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Saturday, December 13, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYOFF WEEK 15 INSIDER: JONATHAN STEWART LOOKS LIKE BIG PLAY FOR SUNDAY

The fantasy football playoffs are underway in all leagues and it is now win or go home time as only four teams remain.  With lineup decisions incredibly crucial, here are some key storylines going into Sunday.

-Jonathan Stewart has always been a guy who is burgeoning with talent but through injuries and ROn Rivera's strange obsession with DeAngelo Williams, has never gotten a chance to show what he could do over an extended time period.  Advanced metrics have painted Stewart as a big-time runner when on the field and when he gets a good amount of carries.  We saw clear evidence of this yet again last Sunday as Stewart rushed for 155 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown in the team's blowout win over the New Orleans Saints.  With Williams not likely to play in Week 15 due to an injured hand, Stewart should get a very good amount of carries yet again and has a cupcake of a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Stewart may very well put up RB 1 numbers this week as a result.  Start him with confidence.

-The situation in Cincinnati is one that has been annoying all season for those involved.  The owners who spent a first round pick on Giovani Bernard have been incredibly burned given the fact he missed time with injury and is now being clearly overtaken by rookie power runner Jeremy Hill.  Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is prepared to use Hill as his dominant runner Sunday versus the Cleveland Browns while Bernard looks headed for bench duty both in real-life and in fantasy football.  Amazing the fall Bernard has taken given the fact his running/receiving game made him  a clear first round pick but the results just haven't been there.  Hill meanwhile has the look of a guy who could be a RB 1 as the Browns are a better pass-defending defense than a run-defending one.  Get him in there.

-I guess Arian Foster was not washed up after all.  If you listened to yours truly, you would remember that I pushed the wisdom of buying low on Foster this season despite his last two years being ravaged by injury.  While there was a lot of mileage on Foster's legs, he entered the 2014 season a still young 28 and with the clear role of being the main ballcarrier for the run-heavy Houston Texans.  Well Forster made me look like a genius as only DeMarco Murray and Le'Veon Bell have been better runners this season.  Foster has already rushed for 1028 yards in only 10 games with 8 big touchdowns.  He also continues to be a top-notch running back receiver as he caught 33 balls for another 4 touchdowns.  His status as a RB 1 remains and a top five guy at the position overall.  Of course we would be remiss if we didn't mention the fact he missed 3 games with injury as that issue is always part of the equation.  However Foster has been terrific and well worth the draft cost you spent on him last summer.

-We already talked about the smart play of using Harry Douglas this week if Julio Jones sits out as expected with his bum hip.  Late word Saturday has Jones barely being able to walk and that he would be a decoy at best if he does suit up.  The Falcons have a terrific passing matchup on tap against the awful Pittsburgh Steelers secondary and that alone has Douglas owners excited.  We would love to see Jones officially be declared out so that Douglas gets the full attention from Matt Ryan in the game. 

-Trouble for owners of Rashad Jennings as head coach Tom Coughlin hinted that he will go with the hot hand at running back Sunday.  The hot hand right now is Andre Williams who comes off his best game of the season last week against the Tennessee Titans while Jennings is less than 100 percent.  The Washington Redskins are awful but they have defended the run well all season so starting Jennings given the uncertainty of his workload is a major risk.

There you have it.  Check in tomorrow for all the latest injury updates.

 

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