Fantasy football Bold Strategies: Start Fitzpatrick, Richardson
How are your nails doing? Do you have any nervous ticks? Are you constantly checking and re-checking your fantasy lineup?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be on the playoff bubble in your fantasy league. This is likely the last week before the playoffs hit. Whether you're trying to fight your way in or have comfortably secured a spot, here is some advice that will hopefully help you get to that championship game.
• Pick up Ryan Fitzpatrick and ride him into the sunset
If you are on the bubble and in need of a quarterback solution to buoy you through the next few weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick might be your man.
Fitzpatrick has played well for the Titans in Jake Locker's stead. He has thrown for 1,332 yards and seven touchdowns in just four starts and change, quickly developing a rapport with the likes of Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. More importantly, Fitzpatrick has some tasty matchups against Indianapolis, Denver, Arizona and Jacksonville to close out the fantasy season.
• Start Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson has barely been worth a roster spot over the past several weeks. If he has clung to one on your team, now is the time to dust him off and get him in your lineup.
To be fair, the Titans did stop Richardson just two weeks ago. But Donald Brown had a field day in the second half, scoring two touchdowns. Tennessee has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game over the past five weeks and the fifth-most on the season to opposing running backs.
• Start C.J. Spiller with confidence
Much like Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller has become an albatross for his fantasy owners. It has gotten to the point where he has been benched in many leagues, sometimes in favor of his running-mate, Fred Jackson.
The good news is that the Falcons are on deck. Atlanta has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs over the past five weeks. Surely this is the matchup that will fix Spiller in time for the fantasy playoffs.
• Don't get your hopes up with Aaron Rodgers
News broke this week that Aaron Rodgers was back at practice for the Packers. Huzzah! The king has returned!
Not so fast.
Rodgers himself said this is more about being able to take hits than anything else. Being back at practice doesn't mean his collarbone is ready to withstand the rigors of getting smacked by 300-pound defensive linemen in the NFL. With a short week and the Packers facing that ferocious Lions defensive line, be wary of sticking him in your lineup. You should also temper expectations for Packers receivers, though the Lions secondary is quite forgiving regardless of quarterback.
Mike McCarthy all but squashed the early speculation anyway, saying there is almost no chance Rodgers plays this week. That leaves Matt Flynn to try to recreate his six-touchdown magic from two seasons ago, against the same Lions team no less.
Surely remaining Detroit defenders remember that evisceration, and they must be eager to exact revenge.
• Consider benching T.Y. Hilton
It's not Hilton's lackluster performances over the past couple of weeks that should worry you -- it's Tennessee's defense.
The Titans don't sport a shutdown defense like we see in Seattle, but they have been particularly good at limiting opposing wide receivers. Combined, wideouts are scoring a scant 12.3 standard fantasy points per game. That is the worst average in the league against opposing defenses.
Considering the offensive struggles the Colts have gone through in recent weeks, this is a potential disaster in your starting lineup.
• Bench Adrian Peterson
Just kidding, he's liable to put up 300 yards and four touchdowns against that Bears defense. In fact, Toby Gerhart might be fantasy-relevant for the first time since... ever. The Vikings can't give Peterson the ball 40 times, can they?
• Stick with Jordan Cameron
It has been an increasingly frustrating stretch for Jordan Cameron owners, who might be putting him on benches en masse after several duds in a row. But Brandon Weeden isn't a death sentence.
Weeden gets another shot as the starter in Cleveland after Jason Campbell's injury, which might actually be a good thing for Cameron owners. After all, Cameron did have some obvious chemistry with Weeden in the preseason and the first two games of the season. In fact, Cameron's last touchdown came with Weeden at the helm.
• Start Benny Cunningham (If Zac Stacy is out)
If healthy, Zac Stacy is going to be the workhorse in St. Louis. But Stacy is currently going through the concussion protocol, which tends to keep players out for at least a week.
Enter Benny Cunningham, who ran for 109 yards and a touchdown last week. That was against that porous Chicago defense, but Cunningham should see the bulk of the work this week if Stacy can't go.
The 49ers aren't the best matchup in the world, but they haven't been a dominant run defense like in years past either.
MORE WEEK 13 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
SI STAFF: Weekly Roundtable -- Will Dennis Johnson take over for Ben Tate?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Benny Cunningham could start if Zac Stacy cannot play
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Philip Rivers, Maurice Jones-Drew turn it on in Week 12
BELLER: Early Advice -- It's time to sit Andrew Luck, who's struggling without Reggie Wayne
Team Miglio --139.6
Team Edholn -- 112.1
The improbable has happened, and momentum is on my side. Because momentum exists in weekly fantasy football contests.
Last week I was burned by Roddy White and Miles Austin after all, but it was no matter thanks to efforts by Matthew Stafford, Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd, Shane Vereen and Zac Stacy. This week, I am pinning my hopes on dreaded and dreadful Trent Richardson, who gets a second shot at the generous Titans defense. Last time Donald Brown carved them up for two touchdowns -- maybe this is the week Richardson breaks out of a season-long malaise.
I did hedge that bet by taking Tom Brady, Demarco Murray and Antonio Brown, who should hopefully make up for any scoring lapses on Richardson's part or elsewhere on this week's roster.
This feels like an avalanche. I blew a four-game lead over Alex, and you bet your your fanny I am deterred. Is changing strategies every week a good idea? Well, we know sticking with the status quo isn't cutting it.
I at least felt there was a small victory taking C.J. Spiller first this week (I was shocked neither of us had taken him to this point), as Alex revealed he would have done the same. Spiller had to have gotten healthier over the bye, and the Bills' coaches had to have done some self-scouting and realized the ball more. Right?
Either way, I feel good about Cam Newton against the Buccaneers, Spiller, Shane Vereen ginsuing the Texans, and hey maybe Jordan Cameron can be revived from even odds on the dead pool.
Also: Love the Patriots defense pick. I'm not dead yet.