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Playoff Motivation and its Impact on Performance

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Playoff Motivation and its Impact on Performance

Postby bobbing_headz » Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:54 am

Come the last week in the year most teams are playing for nothing, either they've made the playoffs of they're already in. However, there are teams that either are fighting for a last playoff spot or for home field. I'm interested on what the impact of this is on the performance of the individual players (in terms of Fantasy production). It seems pretty obvious that a team out of it/already in might bench their starters. But, I'm wondering if players on teams fighting for a spot perform better? Do different positions do better/worse based on this? I thought it would be interesting to check out some stats after this week. Any opinions are welcome.
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Postby Mercer Boy » Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:12 am

Someone might have data on this, but in easy terms I'd just assume this:

You want to use guys that are fighting for positions. Risking production from a player on a team that has their seeding clinched is not favorable since they may only see half of their normal carries/catches or less. Sure, they could still go off even with limited touches, but their chances of doing so are less.

As far as guys on teams who are fighting for spots - I'd say their chances of doing well/poor are the same as any other week...it depends on who they are playing. Now, if they are playing a team that's already clinched, they may get a bigger bump up providing the team rests its major players on defense.

Nothing earth shattering here, I'm sure...just making assumptions based on fantasy football logic. Play players who have good matchups, and if you want a maximum chance to score, use the guys on teams fighting for spots or teams that are already out of the playoffs that are playing for pride. ;-D
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Postby bobbing_headz » Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:16 am

I get your point Mercer but I'm trying to look even further. If say a team is out but the backups are playing (assuming a full game) what's the impact. Are they fighting for spots next year? Or, assuming both players play full games, someone on a team playing for nothing vs. something. I know it seems like it should be obvious for the team fighting for a spot but I'm just wondering if that may not be the truth.
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Postby Crippler » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:24 pm

bobbing_headz wrote:I get your point Mercer but I'm trying to look even further. If say a team is out but the backups are playing (assuming a full game) what's the impact. Are they fighting for spots next year? Or, assuming both players play full games, someone on a team playing for nothing vs. something. I know it seems like it should be obvious for the team fighting for a spot but I'm just wondering if that may not be the truth.


You're asking if players play harder when they have a potential playoff spot on the line? With full teams of starters on both sides I'm sure you wont see much if any change in their play. These guys are professionals and are being paid millions of $ and will fight every game to make sure they dont look bad. There's a lot on the line for every player in every game. The media likes to play up 'motivations' like Vince Young's first game back in Texas, or a player playing their former team. All of that is BS, used to generate interest in the game. There isnt much that motivates players more than looking good to keep their job every week. So if a player is in the game, dont look for him to be slacking off because they have a spot in the playoffs.
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Postby Yellowbird » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:39 pm

I had luck three seasons ago starting Betts in Week 17 (Portis was healthy, but Washington had either clinched or was out of it and they benched him for the week).

I think you can use back-up running backs with something to prove (a la Benson), but you should be careful, because if a team just benches their skill players; you're fine. If they bench their skills players and their line you're kinda screwed.
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Postby buffalobillsrul2002 » Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:08 am

I would definitely avoid playing anybody on the Bears this week, or any other team that has clinched their seed for that matter. Yes, the players (starters) will still try as hard as any other week.
However, the coaches will play basic vanilla defense (just like in the preseason) and vanilla offense. Hence, I doubt these teams will do well this week simply because they don't ahve to. Their first-round opponent surely will watch the film from Week 17, and if there's nothing at stake, why show the other team any of your tricks?
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