Flesh for Fantasy: Playoffs Are Approaching

We're going to cover fantasy football all season long here at Birds' Nest by answering five questions every week about various fantasy-related topics. Let's roll.

1. I'm desperate, should I start Darren McFadden vs. the Broncos Thursday?
You answered your own question. If you're desperate enough to ask then you probably already know deep down what you have to do. There are worse fates, of course; you could be forced to start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback -- or worse, Carson Palmer (that's a joke. We think). For the season, D-Mac has 455 rushing yards (3.3 YPC) and just two touchdowns in eight games. CBSSports.com projects that he'll rush for 56 yards and add another 19 receiving yards for a whopping 6 fantasy points. Not exactly the output you're looking for from a running back. In real life or fantasy.

2. Should I start Ben Roethlisberger this week?
It's still not clear that Big Ben will play after missing three games with a rib and shoulder injury. But if he's available you should at the very least add him to your roster. If not for Week 14 then for the playoff push. Because just like the Steelers, you never know when an injury could potentially derail your season. Knowing Roethlisberger's predilection for the dramatic, we wouldn't be surprised if he played against the Chargers Sunday. And if he does, he could have big numbers; San Diego's defense has struggled with consistency and its offense is riddled with injuries (which means the D can expect to be on the field a lot).

3. Should I take the Ravens or Redskins' defense when the two teams meet?
This is a really good question because the once-vaunted Baltimore defense is in name only at this point. And Washington's D, after a season of some pretty awful football, has rebounded nicely in recent weeks, including Monday night's win over the Giants. We're leaning toward the Skins because Ravens QB Joe Flacco isn't nearly as effective on the road.

4. Under what circumstances should I start Greg McElroy?
Under threat of imprisonment? When the only alternative is starting Mark Sanchez? Seriously, if this is a conversation you're having, stop what you're doing and make plans to do something other than watch football this Sunday. Take a walk, go to the park, go Christmas shopping -- anything other than staring at your phone waiting for McElroy updates from the Jets-Jaguars game. That's more desperate than Rex Ryan trading for Tim Tebow and magically expecting everything to sort itself out.

5. Which Eagles player could have a breakout performance against the Buccaneers? We'll repeat what we wrote last week: The easy answer is Bryce Brown. Partly because he ran for 169 yards and two touchdowns against the Panthers on Monday night but also because … well, who else is there? We'll offer one amendment for Week 14, however: Nick Foles is a legit option, too. He's come on nicely in recent weeks, even if the Eagles continue lose. And now that he's the starter, he should only get better.

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