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Four-Down Duel: Ride the Ravens

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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Just because the regular season is over doesn’t mean weekly fantasy football has also stopped. With four games this weekend it meets the required three games or more rule to hold a fantasy contest. This week is a little more difficult to pick players with only four contests, so plan on seeing some of the same players in your opponent’s lineup. That being said, it’ll make the Wild Card games more interesting if you enter a contest at FanDuel.


Joe Flacco, BAL, $6800 – With guys like Aaron Rodgers ($9600) and Robert Griffin III ($9500) considerably more expensive, Flacco is looking like a good value at his price. Indianapolis doesn’t have a good pass defense, giving up 7.4 yards per attempt, which is good for 23rd in the league. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Torrey Smith burn the Colts’ secondary on a big play and possession receiver Anquan Boldin should be recovered from his recent shoulder injury.

Running Backs

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN, $6200 – Green-Ellis is expected to play and get a full workload despite dealing with a hamstring injury. Green-Ellis let down fantasy owners Week 16 with only 14 yards on 15 carries, but he had at least 89 rushing yards in each of his six previous games and has a rushing touchdown in four of his last eight games. Houston only gives up 4.0 yards per carry, but Green-Ellis is a volume back who should get 20-plus touches. The Texans’ defense has only given up a total of five rushing touchdowns this season but three of those came in the last four games.

DuJuan Harris, GB, $4900 – If you’re looking for a really cheap player or playing in the “expert” format using a smaller payroll, Harris is an attractive option this week. Harris has looked like the best back Green Bay has put on the field this season and his 4.6 yards per carry back that up. Harris also has two rushing touchdowns in his last four games and the Vikings given up over 105 rushing yards per game. Look for Harris to be the lead back this weekend and possibly be in for a lot of carries if the Packers jump out to a big lead.

Wide Receivers

Reggie Wayne, IND, $6600 – While many have focused on the loss of Ray Lewis, the fact is the loss of Lardarius Webb hurt the Ravens’ defense much more this season. Wayne had a career-high 195 targets this season, eclipsing his former high of 176. He’s had 12 games with double-digit targets and never had fewer than seven targets in a game. Wayne isn’t a big red-zone guy, but he has touchdowns in two of his last four games. The Ravens defense is an average defense, ranking both 17th in yards per attempt (7.0) and passing yards against (228) per game.

Sidney Rice, SEA, $5600 – I know Rice hasn’t done much lately, but that’s partially due to the Seahawks running the ball so effectively and not needing to rely on the pass. This week should be different, as Seattle will try to take advantage of a porous Redskins’ pass defense. Washington has allowed 7.4 yards per attempt and 282 passing yards per game. I’d probably gamble on Rice as this week’s “pot odds” play in a tournament, as I doubt many fantasy owners will use him. Russell Wilson has shown excellent growth throughout the season and he hooked up with Rice for five touchdowns over a five-game stretch early this year, showing that the two have chemistry when called upon to air things out.

Tight End

Dennis Pitta, BAL, $5400 – There aren’t any elite tight end options this week and most of the starters are priced in the $5300-5400 range. I like Pitta, who was rested for most of last week’s game, as the Ravens limited all of their regulars. He has become Joe Flacco’s safety blanket and put together a solid second half of the season. Pitta had four touchdowns over his final five games of the season, including a monster performance against Denver where he had 10 catches, 125 receiving yards and two scores.