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NFL fantasy football: WRs prominent in playoff prep

Whether you're a fantasy beginner or don't have as much time to devote to your fantasy team during the week, I'm here for you with the newest edition of Fantasy 101 - all your fantasy needs in 15 minutes or less. Because that's how long you'll need to digest this column and make your appropriate moves. If you are reading this, you're probably headed to the first round of the playoffs, so congratulations! (If not, it's the last week of your regular season which is just as important.) The main thing you need to do is keep trying to make your team better - as players get hurt or become ineffective, you have to look for alternatives so you're fielding the best lineup possible. Don't stay beholden to underachieving players just because you've had them all year. So here's what you need to know for Week 14

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Big injuries to watch


Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills: He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, but didn't sound too concerned after the game. Buffalo expects to have him back this week. He's been good enough lately to be either a No. 3 WR or flex play for you.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: He left Sunday's game with the Vikings with a hamstring injury. The team expects to be without him this week, but even so, I can't play him anymore. This is the second time in the last month he's returned from injury only to get hurt early in the first quarter of a game. Sit him on your bench until he proves he's healthy. If Golden Tate is available, pick him up as a replacement. He's scored four TDs in his last four games and could wind up being a decent producer for you in the playoffs.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks: He passed post-game concussion tests so things may look good for him for this week. If he plays, he's also a flex option.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: He also suffered a head injury late in the Jaguars' loss to Buffalo. There were reports he could have returned and it's quite possible he'll be back in action in Week 14. If he plays for Jacksonville, he plays for you, because he's lights out right now.

Free agents to pick up


Not a big week from any new potential free agents - however if Ryan Fitzpatrick or Russell Wilson are available in your league, grab them as they're pretty good alternatives if you have a QB situation that needs some help. Especially Wilson, who's really coming on right now. Donnie Avery is too much of a hit-or-miss player to recommend picking him up, so I'd pass on him unless you're desperate.

They're probably gone in your league, but Bryce Brown and Jonathan Dwyer are tremendous pickups if they just so happen to be there. Brown is a monster in the Eagles' offense, and it looks like Dwyer will continue to be the lead back considering Rashard Mendenhall was a healthy scratch Sunday.

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Other notes of note


1) Eric Decker has been completely removed from the Broncos' offense. He's had hardly any fantasy production for the past month (ditto Larry Fitzgerald). If you own either of them, it's time to sit them on the bench this week for a better option.

2) Brandon Myers is for real. He's a Top 5 fantasy tight end and the top option for Carson Palmer in Oakland. He should be owned and started the rest of the season.

3) I didn't like Knowshon Moreno against the Buccaneers this past weekend, but I love him going forward. He's a great flex play starting this week against the Raiders.

4) BenJarvus Green-Ellis is as close to a must-start as you can get at RB. He's peaking at the right time and honestly, is a No. 1 fantasy RB right now. In no way should he not be in your lineup.

5) You can keep playing Fred Jackson, albeit in your flex. He'll still split the load with C.J. Spiller in Buffalo this week, so he still has fantasy value, but no more than a flex because while he can give you 12 fantasy points in a week, he can also give you four.

Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy LIVE on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on NFL.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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