It’s time to inject a soccer metaphor into our weekly fantasy football discussions. Remember a few months back when Mexico needed to win or tie in its final World Cup qualifying match at home just to grab the fourth spot in the standings and set up a home-and-home playoff against New Zealand?
Well, Mexico completely choked and looked dead and buried only for its biggest rival, the good ole USA to score two late goals it did not need and win a game at Panama it did not have to, giving Mexico the fourth seed anyway.
Here is the silver lining to the story. Yes, Mexico was gifted a fourth-place finish, but still needed to go and win the series with New Zealand to qualify for the World Cup. Mexico blitzed the Kiwis, winning with a combined goal difference of 9-3.
So, Mexico took advantage of good fortune and made it pay off.
That brings us back to fantasy football and my team, Last Action Heroes. The Heroes were 6-5 two weeks ago and looking like a lock for a playoff spot. But lopsided losses to two our league’s worst teams record-wise meant the season was over.
Or was it?
Thanks to other results and wins the Heroes posted earlier in the season (our first tiebreaker is head-to-head), my team is postseason bound again. LAH faces second-seeded Orchard Park (9-4), which was an unstoppable juggernaut before the injury to his starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
OP is still loaded with Calvin Johnson, Matt Forte, Desean Jackson and Frank Gore, but his quarterback slotted in as a starter right now is Matt Flynn. The Tyler native put up 0 points last week against Detroit and the Heroes may need a similar outing if they are to get into the semifinals.
Hopefully, the Heroes emulate our neighbors to the south and take advantage of our good fortune.
Last minute fantasy tips for the playoffs
1, Watch the weather, but don’t make it the most important factor in sit/start decisions. Three years ago the Patriots and Tom Brady were going to be on the road against Chicago at Soldier Field. The forecasts were for 20 degree weather, snow and 30 mile per hour winds. I foolishly benched Brady thinking he would not be able to do much in that weather.
Yeah, well, Brady passed for 369 yards and two touchdowns, one of those a 59-yarder. Our league gives you 5-point bonus for more than 300 and 350 yards passing and for touchdowns that go more than 50 yards. You can guess how many points were left on my bench.
2, Play your best players. It makes perfect sense but I still see owners bench their star players — in playoff games no less — because that guy’s teams is facing a tough defense/weather on the road while this middle-of-the road wide receiver has a good matchup. You may end up being correct, but how mad are you going to be if your star player goes off and you don’t reap the benefits.
3, Don’t overthink it. This is the one I struggle with the most, especially in the playoffs where it’s do or die. This team got you into the postseason so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it by shuffling your receivers or running backs to play matchups.
This has the reverse for teams like my Heroes that backed into the playoffs. I have lineup decisions all over the place right now because I always overthink things. Do I play Eli Manning at QB or (pictured) E.J. Manuel? Manning has been killing me and Manuel has a good matchup with Tampa Bay. Do I put my playoff hopes in the hands of rookie QB?
I need to follow my own advice and stick with Tip No. 2 because you’ll sleep better knowing you put your best foot forward regardless of how it ends up.
4, Enjoy this time of the fantasy season! This is what your weeks of hard work and scoring the waiver wire and trading block has delivered. It is the playoffs and there are several owners in your league that would trade places with you in a minute. So, like Mexico did in World Cup qualifying, enjoy this chance and take advantage of it. It does not matter how you made it — you’re here and now is where bragging rights and money are won.