Tom Lorenzo, Senior Editor RotoExperts.com
For most Fantasy Football leagues, we’ve finally reached the Super Bowl, which means win and you’re the champ, lose and you’re nothing more than a runner-up. It’s the biggest must-win situation you’ll face, and with all the pressure mounting, there’s only one bit of advice I can give you: Relax.
Far too often, Fantasy owners go into Super Bowl mode and begin to over-think things. They start to question whether or not they’re making the right moves. They start to get a little too cute, leaning more heavily on matchup than on talent. And that’s where your chance of hoisting the trophy fades. You might think your opponent is your biggest enemy this weekend, but remember, you could hurt yourself by setting the wrong lineup.
First, you need to forget about your opponent for a second. He/she is going to put out his/her best lineup and there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do is put out yours. For every thought you have about playing Donald Brown over Marshawn Lynch, just because you are afraid of Lynch’s matchup, shake it off. Don’t get derailed by over-thinking things. Go with the talent that got you to this point, and fight the urge to start a one-week wonder. That’s the best advice I can give you this week. With that in mind, here are a few helpful hints for setting your week’s lineup.
MARSHAWN LYNCH HAS AN AWFUL MATHCUP, BUT…
You do not want to sit him this week in favor of someone like Donald Brown or C.J.Spiller. Sure, the 49ers have yet to allow a rushing touchdown all season, but it also happens to be true that since Week 9 there has been no better running back in football than Lynch. He is a must start from week to week, and that doesn’t change even as he’s scheduled to line up against the 49ers. Lynch got you here, now let him finish the job.
ADRIAN PETERSON IS READY TO GO AGAINST THE REDSKINS
If you got this far with Peterson on your bench, well, congrats. It seems as if he’s ready this week to take back his lead running back role against the Redskins. Peterson said, last week, that he was ready to take the lead role, but with his 10 touches against the Saints it was pretty obvious that the Vikings didn’t agree. But now they’re saying his role will increase. That makes AP an absolute must start, as far as I’m concerned.
MATT MOORE HAS A GREAT MATCHUP, BUT…
There’s no way I start him in a 1QB league. Not in this championship matchup, and not when I absolutely need a win. Sure, the Patriots’ secondary is awful, but you do not want to put your faith in Moore’s ability. I think the matchup bumps up guys like Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall and Anthony Fasano, but I wouldn’t push Moore into the top 10. Guys like Matt Ryan and Tim Tebow, who may not have as favorable of matchups, are better starts this week.
START AARON RODGERS THIS WEEK. PERIOD.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether or not owners should sit Rodgers this week against the Bears. Sorry, but I just don’t see the logic. Sure, there’s the idea that if the 49ers lose to the Seahawks then the Packers won’t need to beat the Bears in order to get home field advantage, but that’s not going to stop the Packers from actually fielding their best possible lineup. Even if, for some reason, Rodgers plays just three quarters, I’d still want three quarters of Aaron Rodgers over someone like Matt Moore. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason, as far as I can see, to sit the Fantasy Football MVP this week.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, HOWEVER, SHOULD BE ON YOUR BENCH
Again, you can make the argument that Roethlisberger is one of the toughest guys in the NFL and he’s always been one to play through injuries, but I’m not buying it. Not when you absolutely need a win. What if Roethlisberger does start, plays a few snaps and then realizes he’s not healthy enough to play? Then you’re stuck with a goose egg. Go with the safer bet, the healthier option, which in this case isn’t Roethlisberger.
CHRIS JOHNSON (ANKLE) IS BENCH-WORTHY THIS WEEK
Sure, as inconsistent as he’s been this season it’s easy to see why you would bench him. Plus, having missed practice this week because of an ankle injury, there’s now little reason to expect him to show up and put up big numbers against the Jaguars. You may be scrambling here for another running back, but I just think that you’re better off in this case starting someone like C.J. Spiller over Johnson. Just don’t get too cute and start Jamie Harper.
THERE’S NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW TO SIT YOUR CLEVELAND BROWNS
Not only is Seneca Wallace expected to pull another start for the Browns (yuck), but when you consider how tough their matchup is going to be this weekend against the Ravens, it’s hard to imagine any scenario where you start a Brown. Not Greg Little nor even Peyton Hillis. After the Ravens were blown out by the Chargers in Week 15, I expect them to come out with a little fire in their eyes. Do yourself a favor and sit your Browns this week.
REX GROSSMAN AND KYLE ORTON SHOULD BOTH BE ON THE WAIVER WIRES
Again, see the Matt Moore blurb above. In the case of both Grossman and Orton, you see two quarterbacks who have highly favorable matchups, with Grossman going up against the Vikings and Orton playing the Raiders. I can see how Santana Moss and Dwayne Bowe get upgraded this weekend, but the quarterbacks are just not worthy of starting in a championship week. If you do need a replacement, for someone like Roethlisberger, I would actually rather start Moore over either Grossman or Orton.
FELIX JONES’ STATUS IS UP IN THE AIR FOR THIS WEEKEND
This is a situation you absolutely need to monitor. Jones (hamstring) missed a few days of practice this week, ceding first-team reps to Sammy Morris along the way. It’s still not certain whether or not it’s Jones or Morris who gets the start against the Eagles, but I think that the safe play may just be to sit Jones. Any time you’re dealing with a hamstring injury late into the week, it’s never a good idea to put all that much faith in the banged up runner. Continue to follow the news closely before you have to set your lineup, but if it’s me I’m thinking about making other plans at RB2.
STEVIE JOHNSON, ON THE OTHER HAND…
He did practice this week and should be in your lineup. The difference here is that Johnson (groin), practiced fully on Wednesday and did not suffer any setbacks. With Jones (above), you’re looking at a guy who couldn’t make it through a mid-week practice, whereas with Johnson, he tested his groin and is good to go. Given his high-end matchup against the Broncos, look at Johnson as a nice WR2.