Terry Blount: Advice to help you weather fantasy playoff storm

For most fantasy leagues, welcome to the playoffs.

 

As your club enters the playoffs, remember, this is not a time to do anything cute. You know which particular players on your squad got you to the postseason. Don’t abandon them now. Sure, you might have to make a decision on a second running back, a WR3 or perhaps a kicker, but don’t stray from your core players.

Also, watch the weather, particularly for kickers. I lost a playoff game once when I overlooked the forecast and my kicker was trying (unsuccessfully) to kick field goals in a blizzard. Never again.

After terrible outings versus Kansas City and Washington, Giants tight end Evan Engram bounced back in a major way in Week 13, slamming Oakland on his way to a season-high performance of seven receptions, 99 receiving yards and one touchdown from eight targets. The return of quarterback Eli Manning coupled with a decent matchup versus Dallas in Week 14 could add up to significant fantasy numbers. Remarkably, Engram was cut by a lot of owners last week following back-to-back bad games. He could be useful as an upgrade for your lineup or maybe a couple of million Rob Gronkowski owners.

Minnesota running back Latavius Murray has met the challenge of teammate Jerick McKinnon, posting double-figure stats in five of his last six games while McKinnon has managed only one game with double-figure numbers since Week 8. This week the Vikings will square off with a Carolina defense that has performed well versus running backs on the season but has struggled of late, allowing 22.1 fantasy points to the position over the past five games. While Murray was held out of the end zone last week, he posted four touchdowns from Weeks 10-12. So, Murray’s hot and the Panthers are cold. I like Murray as a solid RB2 this week and he could be a viable flex in this favorable matchup.

Despite yet another loss, the up-and-down Kansas City passing attack rebounded nicely in Week 13 to post excellent fantasy stats, particularly from quarterback Alex Smith and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

While it’s been tough to trust their consistency, the Chiefs have nice matchups this week against a decidedly bad Oakland pass defense. Over their past five games, the Raiders have allowed 23.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and 21.3 points to fantasy wideouts. Yes, the Chiefs offense has been all over the map this year, but this should be positive for both Smith and Hill. Smith should be a solid QB1 while Hill should qualify as a WR2. Play tight end Travis Kelce as well, as his matchup is favorable too.

While Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been inconsistent for a great deal of the 2017 campaign, he has totaled more than 50 fantasy points during the past two weeks. He will face a mediocre Washington pass defense in Week 14. With apologies to Credence Clearwater Revival, if you play him this week, you’ll be rolling on a Rivers. He should be a QB1 in Week 14.

With double-figure stats in five of his past six games, Houston running back Lamar Miller has been a consistent fantasy back. While he has yet to produce a 100-yard rushing game in 2017, his receiving talent always seems to bail him out and boost his numbers. This week Miller will face a San Francisco defense that has performed abominably all year versus running backs, allowing 21.5 fantasy points to the position. Get Miller in the game as a RB2 with upside.

Dallas running back Alfred Morris should be worthy of RB2 consideration this week. Yes, he had his first real fantasy-significant performance in Week 13 with 127 rushing yards and one touchdown versus a poor Washington run defense. However, he could provide similar numbers this week against an equally-bad Giants squad, a unit that has allowed 19.6 to opposing running backs on the season and 21.9 fantasy points to the position over their last five games. Don’t bench a starter who has played well, but if you have a soft spot at running back or flex, Morris might come in handy.

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