A lot of you have joined our playoff league over at Sporting News and if you haven’t, go back and click on that Sporting News link, or this one, they’re the same. I’ve been a fan of Sporting News salary cap games for a while now. Compared to other sites, you can’t just start off with a team of studs, which makes strategy more important. At least I like to tell myself that since I won the big prize a few years back. In the playoff game you also don’t have enough cash to throw together a great team.
You start with 35 million to spend on 2 QB’s, 2 RB’s, 2 WR/TE’s and 1 Defense. If I had unlimited cash here is a team I would like:
Aaron Rodgers 9.25
Tony Romo 7.75
Ray Rice 8.00
Ryan Grant: 6.25
Randy Moss 6.65
Larry Fitzgerald 6.25
New York Jets 3.35
That comes to 47.5 million which puts me 12.5 million over budget. Now I can cook the books, but knowing me I’d fall in the oven. Yes, you can start Mark Sanchez for 5 million to cut some costs, but you are cutting more than costs! The key to a successful lineup is getting the most value out of each position, but unlike the Dollar Store, value should also have quality. Also remember that you get points for receptions and return yards. Those two things help a lot when mining for value.
If you are in a No Trade Buying league like Razzball’s, value also equals picking a winner. For each loser you pick, another trade is wasted. You start with 4 trades to work with after wildcard weekend (then 2 after each additional weekend), so you really can’t pick more than 4 losers or you will have a roster spot filled by a big fat zero (think JaMarcus Russell). I believe that the NFC Wildcard winners are harder to pick than the AFC, but have a better shot to get past Minnesota or New Orleans than the AFC Wildcard winners have of getting past San Diego or Indianapolis. If you can pick a wildcard winner that goes to the Super Bowl you have found the golden ticket and get to hang out with Gene Wilder, not a little person that is CGI’d into a hundred of himself. There aren’t exactly great values at the QB position so I am probably going to spend the cash for Aaron Rodgers if I can fit him under the cap.
Tony Romo 7.75 — He’s a decent price for someone playing like an elite quarterback right now.
Donovan McNabb 7.35 — His price is good, but he was shut down in Big D last week. If you feel good about them righting the ship and taking the game you go for him.
Joe Flacco 6.0 — I like his matchup against the Pats corners, but there is a decent chance he won’t get past the first round and his upside isn’t as high as Rodgers, Warner, Romo, etc…
The next position is running back. This years crop of RB’s in the playoffs isn’t super, happy, fun-time good, but they are what they are. Ok, first off, if you want decent QB’s you can’t have Ray Rice, which, if Willis McGahee steals his TD’s again, might be ok. But who at RB could be a steal? Here are my best value picks, but even the value picks aren’t exactly cheap.
Beanie Wells 4.85 — Arizona is the ultimate turn it on, turn it off team. If you think they will turn it on for the playoffs like they did last year, Beanie is a good price.
Sammy Morris 4.25 — If I had to throw a wild guess out there it would be that Sammy Morris will get the most use in the clusterchick Pats backfield.
Felix Jones 4.5 — He is starting to creep into Barber’s carries and has home run ability with a good price. Add to that his return prowess and you have a good value.
Willis McGahee 4.0 — He’s getting goal line carries and has the ability that he showed last week. But how far will his team get?
With no cheap RB’s with a good opportunity to put up decent numbers the biggest value has to come from the TE/WR slot. I almost always go with WR’s when given the choice between the two, but I might not this year with Jermichael Finley coming on strong. Another extreme value pick is Julian Edelman. Welker’s injury was a blessing for those trying to fit a decent team under the salary cap. I’m sure he’d agree if you emailed him your team when you are done.
Julian Edelman 1.00 — He’s pretty much a no brainer with his price and opportunity. He also is has added value in a ppr league like this. Wes Welker led all receivers in Sporting News scoring this season.
Jermichael Finley 1.75 — He has become Rodgers favorite red zone target and one of his favorite every zone targets.
Patrick Crayton 2.75 — Return yards and the horribleness of Roy Williams make Crayton an interesting pick.
Steve Breaston 2.00 — If Boldin doesn’t go, well, you know.
Brad Smith .50 — He probably will see some more looks in the wildcat. He is a boom or bust pick, but if you really want some of the higher priced studs he’ll help you make out a roster.
Defenses in this game are a huge pain. It’s always a good idea to play matchups with defenses because you can easily go negative in a high scoring game, but that is impossible with out extra trades. My favorite defense by far for the first round is the New York Jets, but what are their chances of them getting by the second round?
New York Jets 3.35 — I think they’ll have a good game, but I don’t like them getting past the second round.
Green Bay Packers 2.5 — They have great ball hawking skills and for some reason I like them to go far. Don’t take my word for that though.
Dallas Cowboys 2.75 — I have a good feeling about Felix Jones and they just shut out the Iggles.
Make sure you do your own digging around for value picks. The playoffs are a crapshoot at best and you need to go with your gut or you’ll kick yourself in the gut (if you can bend like that). Here is the team I threw together:
Aaron Rodgers 9.25
Tony Romo 7.75
Felix Jones 4.5
Ryan Grant 6.25
Julian Edelman 1.00
Jermichael Finley 1.75
Green Bay Packers 2.5
This team adds up to 33 million and leaves me with 2 million to play with when I have to go back to the drawing board next week. Yes, I am stacked in Cowboys and Packers which are NFC teams. Like I said before, if I thought any AFC wildcard could get to the bowl I would have probably corralled some for my team. The chances of you having a full roster come the Super Bowl are fairly slim, but that’s what makes it fun! You live and die by your choices!