The Fantasy Fool: Sloshing through a fantasy wonderland

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So how did you fare during Snowmaggedon 2013? Did you watch your fantasy postseason dreams slip-slide away with Calvin Johnson and his fellow Lions? Or did LeSean McCoy strap you to his back and skate you into the second round?

To be sure, those of us heavily invested in the Eagles offense were sensing, early on, that it just might be “one of those days.” Had my opponent let me swap out McCoy halfway through the second quarter, I would have jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know he’d plow through the snow, and the stout Lions run defense, to a career-high rushing performance in the second half.

Heck, even Nick Foles shook off his first interception of the year to post respectable numbers, with an assist from DeSean Jackson. Which is more than we can say for Matthew Stafford and Megatron.

Peyton Manning proved his cold-weather doubters wrong, and Drew Brees apparently can handle good defenses after all. Meanwhile, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger served notice that they, too, can be valuable contributors to fantasy owners with championship aspirations.

But a chill surely went through the spines of those banking on Adrian Peterson, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. If you survived this weekend’s contest with any of the above, you’ve proven it’s possible. Now prepare to do it again.

Peterson’s foot sprain may not ground him for the duration, but it could very easily sideline him in Week 15. Welker’s second concussion of the season will almost certainly cost him the Thursday night tilt with the Chargers, or longer. And Gronkowski has already been lost for the season.

Once again, many of us will be forced to win a war of attrition if we hope to hoist a trophy later this month. That’s why it pays to keep your bench stocked with handcuffs like Toby Gerhart, and other position players with upside.

Say it with me: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor bum hamstrings shall keep us from our appointed victory!

FREE AGENT PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering for your postseason run, and others that would look better in your opponent’s lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can 

Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings. The last time Gerhart was pressed into service due to a Peterson injury, during the 2011 fantasy playoffs, he was a solid producer. He may have that opportunity again, if AP’s foot injury keeps him on the sidelines. Peterson’s owners should already have Gerhart in reserve. If not, grab him, even if only as a preemptive strike.

Joique Bell, RB, Lions. Those paying attention in the minutes before the Lions-Eagles kickoff heard that Reggie Bush had tweaked his injured calf during warm-ups and might not be able to play. Bell got the starting nod and proceeded to amass 127 rushing yards and a TD in the blizzard-like conditions. The talented backup could easily be called upon again.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens. Those left stranded by Gronkowski can look south to Baltimore, where Pitta is back and apparently healthy following his offseason hip injury. It didn’t take long to reestablish his chemistry with Joe Flacco. Pitta has a favorable matchup in Detroit in Week 15.

Don’t be fooled

Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins. At this critical juncture of the season, I can’t in good conscience recommend Thomas. Even though Lamar Miller may be sidelined with a concussion and the doormat Patriots rush defense is up next, Thomas simply can’t be trusted with so much on the line.

Da’Rick Rogers and LaVon Brazill, WRs, Colts. Both wideouts had career games Sunday. Rogers is a rookie whose 107 yards and 2 TDs made for a memorable NFL debut. Brazill had amassed a whopping eight receptions for 97 yards and no TDs prior to Sunday’s explosion. While they both bear watching, you can’t risk either in your postseason lineup.

Ladd Biro was named Football Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for two consecutive years (2010, 2011). Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com), on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).


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