Fantasy Football: NFL fantasy playoffs are here

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    The stretch run and fantasy playoffs are upon us, which, coincidently and unfortunately, means this is my last column of the season.

    Your roster should be almost completely set at this point. You know who you can count on and who you can’t from week to week, but it’s the fringe players who will end up making the difference. Watch the injury reports and churn the bottom of your roster looking for matchups.

    The key thing to watch for will be which team your player is on. Look for those wildcard teams fighting for their lives; they will be the ones putting up big numbers down the stretch. Guys like Tony Romo, Michael Turner and Roddy White are the ones you’re putting your hopes in.

    But before we get into this week’s stuff, here are my thoughts for the week:

    1. I know Sean Avery is an egotistical pest in the worst way. The Dallas Stars as a whole might even want him gone, but there is no way he deserves an indefinite suspension for calling an ex “sloppy seconds.” When did hockey go from being a “balls-to-the-wall” true man’s man sport to being scared of a little trash talk?

    2. Plaxico Burress is a selfish idiot who is just as, if not more, deserving to be thrown out of the NFL as Adam “Pacman” Jones. That being said, I don’t have a problem with him carrying a gun for protection after what has happened to athletes lately. However, that doesn’t excuse him from the stupidity of not registering it. But then again he never was exactly an intelligent guy.

    And now the main event, this week’s top three waiver wire adds and the matchups to keep an eye on.

    Waiver Wire Adds:

    Amani Toomer (WR – NYG): He is now the undisputed lead wideout on this Giant squad and will continue to get plenty of looks from Eli Manning. If he’s not available in your league take heart, Burress’ replacement, Domenik Hixon, did very well last week and could become a fantasy hero down the stretch for you.

    Davone Bess (WR – Mia): Greg Camarillo’s replacement is filling in nicely so far with 13 catches and 171 yards in his last two games. He will trade off big games with Ted Ginn Jr., but they are both good options depending on their matchups.

    Pierre Thomas (RB – NO): He’s been quietly over-achieving for a couple weeks now but he is back in a big way this week thanks to Deuce McAllister’s “steroid-fueled” suspension. With Reggie Bush still working his way back into the game, Thomas is primed to turn out a couple big games down the stretch.

    Week 14 Matchups:

    Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints: This is a tale of two teams. Atlanta is enjoying a turnaround season only comparable to the one the Saints had circa 2006, while New Orleans continues its regression from that same season and just lost half their team to suspension. Roddy White, Michael Turner and Matt Ryan are having career years and should continue that trend against a weak Saints’ defense. New Orleans’ offense, though, isn’t nearly as inept as its counterpart. Drew Brees is playing well. Thomas will be the dominant back until Bush gets back up to speed and even Jeremy Shockey has been start-able as of late.

    Dallas Cowboys at Pittsburgh Steelers: To say this is a huge game for Dallas is an obvious understatement. Expect the Cowboys to perform accordingly. Tony Romo has the mobility to escape the Steelers’ rush and find his plethora of targets downfield. The Barbarian isn’t as sure of a play as usual due to his injury, but all signs point to him playing Sunday. Big Ben on the other hand suffered another injury on Wednesday, this time “tweaking” his right knee. Willie Parker is still ailing but expects to play Sunday as well. Watch all these players up to game time and get your contingencies ready just in case.

    Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers: Green Bay’s defense is coming up way short of the expectations it set last year, and you know Steve Slaton must be licking his chops over it. The rookie continues to impress and should yield great dividends for his owners in these final weeks. Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels are solid bets here, but Ryan Grant, not so much. Brandon Jackson looks poised to receive a greater share of the carries. Aaron Rodgers will have a big game, not that it usually matters in the win loss column, and all the Green Bay wideouts are solid plays.