Fantasy Football

Avant rises up flex-play ranks Luke Hoover
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As the fantasy playoffs heat up, it's important not to outwit yourself. Matchups are important, but opportunity is still supreme. At the non-QB skill positions the formula for making those pivotal start decisions remains simple: talent plus touches/targets equals start.

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1. Joique Bell at Arizona - After disappearing for a brief period in November, Bell has returned to posting his usually solid yardage totals. Despite limited touches, Bell has at least 9.5 points in each of his last three games. A Cardinals defense that's allowed four 100-yard rushers in three weeks and has been ground into dust recently figures to present little threat of stopping Bell's streak. In fact, if the Lions build an early lead, Bell may be one of the sneakier plays of the week.

2. Bilal Powell at Tennessee - Four games, four touchdowns. Powell has run it well and been the Jets' preference near the goal-line in recent weeks. With New York having an extremely limited passing game, the second-year back is a sure bet for double-figure carries, and facing a weak Titans run D in a must-win game Powell could post a career day yardage-wise.

3. Alex Green at Chicago - Green has now averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry in three of the last four games in which he's seen double figure attempts. Coincidentally, the Bears yield 4.5 yards per tote and have been run on with great success in recent weeks (though they've faced five 1,000-yard rushers). The Packers might work a committee approach, but Green will be the headliner and figures to see upward of 15 touches every week. If the weather in the Windy City is dreary (as expected) and Aaron Rodgers continues to struggle through the air, don't be surprised to see a heavy dose of Green versus a Brian Urlacher-less Bears defense.

4. Jason Avant vs. Cincinnati - With Nick Foles getting considerably more comfortable in the Philly offense the last couple weeks, Avant has become a big part of the passing game. And with the strong likelihood that a bad Eagles D will force Philly to play from behind once again, Avant may post a solid encore to his 133-yard explosion last week despite a tough Cincy secondary.

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5. Josh Gordon vs. Washington - Gordon has seen a healthy diet of targets in recent weeks (34 in four games) and is starting to look like more than just a deep threat, as evidenced by his past two games with six and eight grabs for 116 and 86 yards respectively. Facing a Skins defense that's given up a ton of yards (289 per game) and touchdowns (27 on the year) through the air should translate to another prime performance for this special athlete.

6. Justin Blackmon at Miami - Blackmon's numbers have been limited the last two weeks but those struggles were highly circumstantial. A rain storm and an Antonio Cromartie blanket held him to 66 yards in two weeks, but that dip in production figures to come to an end versus a Miami team giving up more than 250 passing yards a week. The Dolphins have been strong versus the run, so when the Jags falter on the ground they'll turn to the pass early and often, which will translate into big target numbers for Blackmon whether Cecil Shorts returns from a concussion or not.


*Check injury status.

1. Adrian Peterson MIN at StL
2. Marshawn Lynch SEA at Buf
3. *Jamaal Charles KC at Oak - Appeared to injure a rib or shoulder early on against the Browns, but later returned to the game.
4. Arian Foster HOU vs. Ind
5. *Ray Rice BAL vs. Den - Dealing with a slight hip pointer, but coming off of a huge week.
6. Calvin Johnson DET at Ari
7. Demaryius Thomas DEN at Bal
8. Brandon Marshall CHI vs. GB
9. A.J. Green CIN at Phi
10. Doug Martin TB at NO
11. DeMarco Murray DAL vs. Pit
12. Trent Richardson CLE vs. Was
13. *C.J. Spiller BUF vs. Sea - Fred Jackson will miss the last three games, so I can't wait to see Chan Gailey troll us by giving Tashard Choice 15 carries this week.
14. Knowshon Moreno DEN at Bal
15. Roddy White ATL vs. NYG
16. Reggie Wayne IND at Hou
17. *Victor Cruz NYG at Atl - Evaluated for a shoulder injury after the game, but the Giants' coaching staff thinks he'll be all right.
18. Wes Welker NE vs. SF
19. Alfred Morris WAS at Cle
20. Vincent Jackson TB at NO
21. Andre Johnson HOU vs. Ind
22. Pierre Garcon WAS at Cle
23. *Hakeem Nicks NYG at Atl - Said that his knee is gradually getting better each week.
24. Julio Jones ATL vs. NYG
25. Marques Colston NO vs. TB
26. Jimmy Graham NO vs. TB
27. Aaron Hernandez NE vs. SF
28. Matt Forte CHI vs. GB
29. Steven Jackson STL vs. Min
30. Chris Johnson TEN vs. NYJ
31. Randall Cobb GB at Chi
32. Danario Alexander SD vs. Car - Has he risen to a matchup-proof level?
33. Miles Austin DAL vs. Pit
34. Steve Smith CAR at SD
35. Mike Williams TB at NO
36. *Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. Cin - Injured his groin in the celebration on the game-winning catch against the Bucs. Limited in practice Tuesday.
37. Jason Witten DAL vs. Pit
38. Tony Gonzalez ATL vs. NYG
39. Reggie Bush MIA vs. Jac
40. *Darren McFadden OAK vs. KC - Practiced Monday despite re-injuring his ankle last Thursday. Should be able to play this week against the Chiefs.
41. Frank Gore SF at NE
42. BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN at Phi
43. Stevan Ridley NE vs. SF
44. Greg Jennings GB at Chi - Targeted just four times, though once in the end zone where Rodgers just missed him.
45. T.Y. Hilton IND at Hou
46. Michael Crabtree SF at NE
47. Golden Tate SEA at Buf - The down side to a blowout - once the team gets so far ahead, there's no chance for the top wideouts to get any action. Really poorly timed in this case.
48. Anquan Boldin BAL vs. Den
49. Darren Sproles NO vs. TB
50. Torrey Smith BAL vs. Den
51. Josh Gordon CLE vs. Was
52. Owen Daniels HOU vs. Ind
53. Greg Olsen CAR at SD
54. *Jermaine Gresham CIN at Phi - Had seven targets despite dealing with a hamstring injury.
55. Montell Owens JAC at Mia - Owens had 91 yards on 14 carries with his opportunity, including a score.
56. Mikel Leshoure DET at Ari
57. Vick Ballard IND at Hou
58. *David Wilson NYG at Atl - Monster game last week and Bradshaw is getting his knee checked out.
59. Steve Johnson BUF vs. Sea
60. *Mike Wallace PIT at Dal - Another game, another drop, another chewing out on the sidelines by coach Tomlin. Yet, on the field for 94 percent of the Steelers' snaps last week.
61. Lance Moore NO vs. TB
62. Malcom Floyd SD vs. Car
63. James Jones GB at Chi
64. Brandon Lloyd NE vs. SF - Big game on Monday night, was on the field for 66 snaps.
65. Kenny Britt TEN vs. NYJ
66. Justin Blackmon JAC at Mia
67. Chris Givens STL vs. Min
68. Andrew Hawkins CIN at Phi
69. Emmanuel Sanders PIT at Dal
70. Antonio Brown PIT at Dal
71. Brandon Myers OAK vs. KC
72. *Jonathan Dwyer PIT at Dal - Will remain the starter, but got just eight carries and often ceded carries to Redman on third down.
73. Ryan Mathews SD vs. Car
74. DeAngelo Williams CAR at SD
75. Jacquizz Rodgers ATL vs. NYG
76. Shonn Greene NYJ at Ten
77. Bryce Brown PHI vs. Cin - Huge disappointment against the Bucs - now might have to deal with the return of McCoy.
78. *Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at Atl - Injured his knee in the win over the Saints and is having several tests done.
79. Alex Green GB at Chi
80. Daniel Thomas MIA vs. Jac
81. *Michael Turner ATL vs. NYG - (Elbow) Only on the field for 20 snaps last week, though one was a touchdown.
82. Joique Bell DET at Ari
83. Eric Decker DEN at Bal
84. Sidney Rice SEA at Buf
85. Denarius Moore OAK vs. KC
86. Nate Washington TEN vs. NYJ
87. Rod Streater OAK vs. KC
88. Jason Avant PHI vs. Cin - Huge game starting in DeSean Jackson's spot.
89. Dwayne Harris DAL vs. Pit
90. Brandon Gibson STL vs. Min
91. Davone Bess MIA vs. Jac
92. Martellus Bennett NYG at Atl
93. Tony Scheffler DET at Ari
94. Beanie Wells ARZ vs. Det
95. Bilal Powell NYJ at Ten
96. Mark Ingram NO vs. TB

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