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The semis are here for fantasy football playoffs, and it’s the most interesting week of the year in my opinion.  I don’t know why, but my most memorable stories seem to happen in the semis.  Maybe it’s because I seem to lose in the championship more often than not…

There’s the big news that RGIII is officially out, meaning fantasy playoff teams lead by RGII are going to have to search for options either on their bench or on the wire, if their league can even have roster moves.  Since RGIII has become such an integral part of winning fantasy rosters this year, it adds another part of the mystique to my favorite week of the year.  Imagine making your championship with the story line, “The highest scoring fantasy player got hurt and I had to play Josh Freeman, yet I still won!”

My favorite story is still my cobbled together fantasy team from 2004 in my long time dynasty league, featuring Billy Volek, Drew Bennett and Derrick Mason on the Titans that went on a tear through the playoffs, especially in week 15 in the semis.  Boy was my opponent mad.  If you have any good stories share them below!

Looking at last week’s picks, Colin Kaepernick salvaged a usable day with a last minute TD run, and Tony Scheffler scored a TD and had a nice day.  Alex Green, Chris Givens and Kendall Wright all had usable days, but didn’t really go off.  I’ll call it two wins and three washes, to be optimistic.  For my down calls, Greg Jennings, who I seemed to be on island on telling people to bench, had only one catch, and Antonio Gates and Larry Fitzgerald unsurprisingly had further troubles scoring fantasy points despite their high start percentages.  Matt Ryan had one of his worst first halves of his career, but turned it around in junk time, and Reggie Bush had a decent day.  I’ll call my record 5-2-3. 

Here’s five guys not started in enough leagues and five guys started in too many leagues that should be benched, along with their % started in ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues, respectively.  And remember, these picks are not always suggestions for direct 1-for-1 swaps if you own players in both sections, but merely picks for guys not started enough and started too often.

Possible Starters

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay (32.4%, 34%) If you have RGIII out, I think one of the best options that you either could have stowed away or might luckily be on your wire (albeit unlikely) is Freeman, who had his best week of the year against the Saints.  In week 7 he put up 420 yards and 3 TDs, a stat line I could see him coming close to replicating against that porous secondary again this week.  Indoors and in a game that should be a shootout, I think he is a top-7 QB this week.

Matt Schaub, QB, Houston (27.9%, 29%) Another QB that could fill in admirably is Matt Schaub,, who has kind of had a down year with a few huge games.  I think this week’s tilt against the Colts will be another shootout, with how bad that Texans secondary has been since the injury to Jonathan Joseph.  He’s not the sexiest play, but I think gets 250+ yards and two TDs, in a game the Texans will be hungry to bounce back in.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Atlanta (6.7%, 21%) In last week’s lost against the Panthers, Rodgers actually saw the field on 30 snaps in comparison to only 20 for Turner.  I know Turner got the TD, he is for sure the goal-line back, but when the Falcons are in pass mode, it’s obviously all Rodgers.  I think going against the Giants this week, it’s going to be a close game with the Falcons playing from behind in a few stretches.  In PPR leagues, I think Rodgers is a for sure flex option, and even would play him over David Wilson (see below).

Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans (32.2%, 56%) Moore has had an underrated year this year, and while he is coming off one of his worst games, I think bounces back against the Buccaneers.  Tamp Bay gives up the most points to opposing fantasy WRs, and as their most consistent receiving threat opposite Marques Colston, should get a lot of love.  A must start this week.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota (22.4%, 23%) Another guy coming off a tough fantasy day (he didn’t even have a single catch), I think Rudolph brings back the holiday cheer with a nice game this afternoon.  Up against the Rams who have given up 18 catches to Tight Ends in the past 3 weeks, plus a Vikings offense that has no other solid receiving option with Harvin now on IR, I like Rudolph for 5-6 catches and a possible score.

Son Of A Bench

David Wilson, RB, New York Giants (26.1%, 38%) If you have been listening to the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast (and I know you have been!), our biggest running gag has been how down I was on David Wilson from the preseason and how much my co-host Nick Capozzi is in love with him.  After his breakout week, and Nick finally getting to have some hope with me bashing him all year, Ahmad Bradshaw is officially out, giving Wilson his first career start.  Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin were brought in and may get some carries, and it’s tough to see them cutting in too much, but then again Tom Coughlin’s quote wasn’t very encouraging, when asked if Wilson could be the every down back:

“There’s no reason why he couldn’t be.  Whether he will be or not is a different thing. We have a couple other guys who are going to help us in different ways.”

Wilson is uber-talented, but we’ve seen it before, one fumble might mean the rest of the game on the bench. If you’ve been following the podcast, you know my stance.  Not worth the risk as a playoffs starter.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit (68.0%, 77%) Probably my second big call I’ve been going with all year is being down on Matthew Stafford, who has been decent after a rough start, and bounces back somewhat to be the 7th ranked QB in standard scoring.  Considering his high draft day value I’d say I was right, and with a matchup today against the Cardinals, I think he has a down day when you need him the most.  You look at the shocking 58-0 loss last week and dream of a 5-TD game for Stafford, but Russell Wilson had only 7 completions and 1 TD in that game!  Arizona looked so bad, all you needed was a capable defense and a running back.  Detroit has those ingredients.  I would go with a different QB.

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons (72.6%, 52%) See Jacquizz Rodgers above.  Although, I need Turner to get one of those goal line scores for me to make the Razzball Writer’s League Championship, as I went light on RBs and have to play him.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas (78.3%, 62%) I think Bryant could be OK here, but the risk so outweighs the reward that I would not trust him for my championship run.  One Romo Bullet (I bet Jessica Simpson got a few of those) and it’s adios mis manos.  That means good my hands.  I have no idea if that works.  Anyway, my point is, he could have to come out early, and that’s not someone I want to start.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo (46.8%, 54%) Johnson has had a really slow season, which doesn’t seem to be relayed too often because he’s had a consistent 6-8 points every week.  Which is fine in deeper leagues, but if you need upside, I’d avoid.  Plus the Seahawks allow the least points to opposing WRs and Johnson should see a lot of Richard Sherman across from him.  And as we saw last week against the Cardinals, the Seahawks don’t phone it in for junk time.  I’d bench Johnson in the battle for Toronto.

If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone either to hit your opponent with a semi, or avoid getting hit by one!

 

45 Responses

  1. TheMizer says:
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    The day of battle is finally here. In one corner you have CJ Spiller free from the handcuff shackles. In the other the Geogia tornado Mr. Moreno. Need a descision on who to start alongside Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles. Also should I stick with Vernon Davis or get Dreesen? This is for the chip. You are one of the reasons I’m here JG.

    Thanks.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Thanks man! Glad I helped get ya here. I def like spiller. Even if buffalo is down, he’ll be there as a check down on get some screens. I’m down on moreno too. Yea Davis has been such an eye sore, but against that bad secondary I could see him gettin some late junk work trying to keep sf in the game. Tough to at but even tougher to bench for dreessen for me. Good luck today man!

  2. Nick says:
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    I understand your stance on Wilson, but I’m looking for upside play against the highest scoring team in our league and I need help. Need to pick three RBs from this group:

    Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, David Wilson, Knowshon Moreno, and DeMarco Murray.

    Format is .5 PPR, 6 pt TDs, and .1 pt Yds rush and rec.

    Thank you!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I understand you need upside and would still go rice Murray and Ridley. I’d stick with the studs. I’m down on Moreno a bit and I think Wilson could supremely disappoint too. Even with bad matchups Ridley and Murray can make it happen, they’re good enough.

  3. Nik says:
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    Need help, for flex bell, leshoure or sproles. Romo or kaepernick. Dez or Gordon?

    Thanks in advance for the victory

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Leshoure kaep and Gordon. Arizona was so bad against the run and detroit should be up. 49ers will need big offense to keep up, love kaep again. Gordon I think both is safer and has more upside than dez

  4. J Money says:
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    .5 PPR
    I have 1 WR spot and 2 flex and I need to decide between the following players:
    Steve Smith vs SD
    Pierre Garçon vs Cle
    Josh Gordon vs Was
    Steve Ridley vs SF
    Cecil Shorts vs Mia

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I’m leaving out shorts and garçon. Who knows how well cousins will play in a full game and I’m nervous with shorts coming back from concussion.

  5. barker says:
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    hello there and thank you for the help throughout the season

    need some help picking WRs for this week i need 3 out of these — i can also pick up a FA

    colston garcon d alexander jennings fitz dez

    notable FAs include boldin crabtree malcolm floyd denarius moore

    also for my DEF would u go with GB NE NYJ CLE PITT

    i have CJ2k going on monday vs the jets so i have been shying from them

    flex CJ2K or leshore

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I like denario colston and I might pick up Crabtree. That ne secondary has given up tons of big games and he’s been consistent. I like cle as your defense, we haven’t seen cousins play a full game and I have a feeling he could make some mistakes.

  6. Nico says:
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    I’ve got 4 guys for 3 spots in a .5 PPR and .1 point for 10 yards Return league. I’ve got a first time starter David Wilson I know you’re down on, but he’s also returning kicks today, Pierre Garcon without RGIII, Roddy White who was cleared to play but hasn’t practiced all week with an injury, and a boring Michael Crabtree. Which one do you sit in the playoffs? Thanks!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      If you feel good on Wilson don’t let me talk you out of it! But I would bench him. Garcon is close, but he’s my bench if you like Wilson. Cousins will find him a few times, but who knows what a full game stat line will be like

  7. Steve says:
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    Hi,

    Stuck between five mediocre WRs because of match ups: Steve Johnson, Golden Tate, Greg Jennings, D. Amendola, and J. Blackmon.

    I need to start three. Non-ppr league. Appreciate any insight you might have.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Give me the j’s. Jennings johnson and justin (Blackmon) scared of reinjury for amendola and Tate isn’t in that class for me, even though I know jb has only had a few big weeks

  8. Randall says:
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    Rams, Browns or Titans defense?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Give me the titans. Mark Sanchez is the opposing qb haha.

  9. Hey, need to pick a flex out of these guys:

    Jacquizz Rodgers
    Antonio Brown
    Malcom Floyd
    Justin Blackmon

    I’m leaning Jacquizz because I think he’s the safest and can rack up some points even without a likely TD…Who do you like?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Yea if it’s a ppr I definitely like Jacquizz the most. Prob would still play him in standard. Malcolm Floyd is my second choice.

  10. Javi says:
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    Non ppr:

    Have to choose between Garcon, Nicks and Boldin.
    Was set on Garcon untill RG3 was out.
    What do you recommend?

    Thanks

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Yea I think I’d do garcon if rgiii is playing but since hes gone I would indeed change to nicks. Think nicks has some good upside against the falcons

  11. Dan says:
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    PPR league, need 2 of 3:

    Garcon
    Lance Moore
    Shorts

    Also, Reggie Bush or Sproles?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Moore and garcon. Don’t trust shorts again yet. Since ppr definitely sproles. Bucs worst against pass, one of best against run. I figure sproles sees a little extra of the field

  12. the hungarian hippo says:
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    right now i have roddy, blackmon and antonio brown starting for me. should i bump one of them out for owens? non ppr league

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Are there hippos on Hungary???? Haha jk. Yea I like your lineup, don’t trust owens at all.

      • the hungarian hippo says:
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        Only the hungariest

  13. Jermo says:
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    David Wilson, DMC, Roddy White, Colston. Pick 3 (PPR)

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I’m a broken record today for Wilson hate. I’m leaving him out. Like your other guys

  14. Oilcan Giuseppe says:
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    ppr league flex….Ridley,J. Bell,Beanie wells or Lance Moore?

    16 team non ppr,need 2 flex….Britt,Hartline,Joseph Morgan and Daniel Thomas

    non ppr,need 1 WR and 1 flex….Colston,Josh Morgan and Knowshon

    thnks

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I actually like lance Moore. Should have a big game. Then britt and hartline. Biggest roles. Then last I leave out josh Morgan. Not on the same level as those other 2

  15. Brian says:
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    Please help!

    Need a flex and WR: choices include D Wilson, Dwyer, G Jennings, Garçon and S Johnson.

    Also, Kaepernick or Big Ben at QB?

    Thanks

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Give me Jennings and dwyer. Don’t trust garcon with rgiii out and don’t like your other options as I laid out above. Wilson better be bad I’ve been calling him a bench all morning! Then I go kaep. All qbs do well vs. ne (minus Schaub last week) and there should be some junk time

  16. Oilcan Giuseppe says:
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    very deep 2 TE non ppr….Dwayne Allen or Kendricks?

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Allen. Like the matchup Texans secondary shakey. Is sched fled available? Like him too

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      Wow responding on my phone today. Was supposed to say “scheffler”

  17. gmatt21 says:
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    GIVENS OR AMENDOLA!!!!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      I’m gonna say whichever will fix your caps lock :) I like givens

      • gmatt21 says:
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        @Jonathan Gilpin: givens? its ppr, i love amendola as a person (cuz i know him) not really. but givens really? even in ppr?

        • JB Gilpin

          Jonathan Gilpin says:
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          Yea bc amendola could be knocked out and givens will be seeing his deep routes again

  18. FillyP says:
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    Imagine missing your championship with the story line, “The highest scoring fantasy player got hurt and I had to play Josh Freeman, so I lost!”

    Fixed that for you. Ugh.

    • ivebeenupthreedaysstraight says:
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      @FillyP: Me too: put a claim in on Freeman to take him off waivers and started Romo this week against the number one scoring team in the league. Freeman gets scooped up (and started) by another guy in the playoffs thus taking the option for me to make a hasty and ill advised decision off the table, thank god, and the unbeatable team i’m playing starts four guys who score less than six points between them while benching over 100pts. AP’s 200+ rushing yards were pretty tasty, though, and factored largely into his pedestrian point total–which is still one point bigger than mine. If Bilal Powell can put up a performance good enough to erase the one point deficit tomorrow then dumb luck has just dragged my team into the championship (likely against they guy who felt the need to pick up and start freeman….)

      Anyway, what’s the word on whether RGIII expects to play next week? Or is there none?

      • JB Gilpin

        Jonathan Gilpin says:
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        @ivebeenupthreedaysstraight: With the Redskins now in control of their own destiny, and reports surfacing that RGIII said he could have played, I think he’s back out there. I hope you win tonight!

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @ivebeenupthreedaysstraight: @FillyP: Sorry man! Yea what a brutal game, but it’s not like others weren’t optimistic. Tough game right these.

  19. Bryan says:
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    I played Josh Freeman and Danario Alexander and I still won! Well…I’m up by 0.12 points so I’m really just praying for no stat corrections. Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris were did most of the workload.

    • JB Gilpin

      Jonathan Gilpin says:
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      @Bryan: Nice win! Yea tough week for a lot of consistent guys like Alexander, and I missed out on Roddy White and Reggie Wayne in the Razzball Writers League, knocking me out… Weird week of football!

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