Remember the crappy bikes (you didn’t realize they were crappy at the time) you had when you were in elementary school? I’m talking about the type where you’d brake by moving the pedals backward.
Then, one day, it happened. You got a REAL bike; the kind that changed gears, had hand brakes and, wait for it….. pegs! At that moment you realized that you had enjoyed riding crappy bikes your entire life and it was a hoax, made even more pathetic by your inability to realize what you were missing.
Every time I get new computer I feel this way. You feel like you’re from the future. You pity all of the mere plebes out there, floundering around with their inferior technology. If you’re a Mac person like Doc I guess you feel this way all the time, even when your computer is three years old.
I’m reporting to you from the “Death Star” which, based on my limited knowledge of Star Wars, was pretty f-ing sweet. Doc informed me that at some point it gets blown up, to which I replied “yeah, well, it is a PC after all.”
What is the point of all this? I want to give a shout out to HP for creating this amazing machine, the dv6t quad edition. Let me say right now that the Intel i7 chip (new line of quad core processors) is the real deal. The reviews have been positive but they don’t even do this thing justice. Hey Microsoft, I’m tired of all the commercials where everyone takes credit for “thinking up” Windows 7. Where’s the guy that was the brainchild behind Vista? Whose idea was that?
OK so that is my random computer rant. Back to football! For many of you this is the semi-final round of your playoffs. Every week that you’re alive in the playoffs is the most important week of the season. Therefore I am officially declaring this the most important week of the season.
Since this is the most important week of the season let’s talk about the decision making process and how we go about filling out our lineups. Personally I believe that players ought to be prioritized as follows: 1) projected opportunity in TODAY’S game 2) matchup 3) talent 4) assuming a player is active you can give some consideration to the fact that he’s battling injury. We find that often, however, coaches exaggerate the extent of injuries and player are just as productive during such weeks.
This is pretty much how I make all my decisions about who to start on a weekly basis. What you really need to pay attention to most is #1; notice the words I used to describe opportunity (projected, in today’s game). What a player has done in the past doesn’t matter. What a player will probably do in the future doesn’t matter. We want to know how much opportunity he’s getting TODAY in THIS game.
If you think about it that’s what we’re paying for with high draft picks, more so than talent in many cases. We need to choose our lineups each week according to the same principal. I’ll take an unproven running back who is likely to get all the touches over a known quantity (like Ahmad Bradshaw) who’s not the feature guy and will only get 12-15 touches.
So for this all important week scrutinize your lineup and use your best estimate of anticipated touches. You can occasionally get burned this way but over the course of time you’ll benefit from this strategy. As always post your start/sit quandaries in the “Comments” section and we’ll advise you the best we can given the information available at the time.
Larry Fitzgerald – He is going to play. Stop freaking out. There will be fantasy owners who out think themselves and find some twisted logic to sit Fitz. These people are all lesser human beings and I hope that none of our readers consider doing such a thing.
Steven Jackson – Swine flu is in full effect in St. Louis. Jackson has been battling back injuries for several weeks; now he’s been missing practice with flu-like symptoms. There are grumblings out there that he could miss tomorrow’s game which would be a huge blow to fantasy owners. You’re going to have to watch and wait all the way until game time and be prepared to throw someone else in your lineup if necessary.
Calvin Johnson – Slated right now as a game time decision but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t play. Unfortunately Culpepper is going to start and he’s total garbage. The reality is Megatron’s upside is simply too high to sit him. This isn’t the matchup/situation you were hoping for when you drafted him but benching him could cost you.
Dwayne Bowe – Is going to make you feel like a moron or a genius. The matchup against Cleveland is too good to pass up unless your team is absolutely stacked. Otherwise you’re going to have to use the “play and pray” method.
Fred Taylor – Will not play. This is good news for Laurence Maroney. Sammy Morris owners you’re going to have to wait and stash; this is not the week to get cute with your lineup
Brian Westbrook – Unless your playoffs go until week 17 you can pretty much write him off as irrelevant. He will not play today and is not expected to play next week either. Assuming he gets signed (considering his age and talent that shouldn’t be an issue) I wonder if he could be a comeback type player or if this is the beginning of the end for a great player.
Arian Foster – We have seen him in a lot of start/sit questions and expect that a lot of you will be debating playing him up until game time. He might have to share the ball a little bit but Kubiak’s been consistent all week in saying that it’s his job. You’re also looking at a matchup against the Rams.
Justin Forsett – This is a tricky situation. Mora is suggesting that he will split touches evenly with Julius Jones. Forsett is also expected to get the goal line opportunities when it’s his “series”. In non PPR I would stay away from him unless you’re really stuck. In PPR it’s a tougher decision (one which I’m battling with personally in several leagues). He is a definite flex option depending on your roster.
Roddy White – Even if he’s healthy you shouldn’t play him.
Cleveland Browns Running Backs – Avoid all of them no matter what. That includes Josh Cribbs unless you’re in a return yard league in which case he should be your MVP this season. It will probably be difficult to play any of them should you make it to the finals. But honestly if you were counting on Cleveland Browns running backs to take you to the Promised Land odds are you didn’t make the playoffs to begin with let alone make a run at the title.
Correll Buckhalter – Will almost certainly be out for today’s game. At this point I feel like it’s safe to drop him in favor of a different backup running back.
Sidney Rice – Questionable for today’s game. He’s been battling the flu so it’s difficult to say that he’ll play for sure or to what extent he’ll be effective. I know he’s been a stud all season but if you have other quality options I would roll with them; the Vikings play Sunday night so you won’t be able to slide anyone else in unless you own Harvin or Berrian.
Michael Turner – Might not play. Even if he is active don’t even think about starting him.