Here's hoping you are still alive in your fantasy playoffs following a week that featured numerous disappointing and season-ruining letdowns. That's history now, and it's time to plan for how you can get to your league's championship. Here are some players who could help and hurt your chances this weekend.


Start: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

It's not exactly bold to say you should start an MVP candidate. However, with Denver's league-best pass defense next up on the Pats' schedule, owners are getting antsy. I'll admit that there are others who should get the call ahead of Brady -- Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson and maybe Derek Carr, to name a few -- but I've received queries this week from those wondering if they should start Trevor Siemian, Alex Smith or Joe Flacco ahead of Brady. Stop it. He just shredded another stellar defense a few days ago, and Tom Terrific is just fine as a QB1 in this spot.

Sit: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

The Giants' defense shut down Dak Prescott pretty well on Sunday night and now rank second in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs. Big Blue has given up just seven passing touchdowns in their last nine games. This is a daunting matchup for Stafford that is complicated by his mangled right index finger. He's a mid-range QB2 for the fantasy semifinals.


Start: Bilal Powell, New York Jets

This is dependent upon Matt Forte's health, but with the 31-year-old's knee in need of rest and possibly repair, the 4-9 Jets should sit down the veteran, who is signed through 2018. In his stead, Powell has a golden opportunity to put up a hefty stat line, as does any starting back facing the 49ers. Given Powell's ability as a pass-catcher, he could be an every-down force against the league's most toothless run defense. Powell racked up 179 yards from scrimmage on 34 touches last week.

Sit: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You can't overlook that Martin has averaged fewer than 3 yards per carry in four of his last five games. He has returned value in each of his last two games thanks to short touchdowns, but he'll leave you feeling pretty empty without a score. Although workload is still in his favor, Martin now has to deal with the Cowboys, who haven't allowed more than 60 rushing yards to a single running back since Week 8. They have ceded just three rushing touchdowns to RBs as well. Everyone also knows that Dallas' offense limits opposing players almost as much as its defense thanks to the Cowboys' keep-away style of play. Martin really is nothing more than a flex option this Sunday.


Start: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

More important than the 4-54-1 line that Watkins posted in Week 14 is that he apparently came out of that game physically no worse for wear. So long as Watkins' body is able, he going to have a ton of upside, especially in a matchup versus the Browns. Watkins proved last week that he can score amid poor conditions, which is noteworthy because the weather is expected to be uncooperative again in Buffalo this Sunday. Put him in your lineup as a WR2. If his feet hold up for 60 minutes, you'll be glad you did.

Sit: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Just because you should start Brady doesn't mean you should have as much confidence in all of his weapons. I believe in Brady because he just has so many targets, I don't think the Broncos will be able to cover them all. However, Edelman is going to be a focal point of the Broncos' defensive game plan, and his upcoming head-to-head matchup with Chris Harris Jr. -- Pro Football Focus' No. 2-ranked cornerback -- should lead you to look for other options. Plus, if Edelman ever ventures out wide, he might see PFF's No. 1 corner, Aqib Talib.


Start: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Reed was heavily limited in Week 14, playing just 10 snaps. But if he is active in Week 15, you should still have him in your lineup. Sure, he's nowhere near full health, but the Panthers have permitted more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team, and you should expect Reed's participation to increase. And I'm guessing you don't have another tight end on your squad who you honestly trust or who has anywhere near as much upside as Reed. In the fantasy playoffs, trust your best players. And there are few tight ends who can best Reed on any given day.

Sit: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Walker has averaged fewer than 40 yards over his past three games and will battle against the Chiefs' defense, which is the third-stingiest versus opposing tight ends. Walker was once an every-week, no-brainer start. Now, don't fear benching him for the likes of Ladarius Green, Cameron Brate or Zach Ertz.