The second rounds of the Playoffs and the Playoff Challenge are over, and a lot of storylines were written. There are several distinct camps in the Playoff Challenge at this point. There’s the group that has been using Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore from day one and have climbed up the ladder because of this. Or the people who used Drew Brees’ double points this week to get a lift. Or the folks who were counting on Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and have been disappointed so far. But all these groups still have life because there are still two rounds to go. With that in mind, here are some of my Second Thoughts…
* DON’T CHASE PERFORMANCES
I know it’s easy to see those four touchdowns from LeGarrette Blount over this past weekend and think you need to bet the farm on him in the conference championship game. Except, traditionally the Patriots don’t use the same guy all the time, and the Broncos just kept the Chargers’ running game in check. It’s a smart idea never to chase performances unless the person who achieved it is a stud anyway. In which case, of course, you should have had him in your lineup anyway. Blount is not, so leave him out of your lineups this week.
* BEWARE THE SLEEPERS
Just as I mentioned above with Blount, there are always going to be those sleepers who come through for teams out of the clear blue sky. The key for you as a player in the Challenge is to try and figure out who those players might be based on previous matchups or recent play of the opposing team. For example, the Seattle Seahawks just allowed Drew Brees to throw for over 300 yards on them, and the Saints number one receiver was targeted more often than not and came away with a lot of fantasy points. Extrapolate that to this next weekend, and you’ll be safe betting on Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree to have good games against the Seahawks. Denver will be focused on stopping the Patriots’ running game, so look for Brady to have to throw it a lot. Count on Edelman because he’s Brady’s go-to guy.
* NO CINDERELLAS
The conference dance features four dance partners who know each other well, who have dissected each others’ moves, and who can gameplan better than most. That’s why they’re here, and that’s why you can pretty much count on them to get points for you. Remember I’m all about risk/reward, but don’t take this moment to play Robert Turbin or Andre Caldwell. There’s a thin line between taking a chance and throwing away spots. There’s a big difference between picking someone like Montee Ball (who sees his fair share of touches and who has the ability to take it to the house every single time he touches it) and someone like Turbin who is just a spell to Lynch when he needs to rest for a second.
* QUARTERBACKING INSIGHTS
The “final four” quarterback who had the biggest week in the divisional round was… Colin Kaepernick! In fact, he’s had two pretty good weeks to start off this year’s playoffs. Yet, he still isn’t getting much love from Playoff Challenge participants. And you’re probably not using him this week either, considering how he got stuffed the last time he was in Seattle, but if you’re someone who lost Brees or Rivers this week, I would definitely go with him. For one, he’s a different quarterback in the playoffs and he’s got his mojo back. I don’t think even the environment in Seattle will bother him. Plus, I think he will get mobile and run it more against that defense that will be geared up to stop the traditional running game. I don’t like Gore in this game, but I like Kaepernick a lot. He has a lot of upside and very little downside.
* DON’T PANIC
Maybe you lost four of your eight players this week, or perhaps it was even worse than that. You might be tempted to give up, to fold up the tent and go on home. But you never know what might happen. If a lot of people in your league are on the Denver or Seattle bandwagons, go the opposite way. It might just pay off for you. Last year in the Playoff Challenge, a plethora of people were going with New England against Baltimore in this corresponding week, and the people who took the chance and played Baltimore were heavily rewarded, with some even turning it around to win their leagues. If you’re way behind, why not go with the visiting teams this week? Go heavy on New England and San Francisco, and if it happens to shake out that way you’re on the fast track to catching up. And if it doesn’t work out, it’s not like you lost anything. You were playing with house money.
Above all this week be sure to give yourself a chance to have a full team of bonus multiplier players for the Super Bowl. My advice is to go with players exclusively from the two teams you expect to make it to the big game and hope like hell they both make it. Because if they do you are in line for some amazing bonus points.
The Fantasy Ace