Are you still alive in your fantasy league? If so, congratulations are in order.
It’s no easy task to navigate through the topsy-turvy NFL landscape, where regular-season heroes become goats (I’m looking at you, Aaron Rodgers) and seldom-used backups turn the tables on the starters (see Davis, Knile).
If you’re moving on to the championship round, you don’t need me to tell you how fortunate you are to count Odell Beckham among your weapons – or to have avoided facing the rookie phenom this weekend. You might even have shared my delight in unleashing both Beckham and Dez Bryant on your whipsawed opponent on Sunday.
You certainly don’t need my admonition that all bets are off with every player in a Browns uniform as long as Johnny Manziel is paying his dues. And when I say paying, I mean watching as every member of the opposing defense stands over his carcass flashing his cocky “money” gesture.
Or perhaps you’re reading this while licking your wounds, not yet recovered from the shock of seeing a perfectly thrown spiral go through the hands of Jordy Nelson, who was en route to a likely 94-yard touchdown. Or wondering why Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Tre Mason, Justin Forsett, A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders and Calvin Johnson had to turn in mediocre performances when it mattered most to you.
Indeed, it’s a tortured life we fantasy enthusiasts live. But we love it, don’t we?
FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS
To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. Filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. But let’s face it: You’ve made it this far. You probably don’t need to troll the waiver wire to field a winning lineup. Still, for what it’s worth, here are a few to consider and two who would look better in your opponent’s lineup.
Catch ‘em while you can
Joseph Randle/Lance Dunbar, RBs, Cowboys. With news that DeMarco Murray is having surgery on his broken hand, his backups suddenly vault onto the fantasy radar. Problem is, there’s no clear No. 2. Dunbar was once considered the primary backup due to his dual talents as a runner and receiver. But Randle seems poised to get the start should Murray miss this weekend’s action. If you don’t have a viable backup on your roster, Randle is likely your best hedge.
Harry Douglas, WR, Falcons. As has become his custom, Douglas stepped in for an injured starter and put on a show. He’s only worth considering next weekend if Julio Jones’ injury lingers; but it’s comforting to have Douglas on call.
Bills defense/special teams. Have you noticed what Buffalo has done to Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in consecutive weeks? Better yet, have you noticed who they play in Week 16? (Hint: It rhymes with “Jokeland.”) If this unit is available in your league, it’s hard to imagine a more worthy pick-and-play.
Don’t be fooled
Shane Vereen and Jonas Gray, RBs, Patriots. Yes, I realize Gray combined for 69 yards and Vereen punched in a touchdown on Sunday. I don’t care. Repeat after me: “No Patriots RB not named LeGarrette Blount should be on my roster. And I’m only trusting Blount if I have to.”
Eric Decker, WR, Jets. Decker posted his first 100-yard game as a Jet against the Titans on Sunday. So what, you say? Well, you make a good point. Carry on.