December 3 2010 Last updated at 11:00 AM ET
Bad Choices and Better Alternatives for the Fantasy Playoffs: Part 1
In August, we featured a fantasy football article called Bad Choices and Better Alternatives. In it, we went round by round, telling you the players to avoid at their draft price and the players you should select instead. For the most part, our advice was spot on.
Some of our suggested alternatives included Roddy White over Larry Fitzgerald in the second round, Dwayne Bowe or Hakeem Nicks over Felix Jones in the fifth round, Ahmad Bradshaw and Arian Foster over Justin Forsett in the seventh round and LaDainian Tomlinson over a fantasy defense in the tenth round.
In fact, out of our 10 bad choices, the only two having a good year are Aaron Rodgers (whom we called overpriced as a first-round selection) and Santonio Holmes (whom we passed on for Terrell Owens).
Of course, seeing as how we're into December, you're not really interested in August recommendations. However, we're going to carry the concept with us into the holiday season. Below, you'll find guys that are taking up roster space in over 60 percent of fantasy leagues that we would ditch for the fantasy playoffs. We'll pair each bad choice with a great alternative available in at least 60 percent of Fleaflicker leagues as of Thursday.
We're taking a look at quarterbacks and running backs here, and the other fantasy positions in a separate article.
Bad Choice: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT. As a Big Ben owner myself, I know how ridiculous it is to cut him right now. He's sporting a 12:4 TD:INT ratio and averaging over 250 yards per game this season. Unfortunately, a decimated offensive line has Roethlisberger rattled in the pocket, and the Steelers passing offense has to contend with a murderer's row of pass defenses in Weeks 14-16: Bengals, Jets, Panthers. I'd be looking for a Plan B.
Bad Choice: Carson Palmer, CIN. I don't know people's fascination with Palmer is this season, but anyone that's watched him play can tell he's had a very poor season. His stats have been catching up to his arm over the last few weeks, as he's thrown seven interceptions in his last three games. With a trip to Pittsburgh in Week 14 and a game against the Chargers in Week 16, there's no way you should be using Palmer in your playoffs.
Bad Choice: Mark Sanchez, NYJ. After posting three huge fantasy days in Weeks 9-11, Sanchez came back down to Earth in Week 12 with a 10-point performance against the Bengals. He has a nice matchup in Week 13, but then he faces three top-12 QB defenses in the playoffs, with a home game against the Dolphins on tap before trips to Pittsburgh and Chicago. No thanks.
Bad Choice: Brett Favre, MIN. Really, Fleaflicker owners? Sixty-one percent owned? Just drop the guy already.
Better Alternative: Jon Kitna, DAL. While he does have to deal with the looming return of Tony Romo, Kitna should be under center through Week 15 in a worst case scenario. That will mean he'll get a rivalry game against the Eagles in Week 14 and a sweet matchup against the Redskins the following week. Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are playing well, and Kitna has no shortage of weapons to hit.
Better Alternative: Kerry Collins, TEN. Expected to start in Week 13, Collins will enjoy starting QB status for the rest of the season, if he can stay healthy. That will mean he'll face the Colts in Week 14, the Texans in Week 15 and the Chiefs in Week 16. You'll want him at the very least for that Houston matchup, and he could actually post top-15 numbers the rest of the way.
Bad Choice: LaDanian Tomlinson, NYJ. I'm not suggesting you send a top-15 running back to the waiver wire, but I do want you to look at Tomlinson's entire body of work in 2010. After averaging 4.7 yards per carry or more in each of his first five games, LT hasn't topped 3.8 yards per carry. His 15 touches in Week 12 were his lowest total since Weeks 1 and 2. Shonn Greene is primed to close the season as the lead back, and the Jets have terrible matchups against the Steelers and Bears in Weeks 15 and 16.
Bad Choice: Darren McFadden, OAK. McFadden has quickly dropped from a top-three fantasy back to an RB3. Over his last two games, he's rushed for 16 yards on 18 carries. Even with a couple tasty matchups on tap, I'm far from trusting him with my fantasy season on the line.
Bad Choice: Jahvid Best, DET. The electric rookie is banged up now, and he's unlikely to show enough fantasy potential at all this season to merit a playoff start. He actually hasn't had a good week since Week 2' 41-point effort. After scoring 56.8 points in his first two games, he managed just 48.7 points in his next eight games. No thanks.
Bad Choice: Ryan Mathews, SD. Don't let his projected Week 13 return trick him into letting you start him in your playoffs. While he's done well when he's played, he hasn't played nearly enough. Mike Tolbert has established himself as a quality lead back, and with the team winning games and looking for another division crown, the Chargers are unlikely to make a personnel move now. I've been hanging on to Mathews for weeks, but I'm cutting him if I make the playoffs.
Better Alternative: Mike Goodson, CAR. After topping 20 touches in Weeks 10 and 11, Mike Goodson was expected to see a drop in production with the return of Jonathan Stewart. Instead, he received 22 touches in Week 12 en route to his best fantasy game of the season, totaling 136 yards and a TD. He won't be a great play in Week 16 against the Steelers, but I'd consider playing him in Week 14 against the Falcons, and I'd definitely use him in Week 15 against the Cardinals.
Better Alternative: Anthony Dixon, SF. Brian Westbrook is tabbed as the must-have replacement for Frank Gore, but Dixon is sure to see his fair share of carries as well. He rushed for 54 yards on 14 attempts in Week 12, converting a TD. As the 49ers goal-line back, he could be busy in Week 14 against the Seahawks. The Chargers haven't played fantasy running backs well this season, and Dixon wraps up against a solid Rams defense.
Better Alternative: Tashard Choice, DAL. Marion Barber is ailing, and Choice can stick in Barber's role with a good performance in Week 13. He has the talent to succeed, and should he find himself in a prime position for touches in the fantasy playoffs, he should have no problem producing against Washington and Arizona in Weeks 15 and 16.
Better Alternative: Mike Hart, IND. Donald Brown hasn't impressed at all as the Colts' lead back, and with the team desperately needing something resembling a running game, Hart should see plenty of carries when he's healthy. He did well in three games early in the season, rushing for 177 yards on 34 carries and scoring one TD. He'll have better than average matchups against Tennessee, Jacksonville and Oakland in the playoffs.
Read More: NFL Waiver Wire Playoffs Advice anthony+dixon, ben+roethlisberger, brett+favre, carson+palmer, darren+mcfadden, jahvid+best, jon+kitna, kerry+collins, ladainian+tomlinson, mark+sanchez, mike+goodson, mike+hart, ryan+mathews, tashard+choice
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