Before we get to talking about playoff fantasy football, which is one of few ways to make the Saints-Seahawks game watchable, I'd like to reflect on a season's worth of Clicks.
Unlike some of the other writers who fill this space with excellent content every single week, I'm at a very early stage in my career. I was fresh out of graduate school in June, and to be able to write a weekly column for a national audience under the Sports Illustrated banner has been a thrill for me. I've been right on some things and wrong on others, but I've received a great deal of support from everyone involved along the way. I've also been lucky to pick up some loyal readers, from whom I never tire of hearing. I'll be here through the NFL playoffs and beyond, and we'll start prepping for baseball drafts and auctions next week. I'd love to have you here with me every Wednesday, and fervently hope that the last 17 weeks of Wednesday Clicks have been as fun for you to read as they were for me to write.
With the NFL playoffs comes playoff fantasy football, which is as much an exercise in picking winners as it is anything else. It's great because it's part-fantasy football, part-NFL prognosticating, and part-NCAA tournament brackets all rolled up and wrapped into a month of fun.
When making your playoff rankings, the first thing you must do is fill out the bracket from start to finish. I think we can all reasonably agree that Jamaal Charles is a superior fantasy back to Joseph Addai, but if you think the Chiefs will lose to the Ravens and the Colts will beat the Jets (as I do), than maybe you'd rather have Addai than Charles. Of course, that can't be the only determining factor. One game of Charles could be worth more than two of Addai. But the fact remains that the necessary jumping-off point is how many games do you believe each team will play.
Once you've done that, you now must gauge your confidence in each winner you've selected. I think the Packers and Saints will win their Wild Card matchups over the Eagles and Seahawks, respectively. I'd rather have Aaron Rodgers against the Eagles and Falcons than Drew Brees against the Seahawks and Bears, but I'm far more confident Brees and the Saints will win their first-round game than I am in Rodgers and the Packers. I pretty much know for a fact that I'm getting two games out of Brees. The same cannot be said of Rodgers.
Now that we've completed these tasks, we're ready to rank the players. These rankings reflect a standard scoring system. Ten yards rushing or receiving is a point, 25 yards passing is a point, six points for rushing or receiving touchdown and four points for passing. No yardage bonuses for kickers.
1. Drew Brees
1. Rashard Mendenhall
1. Greg Jennings
1. Todd Heap
1. Billy Cundiff
1. Green Bay Packers
And hopefully an NFL season will come with it. I'm an optimist, and dammit, Roger Goodell wrote all of us a letter saying that the owners and players would make a new CBA happen. Well, I'm choosing to believe him. With that in mind, let's take a quick look at what the first three rounds of a draft in a 12-team league next year might look like.