Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ROSTER MANAGEMENT -Week 15 (Playoff Edition)

By Michael H. Osinski
It's been said it is better to be lucky than good. I suppose it is even better to be lucky AND good. Veteran Fantasy players know this. (4-10 teams will tell you it is all luck and they didn't get any this year. 10-4 teams tell you it's skill.)
Take for example Sunday. An owner went into Sunday with Reggie Bush and Rashad Jennings in his lineup. An hour and a half before gametime, he finds Jennings is inactive. He swaps in Joique Bell. Ten minutes before gametime, he finds out Bush slipped in the snow. He couldn't get any definitive information, so two minutes before gametime, he claims Marcel Reece and puts him in the lineup for Bush.
We all know how that worked out. A 20-point swing! So that was pretty lucky. What if Bush slips 10 minutes later? Of course it's also good since the owner was still paying attention right up to gametime.
It's bad luck for Wes Welker owners that even if he passes all concussion protocol, he won't play because this week Denver plays Thursday instead of Sunday.
If you are in the playoffs, it is likely you had a lot of good things. You scouted and drafted well. You played the waiver wire like a virtuoso. You made shrewd trades.
Of course, if you are in the playoffs, you were also pretty lucky. You played a less difficult schedule than most/all of the league. You avoided multiple injuries. You fell into a series of fortunate waiver wire gambles.
Now, I am not suggesting you start setting your lineup with a Ouija board. Just realize that as good as you may be at scouting and evaluating lineup changes, to win you are going to have to catch a few breaks.
The only real QB issues are the same ones we have had for a few weeks. Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.
McCown played well Monday, but the coach maintains as soon as he is ready, Cutler is the QB. If you were lucky/good enough to have both Cutler and McCown, you really don't have a problem. If you have Cutler, you drop the placeholder you have for him when he returns. If you have McCown (because you replaced Mike Vick?), you really need a backup plan. (See options below)
Aaron Rodgers is being evaluated Wednesday, so it is likely by Thursday you will know whether you get your QB back or whether you will have to continue to scramble. If the doctors clear him to play, so do you. You cannot sit Rodgers.
That being said, the pickings are still slim. Jason Campbell has been good. He put up over 30 last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been good 4 of the past 6 weeks, but he doesn't strike many as the guy you on whom you pin your championship hopes.
Stay away from the dumpster fire in Houston. Matt McGloin hasn't been half bad. Not for my playoff team. Which Matt Flynn do you think is showing up?(assuming Rodgers not ready)
If I had to pick, I'd cover my eyes, choose Campbell and hope I am lucky.
In each of the 3 leagues I play, the Adrian Peterson owner is in the playoffs.(and I drafted Spiller over Peterson in a league) The owners of Maurice Jones-Drew are in the playoffs in 2 of 3. Neither figures to play this week. You need a sub if you plan to move on. 
Rashad Jennings may be back. (So forget Marcel Reece again). Lamar Miller, Reggie Bush and Eddie Lacy all have questions about health this week.
After Peterson was carted off the field, Toby Gerhart ran for 88 yards and a score. He is a career backup who actually tweaked his hamstring during the game, but he figures to pile up 20+ carries against an Eagle team that hasn't always been so good.
Daniel Thomas ran for over 100 yards and a score after Lamar Miller was concussed. Not sure what to make of this. A couple weeks ago the Dolphins pronounced him out for the season with an ankle injury. Even healthy, he is usually an underwhelming plodder of a back. But let's face it. If your bench is bad enough to have you looking for help, you have been more lucky than good.
Jones-Drew's replacement will be Jordan Todman. He was very good in the pre-season (nearly 8YPC). His running style and physique resemble Bobby Rainey.
Beyond these guys, good luck.
Welker is the only WR of note you may have to replace.
The good AND lucky pick could be Cordarelle Patterson. He is not available in any of the leagues in which I play, but is generally available. The risk is he has performed far better with Cassell at QB and as of Tuesday no QB decision had been made.
The snap counts of the WRs in Indy were all similar. That indicates Da'Rick Rogers will see opportunity. He capitalized on it Sunday and Andrew Luck's bounceback means it could happen again. Same goes for LaVon Brazil. But who will risk their playoff appearance on guys after 1 good game.
Justin Hunter has put up 2 good games. Of course they sandwiched a clunker. Pretty risky.
Andre Caldwell may see some time with Welker out (though Jacob Tamme saw the slot snaps after Welker departed.) Again, risky.
There has been a lot of action here. Julius Thomas is back. Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker figure to be back.
But, Rob Gronkowski is out. Lots of playoff teams have him. John Carlson and Anthony Fasano are also out, but if you have them, you are not in the playoffs.
Delanie Walker is widely available. Get him if you can as he faces Arizona, who is last in the league defending TEs. Dennis Pitta looked good and caught a TD Sunday. Get him if you can.
Wait until later in the week and you may know what the Patriots will do about replacing Gronk. I know who is on the roster and all I have come up with is that Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola will see more targets.
The best pick of the rest may be Jacob Tamme. He played 90% of the slot snaps and had 4 catches after Welker left.
If you are streaming defenses each week, you could do a whole lot worse than Jacksonville this week. Yes, seriously. Since coming out of the bye, the Jags are 4-1 and have averaged 10 points/game. And, this week they face the Bills who threw 4 picks and allowed 7 sacks last week.
If you can't get JAX, Philadelphia is an attractive play. They are not nearly as bad as they were early in the season and draw Minnesota who turns the ball over regularly regardless of who plays QB.
Last week we were reminded again what I preach each week about streaming Ks. Warm weather and domes! There was only 1 PAT attempted in the Lions-Eagles game, let alone FG attempts.
You should have a choice this week as we have dome games in Atlanta, St Louis, Indy, Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota. And, warm weather games in Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami and Oakland.
Hope you are lucky AND good in the playoffs. I am available for questions at @mhosinskiLLP

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