Ranks reax: Can we trust Ridley, McCoy? 

December, 19, 2012
One of the toughest things a fantasy owner is forced to do is decide when a player is worth trusting even in the most important weeks, which for a whole lotta folks just happens to be this very week. It's Week 16, the fantasy championship round for many, and there are myriad players who either performed poorly the previous week, such as Stevan Ridley, Demaryius Thomas and all New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or flat-out missed the game but could return this weekend, such as Robert Griffin III, LeSean McCoy and Ahmad Bradshaw. Who do you trust when it matters most?

Questions constantly flow in on my Twitter account regarding this very topic, and my take is that many things must be considered when evaluating whether a previously reliable player is ripe for relevant statistics in the next game, or series of games. Look at the player's track record. Get informed about his health. Matchups play a significant role. Team and perhaps individual motivation can be critical, as well. And looking at the Week 16 edition of the fantasy rankings, perhaps the most important of the season since so much will be decided by Sunday night (and in Week 17, so many key players will not be playing), I see many players who fantasy owners have concerns about trusting.

Perhaps I trust too much, but nearly all the players I mentioned above, from the ones who disappointed us this past weekend to the ones who are trying to get healthy, fared rather well in my rankings. New England Patriots running back Ridley, for example, had trouble running with his usual aplomb and holding on to the football in a cold, rain-soaked Sunday night game against a standout San Francisco 49ers defense. Now he gets to face the wretched Jacksonville Jaguars, who have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to running backs, in a warm and likely dry place. Ridley nearly made my top 10 running backs, as I expect a bounce-back outing to double-digit fantasy points. Buccaneers Josh Freeman and Doug Martin, a pair of near top-10 overall fantasy options entering Week 15, combined for three fantasy points against the New Orleans Saints, but they're my No. 14 quarterback and No. 3 running back, respectively, against the St. Louis Rams. No concerns there, either.