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Fantasy Insider: The Playoffs Are Here, Don't Bench Russell Wilson

Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com is in his seventh season of Fantasy Football analysis on seahawks.com. Scott is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame and a former FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award Winner. He can be heard on FNTSY Radio every morning and seen on FNTSY Sports Network daily on CenturyLink’s sports package and Dish Network.


Week 14 on the NFL schedule annually signals the beginning of the Fantasy playoffs. While you certainly should feel a certain measure of accomplishment for making it to your league’s postseason, the pressure to advance creates more Fantasy anxiety. There is a great tendency to overthink and obsess about certain lineup decisions. In most cases, you should simply start your best players, the ones who got you this far, when you have a challenging decision to make. Matchups should be used to govern calls between similarly valued players, but not as the major guideline for start and sit decisions. Start your superstars even if they have a seemingly daunting matchup, they are indeed superstars because they can deliver against any level of competition. Plus, you can’t always assume the defense is going to  prevail fully throughout the course of a game in any matchup.

Quarterbacks

*Russell Wilson vs. JAC: *We lead with Wilson this week because he is the best example of how you should not veer away from a Fantasy superstar when you must win or have your season end. The Fantasy community is abuzz about his matchup with the Jaguars, who have allowed 8.51 Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing QBs on NFL.com, the best figure in the league. Jacksonville is one of only two teams to allow QB point totals less than 10 per game. But Wilson is easily the best Fantasy QB in the game on NFL.com with 279.44 points. Wilson is battle tested and obviously is the crux of his team like no other in the league. His unique playmaking skills make him unlike any other QB in the league, and he’ll put significant pressure on any defense. Wilson is matchup proof, trust him to carry your team to the next round.

*Derek Carr vs. KC: *Kansas City is allowing 18.80 FFPG to opposing QBs, fifth most on NFL.com, and will be without top cornerback Marcus Peters this week. Carr had his best game of the season vs. KC in Week 7, as he threw for 417 yards, three touchdowns and totaled 30.18 Fantasy Points on NFL.com. He will also get favored wide receiver Michael Crabtree back this week.

*Dak Prescott vs. NYG: *The Cowboys QB started to point himself back in the right direction with two TD passes on Thanksgiving. While he is not a must start player right now, Prescott is a viable streamer for Week 14. The Giants have allowed 23 TD passes, third most in the league, and the matchup is friendly for Dallas as a whole. Look for the Prescott who can lean on the running game and work successfully with optimum offensive balance.

Running Backs

Rex Burkhead vs MIA: He has become a finisher for one of the best offenses in the league, as Burkhead has totaled four touchdowns in his past two games. Three of them have been rushing scores. Burkhead is versatile and is coming on strong at the right time of the Fantasy season. Miami allows 19.23 FFPG to opposing RBs, third most among AFC teams.

*Samaje Perine vs. LAC: *If the Redskins are going to have a chance to keep up with the red-hot Bolts, they are going to have to play ball control and stem the pass rush with a solid running game. Los Angeles has allowed an AFC-high 1,311 rushing yards to RBs, so Perine should at least deliver an adequate Fantasy outing.

Kareem Hunt vs. OAK: He is no longer a surefire start, and it may make you nervous to start him. But the Chiefs offense looked rejuvenated last week, and Hunt has the pass-catching skills to take advantage of a good matchup here. The Raiders have allowed 90 receptions to running backs, second most among AFC teams, so Hunt could be busy enough to give you a quality week at the flex spot.

Marshawn Lynch vs. KC: He’s in this space again, as the Raiders offense looks like a great Fantasy resource this week, and Lynch is posting some of his best numbers of the season at the right time. Last week he rushed for a season-high 101 yards, and he has scored in each of the past two games. The Chiefs have allowed 10 rushing TDs, third most in the NFL. Lynch has carried 43 times in the past two games, so he is getting the needed volume in time for your Fantasy playoffs.

Wide Receivers

*Josh Gordon vs. GB: *He returned in impressive fashion last week, displaying that his abilities were well intact in a challenging matchup. Gordon caught four passes for 85 yards against the Chargers, working mainly against Casey Hayward. The Packers allow an AFC-high 23.71 FFPG to opposing WRs, fourth most in the NFL.

*Marquise Goodwin vs. HOU: *Goodwin has shown glimpses of promise throughout the season, and with the change to Jimmy Garoppolo at QB, he now seems like an even safer bet. Goodwin caught eight passes for 99 yards last week and has totaled 177 receiving yards in his past two games. The Texans allow 22.50 FFPG to opposing WRs, fourth most among AFC teams.

*Jermaine Kearse vs. DEN: *Another former Seahawk in this space along with Lynch this week, Kearse will always be fondly remembered in Seattle for his timely big game receptions. Now he is heating up just in time to help you in the Fantasy postseason. Kearse has caught 16 passes for 262 yards and a TD in his past two games. Look for him to find the end zone, as the Broncos have allowed 12 TD receptions to opposing WRs, fifth most in the AFC.

*Mike Wallace vs. PIT: *The former Steeler is revving up just in time for a matchup with his former team. Wallace had his second 100-yard game of the year last week and has 18 catches with two TDs in his past four outings. He’s worth a WR3/flex look if your other options are not satisfying. The Steelers have allowed the most FFPG to WRs over the past four weeks (27.45).

Tight Ends, Defense/Special Teams & Kickers

Cameron Brate *has re-emerged as a TE1 and should be locked in vs. DET. … *Austin Seferian-Jenkins should find the end zone vs. DEN. … Cincinnati is a top stream vs. CHI and the Chargers should remain in your lineup vs. WAS. … Harrison Butker and Adam Vinatieri are quality kicker starts.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

The Jaguars are also best vs. WRs on NFL.com, allowing 12.41 FFPG. But we’re telling you to trust Wilson this week, so you have to keep Doug Baldwin in your lineup. Mike Davis performed well against the second-best defense vs. opposing RBs (Philadelphia), so facing the Jaguars, who are ranked 12th (17.18 FFPG allowed) seems a bit easier and he deserves flex consideration. Jimmy Graham can score vs. any opponent and is a must-start. The Seahawks’ front seven can contain a potentially strong Jacksonville running game and may be able to come away with some turnovers, so start the defense with confidence.


For more in-depth Fantasy Football playoff analysis and tips, visit Scott Engel and his award-winning team over at RotoExperts.com. Here are his Lineup Rankings for Week 14.

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