Whether you sailed into the fantasy postseason en route to a first-round bye or squeezed in by the hair on Big Ben’s chinny chin chin, the important point is that you made it to the Big Dance.
My assumption is that anyone who failed to reach the playoffs now recoils at the word “fantasy” and would no sooner read this column than send a Christmas present to Eddie Lacy (he of the four-rushing, minus-three-receiving yards debacle on Thursday night).
For the rest of us, playoff seeding was on the line this weekend, and there was no shortage of heroes and villains to laud or disparage.
Feel free to pat yourself on the back for starting Blake Bortles against the lowly Titans defense, or his adversary, Marcus “Crazy Legs” Mariota, in the same lights-out contest. No one would mock you for sending a tasteful gift basket to Javorius Allen or Allen Robinson in appreciation for their fine work this weekend, either.
Those who cheered on Antonio Brown as he knifed through the Colts’ punt coverage team must be grateful that he’s not nursing cracked ribs, or vertebrae, after one of the most ridiculous – and hilarious – scoring celebrations in NFL history.
May I suggest that those of you who started the Eagles defense/special teams against the Patriots purchase a lottery ticket today?
And if you survived despite the untimely grounding of Adrian Peterson, the early exit of Travis Benjamin or even the inexplicable disappearance of Jarvis Landry, find comfort in knowing that you get to start all over next weekend with a clean slate.
It’s playoff time, my friend: The culmination of an embarrassing amount of draft prep and research hours, weekly angst over start/bench decisions and waiver-wire bids, and countless zombie-like viewing sessions of the Red Zone Channel.
The grand prize awaits, whether your payoff is counted in dollars, your name etched on the side of a traveling trophy or a year of bragging rights over your competitors.
Let the postseason begin.
FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS
To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at a couple of players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup during the postseason.
Catch ‘em while you can
Bilal Powell, RB, Jets. You won’t want to play him as long as Chris Ivory is the Jets’ starter, but Powell proved that he’s a worthy backup should his teammate go down. Powell was a pass-catching force late in Sunday’s game and
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. Miami’s first-round draft pick had to fight through injuries to finally take the field in Week 12. Since then, he’s scored in consecutive games and only Jarvis Landry has been targeted more frequently. With their playoff chances essentially kaput, count on the Dolphins to give their prized rookie plenty of opportunities to develop a comfortable rapport with his quarterback.
Don’t be fooled
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Titans. The Jaguars defense has a tendency of making stars out of mediocre and inexperienced players. Green-Beckham has a ton of natural ability, but he’s had trouble adapting to the nuances of the pro game. It all came together on Sunday, but that likely has more to do with the quality of his opponent than DGB’s sudden coming-of-age.
Ted Ginn, Jr., Panthers. Ginn has always been a tease, and he’s playing the part again. The veteran speedster tends to score in spurts, then disappear. Cam Newton didn’t target him a single time in Week 12, then made him look like a fantasy stud on Sunday. And let’s not forget the drops. Ginn can’t be trusted, so why pick him up?