For most fantasy leagues, this is it … the final week of
the regular season. If you have already clinched the top seed,
stop reading, push the keyboard away and spend some quality time
with your family. For the rest of us, it’s about punching
our ticket to the post-season dance.
Beware of windy conditions in Detroit vs. Baltimore and “lake-effects”
snow in Buffalo where the Patriots face the Bills. Of course,
I still remember Tom Brady abusing Tennessee in a huge snow storm
back in 2009 for six touchdowns, five in the second quarter alone,
so that shouldn’t change anything for Patriots owners.
Dak Prescott hasn't thrown a TD pass since
Week 9 and has only thrown 2 in the last five weeks.
“One voice speaking truth is
a greater force than fleets and armies.” Ursula L. Le Guinn
This is good news for fantasy owners as McCown has been a low-end
QB1 of late (23.6 FPts/G since Week 10). Of course, Bowles doesn’t
really have any other options considering his backups are Bryce
Petty and Christian
Hackenberg. Management has made no effort to get either backup
ready to play, so McCown is the Jets guy through the fantasy playoffs
facing a pair of faltering teams in Kansas City and Denver, then
New Orleans and the LA Chargers.
2) The squeaky wheel really does get the
Remember when Antonio Brown threw the Gatorade bucket in anger
back in October? Apparently his quarterback has been trying to
make it up to him ever since. Brown had one touchdown catch in
the first four games before the incident and seven in the seven
games since then. On the other hand, quiet Le’Veon Bell
has probably lost some chances as a result and he’s scored
just twice in the last seven contests.
3) Mark Ingram can still contribute
despite the impressible performances from Alvin Kamara.
Kamara leads all running backs over the past five weeks, averaging
a stunning 21.8 FPts/G, but Ingram remains the most efficient
back in the red zone (of those with at least a dozen rushing attempts)
having scored on seven of his 20 tries (35%). Ingram struggled
last weekend against the Rams, but posted two consecutive 130-yard
efforts in Weeks 10 and 11.
4) Tyrell Williams, Kenny Britt and Terrelle
Pryor have been relegated to the second page for wideouts (based
of fantasy points per game).
None of these 2016 1,000-yard receivers is averaging even six
points a game. Pryor, in particular, was expected to be a WR1
by many experts. Who will be next season’s disappointment?
Of course the 1,000-yard list is incomplete, but I think Adam Thielen is having a “career” year and we don’t
know whether he and heir apparent Teddy Bridgewater will jell.
Back in 2015, Thielen caught 12 balls for 144 yards and no touchdowns
with Bridgewater under center for 16 games.
5) DeAndre Hopkins should be the second
receiver off the board next season.
I was going to say No. 1, but even after looking for a while
I couldn’t find any statistics to show that any receiver
is, or will be, better than Brown in 2018. However, Hopkins should
be better than all the rest. He plays 16 games every season (hope
I didn’t jinx him there), he plays almost every down in
those games, and if Deshaun Watson comes back healthy I can’t
see any reason he won’t beat out Julio Jones, Odell Beckham
or anyone else. In comparison to the two guys I just mentioned,
Jones’ Falcons have too many weapons and while he’ll
have the occasional game like last weekend, he’s had to
give up some personal glory for the good of the team. Beckham
will have an aging and ineffective Eli Manning or possibly a rookie
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is
a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
1) Ben Roethlisberger and Russell
Wilson can carry you to, and through, the playoffs.
While they have been elite among quarterbacks over the past three
games ranking No.1 and No. 2, respectively, the schedule will
not be kind to Roethlisberger (29.4 FPts/G last three) and Wilson
(28.4) over the next trio of games. Big Ben goes to Cincinnati
(+0.9 %), then faces Baltimore (-33.6) and New England (-25.9)
while Wilson has an even tougher road matching up against Philadelphia
(-42.3), Jacksonville (-23.2) and the LA Rams (-14.1) through
Week 15. That’s why you should always check our fantasy
strength of schedule pages.
2) When asked how comfortable he would
be with Blaine Gabbert starting next season if/when Carson Palmer
retires, Bruce Arians said “The way he’s playing right now, I’d
be very, very comfortable.”
I’m calling BS on this one. This is a coach calling his
mediocre-at-best, journeyman quarterback a viable option for next
season because he needs him to finish out this season. Gabbert
owns a career 10-32 record with a 72.3 QB rating. He has started
two games for Arizona, throwing five touchdowns (Yay!), but turning
the ball over six times and that’s simply not going to get
you a starting job. Ball security is every coaches’ No.
1 priority. The Cardinals will draft a quarterback in one of the
first two rounds next April - perhaps Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield
(Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson likely will be gone by the time
the Cardinals are on the clock).
3) Jacksonville’s D/ST is a must start
Actually, the numbers tell a different story. Although overall
they lead the league, producing 9.8 FPts/G, look a little closer
and you will see that are a great road defense and not nearly
as good in the friendly confines of EverBank Field. On the road
they average 14.5 FPts/G, but at home they average a below average
4.2 FPts/G. The “bad” news is that Jacksonville plays
their next three games at home (Indianapolis, Seattle and Houston).
4) Jimmy Graham can’t possibly keep up
this touchdown pace.
Graham is one of the most touchdown-dependent receivers in the
league who ranks fifth among all tight ends despite just 447 receiving
yards. He’s posted eight scores in the last seven games.
Because of the way Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson use him, it’s
possible he will continue to score almost every week. Graham leads
all receivers in red zone targets with 25, five more than Davante Adams, and all eight touchdowns have come in the red zone. Further,
seven of the eight are from inside the 6-yard line. Seattle uses
Graham in a post-up at the goal line instead of their inept running
game and that shouldn’t change any time soon.
5) Dak Prescott doesn’t belong on any list
with Mitchell Trubisky, Eli Manning, Matt Moore and Joe Flacco.
In fact, the above list is current starting quarterbacks who
average less than 15 fantasy points since Week 8. He’s averaged
just 14.8 fantasy points over the past five weeks and that includes
a 29-point outburst against Kansas City in Week 9. He hasn’t
thrown a touchdown pass since that game or cracked the 180-yard
passing mark. You might want to start Prescott because it’s
the Thursday night game this week, but there are no signs that
he’s ready to come out of his slump. He was just 14-of-22
for 143 yards and no touchdowns in a 33-19 win on a rainy night
at Washington in Week 8.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.