Week 10: Playoff Push
We have reached a pivotal mile marker in the fantasy season. Week 10 is a true line of demarcation, separating the angst-filled playoff push from the happy go-lucky "regular season". Since most leagues also deem this trading deadline, owners now have one final shot to fill gaping holes or tweak their rosters for final stretch run. Those realistic keeper league souls who know this is not their year can also dangle their studs for promising 2012 and beyond options.
As for the big deals, every scenario is obviously different. So outside of directing you to the FFToolbox strength of schedule page, it is impossible to suggest concrete offers. Take note that players like Mark Sanchez, Jay Cutler, Jacoby Ford, and units like the Dolphins and Panthers backfields have favorable schedules going forward. Guys like Steven Jackson, Andy Dalton, Beanie Wells, Anquan Boldin, not so much.
What can be postulated is how best to handle those final weeks. Let's start with those dreaded teams that could have little to play for in weeks 14-17.
The Packers cruised through the first half of the season, carrying many a fantasy owner along for the ride. Aaron Rodgers has more than lived up to his first round draft status and the likes of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones(lately) have been a source of weekly production.
However, if coach Mike McCarthy's crew keeps on keeping on and the Packers maintain a sizable lead in the NFC playoff hunt, will the coach pull the plug on the fun in weeks 15, 16 and 17?
Entering week 10, the undefeated Packers hold a one-game lead over the San Francisco 49ers, which have impressed year to date but have not been in a position of contention for years. The New York Giants stand at 6-2, but have a murderous row schedule going forward. The same could be said of the Detroit Lions. Tied with the Giants, the Motor City crew faces the Bears, Packers and Saints over the next four weeks.
Should the Packers star quarterback sit, one late season alternative is his actual backup Matt Flynn (who threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a start last season against New England). By the time an announcement is made that Rodgers will sit, others could beat you to the free agent punch. Adding Flynn right now for Rodgers owners is a solid preventative measure and better fallback plan than holding on to Kevin Kolb or Matt Cassel.
Other non-elite quarterbacks with nice schedules late in the season include Ryan Fitzpatrick (home games against Dolphins and Broncos week 15-16), Jay Cutler (Sea, @GB), and Tim Tebow (NE, @Buf). For those bargain shopping, Matt Moore is one to ponder.
Jermichael Finley, one year removed from a serious knee injury, is the one Packers receiving option that deserves a backup plan. Considering the Packers have the second-easiest fantasy schedule for tight ends during weeks 14-16, Finley's backup Andrew Quarless is a name to remember (but does not require immediate rostering). Kellen Winslow, Daniel Fells and Brent Celek have top-5 schedules during those critical weeks. Based on Celek's improved recent production -- seven receptions in consecutive games, touchdowns in two of last three games -- he is worthy of adding now if available as a free agent.