Fourth & 1 Debate: Weeek 14 Fantasy Playoffs Hero

Dec 10, 2009

Time for another Fourth & 1 Roundtable Debate.   It’s my week to provide the topic.  Here goes.

This Week’s Topic
Which unheralded player is going to play the part of Billy Volek or Drew Bennett and make a huge splash in the opening round of the fantasy playoffs?

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Ryan Lester of
A player that I’m loving this week is
Jamaal Charles. He’s averaging 97.3 total yards and a score in his  last four games since taking over for Larry Johnson. Not only has he been hot, but he faces Buffalo’s run defense that ranks dead last with 172.1 yards allowed per game. They have also allowed 16 rushing TDs, which ranks 30th.

Another player I like this week is Joe Flacco. He is facing the Detroit’s pass defense that ranks dead last in both passing yards allowed (274.8 per game) and passing TDs allowed (28). If you have Flacco paired up with Jay Cutler (vs. GB), Kyle Orton (@ INDY), Carson Palmer (@ MINN), or Eli Manning (vs. PHI), you may want to roll with Joe this week.

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Hatty of
I think Vince Young makes a big splash going into playoffs with his light schedule: Rams, Dolphins, Chargers, then Seahawks.  If you have been frustrated recently by your QB’s lack of performance then turn to Vince to carry you through the playoffs.  If you are in a monster league and need to dig a bit further then go after Brady Quinn for week 15 against the Chiefs then week 17 against the Jaguars.

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Kurt Turner of
As Tab Bamford points out in his Playoff QB Primer Bruce Gradkowski (WAS, @ DEN, @ CLE) could arise to the occasion. “The Raiders are throwing the ball all over the place and Gradkowski’s been successful doing it. Washington’s not as bad as paper would tell you they were on Sunday, and the Broncos and Browns could get you some points in critical playoff matchups. If you’re sitting on a quarterback with a tough championship matchup (Orton, Hasselbeck, Roethlisberger), he might be a solid value add this week for the stretch.”

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Smitty of
If you’re looking for an unheralded hero in Week 14, consider giving Steelers WR Mike Wallace the green light for your third wide receiver spot. He shouldn’t be anyone’s fantasy WR2 heading into round one of the 2009 fantasy football playoffs, but with Hines Ward a long-shot to play in Week 14 (Thursday night game), Mike Wallace could see a grip of targets against the Browns. Wallace is a rookie, and he has a lot of learning to do, but he has shown flashes of brilliance at times this season. In Week 3, Wallace pulled in seven passes for 102 yards, and he also looked good in Weeks 5-9 (bye in Week 8), where he scored touchdown in three out of those four games. Take advantage of the match-up and the situation if you own Wallace and expect a a good 4-5 receptions, 70-80 yards and a score in this one. This kid has a bright future in Pittsburgh if he can stay healthy and refine his game.

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Bryce McRae of
The Washington Redskins stole my thunder a bit by naming Quinton Ganther their starter at running back; he’s still works for this question … AND he should still be available in your fantasy league.

With Clinton Portis (concussion) out and now done for the year, Ganther had been sharing part of the workload carrying the ball with Rock Cartwright and Marcus Mason. The Rock had started the last two games; he totaled just 77 yards on 29 carries, though. Mason has received a few token carries in each game but with 14 yards combined and just 33 yards on 12 carries this year, he hasn’t really accomplished anything for the ‘Skins.

Which brings us to Ganther. His workload has increased in each of the last two games; he received the ball five times for 32 yards in Week 11 (6.4 yards per carry) and eight times for 46 yards last week (5.8 yards per carry). He’s 5-foot-9 and 214 pounds and can be a bull in the running game. Offensive coordinator Sherman Smith has familiarity with Ganther from their time on the Tennessee Titans together.

Ganther will get his first taste of starter’s work against the Oakland Raiders, too; they aren’t exactly a top-notch run D. His final three matchups are tough, but quarterback Jason Campbell has looked better behind center, giving teams something to think about fromWashington’s receiving game. It isn’t a ton, but it helps.

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RC of
Mohamed Massaquoi has been rather inconsistent, but I think he has a chance to be a week 14 fantasy playoff hero against the struggling Steelers secondary.  Pittsburgh has been alarmingly bad against some awful offensive units over the past three weeks.  They gave up 119 yards to Chris Chambers, and let Kansas City QB Matt Cassell throw for 248 yards and 2 TDs in week 11.  Then last week against the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh somehow permitted Bruce Gradkowski to throw for 308 yards and 3 TDs as they ended up on the wrong end of perhaps the most shocking upset of the year.  If the Steelers’ recent defensive trend of folding against the worst offensive teams in the league holds up this week, you might be glad to have Mohamed Massaquoi in your lineup.

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Jacob of
Injuries have opened the door for many unheralded players in the fantasy football playoffs this year, including running backs like Cleveland’s Jerome Harrison and Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, but in Week 14, my pick to make a splash is San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith.

The San Francisco 49ers have catered to Alex Smith’s skills with a spread offense similar to the one he ran in college, and within this new offense, Smith has taken advantage of receiving options like Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, and Josh Morgan. In Week 14, Smith faces the Cardinals’ secondary, a unit that likes to take chances and allows plenty of scoring through the air.

According to FF Today, Arizona ranks ninth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, allowing an average of 20.2 points to quarterbacks each week.

Coming off a 310-yard, two-touchdown performance in Seattle, I believe Smith will make a game of it and do his best to keep up with the Cardinals explosive air attack. Chances are good that he scores a place among the top 10 at quarterback once again.

If your top fantasy quarterback is bound for trouble this week, and you can’t get your hands on Joe Flacco, who faces the Lions, take a chance on Smith. Best of luck in the playoffs.

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2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Week 14 Hot Hands and Cold Shoulders: You Know Where This is Going | Fantasy Football Fools
    December 10th, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    [...] starters, the Fourth & 1 Debate fantasy football roundtable covered a few players who, while under the radar most of the season, could make a big splash in the fantasy playoffs. My pick is San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith, but you’ll have to [...]

  2. American Football NFL » Week 14 Hot Hands and Cold Shoulders: You Know Where This is Going
    December 11th, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    [...] starters, the Fourth & 1 Debate fantasy football roundtable covered a few players who, while under the radar most of the season, could make a big splash in the fantasy playoffs . My pick is San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith, but you’ll have to go [...]

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