conversation with some great late season form. In his last 4 games he has the most passing yards (1276) tied 3rd most TDs (9) and has taken more sacks (12) than any other of the top 12 QBs in that period. Palmer faces the Rams, and has the opportunity to seriously stake a claim for the playoffs. I think Palmer will finish as a top 8 QB this week with around 20 points.
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Mendenhall and Stepfan Taylor will lead the Cardinals rushing attack, but ‘Zona are running the ball hardly at all lately, with 96 rushing attempts over the four week period. The Rams rushing D is awful, but Mendy may only get 15 carries which is a worry. Mendenhall might get you 8 points or more but I wouldn’t like to start him as more than a low end flex. Taylor’s value is limited, I’d rather own an injured Ellington for the time being, as he ought to be back next week.
Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd have been benefitting from an increased volume of passes, as they combined for over 30 points last week, both scoring TDs. Over the last 4 weeks they sit at 8th and 10th for WR points scored. I really like them for the rest of the season and this week I can see a situation where you can start both. Both sit as WR2s at the moment with WR1 upside.
Rob Housler has 199 yards and a TD in his last 4 games, he only has 135 yards without a TD for the rest of the year. Housler is showing the form we expected and is a nice pickup for the Rest of the season if you’re thin at TE. His fantasy production has dwindled in his last 2 games but his targets has not. I think Housler can score you between 6 and 10 points this week.
Cardinals D/ST should hold firm against the Rams and post a D/ST5-8 score.
Kellen Clemens shouldn’t be started in any leagues though he is a backup in 16 teamers.
Zac Stacy will be facing the second toughest run defence in the NFL this week, and with injuries to the Rams OL, everything points to benching Stacy. He is still an RB2 in deeper leagues but has limited upside in 12 team leagues or smaller. I love Stacy long term but this may be a week you want to find a starter elsewhere.
Rams WRs continue to offer very little, and with Clemons throwing the ball I can’t make a case for starting any of their WRs in any leagues.
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Jared Cook failed to score a TD this week and again he is a volatile player in fantasy. I would rather start a Housler or John Carlson or even Ladarius Green if you can find them on waivers.
Rams D/ST could be in for a rough night against the Cardinals, start them in 16 team leagues only if you’re desperate.
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (Sunday 4.25pm ET)
Colin Kaepernick finished with just 13.10 points in fantasy but he threw for his second highest yardage total of the year (275). Crabtree returning did indeed help Boldin and Davis find space and Kaepernick managed to take advantage. I can foresee an improvement in his production from here till the rest of the season. This week Kaepernick is facing an incredible defence and he becomes only a borderline starter in 12 team leagues. He has the upside that all rushing QBs do, but I fear this game will be won by defenders not QBs.
Frank Gore scored just 8.90 points this week in a game where I felt he would excel. He has less than 50 yards rushing in 5 games this season, 3 of those are his last 3 games (48, 31, 42)The 49ers continue to limit Gore’s carries and as such his production is taking a serious hit. This week he faces the Seahawks and I wouldn’t start him unless you’re desperate. Gore likely won’t top 50 yards, especially if his carries continue to be restricted.
Anquan Boldin caught a whole bunch of passes and in PPR would have finished with over 15 points. He didn’t make a TD catch but his form has picked up in time for the fantasy playoffs. This week he’s against the Seattle secondary and this could be tough for him to maintain big numbers. I think Boldin is the safest of all the 49ers WRs however, even more than Crabtree who made a few nice catches in his return. I like him for the rest of the year but I can see why you wouldn’t start him in a 12 teamer this week.
Vernon Davis is now the second highest scoring TE in fantasy and is the best offensive player on the 49ers. This is one guy who you can’t bench based on this matchup though I’d rate him as TE6-10 this week.
49ers D/ST shouldn’t be benched against the Seahawks. If they’ve got you this far then keep plugging them in. Both defences will be on top in this game I feel.
Russell Wilson’s Monday Night Performance was fantastic, and as such I can’t in good conscience advise against starting him this week, even though I rate the 49ers defence better than the Saints. Wilson is a QB10 this week.
Marshawn Lynch is matchup proof and went insane last time out v the 49ers, scoring 31.50 points. He won’t repeat that but he’s a low end RB1 this week.
Percy Harvin ended up missing the game last week and he is questionable to play against the 49ers. This is a situation to watch as if he starts Harvin is a capable WR2, and a high end WR2 in PPR. Golden Tate is worth starting as a high end flex option regardless of Harvin starting and in deep leagues guys like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are worth a flex flyer as they always seem to make a few catches.
Zach Miller caught another TD but his production is sporadic at best. Don’t start him this week.
Seahawks D/ST should be started as a top 10 D/ST this week.