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NFL Week 14: "Ask the Docs" Replies

Friday, December 7, 2012

The fantasy playoffs have begun and folks need every edge to help move their team to the next round. It's put-up or shut-up time in this one-and-done, single elimination world, and we've rolled up our sleeves and gave it our all to try to help you survive to see week 15. Without further ado, here's our responses to your questions in this week of "Ask the Docs".

"My question is who should I start at flex. I need two. Fred Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Danny Amendola, or Montell Owens. Thanks!"
--James, Salt Lake City, UT

Docs: James, first thing is first, and Owens is out of consideration. Starting an unproven, unknown entity in your playoffs is a quick way to get eliminated. While Owens is in line for some work, you just can't go there with the stakes as high as they are and having other, more reliable options. Next there is Amendola, who is a game time decision. He brings a lot of risk to the table too. Playing hurt, he is that much more apt to get knocked out of the game. Sure, there are a load of players hurt this late in the season, many not officially listed as every NFL player has bumps and bruises right now. But in Amendola's case, he is listed as officially hurt, and he is a small, undersized player at 5'11" / 188 lbs, meaning his body can't absorb the big blows as good as larger players. Even if he does play, it will probably be on a limited snap count. So, that's a lot of words to say, we'd stay away from Amendola this week. By default, that leaves Jackson and Floyd. Jackson will at least post points for your team, and perhaps this will be the week you get luck with a dirty TD. As for Floyd, he's probably your most reliable option and a fairly consistent performer for most of the year. Yes, he's been absent from the big game, but he has shown up each week and contributed.

"Hey! Was referred here by a friend, anyway my 2nd WR and Flex are open for debate. Need help picking the best two for this week. Lance Moore @NYG , James Jones @DET, Anquan Boldin @WSH, Josh Gordon @KC. Need a good replacement for Shorts!! Thanks"
--Gonzo, San Antonio, TX

Docs: Hi Gonzo, great question. Wide receivers can be very inconsistent, particularly tier 2 and 3 WRs. Glad to see you were able to pick-up Shorts and were savvy enough to start him to take advantage of some great production, but that well is dry this week. Of the WRs you have listed, we would go with Gordon and Moore. Both of these players have steadily increased their production over the past three weeks, and both are coming off big games last week where they played a key role in the offense. While we can always hope for that trend of increased production to continue, it's just greedy at this point giving their big time games last week! However, what is realistic is that both Gordon and Moore represent better options for your team this week and should at a minimum show up to contribute some points to your overall score. There is nothing worse than a goose-egg or an extremely low point showing from one of your starting players, which WRs are more prone to do than other positions in fantasy. That's a killer when it comes to your fantasy playoffs. Sure, anything can happen, but overall, we feel Gordon and Moore put you in the best position to win. With a little luck, perhaps one of them will pop a big game for you.

"Who should I start at QB, Andrew Luck or Eli Manning?"
--John, Phoenix, AZ

Docs: John, both Luck and Manning have nice match-ups this week, but we give the edge to Manning and trust his experience over Luck. Anything can happen, but more times than not we feel Manning would out perform Luck this week. Be sure to check out our Weekly QB Rankings, which can help with questions like these.

"I am in a PPR league. Of the 4 RB's, Alfred Morris, Bryce Brown, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Demarco Murray, which three should I start in week 14? Thanks."
--Andrew, Philadelphia, PA

Docs: Andrew, as you know, PPR leagues are a little different animal as those receptions are a key consideration that can really pile on the points. You should have both Bryce Brown and DeMarco Murray locked and loaded in your starting line-up. Both of these players are explosive and very active in the passing game as well. That leaves the decision for the third start between Alfred Morris and Ahmad Bradshaw. We just trust Morris more than Bradshaw, and while Morris isn't as involved in the passing game, we feel he is overall a more reliable option. So in summary, we go with Brown, Murray, and Morris.

"My question is who do I start this week QB? Josh Freeman against the Eagles or Brady against the Texans? The Texans have struggled against good quarterbacks, but the Eagles' defense is just terrible. It is hard to bench Brady though knowing he always will have consistent numbers. Can you help me out?"
--Mitchell, Reading, PA

Docs: Hi Mitchell, go with Brady. Oftentimes in our fantasy playoffs we over think things and can cause us to make line-up decisions we normally would not make if it were the regular season. You made it to your playoffs, so keep the same consistent, starting logic you did to get you here. Brady is just one of those players you can't afford to bench. Sure, there are a handful of scenarios by which Freeman outscores Brady, but there are many more scenarios where Brady outscores Freeman. Plus, Brady has the upside to deliver the monster game that almost single handedly gives you the win. It's an awfully long off-season knowing you lost because you left Brady on the bench. However, if the opposite happens on the off-chance this the week the stars aligned for Freeman to outshine Brady, that's can easier pill to swallow. Start Brady and don't give it another thought.

"I need to play one receiver of the following: Pierre Garcon, Torrey Smith, or TY Hilton. I would lean toward Garcon, but I'm playing against RG III and I already have Alfred Morris in an RB slot. Standard scoring, 1 pt./10 yards, 6 pts. TD. No PPR. Is it wise to start Garcon if any TD caught is negated by RG III points, and then I'm also banking on Morris and Garcon to have big games? Smith and Hilton are bigger risks, but could easily have a big day, too. Thanks!"
--Marc, Chicago, IL

Docs: Marc, we like Smith. While Garcon has looked explosive, you are very invested in the entire WAS offense if you start him along with Morris while going up against RGIII. Smith is a big play receiver that can deliver the monster game, and the match-up doesn't get much better than facing the horrid Washington secondary. We like Smith and wouldn't give it a second thought.

"So I have 4 running backs in my league and only space for two. My usual starts are Chris Johnson and C.J. Spiller and I have DeMarco Murray on the bench as well as Bryce Brown. There's upside and down to some but obviously I'm looking for the best possible combo. I like Chris Johnson but he disappointed last week and almost cost me the win. CJ is amazing but he shares the backfield with Fred Jackson. DeMarco is back but kinda shaky against the Bengals and Bryce Brown is going up against the Bucs. What do I do!? Thanks in advance!"
--Daniel, Las Vegas, NV

Docs: Daniel, you can't afford to put Brown on your bench just yet. He has been way too hot, and you can't jump off the train just yet. Plus, he is player that feels he has something to prove. At your other slot, we go with Johnson. Johnson brings an explosion factor to your line-up that few RBs can do, and he has the backfield all to himself. This is tough as you have a lot of great options, but if it were us, we would go with Brown and Johnson, hope for the best, and drink Maalox as we peek at the stat line for Murray and Spiller, who are more than capable of popping a big game.

"I need to pick 3 out of the 5 to start. It's NOT a PPR league. Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bryce Brown, Alfred Morris Thanks for your help!"
--Drew, Grand Rapids, MI

Docs: Drew, we go with Brown, Johnson, and Morris in that order. Brown is swinging a big bat right now and just the type of player that emerges out of no where late in the year that folks ride to their title. Johnson and Morris should both find success, and with a little luck, two of these three backs will pop a big game for you. Similar to our reply above on QB rankings, be sure to check out our Weekly RB Rankings, which are released every Wednesday and shows the order we gave in this reply. We assume standard scoring in those rankings (non PPR). Good luck!

Thanks to all for the great questions! That's a wrap for this week. We tried to address some of the more common questions with more detailed answers to try to not only help the specific person asking the question, but the masses as well. Enjoy watching football this week and good luck to your fantasy teams!

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