The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1:12 p.m.

Who to start, who to drop entering Fantasy playoffs

It’s crunch time in the fantasy football world. If your team is in the basement, the following fantasy football tips may have no relevance to you. But if you are on the cusp of fantasy glory or are trying to load up to make a championship run, pay close attention.

I’m all in on New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Nicks has had a season to forget thus far, battling with injuries resulting in only one touchdown and 465 yards. Almost all of his production came in Week 2, when he totaled 199 yards and scored his only touchdown.

Now the Giants are on a bye week, and it seems Nicks will return, 100 percent healthy, in Week 12. Last week, the 6-foot-1-inch, 208-pound receiver had 14 targets — his most since Week 2 — and gained 75 yards against the Bengals. The Giants have the ninth-most favorable schedule for wide receivers in the fantasy playoffs and he still has dates with pass defense cupcakes New Orleans, Washington and Baltimore remaining on the schedule. The Giants always seem to play better at the end of the season. You may be able to get Nicks for 60 cents on the dollar: He is a clear buy-low candidate.

Does anyone realize Carson Palmer has the ninth-most fantasy points for quarterbacks and has scored more than Cam Newton, Tony Romo and Eli Manning? Palmer’s gaudy numbers may be a result of the 3-6 Raiders’ poor play; but when it comes to fantasy, who cares? All the Raiders do is throw, and they are always behind so they throw even more. Palmer has had 18 and 28 points, respectively, in has last two matchups and still has the Saints, Browns, Bengals, Chiefs and Panthers remaining on the schedule. If you have him on the bench and can trade your starter, or if you need to make a move for an injured QB, Palmer is a great target. Feel confident playing him.

Don’t get rid of Green Bay Packer wide receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb has had five touchdowns in the last three games and has gained the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. They love Cobb in Green Bay. Despite the return of Jordy Nelson and rumors of Greg Jennings eyeing a Week 13 return, Cobb will remain a part of the game plan because of his ability in the slot. I can’t say the same for James Jones, who may see his role diminish if Jennings can return to form.

“Fantasy experts,” such as Matthew Berry and Eric Karabell, suggest selling Patriots running back Stevan Ridley. For what its worth, I disagree. Despite matchups with tough running defenses, Miami, Houston, and San Francisco in weeks 13-15, Ridley hasn’t had less than 13 carries in a game this season, and people make too much of a big deal about strength of schedule, sometimes. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has had the third hardest rushing schedule thus far and is second in the NFL in rushing. If you are a very good player, you should perform in any matchup.

The Patriots are going to put up points against anyone they play, and Ridley is going to get the football. Houston will be a nightmare, but the Patriots should handle the Miami Dolphins easily. Also, the 49ers vaunted run defense has been slightly overrated this season — Steven Jackson torched them for 101 yards last week. Don’t get cute and make sure you roll Ridley out there from week to week.