SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 1, 2012

Don't be afraid to fight with all you've got

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — This is it. For many a fantasy owner, this week is win or go home.

For most leagues we are entering the final week of the regular season. Playoff races are close and moves are being made left and right to jockey for position. And my advice for this most important time of the year?

Throw all caution to the wind.

Yes, don’t be afraid of almost ANY move. Unless you are in a keeper league, there should be no move you won’t consider. Don’t worry about what you’ll do if you make the playoffs, qualify for them first and then deal with the consequences of this week’s moves.

This week more than ever, you need to play close attention to the pregame shows to watch out for questionable players who go either way. We’ve already had Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy ruled out. Percy Harvin likely won’t go, Matt Forte is looking like he may yet give it a go and Greg Jennings looks to be returning for the first time in weeks.

But, even if someone like Forte or Jennings is active, that doesn’t mean you should start him. Forget the name, for this week I’d probably rather start Philadelphia’s Bryce Brown — who had two touchdowns and rushed for 178 yards last week against the Panthers — than a hobbled Forte who may lose carries to Michael Bush.

Miles Austin and Danny Amendola may, in fact play, but will they be effective? Darren McFadden? DeMarco Murray? All I’m saying is don’t be fooled by big names at less than 100 percent if you’re in a must win situation.

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The Giants-Redskins game could be a fantasy shootout.

Neither team has a strong secondary and both feature plenty of fantasy targets. Santana Moss and Pierre Garcon should make an impact for Washington this week, while Martellus Bennett could have a breakout game for the Giants. Yahoo! notes that the Redskins have given up the second most fantasy points to tight ends this season, so despite a relatively quiet few weeks I think this would be as good a week as any to pick up Bennett, who is owned in just 51 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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Ryan Mathews is a frustrating, frustrating running back.

For a guy who was drafted on average near the top of the second round, Mathews has been quite a bust. Mathews has but 1 touchdown all season and take a guess how many 100-yard games he has? Anyone, anyone? The big goose egg. That’s right zero.

Mathews has never produced up to his potential and you really have to question whether he’ll ever really do so. I certainly think his stock will drop going into next season, and rightfully so. Even in a must-win week for many I just don’t think I can recommend putting any faith in this San Diego not-so Super Charger. And that’s disappointing to be saying about a top 8 fantasy running back.

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Brandon LaFell of the Panthers has very quietly put together a solid few weeks.

LaFell has posted back-to-back seven-catch performances, scoring a touchdown in each. More over, he has caught eight or more passes in four of his last five games and Cam Newton seemed to break out of his funk somewhat last week. The Chiefs are just as miserable as the Eagles, really, so what’s to say LaFell can’t put together another solid outing. LaFell is owned in just 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he’s out there for the picking.