Thinking back to last season my fantasy team was up three points with my kicker to play in the Monday night game. My opponent had no one going so I did the safe thing and benched my kicker. I figured that I’d won money at this point, why start a kicker who may put up negative numbers if he shanks a bunch of kicks.
Well the Patriots are in a similar situation this upcoming week with the Dolphins. Everything for them has been decided. They’re the #1 overall seed in the AFC and whether they finish 14-2 or 13-3 has no bearing other than bragging rights.
So who do you start and who do you sit?
After last year’s regular season finale that saw Wes Welker go down in Houston, the team must be thinking cautiously. But they have a bit of a dilemma as their starters would have three weeks off of they don’t play against Miami. The team could get rusty in that time.
Personally I would treat it like a preseason game. I’d take weather and other factors into consideration but I would let my starters play the first half. After halftime I’d have all my key guys off the field. Take the depth chart and flip it upside down.
It’s worked in the past. I remember special team’s captain Larry Izzo lining up at inside linebacker and basically having a career game while Mike Vrabel was sitting on the sidelines.
Jed Hoyer starting the second half at quarterback. No Wes Welker or Deion Branch. Instead let Julian Edelman, Taylor Price (who’s been inactive almost every week), and Matthew Slater be your wideouts in the second half. Alge Crumpler is your primary second half tight end. At running back you leave Woodhead and Green-Ellis off the field and let Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor earn their paychecks.
On the defensive side it’s a little different. You want those young guys heading into the playoffs with some confidence. I would play it safe and rest the guys that are really hurt. If McCourty has bruised ribs, let him sit out this game and rest up for the first playoff game. Let Darius Butler get some time in there.
The good news with the bye week is that a lot of the hurt guys (think D-Line) will have extra time to recover. It also means that Belichick has two weeks to prepare for an opponent which is typically dangerous for the other team.
Either way, I’ll be watching this Sunday. But really just counting down the days to the playoffs. Yes Jim Mora, playoffs.