With the fantasy playoffs almost here, this is now the time when all of the hard work assembling a roster can pay off. However, this is also when the competition will begin to get tougher, now that the weaker teams have been weeded out of contention.
This means that higher upside players with less consistency like Chris Johnson (RB, Titans), C.J. Spiller (RB, Bills), Jamaal Charles (RB, Chiefs) and once he's healthy, Darren McFadden (RB, Raiders), become must starts regardless of the circumstance.
It is also the time where very small advantages like a favorable schedule can make all the difference. Down the playoff stretch, you would be wise to ride legitimate fantasy players from high-powered offenses such as the Giants, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Eli Manning and company should all be considered must starts, as the Giants have the pleasure of going up against the Redskins, Saints, Falcons, Ravens and Eagles the rest of the way. With only the Falcons posing a tough matchup, Hakeem Nicks should join Victor Cruz as a slam-dunk starter now that he is returning to form. And now that Andre Brown is out of the way, Ahmad Bradshaw could begin to produce elite level RB numbers.
Meanwhile, the Texans will face the Titans, Pats, Colts (twice) and Vikings while Peyton Manning and the Broncos square off against the Bucs, Raiders, Ravens, Browns and Chiefs.
While Arian Foster (RB, Texans) and Peyton Manning (QB, Broncos) are obvious starters, the soft schedules will help WRs like Andre Johnson (Texans), Demaryius Thomas (Broncos) and Eric Decker (Broncos) rise in value, especially given their improved performance in recent weeks. Matt Schaub (QB, Texans) and Knowshon Moreno (RB, Broncos) are also sneaky quality plays if you are missing elite level players at their positions.