Well, it’s finally here – it’s Championship week in Fantasy Football for the select Fanagers lucky enough to make it this far (myself included). All of the work you have put into your Fantasy squad this season will come down to this weekend’s matchup, so you better get ready to go big, or go home.
You need every point you can get this weekend, so analyze every single position. Kickers and Defenses are a great place to accumulate extra Fantasy points. One of the defenses that I like this weekend is the Cincinnati Bengals at home against an Arizona Cardinals team that not only struggles on the road, but is also dealing with some Quarterback controversy given the less-than-impressive play of Kevin Kolb. Whether it is Kolb or John Skelton that gets the start, you should look for the Bengals to gain some ground in their pursuit of an AFC Wild Card bid to the playoffs.
I also like the Green Bay Packers Defense at home against the rival Bears. After the criticism that this Defense has taken over the course of the season, and particularly after last week’s loss to the Chiefs, I expect the defending Super Bowl Champs to bring the heat to the Matt Forte- and Johnny Knox-less Bears. Not to mention, Josh McCown will be getting the start at Quarterback for Chicago. Even the 31st – ranked Defense in the league shouldn’t have a tough time shutting down the decimated Chicago Bears’ offense, which only vaguely resembles the team that started the season. (Kahlil Bell is their starting Running Back…who?)
I like Kickers on teams that already look good for the postseason, especially if they are playing teams with moderately productive offenses. These teams will be more likely to play conservatively and settle for 3 instead of going for it on 4th down. Moreover, when these teams get a healthy lead on their opponent, they will still try to put points on the board at the end of drives, but with their Kicker as opposed to their offense because it reduces the risk of injury to their irreplaceable skill positions. I like David Akers to put up big numbers for the 49ers in Seattle.
Now is the time for your Hail Marys. This week you should consider taking risks that you may have resisted earlier in the season to get you to the Finals. If you think a player will not play because their team has clenched a playoff berth or because they’ve been eliminated from contention, you should err on the side of caution and find a replacement for them. You cannot afford to have low Fantasy scores from any of your players this week.
The safer bet now is to go with the players and teams who don’t have much to lose. MJD should have a good showing against the Titans, who allow the 10th most points to opposing Running Backs. Another match up I like is DeSean Jackson against the Cowboys, as the ‘Boys will need to focus most of their attention on stopping Shady (LeSean) McCoy. Santana Moss has been hurt all season and the Redskins are right behind everyone else in their Division. While they can’t win, they can save some face in the NFC East by winning out. Plus, Moss has a favorable match-up against a Minnesota Vikings’ Defense that allows the 2nd most Fantasy points to opposing Wide Receivers.
For those of you no longer in contention, there are moves you can be making to strengthen your team for next year. If you are in a Keeper league and you don’t have anyone special, pick up a few guys off of waivers who you think have potential to emerge over the remainder of the season and in the preseason next year. Someone like Jake Locker may turn out to be your Fantasy MVP next season. And who knows, you might just get lucky and find one of the usual studs of the Fantasy world that were dropped by another Fanager in your league due to injury or poor production. Guys like Kenny Britt, Fred Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Andre Johnson, and Jamaal Charles could be available to help your 2012 squad.
For those of you in the Finals this weekend, hope Santa doesn’t forget your Fantasy Football Christmas wishes. In case he does, allow me to wish a Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Fantasy Football fight.