FANTASY: In playoffs sometimes the hammers become nails

New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) smiles as he runs off the field after the Jets beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in overtime of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Petty passed for 257 yards last week and could go for even more with a couple touchdowns against a beatable Miami Dolphins defense this week. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Sometimes you’re the hammer and other times you’re the nail. I have found this to be very true during the fantasy playoffs. I can’t count the number of times my fantasy team had just finished rampaging through the regular season to finish as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, only to be knocked out in the opening round of the playoffs.

So, were fantasy owners the hammer or the nail this past week? I expect many of your 2016 hammers - owners of quarterbacks Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, Derek Carr; running backs Melvin Gordon, Spencer Ware, Jay Ajayi; wide receivers Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Doug Baldwin, Michael Crabtree, Larry Fitzgerald - became nails in the playoffs and are now out.

So it goes in fantasy football, the best regular-season team rarely ever wins. It makes if infuriating when you are the best regular-season team, but the playoff system is also why fantasy football has grown to be as popular as ever before. All you have to do is get in and get hot at the right time.

All of the players above were some of the top performers this season at their position.

But not last week.

Those of you who had a few of those names and still found a way to squeeze out a victory, congratulations. To the others, take heart in knowing your team was magnificent and it simply had a bad week at the worst time.

Well, almost the worst time.

When your team that has been putting up double-digits all season and the playoffs delivers 80-something in the championship game.

That’s a bad week.

But moving on to Week 15 the most important thing I can tell owners is watch the weather reports - and completely disregard them.

I am serious. I don’t care if Tom Brady is playing in a blizzard, which could happen this week in Denver, he better be in your lineup.

The same thing applies for this group of quarterbacks, receivers and running backs - otherwise known as the “Never Bench Club.”

No matter what the elements are, these guys stay in your starting lineups.

Quarterbacks - Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford.

Running Backs - Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy

Wide Receivers - Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr.

There is a reason there are more quarterbacks in the “Never Bench Club” then running backs and receivers. It is because weather doesn’t affect ball carriers as much.

The receivers are a short list as well as the quarterbacks. Remember these are the guys I play weather its 78 degrees and breezy or below freezing because they simply get it done.

To that point, December football is unlike any other during the NFL season. Especially if it’s outdoors, yards and big plays are tougher to come by, so you do need to zero in on the guys that weather will not affect.

Anyone not listed above has risk involved in weather. For instance, as good as Derek Carr has been this season, he looked ordinary in the freezing cold in Kansas City last week. The same goes for Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott in New York.

The teams who are playing indoors this week or enjoy no weather disadvantages are: Indianapolis, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Oakland, San Diego, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Dallas.

Players to add for Week 15

The majority of leagues have roster freezes for playoffs, but for those of you who can still ABW (Always Be Working) the waiver wire and trading block, here are a couple names to think about.

Quarterback: Matt Moore, Miami - Not the most attractive option, but he is facing a New York Jets defense that has allowed seven passing touchdowns in their last three games.

Running Back: Bilal Powell, N.Y. Jets - Staying in the same game, if Matt Forte is injured and can’t go, Powell is a must add based on opportunity to be a check-down machine for young quarterback Bryce Petty.

Wide Receiver: Dontrell Inman/Taylor Gabriel - Inman plays for the San Diego Chargers and Gabriel for the Atlanta Falcons. Neither are the team’s No. 1 or even No. 2 receiving options normally, but injuries have moved both up the pecking order. In the past three weeks, Gabriel has 201 yards and three touchdowns with Inman 239 yards and 3 scores.

Players with matchups to exploit in Week 15

Quarterback: The Miami Dolphins-New York Jets matchup on paper really looks like a good fantasy game. In the past three weeks, the Dolphins have given up 827 yards and 9 TDs to QBs named Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick. That is good news for owners who want to take a flier on Jets QB Bryce Petty. The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson has burned people recently I realize, but he faces a St. Louis Rams defense on Thursday that just fired its coach and has allowed 816 yards and 8 TDs the past three weeks.

Running Back: Teams have been able to run all over San Francisco this season, which will be good news for Devonta Freeman/Tevin Campbell if only Atlanta settled on one or the other. Still, I would put in that both get at least 12 fantasy points in a PPR setup. Baltimore Ravens’ Kenneth Dixon could be an interesting play against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed touchdowns to backs in their last three games.

Wide Receiver: The Eagles have been TORCHED by opposing receivers the past three weeks. Baltimore’s Steve Smith Sr./Mike Wallace could be in for big days. It is tough to trust Doug Baldwin, but Seattle is facing a Rams defense that has allowed six receiving touchdowns.

How did my teams do?

Well, I had Le’Veon Bell on two of my three teams, so they did very well. When a running back goes for nearly 300 yards and scores three touchdowns, it is very nice. I crushed my opponent in a consolation first round match, which gives me a bye into the consolation final next week, while my top seeded teams in ESPN.com and Yahoo.com also posted big scores. The ESPN.com league makes you play a two-week playoff for some reason, while I am into the semifinals in Yahoo.com.

Good luck in Week 15!

- Chris Parry is a staff writer for the Tyler Morning Telegraph and ETFinalScore.com, and an avid fantasy football player for nearly two decades. His weekly fantasy takeaway appears on Wednesdays. Feel free to email with any questions or comments to cparry@tylerpaper.com, or you can tweet to @CParryETFS.

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