VIEW FROM THE SIDELINES: Time to look at RPI

Those boot marks some National Football League coaches sensed on their backsides shortly after the end of the regular season felt uncomfortably familiar.

I kicked myself numerous times as I struggled to get my fantasy teams to championships (12 of 25 at ESPN.com and three of six at NFL.com) in 10-team leagues.

In the end, nine won at ESPN.com (11 of 13 last year in eight-team leagues) and two won at NFL.com. One at each site went undefeated on the season.

As with last year, I sifted through ESPN’s database to get insight on how the NFL post-season could play out.

ESPN uses PPR (Pointers-Per-Reception) scoring, which admittidly is skewered towards making wide receivers and tight ends more relevant in fantasy scoring.

Even so, the points system seemed to point out team’s strengths – and weaknesses.

Here are last year’s totals (down to five possible points):

AFC: 1, New England, 112.1. 2, Pittsburgh, 102. 3, Jacksonville, 88.5. 4, Kansas, 95,0. 5, Tennessee, 81.1. 6, Buffalo, 65.6.

NFC: 1, Philadelphia, 87.5. 2, Minnesota, 119.9. 3, LA Rams, 91.3. 4, New Orleans, 110.3. 5, Carolina 73.5. 6, Atlanta 76.6.

We know that Philadelphia beat New England, 41-33, in the Super Bowl.

Here are this year’s totals (this time down to four possible points):

AFC: 1, Kansas City 113.1. 2, Indianapolis 108.2. 3, New England 106.6. 4, LA Chargers 99.6. 5, Houston 97.5. 6, Baltimore 94.5.

NFC: 1, LA Rams 111.9. 2, Philadelphia 107.2. 3, New Orleans 102.6. 4, Chicago 97.1. 5, Seattle 91.8. 6, Dallas 86.

This compares to the seeding:

AFC: 1, Kansas City. 2, New England. 3, Houston. 4, Baltimore. 5, LA Chargers. 6, Indianapolis.

NFC: 1, New Orleans. 2, LA Rams. 3, Chicago. 4, Dallas. 5, Seattle. 6, Philadelphia.

I went back over the numbers, taking out players we know are on injured reserve or suspect from past performances they won’t be playing, including Sammy Watkins, Alex Collins, Demaryius Thomas, Will Fuller, Carson Wentz, Corey Clement, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Josh Gordon, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Taking out players who for sure won’t be playing, we get:

AFC: 1, Indianapolis 108.2. 2, Kansas City 105.9 3, New England 91.9. 4, LA Chargers 82.4. 5, Baltimore 87.7. 6, Houston 81.1.

Kansas City and Indianapolis switch places, while Baltimore moves up one.

NFC: 1, New Orleans 102.6. 2, Seattle 91.8. 3, Philadelphia 90. 4, Dallas, 86. 5, LA Rams 80.2. 6. Chicago 80.

Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles (sore ribs) is set to start this week. His estimated 4.8 points is way low, so the Eagles easily could move to No. 2.

If the Rams get back running back Todd Gurley (23.3), they would move just ahead of New Orleans at 103.5.

Here are the latest lines for wild card games this weekend:

Houston Texans -1 over Indianapolis Colts. Winner plays Kansas City in divisional playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys -1 over Seattle Seahawks, with winner to play Los Angeles Rams.

Baltimore Ravens -2.5 over Los Angeles Chargers, winner to play New England.

Chicago Bears -5.5 over Philadelphia Eagles, winner to play New Orleans.

Al Camp is the sports editor at The Chronicle. Email him at sports@omakchronicle.com.

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