StrategyJanuary 8, 2005

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Thoughts on the Wild Card Weekend

By Jeff LaGrassa

Do you participate in fantasy football during the NFL playoffs? Got any thoughts on who is going to produce in this weekend’s Wild Card games? Here’s my line of thinking:

Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, January 8

4:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC — St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
8 p.m. on ABC — New York Jets at San Diego Chargers

Sunday, January 9

1 p.m. on CBS — Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
4:30 p.m. on FOX — Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

The Minnesota vs. Green Bay game is a no-brainer; it’s basically a rematch of the teams’ week 16 matchup. Expect similar numbers from Brett Favre, Daunte Culpepper, Donald Driver, Javon Walker, Randy Moss, Nate Burleson, Jermaine Wiggins, Bubba Franks and Ahman Green as we saw in that week 16 game. I would avoid the Vikings running back situation since Michael Bennett will likely split carries almost evenly with Onterrio Smith.

We should also see favorable fantasy numbers in the Rams-Seahawks matchup. I feel strongly about Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Darrell Jackson and both team’s kickers. Despite the commitment of Mike Martz to the run in the Rams’ week 17 game against the New York Jets, I would avoid both Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson.

In the Jets-Chargers matchup, I would probably only start Curtis Martin, the Jets’ kicker, and the Jets defense, and only if other options are not available. For San Diego, LaDainian Tomlinson is a no-brainer, and tight end Antonio Gates, quarterback Drew Brees, and kicker Nate Kaeding are also excellent starts. The San Diego defense could be the best defensive play of the eight teams playing in the Wild Card weekend.

You could pretty much start anyone, assuming full health, on the Colts offense. For Denver, I would probably only use Jake Plummer, Rod Smith, Ashley Lelie, and Jason Elam. Tight end Jeb Putzier is a deep sleeper pick. I don’t like the running back by committee of Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell, and I probably wouldn’t use either team’s defense.

Jeff LaGrassa is a Steelers fan, Grateful Deadhead, disc golf enthusiast, and Cafe regular. You can catch him posting in the Forums as The Lung.

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