As if things couldn't get worse for the Bears, now they lose Matt Forte for a month. Marion Barber is going to be a hot waiver wire addition this week and rightfully so as we start the fantasy playoffs. The thing you need to understand about his value going forward is that with Caleb Hanie under center, Barber is going to face many of the same fronts that LeGarrette Blount faced in week 13, and we all know how that turned out (11 carries for 19 yards). His value is in the mid to low-end flex range with slight upside. The Bears O-line employs the O-le tactic for blocking defenders and the passing attack isn't good enough for teams to not stack the box. I think he is more bench depth than actual playing depth until he proves me wrong.
And for those of you who have asked, I had the Vancouver, WA authorities put Chris "Da Bears fan" on suicide watch following the Forte injury. He is doing well, but he can't write back since I have also requested he not be allowed any sharp objects. I promise to pass along any comments you have for him as he has truly become a star in his own right to fans that write me.
Then there are the owners who are out of the playoffs and have dumped their teams on the waiver wire just to make the fantasy playoffs look more like the Pro Bowl. I've already had emails about guys picking up Julio Jones and/or Philip Rivers, and the answer is if you can block another owner who needs them, cut someone you don't need. This isn't a gentleman's game, we play to win!
Carson Palmer: Palmer is someone that is wildly inconsistent because his players are young and wildly inconsistent themselves. However, this weekend the Raiders face off with the Packers and they allow the 3rd-most fantasy points to QBs this season at 23 PPG. If you own Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger or Mark Sanchez, give Palmer a serious look because I think there is more value there in week 14.
Matt Ryan: Ryan is a fringe starter for a lot of owners despite being owned in virtually all leagues. Prior to the bye week he was averaging just 1.3 touchdowns per game, along with 240 passing YPG. Since the bye he has upped his yardage to 294.2 per game and his TDs are up to 2.0 per game. The Panthers are allowing the 17th-most fantasy points to QBs (19.0), but I figure Ryan to do better than that and finish as a solid QB1 this week.
C.J. Spiller: This week Spiller is actually looking like a solid play going up against a Chargers defense that just allowed Maurice Jones-Drew to explode for 188 total yards and a TD. Spiller rushed for 83 yards and a TD last week against the Titans, and this week I see him finishing with low-end RB2 numbers. Give him a look if you need to fill the RB2 or flex spot.
Roy Helu: Helu is owned in just over 70 percent of leagues, but is started in just 50 percent of them, which makes me wonder what he has to do to get some love. Over the past four weeks he is averaging 14.3 PPG in PPR leagues, good enough for a #32 ranking in all of fantasy football. This week the Redskins face the Patriots and their defense sure isn't what it used to be. Look for Helu as a solid RB2 this week.
Torrey Smith: Now I am not a Smith fan per se because he is far too inconsistent for me to even own. However, if I was looking for a sleeper pick at WR this week that is probably on the waiver wire, Smith would be #1 on that list. The Colts are extremely likely to run the table in reverse this season and their defense is just as much of the problem as their offense. Smith could very easily be a huge bust, but he could also go off for 150-plus yards and multiple TDs this weekend as well. The Colts give up the 7th-most points to WRs this season at 24.5 PPG, and Smith is a big play receiver.
Miles Austin: Austin is officially back this week and he needs to be in your lineup. Laurent Robinson is hurt (shoulder) and Austin should be close to 100 percent, so I see no reason he shouldn't finish in the WR2 range at the very worst. Truth be told, Tony Romo needs Austin on the field and I fully expect him to find his #1 WR early and often.
Tony Gonzales: I'll admit that Gonzalez isn't someone I pay attention to on draft day anymore, but I can't ignore his production on the field. Since week 10 he is averaging 6.75 RPG, 78.5 YPG and has scored in two of the four games. This week he gets the Panthers who give up the 17th-most fantasy points to TEs this season, so expect a good week from him since TE is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy football.
Seattle Seahawks defense: Of all the people I know, I only know one person who is a Seahawks fan, a longtime friend Danny Olson. This guy truly believes the Seahawks aren't one of the worst teams in the NFL, and this week I think he will be right. The Rams have scored the fewest total points in the NFL at 140 this season, so the Seahawks defense is a top waiver wire addition this week.
Ben Roethlisberger:The Steelers passing attack is the textbook definition of inconsistent with Big Ben and the O-line they currently have. Last week Roethlisberger set a franchise record for most sacks as a Steelers QB. To give you an idea of how bad it is, in Terry Bradshaw's 14-year career he was sacked 307 times, and Big Ben now has 308 in just eight seasons. That being said, the Browns defense allows the fewest fantasy points to QBs (13.0) and I want no part of him for the first round of my playoffs.
Christian Ponder: Too many people are getting too high on Ponder as we hit the playoffs, but their bubble is going to pop this weekend. Over the last four weeks Ponder has averaged 242.0 YPG passing and 1.5 TDs per-game, but the Lions are allowing the 12th-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season and with 15 passing TDs allowed, they are tied for 7th in the NFL. I sit Ponder this weekend as it isn't the time to get cute and go against the grain.
Mark Ingram: Ingram is the new darling of fantasy owners since he has scored in the last two weeks. However, they forget that he has had more than 55 yards rushing just twice this season and prior to the bye week he hadn't scored in the previous four weeks. Now word is he is dealing with turf toe and the Saints backfield is too crowded to think he has true starting value down the stretch. I'd leave him on the bench if at all possible.
Kevin Smith: I see some outlets putting Smith as high as an RB2 this week given the Vikings defense has allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to RBs this season. The problem I have with Smith is that he aggravated his sprained ankle in Sunday night's loss and the Lions aren't even sure if he will go this week. I think Smith plays this week, but I am not sold on him playing at a high enough level to be trusted in the fantasy playoffs.
Laurent Robinson: With Austin back and Robinson banged up, I would go ahead and sit him until we see what his true value will be. Personally, I am cutting Robinson in the leagues where I see value on the waiver wire because I think he has flex play value at the best going forward. You can hang on to him just in case Austin reinjures himself, but I wouldn't play him as anything more than a risky flex play this week.
Demaryius Thomas: Ok, too many of you hit the waiver wire and snatched up Thomas after he lit up the Vikings defense for 144 yards and two TDs last week. Coming into last week's game he had a total of 103 yards receiving on seven receptions, so to think this kid will now be a must-own player is ridiculous. I wouldn't play him, let alone own him as he still plays for the Broncos, which sports the league's most run-heavy offense.
Owen Daniels: It is simple arithmetic: Andre Johnson being out T.J. Yates at QB = fantasy disaster for anyone not named Arian Foster. Daniels showed his future fantasy value last week when he caught three passes for 35 yards against the Falcons. I'd say cut him, but TE is the thinnest position in fantasy football and the waiver wire is a barren wasteland in week 14.
Detroit Lions defense: The Lions defense is being highly projected by both Yahoo and ESPN fantasy experts, which is a death sentence for fantasy owners if ever there was one. The Vikings are no slouches on offense as they still scored 32 points against the Broncos last week. Granted, it was the Broncos, but the Lions defense is banged up and without a few of its star players. I'd steer away from them and look at waiver wire picks like the Seahawks or even the Broncos.
Instead of a Question of the Week, I thought I'd share a Jaguars song written by one of our own, Trevor Rockwell. Despite what you hear on the news, I witnessed the true love of the Jaguars faithful on Monday night as I was in Jacksonville for the MNF game against the Chargers. Keep the faith Jaguars fans, I think Mr. Kahn is going to do more for this team than you are thinking he will.