Marcas Grant: I'm always a fan of starting a running back in my flex spot simply because it's easier to get them the football. Dan Herron might have a less favorable matchup on paper against Cleveland, but the Browns have at times been vulnerable against running backs. He also has the added benefit of having Andrew Luck and that passing game to prevent defenses from stacking the box. As much as I've liked Benjamin this season, it's been difficult to watch the Panthers offense struggle and praying for the rookie receiver to get some garbage time points. I don't want that headache again. Go with Boom.
M.G.: It's interesting that these two running backs have had seasons that have mirrored each other in a lot of ways and will now face off against each other this week. Both Isaiah Crowell and Dan Herron were afterthoughts in their respective offenses at the start of the season and have now risen to the rank of starter. While Crowell has the better matchup on paper, Herron plays in the much more productive offense. Having Andrew Luck and a slew of dangerous pass catchers should prevent the Browns from loading the box which has me leaning toward Herron this week.
M.G.: It's playoff time around fantasy football, which means the stakes is high and as good a Tre Mason was in Week 13 against the Raiders, well ... it was the Raiders. This week's matchup against Washington isn't nearly as favorable. Similarly, starting Roddy White against the Packers in frosty Green Bay won't be a picnic either. In cases like this, I go back to my previous thoughts about starting a running back in the flex spot. Mason's matchup might not be all good, but I feel more confident about his potential opportunities.
M.G.: I would imagine your head has been spinning over the past few weeks to figure out these two quarterbacks. Neither appears to be in line for a huge start this week considering the opposition. Both are working behind injury-riddled offensive lines and throwing to receivers who have underachieved this season. However, I'd feel a little more confident with Rivers because he's been better for the majority of the season and the Chargers get to play at home in San Diego where the weather should be a balmy 72 degrees.
M.G.: Starting Keenan Allen this week really feels like chasing the points. The matchup isn't great and there's a chance Allen could land on Revis Island. DeAndre Hopkins isn't a bad start, but it's worth keeping in mind that the Jaguars have been pretty good defensively at home this season. That could keep Nuk's production down. That leaves Benjamin, who has been part of a struggling Panthers offense, but being able to play indoors against a suspect Saints secondary gives me some reason for optimism. I don't expect big things from Cam Newton, but I want to believe in Benjamin.
M.G.: Sometimes it's worth going against your own rules and this is one of them. Denard Robinson might be a running back, but he has looked like a flash in the fantasy pan in recent weeks. Not to mention that Robinson's matchup isn't nearly as good as Kenny Stills' against a porous Panthers defense. With Brandin Cooks out of the lineup and Marques Colston underperforming, Stills should see plenty of passes thrown his way by Drew Brees. Buena suerte!
M.G.: Can I say neither? Kyle Orton and Ryan Fitzpatrick are consistently inconsistent fantasy quarterbacks and while Colt McCoy has looked pretty good in his limited starts, I'm not sold on him. Admittedly, I'm a fantasy football skeptic, but I have a feeling that McCoy will come back to Earth now that there's more tape out on him. And it could happen as soon as this week against the Rams. Maybe there are some better options on your waiver wire -- I'd look at Mark Sanchez or even Blake Bortles over those options you listed. But if those are the only choices, I'd give McCoy a shot.
M.G.: I assume you're asking this because you have Andre Ellington and play in an NFC West-only league. Or you have 24 teams in your fantasy league. Because those are some ugly options, my friend. If Ellington isn't available, I'd look somewhere else for running back help. Maybe Latavius Murray is still on the waiver wire. Take a chance that someone dropped Carlos Hyde. Perhaps Matt Asiata is hanging around. Those all seem like better options than a pair of reserve running backs in a slumping offense going against a good Chiefs run defense.
M.G.: In an example of riding the hot hand, I'd stick with the Rams here. St. Louis has been better against the run in recent weeks and their pass rush has stepped up immensely from the start of the season. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not totally sold on Colt McCoy's recent success and believe that NFL defensive coordinators will begin to figure him out -- McCoy was Washington's No. 3 quarterback for a reason. I know the Rams offense won't be confused for the Broncos any time soon, but I have a little more faith in them than I do in Washington. Call me crazy. On second thought, don't.
M.G.: Here's a man who's planning ahead. I like that. Just checking the Week 17 schedule, I wouldn't give up on Buffalo. They could still be playing for a playoff berth and will be facing a Patriots team that could have very little to play for. Of the teams you're eyeing on the waiver wire, New Orleans could be in that similar situation against the Buccaneers -- then again in the sickeningly crazy NFC South, Tampa Bay could still be in contention. However, I think the defenses you have on your roster will hold you in good stead. By the way ... why do you have three defenses on your roster? Inquiring minds want to know.
M.G.: Now you tell me. Where were you 10 questions ago? You could have saved me a whole lot of time. SMH.