NFL: Fantasy Fire ’em up, Chill out, or Put on Ice

Savvy fantasy football owners have made it deep into their league’s playoffs by sticking to their guys, but now the margin for error has evaporated. With key studs in tough matchups, owners can’t be caught second guessing their lineup. Unfiltered Access is here to walk you through your “autostart” players and help you decide whether to start them with no worries (Fire em up), temper your expectations from what your used to (chill out) or to completely put them on ice and seek out other options.

                 All rankings are over the last 6 weeks for recency. All scoring is in half-point PPR

Running Backs

Aaron Jones @ Chicago Bears

Rank 4                 |Rank 7 against RB

Avg 18.5 pts        |Avg 18.6 pts allowed to RB

The Bears looked like the real-life story of Hugh Glass last week. They completely dismantled the Rams and erased Todd Gurley from relevance. But let’s not forget what happened the 2 weeks before that:

  • Saquon Barkley rushed nearly 150 total yds totaling 16.1 points
  • LeGarrette Blount rushed over 80 yds/2 TD’s totaling 22.8 points
  • Theo Riddick went for nearly 50 through the air for 9.5 points

They are beatable. Aaron Jones is no Saquon, but he’s got the skill to boot in a very tough matchup. Chill out expectations, but start none the less. This guy is so fun to watch. Mid to high RB2.

Kenyan Drake @ Minnesota Vikings

Rank 20                   |Rank 16 against RB

Avg  12 pts              |Avg 21.5 pts allowed to RB

Minnesota has always been a name drop in formidable matchups. This is a matchup where the Vikings will likely hold a lead throughout the entire game. Passing will be detrimental for the Dolphins to compete and the Vikings have enticed pass-catching backs before week 15. Kenyan Drake will serve a purpose, on a weaker offense, in a tough matchup. He has been anything but steady all season, but it wouldn’t be uncommon to see him finish strong like he did last year.

Brandon Bolden made an appearance last week but he was also an Ex Patriot. That was a page straight out of Bill Belichick’s book. Let’s not overlook things quite yet. Chill out your expectations. Drake has been everything except consistent this year. He features a low RB3 floor with high RB2 upside. Go ahead and start him in your flex if you have to and hope those TD’s keep rolling.

Leonard Fournette vs Washington Redskins

Rank 13                              |Rank 29 against RB

Avg 19 pts                          |Avg 27.7 pts allowed to RB

Fournette finds himself on this list after a terrible dud of a game last week against the Titans on a Thursday night. That followed a week of suspension. Most of this season, to including recent weeks, fantasy owners have not been able to rely on Fournette. Owners still alive in the playoffs and you have this bearded wonder waiting on your roster, look out!

Fantasy team will be moving full steam ahead against a once formidable defense who is nothing left but hot air. Redskins have allowed 31.5/26.6/25.2 pts against running backs over the last 3 weeks. He will score points and they will keep feeding him the ball to run out the clock. Welcome to Leonard Land, population one. FIRE ‘EM UP!

Wide Receivers

Mike Evans @ Baltimore Ravens

Rank 22              |Rank 3 against WR

Avg 10.3 pts       |Avg 20.4 pts allowed to WR

The argument against Mike Evans (or any TB route runner) is that there isn’t enough to go around. Not enough food on the table means not everyone gets to feast. Ravens have only allowed a 59% catch rate on the entire season, that’s madness.. Their biggest weakness is against the TE and that will likely be the biggest exploit the Buccaneers plan to attack. Put Mike Evans and the rest of Tampa’s WR’s on ice this week. Other options to choose from would be the likes of Jarvis Landry or Tyler Lockett this week.

Kenny Golladay @ Buffalo Bills

Rank 20                       |Rank 1 against WR

Avg 10.8 pts                |Avg 18.1 pts allowed to WR

The argument made against Evans turns around for Golladay. Though there will not be many points to be had, there will likely only be one person receiving those points.  The departure of Golden Tate and the loss of Marvin Jones Jr. have left this once dominant core with one man left standing. Golladay is a massive man but this matchup will prove to be his toughest of the year. Tre’Davius White will be shadowing him likely most of the game.

It will be a true test of skill, though, nobody throwing the ball or catching the ball in Detroit has looked great lately. Start him if you have to but don’t be shocked if he has another bad game. Chill out expectations but if you happen to have access to Allen Robinson or DJ Moore this week, those would be more favorable starters. Low WR2 this week.

T.Y. Hilton vs Dallas Cowboys

Rank 9              |Rank 8 against WR

Avg 18.7 pts     |Avg 23.2 pts allowed to WR

Dallas defense has been a major topic of late. They kept the Saints held to 10 points two weeks ago but New Orleans has been showing struggles of their own (a story for another time).

Carson Wentz went off for 3 TDs last week. Julio Jones burned them for 100 and a score 3 week ago. This should be more of an offensive matchup. Vegas shows a 47 point over-under and the Colts have been strong offensively this season. This game has Hilton and Eric Ebron written all over it. Trust this man to carry you through to the end. Fire ’em up and enjoy putting the heat on your opponent this week. WR1/WR2 fringe this week.



Aaron Rodgers @ Chicago Bears

Rank 9                        |Rank 2 against QB

Avg 17.7 pts               |Avg 12.2 pts allowed to QB

Here we go again with the Bears. 

It is well known what Rodgers is capable of and with this being a winter divisional matchup, anything is possible.  Fantasy owners relying on Rodgers so far this season and are still competing in the playoffs should look for another option. Rodgers has only been a QB1 half of his games played this season and it would be advisable to not rely on him this week. Those that can sneak Lamar Jackson (healthy?) or Josh Allen this week do it. Put Rodgers on ice this week and let one of these other rookies carry you into the final round.

Jameis Winston @ Baltimore Ravens

Rank 20                      |Rank 11 against QB

Avg 20.1                      |Avg 16.9 pts allowed to QB

“You told me to bench the Bucs wideouts, so I gotta bench their QB too right?”

No. Winston faces a tough matchup indeed this week and even though he’s ranked 20 on total points this season, he’s ranked fifth on average points scored per game (he’s only played 4 of the last 6). Yes, Baltimore held Patrick Mahomes to 20 points last week, but Winston has plenty of targets to throw to including Cameron Brate. Ravens are weak against the TE position and  Winston can be expected to utilize his favorite weapon this week. Chill out expectations for Winston but don’t feel the need to stream this week, he can get the job done. Low QB1.

Matt Ryan vs Arizona Cardinals

Rank 6              |Rank 6

Avg 18.5 pts     |Avg 15.4 pts allowed to QB

It is so tough to say that anything Arizona is formidable. One thing is for sure though, the only points going up on the board will be from AZ’s defense or from David Johnson. An early lead with a low score total from the Cardinals will not push Matt Ryan to throw the ball in volume, leaving little opportunity for big numbers.

Arizona’s defense destroyed Matt Stafford’s hopes and dreams last week. They completely upset Aaron Rodgers on his home turf. Patrick Mahomes delivered his second lowest point total on the season. Phillip Rivers has been the only QB recently to have a successful game against the Cardinal’s defense. Put Matty “On Ice” this week and avoid the turnovers and lackluster performance. Start up Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, or Josh Allen as they are likely on waivers. QB1/QB2.

Follow @FFBeRight on Twitter and send  your start/sit questions.

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