Signing the Waiver - Fantasy Football Playoffs Edition - Clock Dodgers
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Signing the Waiver – Fantasy Football Playoffs Edition

Signing the Waiver:

PLAYOFF EDITION

Week 14

 

Sit/Start columns are the worst. They never list the players you actually want to hear about. They try to just hit on just a few players, usually big names that are obvious or obscure names you’d never start, especially if you’re in the playoffs. They tell you to “Sit X but Start Y” when you don’t have X or Y on your team. They are much more helpful when they go game by game, listing players to sit or start from each, but then they are terribly long and boring.

So with that said, I’ll now proceed to attempt to name a few players you’re probably not debating about starting, while stretching it out to be long and boring. Yes, I can’t help but overachieve at whatever I set my mind to. No, you don’t have to thank me.

In my normal Signing the Waiver column during the regular season I made it a point to explain my process and to help guide my readers to develop their own process and to apply it confidently, without regret. My weekly reviews tried to be as transparent as possible as we sought to discern what made a pick successful or not.

There will be no such explanation of my process, there will be no such guiding, there will be no such transparency and there will be no such reviewing of past decisions. And there will likely be regrets.

This is the playoffs. No one’s got time for that.

The playoffs aren’t like other week matchups. If anyone tells you they are or that you should keep playing your studs like you have during the season, or, my personal favorite, “start the one’s that brought you”, ask them how many championships they have in leagues that don’t include family members. Especially if you have two week matchups (which I recommend), there’s a different dynamic as you are playing the best teams in your league and just putting up a decent score isn’t going to do it. You need to hit on some big games, you need to avoid flops and you need to get solid, at least Mean, contributions from everyone else.

I’m always answering “play X or play Y” on Fantasy Life App (download it). I usually just answer and move on, but my answers are in a vacuum, devoid of the details I would want to make a decision for my own team. Sometimes I’ll answer “I like X for upside, but Y for a safe play” and I wonder if that frustrates them, but I don’t care, because it’s the right approach.

The context of your entire lineup’s construction matters. You need to understand which players are capable of having big games, which are not, which players give you safe floors, and which could flop. If your lineup is all safe, you probably aren’t winning, but if your team is all high ceiling and basement low floors then I hope you are going to church Sunday morning and saying some prayers. The best lineup has a mix of players with good odds for big games and others with low odds for bad games.

You know your opponent, you know which you need. So you decide. I’m not going to tell you who to start, I’m going to give you my evaluation of their floor and ceiling and the odds of each outcome. Just so we are clear on terms, “ceiling” describes the best case outcome, most points reasonably possible, while “floor” is the worst. I’m describing a player’s expected range of outcome.

Explanation of Use

What this first chart is saying is that I expect Diggs to score at least 6, and could see him get as much as 24. Sure, he could go off for 40, or get a 0, but neither are reasonable expectations. The middle column is giving you the odds I’m placing on his actual result being closer to the low or to the high expectation. I am just giving you my temperature on the player, my confidence level. And I’m not confident Diggs will land in the upper half of his expected range of outcome. The Mean gives you the halfway point as reference.

Use this to help you decide which players to start by weighing the floor and ceiling of different players, the likelihood I’m putting on those outcomes, and your specific situation’s needs.

So if you need 20 points from this position to hit your projected total, don’t play the guy with a 70% chance of landing on the upper half of his 16 point ceiling. Play the guy with a 40% chance of landing in the upper half with a 24 point ceiling.

Wide Receivers

Stefan Diggs vs Car

Diggs was a quick favorite and on everyone’s lips when I asked what players they were most uncertain about this week. We’ve all seen his upside. But we’ve also seen his floor. It’s one point in case you didn’t know. A classic Low-High. He’s scored less than 6 a few times, but Carolina is giving up so many points to good receivers lately I have to think his floor is up.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
6 60/40 24 15

 

Amari Cooper vs KC

Not going to pull any punches here. Cooper has been dreadful. I realize it’s tempting because his only great game came against the Chiefs in their first matchup, but I don’t think Amari is getting even a quarter of what he got in that game.

And this is assuming he even plays. Last I know, as of writing, is he cleared concussion protocol but was still held out of Thursday practice for his ankle.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
4 70/30 12 8

 

Demaryius Thomas vs NYJ

I don’t have much faith in the vaunted Bronco defense these days. I can see the Broncos needing to keep up with Jets. The Jets secondary isn’t very intimidating either.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
6 40/60 20 13

 

Doug Baldwin vs Jax

Baldwin does a lot and might not be as susceptible to the Jaguar defense as many other wide receivers are. I don’t think he will get shut out entirely, and fourth quarter Wilson will probably find him, but I don’t think the normal volume will be there.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
8 70/30 18 13

 

Josh Gordon vs GB

A fantastic big play gamble with a great matchup this week. If you have a solid lineup and Gordon in your flex, he may just put you over the top.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
6 30/70 26 17

 

Running Backs

Demarco Murray Ari

Murray is facing a Cardinal defense that has been decent against the run, but has given up a lot of receptions and receiving yards to backs over the past 5 games. I’m fading Henry, but still don’t see a big chance for Demarco to score big.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
7 60/40 22 14.5

 

Kareem Hunt vs Oak

When your three biggest games of the season are your first three, and your worst three land in the past 5 games, that’s not a great trend. However, he didn’t do terribly against a top ranked Jet running defense and has been around 10 points four of his last 5.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
8 40/60 18 13

 

Jordan Howard vs Cin

Howard had a great game in week 11 against a Detroit defense that was then ripped by the Latavius and the Vikings and gouged by Collins and the Ravens in the following weeks. But I think this just shows the Lions have a problem. Because Howard followed that by putting up his 2nd and 3rd worst results of the year. Good news is that Cincinnati isn’t great against running backs, even if its the receiving backs that seem to thrive.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
5 70/30 21 13

 

Alex Collins vs Pit

Coming off a great game against a bad run defense, Pittsburgh will not be so easy. A low-low for me this week, I’m looking elsewhere if I can. I see this as a Woodhead game.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
7 60/40 17 12

 

Tight Ends

Evan Engram vs Dal

He just had his best game ever with not Eli Manning. However, with Shepard back that takes some pressure off Engram and Eli has proved able to get the ball to his before.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
6 30/70 20 13

 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs Den

He’s had at least 3 touchdowns called back in the past 4 weeks that I can think of. He’s running lots of routes too. But he’s just not getting the same quantity he used to. He has been facing some tough defenses against Tight Ends though, while Denver is the opposite so I’m thinking this will be ASJ’s last good game of the season.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
4 30/70 16 9

 

Quarterbacks

Marcus Mariota vs Ari

He’s been playing better of late, but this offense is anything but explosive. Not a super low floor, but not a very high ceiling either. A safe option over others like Kizer, Cousins or Goff.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
11 30/70 19 15

 

Kirk Cousins vs LAC

Really can’t land on a good answer here, mostly because there just isn’t a good answer. Surely you can find a better option. That said, Cousins sometimes finds a way to dig out ugly points and could end up adequate for a safe start.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
10 50/50 18 14

 

Josh McCown vs Den

Seem strange to recommend a QB against the Broncos but they just aren’t the same. Talib will be back from suspension, but other injuries and a losing season take their toll. Decent floor and high ceiling.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
11 40/60 22 16.5

 

Jared Goff vs Phi

Goff has a very clear trend of big games against bad defenses and bad games against bad defenses. Not just a little better or worse, it’s very pronounced, ten point differences. The Eagles aren’t the best but they are not bad. I don’t have confidence in Goff.

Lowest Expected Pts More Likely Highest Expected Pts Mean
10 60/40 20 15
Josh B
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Josh B

I've been playing fantasy football for a decade, which honestly isn’t long, but I have always had an affinity for patterns & predicting game flow as well as sit/starts and speculative waivers.

Find me on the Fantasy Life App & Sleeperbot as generallyaware. Hit me up for questions, a good debate, or even better, to share a good fantasy story.
Josh B
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