Week 14 1st and 10: Thoughts From the Fantasy Football Champs
Each week in 1st and 10, I empty out the drawer of my fantasy mind, with 10 thoughts to consider
as your season progresses.
Before getting underway, if you do become a www.FFChamps.com member for next season, FFChamps will give you a Patriots.com $30 Patriots discount.
AND immediate access for the rest of the 2012 season so you can take advantage of FFChamps for your playoff drive with proprietary rankings, tools and one-on-one advice.
Just go to https://www.ffchamps.com/subscribe/ today! We have extended the date to kickoff of the 49ers’ Monday night game, December 16th. As an added bonus, this will get you into our fantasy football playoff contest as well, running wild card week through the Super Bowl.
I cannot believe how fast this season has flown by and that Week 14 has arrived. For most fantasy football leagues, this is the start of its playoffs. If you are not in the playoffs this year, then take advantage of the above FFChamps membership and make sure you get ready for 2013.
As for me, it’s the old Meatloaf song, “2 Out of 3 Isn’t Bad”. I had two great seasons and one playoff missing disaster in my third league. I am excited about my first place finish in my most competitive league, where only four teams make the playoffs starting in Week 15, and my division championship in the league I am in with my son, where we are on to the playoffs this week, led by our own Tom Brady, vs. what will be a tough matchup vs. Houston (more on this below). It took a 100-yard game from Victor Cruz late into the night Monday to get us that playoff spot.
I am already envisioning the Bryce Brown/LeSean McCoy dilemma. Assuming you followed FFChamps’ Commandment No. 7, Thou Must Draft Key Players’ Backup, and took care of getting your key players handcuffs early on, you had the benefit, as I did, of Bryce Brown single-handedly winning you Week 12 and Week 13, amassing 357 yards and four touchdowns.
Just as Brown has exploded onto the fantasy football scene, Shady McCoy is likely to return from his concussion. The Eagles have been the No. 1 disappointment for the second year in a row and are playing for a lame duck head coach. At times, they appear to have quit. Brown has been a bright spot, and as a rookie, clearly motivated to play for himself if nothing else.
McCoy has been a victim of Mike Vick, Andy Reid, and the entire Eagles’ mess all season, and has underperformed. In his absence, while Brown has been fantasy football brilliant, he has also fumbled four times in two weeks, with three of these being turnovers. If McCoy comes back, the decision whether to play Brown or McCoy is going to be a tough one.
The FFChamps’ rule and Commandment No. 10 is Thou Shall Start Your Studs. McCoy was moved to our borderline studs’ list Week 9 so he is, well, a borderline stud, coming off a concussion. In one of my leagues, Week 14 is a regular week since only four teams make the playoffs. This gives me a chance to observe as I already wrapped up my division.
However, in my other league, and likely in many of yours, this is one and done time. It is a risky call but if I have to decide in Week 14 between Brown and McCoy, I am going with Brown. Please check FFChamps.com on Sunday Game Day Live and next week in this column for an updated opinion on what we at FFChamps would do with Brown and McCoy this week and for Week 15. Somehow, I believe the Eagles will mess it up, as they always do.
There is no better quarterback to have in the NFL than Tom Brady and in fantasy football, this year and every year, he is a perennial top 3 and an FFChamps stud. Yes, he put up a dud in Week 13, one that cost many people their playoffs. It happens. And, yes, he is without his best TD option, Rob Gronkowski, until further notice. To make matters more troubling, he has lost the surging wideout Julian Edelman for the season.
This leaves Brady with Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and a choice of the returning Donte Stallworth, who did not do much a few years younger in his first audition with Brady, or superstar special team player Matthew Slater, or, maybe Deion Branch who has to be injured or would have been signed instead of Stallworth.
This week, the Patriots and Brady play the heralded, powerhouse Houston defense, and then get to follow that up with the NFL’s best defense, the San Francisco 49ers. I have warned about paying close attention to FFChamps.com Strength of Schedule tool for weeks, and have specifically mentioned the Patriots. And, that is before the injuries.
I actually believe that the Patriots’ running game, specifically Stevan Ridley, matches up well vs. the Houston defense size-wise, something we have discussed at www.FootballNation.com all week. A focus on the running game is not great news for teams relying on Brady in their fantasy football playoffs. I have Brady on one of my two playoff teams and yes, I am concerned. However, Brady is a stud and if healthy, we always start our studs, for better or worse. Unless your backup is RG3 or someone similar, and they have a FFChamps favorable strength of schedule matchup, play Brady.
Last week, Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein and Buccaneers’ kicker Connor Barth, single-handedly won many people their fantasy football games. Zuerlein and Barth each nailed two 50-yard-plus field goals, worth bonus points in most leagues. In fantasy football drafts, kickers are the final players taken, as there is a belief that they are one in the same.
At draft time in August or early September, that may be the case but in playoff time, it is far from it. First, know your scoring system and understand if kickers get rewarded for distance. Second, pay attention to the kicker’s offense -- six TDs and six extra points will not make a huge difference in your scoring but a 50-yard field goal can win you a playoff week.