The Playoff Push

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Unless your fantasy league is run by monkeys and they make your Championship be played in Week 17, this is your final regular season week of fantasy football. Your final chance to potentially clinch a bye, better your position, or even fight your way into the playoffs. Let me help you do exactly that.

Baltimore Ravens @ Atlanta Falcons

Start - Gus Edwards
  • Beep Beep! All Aboard the Gus Bus! Talk about bursting onto the scene. Edwards had 64 yards through 10 weeks. Then Week 11 happened. Since getting his two starts since Week 11, Edwards has compiled 233 yards on 40 touches and a score. Whether Alex Collins is back this Sunday or not, you are riding the Gus Bus into Atlanta where they house one of the leagues worst run defenses. Gus is in a must start situation with the hope the bus does not run out of gas yet.
Start - Lamar Jackson
  • The good thing with Jackson is, if it is not working for him through the air, he can make it work on the ground. The Falcons porous run defense will benefit him too. Also, in a game where I am sure Atlanta will find a way to put up points, Jackson will need to do the same. Jackson is a decent start if you lost someone like Dalton or have a sputtering quarterback like Stafford.
Bust - Tevin Coleman
  • Coleman has done nothing with his chance of being the lead back with Freeman on IR. Over his last 3 games, he is not even averaging 40 yards rushing and the rare Atlanta touchdowns on the ground seem to get vultured by Ito Smith. I do not expect his fortune to change this week against a Ravens defense that has been the best against the run this season. 
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals

Start - Phillip Lindsay
  • Let the good times roll with Lindsay. After being quiet for the middle of the season, Lindsay has come back with vengeance. Lindsay punched in 2 scores two weeks ago and added another last week to go with a buck ten on the ground. This week enter the Bengals with arguably the leagues worst overall defense and a team in a tailspin. They have lost Dalton for the year which means this game could get out of hand fast leading to Denver to lean on the run in the second half. Start Lindsay with loads of confidence this week. 
Start - Emmanuel Sanders
  • Something something, worst defense in the league. 
Los Angeles Rams @ Detroit Lions

Sleeper - Josh Reynolds
  • If you did not take note of what Josh Reynolds did two weeks ago in the barn burner against the Chiefs, then you also must be a sleeper. Reynolds hauled in 6 balls for 80 yards in a score. But more importantly, they used him as their new Cooper Kupp. That is a great thing and something that should continue against a Lions team that is in a tailspin. Reynolds is an easy WR3, borderline WR2.
Start - Kenny Golladay
  • This game could get away from the Lions fast which will force their game script to pass only. With Marvin Jones now officially on IR, Golladay will be fed early and often. Golladay is a must start on volume alone, but against an underachieving Rams secondary, he should be a safe bet to hit pay dirt.
Bench - Matt Stafford
  • Matt Stafford used to be fantasy gold, but Stafford, and the Lions team as a whole, looked horrendous on Thanksgiving Day. Couple that with the fact the Rams know he is going to have to throw and the Lions offensive line can't block to save their lives, it could be a long day of Aaron Donald up in Stafford's grill. Find a new signal caller if you want to make it to the playoffs.
Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers

Start - Aaron Jones
  • It took long enough, but the Packers finally realized Aaron Jones is their undisputed best running back.  Jones has totaled 76 fantasy points in PPR leagues the last 3 weeks. Now he faces a Cardinals defense allowing 4.6 yards per carry and already have let in 16 touchdowns on the ground this year. This is a game that could get away from the Cardinals and their anemic offense, allowing the Packers to rely on the ground game in the second half. Jones is an RB1 this week.
Sleeper - Packers Defense
  • The Packers defense is far from flashy and are not great in any one area. But they are playing the Cardinals who have been terrible on the offensive side of the ball. This is a week the Packers defense could walk away with multiple sacks, a turnover or two, and the outside chance of a touchdown.
Bust - Larry Fitzgerald
  • When I first thought of this game, I thought Larry may be a good play based on volume. The Packers virtually need to win out to have a shot of playing football in January and you best believe Aaron Rodgers knows that. This game could get away from Arizona fast which means they will need to take to the air. The problem is Rosen has shown to be too accurate and Fitz can plan to see a lot of outstanding rookie Jaire Alexander. He is not worth the risk anymore. 
Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans

Bust - Lamar Miller
  • On the surface this looks like a great matchup. While the Browns pass defense has been strong, their run defense is the exact opposite and has been quite weak. Also, just a week ago Miller rushed for 162 yards against one of the top run defenses in the league. Dig into that stat line further though and you will see 97 yards of that came on one single run. That leaves the rest of his numbers quite pedestrian; 11 carries for 65 yards. Now that average is not pedestrian, as anyone would take 5.9 yards a carry, the problem is the 11 carries. Houston just is not giving him the volume.  Alfred Blue actually out-touched him 13-12! And, there is a slight chance D'Onta Foreman may be activated. Too many mouths to feed in Houston.
Bench - Jarvis Landry
  • What a disappointment it has been this year for anyone who drafted Jarvis Landry. The Browns offense appears set on Chubb and Duke Johnson being the focal points on the ground and in the passing game. And when they hit the redzone, David Njoku is Baker Mayfield's read A, B, and C. Landry's fall from grace has him as a flex starter at most, and that's only for PPR only leagues.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Start - Andrew Luck
  • My oh my is Andrew Luck back. He has thrown for at least 3 touchdowns every single Week since Week 4. This week he faces off against a sputtering Jaguars team who has underachieved on both sides of the balls, and may be without Jalen Ramsey. This is not as scary of a matchup as you would have believed it was going to be back in September. Couple that with the fact Luck may be without his best running back in Marlon Mack, as he remains in concussion protocol, and Luck could be on his way to another multiple touchdown performance. 
Sleeper - Nyheim Hines
  • Hines would be the main beneficiary to a Marlon Mack absence with Jordan Wilkins paying second fiddle to him. Hines is a shifty back and excels at catching the ball out of the backfield. Hines becomes a solid RB3/Flex play if in fact Mack sits this contest out. And with the Jaguars playing without Fournette (suspension) and starting Cody Kessler at quarterback, the Colts may make this a running game by the mid point of the third quarter. One note, if Mack gets the green light, I would then avoid all Colts running backs.
Start - Colts Defense
  • The Jaguars offense is awful and there should not be any more hope in Cody Kessler than what we all had in Blake Bortles. With no Fournette on the field either, this makes this a juicy matchup for the underrated Colts defense.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

Start - LeSean McCoy
  • This comes down to one question, if not now, when? McCoy has been a shell of himself this year with only one performance over 100 yards. That game came two weeks ago against the Jets and their putrid run defense. Well this week, he heads to Miami where they too are awful against the run, giving up almost 5 yards a carry to opposing runners. Use Shady as a RB2 and with the hopes of an RB1 payout to get you into fantasy football postseason play.
Sleeper - Frank Gore
  • The year is 2056. People now live on Mars and Frank Gore just rushed for 61 yards in an NFL game. How does this man keep churning out those yards? Gore is a good play if your desperate. Kenyan Drake has a bad shoulder and is limited to non contact practices all this week. He played with this same bad shoulder last week and actually had to leave the game for a short period of time. It is a situation worth monitoring and if your need of a RB, you could do worse than Gore here. He is yet to score on the ground yet this year, but continues to have a role every single week. If you think you have luck on your side roll with Gore Sunday and maybe he takes the bulk of the work and fetches you a touchdown.
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants

Start - Trey Burton
  • Burton is coming off a solid outing on Thanksgiving where he showed to have good chemistry with backup Chase Daniel. Burton was targeted 7 times in the matchup and will now play a Giants team that is porous when it comes to covering tight ends and again, it will be Daniels at the helm. If you want me to be specific for once, I like Burton for 8 catches, 62 yards and a score.
Sleeper - Jordan Howard
  • I will be honest with you. I have Jordan Howard and I am planning on starting him this week so this is more of a feeling of hope. After all, it is the Holiday Season and what better time than now for hope?  Jordan Howard, coming off back to back 1000 yard seasons continues to be fazed out of Matt Nagy's offense. But this week he gets to run against a Giants defense that has recently surrendered big games to the likes of Matt Breida, Peyton Barber, and Josh Adams. Like Shady McCoy, if not now, then when? Here's to hoping....
Start - Saquon Barkley
  • The Bears defense just got beat up by LeGarrette Blount. Imagine what Barkley could do to them then?
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bench - Peyton Barber 
  • Two weeks in a row I have been all aboard the Peyton Barber train and my payouts have been fantastic. Over 100 yards two weeks ago and scores in both the past two weeks. Well this week its time for the train to pull into the station and for you to depart. Earlier this year against Carolina, Barber rushed for a measly 31 yards. I do not expect much different this go around as the Panthers continue to be strong at limiting the run, and this game will also be dictated by a Carolina team that desperately needs to win after two disappointing losses. I have been right twice and plan on being right again...
Start - Christian McCaffrey
  • Week 9 against Tampa Bay. 79 yards on the the ground. 78 yards in the air. 2 scores. Expect much of the same against a leaky Tampa Bay defense this week.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders

Start - All Kansas City Offensive Playmakers
  • Two weeks ago leading up to the Chiefs Rams game, I told you to start all the offensive key players on the Chiefs. How'd that work out for you? Exactly. Do it again.
Sleeper - Doug Martin
  • The hamster wheel is spinning once again! Okay, so not really, but he has gotten over 10 touches a game since Week 8. And last week he scored his first touchdown of the year. He has yet to rush for anything more than 72 yards, but he again gets a juicy matchup this week with the Chiefs. Their run defense is allowing 5 yards a carry. Putrid. Martin is completely worth the dart throw in your flex spot this week.
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans

Start - Corey Davis
  • Since Marcus Mariota came out of the bye week, he has looked like a new quarterback. He is currently completing almost 80 percent of his passes!  Corey Davis is a monstrosity of a target for Mariota and he has been looking his way quite often as of late. Facing a Jets team this Sunday who struggles to keep wideouts out of the endzone, Davis stands a good chance to score for the second straight week.
Sleeper - Derrick Henry
  • The Titans don't want to get their run game going, they NEED to. Dion Lewis has remained a steady contributor because of his success in the pass game, but Henry has struggled to gain any momentum this year.  This is the week he could get it going. The Jets have been gashed on the ground and this should factor to be a game where Mariota won't need to throw it a ton. A lot of Henry's fantasy success rests solely on him getting into the endzone or not, but I like his chances of doing that this week for the first time since Week 10.
 Bust - Jonnu Smith
  • Smith has found the endzone 3 out of the last 4 weeks, including last week when he rumbled through the Texans defense for a 61 yard touchdown. Smith then finished with 63 yards receiving. He just is not involved enough in the Titans offensive scheme. Don't get blinded by the touchdowns and miss that fact. Find another tight end if you want to make the playoffs.
Minnesota Vikings @ New England Patriots 

Bench - Kirk Cousins
  • I am going to leave this simple. Kirk Cousins. Marching into Gillette Stadium. In December. Against Bill Belichick. He is a hard no for me this week, and he should be for you too.
Bust - Tom Brady
  • Before you start losing your minds and calling me a hater, hear me out. Brady has 3 total touchdowns in his last 4 games. He also has not thrown for over 300 yards since Week 8. The Patriots have been going, as their running game goes, and their running game may find it hard to get going against this Vikings D. I am not saying Brady is going to be awful, but what I am saying is it won't be one of his phenomenal performances that you've learned to lean on in the past. Maybe something like 260 yards and 2 scores. Perfectly acceptable, but with the fantasy postseason on the horizon, I at least want more. You should too.
Start - James White
  • I love James White in this matchup. With Brady apparently less that 100 percent with a knee issue, and a tough Vikings line, he will be looking to get the ball out quick. I had mentioned in Brady's section the term "phenomenal performances" and I have this weird feeling that James White could be having one of his own Sunday. I have this inkling that White could have close to 100 receiving yards and multiple scores. 
San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

Start - Russell Wilson
  • Wilson has quietly inserted himself into the MVP discussion. As for fantasy, he has not scored less than 23 fantasy points since all the way back in Week 4! Wilson has become a sure thing in fantasy and should be once again this week against a 49ers team that gets gashed weekly. They have given up big fantasy days to both Eli Manning and Jameis Winston the past two weeks. That should be an even bigger day for Wilson.
Start - Chris Carson
  • Carson is not blowing away the competition by any means, but he is the current leader in the backfield in Seattle and has a juicy matchup against San Francisco. As if their defense wasn't in disarray enough, they now lose Rueben Foster in the middle. Carson should have plenty of running lanes to run through and stands a good chance of passing the century mark for the fist time since Week 8. Carson is a very solid RB2 this week.
Bust - George Kittle
  • Yes, the 49ers are probably going to fall behind fast and will be forced to take to the air. But the Seahawks linebackers are no joke and will be the ones tailing Kittle. Pair that with Seattle's weak quarterback play, I just do not like Kittle as much as have in the past as the Seahawks are top 5 at limiting tight end production.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Start - Austin Ekeler
  • The Steelers are pretty good against the run, but Ekeler excels as a pass catcher and has very little threat to conceding his snaps with Gordon out. You can consider Ekeler a borderline RB1 this week based on sheer volume and the guarantee he will not come off the field in passing situations. Ekeler is a great play for anyone with their season on the line.
Bust - Philip Rivers
  • Philip Rivers is once again quietly turning in a really good season, and a great season by fantasy standards. Just a week ago he set a new NFL record as he completed his first 28 passes to go along with 3 touchdowns. But these he week he has to leave sunny LA and go into Heinz field in December. If that is not enough, the Steelers defense has been much better of late of limiting big plays. It is not a pretty matchup on paper and it probably won't be much prettier in real life. Don't let your season rest on Rivers' shoulders this week.
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles

Bench - Adrian Peterson
  • If anyone needed a 10 day break it was the walking wounded that are the Washington Redskins. That includes AP who has been beat up and even left the Thanksgiving day game against Dallas briefly. This is not a good matchup for Peterson given the state of the Redskins offensive line and the fact Colt McCoy is running the offense. Peterson should find it tough going on Monday night and you will too if you play him this week. Roll the dice on one of your bench running backs that may have a higher ceiling. 


Follow Ryan on Twitter and ask your Fantasy Questions @BesseBoy. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Playoff Push
The Playoff Push
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