Snow is starting to fall. Christmas music is playing. Finals are in full swing as schools start closing for winter vacation. Clearly, only one thing should be on your mind: fantasy football playoffs.
Win, and you’re one step closer to that glorious title. Lose, and you’re waiting over 250 days for your next shot. Lineups need to be 100% perfect if you want to avoid saying hello to the darkness for another week, check out The Wolf’s thoughts to make sure you’re fully stocked for a win.
Tier 1 – Potential Top Scorers
1) Antonio Brown (PIT) @ BUF
2) Mike Evans (TB) vs. NO
Tier 2 – High End WR1s
3) Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) vs. DAL
4) Amari Cooper (OAK) @ KC – Shockingly, KC surrenders the most points to wideouts, and almost all of it comes on whoever’s lined up away from Marcus Peters. This projects to be Cooper, who plays the majority of his snaps on the left side. The monster effort we’ve been waiting for should come this Thursday.
5) Dez Bryant (DAL) @ NYG
6) Julian Edelman (NE) vs. BAL – Feeling a huge Edelman night on National TV.
7) T.Y Hilton (IND) vs. HOU
8) Jordy Nelson (GB) vs. SEA – He’s proven matchup proof, and safety Earl Thomas’ absence makes this one far less daunting.
9) Julio Jones (ATL) @ LA QUESTIONABLE – This turf toe couldn’t come at a worse time for fantasy owners, and has Jones’ Week 14 status up in the air. The latest reports suggest the team is optimistic he’ll play, but Julio had to sit the entire fourth quarter last Sunday, and there’s a real risk of a “Scarecrow” decoy situation. You can’t bench Julio if he plays, and it might ultimately screw you. But if this all turns out to be a bunch of hogwash, the elite wideout has a real shot at outscoring everyone listed ahead of here. The risk is baked into this low-ish ranking.
10) Doug Baldwin (SEA) @ GB
11) Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) @ MIA
12) Terrelle Pryor (CLE) vs. CIN – RGIII loved chucking deep to Pryor in their limited time together, and he’s fresh off a 130 yard effort. Roll him out like the WR1 he is.
13) Michael Crabtree (OAK) @ KC – I keep ranking Cooper ahead of him, and Crabtree continues outproducing. His increased time versus Marcus Peters could finally swing the pendulum back to Cooper’s favor, but if not, Crabtree and him will need to swap ranking positions.
Tier 3 – High-end WR2s
14) Michael Thomas (NO) @ TB QUESTIONABLE – Thomas missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a foot injury. If he plays, we’ll keep him here. If not, bump up Brandin Cooks and the Blonde Muskrat.
15) Tyrell Williams (SD) @ CAR
16) Jamison Crowder (WAS) @ PHI
17) Brandin Cooks (NO) @ TB
18) Golden Tate (DET) vs. CHI
19) Donte Moncrief (IND) vs. HOU
20) Emmanuel Sanders and 21) Demaryius Thomas (DEN) @ TEN – We’ve been down this road before. Both have great matchups, the floor is fairly high for both, and there’s a 50/50 shot at a true explosion for one of these guys.
22) Davante Adams (GB) vs. SEA
23) Stefon Diggs (MIN) @ JAC – A lock for 8+ catches, assuming he’s playing and healthy. The Jags are a tough matchup though, so beyond full-PPR leagues look elsewhere. Could be a vintage 9 catch – 45 yard Diggs effort.
Tier 3 – Quality WR3s
24) Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. OAK – Don’t overreact to last week’s semi-dud or Maclin’s return; this defense is porous and Hill is a legitimate playmaker, even in limited snaps.
25) Malcolm Mitchell (NE) vs. BAL – Tom Brady’s circle of trust is the best place to be for a fantasy WR. Mitchell’s ceiling and floor are both extremely high.
26) Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs. ARI – Off an 11-catch day, here’s hoping he avoids the Patrick Peterson treatment.
27) Kenny Britt (LA) vs. ATL – Yes, I’d rather start Britt against Atlanta’s abomination than Marshall or Hopkins in my fantasy playoffs. What has this world come to.
28) Brandon Marshall (NYJ) @ SF – Against the pitiful 49ers, Marshall could completely smash this ranking if he develops some chemistry with Bryce Petty at practice this week. Yet, he’s just as likely to quit if the targets don’t immediately come, making him a risky player to rely on. Huge boom-or-bust play, and if you need the upside to conquer your opponent, go for it.
29) DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) @ IND – This will be the week you bench him and he goes off for 130 and a TD… except it won’t. Osweiler should be put to the chair for what he’s done to Hopkins.
30) Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) vs. SD
31) DeSean Jackson (WAS) @ PHI – Love revenge games… even if a few years stale.
Tier 4 – Sexy Flexy’s
32) Jordan Matthews (PHI) vs. WAS
33) Dontrelle Inman (SD) @ CAR
34) Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs. PIT – His chemistry with Tyrod was badly off last week, and the matchup on paper is dreadful (30th most FPs to WRs)… yet the Steelers have been generous to opposing WR1s this past month: Dez Bryant (6 – 116-TD) Terrelle Pryor (5-97) and Odell (10-100). There’s blowup potential, but a goose egg floor.
35) Pierre Garcon (WAS) @ PHI
36) Jeremy Maclin (KC) vs. OAK – Huge ceiling in his return against the porous Oakland secondary, but a cavernous floor as well given Hill’s emergence and Kelce’s (unfortunate) dominance
37) Taylor Gabriel (ATL) @ LA – I’m doubling down on Gabriel, especially if Julio Jones is truly a Scarecrow. Enormous upside.
38) Mike Wallace (BAL) @ NE
Tier 5 – Last startable names
39) Tyler Boyd and 40) Brandon LaFell (CIN) @ CLE – The matchup is ripe for at least one explosion.
41) Ted Ginn (CAR) vs. SD – Sneakily Carolina’s WR1? This week could cement that status and make Ginn a true stretch run factor
42) Allen Robinson (JAC) vs. MIN – Hard puke noise
44) Rishard Matthews (TEN) vs. DEN – Normally a top-20 option, but Denver does this.
43) Randall Cobb (GB) vs. SEA
44) Tyler Lockett (SEA) @ GB – Suddenly on the fantasy radar again.
45) Willie Snead (NO) @ TB
46) Devante Parker (MIA) vs. ARI
47) Cole Beasley (DAL) @ NYG
48) Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs. DAL
49) Quincy Enunwa (NYJ) @ SF
50) Marvin Jones (DET) vs. CHI
Shocker Specials for you consolation people…
Robby Anderson (NYJ) @ SF – Was Petty’s #1 target; don’t discount practice team chemistry
Josh Bellamy (CHI) @ DET – Once Wilson went down, Dellamy dominated targets.