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Risers and Fallers – Week 15 (Playoff Self-Help)

End of the Line – Playoff tips

1) Be afraid of Josh Norman and Malcolm Butler. Does this mean you shouldn’t play Odell Beckham Jr. this week? No, of course you have to, without question. But he looks to be one of the exceptions to the rule. You should keep in mind, though, that Julio Jones was just held in check by Norman last week. Just food for thought. After the Beckham exception though, you have to steer clear. Mike Evans, in the final week, given his let down track record, should be avoided at all costs. As for Butler, any hope that a guy like Kendall Wright had goes down the toilet. Next week, it’ll be hard to argue against New York Jets’ Brandon Marshall, but the following week, Jarvis Landry should be skipped over. The moral of the story is that unless it’s an unquestioned Top 10 wide receiver, you should avoid anyone facing these two surefire Pro Bowl corners.

2) Avoid Cleveland and San Francisco options. Doesn’t matter the circumstance. It doesn’t matter if Johnny Manziel gets that last three starts. Don’t care. No one is worthy of trusting at this point in the season. Both teams have been too putrid for too long. Anquan Boldin, Blaine Gabbert, Johnny ManzielIsaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Torrey Smith, etc. Nope. If they cost you a win, it’s all on you. You have a much larger chance of being an idiot than a genius.

3) Avoid concussion protocol players. Regardless if they are cleared, there is simply too high of a risk of re-injury. Nothing will cost you a win faster than players leaving the game in the first quarter. How did Tyler Eifert owners make out last week? Avoid the concussed as much as possible, as even DeAndre Hopkins would suffer just as much as Brian Hoyer himself if another case happened during on-field play.

4) Block everyone, every chance you get. Pick up all the players deemed valuable off waivers and free agency just to weaken the opposition. Whether it’s Christine Michael, James White, Brandon Bolden, Fozzy Whittaker or Fred Jackson, pick them up and bench them just to ensure that Chris Johnson and LeGarrette Blount owners suffer a little bit more. Stevie Johnson looks questionable this week. Hello, Malcom Floyd against Miami, meet my bench.

5) Beware the delicate balance of playoff positioning versus injury avoidance in Carolina. How long will Cam Newton play? Will Carolina use Greg Olsen up to his full workload? Or will Carolina hit cruise control? Be sure you’re positive in what you’re doing as it’s possible that both could be benched at half time. A 125-yard outing from Newton on the day would quickly sink your ship.

6) Use Eddie Lacy. He was a Top 5 pick. If he’s still on your roster, you’ve displayed extreme patience while this has all sorted itself out. You’ve also probably eaten both of the worst weeks of his career here in 2015. Being so, ride your display of patience to the cup. Chances are he’s your highest-end back by a long shot given his draft positioning. Go for broke after last week. Remember, it’s just Oakland, after all.

7) Do NOT use DeMarco Murray. Ryan Mathews is back in the fold. Darren Sproles has been labeled the starter. Murray is arguing with the coach and having in-flight crybaby sessions with the owner. On top of it all, NFC scouts are arguing Murray’s trade value for 2016 already. Don’t roll with a guy who could be outpaced by two other backs on his own team. Murray has ruined Philadelphia. Don’t let him ruin you, too. Remember, it’s just Arizona, after all (see what I did there?).

About Patrick White

Have been with Sharks for seven years. Been printed and published. Have been copied by, faced off against, and beaten some of the fiercest competition and abbreviated outlets in football. If you read RnF and live by the old "If you're not first, you're last" mentality, you'll be just fine.