Playoff season is upon us, so I want to get to the mailbag as quickly as possible. However, I also wanted to let you know that we're going to open up this space to questions about NBA and MLB as well, so if you're participating in any of those fantasy formats and want to ask about anything having to do with player moves, ranks, trades, prospects, what have you, feel free to send questions to me @SI_DavidSabino on Twitter.
With the Browns and Steelers battling it out at Heinz Field Thursday, let's start right in with a question pertaining to that AFC North contest.
Antonio Brown in Thursday prime time, Malcom Floyd (Philip Rivers has been terrible all year but last week) or Marques Colston?-- @ AdamJohnB (Adam Burns)
I wouldn't play Brown because the Browns are one of the better teams in the league against opposing wide receivers, allowing only three touchdowns all season to wideouts, and each of them were top options. Yes, Rivers has been a far cry from the MVP-candidate of past years but he's still throwing the ball 37.3 times per contest, which ranks fifth in the league. When healthy, which he now is, Floyd is one of Rivers' go-to guys and has proved that with 100-yard games in three of his last four outings. Further, the Bills are a sieve against a good passing attack. The streaky Colston has seen his status as Drew Brees' receiver of choice pass to Jimmy Graham, which accounts for Colston's paltry three TD receptions this season, the last two coming on Oct. 23. Given all of that, I'd have to go with Floyd.
Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradshaw or, Steven Jackson. Please pick two. And Eli Manning, Matt Ryan or Ryan Fitzpatrick?-- @ MattySuzuki (Matty Suzuki)
I'll be the first to admit that I was dead wrong about Bush this season. He's been a great addition to the Dolphins and has been a big reason for their recent turnaround. He's scored a touchdown in each of their four wins and is coming off his second 100-yard game of the year while compiling a career-high 667 rushing yards through Week 13. Against the Eagles, who let another of the league's hottest backs, Marshawn Lynch, run all over them for 148 yards and two TDs a week ago, Bush is a solid play.
Playing through the pain of a broken foot, Bradshaw will be relegated to be part of a Giants committee, in which he'll lose goal line carries to Brandon Jacobs and receptions to D.J. Ware, so until Tom Coughlin gives him 20-25 touches again, I'd leave him on my bench.
That leaves Jackson as your second starter, which isn't all that attractive coming off a 19-yard game against the Niners and with Tom Brandstater likely at quarterback. However, against the Seahawks, I'd expect the Rams' entire offense to run through Jackson, who I'd trust more to make something happen than the hobbling Bradshaw.
Brandon Jacobs or Toby Gerhart? Jermaine Gresham, Jake Ballard, or Dallas Clark? Broncos or Seahawks defenses?-- @shmuliwilhelm (Shmuli Wilhelm)
Jacobs performs better as part of a committee than when he's the go-to guy, so Bradshaw's aforementioned return is a plus. The other major factor in your running back decision is the status of Adrian Peterson, who as of now is a question mark for Minnesota's game against the Suh-less Lions. So I'd play Jacobs if Peterson plays, but if it looks like he won't then I'd use Gerhart.
As for the tight ends, The Texans' top-rated defense has allowed two 100-yard games to the position this year, and it's not a surprise that it went to elites Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez. However, I expect Wade Phillips' crew to concentrate more on stopping Cincy's wideouts, creating chances for Gresham. Ballard is hit-and-miss but wouldn't be a bad play against a Dallas squad that gave up 81 yards and a score to Kevin Boss in the teams' last meeting last season and has allowed TDs to Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller, Brent Celek and Delanie Walker this year. And even with the Colts' offense showing signs of live under Dan Orlovsky, I can't trust Clark. On Defense, go with the Seahawks, who are facing the Brandstater-led Rams on Monday Night.
With Michael Bush's struggles last week and a favorable matchup for Shonn Greene in K.C., would you bench Bush for Greene?-- @ljr_85 (Luis J)
Bruising backs like Mike Tolbert, LeGarrette Blount and Michael Turner have fared best against the Packers, the Raiders' opponent this week, and Bush has many of the same qualities. Greene's opponents, the Chiefs, have allowed just one 100-yard rushing game all year yet still rank 25th in the league against the run. So this is a tough decision. I'd lean toward Greene because chances are the Raiders will be forced to abandon the run while playing catch-up in Lambeau while the Jets will want to grind out the clock if they get a lead against the undermanned, yet surprisingly tough, Chiefs.
Malcom Floyd seems to be back. Do I start Floyd over Brandon Lloyd? And Peyton Hillis vs Pittsburgh or Beanie Wells vs S.F.?-- @kevinmjax (Kevin Moore)
I usually like using players in the Monday night matchup, but in this case, I'd make an exception. Lloyd likely will have trouble producing much with Tom Brandstater starting for the first time while battling Seattle's 12th man in one of the league's toughest places to play. Floyd is the right call. And at RB, I hate both matchups, but if you forced me to pick one, I'd take a shot in the dark with Wells since it's likely that Patrick Willis won't play for the Niners.
CJ Spiller or Roy Helu?-- @That_JROCK (Jerrit Dusome)
Spiller had a nice game last week, but I don't trust him. I'd use Helu, who has taken over as the Redskins primary back (apparently ... you always have to take Shanahan RBs with a grain of salt) against the Patriots.
Do you think I should drop Jackie Battle and pick up Ronnie Brown as insurance to LeSean McCoy?-- @pliberatore (Paul Liberatore)
It sounds like a good strategy to me since Battle has become mired in the middle of a share with Thomas Jones, Le'Ron McClain and Dexter McCluster. The only drawback would be the Eagles' ability to turn to rookie Dion Lewis as a starter with Brown remaining in a similar role should something catastrophic happen to McCoy.