Commentary

Head Shrink: Don't let the pressure get to you

Updated: December 20, 2007, 7:06 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN.com
If you're reading this, you likely have either reached your league's Super Bowl or are on the verge of reaching the big game. While the real Super Bowl week is exciting for fans, it can seem quite lonely in fantasy football. All the pressure is on you, and no one seems to be rooting for you but yourself. You might even be feeling the same crunch of Super Bowl week the players do, like there are hundreds of imaginary reporters with microphones and tape recorders following you. This is a big week, and you don't want to be the guy who lost the big game. I am here to help you deal with the self-imposed Super Bowl hype and make correct decisions without the pressure of the championship game clouding your judgment.

Issue: I'm worried about some of my best guys not playing a full game in Week 16.

Outlook: The Colts appear to be the team that is most apt to rest top players, even though coach Tony Dungy said he would use his regulars like he normally would. Indianapolis is locked into the No. 2 spot in the AFC, and you can't always believe what a coach says publicly. Norv Turner, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren have given no indications yet that they plan to rest any starters despite not having much to play for in terms of playoff seeding. The Patriots seem determined to shoot for an undefeated season and likely will use their top players for most of this week's game against Miami. It's really all guesswork, but the outlook seems to be for Indianapolis to at least play their best offensive guys enough to keep them warm and in tune, but some guys might not play a full game in Week 16 to avoid possible injuries before the playoffs. The Chargers might try to lock up the third seed in the AFC in attempt to avoid a trip to New England until the AFC Championship game. Seattle and Tampa Bay don't seem to be intent on fighting hard for the third seed in the NFC, but Holmgren is unlikely to rest his top offensive starters much after the Seahawks managed only one late score in a loss at Carolina. Gruden won't look to overuse Jeff Garcia, who has just returned from a back injury, and Earnest Graham will not be overworked. The Patriots seem intent on playing their top guys until at least they build comfortable leads against the Dolphins and Giants in the last two games.


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Scott Engel | email

ESPN Fantasy Games
Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.

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