Wow, that was an interesting wild card round. If you were curious, the top quarterback was Andrew Luck, Jamaal Charles had 1 point, and the Kansas City defense gave up 45 points in a loss. In fact, of the players selected most by challenge participants, only a very few lived up to the billing. Players like Jimmy Graham fell short (but he could help you out by having a dominating performance against the Seahawks this week), and players like Donald Brown dominated. So, with so much uncertainty out there, what do you do in the divisional round?
Like I said before the wild card round, you need to be as safe as you can be, but now is the time to start taking a few risks as well. With only eight teams left, you have a better shot now of predicting the eventual Super Bowl teams, and going with the ones you think will make it is your job at this stage. Think about it. If most people in your league are working hard to find players they think will give them the the most points, they’re all playing it super-safe. But they’re also not going to end up with a full team that has bonus multipliers for the Super Bowl, and that’s your aim. You want to have players getting points for you all the way through. Now, keep in mind I’m talking about the edition of Playoff Challenge on NFL.com, not the one on cbssports.com.
The fun of bonus multipliers is that playing the same player multiple weeks in a row gives you bonus points each week. That means picking your Super Bowl participants this early and sticking with them if at all possible gives you a leg up on the competition. Of course it also means that if you’re wrong you could well be behind the eight-ball in the end. That’s where the risk comes into play. So, let’s analyze.
Say you think the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl. This week you should pick players only from those two teams. If they both win this week then you will get bonus points from all of your players next week, while others in your league who were chasing performances this week will fall behind. Yes, they might score more points this round, but getting double points in the next round will aid you significantly.
As for me, I’ve decided to go with the Broncos and the 49ers. I was impressed with the way the 49ers hung in there and defeated the Packers on Sunday. I think they can go into Carolina and dispatch the Panthers this week. And the Broncos have a score to settle with the Chargers, having lost to them at home a month ago. I think they will get the job done and both teams will advance. This also means that playing “marginal” players or “backups” from the teams you’ve selected might also be preferred. For example, my lineup for the divisional round looks like this:
|RUNNING BACK||Knowshon Moreno||Denver|
|RUNNING BACK||Montee Ball||Denver|
|WIDE RECEIVER||Damaryius Thomas||Denver|
|WIDE RECEIVER||Michael Crabtree||San Francisco|
|TIGHT END||Julius Thomas||Denver|
|KICKER||Phil Dawson||San Francisco|
|DEFENSE/ST||San Francisco||San Francisco|
*Notice what I said about backups when it comes to Montee Ball in my lineup this week. I could have gone with Frank Gore, but he has a bad history against Carolina, and a worse history against Seattle (the possible matchup in the next round). While I think San Francisco will win both games, I am concerned that he won’t score as many points as Ball in either matchup because Ball will possibly get chances to score for Denver.
*I’m already making good use of bonus multipliers with Moreno and Damaryius Thomas. While they got me no points for the wild card round, they are eligible to get me double their point totals this week, which should also help my team more in the long run. If Denver wins the divisional game both of those players will get me triple points next week. Risk/reward.
*Speaking of double points this week, having the San Francisco defense gives me another opportunity to get double points this week.
I’m still thinking about whether or not to go with Eric Decker instead of Crabtree at my second wide receiver spot, but if San Francisco gets to the Super Bowl I think he’ll have a better chance of scoring points as there are less options in the San Francisco offense. That’s the only spot that might change, though, because remember what I’ve always said: Don’t fiddle with your lineup after Tuesday. You’ll regret it.
The Fantasy Ace