Chris Wesseling

Post-Season Fantasy Football Guide

print article archives RSS

Wild Card Preview

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Rotoworld's Chris Wesseling and Evan Silva highlight the key players in each of the four wild card round matchups this weekend. Find out which players are primed for success or failure as the NFL playoffs take center stage.

Editor's Note: Evan Silva and Gregg Rosenthal break down the wild card games in detail, picking a winner for each matchup on NBCSports.com. Do the Bengals, Cardinals, and Eagles have what it takes to bounce back from last week's debacles?

Bengals

Carson Palmer - Palmer masked his erratic early-season passing with a streak of fourth-quarter comebacks. It's been all downhill since Week 12, however. Like a pitcher who isn't taking his best stuff to the mound, Palmer has lacked command, velocity and rhythm while being held under 140 yards in four of the past six games. With their ability to shut down No. 1 receivers, the Jets' forbidding secondary represents a worst-case scenario for the Bengals passing game.

Cedric Benson – Coming back from a hip injury, Benson averaged 98 rushing yards per game in Weeks 13 to 16 before resting in a meaningless Week 17 blowout. Since Benson's early-December return, the Bengals have morphed into a one-dimensional offense, overly reliant on grinding out tough yardage. If the Bengals are to move the chains this week, Benson has to control the clock against the machinations of Rex Ryan and his eighth-ranked run defense.

Chad Ochocinco – Since Palmer's Week 12 downturn, Ochocinco has accounted for 36 percent of the team's receiving yards and 63 percent of the touchdowns. The rest of the receiving corps has been a model of futility, failing to top 50 yards even once. Fresh from a twitter "war" with shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, Ochocinco tweaked his knee in Week 17 and left without a catch. Though he's practicing this week, another daunting matchup with Revis looms on Saturday.

Domata Peko - The Bengals' gap-plugging run stuffer, Peko is expected to return at 100 percent after missing five games with a knee scope. Peko will be welcomed back with open arms, as the run defense plummeted from 84 to 122 yards per game during his absence. With Pro Bowl interior linemen Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca across the line, Peko will be a key to the Bengals' fortunes.

Jets

Mark Sanchez – While bloviating head coach Rex Ryan claims that his rookie quarterback's confidence is at an all-time high this week, there is plenty of reason for concern with a rookie on the road in a cold weather playoff contest. On the shortest leash possible, Sanchez has managed the past two games well after struggling with interceptions all season. Expect him to be limited to 20 attempts with the Jets daring teams to stop the run.

Thomas Jones – Defying the laws of aging running backs, Jones' unmatched work ethic keeps him in peak physical form at age 31. A bastion of consistency, the AFC's second leading rusher topped 100 yards or scored a touchdown in all but one game since Week 3. Tag-teaming with rookie Shonn Greene, the Jets' ground game picked up steam late in the season, topping 175 yards in four of the final five games.

David Harris – A Pro Bowl snub along with fellow "Mad Backer" Bart Scott, Harris is a key cog in Rex Ryan's esoteric defense just as Ray Lewis was in Baltimore. The Jets' leading tackler and third-leading sacker sprained his ankle in last week's game, though he's expected to play at less than full strength in Saturday's rematch.

Darrelle Revis – The leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, the Jets' shutdown corner has put together one of the best seasons at his position in NFL history. "Revis Island" erases the opposing team's best receiver in one-on-one coverage, allowing his teammates to overplay the rest of the field. If Chad Ochocinco manages to top 35 yards against Revis Saturday, he'll be the first elite receiver to do so all season.


continue story »
Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling


Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    NFL Draft: Bortles at No. 1?

    NFL Draft: Bortles at No. 1?
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Panthers

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Panthers
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Saints

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Saints
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Falcons

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Falcons
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Bucs

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Bucs
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Colts

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Colts
  •  
    Draft: Overrated/Underrated

    Draft: Overrated/Underrated
  •  
    NFL Draft - Top Need: Titans

    NFL Draft - Top Need: Titans