Good afternoon from the Buzz. That’s right…the final
Buzz article of the season is coming to you a little late due to
holiday. But, there’s a lot to talk about, both in terms of
the weekend that was and the season as a whole…
Todd Gurley led all players in fantasy
points scored in Week 15. He did it again in Week 16.
Sorting Through Week 16
So, which stars came to play this weekend? Obviously, it all starts
and ends with Todd Gurley’s monster game (for the second week
in a row). On a week where the majority of offenses struggled to
move the ball, Gurley was simply on another planet as he netted
a ridiculous 276 yards from scrimmage while scoring two TDs. In
doing so, Gurley raced past the 2,000 yard mark in total yards and
if the Rams play him in Week 17, look for him to get his 20th touchdown
on the season. We’ll have more to say about Gurley in a few
moments…but his Sunday performance ranks amongst the greatest
in Week 16/fantasy championship weekend history. And, compared to
what others were doing (or not doing) around him, it’s the
most prominent performance in my memory in the 30 years I’ve
been playing fantasy football.
The second tier of “heroes” from this weekend include
Dion Lewis, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jared Goff. And, if your league
doesn’t penalize for interceptions, throw Blake Bortles into
that list as well. Rex Burkhead’s injury impacted Lewis’s
numbers the most, although Mike Gillislee did vulture one touchdown.
The Patriots have figured out what the Houston Texans could not
on Christmas Day. Run the ball inside the 5-yard line. With the
Pats nursing a lead, Lewis was sensational in the fourth quarter
and ended the game with 153 yards and a pair of TDs. Who knows what
the Patriots backfield will look like in 2018, but for those trusting
in Lewis yesterday, you were richly rewarded.
Fitzgerald’s big day was not a huge surprise given the Giants’
ineptness on defense, but 9-119-1 always looks great in Week 16,
especially in PPR formats.
If you are a frequent reader, we’ve been telling you to keep
starting Bortles each week, but Jared Goff’s huge day (300+
yards, 4 TDs) caught us a bit off guard. Considering more than half
those yards and exactly half the touchdowns went to Gurley, the
running back’s impact extended to those beyond himself - namely
The other huge story (aside from Gurley) on Sunday and Monday
night (thinking of you Alshon Jeffery and Michael Crabtree) was
the complete lack of production on championship weekend from the
WR position. Jeffery and Crabtree were obvious choices after neither
even caught a pass on Christmas Day, but there were others that
nearly disappeared as well. Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen, Josh Gordon, Golden Tate, and Devin Funchess top that list, but they
were joined by plenty others who scored in single digits, even
in PPR leagues. Consider this: Not a single WR in Week 16 scored
multiple touchdowns. In what was a down year for the position,
Week 16, as it turns out, was the most damaging piece of evidence
that fantasy football is once again changing right before our
eyes. Speaking of broad-based thinking…now let’s take
a more cumulative look at the season that was.
Biggest Surprises of 2017
Gurley - He topped the Disappointments list last season; this
year, his performance represented one of the all-time great rebounds
in recent memory.
2. Kansas City's Version of the Tremendous Trio - They're not
Ben, Bell, and Brown, but Alex Smith, Kareem Hunt, and Tyreek Hill were the next best thing.
3. Alvin!!!! - Kamara is a rising superstar in the world of fantasy
football. His running mate, Mark Ingram, surpassed expectations,
4. Sophomore Signal Callers - In the real world, Carson Wentz
and Jared Goff took giant leaps forward...their fantasy prospects
did as well.
5. Sleeper Picks From The NFC North - Receivers Adam
Thielen and Marvin
Jones were late August draft picks who played like second
rounders for much of the year.
6. A...Squared - Additional surprise wideouts came in the form
of Robby Anderson and Nelson Agholor. Both have bright futures
based on what we saw.
7. Case and Collins - The emergence of QB Case Keenum and RB Alex Collins as a viable fantasy options were scarcely foreseen.
8. Evan Engram - In a year the Giants would love to forget, Engram
represented the only bright light and exceeded all expectations.
Biggest Disappointments of 2017
1. Cooper's Collapse - Aside from one big game, Amari was a complete
flop in 2017. Now, his fantasy future looks murky at best.
5. Matty Iced - Continuing with a theme, last year's dynamic fantasy
force and NFL MVP wasn't the same player this time around and
brought Julio down with him as far as TD passes/receptions are
7. Seattle Surrender - Take your pick of the possible Seattle
starters at RB when the year began. Russell
Wilson was the team's best runner; all others flopped.
8. Swiss Army Knife Snafu - Ty
Montgomery got stuck in the same vortex as Jordy Nelson and
failed to be much of a factor in Green Bay.
Coming into Week 15, I would have likely given this award to
Brown, but Brown’s injury combined with the best two-week
stretch possibly in fantasy football history tipped the scales
to Todd Gurley. There was little doubt who the two best players
were. It’s just too bad they couldn’t have duked it out down the
stretch for the award.
Fantasy Playoff MVP
Ummm….I guess I should just stick to naming a runner-up since
Gurley was other-worldly as has been noted repeatedly. How about
Kareem Hunt with honorable mentions to Blake Bortles and the surging
Garoppolo? I refuse to even consider a WR given the collapse
of that position.
Comeback Player of the Year
Clean sweep for Gurley here, but you have to add DeAndre
Hopkins as a co-winner. Both were fantastic in 2015. Both
disappointed mightily in 2016 due to issues beyond their control.
Hopkins was tremendous, but how good might he have been with a
healthy DeShaun Watson all year? Big kudos to Nuk for making the
best out of a tough situation.
Rookie(s) of the Year
Early on, it appeared Kareem Hunt would win this award by a country
mile. Then, when he couldn’t find the end zone for two months,
I penciled in Alvin
Kamara. In the end, the two deserve to share the award. Both
should be first-round picks next year in redrafts, which brings
The “Dirty Dozen” Heading Into 2018
So, who are the top 12 players in a redraft next August? Even
in PPR leagues, the first round should be RB-heavy. We'll go non-PPR
and roll with…
A lot can and will change between now and August, but there's
a jumping-off point. I welcome any and all feedback on your “dozen”
in the comments section, so fire away!
Finally, you read articles like this one to gain that broader
perspective and often, we succeed in granting you that. But, sometimes
we miss the boat by a mile. With that in mind, here are the Five
Dumbest Things we've uttered at the Buzz this season. Counting
down from earliest to most recent…
5. “Look for the Broncos to continue to have lots of red-zone
opportunities with Demaryius
Thomas and Emmanuel
Sanders netting big first-half totals in games” - (Week 3)
4. “Expect 20+ touches a game and top-ten numbers from Doug Martin
moving forward. He has a chance to be a throwback to a time when
RBs reigned supreme” - (Week 5)
Seferian-Jenkins will be top-ten in points from a TE by season’s
end. Take that to the bank.” - (Week 6)
2. “DeMarco (Murray) is a strong candidate to finish as a top-10
RB by year’s end as colder, more blustery conditions emerge.”
- (Week 10)
Perine is turning into a must-start down the stretch” - (Week
There's nothing wrong with chuckling at yourself from time to
time and taking note of predictions gone wrong.
And so we come to a close here at the Buzz. It's been a fun and
wild ride this season! Sometimes, we steered you in the right
direction. And a few times, we fell short of that goal. All in
all, I hope you found the weekly offering enjoyable and that you'll
make the Buzz a part of your weekly fantasy football intake in