Skip to main content

Survive and advance

Coaches often will say they don't care if their team wins by one point or 50 points, as long as it counts as a victory. At this point of the season, fantasy owners would agree.

In the playoffs, unlike the regular season, it doesn't matter how many points a team scores or the margin of victory. It's all about getting to the next round.

Of course, moving on to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals becomes increasingly difficult. Matchups become more even and teams are equally as stacked at the key positions: quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

But for fantasy owners looking for that tiny edge to push them over the top, the waiver wire can be a useful resource. Following are four possible difference-makers that could be available.

Ryan Moats (RB – Philadelphia Eagles)– When head coach Andy Reid announced last week that he would use a running back carousel to replace the injured Brian Westbrook, fantasy owners cringed.

But in the process of rotating runners last Sunday, the Eagles discovered that Moats, a rookie third-round choice from Louisiana Tech, is a playmaker. In only 11 carries, he gained 114 yards (10.4 avg.) and scored two touchdowns, continually turning the corner against a normally solid New York Giants' defense.

Reid has hinted at Moats receiving more rushing attempts, but said Reno Mahe and Lamar Gordon also will get reps. In any case, Moats should receive at least 10 touches this weekend against a St. Louis Rams' defense that allows an average of 136.8 rushing yards and 1.4 rushing touchdowns per game.

**Mark Clayton (WR –

torched the Texans with seven catches for 86 yards (12.3 avg.), including a 35-yard grab that set up Matt Stover's game-winning field goal two weeks ago.

Clayton's performance turned out to be more than a flash in the pan. Last week he tore through the Denver Broncos for a game-high seven catches for 105 yards (15.0 avg.) and a touchdown.

The Ravens are not known for their explosive passing. Only four teams in the AFC have fewer pass attempts than


The Raiders have one of the league's worst defenses, allowing 24.8 points per game and 324.7 yards of total offense to rank 27 th and 22nd in the respective categories. Also, no other team has allowed more field goals in the red zone (21) than


The Browns, on the other hand, have the lowest red zone touchdown efficiency (31.3) in the NFL. If that trend continues, expect Dawson to get at least two field goal attempts this weekend, not to mention some extra point tries.**

Miami** Dolphins (defense/special teams) –

's defense isn't particularly menacing or explosive. The Dolphins allow 20.1 points per game and have allowed 17 passing touchdowns.

This week, though, against a broken-down New York Jets' offensive line that's playing without injured running back Curtis Martin, the Dolphins' defense could rack up points like a pinball machine.

Despite the fact that the Jets tied a season high with 26 points last week versus

, they still average a league-low 13 points per game and have turned the ball over 28 times (2.15 per contest). They're second in the AFC in sacks allowed (39) and complete only 56.3 percent of their passes.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, rank fifth in the league with 38 sacks and have 24 takeaways. Last Sunday,

held the San Diego Chargers, who have the league's third-highest scoring offense, to only 21 points, more than a touchdown below their average.

Look for the Jets to stay in the single-digits this weekend. That means double-digit scoring for fantasy owners that are smart enough to add the Dolphins' defense to their starting lineup.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content