*New to our web site this season is James Morris, the owner and CEO of No Limit Fantasy Sports. James will provide you with insights on the coming week's game, advice on who to sit and start, as well as answer your questions via email. *
Well here we are Bengals faithful, Week 14 and the start of the fantasy playoffs for most leagues. If you are good enough to have made it this far, there are some rules that you will want to follow to ensure a deep run into your league's playoffs.
1) Keep doing what you did to get this far. Now is not the time to get cute with your lineup.
2) Keep a close eye on the injury report. If you were smart you grabbed Devon Bess and Dominic Hixon a few weeks back and have solid WR options with some starters sitting more to rest for the playoffs.
3) Know the standings. Teams like the Giants and Titans will rotate backups in more often since they are almost assured a playoff spot. On the other hand, the Lions, Rams, Seahawks, Chiefs and Bengals will start looking to see what they have with the youngsters in the final three weeks.
I don't want to oversimplify things, but don't make it harder than what it needs to be. Of course you want to play the matchups each week, but now is not the time to start going with the shock and awe tactics.
Carson Palmer has been throwing a sponge football during his rehab, but he still isn't close to returning to the playing field. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (concussion) took Wednesday's practice off, but is expected to practice by Friday and be fine to play on Sunday. Ben Utecht tore the plantar fascia in his foot in Week 13. He could miss the rest of the season due to the injury. Chad Ocho Cinco was targeted 11 times last week, but he managed just four catches for 45 yards. Ocho Cinco isn't worth playing in the playoffs. On the defense, safety Marvin White tore his ACL last week and will miss the rest of the season. With the amount of injuries the Bengals have on defense, I wouldn't own their defense or consider playing them if you do.
Tyler Thigpen is a sneaky play this week against a bad Broncos defense. (Getty Images)
Shaun Hill: The Jets can stop the run, but not the pass. They allow 249.2 passing YPG, which ranks them 30th in the NFL. I don't like his receivers, but Hill should throw enough to justify a top 12-14 ranking this week.
Steven Jackson: He is probably healthy this week and would make a fine play if you held on to him. The Cardinals allow 97.5 YPG on the ground and Jackson should see almost all the carries in a pathetic Rams offense.
Peyton Hillis: I am on the bandwagon now. He looks like a young Mike Alstott and racked up 129 yards and a TD last week. I am starting him over Tim Hightower in my "friends and family" league.
Randy Moss: Not that many people are sitting him these days, but I like Matt Cassel to have a comeback sort of game and Moss to benefit the most from it. Play him this week with confidence.
Antonio Bryant: Bryant has been reborn at the expense of Joey Galloway. The matchup isn't the best, but when you are all they have, you are a solid play.
Dustin Keller: Keller has emerged as a favorite target for Brett Favre. For a TE, I LOVE him this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings Defense: They play the Lions, enough said.
Jake Delhomme: The Panthers play the Buccaneers and their third-ranked passing defense that allows just 184.1 YPG via the air. With JUST Steve Smith to throw to, I wouldn't play him.
Matt Schaub: I don't like playing any player in his returning week when he has missed multiple weeks due to injury. Schaub is no exception and I wouldn't play him against the Packers and their fifth-ranked (187.6 YPG) passing defense.
Marion Barber: MBIII is probably going to play, but how much is anyone's guess. Being in the fantasy playoffs, I would look at someone else at RB if you can.
Clinton Portis: Portis is forever dinged up and at 7-5 I don't see the Redskins pounding the ball with him too much down the stretch.
Santana Moss: It's not that I am against the Redskins this weekend; rather Moss has dropped out of my starting lineup in favor of Lance Moore, Dwayne Bowe and Jerricho Cotchery. Moss is a weak WR3 option at this point.
Braylon Edwards: Now that the Browns are down to Ken Dorsey as their starting QB, Edwards has seen his fantasy value drop into the 40-45 range for fantasy WRs. I bet you can find a WR on the waiver wire that is a better option than Edwards.
Greg Olson: Olson hasn't been what I wanted from a fantasy TE this season. He has just 398 yards receiving with 2 TDs and two fumbles to his credit this season. He isn't reliable enough to play unless you have NOBODY at WR and your league has a WR/TE flex position.
Philadelphia Eagles Defense: The Eagles play the Giants this weekend and they are fourth in total offensive yards per game at 370.8. I wouldn't want to play the Eagles if I own them. Try the Cardinals or Colts defense for this weekend.
Q: I am really concerned about my defensive options for this week and would like to know what would be a good choice of Seattle, New Orleans or Oakland? Oakland is showing to be the most favorable, but Seattle showing to produce the most points projected. in my league we get return yards, interception points, fumble recoveries, sacks, and points for touchdowns. I thought about NO defense just for the simple fact Reggie Bush is sick at returning the kicks when he plays, and all arrows point to him playing at full health this week. What about someone on the wire like Buffalo, Miami, Cleveland, Detroit, etc?
--Matthew Boccher **
A:** I would agree that of those three, Oakland may be the best option. But, not by much and I would almost rather start no defense rather than start one of those three that MAY get you negative points. I don't see Bush at 100 percent ever. I think he will always be dinged up because of his size and how he runs. But, I would agree about the "NO" assessment for defense. I'd give the Dolphins and Bills a MUCH higher ranking than the defenses you named. I have the Dolphins in the 12-15 range and the Bills in the 15-17 area, where as the others were in the 25-30 area this weekend.
This is a heated and longstanding rivalry between the Raider Nation and the Charger faithful. You see, I am from San Diego, which makes me a Chargers fan in this game. The Raiders are led by JaMarcus Russell and ... well ... that is it. Darren McFadden was supposed to be the Men In Black's savior, but he has missed three games with turf-toe and he has only topped more than 46 yards in one game, and that was in Week 2.
Oakland: The Raiders are somehow better than Kansas City even though the Chiefs have more talent. Justin Fargas has amassed just over 600 yards this season, but only has one TD to show for his efforts. McFadden has accounted for another 405 yards, bringing them both to a little more than 1,000 yards. The No. 1 WR for the Raiders is probably going to be Ashley Lelie, so you know the Raiders WRs have no value whatsoever.
Zach Miller is a decent sleeper at TE this week as he racked up five catches for 79 yards last week, and that was out of a total of 10 catches and 132 passing yards. The Raiders defense ranks 17th for total points allowed (265). Points also bring opposing offensive stats as well and many leagues judge defensive points on stats allowed as well as points allowed. The Raiders defense shouldn't be owned in the deepest of leagues.
San Diego: Philip Rivers ranks right around the top 10 for fantasy players with his 2,955 passing yards, 23 TDs and 10 INTs. LaDainian Tomlinson on the other hand is usually ranked near the top and has seen himself fall to the 25-ish range. In Week 14, I am sure his owners expected to see MUCH more than the 794 rushing yards, 394 receiving yards and 7 total TDs.
Antonio Gates is right about where I had him in the preseason with his 534 yards and 6 TDs. The Chargers do have Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson at wideout, but neither one is really consistent enough to count on in fantasy leagues. The Chargers defense lost a LOT when Shawne Marriman went down and their defense as a whole has actually allowed 274 points, which ranks 21st in the NFL.
LaDainian Tomlinson: At some point the Chargers have to remember there are no penalties for running LT more than 14-15 times right? You can't sit him either way.
Philip Rivers: Rivers is another must play with his week-by-week stats. The Raiders are bad enough to give him a top-tier fantasy game this weekend.
Antonio Gates: Gates is the most productive member of the Chargers outside of Rivers. He is a top-end TE and you have to play him.
Zach Miller: With TE being such a thin position, Miller could wind up with solid enough stats to justify a play here.
Chargers Defense: Oakland is ranked 30th out of 32 NFL teams for offensive points scored this season. It's not that the Chargers are shutting down anyone, but the Raiders aren't scoring points either. The Raiders have only thrown 6 INTs this season, but they have given up 32 sacks (22nd in NFL) and they have fumbled the ball 22 times (3rd worst).
JaMarcus Russell: Who is he going to throw to besides Miller? Not as my fantasy QB in the fantasy playoffs.
Darren McFadden: With a true running back-by-committee, I won't play him here.
Justin Fargas: Similar to McFadden in that he isn't a true No. 1 RB. His main problem is that he doesn't score TDs.
ANY WR: I wouldn't count on anyone, from either side putting up big numbers here. Chambers is a weak third WR; Jackson is not any better than Chambers; Lelie and Ronald Curry can only do so much when Russell throws for 150 yards per game.
If you want to have your question answered for all your friends to see, shoot me an email and I will give you some one-on-one attention.