Most fantasy leagues ended Monday night, but for those remaining,
this week’s games pose a new and difficult problem …
the player “resting for the playoffs.”
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth …
- Noah Webster (although the basic tenet likely traces back to
Pittsburgh Gold: Williams has been a key
player on many fantasy championship teams in 2015.
1) Over the past three games (the fantasy
playoffs) Washington QB Kirk Cousins was the No. 1 fantasy option,
posting 33.1 FPts/G.
Truth. The fourth-year pro has gone from “why did they draft
him?” in 2012 to quality starter in 2015. Selected in the
fourth round four years ago, after the team spent a virtual fortune
to move up and get Robert Griffin III with the second-overall pick,
Cousins has posted three excellent weeks in this season’s
fantasy playoffs. Please remember this fact for next season –
Cousins, who usually plays better at home than on the road, has
started two games in Philadelphia in his career and posted 33.9
fantasy points both times. However, Washington is locked into the
fourth seed and has nothing to play for in Week 17.
2) DeAngelo Williams produced more per
start this season than Le’Veon Bell in any season.
True. Bell averaged 14.5 FPts/G this season while Williams posted
19.6 FPts/G in his nine starts. Even in Bell’s great 2014
season he only averaged 18 points per contest. Did Williams earn
playing time in 2016? Probably. Did he earn enough time to significantly
reduce Bell’s fantasy value? Only Mike Tomlin knows for sure.
Williams figures to go big in the season finale against Cleveland’s
sad run defense which is yielding a league-worst 135.0 ypg.
3) The Panthers loss in Week 16 was
great news for fantasy owners.
The Panthers first loss of the season means that the No. 1 seed
in the NFC is still up for grabs heading into the final weekend.
It also means that neither Arizona (32.2 ppg) nor Carolina (30.8)
will rest their starters. Both have 4:25 pm start times so the NFL’s
top-two scoring teams will be playing the full 60 minutes. Start
them as usual.
4) Fantasy owners can’t complain about
the lack of quality quarterback play this season.
Twenty-five quarterbacks averaged at least 20 FPts/G in 2015. Cam
Newton was No. 1 at 28 ppg and Ryan Tannehill was No. 25 at 20 ppg.
Even throwing out Geno Smith and Matt Schaub, who started one and
two games, respectively, that leaves 23 quarterbacks who averaged
20 FPts/G. From 2000-14 the NFL average is just 10.2 quarterbacks
producing at that level each season.
5) With a division title and a playoff
spot in the balance, the Indianapolis Colts could be starting Stephen
Morris at quarterback.
Sad, but true. The Colts placed Charlie
Whitehurst (hamstring) on injured reserve and Head Coach Chuck
Pagano labeled Matt
Hasselbeck as “doubtful.” Unless we hear good news about Andrew
Luck, Morris is the only healthy quarterback left on the roster.
This news can’t make T.Y.
Hilton or Donte Moncreif owners very happy.
The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying
to others is relatively an exception.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
1) Fantasy owners are accurate at choosing top receivers.
Oh, how I wish I could say this was true, but I can’t. Even
with all the historic data available to fantasy owners, only three
of the first 10 wide receivers selected this fall produced top-10
fantasy points per game totals (Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown
and Julio Jones). Thirty percent … we should be ashamed.
2) Selecting New England tight end Rob
Gronkowski in the second round was worth the “reach.”
While Gronkowski (13 FPts/G) led all tight ends in scoring for the
third time in four seasons, the margin wasn’t so great as
to warrant the early selection. Four other tight ends averaged double-digits
– Jordan Reed (12.1), Tyler Eifert (10.7), Gary Barnidge (10.1)
and Greg Olsen (10.1). None of the other four were drafted before
the fifth round. It’s the first time five tight ends averaged
double-digits in the last 15 seasons.
3) Adrian Peterson is really Superman without the cape.
Close, but not quite. “All Day” does things mere mortals
can’t imagine, like coming back from an ACL/ MCL knee injury
in just nine months and rushing for 2,097 yards the next season.
Or being forced to sit nearly a full season by the league before
winning another rushing title as is the likely outcome after next
weekend’s games. He is the model of consistency, rushing for
more than 1,200 yards and at least 10 touchdowns in seven of nine
professional seasons. Peterson should crack the top-10 all-time
in rushing yards next season. Is there a reason why he shouldn’t
be a top-three selection in 2016?
4) It’s time to consider Doug Baldwin
as a top-10 fantasy receiver.
While he is ranked seventh in fantasy points (186.3) and ninth in
FPts/G (12.4), I think it’s more of a “career year”
than his stepping up in production level. There were a number of
factors which helped him in 2015. Jimmy Graham went down with a
season-ending injury in Week 12. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t played
since Week 10. Both should be back in 2016. In the seven games when
both Lynch and Graham were in the lineup, Baldwin averaged just
7.04 FPts/G. He averaged 17.1 FPts/G when one or both were out of
5) I would have won the fantasy title
this year if only …
Perhaps you should read the Nietzsche quote about lying to yourself
again. Analyze what went wrong and promise to be more prepared in
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.