Big-name QBs might not get it done in fantasy playoffs

Here we are in the semifinals, or the opening playoff week, of your fantasy league. Before we move on, there's one thing you need to know: If you've been without an injured star for a while, you're going to be without him for a while longer. Players don't just bounce back healthy at this point in the NFL season, so act accordingly. What you've been doing has worked so far because you're still playing.

Now, to the Hurt Locker.

Matt Hasselbeck: The Titans have said he'll start if he's healthy. But this is more about Jake Locker than Hasselbeck. Locker has looked tremendous so far, and his ability to make plays running the football makes him extremely valuable. In fact, if Locker starts this week, I'd play him over Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez or any other fantasy QB who's on the edge of the top 10. In fact, T.J. Yates is worth a start ahead of these guys, as is Andy Dalton, who has a terrific matchup against the Rams.

Mark Ingram: His toe injury is really holding him back, which comes at a horrible time because he was becoming the top threat in the Saints backfield. If he plays, you play him and Darren Sproles. If he sits, you play Pierre Thomas and Sproles. They're all good flex options, and in the case of Ingram, a low-end No. 2 when he's active.

Greg Jennings: He's out for at least 2-3 weeks. It's easy to automatically assume Donald Driver is a great pickup and worth a start but hang on. He hasn't scored since I think 2002. Are you really going to put him in your starting lineup in semifinal week? Instead, if you need a flex, go with James Jones. He's been all or nothing, but he'll see more targets this week.

Andre Johnson: He's extremely unlikely to play against the Panthers. We'll worry about championship week next week, but if you need someone now, go with Demaryius Thomas, Nate Burleson or Titus Young. Even Doug Baldwin if he's still available.

Stevie Johnson: He's fine and will play Sunday against Miami. His hand injury is OK, and he's been somewhat hot the past three weeks averaging around 11 fantasy points per game in that stretch.

Darren McFadden: No D-Mac again, and as confusion swirls around his injury, don't expect to have him if you're playing the next two weeks either. You've been getting along without him so far, so plan on continuing to do so. Don't drop him, just in case, but proceed as if he's not even on your team.

Matt Moore: It's a low-grade concussion for Moore, who's expected to face the Bills on Sunday. It's a decent matchup, but Moore has not taken the world by storm the last few weeks when he's had favorable matchups. There are better QB options out there.

DeMarco Murray: Done for the season, just in case you were on Mars this week and had no idea. Felix Jones is a must-start at least in your flex, as Tampa Bay is slightly better at stopping the run than I am. Don't expect 25 carries for Jones, but even with 15 or so he'll be good for double-digits in points.

Adrian Peterson: All signs point to All Day this week against New Orleans. If he plays for them, he plays for you. And Toby Gerhart gets a nice hearty handshake, a laurel wreath, and a picture with Miss America before he gets a seat back on your bench. It was a great three-week ride for Gerhart, but he has no fantasy value with Peterson back.

Ben Roethlisberger: He's unsure if he can play Monday night on his ankle. But even if he can play, he's a sit this week against the 49ers. Can you afford to wait until Monday night, find out he can't play, and then you're picking up Charlie Batch to start? Go in another direction. Yates, Dalton and Ponder are all better plays.

Kevin Smith: Back at practice this week, he looks much better than he did a few days ago. He expects to play and carry the ball a lot against Oakland. Just like Peterson, if he starts for the Lions, he starts for you. At the least in your flex but he can also be a strong No. 2.

James Starks: There is a minimal chance Starks plays this week. Also hindered is Brandon Saine with a concussion so it looks like all the carries will go to Ryan Grant. It could be a game where they're up so big they'll run the ball exclusively in the second half. Grant is a really nice flex option this week. He broke out with some big runs last week and now he'll have the job all to himself. John Kuhn could be a touchdown vulture if you have absolutely no other RB choice.

See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and midnight ET. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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