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Friends and Family Matters: Semi-starters

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There's no sense overstating the obvious. No use in exaggerating what can go unsaid.

During the fantasy playoffs, an owner's decisions when setting a starting lineup are critical. From positional rankings to daily blog posts to Sunday morning's Fantasy Football Live, there are many avenues to find direction.

Here is another.

The Yahoo! Friends and Family League has, like most other leagues, reached the semifinals with four of 14 teams competing to reach next week's championship, and some of those remaining in the expert league have volunteered to walk through the logic behind their personal sit-or-start decisions.

We will start with top-seeded Michael Salfino and fifth-seeded Scott Pianowski, and finish off with my second-seeded team, where will I do my best to avoid a profanity-laced Deadspin tone when discussing Colts running back Donald Brown(notes).

Salfino – Wall Street Journal

Team roster

Salfino: "Brandon Jackson(notes) is going to the bench probably for Pierre Thomas(notes) if Aaron Rodgers(notes) doesn't play.

"I'm hoping that Rodgers does not as I have the Patriots defense. Playing Jason Campbell(notes) is a tough call for obvious reasons. I was hoping to get Kerry Collins(notes), but he's not available. I could swap him out for Josh Freeman(notes) but have to wait until Saturday for that, as he's on waivers now until then and I have zero dollars left (the price you pay for Brandon Lloyd(notes) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) in free agency).

"Sticking with the Patriots was a tough call, but I assume Rodgers is out and then this is a good matchup. I really like the Jets (should get four sacks against a terrible Steelers offensive line). Oakland also seems like a real get against a Broncos team that's packed it in.

"Looking at my team, assuming readers can, they must wonder how such a sad-sack outfit made it this far. I have no answers for that."

Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports

Team roster

Pianowski: "Nothing too tough on my end. My roster is filled with automatic starters (Michael Vick(notes), Andre Johnson(notes), Marques Colston(notes), a resurgent Wes Welker(notes)) and scrubs that I unfortunately need to use (I've had the worst running backs in the league all year – thanks for nothing, Shonn Greene(notes)).

"I like using a weekly rental at kicker and defense because it gives me something to do. Josh Brown(notes) has a long leg and he's indoors, and I don't fear the K.C. defense, so there's one play. The Vikings defense is back outside for a prime-time home game. Nasty weather might be in the mix, and we know there are possible mistakes with Cutler and Martz, even as they've cleaned that up significantly of late. It's fun to add players, isn't it?

"Caddy Williams over Greene? I just don't want to mess with Pittsburgh's rushing defense, which is ridiculously good. I dropped the ball not moving on Tim Hightower(notes) a few weeks back.

"I see a third-place game in my future. Mike Salfino has a better team. Worse yet, he has three Patriots to my one. He's beating me with my guys, dammit."

Gehlken – Yahoo! Sports

Team roster

Gehlken: "That Donald Brown has played seven full games without Joseph Addai(notes) and hasn't established himself in this league is just stupid. A half-capable running back would be a top 15 fantasy option by this point. Brown is clearly not, and now I have a decision to make.

"In this league, which allots 0.75 points per reception, I must start two of three options: Brown (vs. Jaguars), Jahvid Best(notes) (at Buccaneers) and Tashard Choice(notes) (vs. Redskins). I am the president, CEO and founder of the "Free Choice" San Diego chapter, and the possible return of Marion Barber(notes) (calf) has our boardroom a little uneasy. As for Brown, he doesn't know the meaning of the word "opportunity," and I am beginning to hate him.

"But can I really afford to start Best? This turf toe has been a problem, and any optimism of him being past it after totaling 92 yards on 10 touches against the Bears in Week 13 was crushed in Week 14 when the Packers held him to 42 yards on 14 touches. All I see now is an undersized speedster with three measly passing targets in the past two weeks and zero touchdowns since Week 3. That and the overly prevalent presence of Maurice Morris(notes), Jerome Shelton, Stefan Logan(notes) and Drew Stanton(notes). No thanks."

Working the Wire

This section tracks the expert league's weekly free-agency activity.

The player pool defaults to waivers Sunday though Tuesday, after which owners bid on free agents using a $100 free-agent acquisition budget.

Players who clear waivers can be added free of charge.

The move: Dalton Del Don ( dropped Roy Williams and added Joe Webb(notes).

The synopsis: Del Don sneaked his way through America's most popular loophole. The Vikings drafted Webb as a wide receiver, hence his eligibility, and will start him Sunday at quarterback, hence his appeal. It is the kind of scenario fantasy owners who need to get out more dream about. Need a wide receiver? Start the quarterback.

The move: Salfino dropped Mark Sanchez(notes) and added Jason Campbell.

The synopsis: These past two weeks have been pretty impressive for Campbell. First he faces the Chargers and manages the game beautifully with hand-offs, play-action passes and bootlegs galore, not to mention without a single turnover. Then last week, he showed the Jaguars his pure passer side, amassing 10.8 yards per pass attempt and an efficient 324 passing yards with two touchdowns and again no turnovers. This Sunday, Campbell draws a Broncos defense that has allowed a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and totaled a league-low 18 sacks. Can't blame Salfino for investing in whatever is about to come next.

Other adds: Rashad Jennings(notes) ($5), Minnesota defense ($3), Josh Freeman ($1), Arizona defense, David Buehler(notes), Matt Hasselbeck(notes), Kerry Collins and Josh Brown.

Other drops: New York Jets defense, Ed Dickson(notes), Billy Cundiff(notes), Cleveland defense, Bernard Scott(notes), Deon Butler(notes), Blair White(notes) and Jabar Gaffney(notes).

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