The fantasy football playoffs start this week (or at least loom for some of you) and the work has just started. Yes, it's nice to make the playoffs (I'm good in every one of mine, except my League of Record) but now is the time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. Not to go all Nick Saban on you, but don't get soft right now.
Before we reveal Rank's 11, here's a small piece of advice: These guys are sleepers. If injuries or lack of performance has got you down, then these names can be useful for you. But don't think because Russell Wilson is listed here, you should rush out to put him in your lineup over Matt Ryan or Peyton Manning. This isn't the time to (expletive) around.
Wilson plays great at home (one of the best home passer ratings) and the Seahawks are going to smoke the Cardinals this week. Pete Carroll is going to want to put a whooping on the Cards, so don't worry about the Seahawks jumping out to a big lead and then coasting. There will be none of that.
Here is the rest of Rank's 11, a list of guys you could start in a pinch.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: The Texans have become a run-based team with a strong defense in recent years, but that doesn't mean Schaub can't be a valuable fantasy contributor. Schaub has scored at least 14 fantasy points in five of his last six games. And the Patriots have allowed at least 325 passing yards in four consecutive home games. The only drawback is the Patriots play well at home on Monday Night Football.
Justin Forsett, RB, Houston Texans: Well, this is a decent matchup for this week, but if you have Arian Foster you really need to handcuff him just in case the Texans rest guys at the end of the year. If you really need a running back, Forsett has scored least six points in back-to-back-to-back games. And he had a season-high 14 carries in Week 13. The Texans, at some point, need to rest Foster just a little.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants: The Giants don't want Ahmad Bradshaw to carry the ball on every single down. Which means Wilson will get some opportunities. And he should have some success against the Saints, who have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets: Let's just pretend for a moment the Jets will stay in the race for the playoffs. Stop your laughing, it could happen! Powell has scored at least 11 fantasy points in two of his last three games and has had at least 12 touches in those games. The matchup is great against the Jaguars, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: There was a time when we even wondered if Garcon would be able to return to the Redskins. Oh, he's returned and he's been awesome. Garcon has scored at least 15 points in consecutive games. The Ravens have allowed 10 touchdown receptions in their last 15 road games. Garcon should be in your lineup this week.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns: Let me tell you a little story about Gordon. I wanted to play him last week against the Raiders, but changed my mind because one of our fantasy experts was raving about the monsoon conditions in Oakland. So I played Reggie Bush instead. Now, I won't blame Michael Fabiano...I mean the anonymous NFL Fantasy Live host. Because ultimately, I made the decision on my own. But I wouldn't miss out on Gordon with this great matchup against the Chiefs, who have allowed seven touchdown passes in the last three games.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Yes, Donnie Avery came up huge against the Lions, but Andy Luck looked for Hilton a lot, as he ended up with 12 targets. Hilton has scored nine fantasy points in four of his last five games.
Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: New quarterback Nick Foles seems to really have taken a shine to Cooper, and he's had at least six fantasy points in three of his last four games. The Bucs have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers this season. Cooper is owned in less than one percent of NFL.com leagues.
Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders: Well, I made a mistake last week as Myers was on my bench in one of my leagues (I have Aaron Hernandez), but he's almost a flex option at this point with at least 11 fantasy points in three straight games. The only downfall is he plays on Thursday night. Be sure to check out the fantasy anxiety meter later on this week for a better meeting.
Cleveland Browns defense: I've been high on the Browns' D for a couple of weeks and let's be honest, I'm lazy. You can tell by looking at me, right? So I'm going to stick with it. The Browns have 10 takeaways in the last three games (in fairness, eight came against the Steelers), but the Chiefs have been generous with 32 giveaways this season and the second-most points to opposing defenses.