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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fantasy football playoff pools: QB and RB rankings

Maybe you're like me (if so, I apologize).

Maybe you want to keep the fantasy football season going, even if it ended as wacky as ever and left you questioning if the game is now much more about luck than skill.

If you're not ready for the season to end, you're likely in a playoff pool. If you're not, here is how it works: In standard postseason leagues, you select nine players -- one QB, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker and a defense/special teams. You can only select one player from each playoff team, which leaves three teams unaccounted for and forces you to decide which teams you think will play two or three postseason games as much as you are deciding which players you prefer at each position.

Once the games start this weekend, the nine players you select accumulate points each time they play. Once their team is out, you obviously get no more points from that slot. The team with the most points from his or her nine players wins.

It sounds simple, and it is. The difficult part is choosing a nine-player team that isn't loaded with Patriots, Steelers and Falcons.

Here is one man's opinion on the top quarterbacks and running backs in playoff pools. We'll break down the best receivers and tight ends later in the week.


1. Tom Brady, Patriots: He's the obvious choice, which might make you decide to go in a different direction (see Welker, Wes).

2. Michael Vick, Eagles: He had 30 TDs (21 passing, nine rushing) in 12 games and, if the Eagles can beat the Packers at home in the wild-card round, you get at least two games out of him, with a decent chance at three.

3. Drew Brees, Saints: He threw 22 interceptions, but also had 4,620 yards and 33 TDs. The danger: To get more than two games out of Brees, New Orleans would have to win at Seattle, then likely at Atlanta.

4. Peyton Manning, Colts: You know he'll produce, but are you willing to select him as your QB and roll the dice that the Colts will win at Pittsburgh in Round 2?

5. Matt Ryan, Falcons: He has the numbers (3,705, 28 TDs), but Roddy White is the obvious Atlanta pick in leagues that award a point per reception.

6. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: He has two Super Bowl rings, but teammates Rashard Mendenhall and Mike Wallace might be the better plays.

7. Aaron Rodgers, Packers: He would be ranked much higher if not for the wild-card road game against Vick's Eagles.

8. Joe Flacco, Ravens: You have to like the Ravens' odds of winning at Kansas City this weekend, but if that's the case, running back Ray Rice is too good to pass up in favor of Flacco.

The rest: 9. Jay Cutler, Bears; 10. Matt Cassel, Chiefs; 11. Mark Sanchez, Jets; 12. Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst, Seahawks.


1. Ray Rice, Ravens: He ran for 322 yards and reached the end zone three times in Baltimore's last three games. If you can get at least two games from him, he's worth the pick.

2. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers:
He isn't the workhorse he was in Weeks 1-4, when Roethlisberger was suspended, but he finished with 13 rushing TDs (tied for second in the league).

3. Michael Turner, Falcons: He had 12 rushing TDs, and his 1,371 rushing yards are second among playoff backs to Jamaal Charles.

4. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots: He might have been this season's most unlikely 1,000-yard rusher not named LeGarrette Blount, and he tied Mendenhall with 13 TDs. With Brady on his team, he would be a bold -- but potentially rewarding -- selection.

5. LeSean McCoy, Eagles:
In PPR leagues, he is an intriguing possibility after rushing for 1,080 yards, catching 78 passes for 592 yards and scoring nine times.

6. Matt Forte, Bears: He has the stats (1,069 rushing yards, 51 catches for 547 yards, nine total TDs), but I'd be nervous about the one-and-done potential with Philadelphia as a possible division round opponent after Chicago's Round 1 bye.

7. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: If we were going strictly by numbers, Charles would be No. 1 after rushing for 1,467 yards, catching 45 passes for 468 yards and scoring eight times. But do you believe the Chiefs will get by the Ravens?

The rest: 8. Joseph Addai, Colts; 9. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jets; 10. Brandon Jackson, Packers; 11. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks.

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