I've started Rice every week of the postseason, including the wild card round, so I'm obviously sticking with him in the conference round to receive triple fantasy points. However, I do need to replace Darren Sproles (Alderaan, remember?) I'm not going to start any Patriots, mostly due to the matchups - the Ravens are tough against the run, the Niners are even tougher, and the Giants defense has been much improved lately (assuming the Pats reach the Super Bowl). I don't like Ahmad Bradshaw or Brandon Jacobs this week based on the Niners' stout run defense, so I'm going to start Frank Gore. The Niners seem to have something going there in San Francisco, and Gore is the centerpiece of that offense. Again, I don't love the matchups - none of the running backs outside of Rice are overly attractive options this weekend - but I'm going to roll with Gore.
I like Frank Gore. The 49ers have to slow down the Giants' front four somehow. Running the football makes the linemen have to read before they just rush the pocket. Gore is a very good player, and will be running on his home field, which is always an advantage. My sense is that he will be a big factor in the NFC Championship Game, and by virtue, the Playoff Challenge.
- Jason SmithNFL.com
Sticking with the Patriots and extra points
You're talking to a guy who has Patriots at every position on his Playoff Challenge team except for one of the RB positions, where it's Ray Rice. If you already have him, you're earning double or triple points for this week for whatever he does against a Patriots defense that is very malleable. Even if he does go out after this round, you can go get whatever RB you want to for the Super Bowl. True, you're only getting single points, but the possibility of triple for the AFC Championship Game by Rice -- if I've had him this long -- is too tough to throw away. Plus, I think the Giants and 49ers is a tossup, so ditching Rice for Ahmad Bradshaw or Frank Gore may not pan out for you. Remember, there's a reason why you drafted the team you did -- so you can get to this point of triple and then quadruple points. Don't panic. Only make changes when you have to. You get cute and start out-thinking yourself, you'll be on the short end of the Playoff Challenge stick.
One thing I know I won't be doing is leaning on BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Even with the multiplier involved should the Patriots win, there still isn't enough upside to make him the pick. I'm concerned about Bradshaw and Jacobs splitting carries, especially at the goal line, not to mention that stingy Niners run D, so the obvious picks are Rice and Gore, there's no logic to anything else.
We took both Arian Foster and Ray Rice knowing we'd lose a RB, but trying to grab as many points as possible. It worked pretty well, with Foster getting us double points on a solid day and Rice moving on for a triple-point day in the championship game. Now, it's about finding the RB you think will move on to the Super Bowl and a chance for at least double points. Since we're sticking with Rice as our entreé, Frank Gore is a nice side dish. The Niners are playing well, have home field advantage and have the only other runner that's close to being a feature back.