With only the championship games to go this week, there's not much information we can tell you. At this point, you should be clearly aware that you must:
- Start your Studs
- Check the weather forecast of your players, especially your kicker
- Be on top of the injury updates right up until kickoff and the set lineup cut-off
- Be sure to offset great QBs if you have one of their prime WRs
- Use the Week 16 strength of schedule tool at FFChamps to assess your players' match-ups and who to start or sit. In this week's column we'll do a quick recap of semifinal Week 15, take a quick look at some critical decision points coming up and then reflect on the Thoughts from FFChamps Top 5 reasons why you did or did not make your fantasy football championship game.
If you had Jamaal Charles you probably won your semifinal game. Sir Charles romped for 5 TDs, one rushing and four receiving. Nick Foles also continued his torrid pace, which once again propelled Desean Jackson to the top of the WR charts. The single biggest question we are seeing this week is, "If Aaron Rodgers plays this week, do I start him?" If you somehow managed to get to your championship game without Rodgers, an unlikely feat, then to play him in his first game back is risky. Yes, this may seem to contradict our Start your Studs mandate but there are rare exceptions. We believe it is unlikely Rodgers will play but if he does and your other QB is not a strong option this week because he plays vs. Seattle or is hurt, then you can roll the dice. Otherwise, we would go with who got you there.
The strength of schedule has been a core focus all season. We always play our Studs, so Cam Newton is a go vs. the Saints and Brees is a must play even though he is playing the Panthers No. 2 ranked defense. Carson Palmer, who has been pretty solid, plays against Seattle's No. 1 ranked defense and may be without star WR Larry Fitzgerald, who suffered a concussion last week. If you have a better option with a better match-up in this winner-take-all week, you may want to consider Palmer. Matt Ryan has a tough match-up vs. the 49ers, while Ryan Fitzpatrick and Phillip Rivers both have good match-ups. Chris Johnson, Demarco Murray, Ben Tate and Eddie Lacy all have favorable defensive opponents at RB, and at WR, the Bears, Cowboys and Browns WRs (Josh Gordon!) have great games in store. And if Adrian Peterson is healthy, start him.
And now, drum roll please, the top 5 reasons you DID NOT make your Fantasy Football Championship Game:
5: You drafted and banked on second year QBs such as RGIII, who had a disastrous season, or Colin Kaepernick and Wilson who had great NFL seasons but mediocre fantasy football years.
4: You drafted Patriots position players. Brady is the tenth or eleventh ranked QB going into Week 16. Julian Edelman, who went undrafted in many leagues, is the highest Patriots fantasy scoring WR at No. 22, Stevan Ridley, a second to fourth round average draft pick, has been in the doghouse and Gronk gave you a game or two but isn't there when it matters.
3: You drafted the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones tandem, which I did in one league, only to lose Jones for the season and also, to add insult to injury, see Ryan lose Roddy White. Tandems usually are lethal in the long run.
2: You drafted Aaron Rodgers in the first round. Injuries happen in the NFL but none with bigger fantasy implications than this one.
1: You either drafted Doug Martin, Arian Foster or CJ Spiller with a top 5 pick. Martin started terribly before going on IR, Foster also went on IR and would have been on the NFLs worst team and Spiller performed like an RB2 at best.
The top 5 reasons you DID make your Fantasy Football Championship Game:
5: You rode the Broncos all the way to the championship. All Broncos positional players were Studs. Knowshon Moreno was a final round or waiver wire pick up and will likely finish as a top 5 RB. Those who paid attention to how Moreno finished the 2012 fantasy season hit the jackpot. All 3 WRs, Thomas, Welker, and Decker shined brightly and TE Julius Thomas was a beast.
4: Fly like an Eagle. Shady McCoy was the right choice with your first pick at RB, and if you drafted DeSean Jackson, possibly as late as round 6 or 7, you hit the jackpot. Add in Nick Foles off waivers or as a handcuff to Vick, and Riley Cooper and you are likely still playing in Week 16.
3: You drafted Bears. Cutler and later McCown were a steal but Matt Forte was a top 5 RB from a mid round average draft position. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were top 10 WRs in most scoring formats. Ka-ching!
2: You drafted Peyton Manning. He simply blew away the rest of the fantasy football field; all positions, all scoring formats.
1: You drafted Josh Gordon despite his four game suspension. There was no bigger playmaker or impact position player this season and you likely stole him late enough to pair him with another Stud WR.
You also need luck. We have spoken to many of you whose team finished sixth of 10 teams in total points but just got lucky in its head to head match ups when it mattered. Good luck this week to all those still playing. Remember to sign up now and get 50 percent off for life if you become an FFChamps.com member today at https://www.ffchamps.com/subscribe/.