It is sink or swim time in fantasy playoffs. This week, I address players I see a lot of questions about. For the most part, start the guys that got you here. Otherwise, here are some situations to consider that might help you advance. You’ll want to read to the end, as I give you my thoughts on Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard this week.
Week 13 Season Recap
Last week I recommended starting Devante Parker, David Montgomery, and Hunter Renfrow. Montgomery came through, while Parker and Renfrow came up small. Renfrow did have a TD overturned by a penalty. I said to sit Todd Gurley and Logan Thomas. Thomas exploded despite an unfavorable matchup. He seems to be Alex Smith’s new safety blanket to the detriment of Terry McLaurin. Season Tally: 41-27
David Montgomery vs Houston
I’m including him in this column back to back weeks as fantasy managers apparently don’t trust him. Ever since the Bears turned the playing calling duties over to Bill Lazor, Montgomery has been featured in this offense. He has also flourished with Mitch Trubisky under center, amassing 254 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns over the last two games. This week, Montgomery faces the Texans, who are allowing the second-most points to back this season. Don’t overthink this.
Justin Herbert vs Atlanta
I get it; he just dropped a stinker that may have cost some fantasy managers a playoff spot. But that was against the Bill Belichick-led Patriots. Belichick is notorious for scheming against players, especially rookie quarterbacks. It was the first time Herbert failed to score a touchdown this year. Excluding last week, he’s performed above expectations this season, averaging over 27 fantasy points a game. Herbert faces the worst pass defense this week. I wouldn’t hesitate to swim with him this week.
Other players I like: Jonathan Taylor. The Raiders are just too easy to run on. I think Taylor gets the “Cam Akers” treatment this week, too, and fully becomes the feature guy in that backfield.
Take a chance on him
Dalton Schultz at Cincinnati
Schultz has caught four or more passes in five straight games. The Bengals have just given up two Top 5 tight end performances to Mike Gesicki and Evan Engram. He might not be a flashy pick, but Schultz has a nice floor.
Miles Sanders vs Saints
Sanders’ usage in the offense has declined in recent weeks. He’s had a lot of drops lately, and Boston Scott has eaten into his passing down work. More importantly, he’s not getting opportunities at the goal-line. Combine that with a matchup against the Saints, the league’s toughest defense against running backs, Sanders could sink your chances at the ‘ship this week. If you have another comparable option, I would consider starting them instead. I’m not too fond of Philly’s receivers in this one, either.
Christian Kirk at Giants
Here’s why you need to sit Kirk this week: He hasn’t had a good performance since Week 9. His quarterback, Kyler Murray, is dealing with a shoulder injury on his throwing side. Larry Fitzgerald is coming back from COVID and could take away targets. Also, unbeknownst to many, the Giants have given up the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers over the last four weeks.
Sink or Swim?
Zeke Elliott/Tony Pollard at Cincinnati
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Zeke might need a lifejacket to keep from sinking this week. If we’re honest, he hasn’t been himself and has been banged up this season. Now Zeke is dealing with a calf injury. He’s listed as questionable but is expected to play. That does NOT mean he will start or even get many carries. This kind of feels like the Clyde Edwards-Helaire thing all over again. CEH was active in Week 13 but didn’t play a snap as he was recovering from the flu. Tony Pollard’s snap count has increased in recent weeks, and he has been much more productive with his touches. With the 2020 season all but over for the Cowboys, my bet’s on Pollard as the back to start this week.
As always, start your studs! Unless it’s under extreme circumstances, obvious players will not appear in this column.
Logo graphic courtesy of @TheDiamondMike