Start & SitDecember 9, 2010

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Week 14: The Losers’ Bracket - 2 comments

By Drew Szczerba

It should never happen. There’s no excuse. And yet, it happens far too often. An owner with a struggling team refuses to play out the season. His starting lineup hasn’t changed in weeks. Bye week players, injured players, and Carolina players remain active. This owner lacks pride, but it’s the rest of the league that suffers. A team sneaks into the playoffs simply by being fortunate enough to play this guy down the stretch. Meanwhile, other teams miss out because they weren’t lucky enough to play a team with Dallas Clark starting at tight end. It’s a problem that will never be completely eliminated. Fortunately, the damage can be minimized. To do this, we need to ask ourselves one question – how do we encourage teams that don’t have anything to play for? The answer is simple; set up a losers’ bracket.

The losers’ bracket is comprised of the best four teams that fail to qualify for the playoffs. The “winner” then gets his or her league fee back. So, in a league where four teams make the traditional playoffs, teams five through eight would battle for the title of “Best of the Worst.” This gives every team an incentive to keep playing. Even if it’s not your year, you can still qualify for a chance to get something back. This extra incentive leads to another benefit. If owners want to keep playing, they aren’t as likely to accept a questionable trade offer. They shouldn’t anyway, but owners don’t always do what they were supposed to do. If they did, I’d need another idea for this column.

There is one more benefit to having a losers’ bracket. More owners will participate in the playoff process. At first, I was skeptical about how much excitement one could get from competing for a consolation prize. However, it’s been my experience that merely playing for something gives a few more owners a few more weeks to cheer/discuss/curse their teams. In fact, last year I “won” the losers’ bracket in one of my leagues. During those last few games, I cared more than I would’ve thought. In the end, I was quite proud of that mediocre bunch. And, thanks to DeAngelo Williams, I’ll likely be defending my title in the very near future. Now that you know you’re about to get advice from an expert, let’s get to Start/Sit.

Here at the Café, we rank all the players we expect could see a significant amount of game action each week. We factor in a player’s overall ability, his weekly match-up, and the current status of his health. The result is one Start/Sit number, based on a scale of 100, and we’ll use each member’s ratings to find an average for each player. The higher a guy is on our list, the better you should feel starting him. Finally, below each table, I will give my personal Start/Sit recommendations for each position. Without further ado, here’s Start/Sit for Week 14.

1Aaron RodgersGBat DET94.33
2Michael VickPHIat DAL90.47
3Philip RiversSDKC89.83
4Drew BreesNOSTL88.67
5Peyton ManningINDat TEN86.00
6Tom BradyNEat CHI85.33
7Kyle OrtonDENat ARI81.67
8Matt RyanATLat CAR79.33
9Ben RoethlisbergerPITCIN77.99
10Joe FlaccoBALat HOU77.33
11Eli ManningNYGat MIN77.00
12Ryan FitzpatrickBUFCLE74.33
T-12Jay CutlerCHINE74.33
14Josh FreemanTBat WAS73.67
15Matt SchaubHOUBAL71.33
16Jon KitnaDALPHI68.00
17Donovan McNabbWASTB67.67
18Jason CampbellOAKat JAC67.00
19David GarrardJACOAK65.67
20Matt HasselbeckSEAat SF65.53
21Sam BradfordSTLat NO64.67
22Mark SanchezNYJMIA64.00
T-22Alex SmithSFSEA64.00
24Carson PalmerCINat PIT63.00
T-24Chad HenneMIAat NYJ63.00
26John SkeltonARIDEN54.67
27Jimmy ClausenCARATL53.33
28Kerry CollinsTENIND49.13
29Drew StantonDETGB48.33
30Brett FavreMINNYG45.87
31Brodie CroyleKCat SD45.67
32Jake DelhommeCLEat BUF39.33
33Matt CasselKCat SD25.40
34Tarvaris JacksonMINNYG23.00
35Colt McCoyCLEat BUF20.00

Start: Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos. If you’ve read one of our Start/Sit columns at the Café, you know my love for Orton is borderline creepy. If you read all of our columns, you know the word ‘borderline’ has no place in the previous sentence. He laid an egg last week, but that was the only game he’s been held under 14 fantasy points all season. Heading into Week 14, Orton has two things working in his favor. First, he plays Arizona. And second, Josh McDaniels was just fired. If recent history has taught us anything it’s that a new coach equals an inspired performance.
Start: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts. In spite of being a turnover machine lately, Manning hasn’t been terrible from a fantasy perspective. He’s thrown a mildly disappointing 11 interceptions in the last three weeks, but he’s averaged 348 passing yards and 23 fantasy points per game during that time. In Week 14, he’ll face a Tennessee pass defense that held David Garrard to 126 yards passing. That statistic, however, was primarily the result of Jacksonville’s ability to control the game on the ground. Fortunately for Manning, the Colts don’t have that problem.
Sit: Matt Schaub, Houston Texans. At 5-7, Houston is well on their way to again being everyone’s favorite sleeper for next season. Now they face a Ravens defense that’s allowing less than 200 passing yards per game over their last three. This looks like a tough match-up for Schaub and company.
RankRunning BacksTeamOppAverage
1Peyton HillsCLEat BUF91.33
2Michael TurnerATLat CAR91.00
3Maurice Jones-DrewJACOAK90.33
4Chris JohnsonTENIND87.33
5Adrian PetersonMINNYG87.00
6Knowshon MorenoDENat ARI85.67
7Arian FosterHOUBAL85.33
8LeSean McCoyPHIat DAL84.33
9Rashard MendenhallPITCIN83.67
10Steven JacksonSTLat NO82.33
11Ray RiceBALat HOU81.33
T-11Jamaal CharlesKCat SD81.33
13Matt ForteCHINE80.00
14Darren McFaddenOAKat JAC74.33
T-14LeGarrette BlountTBat WAS74.33
16Mike TolbertSDKC73.67
17Fred JacksonBUFCLE72.00
18Tim HightowerARIDEN71.33
19Felix JonesDALPHI70.99
20Thomas JonesKCat SD70.67
21Ahmad BradshawNYGat MIN69.73
22Shonn GreeneNYJMIA69.67
T-22LaDainian TomlinsonNYJMIA69.67
24Brandon JacobsNYGat MIN68.67
25Chris IvoryNOSTL68.33
26BenJarvus Green-EllisNEat CHI67.00
27Beanie WellsARIDEN66.20
28Cedric BensonCINat PIT65.67
T-28Marshawn LynchSEAat SF65.67
30Jonathan StewartCARATL65.33
31Brandon JacksonGBat DET65.00
T-31James StarksGBat DET65.00
T-31Michael BushOAKat JAC65.00
34Tashard ChoiceDALPHI63.77
35Brian WestbrookSFSEA63.73
36Anthony DixonSFSEA62.67
37Danny WoodheadNEat CHI61.33
38C.J. SpillerBUFCLE60.67
T-38Ronnie BrownMIAat NYJ60.67
40Justin ForsettSEAat SF60.33
41Ryan TorainWASTB60.13
42Rashad JenningsJACOAK59.33
43Chester TaylorCHINE58.67
44Jason SnellingATLat CAR58.07
45Cadillac WilliamsTBat WAS58.00
46Pierre ThomasNOSTL57.33
47Jahvid BestDETGB56.90
48Ricky WilliamsMIAat NYJ56.00
T-48Jerome HarrisonPHIat DAL56.00
T-48Isaac RedmanPITCIN56.00
51Donald BrownINDat TEN55.72
52Jarvarris JamesINDat TEN55.67
53Mike GoodsonCARATL55.13
54Reggie BushNOSTL54.33
T-54Keiland WilliamsWASTB54.33
56Maurice MorrisDETGB54.00
57Willis McGaheeBALat HOU53.67
58Ryan MathewsSDKC53.00
59Darren SprolesSDKC52.80
60James DavisWASTB50.00
61Toby GerhartMINNYG48.47
62Bernard ScottCINat PIT48.33
63Lance BallDENat ARI37.00
64Mike BellCLEat BUF36.67
65Derrick WardHOUBAL34.67
T-65Javon RingerTENIND34.67
67Mewelde MoorePITCIN34.33
68Dimitri NanceGBat DET32.67
69LeRon McClainBALat HOU26.00
70Fred TaylorNEat CHI25.20

Start: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens. Rice had just 50 total yards against Pittsburgh. He was used primarily as an extra blocker and actually made several key blitz pick-ups. This week he’ll face a comparatively weak Houston defense. I don’t expect Baltimore’s offensive line to need much help. More importantly, they should give Rice plenty of room to run. Top 10 RB this week.
Start: Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys. Tashard Choice is certainly a better complement to Jones than the ineffective Marion Barber III. However, I don’t think Choice’s performance against the Colts has made this an RBBC situation. Choice ran for 100 yards and a score, but it was just one game. I’m betting Jones gets the lion’s share of the work as the Cowboys attempt to keep the ball out of Michael Vick’s hands.
Sit: Danny Woodhead, New England Patriots. The Patriots number two running back (and apparently the Jets number one running back) gashed his former team on Monday night. Woodhead had over 100 yards receiving against the “vaunted” Jets defense. (Note: I’ve heard the Jets defense referred to as “vaunted” 612 times in the last 48 hours. I’ll assume it’s mandatory until further notice.) Still, Woodhead had just two carries in the game. Could he have another big receiving day? Of course it’s possible, but more reliable options should be available.
RankWide ReceiversTeamOppAverage
1Roddy WhiteATLat CAR90.33
2Greg JenningsGBat DET90.00
3Andre JohnsonHOUBAL87.37
4Reggie WayneINDat TEN85.07
5Brandon LloydDENat ARI84.67
6Calvin JohnsonDETGB84.33
7DeSean JacksonPHIat DAL83.33
8Marques ColstonNOSTL83.13
9Jeremy MaclinPHIat DAL82.67
10Mike WallacePITCIN82.60
11Miles AustinDALPHI81.00
12Anquan BoldinBALat HOU80.33
13Dwayne BoweKCat SD80.03
14Santonio HolmesNYJMIA78.67
15Mike WilliamsTBat WAS78.27
16Steve JohnsonBUFCLE78.17
17Sidney RiceMINNYG76.70
18Larry FitzgeraldARIDEN76.67
19Wes WelkerNEat CHI75.07
20Hines WardPITCIN73.27
21Johnny KnoxCHINE72.67
22Mario ManninghamNYGat MIN72.40
23Derrick MasonBALat HOU72.33
24Terrell OwensCINat PIT71.83
25Michael CrabtreeSFSEA70.80
26Santana MossWASTB70.30
27Jabar GaffneyDENat ARI69.83
28Malcom FloydSDKC69.71
29Pierre GarconINDat TEN69.07
T-29Deion BranchNEat CHI69.07
31Roy WilliamsDALPHI68.33
T-31Mike ThomasJACOAK68.33
33Donald DriverGBat DET68.00
34Robert MeachemNOSTL67.13
T-34Lance MooreNOSTL67.13
36Jacoby FordOAKat JAC67.00
37Kenny BrittTENIND66.90
38Chad OchocincoCINat PIT66.67
T-38Braylon EdwardsNYJMIA66.67
40Eddie RoyalDENat ARI66.50
41Nate WashingtonTENIND65.73
42Steve SmithCARATL65.33
T-42Earl BennettCHINE65.33
44Lee EvansBUFCLE64.17
45Seyi AjirotutuSDKC63.30
46James JonesGBat DET63.00
47Devin HesterCHINE62.67
48Louis MurphyOAKat JAC62.33
49Jason AvantPHIat DAL61.67
50Anthony ArmstrongWASTB60.73
51T.J. HoushmandzadehBALat HOU60.33
T-51Devery HendersonNOSTL60.33
53Davone BessMIAat NYJ59.37
54Steve BreastonARIDEN59.33
T-54Josh MorganSFSEA59.33
56Sammie StroughterTBat WAS59.30
57Blair WhiteINDat TEN59.07
T-57Randy MossTENIND59.07
59Brandon StokleySEAat SF58.67
60Jacoby JonesHOUBAL58.27
61Percy HarvinMINNYG57.90
62Danny AmendolaSTLat NO57.37
63Mohamed MassaquoiCLEat BUF56.80
64Michael JenkinsATLat CAR56.67
T-64Deon ButlerSEAat SF56.67
66Kevin WalterHOUBAL56.61
67Derek HaganNYGat MIN56.40
68Early DoucetARIDEN56.00
69Justin GageTENIND55.73
70Jordy NelsonGBat DET55.67
71David GettisCARATL55.33
72Brandon LaFellCARATL54.67
73Nate BurlesonDETGB54.33
74Steve SmithNYGat MIN53.55
75Jordan ShipleyCINat PIT53.00
76Brandon GibsonSTLat NO52.70
77Brandon MarshallMIAat NYJ52.43
78Dexter McClusterKCat SD52.40
79Joshua CribbsCLEat BUF51.67
80Brian RobiskieCLEat BUF50.67
81Laurent RobinsonSTLat NO50.21
82Danario AlexanderSTLat NO49.57
83Hakeem NicksNYGat MIN49.47
84Greg CamarilloMINNYG49.00
85Mike Sims-WalkerJACOAK46.37
86Arrelious BennTBat WAS42.43
87Sam HurdDALPHI41.33
88Harry DouglasATLat CAR41.03
89Mike WilliamsSEAat SF40.33
90Verran TuckerKCat SD40.00
91Chaz SchilensOAKat JAC39.33
92Emmanuel SandersPITCIN38.97
93Michael SpurlockTBat WAS37.07
94Brandon TateNEat CHI37.00
95Brandon BanksWASTB36.67
96Ben ObomanuSEAat SF36.37
97Julian EdelmanNEat CHI34.67
T-97Brad SmithNYJMIA34.67
99Antwaan Randle ElPITCIN33.33
100Donald JonesBUFCLE33.00

Start: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals. Fitzgerald has caught a mere four passes in each of his last two games. During that time, he’s been unable to find the end zone. A Week 14 match-up against Denver should help turn things around. The Broncos have surrendered 24 passing touchdowns this year, third most in the NFL. Also, it should be noted that Derek Anderson may be out with a concussion. If he can’t go, Fitzgerald will catch passes from John Skelton. By all accounts, Skelton puts his heart and soul into the game so the transition should be seamless.
Start: Mike Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars. Thomas was supposed to get more opportunities due to the absence of Mike Sims-Walker (ankle). Unfortunately, Jacksonville never really had to go to the air last week, resulting in a pedestrian performance (4/31/0) from Thomas. That figures to change this week as the Jaguars and Raiders appear fairly evenly matched. Thomas leads Jacksonville in targets this season and that trend should continue in Week 14. I’m betting he makes good on enough of the targets to be worth a spot in your lineup. Prediction: six catches, 70 yards, and a score.
Sit: Davone Bess, Miami Dolphins. Against the vaunted Jets defense? I don’t think so.
RankTight EndsTeamOppAverage
1Vernon DavisSFSEA82.27
2Tony GonzalezATLat CAR79.70
3Jacob TammeINDat TEN76.97
4Jason WittenDALPHI76.84
5Marcedes LewisJACOAK75.97
6Chris CooleyWASTB74.30
7Ben WatsonCLEat BUF73.27
8Kellen WinslowTBat WAS72.55
9Antonio GatesSDKC71.24
10Kevin BossNYGat MIN70.63
11Brandon PettigrewDETGB69.10
12Greg OlsenCHINE69.03
13Brent CelekPHIat DAL67.77
14Dustin KellerNYJMIA67.43
15Zach MillerOAKat JAC67.10
16Ed DicksonBALat HOU67.00
17Anthony FasanoMIAat NYJ66.53
18Visanthe ShiancoeMINNYG66.40
19Tony MoeakiKCat SD65.66
20Jermaine GreshamCINat PIT65.10
21Aaron HernandezNEat CHI64.40
22Rob GronkowskiNEat CHI61.73
23Fred DavisWASTB59.63
24Jeremy ShockeyNOSTL57.10
T-24Daniel FellsSTLat NO57.10
26Andrew QuarlessGBat DET56.33
27Bo ScaifeTENIND56.00
28Owen DanielsHOUBAL54.53
29Billy BajemaSTLat NO53.77
30Daniel GrahamDENat ARI53.33
31John CarlsonSEAat SF49.07
32Ben PatrickARIDEN46.67
33Todd HeapBALat HOU46.33
34Jimmy GrahamNOSTL43.00
35Spencer HavnerGBat DET42.47
36Joel DreessenHOUBAL37.97
37Matt SpaethPITCIN37.63
38Heath MillerPITCIN37.00
39Cameron MorrahSEAat SF36.67
40Randy McMichaelSDKC36.00

Start: Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons. I’ve seen the hip hop-infused school bus commercials. I’m all in.
Sit: Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals. Despite the success of the “Falcons on a school bus” ad, NFL Play 60 has decided to pull the plug on the controversial “Bengals on a prison bus” commercial.
RankTeam DefenseTeamOppAverage
2GiantsNYGat MIN84.07
3PackersGBat DET82.52
6FalconsATLat CAR78.30
7PatriotsNEat CHI77.13
9EaglesPHIat DAL75.58
10BrownsCLEat BUF73.10
11ColtsINDat TEN72.97
12BuccaneersTBat WAS72.07
15BroncosDENat ARI71.33
T-15RaidersOAKat JAC71.33
17ChiefsKCat SD71.30
18RavensBALat HOU71.07
19SeahawksSEAat SF70.30
22DolphinsMIAat NYJ67.43
26RamsSTLat NO65.10
30BengalsCINat PIT61.20

Start: New York Giants. The Giants defense has been dominant for the last six quarters. They forced six Washington turnovers last week, building on the momentum gained in the second half against Jacksonville. In Week 14, they’ll take on a rejuvenated Minnesota team. The Vikings blew out Buffalo despite being intercepted four times. Can Minnesota win with four turnovers again? Probably not, but I’m betting we’ll have a chance to find out.
Sit: Seattle Seahawks. Don’t give Leon Washington another chance to break your heart.
1David AkersPHIat DAL89.33
2Rob BironasTENIND85.67
3Matt BryantATLat CAR85.33
4Adam VinatieriINDat TEN81.00
T-4Nate KaedingSDKC81.00
6Matt PraterDENat ARI78.67
T-6Mason CrosbyGBat DET78.67
T-6Sebastian JanikowskiOAKat JAC78.67
9Garrett HartleyNOSTL78.33
10Nick FolkNYJMIA77.67
11Robbie GouldCHINE77.33
12Billy CundiffBALat HOU76.00
13Phil DawsonCLEat BUF75.67
14Ryan LongwellMINNYG75.00
15Jay FeelyARIDEN74.67
T-15Lawrence TynesNYGat MIN74.67
17Neil RackersHOUBAL74.00
18Dan CarpenterMIAat NYJ73.33
19Shaun SuishamPITCIN72.00
20Shayne GrahamNEat CHI71.67
21Olindo MareSEAat SF70.33
T-21Connor BarthTBat WAS70.33
23Jeff ReedSFSEA70.00
24Ryan SuccopKCat SD69.67
25Josh BrownSTLat NO69.00
26Clint StitserCINat PIT68.67
27Josh ScobeeJACOAK68.00
28Dave RaynerDETGB67.67
29Rian LindellBUFCLE67.33
30Graham GanoWASTB66.33
31David BuehlerDALPHI65.67
32John KasayCARATL65.33



Drew is a lifelong Jets fan. Playing and writing about fantasy football has proven helpful in easing the pain.
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2 Responses to “Week 14: The Losers’ Bracket”

  1. User avatar daullaz says:

    An error caused Peterson to be ranked as the No. 13 running back when he should have been listed No. 5. The correction has been made.

  2. willpalmer says:

    I have a little dilemna and would like a little help… I’m in a small league with a few buddies and this week is the biggest game all season.. i have Calvin Johnson, Marcus Colston, Jeremy Maclin, Anquan Bolden and Dwayne Bowe.. They all technically look good on paper but those are some very tough choices Does anybody have any advice on what to do with that? It’s braggin rights for like a year so i guess thats why im fretting over it anyway HELP please ha


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