As we enter the playoff stretch, it becomes even more important to set the best lineup possible each week. With that in mind, let’s break down some nonelite players who are increasing and decreasing in value.
Options like Matthew Stafford (Lions), Drew Brees (Saints), Philip Rivers (Chargers) and Blake Bortles (Jaguars) have very favorable schedules the next two weeks, making them clear starts over other fringe players like Derek Carr (Raiders), Jameis Winston (Buccaneers) or Marcus Mariota (Titans).
Lamar Miller (Dolphins) and Latavius Murray (Raiders) have seized enough weekly touches to be must-starts as long as they stay healthy. Meanwhile, Darren McFadden (Cowboys) has not played well of late and is about to run into some tough matchups. The Patriots backfield of LeGarrette Blount, now lost for the season, plus James White and Brandon Bolden, is too muddled to trust. DeMarco Murray (Eagles) can’t be trusted unless he emerges from coach Chip Kelly’s doghouse.
John Brown (Cardinals) and Michael Floyd (Cardinals) have low floors but present massive upside in the league’s most explosive offense. Both are startable if you have a tough opponent and want to try out a boom/bust play. On the flip side, James Jones (Packers) and Davante Adams (Packers) have seen their roles in the offense shrink by the week and may no longer be playable in any scenario.
Don’t sleep on older, consistently reliable options like Antonio Gates (Chargers) and Delanie Walker (Titans). Be wary of Jason Witten (Cowboys), who has some rough matchups and doesn’t seem to have good chemistry with new QB Matt Cassel.