Friday, 12 December 2014 00:00

Episode 37: Playoff sleepers

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On Friday's edition of Diagnosis, the Helpers discuss a few playoff sleeper options at each position for Week 15. Week 15 is often considered the divisional round of the fantasy playoffs, so the competition is likely to get even tougher from here on out. Also, they go over their hits and misses from Week 14.

Sleeper options

Quarterback

Jay Cutler vs. New Orleans

Cutler may drive his own coaches crazy with his erratic play, but he hasn't been a slouch for fantasy value this season. His 222 total fantasy points ranks ninth among quarterbacks. His matchup this week is also a strong one. The Saints give up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, allowing 18.9 points per game.

Matt Ryan vs. Pittsburgh

Matt Ryan is coming off his best game of the season after he posted 39 fantasy points in a near comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers. The status of Julio Jones is still up in the air, but he seems fired up to play after an incredible performance of his own last week. Jones will be looking to pass Calvin Johnson for the most receiving yards in a season (he needs about 130 yards per game over the next three contests to do so). The Falcons are still barely alive in the dreaded NFC South. They have the confidence after nearly upsetting one of the best teams in the NFL right now in Green Bay. There's a lot of incentive to start Ryan this week. The Steelers allow 17.5 points per game to quarterbacks, which ranks among the 10 worst in the league.

Alex Smith vs. Oakland

As my JV football coach used to call me, Smith has been 'steady eddie' all year long aside from one four point dud performance against Seattle. He posted 17 fantasy points against a decent Cardinals defense and gets the lowly Oakland Raiders in Week 15. Now, the Raiders have been playing better in recent weeks, and they're not terrible against quarterbacks, but Smith threw for two touchdowns against them last game and the Chiefs have one of the better home field advantages in the league. If you're desperate and just looking for a guy who isn't going to put you in a bad spot early, Smith is your guy.

Running back

Chris Johnson vs. Tennessee

Chris Johnson returns to play his old team for the first time since leaving the Titans for the Jets last season. The Titans are among the worst in the league against the running back and just surrendered over 100 yards to New York Giants backup Andre Williams a week before. There's a bit of a revenge factor here as well. Johnson has struggled for most of the season, but he's still averaging 4.5 yards per carry and has seen 33 touches over the last two games.

Wide receiver

Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee vs. Baltimore

We mentioned Hurns as a possible sleeper playoff addition a few weeks back due to his good schedule down the stretch. We tried to steer you guys in the right direction ahead of time, that way you wouldn't miss the opportunity. Well, he didn't disappoint if you started him in Week 14. He was targeted 10 times, caught five of them and ended up with a touchdown and 36 receiving yards. The Ravens secondary is the worst against wide receivers in 2014, allowing 26.5 points per game. Lee is a solid start as well if you can't grab Hurns. Over the last two games, Lee has 142 receiving yards and a touchdown. He's also averaged a healthy eight targets a game over that stretch.

Tight end

Larry Donnell vs. Washington

We hope Donnell is starting himself on his own fantasy team this time, since he failed to crack his own lineup the last time he played the Washington Redskins during Week 3 of the season. Donnell ended up with three touchdowns in that game, and it was the Giants best performance with Eli Manning this season. The Redskins are still struggling mightily on defense aside from the run game. They allowed two touchdowns from Shaun Hill and the Rams 26th-ranked passing offense. If you need a tight end and don't know who to go with, Donnell is a great option this week.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 12 December 2014 03:08
George Banko

George Banko started talking about fantasy football shortly after graduating college. He started as an intern at FFChamps.com before working as a staff writer for Fantasy Knuckleheads. He currently contributes to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast, which is available on itunes. He also educated himself on player evaluation and is a graduate of The Scouting Academy in 2015, which is an online course run by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman. He started Fantasy Football Helpers as a blog in 2011 and converted it to a full-scale website in 2014. Read more.

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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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