After all the preparation, draft moves, waiver wire pickups and roster management, the fantasy football playoffs are finally here.
Week 14 is usually when fantasy leagues hold their quarterfinals with fantasy Super Bowls culminating in Week 16. So, you’ve made it here. Congrats! Now all that’s left is putting together the winning team.
In this slideshow will be eight players (ranked in order of significance) you may want to insert into your flex spot based on the good matchups they have in Week 14.
So, good luck on your playoff run.
All stats are prior to Monday night’s football game.
8. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
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If you are in a points-per-reception league, Kendall Wright is a highly recommended option to consider. Even in standard leagues, he is still a quality flex option to consider.
Wright’s 71 receptions rank him seventh in the league. In his past four games, he has 28 receptions for 338 receiving yards and one touchdown. That’s some healthy and steady production to rely on from the flex spot.
And this week, Wright will have a fantastic matchup, as he and the Tennessee Titans take on a vulnerable Denver Broncos secondary. The Broncos are giving up 284 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL) and have allowed 23 passing touchdowns (tied for fourth most in the league).
In a game that could get out of hand in the Broncos’ favor, the Titans could be playing catch-up, and Wright could rack up the receptions and yards in the process.
7. Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
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Although he has slowed down in the past couple of weeks (just six receptions for 85 receiving yards in his past two games), Riley Cooper is still a trusted target for the scorching-hot Nick Foles.
Foles has targeted Cooper 13 times in the past two games, so he is clearly trying to get him involved. The Eagles have a home matchup this week with the Detroit Lions, who have been absolutely shredded through the air of late.
The Lions allow 262 passing yards per game (26th in the NFL) and have yielded 21 passing touchdowns. This game has the makings of a shootout, with all Eagles and Lions players being viable options.
6. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Giovani Bernard has not really broken out the way many thought he would after scoring two touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. To his credit, Bernard has had some tough matchups (Cleveland and Baltimore included) the past couple of weeks.
This week, though, Bernard may bust loose as he and the Cincinnati Bengals will be facing the Indianapolis Colts at home. The Colts are susceptible to the run, as they allow 128.6 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL) and have given up 10 touchdowns on the ground.
While he still shares time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard is the playmaker in the Bengals’ backfield, and he may just come through for you when you need it most.
5. Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons
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Steven Jackson has had a very uneven season, missing four games in the middle of the season and not scoring a touchdown until Week 12. That said, Jackson does have 147 yards rushing with three touchdowns in his past two games.
Now that he has shaken off the rust, Jackson is picking up steam and makes for a decent start this week when the Atlanta Falcons travel to Green Bay. The Packers are allowing 125.9 rushing yards per game (26th in the NFL) and have given up 11 touchdowns (tied for 21st in the league) on the ground.
With the weather in Green Bay likely to be frigid, the Falcons should give Jackson plenty of carries to wear down the Packers.
4. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
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No two ways about it, and we’ll call a spade a spade here: Ray Rice has been a total bust this year.
On the other hand, Rice might just do well enough in a good matchup this week. Just like he carved up the Chicago to the tune of 131 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 11, Rice could do some damage this week vs. the Minnesota Vikings in a juicy matchup.
The Vikings are a mess on defense, and that extends to their rush defense. The Vikings are giving up 120.6 rushing yards per game (23rd in the NFL) and have allowed 13 touchdowns (tied for 25th in the NFL) on the ground.
With the Vikings also weak against the passing game, the Ravens could use Rice in a lot of packages, and with the Ravens needing this win to keep their playoff hopes intact, they should get Rice the ball a lot in this game.
3. Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith is quietly having himself a productive season (54 receptions for 952 receiving yards and four touchdowns), but sometimes he could disappear.
However, this week should be the time to trust Smith. Smith and the Ravens have a dream matchup with the broke-down Minnesota Vikings at home this weekend. If you haven’t been paying attention, the Vikings have been getting gashed through the air, too.
The Vikings are allowing 287 passing yards per game (30th in the NFL) and a league-leading 26 touchdowns via the pass. With the Ravens playoff hopes on the line, expect them to exploit Minnesota’s primary weakness and get Smith the ball in this affair.
2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
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DeMarco Murray has had himself a very inconsistent year, alternating some really good games with some dud performances.
Murray is coming off his best game of the year, though, when he ran for 63 yards and scored three touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving.
With plenty of rest, and a matchup with the pathetic Bears run defense up next, Murray is a highly advised start. The Bears, if you need reminding of, are giving up a league-high 153.6 rushing yards per game and have allowed 15 scores on the ground (29th in the NFL).
1. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
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Sure, the listing of Alshon Jeffery here can be considered a no-brainer after he just recorded 12 receptions for 249 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings, but based on where he was drafted (or picked up off the wire), Jeffery still may be just a flex play for many owners.
Regardless, you’re starting Jeffery for the duration of the playoffs.
With the matchup he has this week, it all but makes it a certain Jeffery is a must-start this week. On Monday night, Jeffery and the Bears will take on a Dallas Cowboys team that can be beat through the air. The Cowboys are giving up 295 passing yards per game (31st in the NFL) while allowing 22 passing touchdowns.
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