Fantasy Doctor: Playoffs looming

Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon, left, leaps over Jacksonville cornerback Alan Ball to grab a pass in the Browns’ Dec. 1, 2013, game against the Jaguars in Cleveland, Ohio. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)

Week 12 is a big week. It marks the return of the NFL’s 2013 leading receiver: Josh Gordon. Suspended for the first 10 games of the season because of yet another positive drug test, Gordon, who averaged 18.9 yards per catch last year, racked up the league’s most yards in just 14 games.

That’s a good sign for Gordon owners. If he can have that kind of production over the next six games, the Browns may be headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Gordon’s an elite athlete, and with Brian Hoyer throwing the football well, he could jump right back into the mix.

The other big fantasy storyline of the week is the emergence of Patriots running back Jonas Gray. Gray dropped 201 yards and four touchdowns on the Colts last week. It remains to be seen if the Pats’ youngster is more than just a flash in the pan, but his performance last week put him on everyone’s fantasy radar.

Count Gray and Gordon as two additional ups this week. Your fantasy team is making a playoff push, your games become more important and it’s only right that you get more than the usual dose of fantasy ups and downs. That’s right, this doctor’s going to take care of you.

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    No. 1 Up: Ben Tate, Vikings RB

    With Adrian Peterson suspended at least until the end of the season, the Vikings needed a new feature back, and Tate fits the bill. Forced out of Cleveland by injuries and the performance of Isaiah Crowell and Terrence West. Grab Tate as you’re trying to wiggle your way into the playoffs.

    No. 2 Up: Colby Fleener, Colts TE

    Fleener put on a nice show against the Patriots, ripping off a career-high 144 yards. The Colts play the Jaguars this week, and with fellow tight end Dwayne Allen hurting, Fleener could put up some real big numbers.

    No. 3 Up: C.J. Anderson, Broncos RB

    With Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman both hurt, Anderson had a big week. Both are supposed to still be out this week, so Anderson gets the starting nod once again. Especially after Peyton Manning’s struggles against the Rams last week, Denver will be looking for some consistency on offense, and you can bet they’ll turn to Anderson.

    No. 1 Down: Andre Williams, Giants RB

    With Rashad Jennings returning this week, the rookie Williams is relegated to second-place on the Giants depth chart. Eli Manning has New York offense mired in mediocrity. 

    No. 2 Down: Jordan Cameron, Browns TE

    Cameron still has not been cleared to play after being concussed against Oakland in Week 8. With the return of Gordon, Cleveland’s big throws won’t go to Cameron, if he even makes it back this year. If you’re still holding onto him, let him go.

    No. 3 Down: Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers RB

    A fantasy hit-or-miss all season, now that Doug Martin is back in Tampa Bay’s starting spot, Rainey isn’t someone you want on your team. Plain and simple: Don’t go anywhere near Rainey.

    Jay Cutler Memorial Wild Card: Drew Stanton, Cardinals QB

    Replacing Carson Palmer in Arizona isn’t an easy task for Stanton, but he has weapons. That said, he’s facing the Legion of Boom this weekend, and despite Seattle’s injuries, they could shut Arizona down. Take a chance on Stanton if you dare.

    Peter is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PBaileyWells