Well, so much for enjoying my best fantasy football season ever. I am playing in two third place games while playing in wild card weekend in a league that has the final in Week 17, but all in all, after a blazing fall, the early winter has not been so kind. Such is the nature of the beast with fantasy football.
The theme for this week’s entry into the SiriusXM Salary Cap Fantasy Football Challenge is loading up on studs whose teams are in the playoff hunt while backfilling with high upside low-priced fodder. I caught a big break this week, as my desired lineup was $100 over the cap. On a whim, I took a look at the kickers and found a way to make it work. Yes, we are at the point of the season where I am building suspense around kickers. That is sort of like losing sleep over how Batman and Robin are going to escape from the impending doom administered by the Joker or the Penguin.
QB: Matthew Stafford ($6700) – Part bang for the buck, part expecting another big game as the Lions attempt to regain the momentum they enjoyed early on and peak for a playoff run. I sure hope they have better luck than me doing it.
RB: Ray Rice ($9500) – The Ravens are still in the hunt for the #1 seed in the AFC and they should be playing with a chip on their shoulder after San Diego embarrassed them on national television.
RB: Ryan Mathews ($8200) – If he keeps this up, everyone will realize he spells his last name with only one t. Mathews is seeing goal-line chances, which thrusts him to the upper echelon of backs.
WR: Roddy White ($7800) – Fits the mantra of a guy on a team playing for something. White and Matt Ryan seem to be back on the same page and Atlanta is going to have to go airborn to keep up with the Saints, who always seem to excel in the spotlight of Monday Night Football. As an aside, imagine how many jelly beans are going to up for grabs come Monday night as fantasy league championships are decided everywhere and both teams are dotted with strong fantasy contributors. The ratings of Monday Night Raw may even suffer.
WR: Santana Moss ($4800) – Moss has been one of the more consistent performers the past several weeks and is still a huge value pick as his salary is not commensurate with his production.
WR: Torrey Smith ($4400) – When you are playing for the big score like I am in this contest, it is probably not the best idea to double up on a team like the Ravens, not known for their explosive offensive onslaughts, but with Anquan Boldin out, the exciting Smith could get more targets beyond the downfield shot or two Joe Flacco always seems to take with him.
TE: Jared Cook ($4000) – Tight end in fantasy football is really beginning to remind me of the catcher position in fantasy baseball. I thought long and hard about The Gronk, but in the end, went bottom of the barrel with Cook, who I hope is going to salvage what was a promising season.
FLEX: Reggie Bush ($6700) – I have actually had some pretty decent success picking an offensive player facing my hometown Patriots defense (well, for the sake of this column, let’s pretend they actually have a defense) while still watching my boys get the W. Bush is this week’s pick as he is finally being given lead back responsibilities and taking full advantage.
D/ST: Washington Redkskins ($4000) – I am forced to go with the minimum and I have opted for the Skins, who face a dinged up Christian Ponder at home where they should be able to pressure the rookie, resulting in sacks and turnovers.
K: Shayne Graham ($3800) – Did I say double on Ravens? I am actually tripling up as Graham is a couple hundred bucks below the price the lowest level kickers usually reside. The reason is regular kicker Billy Cundiff is hurt so Graham inherits his “out of a job” price. Basically, I am okay with Graham, feeling the difference between what he gets and say Mike Nugent is potentially less than what I get by downgrading someone above to slide in under the cap.
Before I go, I would be remiss if I did not wish all of you luck in your championship game, as well as those playing for pride and a couple of jelly beans in the third place game. But more importantly, please enjoy whatever it is you will be doing this weekend, hopefully spending some time with family and friends while filling up the recycling bin with ravaged wrapping paper.