Week 16: Sit 'Em
Fantasy playoffs are the time to consider your options carefully. Analyze your roster and make the best adjustments to secure your win. This week I think you should sit:
Marshawn Lynch - Ok, I have been wrong about Lynch in the past, but this week vs. San Francisco is not the week to roll with Lynch. San Francisco's run defense is stellar. Sit Lynch and look for an alternative rusher this week.
Ben Roethlisberger - Big Ben's ankle is definitely an issue. This week I would expect to see Ben take some safe opportunities to throw the ball, but otherwise avoid the St. Louis defense.
Brandon Lloyd - Lloyd is not your best option now that Sam Bradford is possibly done for the season. Look for another wide out this week.
Marion Barber - Barber is now facing a surging Kahlil Bell, while his own stock plummets. Barber will lose carries and it appears that Bell will play passing downs.
Willis McGahee - McGahee's recent hamstring injury is the main reason to be cautious here. If McGahee does play, he will likely be limited. I personally think he will be questionable and a late call this week. Lance Ball will probably get the start.
Santana Moss - The Washington passing game has been interesting this season. The biggest hit to their squad this season was the loss of Fred Davis to suspension. The wide outs have capitalized on this loss while the team has suffered. Moss and Gaffney have a decent match-up this week vs. Minnesota, but I think Gaffney is going to reap the rewards.
Hakeem Nicks - Nicks has had some huge games and some average games this season. This week he faces a tough match-up with the New York pass defense. Look for him to be limited as Eli Manning will be pressured.
Big Ben's ankle injury is causing his fantasy value to take a hit. It is one thing for a player to continue on with an injury, but another to let it truly interfere with performance. Ben's mobility in the pocket and accuracy have been limited by his injury; this does not bode well for his fantasy production. I would hope that Pittsburgh will try to keep the game moving with Mendenhall and Redman through the rushing attack and keep Ben safe in the backfield. Roethlisberger will be dependent upon his offensive line to keep him in the game this week. I think Ben will get some chances to air the ball out, but they will be few and far between. He will likely be limited to 200 yards or so this week, with one touchdown pass. I think that Pittsburgh can get it done on the ground vs. St. Louis and this will be their strategy.
Barber is now dealing with Kahlil Bell. Bell is definitely the choice of back on passing downs and Barber has been and will continue to lose carries to Bell. It has been reported by the Chicago Tribune that Bell's performance last week could earn him the starting gig this week against Green Bay. Green Bay's defense has allowed solid running back opportunities on the ground and in the passing game. Look for Chicago to run with Bell this week and get him involved early and often. Hanie and Bell seem to be in sync and this leaves Barber out of the mix. Look for Barber to receive 10-12 attempts and pick up 25-30 yards without a score.
You might be skeptical of this call since I missed my last call on Lynch, but this week vs. San Francisco will be no picnic for Seattle's rushers. The San Francisco run defense is stellar. Lynch has scored in each of his last three games, with multiple scores in two of these games. He is a hard sit in most leagues, but if you have the luxury of sitting him, it is worth it this week. I agree with our Player Downgrade for Lynch this week and fully recommend that he remain on your bench. I suspect we will see Lynch rush for 50-60 yards over 13-15 carries and not find the end zone.
Denver faces a Buffalo defense this week that has been giving up opportunities and points to opposing running backs. This should be favorable for McGahee, but his recent hamstring injury concerns me. The presence of Lance Ball also adds to this conversation. The combination of McGahee's injury and Ball stealing carries points to my recommendation to sit him this week. Reports state that McGahee practiced Tuesday, but I expect to see him listed as doubtful or questionable as the week goes on. If McGahee starts this week, he will likely be limited by the tweaked hamstring. I think I would roll with Lance Ball if he is an option.
It appears that Sam Bradford is possibly done for the season. The team has yet to announce that his ankle injury will result with an IR status, but it is somewhat expected. AJ Feeley did not practice this week and it looks like Kellen Clemens will get the start. St. Louis also faces off against Pittsburgh this week. James Harrison is expected to be back in action this week. With these updates, Brandon Lloyd is better left on your bench this week. I suspect Lloyd will see 6-7 targets and grab 5 passes for 50 yards without a score.