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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Playoff Preview - Wildcard Round







The wildcard round should provide two competitive games by projection, despite featuring dual 100 pt total score gaps.


Cursed. (1407.32 pts)  vs. ThePelicanBrief  (1599.67 pts)

The Grisham-ites hung the high score in 2015, based largely on a three-headed monster of Patriots (Brady, Edleman and Gronk, with supporting cast from Patriots DEF and Ghostface Kicker).  But with Gronk on the Sunday night slot and still questionable. Brady might have to roll solo. And that alone makes the high-scoring Legal Eagles vulnerable in week 14.

Famous for aggressive use of waiver funds and trades, the Pelicans made positive gains in both to draft a successful second half squad. RBs Charcandrick West cost $56 but has been worth it so far. West is tempting fate with a RBBC, but still can be RB2 productive. A canny trade acquired Devonte Freeman who's missed time of late, but saw his touches back in the double digits this week.  The Falcons ability to stay in the game against the Panthers could prove the difference between a b345t and bust game for Freeman.

Cursed. won five in a row during the bye weeks and chipped in a few clutch wins in the closing weeks to book a playoff spot.  Odell Beckham is the star here #3 by points at wide out.  A narrow win on a $52 wire pick up of DeAngelo Williams gives their backfield some power game as well. Both Alshon and Frank the Tank have underperformed this year.  Fitzpatrick is a wildcard at QB, he's been QB1 - 16 depending on the week, but a plus match up against the Titans could see him throwing multiple TDs.

A late wire pick up of Hightower is an intriguing flex gamble. Hightower is sure to get work, but the Saints have looked like a broken offense in recent weeks.  Tampa's defense has been improving all season, and with an outside shot at the playoffs they should be swarming all over the hapless New Orleans o-line.

psych dog (1489.23) vs. Polk High Panthers  (1381.39 pts)

Returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, psych dog checked in at 8-5 with the third highest total score.  Adrian Peterson has been worth his high draft price, staying healthy and running to RB #2 by points. The surprise has been Carson Palmer at QB #4 by points. He's got a +20 TD/INT count and the Cardinals have been dismantling the NFC squads.  A quick Thursday night game between the Vikings and Cardinals could determine whether this game will be competitive or not.

Keepers Demaryius Thomas and Jeremy Hill are both boom or bust gambles. Demaryius clearly still has top five WR talent but with QB uncertain in Denver and the defense playing at a high level, he's been an expensive decoy in more than a few games.  Probably no one in the league has been more mercurial in his performance than Hill. Sharing time with Nio-Gio he's been invisible some weeks and a highlight reel in others. Luckily for PD he's been more of the latter lately. A late season $62 bid for Jarvorius Allen could kick psych dog to the next round. Allen has been ridden hard the last few weeks, but faces a resilient Seahawks DEF in week 14.

Al Bundy's old squad backed their way into the playoffs with a week 13 loss (helped by 6 win team losses beneath them). Left for dead after the loss of highest draft price Jamaal Charles, the Panthers found a way to eeek out enough heroic victories. Coming on hard in the 2nd half Jonathan Stewart has approached the top 10 in RB points as Carolina plays from a big lead every week.  Likewise Matavius Bryant has erupted big time after returning from injury on a Steelers team that is over-matching everybody they face on the edges.

They bid and won on Ryan Matthews just this week. He's probably the better choice, even facing a tough Buffalo front 7 and coming off an injury. But if there ever was a week to start CJ Spiller it's got to be this week. The Saints have been unwilling to use him as an everydown back all year, but he seems certain to get more work than usual with Ingram out of the way.  Polk's fate likely rests almost solely in Drew Brees' performance. Brees has set records and shat the bed this year.  The Saints are out of playoff contention and missing their top offense piece in a road game. That sounds like a disaster but there's zero doubt that Brees has a higher ceiling than any of the wire scrubs.

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