Well, that was riveting. Fantasy scores were certainly somewhat muted this weekend, with a relative lack of big performers on the field. There is no way to strategize your way around that little problem.
But four teams were eliminated, which means there are four teams we can look at, study what happened on the field in the last one, and try to see if we can glean anything useful to help us construct our rosters for next weekend.
20/20 Hindsight – They executed a solid game plan against a banged-up opponent, and they looked pretty good doing it. Cam did have monster numbers, but still had a useful fantasy game, which is sort of his hallmark. I guess the biggest takeaway would be Jonathan Stewart ($4,800) having a big game – 24 carries for 123 yards and a TD.
Going Forward – I am not going to spend a lot of time on this – they are playing Seattle, in Seattle, and the chances are pretty good you’re not starting any Panthers. If you do, it’s probably Stewart – Seattle did give up some yards on the ground earlier in the year. Also, if you do, good luck.
20/20 Hindsight – The Lions were an interesting team all year long, but one thing that held steady was that they had a really good defense. The Cowboys won a close game that included controversial calls and big plays, but they got the win, and they did it against a quality opponent. Once we knew Suh was playing, it should have been no surprise that the Lions were able to limit guys like DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant – they have been limiting people all year long. If the Cowboys were going to win this one, it was going to be on the back of guys like Terrance Williams. Maybe you can apply this logic elsewhere – if the Panthers are going to score against Seattle, maybe it will be someone completely random, off your radar, because the Seahawks know better than to let Stewart or Benjamin get going. Ed Dickson ($3,100), anyone?
Going Forward – The Green Bay Packers are not the Detroit Lions. The defense is not going to take away Murray and Bryant, and the Cowboys are going to need those guys to keep up. Those two are the plays you can trust most, no matter what happened last week. And then there is Tony Romo ($7,600), the sixth most expensive QB on the board this week, who could easily outperform a few of the guys priced ahead of him. In this matchup, needing to get points on the board, a Romo/Dez stack makes a ton of sense, or you could go with DeMarco thinking that the Cowboys will work to limit Rodgers’ time on the field, but one way or the other, you are going to want at least a Cowboy in your lineup.
20/20 Hindsight – In retrospect, it was pretty obvious that Big Ben wasn’t going to repeat his six touchdown performance from earlier in the year. And with no Bell, the Ravens were primed to be able to take this one down, especially since they have proven time and time again that they are a team full of big-game performers (and that was before they added Steve Smith).
Going Forward – Joe Flacco has proven that he is not scared of playing New England in the playoffs – he was one near-miss Lee Evans TD pass away from being 3-0 against them since 2010. However, those wins have all come since 2010, when New England had one of the single worst pass defenses in the NFL every single year, until now. This is definitely a different sort of beast he’s going to be dealing with, so the only way I see him putting up big numbers is if the Pats are also scoring at will, and that is tough to predict for a playoff game in the cold in Foxboro with two tough teams lining up against each other. More likely, this is a close game decided on a few big plays and that is tough to predict.
But I’ll try, quickly – Torrey Smith ($5,600) is their big-play guy, and Steve Smith is more likely than not going to get the Revis treatment. Smith will have over the top safety help to contend with, but if one of these guys is more likely to have the one play that turns a mediocre game into a good one, it’s this Smith, and not the other.
20/20 Hindsight – Hindsight being 20/20 in this one is all about knowing Trent Richardson wasn’t going to see the field at all, and that Dwayne Allen was. Fleener had been a great choice with Allen out, but no more. Boom Herron had been a mediocre back in a time-share, and suddenly he was a mediocre back getting all the work.
Going Forward – Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton are the only two guys you can trust on this team. I know, that’s a remarkable statement for a team that boated one of the best offenses in the league this season, but there it is. Those guys are really, really good, and will likely make some plays. With everyone else – who knows? Maybe Fleener does, and maybe Allen does, and maybe Moncrief catches a touchdown. Maybe. If you wanted to try to find value here this week though, it’s probably Daniel Herron ($5,300) once again, as much as he is hard to trust. This game could end up being drastically different from you might expect, with C.J. Anderson and Herron deciding their teams’ respective fates and if that happens, $5,300 could be one of the best value plays on the board, again.