Fantasy football: Don’t give in to championship pressure

Rueben Randle had three touchdowns last season, including two against the Eagles in the season finale. Credit: Getty Images
Rueben Randle is a good play with Victor Cruz out for the rest of the season.
Credit: Getty Images

Pressure can melt down a fantasy football owner. And now that we’re in Super Bowl week, there are a lot of folks out there cracking under the weight of roster decisions.

The key here is to not let the enormity of the week overtake you. All year long we’ve started the guys most likely to succeed, not necessarily the biggest names or highest draft picks. That’s not called being a hero, that’s called playing smart.

Yo, cuz

In two career starts, Kirk Cousins has two 300-yard games and five touchdown passes. This week, he’ll be at home and gets to face a Cowboys defense whose ineptitude has reached epic proportions. We can no longer think of Cousins as a waiver-wire add that’s a nice story. He’s a legit candidate to outperform some big names this week. I’d start Captain Kirk over Andrew Luck (at Kansas City), Matt Ryan (at San Francisco), Carson Palmer (at Seattle) and Joe Flacco (vs. New England) among others.

You roob

Thanks to Victor Cruz’s knee injury and concussion, Rueben Randle is suddenly going from someone who has been unstartable all season to someone very much on the WR3 radar. He’s going to play every snap in a dome against a bad Lions secondary and has gobs of talent. Randle has only seen 102 targets in his two-year career, but the playmaker has turned that into 56 catches, 869 yards and nine touchdowns. Despite the lack of precedent, starting Randle over low-upside options such as Stevie Johnson, James Jones, Harry Douglas, Michael Floyd and Riley Cooper is the smart move.

Stay the course

Of course, there are stars in bad spots this week. That doesn’t mean we definitely need to look to a hot name like Cousins or Randle. Drew Brees has had his struggles outside of the Superdome and plays at Carolina, but he can’t be benched. Continue to ride Nick Foles even though the Bears pass defense remains stout. I’m never sitting Eddie Lacy (vs. Pittsburgh), Vincent Jackson (at St. Louis) or DeSean Jackson (vs. Chicago) either.

Week 16 matchups

D/ST pickups …

Titans D/ST – The Jags are going back into a shell as even more injuries mount on the offensive side.

Lions D/ST – We’ve reached the point where we play defenses against turnover machine Eli Manning.

Rams D/ST – Robert Quinn is going to eat Mike Glennon and the Bucs’ offensive line for lunch.

It’s a bad week to start these wideouts …

1. Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Playing through a gimpy ankle and facing the Legion of Boom in Seattle. Yikes.

2. Harry Douglas, Falcons – The Falcons’ line might get Matt Ryan killed. Douglas will struggle vs. Tarell Brown and Tramaine Brock.

3. Lance Moore, Saints – Chasing Moore’s 6/78/0 Week 15 line is a bad play. The Saints won’t move the ball well at Carolina.

Follow fantasy sports writer Adam Levitan on Twitter @adamlevitan.


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