Fantasy playoffs are almost here.
A season’s worth of hard work is about to pay off for those who qualify. The initial draft, start-sit decisions and waiver wire musings are about to pay off in full, because fantasy owners have taken the time to craft perfect rosters for this home stretch.
If not, don’t panic. Plenty of fantasy stars reside in each lineup, but an ability to discern which ones will be the most reliable in the coming months will set owners apart when it matters.
Here are a few of the most trustworthy stars to bank on the rest of the way.
Note: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues (ESPN). Points against stats (ESPN).
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers has arrived as a name owners can trust. Rivers posted 392 yards and three touchdowns in Week 12 against Kansas City, a team that typically only allows 12.5 points to the position.
Rivers scored 27.
San Diego’s signal-caller has now scored 13 or more points in nine games this year. Four of those have been outbursts for 22 or more.
After a tough matchup with Cincinnati in Week 13, Rivers has a Charmin-soft path to elite fantasy production against miserable pass defenses such as the New York Giants, Denver and Oakland.
Ride Rivers to the promised land.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Packers
What? Owners don’t want to trust a rookie at this point in the season?
They better start.
Eddie Lacy has been wildly consistent since Week 5. In that time span, the Green Bay Packers stud has received 22 or more carries in seven of eight games.
Remember, touches equal production at running back.
The result? Five rushing touchdowns and 10 or more points in six games. Sixteen or more in half.
Regardless of whether or not quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns, Lacy is one of the last every-down backs at the pro level. He rarely comes off the field, which makes him an invaluable asset at this stage in the game.
Even Adrian Peterson has three games in the same time span where he has scored fewer than 10 points.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears
Brandon Marshall is the definition of consistency at wide receiver.
Here is how Marshall has fared in his last four games:
Remember, the Week 11 contest where he tied a season low with four receptions had a strange weather delay and neither team was passing much in the muddy conditions.
Marshall has scored 16 or more fantasy points in six of 11 games this year. The best part? It doesn’t matter who is under center.
That, above anything else, makes Marshall one of the most reliable players in the fantasy landscape. There’s no matchup or quarterback that can hold Marshall down. Tornado? That’s a different story.
Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Still, the most trustworthy guy outside of the super-obvious aforementioned duo is Dallas’ Jason Witten.
Witten has caught four or more passes in seven games this season. In two of his last three, Witten has scored 15 or more points.
Four of Witten’s next five games come against teams that allow over seven points to the position on average—a critical number for those digging for fantasy gold at an unreliable position.
Witten is the man to own with playoffs on the horizon.