Marcus Mariota, QB (Tennessee Titans)
Marcus Mariota is coming off his worst fantasy performance of the season in which he scored a mere 3.5 fantasy points against the Arizona Cardinals. This week's matchup is much better as the Titans play the 49ers who are giving up the second most points to quarterbacks on the season (19.1). The 49ers haven’t been stellar against the QB as of late, allowing over 20 fantasy points to QBs in two out of their last three games.
Latavius Murray, RB (Minnesota Vikings)
Latavius Murray was only able to rush for 14 yards on 9 carries but finds himself in a favorable matchup this week against the Bengals whose defense is riddled with injuries. Last week the Bengals gave up 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground to Jordan Howard, leaving Murray licking his chops for this week’s game. On the season, the Bengals are allowing the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs per game (26.2).
Michael Crabtree, WR (Oakland Raiders)
With Amari Cooper still not practicing so far this week, Michael Crabtree is expected to keep up his fantasy production against the Dallas Cowboys, a team giving up the 4th-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (36.1). Crabtree should be starting in all leagues with confidence as he’s averaged 11.7 fantasy points over his last three full games played.
Ben Watson, TE (Baltimore Ravens)
Heading into the semi-final matchup this week, Ben Watson doesn’t have the trust of many owners after scoring 0 fantasy points last week. Watson is due for a huge rebound and hopes to replicate his 8 receptions for 91 yards he was able to record in his last game against the Browns in Week 2. If owners are desperate to stream a tight end this week, there may be no better player to find on the waiver wire with a more appealing matchup as Cleveland is allowing opposing tight ends to average 16.0 fantasy points per game.
Robbie Gould, K (San Francisco 49ers)
Robbie Gould and the 49ers play the Titans this week who are giving up the most fantasy points to kickers with an average of 10.2. With their new quarterback under center, the 49ers will be able to move the ball against a subpar Titans defense and should have many opportunities for to kick field goals in this game.
New Orleans Saints, DEF
The New Orleans Saints Defense has continued to put up fantasy points in bunches and now have a dream matchup at home against a Jets team that is led by backup quarterback Bryce Petty. This week owner’s don’t need to overthink it - play the Saints who are almost a lock for double-digit fantasy points as a floor this week.
Alex Smith, QB (Kansas City Chiefs)
Alex Smith was only able to score owners 11.1 fantasy points last week against a weak Oakland Raiders’ defense and now faces the Chargers fierce pass-rushers and stout cornerbacks. The Chargers are allowing 12.4 fantasy points to the position this season and Smith has only surpassed 14.0 fantasy points once in his past four games. Smith will be tough to trust this week with a championship berth on the line.
DeMarco Murray, RB (Tennessee Titans)
DeMarco Murray has continued to disappoint as an RB1 this season and has only averaged 9.88 points over his last four games, which is not great considering he is the receiving back in the Titans backfield. This week Murray is against the 49er’s defense which on the season is giving up the 3rd-most fantasy points to running backs, but as of late, has been great against the run; the 49ers are allowing only 15.87 combined fantasy points per game to the position and have not let a rushing touchdown against them since Week 8.
Mike Evans, WR (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Mike Evans has been nothing less than disappointing this season and is a risky play this week against the Atlanta Falcons. Although he scored 13.8 fantasy points in their last matchup against the Falcons, Evans has averaged just over 43 yards a game since then with an average of 3.3 catches per game. On top of this, Evans hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 7. While owners may not be in a position to bench him, Evans should not be counted on to win you the week.
Greg Olsen, TE (Carolina Panthers)
Over his last 2 games back after returning from injury, Greg Olsen has totaled 1 reception for 10 yards and was held without a catch in his most recent game against the Minnesota Vikings. If his injury didn’t deter owners from starting him this week, the matchup may just do that. The Panthers square off against the Packers, a team that is allowing only 9.3 fantasy points on average to the position, second-best in the league. With a championship game on the line, don’t play Greg Olsen this week.
Blair Walsh, K (Seattle Seahawks)
Blair Walsh has been one of the most inconsistent kickers still on an NFL team this year, and he should not be started on any fantasy rosters this week. Walsh has only converted 74% of the field goals he’s taken and is 0/1 on field goals 50+ yards down the field. Walsh provides little value and the kicker is one of the positions owner’s don’t need to sweat about everytime they line up for an attempt on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers, DEF
Not only is the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense playing the New England Patriots this week, which is tough enough as it is, but they are playing them coming off of a loss. The Patriots are not a team to have two bad games in a row and should slice and dice through a week Steelers defense without Ryan Shazier. Just last week the Steelers defense scored -6 fantasy points after allowing 38 points against them in prime time to Joe Flacco and the Ravens. In a game the Patriots must win to hold the 1-seed in the AFC, they’ll be sure to put up 28+ points on this defense come Sunday afternoon.