Playoff Challenge: Divisional Round

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:

POSITION PLAYER TEAM
 QUARTERBACK  Peyton Manning  Denver
 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

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6 responses to “Playoff Challenge: Divisional Round

  1. Nice word, although I would have to disagree on the Ball over Gore pick. Even against a couples stingy defenses I’ll take my chances with Gore. I’m not real familiar with this type of playoff challenge…. Can you only pick from those two teams? Is there a cap? If not just wondering why not go with Lynch?

    • You can pick from any team still in the playoffs. I’ll answer your queries in reverse order. I’m not going with Lynch because I don’t believe Seattle will win against San Francisco and I’m looking to the next round. Just my opinion. As for Ball over Gore it’s simple. Gore hasn’t traditionally played well against Carolina or Seattle. And I really don’t like Gore against Seattle in Seattle. I like the 49ers against the Seahawks but on Kaepernick, not Gore. I believe Ball will be in the Super Bowl with Denver and getting three times re points then for using him this week is worth it to me.

      • I respect your opinion but if you think the 49ers will make the Super Bowl and you are looking ahead to 3x points… Wouldn’t Gore against Denver be a much better option then Denver’s backup? Denver’s run defense isn’t that great.

      • Actually, Denver ‘s run defense has gotten better of late, and as much as I think San Francisco will be there, I think Denver has the easier path playing at home. I don’t trust that SF will be there while I trust in the Broncos. If they were to lose to either Carolina or Seattle then I’m screwed.

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