By Adam Cook (@Fantasy_Schnerd)
The fantasy football semi-finals in most leagues are here, my friends! Your most nerve wrecking lineup setting morning is fast approaching and this is the week where the cream rises to the top. Many of you are sitting on pins and needles with injury news surrounding Adrian Peterson (now ruled out), Maurice Jones-Drew and Reggie Bush at the running back position. If out, I have a sneaky guy to replace them. Also, we are awaiting news on guys like Cecil Shorts, Michael Floyd and Denarius Moore as well. I can help you out there too. With that being said let’s get to this week’s sneaky picks….
Chris Ogbonnaya, RB – Cleveland Browns
I called him wrong earlier in the year, but I can’t seem to get off this guy for some reason. Starter Willis McGahee will not play this week after suffering a concussion in the previous game, which leaves Ogbonnaya with the lead role with Fozzy “Bear” Whittaker being used more as a change of pace guy. Ogbonnaya is having a solid year, averaging 5.3 yards per carry in his 42 carries on the season, but his most effective skills come in the passing game. He has 41 receptions on the year and has caught at least 2 passes in each of his last six games. Considering those touches came in limited snaps while playing behind McGahee, without the lead back active he should see around 15 touches. However, what makes Chris stand out to me is the matchup he gets on Sunday. The Chicago Bears have allowed a 100 yard rusher in 6 straight games. Heck, they would have given up 200 yards rushing to DeMarco Murray last week if the Cowboys would have utilized him properly. I would strongly consider him over guys like Chris Johnson and Bobby Rainey this week.
Bold Prediction: 12 carries, 66 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 receptions, 42 yards
Da’Rick Rogers, WR- Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are desperate for a go-to-receiver after Reggie Wayne’s injury, Darrius Heyward-Bey’s failures, and TY Hilton’s inconsistencies. In Week 14, they finally turned to the guy dynasty owners have been waiting for, Da’Rick Rogers. In his first extensive playing time, he received a hefty 9 targets and took the fantasy world by storm the tune of 107 yards and two TDs. People forget that Rogers was a young and upcoming receiver at Tennessee University, before getting kicked off the Vols and transferring down to little Tennessee Tech where he had little coverage and fell down draft boards. After going undrafted, he ended up being signed by to the Colts’ practice squad and worked his way up to Sunday’s impressive performance. Talent has never been an issue, it was only his attitude that has been holding him back. It would not surprise me if he lights up a shoddy Texans secondary just like he did last week against Cincinnati.
Bold Prediction: 6 receptions, 81 yards, 1 touchdown
Dennis Pitta, TE – Baltimore Ravens
Pitta may already have been picked up in your league. If he was then take this paragraph as more of a “you must start Pitta this week” rant. I see Pitta as a top 5 tight end option this week and will be in almost all of my daily fantasy lineups. Joe Flacco loves Pitta, especially in the red zone. He returned from injury last week and received 11 targets in only 36 of 85 (42%) of the Ravens’ snaps! He turned those targets into 6 receptions, 48 yards, and 1 touchdown. I expect the Ravens to have to throw the ball plenty against a Lions team who should be able to put up some points. The only tight ends who I would feel completely confident playing over Pitta this week are Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas (Thursday night). Start with confidence!
Bold Prediction: 7 receptions, 74 yards, 1 touchdown
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