Ah, the smell of fantasy football playoffs. The sweet scent of friendships torn, money down the drain, and sleeper players scoring 25 points for the first time in their career. Of course, it’s been awhile since I’ve got the true sense of this smell. However, I still stay undefeated in the first round of the sacko bracket — aka the consolation bracket. I may not win the league, but I for sure won’t lose it.
Anyway, many of you are entering an intense playoff match against McCaffrey or Lamar Jackson and you need to pick a player who can secure you the win and the $200 from your family and friends. So we’re here to help you with that.
QB Pickup: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NYG
One of my favorite sayings goes like this: the most dangerous people are those who have nothing to lose. If you caught a glimpse of the Miami Dolphins versus the New York Jets game last week, then you’ll know Ryan Fitzpatrick is deep into this mindset. Fitzpatrick, playing in what could be one of his final seasons in the NFL, ran like a madman and accounted for a career-high 64 rushing yards in the Dolphins’ close loss to the Jets. Keep in mind folks, Fitzpatrick is 37 and in his 15th year in the league. Yet here he is, still putting everything out there to help his team win.
Although Fitzmagic is coming off of a zero touchdown game, I’m liking his chances against a Giants defense that has given up a league-high five rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks and an average of 20.3 fantasy points. Just recently in Week 13, we saw 37-year-old Fitzpatrick explode for 365 passing yards and three touchdowns. The potential for a boom game against the Giants is 100%, but it’s risky. If I were to play it safe, I would take Baker Mayfield against the Arizona Cardinals or even Gardner Minshew against the Oakland Raiders. But if you’re “living like Larry” and want to take the risky option to get a significant game out of a quarterback, I would pickup Fitzmagic.
FLEX Pickup: Zach Pascal @ NO
The Sideline has recommended Zach Pascal as a sneaky pickup in past articles, and we’re here once again to say he’s no joke — especially with T.Y. Hilton still recovering from a calf injury. Whether or not Hilton plays shouldn’t be a huge issue because even if he is able to suit up, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be 100% back to normal after missing so many games due to injury. In a pinch, Pascal works well as a plug-and-play FLEX for those vying for a spot in their league’s championship.
In Hilton’s absence, Pascal earned 10 and nine targets in his past two games, and all signs point to that continuing against an attackable New Orleans Saints secondary giving up almost 250 yards per game. Still in the hunt despite three losses in a row, look for Jacoby Brisset and company to air it out on primetime with Pascal right in the mix.
D/ST Pickup: Tampa Bay @ DET
If you’re in the playoffs in a competitive league, most reliable D/ST options are probably off the board by now. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be one of the more slept on options of the week coming off two strong performances followed by a matchup against the Indianapolis Colts where they let up 29 points and didn’t do much else for their fantasy owners. Against a Lions team that has been decimated by injuries (third string QB, no Marvin Jones, no Kerryon, possibly no Bo Scarbrough), know that the Buccaneers’s opportunistic defense could blow up and send your team into the championship.
-Michael Gorman & Mateo Gutierrez