Collinsworth Invitational: Bye week, not an off week
(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.)
The regular season of the Collinsworth Invitational came down to the final week before everything was settled. As I discussed last week, heated battles between Greg McElroy and Warren Sapp would decide the top tier of seeding, while Cris Collinsworth and Brad Hopkins were fighting for the final spot. With my victory over Hopkins and Sapp’s victory over McElroy, we ended up with the below playoff bracket that saw Sapp as the #1 seed, me #2, Karen Hunter #3, McElroy #4, and Cris #5.
With the structure of the league, this means that three of us have byes in Week 15, while Cris and Greg battle it out for the right to meet the #1 seed in round 2. After sitting atop the standings all season long, Greg will have an uphill battle to avoid an early playoff exit due to injuries. After losing A.J. Green a few weeks ago, Greg is now dealing with both of his starting running backs being banged up, with Melvin Gordon and Matt Forte. Our commissioner should be in strong position to meet Sir QB Killa in Round 2.
With my #2 seeding, I have Week 15 as a bye before I meet Karen in the second round. Strategically, this means I have an opportunity to look ahead to Weeks 16 and 17, making roster moves today to set me up for success in two weeks.
To do so, I turned to the rest-of-season rankings/projections on Pro Football Focus to plan ahead. The first place I looked was my kicker. People often skip over the kicker position but with winter weather during the playoffs, it is actually a position that can really cost you. Looking at the PFF ROS rankings, my current kicker Sebastian Janikowski is ranked No. 4. Not only is he playing with an offense that is clicking, but his Week 16 matchup is in the dome of Indianapolis while Week 17 is the kicker-friendly thin air of Denver.
Next up is my tight end position, which has been a trouble spot for me all season long. I thought I found a solution in Vance McDonald, but he went down with a season-ending injury in Week 14. Turning to the waiver wire, the pickings are very slim but I was able to add Vernon Davis and Dwayne Allen. While Davis had a dud last week, he has been pretty consistent in the Kirk Cousins offense and they face Chicago in week 16. Allen exploded for 3 touchdowns two weeks ago and followed it up with a goose egg in week 14. I am willing to risk a roster spot to see which Allen shows up in Week 15 as I plan a week ahead.
Defense is the final position where looking ahead at streaming options might give me an advantage. My number-one target was the San Diego Chargers and their Week 16 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately waiver priorities gave Warren Sapp the first pickup and he was thinking the same thing as me. My consolation prize was the New England Patriots defense, which is ranked #5 in PFF ROS for defense as they face the Jets in Week 16 and the Dolphins in Week 17.
Playoffs are the time where being one step ahead of your opponent can pay massive dividends. It is no longer about having the best team for the season, but having the best team that one week. With PFF in my corner, let’s hope I am the one with that best team in Weeks 16 and 17 as I try to bring home the Collinsworth Invitational title.