Good morning Razzballers (or good whatever time of day you are reading this). The fantasy season is winding down, but the NFL never sleeps! Aren’t you looking forward to the Pro Bowl?!! Yeah, me neither. They did change up things to possibly make it more interesting, but still, they don’t really play football. It’s like having an All-Star Pro Boxing match. I’m watching the NFL Combine this offseason and I think it will be more entertaining.
There is still some fantasy out there to be played. You can join the Razzball writers in our Sporting News Playoff league, password Schmohawk, and beat us down with your football smarts and what not.
Congratulations to Asdrubal Bastardo for winning our first annual guess Chris Johnson’s weight contest. Wait, not weight, something else. Well, whatever it was he won an awe-inspiring Sonavabench! coffee mug from our Zazzle store.
In today’s chapter of Razzball we are looking at what teams have something to play for and what teams don’t. You still may have a championship game or be playing in a salary cap league or are just interested in how hopeless your team’s chance of getting into the playoffs really is. So lets take a look, shall we?
New Orleans: With Minnesota losing Monday night the Saints’ wrapped up the #1 seed in the NFC, but Sean Payton says they will go “all out” because they just lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and they suck donkey testicles (his words, not mine!) How much do I trust him? I’m just not sure. I am sure they will evaluate injuries and err on the side of caution with players like Pierre Thomas. We could see a lot of Lynell Hamilton. It is still early in the week and we may know more soon, but unless you have poor backups, I would be worried about playing time.
Indianapolis: Peyton will play long enough to get a new shot on Manning Face.com and continue his start streak, but not enough to help your team at all. But they do actually have to play, and you know the Bisons are run D deficient. Donald Brown got a lot of work last week and could see enough this week to be a good start, but he could also be taken out at some point for the law offices of Simpson and Hart. With Painter in, you should just give up on anybody in the passing game.
San Diego: They have nothing to play for except, well, nothing really. Maybe some incentive laced contracts, so you know those players will be on the sidelines. Thankfully Washington will be playing their B team as well. Look for Darren Sproles to get a decent amount of work, but even he might get pulled at some point. Billy Volek won some fantasy players their leagues a few years back, but I wouldn’t put much faith in him. Sit your Charger starters.
Philadelphia: Thanks to Minnesota floundering, the Eagles only need to win to get the #2 seed and a bye. This is good news for all Eagles owners, except owners of any Eagles’ running backs, because they are just too spread out right now to be of much service.
Minnesota: Thankfully the Eagles play a 4 pm game so the Vikings will have a #2 seed and bye to play for when they face the Giants at home. If you saw the Giants get demolished by the Panthers you have to be licking your chops (not Jared Allen’s chops! You, sir, are disgusting) for this matchup. Start your Vikings with wild abandon!!
Green Bay: If Minnesota wins at 1pm the Packers will rest their starters no doubt. If they don’t, there is a slim chance they won’t. Hmm, sounds iffy to me and I wrote it. The chances are Minnesota will win, but as you can see, they haven’t done that recently. But I would still prepare for the Pack to pack it in.
Arizona: They play the Packers, but could have more riding on the game than them, but only if the Vikings lose. If they lose then the Cardinals have a shot at getting the #2 seed and a bye. They will almost certainly play all out for that chance, so if you have options that also go in the late games, then I think it is worth waiting.
New England: We’re getting some coachspeak from Belichick, weird, huh? On Tuesday he says, “Whoever plays, plays. Whoever doesn’t play, doesn’t play. It’s like that every week. We could go out there the first play of the game, something could happen. Someone else could be in there. Everybody needs to be ready to go all the time.” But when asked about resting starters he says, “That’s not really something we’ve done, and in all honesty I wouldn’t even anticipate doing it.” Wha? Huh? If they win they get the #3 seed. If they lose and Cincy wins, they get the #4 seed, but the difference isn’t much. I want to say they’ll play most of the game, but I can’t tell you that for sure and I would be cautious.
Dallas: Dallas can be seeded as high as 2nd or as low as 6th depending on the outcome of all types of football games. They need the Vikings to lose the early game to the Giants, then the Packers need to beat the Cardinals and of course the Cowboys need to beat the Eagles. This would leave a lot up to the Vikings game, but even if the Vikings win the Cowboys could have a home game at stake depending on the Cardinals/Packers game which is going on at the same time. So, with all that said, Dallas will play their starters. Feel all warm and fuzzy about starting them.
New York Jets: Rex Ryan was a little slim on knowledge a couple weeks ago when asked about the playoffs, but yes, they can get in with a win over Cincinnati. If they do get in, it could be the slipperiest, back door way, I’ve ever seen a team get into the playoffs. First they get in on the back of Curtis Painter and then there is a chance the Bengals will also be resting players. The fantasy implications are mostly on the ground with Thomas Jones continuing to be startable in a must win game and possibly even Shonn Greene. The Jets don’t trust Mark Sanchez with much right now, and I wouldn’t either.
Miami: Well, they need a whole lot of help and they are playing a Steelers team that also has an outside shot at the playoffs. For kicks lets look at who needs to lose for them to get in: Baltimore, Jacksonville, NY Jets, Houston, oh and Pittsburgh. The chances are as slim as someone starting a sentence, “Rex Ryan was a little slim.” Well, the fantasy implications are tough against the Steelers, but if Ricky Williams is healthy he is worth a flex option and if he doesn’t go Lex Hilliard would be flexing as well.
Baltimore: All Baltimore needs to do is win in Oakland to clinch a spot. You wouldn’t think that would be too hard, but Cincinnati and Philadelphia had problems traveling west and Pittsburgh couldn’t even beat them in Catsup Stadium. But Ray Rice owners still playing are happy that Ray Rice from Rutgers is still playing with motivation. The Ravens have a ton of incentive against a Raiders team that doesn’t. Start your Ravens!
Pittsburgh: They need to win and have Houston and the NY Jets lose or Houston and Baltimore lose, or the NY Jets, Baltimore, and Denver lose, for them to make the playoffs. We can’t be sure that New England and Cincinnati will play all their starters so that could be detrimental. Either way, the Steelers players are all good starts against Miami. The Dolphins looked bad against the Texans last week and Big Ben and company have been putting up good numbers.
Houston: The Texans need to win and have two of Baltimore, Denver and NY Jets lose. One of the many AFC teams that needs the Bengals to not rest their starters and beat the Jets, but at least if they beat the Patriots there is a slim chance the Bengals could play hard to get the third seed. Yes, my brain hurts as well. Houston will be at home instead of Foxboro so that makes a big difference. The Patriots don’t have as much to play for, but still enough to make the game competitive for a while, so get your Texans in there!
Jacksonville: Like Miami, they need the earth to fall out of orbit to get into the playoffs. They need to win and have four out of these five teams to lose: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Houston, Denver and the NY Jets. But they do get Cleveland and a glimmer of playoff hope. MJD should turn things around this week.
Denver: They have 10 non-tie scenarios that I don’t really want to go into because there are better things to do in life. They can actually lose, as long as “The Road” becomes ripped from the headlines, and still make the playoffs. But the easiest way they can get in is to win and then have either the Jets or Ravens lose, plus one of the Jets, the Ravens, the Steelers, and Texans lose. They, like many other teams, will be calling Marvin Lewis up and bribing him with leftover Christmas candy. But no matter what, they will be playing to win. Denver should have a goodly amount of startable players against the Chiefs.
If you see any factual errors be sure to point them out in the comments. I am usually infallible, but you never know.