Collinsworth Invitational: The semifinals
(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 16 is where the fun really begins in the Collinsworth Invitational. While the playoffs started in Week 15, it was more of a play-in game with the No. 4 seed (Greg McElroy) going against the No. 5 (Collinsworth himself). In that game, Cris delivered a crushing victory by outscoring McElroy 146.15 to 62.5 thanks to big games from Devonta Freeman and Ty Montgomery. The victory by Cris leads to a Round 2 battle against Warren Sapp as the top seed in the playoffs. Meanwhile on the other side of the bracket, I am going against Karen Hunter as the divisional winner.
As I wrote last week, I spent week 15 looking ahead with my waiver wire moves. On the defense side, that move paid off as I grabbed the New England Patriots for their matchup against the Jets. In the PFF Week 16 rankings, Jeff Ratcliffe has the Patriots as the second-ranked defense for this matchup. Meanwhile on the kicker side, Sebastian Janikowski is the No. 3 kicker for Week 16. With two top-three options in kicking and defense, I should have a strong foundation to my roster.
When it comes to my offense, I do have a few decisions to make that could be make or break in the game:
- Start Phillip Rivers or Eli Manning?: In PFF rankings, Rivers is QB10 while Manning is QB17. With Rivers going against the Browns, there is little chance of the game being a shootout. But I am willing to roll the dice that Rivers will be the one putting up points early, particularly as he tries to get Antonio Gates the touchdown record in what might be their final two games together.
- Bench Jordan Matthews and Brandon Marshall?: With five solid wide receivers, I always have a tough decision on which to play. This week I will be benching Matthews and Marshall in favor of Dez Bryant, Jarvis Landry and Sammy Watkins. Marshall has been a shell of himself with the questionable quarterback play for the Jets and since I’ll have the Patriots the defense, I am going all in on New England shutting down the offense of the Jets. Matthews has a tough play against the Giants defense and has more value in a PPR league given the Eagles preference for running in the red zone.
- Who to play in the flex? Rob Kelley has been clutch since taking over the starting running back job for the Redskins. Meanwhile, Dion Lewis finally showed last week why I had been stashing him on my bench as he ran the ball 18 times for 95 yards. While my heart wants to go with Lewis, I have been burned too many times trusting the whims of Bill Belichick when it comes to his running backs. I am going to ride Kelley once again and double dip against the Bears with Vernon Davis as my tight end as well.
Week 16 will be an exciting one. Best of luck to all of you fortunate enough to be in your championship games. I have my fingers crossed that next week I will be writing about my own championship matchup against either Collinsworth or Sir QB Killa.