Wow! The Wildcard weekend lived up to its name last week and we were all blessed with some really good football games. Drew Brees and the Saints were able to win on the road, Green Bay lost at home with a wind chill below zero degrees, the Chiefs blew a huge second half lead and Andy Dalton did very little to silence his critics. If this weekend’s games are anything like last weekend’s, then I hope you have pushed all plans back to next week!
I would like to call your attention to the Dark Horse. I am very glad that Ladarius Green brought some stability back to the pick, because before him I had picked two “Dark Horses” (Kirk Cousins was pre-Dark Horse and was a Wild Card) and both had ended up getting injured.
However, Green went out and made me proud with one of the best receiving games of any tight end last week. Because of him, I feel safe continuing to pick a dark horse each week.
Disclaimer: Zach Kilpatrick really isn’t superstitious and doesn’t believe that his picks in any way influenced the previously mentioned men to get injured, but did it?
1 Peyton Manning (DEN)
2 Tom Brady (NE)
3 Andrew Luck (IND)
4 Cam Newton (CAR)
5 Phillip Rivers (SD)
1 Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
2 Knowshon Moreno (DEN)
3 Frank Gore (SF)
4 Ryan Mathews (SD) monitor health
5 Donald Brown (IND)
1 Demarius Thomas (DEN)
2 Eric Decker (DEN)
3 Julian Edelman (NE)
4 T.Y. Hilton (IND)
5 Michael Crabtree (SF)
1 Julius Thomas (DEN)
2 Jimmy Graham (NO)
3 Vernon Davis (SF)
4 Colby Fleener (IND)
5 Greg Olsen (CAR)
1 Seattle Seahawks
2 Carolina Panthers
3 San Fransisco 49ers
4 New England Patriots
5 Denver Broncos
Players that are not ranked but that I am really high on this week:
Russell Wilson (QB/SEA)- Wilson slacked off in production just a bit down the stretch, but I believe that he was semi-resting/coasting toward a huge playoff run. A few weeks ago against the Saints, he posted 310 yards passing, three touchdowns, and 47 yard rushing yards. At home this season, he has averaged over 200 yards passing and has thrown 14 touchdowns to only five interceptions. Oh, and if the rain gets too bad, he might just keep it and run on a few read option plays.
Shane Vareen (RB/NE)- Vareen is really a lot more valuable in PPR leagues than in standard scoring ones, so check the format of your postseason provider. In eight games this year, he averaged almost six catches for 53 yards a game and scored three touchdowns. I believe that he will catch several passes in this game as well.
Keenan Allen (WR/SD)- Allen didn’t produce like I thought he would last week, and that is the main reason that he is here and not in the top 5. I believe Phillip Rivers will have to throw a lot this week to try and keep up with Denver and Allen should benefit. He didn’t have many yards in the two games against Denver this year, but did manage two touchdowns.
LeGarrette Blount (RB/NE)- I list Blount as a sleeper, because he hasn’t been the feature back in New England all year, and he still splits some carries with Steven Ridley. However, he had 265 yards and four touchdowns over the last two games of the season and way out produced Ridley. So, I expect him to get the rock and do well against a Colts team that has given up over 125 rushing yards per game this year.
*This pick goes out to Ol’ Tony Tsoukalas as an engagement present. (I really went all out huh?!) He is a big Patriots fan and of course we know Blount played ball at EMCC! That said, I really do think he will do well this week.
Dark Horse: Griff Whalen (WR/IND)- I know T.Y. Hilton had a huge game last week, but so does Bill Belicheck. There aren’t a ton of great receiving options on this team with Reggie Wayne out and I expect Hilton to draw Aqib Talib and possibly double coverage. Whalen only caught 24 passes all season, but 15 of those came over the last three games. In those games he averaged 52 yards and scored touchdowns. He was targeted six times vs. Kansas City, and I think he could possibly do well again this week. But really, I just hope he doesn’t get hurt in the game.
End Note: If New Year’s resolutions are too much for you because you can’t commit to something for a whole year then maybe try to have 12 resolutions this year and work on one each month.