1. DO Stick With What’s Been Working
If you’re in the playoffs, there’s a reason you got there. It’s because your team is good, and they’ve been performing well all year. (Either that, or you’re a master computer hacker.) If your team is good, and they’ve been performing well all year, don’t all of a sudden get cute and think that you should bench Peyton Manning for someone with a great matchup. That’s the kind of overthinking that results in you scoring 50 points and spending your whole day Sunday throwing darts at a picture of yourself that you printed out and taped to your living room wall.
3. DON’T Keep Starting Players If They Aren’t Actually Working
That being said: don’t keep playing a guy just because you’ve been playing him. Sometimes a team will succeed in spite of a week spot in the lineup, but you overlook said spot because you’ve been winning. For example, I have Jeremy Kerley pretty firmly ensconced in my second wide-receiver spot. I’m in the semifinals of my league this week, and I was considering whether I should play Kerley or Darrius Heyward-Bey, who, despite being a pretty high draft pick, has been riding my bench thanks to injury and a few zero-catch games. But when I looked into it, Kerley’s performance is pretty rough: over his last two games, he’s put up a grand total of 4.4 points. I’ve been on a winning streak, but it hasn’t been because of him. So, out goes Kerley, and in goes Heyward-Bey, who went for 82 yards and a score last week against Denver.
5. DO Look To Josh Freeman If You Need A Passer
On that note, for everyone who’s not confident in their QB, Freeman’s a great option — he had the best game of his career earlier this year against the Saints, and he gets round two this week as New Orleans continues to deal with the futility of their own existence, i.e. the fact that they won’t even smell the playoffs this year. Does anyone need a passer if they’ve made the playoffs already? Probably not! But on the off chance that, say, Bob Griffin couldn’t go this week — his friends call him Bob — or, uh, you’ve been starting Tony Romo, Freeman’s a great alternative.
7. DON’T Blindly Start Ben Roethlisberger
Prior to the bizarre rib injury that almost killed him, Ben Roethlisberger was having arguably an MVP-caliber season: 17 touchdowns vs. only four interceptions. And his first game back also turned out well, with three touchdowns vs. only one pick. But the Cowboys have an impressive, consistently challenging secondary, and the Steelers appear to be listing. If you have another option, it might be best to avoid Big Ben this week, considering the uncertainty in Pittsburgh.
9. DO Pick Up David Wilson
David Wilson torched the Saints for 100 yards and two touchdowns last week. (Have you noticed anything in common among these tips? They often involve the Saints getting owned.) Wilson, a rookie, is also a huge threat as a kick returner. And with Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with knee trouble, there’s a good chance that the relatively fresh Wilson will be the Giants’ feature back going forward — at the very least, he’ll get carries and touches. That’s all you can really ask for from a waiver wire pickup this late in the year.
11. DON’T Try To Convince Yourself Alex Green Is The Answer
On the flip side of a scenario like David Wilson’s is Alex Green. Thanks to injuries in the Green Bay backfield, Green has had eight games this year where he had 10 or more carries. In none of those games has he topped 70 yards rushing, and he’s yet to score a touchdown. Sure, you can continue to hope that the carries translate into big yardage and touchdowns eventually, but eight games is not a bad sample size, and for Green — and the Packers’ heavily pass-focused offense — that is seeming increasingly unlikely with every passing week.
13. DO Laugh All The Way To The Bank
If you’ve been following these tips all year, there’s almost no way you’re not going to win your league championship. It’s inevitable.