High Staked: Coin Flips and Lineup Decisions

This is the point in the FFPC Main Event season when lineup decisions can become agonizing, especially if you’re locked in a tight race for a playoff spot in your league and every point is crucial to staying in the hunt.

We faced some of our own this week, and no doubt you did, too. Last year, when we went on an amazing run that culminated in scoring the most regular-season points in the Main Event, we guessed correctly on nearly every close lineup call we faced. This year, our luck hasn’t been as good.

So in the spirit of commiserating together, I’ve decided this week to compile the most notable coin flips of the week – those players who seemed to make it into only half of their owners’ starting lineups. In one category: the guys who either went off on your bench or were started by your opponent. In the second group: the players you’d normally never think about starting but who seemed to be sure things this weekend, except they did nothing and now you want to quit fantasy football. Let’s start with:

BENCH BLOWUPS

Marlon Mack: Yes, he was on our bench. We had who we thought was a better option (which I’ll get to later), but it was not in our realm of possibilities that Mack – who had appeared in just two games before yesterday’s and was splitting time with rookie Nyheim Hines – would post nearly 160 total yards and two scores. Patient owners who plugged him in got a nice payoff.

Dion Lewis: It’s likely that, fed up with the Titans’ lackluster offense, Lewis owners decided to sit him this week. Of course, he then went out and had a classic Lewis game, serving as Marcus Mariota’s safety valve and racking up PPR points even without finding the end zone. If benching him was the difference in your matchup, you now have the Titans’ bye week to think all about it.

Mitchell Trubisky: Maybe you drafted Aaron Rodgers and you started Trubisky just to cover Green Bay’s bye. Maybe you benched Trubisky because your other QB had more upside. Regardless, he has thrown his way into consideration as an every-week starter, which is sure to make for some frustrating lineup decisions for owners who drafted him merely as a bye-week filler and spot starter.

STARTING ANCHORS

Austin Ekeler: This was just a case of right move, but bad luck. Ekeler is who we started in place of Mack, based on the Saturday news that Chargers starter Melvin Gordon would sit out with a hamstring injury. The assumption was that Ekeler would slide right in and replicate Gordon’s hugely productive role, but he instead posted a somewhat disappointing 68 scoreless yards and five receptions.

Jermaine Kearse: A popular waiver add last week after his 10-target, nine-catch game against the Colts, Kearse was a sleeper play against the Vikings due to the absence of the injured Quincy Enunwa. But owners who rolled the dice on him crapped out with the dreaded goose egg and likely wished they kept sleeping on him.

Rob Gronkowski: This was a culmination of a lot of factors. First, the news broke late Saturday that Gronk didn’t make the trip with the team to Chicago. In FFPC, the last chance to add anyone off waivers is Friday, so if you lacked a backup – in one of our leagues, the team with Gronk had only Jimmy Graham (bye) and Jack Doyle (out) as backups and was forced to start Gronk anyway – you were out of choices. Furthermore, the tight end position is so thin that even if you had a backup, it probably wasn’t that great a choice; we started Vernon Davis in place of Gronk, and they both scored the same number of points.

With 20 teams still yet to have their bye weeks through the end of the 11-week Main Event regular season (plus two more in Week 12), expect to face plenty more such lineup decisions. Get those coins ready.