Fantasy football playoffs isn’t time to second-guess your studs

Throughout the fantasy football season, we have witnessed some outstanding performances.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers opened the year with a 364-yard, four touchdown performance, putting him on the path for an MVP-caliber season. Titans running back Derrick Henry has posted multiple 100-yard, multi-touchdown efforts to join in the MVP conversation while Chief wide receiver Tyreek Hill crushed souls in Tampa Bay in Week 12 with a 13-catch, 269-yard, three-touchdown game to give him 14 touchdowns on the year.

With the playoffs upon us, these players are must-starts. To sit someone of this caliber would be the ultimate act of buffoonery.

Yet here we are in Week 14 and amateur general managers bragging about their 11-2 records and league-leading point-totals are breaking the cardinal rule of fantasy: You always start your studs. Players who rank within the top five of their position should never be benched. Never. Not unless they are injured or on a bye week. Even if they are facing a tough defense, they should be staples of your starting lineup.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is facing his toughest matchup of the season this week against Tampa Bay, a defense that hasn’t allowed a lead rusher more than 60 yards in a game. Are you going to sit him? Absolutely not. He leads the running back position in fantasy points, and it is doubtful you have a replacement of his caliber. People lauded the Buccaneers’ defense back in Week 12, too. Can you imagine being the person who benched Tyreek Hill that week?

The tight end position is a hot mess, and the only two worth their salt are Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. Though no one would dare bench Kelce, people are actually contemplating sitting Waller, who is coming off a 200-yard, two-touchdown game, because he faces the Colts, a top defensive unit that allows an average of just 36 yards per game to the tight end. The guy averages nine targets per game and is second in fantasy points to Kelce among tight ends. Are you really going to sit him to chase a Tyler Eifert touchdown?

Don’t let the pressure of the playoffs get into your head. Don’t overthink the matchups of your studs. You want to debate the matchups of your third receiver? Fine. But you need to ride the guys who brought you here. That’s what wins championships.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at Fantasy-Alarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.

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