The playoffs have arrived in fantasy football, and the race to a nice payday has dwindled down to only the most worthy.
Making the right moves all season has led select teams to the postseason. Though making the proper decisions on the waiver-wire all year is what allows the good owners to separate themselves from the pack, it is time to employ one strategy: dance with who brought ya.
Smart fantasy owners have pondered all season who to add and drop from their teams. But the key to winning this time of year is to let your players who shined all season go to work when it matters most.
Don't get caught over analyzing match ups. Win or lose, you want to do it with your top guys who have performed all season.
Just because the Denver Broncos are going against one of the top pass defenses in the league in the Tennessee Titans this week, doesn't mean you should consider sitting any Denver receiver. The same is true for New Orleans Saints offensive players in a tough game against a stout Carolina Panthers defense.
Many would have though the Seahawks defense had a tough match up Monday night against the explosive Saints, but Seattle still racked up 15 points against the Saints' offense, which has allowed the second fewest points to opposing defenses all season.
One of the year's best waiver picks was St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy. Stacy faces a tough Arizona defense this week, but benching him this week could spell doom.
A few big-name players who have struggled all season do have good match ups this week, including guys such as Ray Rice.
Rice has disappointed all year with just four touchdowns and 482 rushing yards, but he faces a Minnesota Vikings defense that is giving up the second most points to running backs this season. Rice hasn't been worth starting -- especially in non point-per-reception leagues -- many times this season, but give your first-round pick a start this week and hope it pays off.
The only reason to consider adding guys off the waiver to playoff teams right now is to add depth on the bench. Guys such as Montee Ball, Donald Brown or even Ace Sanders could be nice additions, but more for depth than anything.
The only two positions to consider making changes to are your kicker and defense. Look for a kicker whose team can move the ball and who won't play from behind early such as Philadelphia's Alex Henery or Justin Tucker of Baltimore. Adding a guy who is kicking in a dome is also a plus this time of year. Dallas' Dan Bailey is a solid fantasy kicker, but playing in the cold night of Chicago next Monday could be a big disadvantage. Though the difference between one kicker and another is seldom that drastic, every point can mean the difference between winning and losing at this stage.
A few defenses to consider this week are San Diego and Oakland. Neither team is in the top-15 of fantasy defenses, but they have the two best match ups this week against the New York Giants' and New York Jets' offenses. The New England Patriots are also a great play against the Cleveland Browns, who have a big question mark to fill at quarterback this week.
That is all for this week. Good luck in your fantasy playoffs, and feel free to send any lineup questions you have to my email or Twitter.John Livingston covers sports for The Daily Times and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.