Dec 7, 2007
Eye on the Playoffs
by Jim Coventry, Guest Blogger
We all know that week 17 is often a week that causes fantasy teams to be without many starters, so quite a few (if not most) leagues have eliminated this week from the fantasy schedule- and rightfully so. That said, this is one of those years that we could see week 16 be even worse than week 17. Why? Because a number of teams may have their fate sealed and may treat the week 16 game like the third preseason game, when starters play for a half. If this happens, it is worse than the week 17 scenario of the starters sitting completely, because owners may not even be able to use ‘handcuff’ players, since everyone could be playing one half of football on these particular teams. Here are the teams that most likely will force you to keep and eye on, and if you can still add players via waivers, you might want to prepare for week 16 right now. New England Patriots: Since they own the equivalent of a 2.5 game lead for home-field advantage, if they win in weeks 14 & 15, they will have two meaningless games. If you have Patriot players, you can hold out hope that the coaching staff wants to break (or tie) regular-season records, such as the passing TD record, WR TD record, and the perfect season. They might be just angry enough about ‘spygate’ to play hard all season, but this teams seems to always be about the Super Bowl and nothing else, so we’ll see. Tom Brady, Randy Moss, & Wes Welker may be risky plays in week 16 and you can be sure that Bill Belichick will not be tipping his hand to anyone outside the locker room.
Dallas Cowboys: They hold the equivalent of a 1.5 game lead on the Packers, so as long as the Packers win the next couple of games (or the Cowboys lose one), week 16 will be a must-win for the Cowboys, which is what Tony Romo & Terrell Owens are hoping for. In week 16, the Cowboys have the NFL Network game of the week, so it is an advantage that the Packers will not have played their week 16 game before the Cowboys. If the Packers lose a game and the Cowboys keep winning, week 16 may be a casual week for the Dallas players. Indianapolis Colts: If the Patriots beat the Steelers and the Colts win this week, they will have a 2.5 game lead for the #2 seed and first-round bye. We know from past experience that the Colts will definitely rest their players when things are clinched up. So, Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, & Reggie Wayne may be in for a short work week in week 16.
Green Bay Packers: They have a 2-game lead on a first round playoff bye, so if they win the next two games, there is a strong likelihood that week 16 will be irrelevant for them, so Brett Favre, Ryan Grant, & company may be in for a short workday. New York Giants: As fantasy goes, hopefully your wagons aren’t hitched too closely to the Giant players, but since they have a two-game lead in the wild card and no shot at the division, they could be firmly locked into the #5 seed before playing their week 16 game.
There are also some teams that might fall out of the playoff race and some injured players may not be risked when nothing is on the line: Cincinnati Bengals: They are already done, but most of their skill position players have been dinged up. If any of these players get any worse, they could definitely see some bench time. Kansas City Chiefs: If you were waiting for Larry Johnson to come back, there may be no need for the Chiefs to expose him, so he may not see the field again this year.