Fantasy Football Week 15: Stars Worth Sitting During Playoff Round

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Nothing is worse in the fantasy playoffs than a star with a bad matchup. You want to trust your top guysyou really doas they are the reason you reached the playoffs in the first place. And sometimes, a star is simply worth playing, no matter what the matchup.

But not these guys.

Below, I've found four players that should be sat this weekend, unless you truly can't find a better option. From one quarterback without his best weapon to a pair of players who should see hot streaks run cold, you'll be best suited trusting other players this week.

Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats via ESPN


Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

There are two main reasons to sit Tom Brady, despite the New England quarterback scoring 20 or more fantasy points for owners in four of his past five games.

The first one is obvious enough, as his top weapon, tight end Rob Gronkowski, is out for the season. In the first six weeks without Gronk, Brady averaged 13.1 fantasy points per game. In seven weeks with Gronk, he was averaging 17.7 fantasy points per contest.

His absence will certainly be felt.

Furthermore, Brady's opponent this week, the Miami Dolphins, have also been quite stingy against opposing quarterbacks this season, allowing just 12.4 fantasy points per contest to the position, good for fourth in the NFL. And in their previous meeting this season, Brady managed just six fantasy points (and that was with Gronk).

Feel free to sit Brady this week.


Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans

Dec 8, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) rushes on fourth down in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It's not going to be easy to sit CJ2K, I get that. The Tennessee star is currently seventh in fantasy points amongst running backs in standard-scoring leagues and is averaging a cool 14 fantasy points per game since Tennessee's Week 8 bye.

But the Arizona Cardinals are the kryptonite to super running backs. They allow just 9.8 fantasy points to opposing running backs per week, easily tops in the NFL, and they have given up just four rushing touchdowns on the year. Plus, they held LeSean McCoy and Zac Stacy to a combined 18 fantasy points in the past two weeks.

You might not have a choice but to start Johnson—and he's probably a safe bet to get you at least five or six fantasy points—but his upside is very limited versus the Cardinals. He should be benched if you have other options at the position this week.


Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Dec 8, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) runs the ball in the first quarter against the St. Louis Rams at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We stay in the same game here. But this time, we turn our focus to the Cardinals and their star wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, who has scored 12 or more fantasy points in four straight weeks. Against Tennessee, however, that streak will come to an end.

While the Titans were absolutely smoked by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last weekgiving up 20 catches, 266 yards and three touchdowns to the team's receiversthey have generally been really stingy against opposing wideouts.

But remember, before Sunday, the Titans had given up just two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, which is a pretty absurd mark. And even with Sunday's regression against Denver, the Titans have still allowed an average of just 14.1 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, which is the second-best mark in the NFL.

So who will win: the unstoppable force or the immovable object? Fitz has been hot, there's no doubt about that, but don't be surprised when he has a very modest output this week.


Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Wide receiver  Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants gestures against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 8, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Sitting Salsa shouldn't be too hard. After a blistering start to the season, Cruz has averaged just 5.4 fantasy points per game in his past nine contests. Much like the entirety of the Giants team, his performance this season has been fairly blah.

That won't change against the Seattle Seahawks. With Richard Sherman likely assigned to keep Cruz in check—and with the Seahawks allowing just 13.5 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers per week, tops in the NFL—don't expect to see Cruz's signature touchdown celebration against Seattle.


Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, tweet random fantasy musings and try to figure out how LeSean McCoy somehow got better in the snow. 

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