Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Week 11: Getting your team ready for the playoffs

It's hard to believe that 10 weeks of NFL football are already behind us. The good news is, there are still seven left to go, including the stretch run and fantasy playoffs.

Week 11: Getting your team ready for the playoffs

Denarius Moore is Carson Palmer´s favorite target. (AP Photo)
Denarius Moore is Carson Palmer's favorite target. (AP Photo)
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It's hard to believe that 10 weeks of NFL football are already behind us. The good news is, there are still seven left to go, including the stretch run and fantasy playoffs.

While your league's regular season may just be heating time, the time to make trades is beginning to wind down. Yes, the dreaded trade deadline is approaching. Soon, the waiver wire (which we'll get to in a moment) will be your only option to replace injured players, or look for a late season spark.

That's why I've decided to give you some guys that you can buy low right now, as well as some guys you may want to sell immediately, as their price has hit the tipping point, and can't go any higher.

BUY

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Denarius Moore (OAK, WR) - Carson Palmer is now the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, and he's found his favorite target: Denarius Moore. Palmer has targeted Moore more than any other Raiders receiver in the last two weeks. With some favorable matchups on the horizon, the two should continue to connect. If you need a player at WR, pick up Moore. If he's already taken, try to use that RB that can't break into your starting lineup as bait. He's going to be a good player the rest of the way.

SELL

DeMarco Murray (DAL, RB) - Even though Murray will continue to be the starter when Felix Jones returns, nothing upsets a fantasy owner more than a touchdown vulture (See: Ben Tate). Murray will get the bulk of the carries, but Jones is extremely explosive and can pick up yards in a hurry. For his career, he only has one touchdown from inside five yards. Murray is still a start in basically all leagues, but there is definitely a lot of value out there right now, and as Jones' health improves, look for the carries to be more evenly distributed.

Reggie Bush (MIA, RB) - If you have Reggie Bush on your roster, like me, odds are that he is nothing more than a flex player, or possibly even struggling to get into your lineup. You almost certainly didn't draft him to be a starting running back. Over the last few weeks, however, that is exactly what he has become. Bush is getting more touches, especially in the red zone, than he ever has in his career. The problem? I'm skeptical that he will be able to keep it up for the rest of the season. It may not be a bad time to shop Bush, as someone in your league may be hurting at running back, and you can get a solid receiver or two in return to help set you up for a playoff push.

Eric Decker (DEN, WR) - With Tim Tebow at the helm, it appears as though the Broncos have decided to borrow a neighboring high school's playbook. Last game, Tebow only had two completions. One of them happened to be a 56-yard touchdown to Decker, but I don't like those odds every week. Because he's been so solid all season, you should be able to get good value for Decker.

 

Remember how I said we would get to the waiver wires? Here's a look at some options for you from Greg Boyce:

QUARTERBACKS

Carson Palmer, CIN - (Yahoo 41%, ESPN 26%) vs. Minnesota

“Really, Greg? Carson Palmer? He’s played in three games.” Yes, I might be a bit presumptuous in my adoration for Palmer. But let’s look at the facts: five touchdowns and 631 passing yards in two starts so far. Even with RB Michael Bush going off last Thursday, Palmer still ‘got his’. Even if RB Darren McFadden returns this week, I’d still be a big proponent of starting Palmer over most quarterbacks. Meanwhile, you have the Vikings. Oh, the Vikings. In their last four games, they have allowed 4, 3, 3 and 2 touchdown passes. They haven’t picked off a pass since Week 5. They have held a quarterback below 260 yards twice all season. All signs point to a big day for Carson.

Matt Moore, MIA - (Yahoo 5%, ESPN 2%) vs. Buffalo

It isn’t so much his play as of late, but the matchup with the Bills that has me excited. Moore has become a more efficient passer in the last two games (71% completion) and has been concentrating on his best weapon in WR Brandon Marshall. Marshall is the fifth most targeted player in the NFL in the last two games and has turned 15 of the 20 targets into receptions. As a bonus, it seems the ghost of Reggie Bush might have returned. He has at least 3 catches the last three games and always has the speed to break a dump off pass loose. As for the Bills, they have given up big passing yards all season. Three quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards, and six have thrown for at least 270. They allowed Tony Romo to utterly destroy them on Sunday and are falling fast in the AFC playoff race as the Dolphins look like the spoiler team in these last few weeks. 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Laurent Robinson, DAL - (Yahoo 52%, ESPN 13%) vs. Washington

Fresh off of a two touchdown performance, Robinson has thrived in the absence of WR Miles Austin. He has four touchdowns in his last three games, equaling his total from the prior four seasons. Needless to say, he has found success, since he has nearly matched his career high in receptions and set a career mark in yards, yet he has only played in seven games. He also has shown good hands, catching 13 of the 16 balls that came in his direction the last two games.

Damian Williams, TEN - (Yahoo 10%, ESPN 2%) vs. Atlanta

The former Trojan and Razorback has also taken advantage of an injury on the depth chart. With the loss of WR Kenny Britt, Williams has taken a shine to QB Matt Hasselbeck. Since Britt went down in Week 3, Williams has led the Titans in targets and is second on the team to RB Chris Johnson with 21 receptions. Lately, Williams has been productive, with 13 catches and two touchdowns in his last three games for an average of 15.5 YPC. He has outperformed Dez Bryant, Dwayne Bowe, Stevie Johnson, Steve Smith, Roddy White and Jeremy Maclin, to name a few.

RUNNING BACKS

Kregg Lumpkin, TB - (Yahoo 2%, ESPN 1%) vs. Green Bay

It sure isn’t the sexiest name you want to see filling a roster spot as you fight for a playoff spot. He certainly isn’t the top guy in the Tampa Bay backfield. But he catches passes and turns them into good yardage. In the last three games, the great unknown has caught fifteen balls for an average of 6.5 YPC. Nothing too stupendous but if you are really fighting with byes (Foster, Mendenhall, every Saints and Steelers receiver) it is some points that could push you ahead. It seems likely that Tampa will play from behind against the Packers. In fact, that is about the most certain notion this week. You could be looking at Lumpkin getting garbage time and dump off passes. Since Week 7, he is behind just WR Mike Williams and TE Kellen Winslow in team targets.

Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE - (Yahoo 27%, ESPN 14%) vs. Jacksonville

Hey, at least he is a starting running back. Who cares if it is for the Browns, he is guaranteed the most carries. There is nothing too much to say about him though. Elusive? No. Speedster? Not really. Bowl you over? Unlikely. He picked up a start in Week 13 and managed 4.7 yards per rush against a suddenly not-so-bad St. Louis defense. And the Jags run D has been inconsistent as of late. RB Rashard Mendenhall and RB Arian Foster went for 146 and 112, respectively, plus a touchdown. But RB Ray Rice (3.5 YPR) and RB Donald Brown (3.8 YPR) were largely stuffed by the Jags. I would consider him only as a Flex option.

Marion Barber, CHI - (Yahoo 18%, ESPN 7%) vs. San Diego

Two words: Touchdown vulture. Week 10 brought a three-game touchdown streak to a halt. I expect Chicago to run the ball a lot. Meaning the increased workload for Barber (22 carries last two games) may pay dividends.

 


Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at mmullin@philly.com. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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From football to baseball, Fantasy Island is your stop for all things fantasy, with a Philly spin. Reach Matt at mmullin@philly.com.

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