FANTASY GRIND: Playoff luck _ don't depend on it

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2013 at 2:56 am •  Published: December 4, 2013
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Now that you're in the fantasy football playoffs, try to make it so your opponent has to get lucky, not you.

Maybe you got in thanks one or more of several amazing Week 13 performances. Wide receivers Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, and Eric Decker all outscored Denver quarterback Peyton Manning in standard leagues, and Manning was the top passer with five touchdowns. Running backs Ben Tate and DeMarco Murray had three touchdowns each, while quarterback Nick Foles, Ryan Tannehill, Josh McCown and Alex Smith all scored above 20 fantasy points each.

It's more than OK to expect the unexpected — just don't bank on it.

If your starters got you to the playoffs, they've certainly scored enough points for you so far. But to gamble on them again, make sure they deserve your backing.

Fantasy championships are won and lost each year because players simply make bad bets. We're not talking about starting one player over another and you picked the wrong guy. These are tactical, decision-making errors based on a wide variety of factors including overconfidence, banking on repeat performances and — perhaps most harmful — fear of changing things up and losing.

Some fantasy players believe it's best to simply play the players who got you to the postseason. Sure, they got you there, but what does that really mean in Week 14 and beyond? More likely, you got yourself to the fantasy playoffs by making some good decisions and getting a little bit lucky in spots.

Don't stand pat, be ruthlessly honest with your team's strengths and weaknesses and try to head into the games with the upper hand if things play out like a mostly average NFL day.

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UNEXPECTED PLAYS (AT LEAST ON DRAFT DAY)

Remember that if you lose in the fantasy playoffs, you're done for the season. So you shouldn't be waiting on players like Ray Rice, Trent Richardson or Darren Sproles to turn things around from your bench. Here are some moves you might consider if you're trying to get a win.

RB: Drop Stevan Ridley, New England, add Donald Brown, Indianapolis, or a handcuff to one of your top receivers. Brown is owned in fewer than 40 percent of ESPN leagues, yet he's supplanted Richardson as the team's top running back. Ridley, meanwhile, stood on the sidelines in street clothes with a football in his hands as the Patriots beat Houston. You're not starting him in Week 14 — who knows if he will even play — and you're probably better off not even being in a position where you need to make a decision on Ridley. He's had two good fantasy games this year, missed two others and had seven games in which he rushed for 53 or fewer yards.

WR: Drop Percy Harvin, add Julian Edelman, New England. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1g4ImVG ) that Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he's "hoping" Harvin can play soon. But after missing Monday night's game against New Orleans even after a bye week the week before, Harvin's absence mean few reasonable fantasy owners will put themselves in position to play Harvin this week. So why keep him? Edelman, owned in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues and 30 percent of ESPN leagues, has nine catches in each of the last two games. He had 12 targets on Sunday against Houston and 11 the week before against New England.

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