Michael Fabiano: The Saints loss to the Niners KILLED me, and that last touchdown pass from Alex Smith and Vernon Davis was the dagger. Sure, I received a combined 204 fantasy points from the group of Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham and John Kasay in the divisional round, but now I'll only receive single points from five of nine players in my current starting lineup. With little chance to make a huge push to winning it all, I'm just going with the best player available strategy - that means replacing Brees with Tom Brady, Sproles with Frank Gore, Colston with Hakeem Nicks, Graham with Rob Gronkowski and Kasay with David Akers. I'll get triple points from Ray Rice and double points from the Ravens defense, so I have to hope for some nice production from those two players. Sigh. Did I mention the Saints killed my Playoff Challenge team?
Elliot Harrison: My Playoff Challenge team took a huge hit when the Saints went down, something I was prepared for, but took a calculated risk on, so to speak. So for this week, I'm taking the best players with a couple of risks so as to differentiate myself from other players. Tom Brady and Wes Welker are locks to me. I also took the Patriots' kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, because my sense is that they win this weekend. From that same game I will employ Ray Rice (again), my only carryover from the divisional round.
Here are some risks: 1. My other running back, Frank Gore, has a semi-tough matchup in an even-steven game. I selected him because I think he gets 18 to 20 carries Sunday. 2. Vernon Davis. Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end left in the Playoff Challenge, but you have to figure most of your competition in this game is going after him. 3. Michael Crabtree. I figure Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are far more palatable as your WR2 then my selection. Once again, I'm separating myself from the pack and hoping to pick up an advancing player in the process. It also gives me an excuse to pull for a team, so why not?
Adam Rank: Why Gronkowski? Because getting double points from him in this round will be worth it compared to getting single points from Ballard or Dickson in the next round. And if the Patriots make it, at least one guy will get me triple points. Only problem is, the world will be getting triple points, too. Hmm, maybe I should switch to Ballard, that is my biggest decision right now.
Jason Smith: I'm sticking with the same lineup I've had since the beginning, and why not? I'm going to win with it. I chose to load up on Patriots because I had a better belief they'd make it to the Super Bowl than anyone else. And with all my players at triple point value for this round, as long as New England wins, I can't be stopped. Has anyone else fully filled their roster with Ravens, Giants or 49ers? Nope. Now that it's New England and Baltimore, I know I'm going to lose at least one guy, right? But I'm not replacing Ray Rice because a) he's Ray Rice and b) I can get triple points from him. Sure, I could go safe and drop him and pick up either Ahmad Bradshaw or Frank Gore, but I could lose either one of them in that tossup NFC title game. Then I'm starting over in the Super Bowl anyway. At least with this strategy, I'll get triple points from Rice before he goes out. THEN I can pick up a RB for Super Bowl week.
Matt "Money" Smith: I got hammered last week with my picks after the Saints and Texans were bounced. That means I have to reach to get back into this. I'm sticking with Eli Manning since I figured most people went Rogers, Brady or Brees and there won't be too many out there getting a multiplier on him. My running backs were toast, so I'm going Rice and Gore, the two best left. My wide receivers are a carry-over in Welker and a reach in Crabtree. Plus I'm going Niners all the way, since that's the best looking team that's not too heavy on previous ownership.
NFL Staff: Like a lot of people, our lineup was blown to bits after the Saints lost to the 49ers, so the strategy for the rest of the Playoff Challenge will be to find the best available players to run with. Enter Tom Brady, Frank Gore, Rob Gronkowski and David Akers, since we also think their respective teams will find their way into the Super Bowl. If there's any consolation, it's that we will get double points from Wes Welker and the Ravens defense and triple points from Ray Rice and Victor Cruz.