Ahhhh the throes of December… The playoffs are here! Or if you’re in a 6-team playoff league, then you’re still alive! Because I doubt you’d be reading otherwise… The playoffs are all about the hot team at the right time. I mean, look at the Giants for Pete sake. Or is it Pete’s sake? Who is Pete? Texas Pete?
Last week I told you about my playoff strategy – it’s the same as any other week. Award winning analysis! But seriously, it’s fantasy football and you have your line-up and you’re leaning one way or another. It’s just as important to win week 2 as it is to win this week. Well maybe not really, but you’re still fielding whoever you feel best and I don’t think you tinker just based on “this guy has been better most of the year and got me here…” or any of that hoopla. But if you do have any coin flips or any of the late season injuries plaguing the league, I’ve got some LSD for ya!
Looking back to last week’s picks, and man, tough breaks for my sleeper WRs in Rueben Randle and Nate Burleson… I looked at the weather a few days before and it didn’t say “The Day After Tomorrow blizzard conditions,” so my bad on that one. But Riley Cooper still did aight! And huge wins from Josh McCown and Bobby Rainey. For my benchers, big wins with bad games from Colin Kaepernick and C.J. Spiller, medium wash from Zac Stacy, and losses from Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston. 2-2-1 on both sides of the ball. Not good enough for the playoffs! Unless I’m an AFC wildcard… Cough cough… Here’s who I like in week 15 and their % started in ESPN and Yahoo, respectively (NOTE – these are not always recommendations for 1-for-1 swaps, just guys I like who are understarted and guys I hate overstarted):
Jordan Todman (0.5%, 5%) A few weeks ago, I pulled a sucker trying to believe a drug-addict. The addict? The Bills defense being any good. After years of ineptitude, they were solid against the run in the first half of this year, and as soon as I believe in them, they pull a Jessie Pinkman meth-house party. Man they look awful. With Maurice Jones-Drew doubtful at the time of this writing, I’m a full blown Todman RB2 believer. Believe with me!
Bryce Brown (4.8%, 1%) If you’re desperate, and let’s face it, a few teams that squeaked in the playoff like my Writer’s League team are, I think Brown is a solid deeper-league flex option. LeSean McCoy is a week off a 29 carry 217-yard game in a foot of snow, and indoors in Minnesota, the Eagles should soar early and often giving Brown a lot of junk work. I think 15 touches are coming his way with a junk TD. All Brown do is FLEX and he don’t need a reason!
Rashard Mendenhall (22.7%, 25%) I feel dirty. I need a shower. I just recommended Mendenhall as a play… UGH! But the dude is at 7.6+ points in four straight, TDs in three of four, and the Titans give up the 2nd-most points to opposing RBs. The Cards are gonna run all over em.
Da’Rick Rogers (2.0%, 3%) Yessir! I believe in Da’Rogers. Rogers got his first TD, his second TD, his first catch, his first yard, his first fantasy relevance all last week. Christmas comes early! A 6 for 107 game with 2 scores last week and I think he can do at least half that production this week. If you remember back to week 9, the Texans got picked apart late by Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton. The Texans may have nothing, not even pride left, but they’ll at least try to stop Hilton. “Who cares if this other guy does anything?!”
Delaine Walker (10.2%, 21%) The Titans have the biggest hit-or-miss rushing game in the league, and against the Cards, I’ll go miss. Plus I think the Cardinals will be able to run as stated above, so the Titans will get pass friendly with a side of ketchup. The Cardinals give up the most points to opposing TEs and Walker is back healthy from the concussion. Easily a top-10 TE this week.
SON OF A BENCH
Zac Stacy (70.2%, 70%) I’m stickin’ with ya Stacy! Brutal game for him last week in Arizona, averaging under 2 yards a carry. After 20+ carries in three straight weeks, his past three have been under 20 and I think the Rams get behind pretty early to the Saints. After a huge win against my Panthers, I think they get past their inconsistencies on the road and get up big.
Reggie Bush (80.8%, 68%) Bush has been awesome this year, but after his thigh getting frostbite last week before the Blizzard Bowl (sponsored by DQ), I don’t see any way you’d be confident starting him unless you also owned Joique Bell. Like I said in the open, play it like it was Week 2. You probably wouldn’t be risking a guy who might not play.
Victor Cruz (79.7%, 75%) Sometimes it’s just not your year… It really has been like going from Speed to Speed 2: Cruz Control. Just been terrible. And those %-start numbers are staggering, but I’m guessing it’s a lot of dead teams he sunk out of the playoffs. Going against the best D against WRs in fantasy, easy bench call.
Pierre Garcon (54.0%, 84%) Man, Yahoo loves the Frenchy! And I just don’t get it… Pierre was great early in the year, but the (breaking news!) Robert Griffin III benching and swap to Kirk Cousins doesn’t get me warm and fuzzy like it does for Shanahan. I just don’t like it.
Garrett Graham (15.0%, 22%) I know the % start numbers are well below my usual picks, but I wanted a TE play to sit compared to Walker, and Graham is a game-timer. Bad hammy, unable to practice, I’m avoiding this week.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin - and remember I’m going to be a little slower getting to them but I’ll get to everything well before kickoff! Good luck in your semis!