For some, week 14 is the start of the fantasy football playoffs. For most, it’s the last week of the regular season. For me, it means I only have a few more weeks of making tired Luke Bryan’s jeans are too tight jokes.
If you’re lucky enough to have clinched a playoff spot or are still contending, congrats, you’ve done something right and are one step closer to the ultimate goal – a championship.
So now what?
Stay the course. Too many times I’ve seen the best fantasy teams doomed by over-thinking once the playoffs arrive. It’s so easy to second-guess yourself when the prize is in sight. There’s a lot at stake so making sure you have the best possible line-up is obviously important. But now is not the time to be “cute.” Replacing a tried and true player for a flash-in-the-pan hot player makes about as much sense as George Strait trading in his familiar denim and cowboy hats for Ed Hardy shirts and flat-brimmed caps to pony up to a younger, flashier audience. George would never do it. And nor should you jump on a fantasy fad while attempting to win come playoff time.
Yet, over and over, I’ve seen many fantasy owners unravel (including myself in times of mental numbness) when faced with unnecessary last-minute playoff tweaks. It’s a common scenario. You’re setting up your line-up and notice that your top flight receiver hasn’t been particularly awesome the last few weeks. He’s facing a tough secondary that week. On your bench is a receiver who has showed improvement in the previous few weeks, but you have only used him as a bye week replacement because his numbers have been wildly inconsistent. Should you make the switch? As much as it makes “sense” to go with the hot hand, you have to stick with your guns. Be George Strait. Why? Because, it almost always bites you in the backside to be something you’re not. Star players are star players for a reason.
That said, last week, I made one of those dimwitted moves in a couple of my leagues. For some reason I got it in my feeble mind that Julio Jones was going to be a bad start against a tough Cardinals secondary. Plus, he had only scored 10 points in three out of the last eight games (not the kind of numbers you want from your supposed top receiver). I also got it in my head that Jacksonville’s Denard Robinson (who qualifies as both a running back and a wide receiver in most leagues) would be a great play against the pitiful Giants. Naturally, Robinson sputtered and picked up a meager five points. Jones went bonkers and put up almost 25 points. I never should have bought that Ed Hardy shirt.*
Fortunately, this “slick” move didn’t cost me a win, but it once again proved that you should not mess with success, especially when it comes to playoff-time. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make moves, just be smart about them. One move that I made in a number of my leagues this week was to bench Buffalo’s defense. While they’ve been fantasy gold lately, there’s no way I’m starting them against Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ juggernaut. This week I’m looking at Houston (who plays Jacksonville) and Minnesota (who plays the Jets) as quality starts on defense. Heck, I’m even thinking Green Bay’s defense may be a good play at home against Atlanta, if only because Matt Ryan seems to be lost when he’s on the road.
* I don’t actually own an Ed Hardy shirt.
Takin’ Bills Wins Again
The good news is my Takin’ Bills team won for a third straight week. The bad news, it didn’t matter as I was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention due to two of the three 7-5 teams ahead of me winning (I needed two of them to lose to still have a shot). This is the first time I’ve missed the playoffs in this league’s history, so naturally I’m about as happy as Garth Brooks is in love with YouTube. I still stand by the team I assembled on draft day (if I could go back to draft day, I’d pretty much do it the same). Unfortunately, I was just unlucky early on in the season and lost a few close match-ups.
On a happier note, I am psyched for one of my other teams who started out 0-6 but then rattled off 7 straight victories. If I win this week, I’m in the playoffs. That’s certainly a lesser expected comeback than Brooks & Dunn.
Well, that’s it for this week. Good luck on your march to the playoffs or on spoiling the ride for someone else. As always, hit me up at @sneezeguard for advice, comments and complaints.