WARNING: I’m going to start this article off by talking about the Bellpocalypse. So if your team got demolished by Bell and you’re still in the grieving process, you have my permission to skip these first couple paragraphs.
It’s Le’Veon Bell's world, and we’re all just living in it. If you missed it on Sunday, Bell had just a few fantasy points. He ran for 203 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and had 63 receiving yards, which was a god-like 47 fantasy points. He had his way with the Bills defense, who unfortunately perished during the Bellpocalypse. Bell had the most fantasy points scored by a single player since the Jamaalocaust in December 2013, where Jamaal Charles scored five touchdowns, totaling more than 200 yards, and racked up 51 fantasy points. Apparently I’m ending all of my sentences with fantasy points. Sorry not sorry, fantasy points.
Okay, back to business. For those of you who had Bell, congratulations on most likely winning your matchup this week. If you’re currently in a two-week playoff, you’re probably well ahead of your opponent (time to brag: I am).
As Bell showed us on Sunday, one player can single-handedly win you a playoff game, which makes it even more important to get your starting lineups right.
On the flipside, overall Week 14 was a huge letdown, and more studs put up duds than I can count on two hands. Looking around at all of my fantasy leagues, hardly anyone had high scoring games. Mike Clay, an ESPN fantasy football analyst, tweeted that Week 14 was the lowest scoring week this year and last year, but Week 15 was the second-highest last year, so there may be hope for those that failed to score many points (cheer up) if history decides to repeat itself.
I’ve talked a lot about looking at your players’ matchups when making lineup decisions, but there are other factors to consider as well: such as team situations, recent performances, and injuries. These issues can be hard to keep track of, especially if you’re busy, so I decided to make it easier for you by talking about some players that are currently on the struggle bus, and should either continue to be started or benched until they get it together.
DISCLAIMER: Before we dive in, remember that my opinion is not gospel.
Russell Wilson – After a career low game where he threw five interceptions, is it time to bench Wilson? I’m not so sure. He doesn’t have a bad upcoming schedule: Rams, Cardinals, and the 49ers, and I could see a bounce-back game from him against the Rams at home, who just fired their head coach and are now leaderless. Yes, the Seahawks usually struggle against the Rams, but I think they’ll rebound. I say give Wilson another week to prove himself, because we know he is a quality quarterback.
Drew Brees – Okay, I think we’re jinxing Drew Brees. After his first single-digit fantasy game since 2010, Brees put up another single-digit fantasy game. Something isn’t right with the Saints right now, which makes it hard to trust Brees in the playoffs. However, unless you have a better option on your bench, there’s probably not anyone else worthy to take his place on the waivers. Like Russell Wilson, I would give him another chance against the Cardinals and see if he redeems himself and breaks his single-digit streak.
Devonta Freeman – In a game where the Falcons scored 42 points and blew out the Rams, you’d think that one of those touchdowns would’ve come from Freeman. But no. He had six carries for six yards. Instead, it was the Tevin Coleman show. However, Freeman has an amazing playoff schedule coming up: the 49ers, Panthers, and Saints, and I think you can keep him in your lineup. Yes, Coleman is a problem, but Freeman will still get his.
Spencer Ware – This one is a tough one. Ware is tough to figure out. He started out the year hot, but the past two games he’s averaged around two yards per carry (that’s not good). On top of that, the Chiefs aren’t using him in the passing game very much, even though he has the pass-catching skills. Right now he’s touchdown dependent, and in the leagues that I have him, I’m hesitant to start him, especially since I need a win. I’ve been high on Ware for most of the season, but if you have better or similar options, I would bench Ware.
Lamar Miller – Miller is another hard one to pin down. One week he puts up one fantasy points, the next he puts up 18. How do you know which Lamar is going to show up? Will the real Lamar Miller please stand up? On top of his inconsistency, he also seems to get a new injury every week, which makes him hard to rely on at this point in the season. Combine all of that with the worst quarterback in the NFL, Brock Osweiler himself, and you have a volatile situation. Miller doesn’t have a terribly hard schedule, but if I had better options, I would bench him.
A.J. Green – If you held on to Green through his injury and you made the playoffs, you’re in luck. Word is that Green is going to start practicing this week, and could even play this coming Sunday against Pittsburgh. Keep checking to see the latest on him, but if he plays, he could be the savior of your playoff chances.
Adrian Peterson – Like A.J. Green, Peterson is supposedly returning to practice this week, and he hopes to play against the Packers in Week 16. This is huge news, but is Peterson startable? It feels weird even asking that question, but it’s a valid one. First off, the Vikings offensive line is straight garbage. Literally, they could put trash cans in their place and they would produce the same as the Vikings’ current offensive line. Second, look at Peterson’s stats before he got hurt. In Week 1, he had 19 attempts for 31 yards. In Week 2, he had 12 attempts for 19 yards and then he got injured. Not stellar performances at all. With that being said, it’s Adrian “All Day” Peterson, and if there’s anyone that could produce behind trash cans, it’s him. I wouldn’t be comfortable starting him (unless you have nothing to lose), but it may be worth it to pick him up, just so that your opponent wouldn’t have him.
What other players are you hesitant to start in the playoffs? Who didn’t I talk about? What questions do you have? Let me know by commenting below or tweeting at us. While you’re here, check out our player rankings, starts and sits, and our weekly podcast.