Collinsworth Invitational: Rankings as a tiebreaker

Without as many bye weeks this time around, reader Dave Knox merely has to avoid lineup missteps, and he used PFF tools to do that.

| 3 weeks ago
Bills RB LeSean McCoy

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Collinsworth Invitational: Rankings as a tiebreaker


(Pro Football Focus gave subscribers the opportunity to win a team in the Cris Collinsworth Fantasy Football Invitational, playing alongside celebrities such as Warren Sapp, Jenny McCarthy and of course Cris himself. As the lucky winner of that contest, I will be writing a weekly piece that provides a view into what it’s like playing in a celebrity league and how I will use the PFF tools to give me an edge.)

Week 9 in the Collinsworth Invitational had me sweating going into Monday night. I was sitting 8 points behind my opponent Jim Noble in a must-win situation. I had a running back still to play and was faced with the decision of going with LeSean McCoy or C.J. Prosise in that roster spot. McCoy was coming back from injury and with a bye week looming, there was a good chance he might be on a snap count. Prosise on the other hand is the third-down back for Seattle and there was a chance Seattle might just grind out the game with Christine Michel. Believing that you always start your studs, I decided to go with McCoy, thinking that his touchdown upside gave me the easiest path to eight points versus banking on usage from Prosise. The move appeared to have a chance to pay off in just the earliest minutes of the game. A mistake by Seattle gave Buffalo the ball on the 3-yard line, an easy chance for McCoy to punch in a touchdown and get me three-quarters of the way to closing that deficit. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to see happen was Tyrod Taylor pick that moment to run a bootleg and walk in for an easy touchdown instead. While that play put me on tilt, it turned out my faith in McCoy was well-placed and he was able to put up enough points to bring home the win and improve my record to 6-3. The win moved me to a tie for third place in the league, with Warren Sapp in second place at 7-2 and Gregg McElroy in first place at 8-1.

An “easy” week

After the ups and downs of the last few weeks when it comes to my roster, Week 10 is looking relatively straightforward, with only one of my starters, the aforementioned McCoy, on bye. It is a week that I do not have to scramble to the waiver wire to fill in a hole and instead can focus instead on the right players to start. It is weeks like this where the Pro Football Focus projections and weekly Gold rankings really come into play. This week, PFF helped me think about the following moves:

Who to play in my open running back spot?: I had been hopeful that Dion Lewis would be ready to go full speed by the time Week 10 rolled around. While is looking promising that he will play and soon be back in the starting lineup of New England, his usage this week is a bit of unknown. Instead, I am going to go with Robert Kelley, who PFF has ranked as the RB26 this week, and was featured in Jeff Ratcliffe’s waiver wire article this week. While he is in a bit of a time share in Washington, the head coach has named him the starting running back for the week.

Start Eli Manning or Phillip Rivers as my quarterback?: As a Bengals fan, I really did not want to start Manning in the Monday showdown. But you cannot let real-life team loyalties drive too many fantasy football decisions so I turned to the PFF Gold rankings instead. Thankfully, PFF has Rivers ranked as QB7 in his matchup vs the Dolphins, while Manning is QB13. Decision made.

Who to play in my flex between Ty Montgomery and Jordan Matthews?: With Dez Bryant, Jarvis Landry and Brandon Marshall locked as my starters, my flex comes down to a pair of wide receivers that have each put together a string of good games lately. With James Starks looking to return soon and the other wide receivers getting healthy in Green Bay, it feels like Montgomery’s numbers will start returning to what we saw to start the year. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is a run-first team but they are facing an Atlanta team that has had no problem putting up points this year. This leads me to lean toward Matthews in my flex, a move backed up by his ranking as WR20 vs Montgomery’s WR23.

With PFF rankings as the guide, the lineup is all set for Week 10. Now it’s time to see how it plays out as I try to move to the top of the standings.

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