Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features


» 2018 Free Agency Cost-Benefit Analysis

Is Kirk Cousins the best free-agent quarterback in recent memory? Should Trumaine Johnson or Malcolm Butler have gotten the larger contract? And what makes a free-agent contract good or bad, anyway?

04 Jan 2017

Scramble: 2016 Staff Playoff Fantasy Draft

by Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter

The Football Outsiders Staff Playoffs Fantasy League is back for another run. Once again, the scoring rules are as follows:

  • Six points for rushing or receiving touchdowns, four points for passing touchdowns.
  • One point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving, and for every 20 yards passing.
  • A loss of two points for a lost fumble or interception.
  • Two points for a two-point conversion of any kind.
  • Kickers: three points for a field goal under 40 yards, four points for one between 40 and 49 yards, and six points for kicks of 50 yards or longer. Plus, one point for every extra point.
  • Defense: Two points for an interception or fumble recovery, six points for touchdown, four points for safety, one point for sack, and a loss of one point for every seven points the defense actually allows (and a bonus five points for a shutout)

Teams are comprised of one quarterback, two running backs, three wideouts, one tight end, one kicker, and one defense. There are no substitutions, so if a player is injured or his team is eliminated, then he ceases to produce points for his team. The teams, in drafting order, are as follows:

  • Scott Kacsmar, Clutch Columnist
  • Aaron Schatz, Head Honcho
  • Sterling Xie, Scrambler (Emeritus Edition)
  • Vince Verhei, Editor Extraordinaire
  • Bryan Knowles, Scrambler (U.S. Edition)
  • Andrew Potter, Scrambler (U.K. Edition)

This is a serpentine draft with a two-pick round eight. The results were as follows:

Round 1

Scott: Tom Brady, QB, New England
Aaron: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas
Sterling: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay
Vince: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh
Bryan: LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England
Andrew: Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas

Round 2

Andrew: Spencer Ware, RB, Kansas City
Bryan: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh
Vince: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta
Sterling: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay
Aaron: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta
Scott: Julian Edelman, WR, New England

Round 3

Scott: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas
Aaron: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta
Sterling: Ty Montgomery, RB, Green Bay
Vince: Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle
Bryan: Martellus Bennett, TE, New England
Andrew: Odell Beckham, WR, New York

Round 4

Andrew: Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland
Bryan: Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta
Vince: Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami
Sterling: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay
Aaron: Chris Hogan, WR, New England
Scott: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

Round 5

Scott: Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami
Aaron: Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England
Sterling: Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle
Vince: Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta
Bryan: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh
Andrew: Jason Witten, TE, Dallas

Round 6

Andrew: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
Bryan: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta
Vince: Chris Boswell, K, Pittsburgh
Sterling: New England DEF
Aaron: Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City
Scott: Dion Lewis, RB, New England

Round 7

Scott: Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas
Aaron: Kansas City DEF
Sterling: Lamar Miller, RB, Houston
Vince: Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh
Bryan: Atlanta DEF
Andrew: Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta

Round 8

Andrew: Houston DEF & Steven Hauschka, K, Seattle
Bryan: Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland & Malcolm Mitchell, WR, New England
Vince: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle & Seahawks DEF
Sterling: Eli Rogers, WR, Pittsburgh & Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay
Aaron: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Houston & James White, RB, New England
Scott: Robbie Gould, K, New York & New York DEF

FO Playoff Fantasy Rosters

Scott Aaron Sterling Vince Bryan Andrew
QB Tom Brady Matt Ryan Aaron Rodgers Russell Wilson Ben Roethlisberger Dak Prescott
RB Jay Ajayi Ezekiel Elliott Ty Montgomery Le'Veon Bell LeGarrette Blount Spencer Ware
RB Dion Lewis James White Lamar Miller Devonta Freeman Tevin Coleman Latavius Murray
WR Julian Edelman Julio Jones Jordy Nelson Doug Baldwin Antonio Brown Odell Beckham
WR Dez Bryant Chris Hogan Davante Adams Jarvis Landry Michael Crabtree DeAndre Hopkins
WR Cole Beasley Tyreek Hill Eli Rogers Taylor Gabriel Malcolm Mitchell Mohamed Sanu
TE Travis Kelce C.J. Fiedorowicz Jimmy Graham Ladarius Green Martellus Bennett Jason Witten
K Robbie Gould Stephen Gostkowski Mason Crosby Chris Boswell Matt Bryant Steven Hauschka
D New York Kansas City New England Seattle Atlanta Houston

As always, assemble your Best of the Rest team in the comments from players we did not pick, and we'll track which commenter ends up with the highest total.

Bryan: Due to the lateness of the hour and our inability, as a whole, to properly use an e-mail chain, I appear to be the only one still awake at this point in time. That means there's no one to stop me from saying anything I want about the draft teams! Ah, the unbridled power. Let's explain why all these other five teams are going to crumble before my playoff-picking might, shall we? Mwa-ha-ha. Bwa-ha-ha. Gwa-ha-ha!


Scott Kacsmar

Scott's logic is pretty easy to see. If you think New England's the most likely team to make the Super Bowl -- and our numbers currently give them a 60.1 percent chance of doing just that -- then you want to make sure you're in the best position to win should that happen. Taking Tom Brady with the first overall pick -- bypassing players like Le'Veon Bell, who might have four games in him -- and backing it up with Brady's top receiving option in Julian Edelman is a clear statement: to beat him, you're going to have to beat the Patriots.

That being said, it's hard to stack the team everyone expects to win. Even if the Patriots do make the Super Bowl, Scott might be up against a team with LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett, which would at least dampen some of the advantage a Brady/Edelman stack might give you. I also hate his kicker and defense picks -- Gould's averaging just five points a game this season, and could easily be a one-and-done player, while the Giants D does have to stop Aaron Rodgers and company if it's going anywhere. Dan Bailey was still available, as were the Pittsburgh and Green Bay defenses -- something to look out for, Best of the Resters.

Aaron Schatz

If I had to give up my team, I'd take Aaron's in a heartbeat -- and I'm not saying that just to suck up to the boss.

...Well, I'm not only saying that to suck up to the boss.

Ezekiel Elliot was the top name on my draft board; second only to Le'Veon Bell in the playoffs with 19.7 points per game, Elliot doesn't have to leave the state on his way to a potential Super Bowl, and could reasonably face the 29th-ranked Falcons run defense in the NFC Championship. Aaron also picked up our MVP in Matt Ryan, and paired him with Julio Jones, who is still uber-talented and led the league in receiving DYAR despite a "down year" by standard stats. That's the best set of triplets any of us put together, and the reason his team looks quite strong.

I will say that James White's a bit of a stretch as the second running back, even if you expect the Patriots to make the Super Bowl. He's splitting time with Dion Lewis behind LeGarrette Blount, and Lewis has been getting more touches of late. This might have been the spot to grab a Thomas Rawls, or to try to decide between Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings in the Giants' backfield. Maybe even Zach Zenner -- the Lions had zero players picked, so if they end up going far, that helps no one. Aaron also only has one player not on bye in the first round, which limits his chances of getting a four-game player. Still, these are nits -- this is a very strong team.

Sterling Xie

Sterling's strategy was pretty clear right off the bat, but it remains to be seen if it was a gouda one, or if he'll be cursing his edam players for not performing when it matters most. Sterling went out on a limburger, using each of his first four picks on Green Bay Packers. That pretty much locks up a championship if the Packers are stilton playing when the Super Bowl rolls around, but if they're eliminated earlier, his team is going to get creamed.

Feel free to continue in this vein in the comments below.

It's really the ultimate extreme stack, and it worked to perfection -- not only did Sterling manage to score five Packers, he's the only team to have any Packers at all. He stands alone! If the Packers get through the NFC and play four games, the sheer volume involved practically guarantees he'll win going away. If, on the other hand, the Packers fall to the Giants in the wild-card round, he'll have last place pretty much clinched. It almost doesn't matter the caliber of the players he took -- though doing this with the Packers makes much more sense than doing it with, say, New York or Kansas City, thanks to the number of weapons Aaron Rodgers has at his disposal.

Vince Verhei

Midway through the draft, Vince said that he hated his team and wished we could start over. I think he's being too hard on himself! I think it's a fine team he's put together, albeit one that's really hoping Seattle finds the form that made them DVOA champions for so many years as opposed to how they've played down the stretch this year. By being the last team to draft a quarterback, Vince allowed himself the opportunity to rack up big picks elsewhere. The duo of Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman outshines any other running back pair we were able to put together -- two top-10 fantasy backs, each likely to get at least a couple of games. That could end up paying big-time dividends, as that's generally the most consistent position in fantasy. Because of the format, he was able to put off picking up a quarterback until the very last round -- there are no backups in this league, so no one could steal Russell Wilson from him. Maybe it's a bit Seahawks-heavy, but that just makes Vince's rooting experience more pleasant in the postseason.

The pick that caused Vince to hate his team, though, was Jarvis Landry in the fourth round, and I can see why that wasn't a fun selection. He wanted Beckham, who had gone three picks earlier, and Landry's a heck of a drop-off from that. Landry has only averaged 8.7 fantasy points per game this season -- less than receivers like Davante Adams, Taylor Gabriel or Tyreek Hill, all of whom were still available -- and he's on a six-seed that has to travel to Pittsburgh in the first round, meaning he's a more probable one-and-done. There's also the downside of the fact Vince waited for a quarterback; while Wilson's probably the right call as the sixth-best quarterback in the format, I think there's a fairly sizeable drop-off between him and everyone else's passers, which may come back to haunt him.

Bryan Knowles

My goal with the team was to have two players in the Super Bowl no matter what happened -- a compromise between putting all my eggs in one basket and spreading out my picks too thinly. I ended up with three Patriots, three Falcons and two Steelers -- three of the five teams most likely to make the Super Bowl, per our playoff odds. Mission accomplished, I suppose. I feel I got the best player available at both receiver in Antonio Brown and tight end with Martellus Bennett -- and I stacked Brown with Ben Roethlisberger, as well. LeGarrette Blount was one of three running backs I felt I had to pick up to have a chance, so I was very pleased when he fell to me with the fifth pick. I used most of the late round picks to shore up those stacks, so I'm more than satisfied with how everything turned out.

My team's biggest weakness, I think, is the receiving corps after Brown, which may be a little tiny itty bit of a disaster area. Michael Crabtree may have averaged 9.3 fantasy points per game, but he was doing it with, you know, a very good quarterback. Now he's got Connor Cook, and who knows what will happen there -- perhaps I should have gone with Amari Cooper instead, but I preferred a potential Crabtree vs. Kareem Jackson battle to a Cooper vs. A.J. Bouye matchup in the wild-card round. Malcolm Mitchell may be healthy for the Patriots, or he may not. He may be the third receiver, or it may be Michael Floyd, who looked good in Week 17. Frankly, I haven't a clue, so I'm going with the rookie and his great four-week run down the back stretch. And I'm crossing my fingers that I can predict what Belichick and company will do, unlike so many defensive coordinators.

Andrew Potter

Andrew's team is the only one not to go for a quarterback-wideout combination play, though he did pair Dak Prescott with Jason Witten in the back half of the draft. In general, he consciously avoided pairing up players; only Prescott/Witten and DeAndre Hopkins/Houston DEF ended up coming from the same squad. Instead, he went far and wide, taking players from seven teams: more than any other fantasy squad here. The result is perhaps the most balanced squad in the field; no one team losing is likely to hurt him too much. The flipside, of course, is that no one team winning is likely to help him too much -- it's a great strategy for raising one's floor, but also lowering one's ceiling. If we get a truly chaotic postseason -- say, Houston and Detroit going on deep runs -- Andrew is set to capitalize. Otherwise, I think he's going to be stuck in the middle of the pack.

He seems fairly confident Houston will win their first-round matchup against Oakland. Getting Houston's defense against a rookie making his first NFL start sounds like a great plan in general, and Hopkins might have a good day against a pass defense we ranked 25th. It feels like he's capitalizing on Derek Carr's injury, beating on the Raiders when they're down to get two games out of some later picks. I actually think Oakland's good enough to beat the Texans regardless of who stands behind center, though, so I think this is going to backfire on him. Jason Witten is another interesting pick. It was his last chance to double up with Prescott, but Witten only scored 5.3 points per game this season.

Loser League Final Recap

Before we get to the worst of the worst from the second half and announce our Part II and season-long winners, let's do a quick recap of Week 17!

Week 17 Recap

Quarterback: Jared Goff is happy his long rookie season is finally over. Goff, battered and bruised, had just 120 passing yards against the Cardinals as the Rams' season ended with a deflating thud. He also took seven sacks, though those don't count against him here. All in all, he ended the day with just 6 points. Mark Sanchez would have scored lower, but he was not an eligible pick.

Running Back: Dallas rested everyone and everything they could, leaving Alfred Morris to rotate in quite heavily at running back. Eight rushes for 12 yards and just 1 point tells you why he won't be seeing much of the ball come playoff time.

Wide Receiver: Tavon Austin continues to set records for negative DVOA, and he's your Loser League Leader this week, as well. He did have 18 receiving yards on his two catches, but he fumbled as well, leaving him scoring minus-1 points this week.

Kicker: Graham Gano just didn't have it on Sunday -- though a broken bone in your foot probably makes it fairly hard to kick. He missed three field goals on the day, scoring just minus-2 points.

Part II Recap

Quarterback: Jared Goff pips Ryan Fitzpatrick to the line here, scoring 78 points to Fitzpatrick's 95. The fact that Fitzpatrick was so low despite suffering the inactive penalty four times, however, should be commended as a remarkable clutch performance in a very small number of opportunities. Fitzpatrick is your season-long Loser League MVP, finishing first in the first half and second in the second half among quarterbacks.

Running Back: The Rams are represented here, too, but not atop the list. Thomas Rawls slammed into enough linemen to finish with 65 points, beating out Todd Gurley and his 68 points for first place. Isaiah Crowell, as the more active half of Cleveland's running back committee, comes in third with 72 points. Gurley finishes in your top three in both the first and second halves of Loser League.

Wide Receiver: Hey, it's the Rams again! But it's not Tavon Austin, it's Brian Quick leading the way with just 13 points! Quick managed to avoid the penalty each week without accomplishing much; a tremendous track record. Seth Roberts at 30 and Cordarrelle Patterson at 34 round out your bottom three receivers.

Kicker: With Blair Walsh out of the league and Roberto Aguayo learning where the goalposts are, we have a new set of leaders at kicker. Phil Dawson was your top option with 27 points, just squeaking past Connor Barth and Andrew Franks, who each had 28.

The Results

With 279 points, Bryan Read and his team "Goffing Fitz" wins Loser League Part II! Read's team featured the deadly one-two punch of, well, Goff and Fitzpatrick at quarterback, and Gurley at running back. Considering they had three of the best possible picks, the fact that they outshined outshone outunderperformed the competition really shouldn't be that much of a surprise. Congratulations! They win a copy of the 2017 KUBIAK fantasy football projections.

Your cumulative season-long winner is Jeff Aberle, owner of "Hazy Eyes, Full Stomachs!" His cumulative score of 736 points earns him a copy of the KUBIAK projections, as well as a copy of Football Outsiders Almanac 2017.

Congratulations to Read and Aberle, and everyone who participated this year.


Keep Choppin' Wood: There is absolutely nothing we can add that will make this any funnier than it already is:

Keep Choppin' Wood, Mike Gillislee. Keep Choppin' Wood.

Herm Edwards Award for Playing to Win the Game The New York Giants entered Week 17 with nothing to play for: with Dallas having already won the division and the Giants having the (joint) second-best record in the conference, no sequence of events could knock them out of the fifth seed in the NFC. Their opponents, however, needed to win to reach the playoffs. Many teams in similar situations would still have rested their stars, but Ben McAdoo deployed his, and the noisy divisional neighbors were duly dispatched.

John Fox Award for Conservatism: The Atlanta Falcons have an outstanding offense (25.3% DVOA, first) and a bad defense (8.1%, 27th). The New Orleans Saints have a very good offense (15.9%, 6th) and an even worse defense (13.8%, 30th). Their first matchup of the season in New Orleans finished with a 45-32 Falcons win, so this game was always likely to produce points. After the Saints punted on the first drive of the game, the Falcons went 68 yards in four plays to take a 7-0 lead. The Saints promptly drove to the 1-yard line, failed on a second-down run, and had a touchdown to Coby Fleener on third down overturned on review. With an excellent offensive line ranking top ten in power success and top two in stuff rate, and points likely to flow in both directions, many of those watching expected Sean Payton to have his team go for it on fourth down. They didn't. Will Lutz kicked a field goal. Atlanta scored a 75-yarder on the next play from scrimmage to go ahead 14-3, and despite a late rally the Saints never again had the chance to tie the game.

Mike Martz Award for Confusing Coaching Management: After firing Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season, 49ers owner Jed York asked people to hold him "directly responsible and accountable" if the 49ers did not win Super Bowls. OK.

The 49ers became the first team in nearly 40 years to have back-to-back one-and-done coaches, firing Chip Kelly a year after hiring and firing Jim Tomsula. Also fired was 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, the winner of the power struggle with Harbaugh back in 2014, and, according to leaks now, the reason the 49ers went with Tomsula over Adam Gase in 2015. So, you know. That's turned out great.

According to Adam Schefter, the 49ers now paying $69 million for Kelly, Tomsula and various assistant coaches to not coach their team. Generally speaking, you shouldn't make a habit out of firing coaches after just one season. There's an argument for firing Kelly if you're bringing in a new general manager to oversee a complete overhaul… except the 49ers are reportedly already interviewing head coaching candidates as well as general manager candidates.

The last team to go through coaches like this? The San Francisco 49ers, who, from 1976 to 1978 went through four coaches. That coaching search led to the hiring of Bill Walsh. The 49ers need to make a similar move in 2017 if they want to return to respectability any time soon.

"Why Are You Doing Fantasy In Week 17?" Fantasy Player of the Week: If you're doing a season-long league and have your championship in Week 17, you're doing fantasy football wrong. If you were stuck with a Week 17 championship, or were doing daily fantasy, and you locked on to Corey Grant, congratulations, and can I borrow your crystal ball, please? Grant got the surprise start for Jacksonville over Denard Robinson (Chris Ivory was inactive) and rewarded Jags fans with 122 rushing yards and a touchdown. That's the kind of Week 17 performance that might get a player into a running back committee next season.

Jon Snow (We Know Nothing) Lock of the Week

Once again this year, all picks are made without reference to FO's Premium picks, while all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing.

Records so far:
Bryan: 8-7-1
Andrew: 5-9-2

Bryan: I snuck on late last week to switch my pick...from Tennessee to Baltimore. The lesson, as always, is I'm an idiot.

To that end, I'm going to take a questionable quarterback situation and run with it, taking Oakland (plus-3.5) to win in Houston, despite possibly being down to Connor Cook behind center. Cook's fall on draft day baffled me -- based on raw talent, he should have gone somewhere in the second round. It's questions about his intangibles -- his leadership, his personality, his maturity -- that led him to fall. You know what, though? Cook still has a great offensive line in front of him. He still gets to throw to Amari Cooper. He still gets to play with a defense that has Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin rushing the passer. And it's not like the Texans are exactly trotting Aaron Rodgers out there behind center, either. I'll take the points on the road...

Andrew: ...and I'll give the points at home, because if Oakland's offense is as bad as advertised with Cook at quarterback, that leaves the Houston defense as far and away the best unit in the game. Brock Osweiler is nowhere near as much of a downgrade from Tom Savage as Cook is from David Carr, and though Oakland's special teams are way better than Houston's, it's unlikely to have as much impact as the defensive disparity. Oakland scraped by Houston thanks in part to a refereeing controversy with Carr under center in Mexico City; with him absent, the Texans can have absolutely no excuses this time.


Washington had everything lined up as well as you could hope. Barring an unlikely tie between Green Bay and Detroit, they knew they had a win-and-in situation in Week 17 against a team with nothing to play for -- the Giants had already locked up the fifth seed, and no result against Washington could change that. That's about as good as you can hope for for a Week 17 clinching scenario.

Instead, they came out of the tunnel lifeless and flat in the first half, especially on offense, falling into a 10-0 hole by halftime. They clawed their way back to even in the fourth quarter, and again had the chance to win and make the playoffs. Eli Manning marched the Giants down the field for a go-ahead field goal, however, leaving Kirk Cousins and Washington with a two-minute drill for glory. Instead, Cousins was hurried and harried, and threw a drive-, game-, and season-ending interception to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. So long, Captain Kirk.

Football Outsiders doesn't answer fantasy questions on Twitter, so if you don't have a Premium subscription and access to the 24-hour Fantasy Answering Service, the Scramble mailbag is one way to get a Football Outsiders answer to your fantasy questions! E-mail us with fantasy questions, award suggestions, crazy videos, outlandish conspiracy theories, emergency quarterbacks for Oakland and Houston, and other assorted flotsam and jetsam at scramble@footballoutsiders.com.

Posted by: Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter on 04 Jan 2017

39 comments, Last at 08 Jan 2017, 6:12pm by Sid


by roguerouge :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:30pm

Bloodbath & Beyonders: Leftovers edition

QB: Eli Manning (NYG)
RB: Paul Perkins (NYG)
RB: Rashad Jennings (NYG)
WR: Golden Tate (det)
WR: Marvin Jones (det)
WR: Sterling Shepard (NYG)
TE: Eric Ebron (det)
K: Matt Prater (det)
Def: Detroit

As a Patriots fan, I sincerely hope I'm wrong that the Giants could run the table.

by Kyndynos :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:32pm

Anyone else find it ironic that Scott picked Tom Brady with the first overall pick?

by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:41pm

The "Scott hates Tom Brady" meme, while amusing, is somewhat overblown. No, I don't think it's odd that Scott took the player he considers the greatest active quarterback first overall :P

by Damon Rutherford :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:40pm

Zombie Smellows Edition:

QB: Matt Stafford
RB: Zach Zenner
RB: Aaron Ripkowski
WR: Michael Floyd
WR: Terrance Williams
WR: Sterling Shepard
TE: Jared Cook
K: Dan Bailey
DEF: Dallas

by puffbronfman :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:48pm

This will probably blow up in my face, but here goes nothing...

QB: Alex Smith
RB: Thomas Rawls
RB: Aaron Ripkowski
WR: Golden Tate
WR: Amari Cooper
WR: DeVante Parker
TE: Jared Cook
K: Cairo Santos
DEF: Green Bay

by RfT :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:01pm


qb: Alex Smith
rb1: Thomas Rawls
rb2: Charcandrick West
wr1: Amari Cooper
wr2: Golden Tate
wr3: Jermaine Kearse
te: Jared Cook
k: Dan Bailey
def: Pittsburgh

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:09pm

It's like one of those IQ tests ...

Osweiler is to Savage as Cook is to ?

A) David Carr
B) Rich Gannon
C) Derek Carr
D) Tyrod Taylor

by RickD :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:23pm

I can't decide if that video makes Rex Ryan look bad or good. But I'm leaning toward "bad".

by NYChem :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:25pm

Had trouble with QB, Eli versus Connor, but the argument about oakland's o-line and WR corp in two games swayed me over Eli's inevitable 4 game totals of 722 yds, 4 Td's, 6 INT's, 1 SB MVP...

QB - Connor Cook
RB - Paul Perkins
RB - D'Angelo Williams
WR - Sterling Shepard
WR - Cobi Hamilton
WR - Darius Heyward Bey
TE - Jesse James
K - Dan Bailey

by Kurt :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 8:14pm

His two previous Super Bowl runs included 15 TD's and 2 picks.

by NYChem :: Thu, 01/05/2017 - 10:41am

yeah, i was more extrapolating his stat line for the 10-7 win over dallas then his prior SB wins. I'm a steelers fan, but if KC beats us in round 2 I'll be rooting for the Giants to win with 4 consecutive 10-7 wins, with Will Tye or Rashad Jenkins scoring all of the Giants touchdowns (or that number 15 who caught the bomb against the redskins to pull off a butt catch fleaflicker to beat the pats).
And alt, if the moore-phins beat us in round 1 i'll be not watching football, i'll consider 2017 to be a waste, might as well be a pats/boys LI crothgrabbing fest

by jw124164 :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:48pm


QB - Eli Manning
RB - Rashad Jennings
RB - Charcandrick West
WR - Jeremy Maclin
WR - Sterling Shepard
WR - Justin Hardy
TE - Jared Cook
K - Dan Bailey
DEF - Green Bay

by rjsen :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:56pm

I guess the Lions *could* theoretically reach the Superbowl:

QB - Matthew Stafford
RB - Zach Zenner
RB - Rashad Jennings
WR - Golden Tate
WR - Marvin Jones
WR - Amari Cooper
TE - Eric Ebron
K - Matt Prater
DEF - Detroit

by ChrisS :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:57pm

"Graham Gano just didn't have it on Sunday -- though a broken bone in your foot". Impressive, kickers are tough (it was his non-kicking foot though).

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:01pm

Has a QB ever won a playoff game without ever having started before?

by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:17pm

Not only is the answer no, but to my knowledge, Cook would be the first quarterback ~ever~ to have his first start be a playoff game. Uncharted territory.

by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:26pm

According to Jason Lisk, at least, here are the least experienced quarterbacks to start a playoff game:

1 career start: Todd Marinovich (LA Raiders v. Kansas City, 1991, loss)
1: Doug Flutie (Chicago v. Washington, 1986, loss)
1: Gifford Nielsen (Houston Oilers v. Denver, 1979, win)
1: Ron Jaworski (LA Rams v. St. Louis Cardinals, 1975, win)
2: Joe Webb (Minnesota v. Green Bay, 2012, loss)
3: AJ McCarron (Cincinnati v. Pittsburgh, 2015, loss)
3: Kelly Holcomb (Cleveland v. Pittsburgh, 2002, loss)
3: Paul McDonald (Cleveland v. LA Raiders, 1982, loss)
4: Sean Salisbury (Minnesota v. Washington, 1992, loss)
4: Jeff Hostetler (NY Giants v. Chicago, 1990, win)

Hostetler, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl -- so while the results for inexperienced starters haven't been great, there is at least hope.

by Travis :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:36pm

Pre-merger, but Tom Matte had started 1 game at quarterback before the 1965 playoffs. His Colts lost in overtime to the Packers.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 4:56pm

Flutie probably needs an asterisk. He had 15 USFL starts prior to 1986.

by smilerz :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:01pm

Andre the Giants

QB: Eli Manning
RB: Paul Perkins
RB: Rashad Jennings
WR: Sterling Shepard
WR: Michael Floyd
WR: Victor Cruz
TE: Will Tye
PK: Dan Bailey

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:15pm

"There's an argument for firing Kelly if you're bringing in a new general manager to oversee a complete overhaul… except the 49ers are reportedly already interviewing head coaching candidates as well as general manager candidates."

That was my thought too when I heard he'd been fired. But I wonder if there would have been any drawback to keeping Kelly for now but making it clear to GM candidates that the new GM would have the authority to decide whether or not to keep Kelly. Maybe he fires Kelly anyway, but maybe he wants to keep him at least another year before deciding.

I guess the drawback is that you might be looking for a new head coach after the other vacancies have been filled, but then again, the only way for the Niners to hire one right away is to hire the coach first and then the GM, which is a horrible idea.

by AlanRLD :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 3:31pm

Cleveland Browns (Playoffs Edition)

QB: Eli Manning
RB: Thomas Rawls
RB: Rashad Jennings
WR: Jermaine Kearse
WR: Sterling Shepard
WR: Tanner McEvoy
TE: Will Tye
K: Cairo Santos

by RickD :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 5:02pm

You guys really looted the Patriots. Didn't even leave us James White.

QB: Eli Manning
RB: Ty Montgomery
RB: Rashad Jennings
WR: Jeremy Maclin
WR: Michael Floyd
WR: Amari Cooper
TE: Eric Ebron
K: Dan Bailey
Def: Pittsburgh

Seems weird that Bailey wasn't taken.

by Bryan Knowles :: Sun, 01/08/2017 - 3:45pm

I'm sorry I didn't catch this earlier, but -- Ty Montgomery was taken.

by BlueStarDude :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 8:06pm

Since, except for one year, I always do so bad in these kinds of things, I went with a theme. My best of the rest just for fun team:

QB: Tony Romo
RB: Darren McFadden
RB: Lance Dunbar
WR: Terrance Williams
WR: Brice Butler
WR: Michael Floyd
TE: Gavin Escobar
K: Dan Bailey
DEF: Dallas

by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 8:48pm

And I thought Sterling's strategy locked him into one specific scenario!

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 9:12pm

Holiday Leftovers

QB Alex Smith
RB Aaron Ripkowski
RB Charcandrick West
WR Terrance Williams
WR Jeremy Maclin
WR Geronimo Allison
TE Jared Cook
K Dan Bailey
DEF Raiders

by michaelinmelbourne :: Thu, 01/05/2017 - 6:31am

So... pulling for KC vs GB in the SB, I guess. Good thing momentum's real.

QB - A Smith
RB - A Ripkowski
RB - T Rawls
WR - J Maclin
WR - G Allison
WR - A Cooper
TE - J Cook
K - C Santos
DEF - Packers

by James-London :: Thu, 01/05/2017 - 9:09am

Rampant delusional Miami homerism is the definition of cretinous behavior, and so, I bring you
The Cretins:

QB: R Tannehill(!)
RB: D Williams
RB: A Ripowski
WR: J Maclin
WR: K Stills
WR: D: Parker
TE: J Cook
K: A Franks
D: Dallas

Let the mocking commence (but note, even I'm not picking the Miami D...)

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by BlueStarDude :: Thu, 01/05/2017 - 1:30pm

Oh, come on, James: If I can pick Escobar, you can pick the Miami D, lol.

by Guest789 :: Thu, 01/05/2017 - 1:42pm

Love the number of teams taking Ripkowski. Fullbacks aren't dead!

by bedfordp :: Fri, 01/06/2017 - 9:31am

Defending Champions team as follows:

QB A Smith KC
RB T Rawls SEA
RB D McFadden DAL
WR M Floyd NEP
WR T Williams DAL
WR A Cooper OAK
K D Bailey DAL
Def Steelers PIT

by Sid :: Fri, 01/06/2017 - 9:02pm

QB A Smith KC
RB T Rawls SEA
RB T Montgomery GB
WR M Floyd NE
WR J Maclin KC
WR A Cooper OAK
TE J Cook GB
K D Bailey DAL
DEF Steelers

by Bryan Knowles :: Sun, 01/08/2017 - 3:57pm

Ty Montgomery was already taken, so that pick is void.

by Sid :: Sun, 01/08/2017 - 6:12pm

oh well

guess I would've tried Ripkowski

no good RBs available

by Alec B :: Sat, 01/07/2017 - 1:38am

QB A Smith KC
RB A Collins SEA
RB Z Zenner DET
WR M Floyd NE
WR G Allison GB
WR A Cooper OAK
TE J Cook GB
K D Bailey DAL
DEF Steelers

by Arson55 :: Sat, 01/07/2017 - 9:28am

QB-A. Smith KC
RB-T. Rawls SEA
RB-Z. Zenner DET
WR-T. Williams DAL
WR-J. Maclin KC
WR-B. Butler DAL
TE-E. Ebron DET
K- D. Bailey DAL

by surebrec :: Sat, 01/07/2017 - 1:19pm

QB: Alex Smith
RB: Thomas Rawls
RB: Charcandrick West
WR: Jeremy Maclin
WR: Michael Floyd
WR: Jermaine Kearse
TE: Jared Cook
K: Dan Bailey
DEF: Dallas

by Kypromancer :: Sat, 01/07/2017 - 4:27pm

Force of Will
QB: Alex Smith - KC
RB: Thomas Rawls - SEA
RB: DeAngelo Williams - PIT
WR: Terrance Williams - DAL
WR: Amari Cooper - OAK
WR: Michael Floyd - NE
TE: Clive Walford - OAK
K: Dan Bailey - DAL
DEF: Dallas