You made it.
Just take a little while and let that soak in.
The season began with 8, 10, 12, 14 or more teams and your squad did what was necessary to reach the fantasy football playoffs.
For everyone else, thanks for playing and you’ll get ’em next year, but for the fortunate few like my team the Last Action Heroes (9-4 and No. 2 seed in our 14-team league), just allow yourself a little pat on the back.
Now on to the business at hand. The playoffs are three weeks and there can be only one champion.
In order to give the best advice possible, I thought it wise to pick the brain of someone who has been there before; someone who has scaled to the top of the fantasy football mountain — twice in fact.
Joe Buie, former Tyler Junior College beat writer and current page designer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, has won our 14-team league’s trophy two of the last three seasons. He narrowly missed out on the playoffs this year.
Hopefully some of his knowledge and, he admits, luck can rub off on us as we aspire for that Holy Grail — a fantasy football championship.
Q: What is your suggestion on lineup moves for the playoffs?
Buie: One thing for me is both times I won it, I was one of the better teams in the league, so it wasn’t like I was an eighth seed and do I play this guy or that because no one was really a standout. From what I remember, decisions were pretty easy.
Q: Is there any suggestion you can give to me and other owners in dealing with the stress of the playoffs. Knowing one bad week will eliminate a season of good managing?
Buie: Don’t overthink it. I only made one change to my starting lineup last year. The first two weeks I had the same starting lineup and I remember last year for the Super Bowl, LeGarrette Blount was struggling terribly and luckily I had depth at running back and put in Kevin Smith who I’d picked up off the street before the playoffs started. He ended up scoring me 18 points.
Q: There is no magic formula to winning fantasy, right?
Buie: You have to be good and lucky. Case in point, last year I won my first two playoff games 83-68 and 73-72 before I scored 170 in the championship. It doesn’t matter how good you think your team is, somewhere along the line, you’ve got to get lucky.
Some potential pickups for the playoffs:
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks — I admit I wasn’t a believer in the rookie from Wisconsin and figured Matt Flynn would have his job by now, but here are Wilson’s last four point-totals: 26, 21, 23 and 30. In comparison, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers last four weeks: 37, 18, 17 and 15. You could do worse than Wilson, who has games coming up against Arizona and Buffalo.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets — I know he plays for a team led by Mark Sanchez, but maybe a frustrated owner dropped Greene, who posted 15 points last week (our league is also point-per-two-receptions) and has a good matchup this week at Jacksonville.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts — The fourth-best receiver in all of football for the past three weeks, and probably still available on the waiver wire in many leagues.
Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams — Many fantasy gurus have been talking up Josh Gordon of Cleveland, but I like Givens’ big-play ability and the fact he’s become Sam Bradford’s favorite target with Danny Amendola on the mend. Givens caught 11 passes for 92 yards last week. You can’t always count on TDs, so that yardage and reception total is nice.
This is the week where hopefully your team is as healthy as it’s ever been, or you have a bye, or are playing an inferior first-round opponent. Unfortunately for me, none of those three apply to my first-round matchup with BHorns. I have to try to survive Peyton Manning playing against the defensively-challenged Oakland Raiders, among his other stars like a rejuvenated Jamaal Charles and TD machine Tony Gonzalez.
Yes, I am nervous that it will all be over on Monday, but this is the playoffs, and there’s no place I’d rather be.
Chris Parry began playing fantasy football in college in 1996 and he has won numerous titles in both fantasy football and baseball. His column appears each Thursday on Page Two. Any lineup questions or comments, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can send a tweet to @CParryETFS with the #fantasytakeaway.