This is it, the time you’ve been waiting for all season: the fantasy football playoffs.
If you’re reading this, it probably means your team either has survived the regular season and advanced, or you’ve got one crucial regular-season matchup left in which you need a win to qualify. That means every decision is crucial and you’re diligently researching who to play.
That’s where we come in. Here’s a look at some of the players who present some of the most difficult roster decisions this week and what we think you should do about them.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta’s third-year receiver recently burst onto the scene, catching 13 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns in his last four games. He’s been consistent, too, finding the end zone in each of those four games, scoring a rushing touchdown in the one game he didn’t score a receiving touchdown.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of bursting onto the scene, Hill has become a major staple in KC’s offense and arguably its most reliable receiver. He’s been targeted at nearly eight times per game over his last five games, scoring five touchdowns in that span, including a three-TD performance in Week 12. Especially in PPR leagues, Hill is no worse than a must-start flex option.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots
Only seven teams have allowed more rushing yards to opposing running backs than L.A., but the Rams also are in the top half of the league with just seven rushing touchdowns allowed all season. Still, LeGarrette Blount has been a steamroller, and with the Patriots likely having a big enough lead to just run the ball and milk the clock, this matchup is juicy.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Believe it or not, Kaep actually has played pretty well lately. He’s averaged 28 points per game in his last four contests and has a pretty good matchup against the Chicago Bears this week.
Eric Ebron, TE, Detroit Lions
He’s been too important of a piece to the puzzle in Detroit to continuously be left out to the degree he was on Thanksgiving. The Saints have struggled against tight ends recently, so this could be a nice bounceback game.
Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
Brandin Cooks didn’t even receive a target in Week 12, while Michael Thomas has evolved into a borderline WR1 in NOLA. We’d be hard-pressed to bench Brandin Cooks (though we’d consider benching Willie Snead), and we won’t recommend doing it against the Lions. But if we’re picking one Saints receiver to start, it’s Michael Thomas.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Despite a terrible offensive line and a bad defense, Andrew Luck has managed to play at an elite level this season. He’s been cleared to return to action after missing Week 12 in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and you should start him in confidence with him back under center.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots
Bennett has been playing through an ankle injury, and the Patriots have shown a willingness to go with a three-wide receiver, two-running back set with James White and Dion Lewis in the backfield and confuse defenses with crossing patterns and slants to get guys like Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola open as well.
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Yes, Asiata has scored in three straight games, but he hasn’t tallied over 27 yards in any of those contests. He’s a touchdown-reliant player, and the Cowboys have only allowed 784 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
In his last three games, Jones has just six catches and 74 receiving yards … total. Look elsewhere.
Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Maybe this is sacrilegious, but Todd Gurley just isn’t good this year. Maybe he’s checked out on a losing team. Maybe he’s hit a sophomore wall. Maybe his offensive line is simply terrible and it’s not really his fault. But Gurley is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry and only has scored in three games this season.
Mike Wallace, WR, Baltimore Ravens
The Miami Dolphins have been fairly stingy against opposing receivers this season, allowing just 11 touchdowns, ranking in the top half of the league, but closer to the middle of that pack than the top. Wallace is boom or bust and hasn’t caught more than five passes, gained more than 62 yards or scored since Week 9.
Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos
Booker has trended toward breaking out the past two weeks, with 24 rushes for over 70 yards and a few catches in each. But he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 8, he’s never hit 90 yards in a game, and Jacksonville’s defense actually has been pretty good lately.
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images