This is it. I mean this is really it. Championship week. You can't afford to mess around or take flyers when it comes to free agents and players to promote from your bench to your starting lineup. So let's have a meat-and-potatoes edition of Targets & Touches as I tell you which situations you shouldn't spend time wading through in search of fantasy points. Because everyone loves meat and potatoes. Especially if it's of the filet and au gratin style.
Yes, Sunday went exactly as we all thought for the Patriots running back position. It's just too hard to make a correct prediction for how the responsibility will be divided up. Shane Vereen was a great play - until New England didn't give him the football. He had just 5 touches overall as we watched LeGarrette Blount (12 touches) become the feature back against Miami. Hopefully you survived this game if you played Vereen, and if you have, at least we have clarity. You cannot trust anyone in the Patriots backfield enough to play them against the Ravens this week. First of all, the Ravens are one of the league's top teams against the run, but even if they were playing against Chicago (the worst run defense in the game) I'd still lay off all of them.
And now watch as I write the same paragraph from above just inserting different names: Yes, Sunday went exactly as we all thought for the Browns running back position. It's just too hard to make a prediction for how the responsibility will be divided up. Chris Ogbonnaya was a great play - until Cleveland didn't give him the football. He had just 10 touches overall as we watched Edwin Baker (12 touches) become the feature back against Chicago. Hopefully you survived this game if you played Ogbonnaya, and if you have, then at least we have clarity. You can not trust anyone in the Browns backfield enough to play them against the Jets this week. First of all, the Jets are one of the league's top teams against the run, but even if they were playing against Chicago again (the worst run defense in the game) I'd still lay off all of them.
Kendall Wright (20 targets) is already on my breakout list for 2014, but he's closing 2013 pretty well. He's close to becoming the elite playmaker Tennessee predicted he would be earlier this season. In 2014 he has the potential to be a Top 10 Fantasy WR -- the Antonio Brown of next season -- all he needs is more red zone looks. But more immediate, can you play him championship week? He's got Jacksonville on Sunday, which is a tremendous matchup. Start him as a flex or a No. 3 WR.
Have we seen enough out of Julian Edelman to realize he's now a low-end No. 2 fantasy WR? With 51 targets the last four games -- and 19 on Sunday against Miami -- he's absolutely a must-play. Without Rob Gronkowski, we watched the Patriots run play after play in the seam and Edelman and Danny Amendola had a field day. They're the only Patriots pass-catchers you can trust. Amendola (14 targets) you can play as a flex, but to go any higher for him might be reaching a little bit.
Ignore the Seahawks wide receivers all you want to, but Doug Baldwin has put on a pretty nice streak in recent weeks. Seattle doesn't throw the ball a ton, so Baldwin (7 targets against the Giants) is their de facto number one WR. He's had at least 63 yards in five of the past six weeks with four touchdowns. He's a very sneaky flex play with a home matchup against Arizona this coming week.
Admit it, you had shoveled dirt on T.Y. Hilton. However has a team-high 12 targets Sunday against Houston brought him back to your fantasy radar? Not this week. His matchup against the Chiefs in Kansas City is too much for me to plug him in as anything more than a desperation flex. He's had just two games with touchdowns this season and none since the first week of November.
Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. You can see him as the host of NFL Fantasy Live that airs Sunday through Friday on NFL Network at 5pmET/2pmPT and also at 1amET/10pmPT. Listen to him on the NFL Fantasy Live podcast available at nfl.com and on itunes. Reach out to him on Google plus or Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.