Leagues are usually mixed ¬†between your 6-team playoffs starting this week, or if you’re in RCL or in any other 4-team playoff format, this is your week. ¬†The last week of the regular season. ¬†Where points scored tie-breakers make you hate your former self from 2 months in the past. ¬†If only you could send a Terminator to kill that former self before you made that roster move. ¬†Wait, would that kill you now? ¬†I don’t understand time travel!
My playoff/elimination game philosophy is no different than any other week. ¬†You hear all sorts of “don’t get too cute” or “stick with your studs” or “Sarah Connor????” ¬†Dude, the playoffs are no different than any other week. ¬†You want to score more than the other team. ¬†I know you’re reading that and thinking John Madden wrote today’s LSD. ¬†I could go for some turducken though! ¬†But it’s ludicrous the things you see sometimes – play who you think will score the most. ¬†If that means benching T.Y. Hilton for Justin Hunter in a huge gamble (like I’m doing in one league, but I need to get a preposterous amount of points for an unlikely 4 seed), then go for it. ¬†I honestly think Hunter outscores Hilton. ¬† If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. ¬†Hilton has sucked and Hunter will get garbage time – I don’t think I’m getting too cute. ¬†Although you may think so. ¬†I do have devilishly good looks… ¬†Play who you want and if you’re torn LSD is here for ya!
Looking back to last week’s picks, and I’m still a Hunter fan despite the goose egg he dropped on me last week. ¬†But it was “big money! big money!” with my other four –¬†Michael Floyd, Donald Brown, Josh McCown and Alex Smith having good games. ¬†For my benchers, and man, I bought way too much into that Bills defense bouncing back. ¬†Matt Ryan¬†wasn’t great, but probably still a loss and Steven Jackson decided to be good at football again. ¬†Even Tony Gonzalez got a TD! ¬†Yikes… The Colts also decided they can’t play run D like they did the first half of the season and let Chris Johnson go nuts. ¬†At least Vincent Jackson had a subpar game, which while decent, I’m calling a win dammit! ¬†Rough week, but I guess I’ll take 5-5. ¬†Here‚Äôs who I like in week 14 and their % started in ESPN and Yahoo, respectively (NOTE ‚Äď these are not always recommendations for 1-for-1 swaps, just guys I like who are understarted and guys I hate overstarted):
Josh McCown (10.4%, 30%)¬† Officially your Bears starter yet again, it’s hard to knock on what McCown has done when called upon this year. ¬†TDs not in just every start but every appearance has him undoubtedly a steady option, plus he has some of the biggest and most talented receivers to chuck it to. ¬†The weather shouldn’t be too brutal and the Cowboys pass D isn’t above league average. ¬†I like him as a solid QB play if you don’t have any of the studs.
Rueben Randle (12.3%, 23%) ¬†I know his last week was brutal, but I like the matchup against a bad Chargers D and the nice weather there in San Diego. ¬†I would make some sort of Anchorman reference, but you turn on your TV and get plenty of cross-promotions with that… I see him getting a TD here.
Riley Cooper (18.9%, 44%) ¬†Yahoo has it right! ¬†Great matchup against a bad Lions pass D, and he’s looked great despite the down fantasy performances. ¬†The Lions should give the Eagles a good run for their money, keeping the Birds passing. ¬†I don’t see any way you could leave him out this weekend with the big upside.
Bobby Rainey (13.3%, 37%) ¬†I really think ESPN needs to work on their sampling. ¬†Look at the percents in the picks thus far! ¬†As I saw last week, the Bills defense is turrrrible. ¬†I thought their data from the first half was more pertinent, but nooooo, they’re gassed. ¬† And Rainey was the only good offensive player when my Panthers trounced the Bucs. ¬†I think Rainey gets 20+ touches with big upside, and why he was my DraftKings pick as early as mid-week. ¬†Think he’s a sure-fire RB2 or Flex.
Nate Burleson (2.3%, 15%) ¬†For the same reason I like Cooper, I think this game becomes a shootout. ¬†The weather looks like it should be decent enough for big passing plays, and everyone including the drunk hobo in Hoboken knows Calvin Johnson is getting every single look. ¬†So why not give a couple to Burleson to shake the D? ¬†We saw a nice return to action two weeks ago and I think he’s more week 12 than week 13.
SON OF A BENCH
Colin Kaepernick (56.1%, 45$) ¬†I’ve always liked Kaepernick, love the arm, love the reloaded weapons, but this is the toughest matchup he gets on his slate – twice a year. ¬†The Seahawks just made Drew Brees look like Jake Delhomme out there, and while they’re on the road and not in their impossible-to-lose-in home turf, I think Colin K is a bench for hotter options. ¬†A guy like Nick Foles or even Josh McCown I like more.
C.J. Spiller (77.6%, 56%) ¬†Again to reiterate, it’s hilarious how close my picks are following Yahoo % startage vs. ESPN! ¬†I get that I might get some flack given the big game last week, but he hurt his ankle again during the game last week and very easily be the single-digit fantasy player we’ve seen in all but 3 weeks this year. ¬†The Bucs D isn’t awful, they’ve actually given up the 8th-least fantasy points to opposing RBs and if Spiller is not feeling it yet again, this could be brutal. ¬†And I think it will be.
Zac Stacy (57.2%, 55%) ¬†I like Stacy, I was really blown away how well he ran against the Seahawks in primetime in week 8, but I just hate this matchup. ¬†At Arizona, in the “Red Zone”, this is a toughie. ¬†The Cards give up the 2nd-least fantasy points to opposing RBs, and can make a statement in their Wild Card push. ¬†I like Rainey more.
Marques Colston (67.0%, 49%) ¬†I’m actually shocked at those % start numbers for Colston. ¬†Dude’s been brutal. ¬†And my Panthers, despite my pessism for them extending their win-streak in the very tough NO dome environment, I don’t see Colston having a big game. ¬†I like so many options more, for example, I think it’s Cooper over him and not close.
Vincent Jackson (89.0%, 90%) ¬†I struggled with this last pick, so why not an oldie goldie! ¬†Jackson is questionable as of the time of this writing, and with a bum hammy I’m always nervous for a WR. ¬†The matchup is great, but VJax has always been hit or miss. ¬†As of right now I’d weigh other big options and be cautious in your normal Vjax deployment.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me¬†@jbgilpin¬†– and remember I‚Äôm going to be a little slower getting to them but I‚Äôll get to everything well before kickoff!¬† ¬†Good luck in week 14!