So, of course I picked three of the four teams to advance out of the Wild Card round, but the one team I decided to ride for half of my Playoff Challenge picks was the one team that didn’t hold up its end of the deal. While that makes things more complicated, it doesn’t rule me out from taking the top prize… so long as the Patriots, the Saints, or the Steelers don’t win it all. Yeah. I know.
Anyway, I made a few changes before locking in my Wild Card lineup, swapping out Harrison Butker for Jake Elliott, and taking it a step further, switching out my Vikings players for Eagles players (Ajayi, Agholor, and the Eagles defense/ST). I figured might as well go for broke, which would help me exponentially if the Eagles do in fact spring the “upset” and take out the Falcons on Saturday. Here are my picks for the second round of the Playoff Challenge…
As you can see, losing my QB, my RB1, WR1, and TE didn’t help me out at all, and I had to make a major adjustment to fill those positions. Luckily for me, after all the Wild Card games started I had access to all of my competitors’ picks. That’s how I know most of them had Patriots, Steelers, and Saints starting for them. So if I wanted to make up ground I could either (1) choose “alternative” players from those teams or (2) choose players from none of those teams. The first possibility means fringe players like Dwayne Allen, Rex Burkhead, Martavis Bryant, and Mark Ingram. But I highly doubt they will outscore their highly started counterparts.
So I went with the second option, landing on the Jaguars because of their defense. I figure they might not be able to replicate their effort against the Steelers when they put the smack down on Roethlisberger, but they at least have a chance. Besides, if they can eliminate the Steelers that takes out Bell and Brown, who many of my competitors chose to put in their lineups. Because I already had Eagles going for double points for me, I was just not daring enough to pick from Vikings players. The only change I might make to this final lineup for me would be putting in Zach Ertz instead of Marcedes Lewis, but for now Lewis is in.
Here’s what the most popular lineup is right now at NFL.com:
Just as with my competitors, it’s easy to see the continuity in picking from those three aforementioned teams. Brees beats out Brady simply because he played last week. The same is true for Kamara over Dion Lewis, and Michael Thomas over Brandin Cooks. Gronk, Bell, and Brown are in most of my competitors’ lineups, Lutz is a carry-over from last week, and the Jaguars defense is still humming along. If the Saints moved on to face the Steelers in the Super Bowl this lineup is excellent, but if the Saints lose to the Vikings this will be full of replacements.
Usually there is at least one surprise team that makes it through from the Divisional Round, and I’m hoping this year the team of fortune is the Jaguars. We’ll see.