The end of the 2015 NFL regular season is here, and we know what that means, it’s fantasy playoff time. This is the time of year where you play for bragging rights over the 5 month offseason or you could even be playing for a chunk of cash. No matter what type of league you are in, here is how you could win it all.
Multiple key players just went down to injury in their Week 14 matchups including Cincinnati Bengals star QB Andy Dalton. Dalton made an ugly pitch throw for an interception in the red zone last week and while making the tackle proceeded to break his thumb and take himself out of the season.
AJ McCarron Cincinnati Bengals QB
With Dalton out of the picture, the 5th round draft pick from the University of Alabama AJ McCarron will be taking the keys to the ship. McCarron has took the thrust of a starting role well and is fully confident in his abilities.
“I’ve always believed in myself when I step inside those white lines,” McCarron said. “You need to carry that confidence as a quarterback because when you step inside those white lines, it’s a nasty and dirty game. If you lose confidence, it can go bad for you real quick. I’ve always believed when I step inside those white lines that I’m the best one out there.”
Why wouldn’t he be confident? It’s not the first championship calibre team he has been a part of as he won 2 with Bama. Also, he surely doesn’t have a shortage of offensive weapons on his side. AJ Green is a top 5 WR in the league, WR Mohamed Sanu is legit, and the committee of RB Jeremy Hill and RB Giovani Bernard is a forced to be dealt with in the running game. Although he is a rookie, you can definitely see the upside to McCarron’s game. Especially if you have a QB facing a tough defense next week like Big Ben facing Denver or Eli Manning vs Carolina. The promise with McCarron lies in next week’s matchup as he travels to San Francisco to take on the struggling 49ers. There is a ton of risk here of course because it’s a rookie on his first NFL start, but AJ McCarron proved in college he has a winners mentality and talent to back it up. And to top it all off HC Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton will do whatever it takes to get him 100% ready for week 15.
Denard Robinson RB Jaguars
The usual starting RB for the Jags TJ Yeldon, exited their Week 14 matchup with the Colts with a knee injury midway through the third quarter. In his absence, Denard Robinson took advantage of the Colts poor defense to put up 14.7 points in standard leagues by rushing 14 times for 75 yards, a TD, and adding a 12-yard reception. Early reports of Yeldon’s injury is that he has a sprained left knee. Although this isn’t a serious injury, it could be season ending given there is only 3 games left in the regular season. He more-than-likely would be back for the playoffs if the Jags were to make it, and yes they can make it. The Jags are only back one game on the Colts/Texans and face the Texans week 17. But to get to a point where they’re playing a meaningful game for themselves week 17, Denard Robinson will have to be a force in the running game the next two weeks. Robinson will have favorable matchups the next couple weeks as many fantasy leagues conclude week 16. Denard faces the poor run defense of the Atlanta Falcons next, then the woeful Saints in week 16. Robinson, the former Michigan QB, has proved he can be a successful RB this season, but he will see a workload like he never has before to conclude the regular season.
DuJuan Harris RB Seattle Seahawks
Thomas Rawls is done for the season after breaking his ankle Sunday and Marshawn Lynch is still recovering from abdominal surgery with no exact timetable on when he might be back.
Although veteran 34-year old RB Fred Jackson is on the Seahawks active roster, DuJuan Harris is the leading candidate to take over the starting role.
Harris was signed to Seattle’s practice squad last month then promoted to the active roster before last week’s game against Minnesota. He finished with 42 yards on 18 carries after taking over for Rawls on Sunday. Coach Pete Carroll said he stuck with Harris after an early fumble “knowing that we’re going to need him.”
With the only RB on the Seahawks practice squad is actually a FB so a free agent pickup could be in the future for Seattle. But DuJuan Harris, 3rd-year RB out of Troy, seems to be their only option since they want to keep Fred Jackson primarily as the 3rd-down back and Lynch/Rawls are out. Harris will have Cleveland, St. Louis, and Arizona next, in that order.
Any of these 3 players: QB AJ McCarron, RB Denard Robinson, and RB DuJuan Harris could be a key to a championship run. If you aren’t afraid of risk and have players with tough matchups, these would be guys available in most leagues that could make an impact down the stretch.
Good luck fellow fantasy football contestents.