NFL fantasy football championship week is finally here; this is the week fantasy football players have been waiting for. If you find yourself hanging out in the winner’s circle after winning your semi-finals match-up then my hearty congratulations goes out to you.
Not everybody gets to say that they’re playing in a fantasy football championship this week so be proud you made it this far. Now, just because you made it to the finals of your match-up that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You still have one more very important game to play and any smart fantasy football player knows that they need to look at their line-up with an open mind.
While that doesn’t mean benching somebody like Stevan Ridley because he didn’t produce for you in Week 15 against the 49ers, it could mean considering benching somebody like Danario Alexander, who got held in check versus the Panthers, because the Chargers play the Jets in Week 16, and perhaps picking up Brandon Gibson who has a very good match-up against the horrendous pass defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thinking like that is what will lead you to fantasy football gold!
Below you’ll find a few names to consider putting a waiver wire claim for in your league. Good luck in the finals!
Sam Bradford. In most leagues that start only one quarterback Bradford might be toiling away on the waiver wire. That is good news for you if you need a plug and play QB for the championship week, as Bradford is coming off a game where he went 35 of 55 for 377 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and a lost fumble. Great numbers in fantasy football if you can get them and Bradford has a chance to repeat those numbers, as the Saints play the Bucs this week. The Bucs are the league’s worst ranked passing defense having given up a league high 4,349 yards through the air. They are also tied for second worst in the category of passing touchdowns allowed, yielding a total of 27 to opponents this season. It might seem like a cringe worthy idea to start Bradford this week in your championship match but it could be the move that wins you the title. At least think about it if your quarterback situation is iffy.
Mark Ingram. The former first round pick Ingram is a player we know can produce when given a chance and this past Sunday versus the Bucs Ingram was given 14 carries and Ingram rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on those carries. In his past two games he has carried the ball at least 13 times and averaged 5.2 and 6.4 yards per carry in those two games, respectively. The only problem with starting Ingram in fantasy football is that the Saints don’t have a true #1 running back and Ingram has to contend with the likes of Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles for touches. If you’re desperate for running back help though Ingram could be the answer.
Brandon Gibson. The Rams are having a season they would probably like to forget and move on from so that they can focus on their future, which does look promising. Before that can happen they have to finish this season and luckily for them they get to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teams that play the Bucs this year are pretty happy because they know that they can be thrown on. The Bucs just can’t stop the pass and last week Bradford was able to throw for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns. A team leading 76 of those yards went to Gibson. Targeted eight times Gibson caught six of those targets and if Bradford can target him repeatedly on Sunday versus Tampa Bay it could potentially lead to a pretty good game for Gibson, especially if the Bucs focus most of their attention on stopping Danny Amendola.
Riley Cooper. The Eagles aren’t that great of a team. Let me get that out of the way first. But you don’t need to be playing on a good team to make an impact in fantasy football. In some instances it’s all about the match-ups and with a Week 16 showdown versus the Redskins the Eagles have a chance to put up some points due to the fact that the Redskins can’t really stop the pass. We’ve seen what Nick Foles can do when he’s up against a bad pass defense and Cooper could be the beneficiary of that. Against the Bengals last Thursday night Cooper was second on the team in targets with seven and while he was only able to haul in three of those targets for 20 yards one of them was a touchdown. Cooper could have WR3/Flex potential this week.
Dennis Pitta. This week’s hottest waiver wire add looks to be Pitta mainly due to how inconsistent the tight position has been in fantasy football all season long. Pitta went off in Week 15 against the Broncos to the tune of 125 yards and two touchdowns. With so very few quality TE1 options this season Pitta looks to be a solid option at the position this week with the Ravens taking on the Giants. If Torrey Smith’s concussion holds him out this week Pitta will be sharing top pass catching duties with Anquan Boldin.
Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are coming off a 31-7 demolishing of the San Diego Chargers. You might not think of the Panthers as a defensive juggernaut and they really aren’t but they did force Chargers QB Philip Rivers to the fumble the ball four times, two of which he lost, and they were also able to sack him six times. This week the Panthers play the Raiders and their offense led by Carson Palmer doesn’t scare anybody and if they can get to the quarterback they can force Palmer to turn the ball over, something which he has done 19 times (14 INTs and 5 fumbles lost) this season.