Fantasy Football Playoffs: Boom or Bust
The winter's here, and the time is right. No, we're not going along with Mick Jagger and David Bowie for a dance in the streets, nor are we watching ABC's juggernaut early 1990s TGIF lineup. No, it's fantasy football playoffs time, where it's just as important to avoid the zero as it is to find the hero. Let's do some math together, shall we?
Boom: Case Keenum
Inexplicably pulled from last week's game for sub-replacement level Matt Schaub, Case Keenum is back and firmly entrenched as the starter for what is a fantastic matchup at home against the Colts. Indianapolis is power-ranked #28 using our nERD defensive rankings, pointing a game that has serious potential for fireworks and for lot of Keenum-to-Johnson downfield connections.
His range is unusually high for a starting quarterback too - our confidence interval ranges from 9.67 to 25.55 - so if you can stomach that amount of risk, he's a boom candidate just waiting to happen.
Bust: Ben Roethlisberger
Sort of like the opposite of NBA's Patrick Beverley, Ben is the rare quarterback who is much better in real life than in fantasy life. He's toned down some of the backbreaking picks, but the matchup against the #5-ranked Cincinnati defense is a tough mountain to climb, even in the friendly environs of Heinz Field.
The Steelers won't have much to play for, while Cincinnati wants to win as much as possible to try and get home field rights into the playoffs. With an attack that seems much more likely to feature Le'Veon Bell than Antonio Brown, look for Ben to disappoint.
Boom: Alfred Morris
Well, Washington is clearly a mess, isn't it? And Kirk Cousins, well, I don't exactly think you want him to be throwing the ball 50 times, do you?
This one is sort of obvious when you look at it: Atlanta can't stop a cold, Alfred Morris is the sole stabilizing force on his team, and the last thing you want to do against a team that has more offensive firepower than you on the road is get into a shootout. Much like what San Diego did on the road, Washington should tote the rock and feed the hungry beast.
Bust: Bobby Rainey
Apart from his 80-yard touchdown run, Rainey was hot, salty garbage last week. You can get 25 touches a game and still be terrible - we'll call it the Maurice Jones-Drew Theorem - if you're losing expected points every time you touch the ball, which is what Rainey currently brings to the table.
To put it another way: he's facing the 49ers, and his top statistical comparable is Shawn Bryson. Yikes.
Boom: Pierre Garcon
Ignoring what I wrote about Alfred Morris above, if the Redskins do decide to throw the ball, you can bet it'll be lucky Pierre scooping up the targets. He's been most disappointing in the past few games (thanks a lot, RG3), but he's still second in the league in targets and going against the league's worst power-ranked defense.
Since the Redskins can't stop anyone either, expect to see both Roddy White and Pierre Garcon putting a show in the dirty dirty.
Bust: Victor Cruz
I've rolled him out as a buy-low candidate so many times that he's slowly become overrated on the basis of the "He's so underrated!" recommendation. After a while, you really just have to bag it, call it a day and shrug your shoulders - Seattle is not going to be the defense that Cruz finds his form against.