Wilson may offer owners last piece to fantasy title
Congratulations! If you're reading this, you likely made it to your league's championship game. (Or you're in your league's third-place game or consolation final, but who's counting?) Bragging rights -- and possibly quite a bit of money -- are on the line this week.
If you're this far into the season, you're probably not looking for much help. You might adjust your defense or your kicker if you play matchups each week, or you might be interested in a quarterback available in 35 percent of fantasy leagues: Russell Wilson.
Wilson was the top quarterback in any fantasy format in Week 15, going 14-of-23 for 205 yards and a touchdown while also rushing nine times for 92 yards and three touchdowns. It's the sixth time in seven games Wilson has accounted for two or more touchdowns (though it's the first time he scored any on the ground). In Week 14, when Wilson tossed just one touchdown, the Seahawks built a 38-0 halftime lead primarily on turnovers; he only threw 13 passes.
Is Wilson a better option than your current starting quarterback? He's going to have his toughest game in weeks against the 49ers on Sunday. San Francisco held Wilson to just 9-of-23 passing for 122 yards in the 49ers' 13-6 win in Week 7. However, that game was on a Thursday at Candlestick Park; this time Wilson gets a full week of rest and plays at home. Wilson is 6-0 with 12 touchdowns and one interception at home (compared to nine touchdowns and eight interceptions on the road) this season. The Seahawks are undefeated at home.
If you have a big name quarterback -- Brady, Rodgers, etc. -- you don't have a choice; start with the guy who got you there. But if you're looking for a guy to step in for your team and replace the likes of Carson Palmer, go get him.
A note: Keeping a guy for depth or a handcuff -- say, the Vikings' Toby Gerhart -- who's not going to play in the last week of the fantasy season? Feel free to drop these guys to prevent your opponent from grabbing a desirable guy like Wilson from the waiver wire for the title game. Even if you don't need to make a move you can prevent your opponent from getting a starter.
Sam Bradford, Rams (21 percent owned): With Danny Amendola finally back, Bradford got a lot of garbage time points against the Vikings, going 35-of-55 for 377 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. (He also ran in a two-point conversion.) Minnesota gives up a lot of points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks, but the Rams are in luck: St. Louis faces a struggling Buccaneers secondary this week, a team that gave up big passing numbers not only to the Saints this Sunday but to the Eagles' anemic offense the week before.
Nick Foles, Eagles (9 percent): He's coming off a bad game but gets the Redskins' secondary at home on Sunday. He struggled against them on the road in his first start, but here's guessing he does better this time around. Before the short week, Foles had put up passer ratings in the 90s the previous two games.
Danny Woodhead, Patriots (34 percent): It was Woodhead, and not Stevan Ridley, who got the bulk of the action in Sunday's thriller at Foxboro. Was this because Ridley fumbled or because the Patriots were down 31-3? Woodhead rushed 12 times for 61 yards and caught five passes for 23 yards. Woodhead's an intriguing add, though New England likely will be up a bunch against the Jaguars on Sunday.
Curtis Brinkley, Chargers (0 percent): Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle in Sunday's loss to the Panthers; although Brinkley was just re-signed by San Diego on Dec. 12, here's guessing he gets the bulk of the carries against the Jets this week after looking OK (six rushes for 42 yards) in garbage time against the Colts. If Ronnie Brown comes back from injury, though, he'll be the one to pick up. Keep an eye on what the Chargers are doing this week (if you're that short on running backs).
Brandon Gibson, Rams (15 percent): Gibson had a nice game (six catches for 76 yards in eight targets) even though top receiver Danny Amendola returned Sunday. Going up against a weak Buccaneers secondary means he could get big numbers this Sunday.
Jacoby Jones, Ravens (10 percent): Jones would likely slide into the No. 2 wideout slot if Torrey Smith -- who suffered a concussion on Sunday -- can't go. The Ravens face the Giants this week, so Jones has a good matchup.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins (63 percent): It's unlikely he's available in your league, but if he is Hartline's a possible last-week starter in PPR leagues. The Bills don't defend No. 1 receivers well and he's still getting a bunch of targets, even if he only scored once this year, in his 253-yard game.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens (30 percent): Pitta had the best game of his NFL career on Sunday, catching seven passes (on 10 targets) for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Broncos. Don't expect a repeat performance; although the Ravens play at home this weekend, the Giants play the tight end very well. They've allowed just two-double digit games this season. If you're desperate, feel free to roll the dice; Tony Gonzalez scored against the Giants on Sunday.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (16 percent): Lewis has done nothing the past two weeks, but he's still getting a handful of targets (four each game). The Patriots' defense struggles against the tight end and Jacksonville will likely be throwing a lot. If you're really stuck, start him and hope for a touchdown.
Kai Forbath, Redskins (1 percent): The rookie Forbath hasn't missed a field goal since signing with the Redskins in early October, and the Eagles' defense allows teams to move the ball down the field quite easily. Playing the matchups didn't work out last week with Tampa Bay -- Connor Barth didn't get an attempt in a shutout loss -- but the Eagles' defense has been extraordinarily, reliably bad this season, and Washington is red-hot. This is the kicker you want to start in a matchup this week.
Graham Gano, Panthers (1 percent): Or, go with the guy playing against the Raiders, the team that allows the most fantasy points to opposing kickers this season.
Arizona Cardinals (45 percent): They're coming off a huge rout of the Lions, but the Cardinals have been a solid fantasy defense at home for most of the season. They get the Bears this week, who haven't been able to put much together offensively recently. Chicago gives up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses.
Atlanta Falcons (58 percent): Fresh off a shutout of the Giants, Atlanta takes on the struggling Lions. The game is at Ford Field, but the Lions have given up a ton of points to opposing fantasy defenses (Green Bay and Arizona) the last two weeks.