By Michael H. Osinski
I usually start participating in Mock Drafts around my birthday (mid-June). Most scouting information is online, but I still buy a couple of Fantasy Football magazines just to hold in my hands. I follow just about anything online I find. And, I create my own charts…the way I have since the ’80s. The point I am making is that most of us started this Fantasy “process” six months ago. This is Championship Week. Hopefully you made it to your league’s Championship Game. I am fortunate enough to play in 2 this week (in my third league, I got waxed in the consolation bracket).
Now is not the time to lose interest, or for that matter, think your team can’t be helped. Usually, a Championship Team has few flaws. But, my 11-win juggernaut (10 straight plus the semi-final victory) has some issues. (Read as Shane Vereen.) My seriously lucky 4 seed, who just knocked off the 1 seed, has some issues (Read as Shane Vereen). Obviously, I am not happy with Mr. Vereen right now.
Anyway. There is still just a bit of work to do. Just realize you need to finish. Don’t assume Jamaal Charles or Nick Foles bails you out again this week.
Most Championship teams don’t have QB issues. I have, and am, rolling with Russell Wilson in one league. I know it’s not a great matchup, but I am not taking a risk. My other Championship QB issue is the choice between Kaepernick and Foles. Played Foles last week, but that SF-ATL matchup might be too good to pass up. I know that matchup is why I stashed Crabtree.
If any of you in your Championship has Rodgers stashed, this may be your lucky week. Cutler owners saw enough good things to roll with him again this week. But, for those of you who made your Championship with a less-than-stellar QB (Usually the Vick, Rodgers, or Cutler replacement of Foles, McCown, or Palmer), you still have options. (I know of 1 owner in a Championship with Palmer under center.) Those of you who nabbed Foles, play him. He draws a superior matchup in the Bears. If you had McCown or had to scramble with whomever you felt was hottest, you have some options.
Kirk Cousins was decent (21 pts) against ATL. He gets Dallas, now spelled without a “D” in the best matchup. If you have been fortunate enough to ride the Playoff gauntlet playing QB roulette, the Fantasy Gods are smiling on you here. I would play Cousins over Dalton, Roethliberger or Flacco. Not over Romo (he gets the Skins), but it’s close. If you can’t get him, the propositions get a bit riskier. Short of a league in which Tannehill or A.Smith is available, the best of the rest is probably Ryan Fitzpatrick. His matchup is good and I trust him more than I trust Cassell or Campbell.
Most teams have 1 stud RB and then 3-4 guys you can interchange based on matchup. Both my Championship teams have K.Moreno as lead back. Unfortunately, I chose to play Vereen as RB2 in both. I am lucky it did not cost me.
This week my choices are Stacy, Vereen, Tate, and Spiller in one league, and A.Brown, Vereen, Tate, and Rainey in the other. Unless I see someone on the wire I like better. Not sure what I like yet, so I am looking. Those of you with Peterson hopefully backed up with Asiata and advanced anyway. Or maybe you picked up Jordan Todman. Stay tuned. Peterson says he is playing this week. No early word on Jones-Drew. Asiata will likely be a 1-hit wonder, as even if Peterson can’t go, Gerhart probably will.
Steer clear of the Brown’s RBs. This time last week, anyone with an opinion was all-in on Ogbonnaya. Instead, a guy who the week before was on the Texan’s practice squad (Edwin Baker) scored double digits. Just about anyone else is irrelevant and likely not as good as the options you may have on your bench. (i.e. BJGE, Ivory).
Remember, now is not the time to get too cute.
It was in a consolation game, but I played Ace Sanders over Harry Douglas. It worked, but I still lost. This is the tricky part. Most teams have a couple of good WRs, and a revolving door at WR3 or flex.
Larry Fitzgerald and Victor Cruz had concussions Sunday, so stay tuned in case you have to replace one of them. Still not sure about Welker’s status as he didn’t practice Monday. If Edelman is available in your league (about 60% owned) grab him. His 19 points helped the pain of Vereen for me in 2 leagues. Amendola might be available. Cordarelle Patterson is way available. (Not sure why).
The aforementioned Ace Sanders will be the #1 WR in JAX this week, as the team will shut down Cecil and his wonky groin. It’s a tougher matchup (TEN), but he figures to be good for a TD. Even with Joe Haden out this week, I’d stay far away from any of the NYJ WRs. If you are in a deep league and need a Fitz or Salsa replacement, look at matchup games. Washington plays Dallas, so whoever plays WR2 is a viable play. The same with whatever OAK WRs are available (Streater and Holmes) against SD.
I touted Andre Caldwell last week. This week only if Welker can’t go.
Again, most Championship teams are set at TE. I have Julius Thomas in one. But, I had Jordan Reed in another. He won’t see the field again this year, so I nabbed Delanie Walker a couple of weeks ago. He rewarded me with a TD, and he probably will again this week vs JAX. Grab him if you need TE help. Zac Ertz might be a viable option. 3 TD catches in 3 weeks.
Avoid the rest.
The first eight weeks or so, I utilized my usual routine and streamed defenses. Somehow I ended up ARZ/CAR on the Championship eligible teams, and CAR on the also-rans. CAR is at home so I am not going to overthink the NO game. (I didn’t last time and scored 1!) ARZ lost to SEA in Seattle last year about 100-0, so I am not dead set on ARZ although it is a different year. Weighing my options.
CLE gets the NYJ turnover machine, but without the suddenly ordinary and injured Haden. DET gets the NYG turnover machine. SD gets OAK at home in a must-win game for the Chargers. Those are the best streaming options.
All season, and especially before and after all the Week 14 Snow Bowls, I have preached the K streaming mantra of “make sure to stick with Ks in domes”. Warm weather Ks are fine too, but there were 3 games in Florida this past weekend with chances of rain. Please do not risk your Fantasy Championship on a K in the rain or snow.
So, prime pickings: Texans, Broncos, Rams, Bucs, Lions Ks are all in domes. NYG K is too, but avoid that. Check the weather in CAR. And feel OK with the Ks in SD or SF. As for anyone else, see weather.
Good luck to all aspiring Champions. I know I still have things to follow all week. I am available for questions at @mhosinskiLLP on Twitter