This week you're either in week one of your fantasy playoffs or are battling for a playoff birth. In either case, SB Nation Houston has you covered for fantasy advice concerning Monday night's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans.
START 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM
Arian Foster - If you're like me, Foster has carried you into the playoffs, and there's no evidence that you should bench him. Against formidable San Diego (5th in rush defense) and New York (3rd), Foster averaged 170 all-purpose yards, five receptions, and two touchdowns. The Baltimore defense allows 4.0 yards per carry, so there is room for Arian to run.
Andre Johnson - A likely first-round pick for fantasy owners, Johnson is entering a period where he heats up. Over his last 16 December/January games, Johnson has 115 receptions, 1,709 yards, and 11 touchdowns. That breaks down to a rough-average of 7 catches, 107 yards, and just under a touchdown per game. With the playoffs on the line, I expect Johnson to continue heating up in December.
Joe Flacco - He's an above-average quarterback taking on the league's worst pass defense.
Anquan Boldin - He's the number-one target of said above-average quarterback.
Ray Rice - While Houston has a top-10 run defense, Rice still averages 105 all-purpose yards per game and can grab a number of receptions for those in a PPR league.
YOU CAN PLAY THEM BUT THERE IS A RISK
Derrick Mason & T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Kevin Walter & Jacoby Jones - All four have underperformed in the eyes of fantasy owners. All four are capable of having a big game on Monday, but will they? That's always the question with these four.
Matt Schaub - The Ravens are a stout defense, and Schaub has been slightly disappointing this season to fantasy owners. However, Schaub has weapons, and there aren't many more attractive starters out there.
Baltimore Defense - Houston puts up points and yards to a point where you can find better match-ups.
AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE
Todd Heap - He pulled a hamstring and doesn't look likely to play on Monday.
Houston Defense - I'm sure no one has them on their roster. Big-play Baltimore isn't an ideal match-up.
Owen Daniels - He's healthy, but, aside from one game, he hasn't been effective this season. It would be a major risk to take a chance on him. If you're an over-matched 8th seed who needs to take a chance...I might advise it, but there may be a better option below.
Joel Dreessen - With Daniels cutting into snaps, it's not advisable to go with him.
DON'T SLEEP ON...
Ed Dickson. With Todd Heap suffering from a pulled hamstring, Dickson could step into the starting tight end spot on Monday night. The rookie from Oregon is athletic and showed flash during the preseason. It also doesn't hurt that he takes on a defense that gives up 72.2 yards per game to a tight end, according to Football Outsiders.
For more on news that could impact the game, check out Ravens-obsessed Baltimore Beatdown or Texans-crazy Battle Red Blog.