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What do I know? Heading in to Week 16

When in Doubt, Gut it Out

For those of us fortunate enough to be playing in a championship game this week, it all comes down to this. Every gut-wrenching week was preparation for determining your championship starting lineup. As we all have done throughout the course of the season, this is not the time to get cute with playing a matchup or second guessing yourself. There’s a reason we’re all here and that is because more often than our opponents this season, we chose starters who out performed the competition. Remember their names and start them this week. Forget the weather reports, toss out the rankings for the defenses they’re playing against. It’s all about studs this time of year and when in doubt, gut it out. I read a message board thread about sitting DeAngelo Williams because he was going up against the Giants in the Meadowlands. That’s precisely the kind of move I am advocating against. Unless the guy he’s being benched for is named

Adrian, there really is no reason to sit Williams this week. He’s been on fire, he’s a big reason why many fantasy teams are playing this week and he is leading the league in touchdowns. If, for some reason, you find yourself in a quandary over who to start this week, go with your gut extinct. Even in a losing effort, there’s comfort to be had in knowing the team you submitted were the guys you should have started, and not what some fantasy “expert” or weather man said. It makes for a longer offseason wondering what could have been had you trusted your instinct.

Championship Game previews

Pittsburgh at

Tennessee and

Carolina at the New York Giants. It doesn’t get any better than this. It might just come down to these four teams playing in their respective conference championship games, so what better way to get a taste of what might be when these four teams square off this week? I think that despite Pittsburgh and Carolina being the road teams in these contests, you have to like how each team has come together over the last couple of months. The Titans and Giants meanwhile, have lost a bit of their mojo the last couple of weeks and are in danger of losing their number one conference seed. Trying to end their two-game slide, the Giants would be wise to start Brandon Jacobs and lean heavily on him to keep

Carolina‘s own potent rush attack off the field. The Steelers have already proven their ability to play well away from home and the Titans have slowed down considerably the last few weeks. Some questionable play calling has left them in this position and now they will have to count on Kerry Collins to retain their home-field playoff advantage. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on the Giants and Steelers coming out victorious this week. The Giants have that deer-in-the-headlights look since Plaxico shot himself but they have the leadership to turn their fortunes around.

Tennessee is missing big pieces of their defensive puzzle with Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch being out and that will be enough to give the somewhat lethargic Steelers offense the edge it needs.

Whom to keep?

With so many strong fantasy performances this season, it is hard to pinpoint one guy to protect at all costs this offseason. I could easily make a case for Adrian Peterson but that might be too obvious. The one guy who I think will continue to churn out incredible numbers and should be kept if the opportunity presents itself is Mr. Calvin Johnson. Through 14 games, he is fifth in receiving yards (1,165), tied for second with 10 touchdowns and for receivers with at least 40 catches, he’s third in yards per catch (17.9). I was fortunate to draft him as a number three receiver this season and he’s performed like a solid number one. What is even more remarkable is he has amassed his production with the likes of Jon “gimpy back” Kitna, Dan “who am I?” Orlovsky and Daunte “still got my roll on” Culpepper. Since it’s only Calvin’s second season in the NFL and he’s still improving, I really can’t think of any player more valuable in a keeper league format. If the chance to snag him from a leaguemate is possible, do what is necessary to add him to your roster. The Lions can’t get any worse, and if they happen to bring in a quality starting quarterback, Calvin’s numbers will continue to improve.

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