Jets' Sanchez, Broncos' Thomas may be final pieces to title puzzle
Giants' soft pass defense could be frequent target by surging Mark Sanchez
Kahlil Bell totaled 108 yards in filling in for ineffective Marion Barber in Week 15
Demaryius Thomas has evolved in recent weeks into Tim Tebow's top WR target
If you're reading this column, congratulations! You made it to the championship game. (Or you're in one of those Communist leagues where the third-place winner gets something.) A victory in the championship game earns you eight months of bragging rights and, in some leagues, a lot of money. Or maybe you get a tacky championship ring! No matter the reason, you want to win this week.
There weren't too many injuries this week, as A.J. Green says his shoulder injury isn't serious -- or, more likely, he can play through it without further damage at least -- and Johnny Knox probably wasn't on too many fantasy rosters of teams in their semifinals. (He's been placed on the IR.)
I've been focusing on one-week plays the whole playoffs, so I'll continue that again for what is the last week of the season for most fantasy leagues.
Mark Sanchez, Jets (67 percent owned): He's probably gone in your league, but if you're in one of the 33 percent where he's on the waiver wire he should be your No. 1 guy. The 20th-ranked fantasy player overall is facing the Giants' secondary.
Rex Grossman, Redskins (17 percent): Grossman went 15-for-24 for 185 yards and a touchdown (and 2 interceptions) on Sunday, and takes on the Vikings this weekend. Minnesota has given up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Washington went deep a lot on Sunday. Against a secondary worse than the Giants, Grossman could complete more of those bombs and put up good numbers.
Matt Moore, Dolphins (18 percent): Moore only threw 20 passes -- and completed just 10 -- against the Bills, but he threw for 2 touchdowns. This week he faces the shaky New England Patriots pass defense, which has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year.
Jackie Battle, Chiefs (29 percent): Battle ran for just 37 yards on 10 carries but did score a touchdown in the Chiefs' upset of the Packers. Under the Chiefs new regime, Thomas Jones received the majority of the carries (15) but ran for just 48 yards. Even if Jones gets more carries again next week, Battle will likely outperform him again (and is in line for goal-line carries). The Raiders allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
Lance Ball, Broncos (12 percent): Ball is a good play if Willis McGahee's leg injury is more serious than thought. McGahee returned to action against the Patriots on Sunday, but Ball had 11 carries for 64 yards and a score and 2 catches for 64 yards. The Bills give up the fourth most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so even if McGahee is fully healthy Ball could get some yardage on the ground.
Kahlil Bell, Bears (8 percent): Bell got the majority of the work on Sunday, as Marion Barber was ineffective (just 11 carries for 33 yards). Bell rushed 15 times for 65 yards, and also caught 5 passes for 43 yards and a touchdown on 6 targets. The Bears' offense has struggled since Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down, but Green Bay's defense is merely average and Bell could put up solid numbers.
Donald Brown, Colts (22 percent): Brown rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, most of it coming on an 80-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Colts' opponent this week, the Texans, have been great against the run this year, so Brown would be merely a desperation play.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (34 percent): The Broncos wide receiver continues to be Tim Tebow's top target, catching 7 passes for 116 yards on 13 targets last Sunday. This week's opponent, Buffalo, has a better pass defense than the Patriots, but Thomas is still a nice guy to take a flier on for the championship.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (26 percent): Heyward-Bey has been targeted an average of just over nine times the past four games. He had a nice game against the Lions on Sunday, catching 8 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown on 9 targets. (He did fumble.) The Chiefs have a decent secondary, but Heyward-Bey is Carson Palmer's top target and should get another nine or so looks.
Nate Burleson, Lions (42 percent): After a few disappointing games, Burleson caught 7 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders Sunday. The Lions' run game continues to struggle, and Burleson has been getting a decent amount of looks even in games where he hasn't put up much in the way of fantasy points. San Diego isn't the best matchup, but he should get 7-8 looks at least.
Brent Celek, Eagles (37 percent): The Eagles' tight end has been coming on in recent weeks and torched the Jets on Sunday for 5 receptions, 156 yards and a touchdown. With Jeremy Maclin still getting up to speed and DeSean Jackson struggling, Michael Vick is looking to Celek more. He's averaging 6 targets this season and might get more against a team like Dallas, that doesn't defend the tight end well.
Jared Cook, Titans (26 percent): After two games with no catches, Cook caught 9 passes (on 11 targets) for 103 yards. The Jaguars don't defend the tight end all that well. Young quarterbacks tend to look for the tight end, if Jake Locker starts.
Shaun Suisham, Redskins (11 percent): Suisham is available in most leagues and has an enticing matchup with the Rams on Saturday afternoon. San Franciso, whom the Steelers played last night, allows the least amount of fantasy points to kickers and Suisham still hit a 51-yarder (and missed a 49-yarder). The Rams sit at ninth. He could put up a decent point total.
Washington (17 percent): Washington's defense hasn't been great this year, but came up big against the Giants, holding them to just 10 points and getting 3 interceptions and 3 sacks. An enticing matchup against Minnesota awaits this week.