By Pat Pitts
If you are reading this and have a spot in your league’s playoffs, congratulations! You got through the easy part. The playoffs are the most interesting portion of the fantasy season because of the unpredictability. Players who have been irrelevant all season have a lot of value simply because that's football.
Spoiler Alert: There will be players on the list that are categorized simply based on matchup. If you cannot afford to do one choice or another, trust your gut. It’s your team.
Russell Wilson vs NYJ
Russell Wilson gets to reset and take on the worst team in the NFL that just fired its Defensive Coordinator. Case closed, you start Russ.
Ryan Tannehill @ JAX
Tannehill is averaging 22 fantasy points since Week 11 putting him inside the Top-12 QBs. The Jaguars stink and have a beyond beatable defense. Tannehill should be a Top-7 QB this week.
Matt Ryan vs LAC
The Chargers have essentially mailed it in this season and the Falcons are at least playing hard for their Interim Head Coach Raheem Morris. Matt Ryan should clock in as a low-end QB1 this week in a game that is going to be littered with scoring opportunities.
Mike Davis vs DEN Christian McCaffery can’t seem to shake the injury bug, so Mike Davis managers rejoice as you’ll be able to use Carolina’s defacto RB1 to kick start your championship run.
Ronald Jones vs MIN
Jones ranks in the Top-5 in total rushing yards this season and faces a broken Vikings defensive line. Tampa Bay needs to win this week, making RoJo an RB1 for the start of the fantasy playoffs.
Wayne Gallman vs ARI
Gallman has been electric since Week 7, rushing for 100+ yards and a touchdown in each game during that span. Gallman’s consistency makes him a must start with high-end RB2 value and even a little upside.
DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett vs NYJ
See Russell Wilson
Tim Patrick @ CAR
Tim Patrick is a startable receiver for the rest of the season. He caught two touchdowns last week against the Chiefs and has three games this season with over 100 yards. Patrick is a WR2 against the Panthers.
Jamison Crowder @ SEA
The Jets are the worst team in the NFL and the Seahawks are the worst team covering the pass in the NFL. It doesn't matter who he faces, Crowder remains valuable in fantasy leagues as a WR2 or FLEX role for this week and the rest of the season.
Noah Fant @ CAR
Carolina has struggled to cover the pass this season, which gives Fant a boost to a TE1 role this week in a game that should be back and forth all four quarters.
Rob Gronkowski vs MIN
Minnesota’s defense has been suspect most of the season and the Bucs need all hands on deck to keep their postseason push moving in the right direction. Gronk should find the end zone this week and be a TE2 in your lineup.
Robert Tonyan @ DET
Big Bob Tonyan has been such a treat to watch this season, becoming the TE3 overall in fantasy. The Lions are the Lions and are going to allow touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers. Tonyan is second in receptions behind Davante Adams, making Tonyan extremely valuable this week.
Cam Newton @ LAR
The Rams defense is almost the perfect recipe to stop Cam Newton. A lockdown DB in Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald creating pressure up the middle to stop Newton from running. I would not be starting my QB on a Thursday night game in Round One of the fantasy playoffs.
Kirk Cousins @ TB
The Bucs are fresh off a bye week and have a Top-5 defense in the league. Find a quarterback with a better matchup.
Deshaun Watson @ CHI
It’s another tough defensive matchup for Deshaun Watson as he takes on the team that could have drafted him in 2017. You’re obviously starting him, but temper expectations a bit.
Miles Sanders vs NO
The Saints have the best defense in the NFL and Doug Pederson has been stubborn with using Miles Sanders all season long. No shot you should start him in a win or go home playoff matchup this week.
Kenyan Drake @ NYG
The Giants run defense has been underrated by everyone this season and have been on a roll as an entire defense for the last few weeks. There’s no question that Drake should be on your bench in this game.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire @ MIA
CEH didn’t get a single snap in Week 13 due to an illness, and to return against a Dolphins defense that has been on fire is a tall task. I wouldn’t trust him this week to start your playoff push.
DeVante Parker vs KC
The Chiefs secondary has been rolling and Parker has been up and down all year. He takes a seat this week if he’s on your roster.
Darius Slayton vs ARI
Slayton has been irrelevant this season with how the Giants offense has unfolded. He only has two double-digit fantasy point games since Week 6, which is not what you want in the fantasy playoffs.
Brandin Cooks @ CHI
Cooks faces a very good Bears secondary this week and with Keke Coutee outshining him last week, there has to be a better matchup for you to consider over Cooks this late in the season.
Austin Hooper vs BAL
Why is he still on your roster? You should have picked up Tonyan off waivers WEEKS ago.
Eagles TEs vs NO
Stay away from all Eagles players this week due to the combination of an elite Saints defense and a rookie QB getting his first NFL start. Don’t put yourself through that pain.
Darren Waller vs IND
This is not so much a sit, but more of a play with caution. The Colts defense has been exceptional defending opposing TEs this season, so Waller’s production could take a hit from what we’ve seen from him all season.