For most fantasy football leagues the season came to an end a couple of weeks ago and after five months of working the waiver wire, making trades and tough lineup decisions there is that empty feeling. Unless you are in a playoff fantasy contest and there is an excellent one right here at FantasySharks.com, then it may seem like time to sit back and just watch some good old fashioned NFL playoff action.
It's a relaxing time of year when we can tune in to the NFL combine, then wait for the draft in April and then for mini-camps to open before many fantasy owners begin to focus on the upcoming season.
Not so fast my friends. The NFL playoffs represent an excellent opportunity to begin the scouting process for the 2013 season. There is valuable information to be gleaned from how and when certain players are utilized in the playoffs and how that influences their fantasy value moving forward.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman put his name on the fantasy radar by having a very nice 7.1 yards per carry average in their loss to the Broncos and Denver's Willis McGahee also reemerged as a fantasy name to consider after posting 156 total yards and a touchdown in the 2011 post season. Former Giants' wide receiver Mario Manningham parlayed his big playoff catches into not only a new deal with the 49ers, but also improved his fantasy value heading into the 2012 season.
So, let's take a look at a few names that have interesting fantasy ramifications heading into Wild Card weekend.
Ben Tate, RB, HOUSTON: Tate had a very tough regular season for the Texans as he battled hamstring and foot issues much of the year limiting him to 65 carries for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Texans offense has struggled mightily late in the season and starter Arian Foster has looked less than himself, even leaving the week sixteen loss to Minnesota with an irregular heartbeat. Foster was healthy enough to rack up 96 yards and a score in week seventeen, but the Texans fell to the Colts and tumbled to the number three seed for the playoffs.
Houston will go back to the future against the Bengals and attack the defense with the two-headed running back style that worked so well for them in 2011. Look for the Texans to try and get Tate involved early in the game against Cincinnati as they try to keep Foster fresh to be able to run out the clock if they have a late lead. Tate could be a starter on many teams in the league and his contract is up after next season so you can...