FANTASY PLAYS: Time for playoffs – and scouting opponents
The fantasy playoffs are finally here for most leagues. There are many factors you need to consider, starting with whether you qualified for a bye.
A bye gives you some wiggle room to address any of your weaknesses, but the concept is the same no matter your seed: depth stays important but takes a hit because you’re limited in how many players will make it into your actual lineup.
That doesn’t mean you should just release a strong player in the free agent pool, but if you have one you’re never going to use and won’t be of value to you or an opponent, they become expendable and you gain the value of a roster spot for a more crucial position.
It’s rare during the regular season that you need to worry about an opponent’s roster. That changes during the playoffs. You may discover a desperate need for a player at a certain position due to injury or a terrible matchup. Maybe there’s an obvious player for them to target on waivers. Well, if you have more free agent acquisition dollars or a higher waiver priority, play a little defense and grab the player before they can. All’s fair in fantasy (if it’s not explicitly against the rules) – just make sure the player you’re releasing won’t come back to haunt you.
One last tip – make alternate plans if you have Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has been suspended one game for his hit on Bills player Tre’Davious White.
Here are some other possible moves you could make this week:
AARON JONES, RB, Green Bay Packers (50 percent owned in CBSSports.com leagues)
He only had one carry Sunday but it was a big one as Jones went for the game winning score in overtime. Jamaal Williams is playing well but so was Jones before he was injured. Sunday’s game was likely always going to be used to ease Jones back into action and while he is unlikely to start versus Cleveland in Week 14, he should see a busier workload than he did versus the Buccaneers on Sunday.
PEYTON BARBER, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4 percent)
When Doug Martin was forced to miss the Packer game with a concussion, it was thought that Jacquizz Rodgers (30 percent) would get the start in his place. Tampa Bay threw everyone a curve ball when they announced Sunday morning that it would be Barber who would get the start instead. All Barber did was rush for 102 yards and add another 41 yards on four receptions. Those are numbers that Martin hasn’t reached in any of the eight games in which he has played this season. Even if Martin clears the concussion protocol and is available to play this week, Barber should still have an important role in the Tampa Bay rushing offense.
DEDE WESTBROOK, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (36 percent)
Someone has to catch the ball besides Marqise Lee in the Jacksonville offense. We have been waiting for Westbrook to break out since he returned from injury in Week 11. Sunday may have been that breakout with six receptions for 78 yards on nine targets. If teams can bottle up Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars rushing attack, then Blake Bortles will be forced to throw more often. Westbrook and his fantasy owners should benefit from this as he has more big play potential than Lee.
TION GREEN, RB, Detroit Lions (1 percent): Ameer Abdullah was forced to miss the game Sunday due to a neck injury. Green ended up being the leading rusher for Detroit and that was certainly a surprise for everyone. Detroit hasn’t had much of a running game seemingly since Barry Sanders retired and Abdullah shouldn’t have the starting job etched in stone. There could be a role for Green even if Abdullah returns this week.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com