The season has ended for most of us, but
a hardy few continue to the very end. For them, this is championship
week, and it brings new difficulties to tackle.
A little snow in Chicago, rain in Baltimore and temperatures below
freezing in six of the games could make offenses more difficult
to predict. Add in lame duck coaching staffs and teams locked
into a seed and lineup construction won’t be easy for fantasy
owners in Week 17.
Does anyone have any idea what a catch
is? Someone please fix this prior to the 2018 season.
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time,
but it ain't goin' away.” - Elvis Presley
1) It’s unlikely that Eagles,
Jaguars or Chiefs stars will play in Week 17.
2) If you own Rob Gronkowski you will
have a huge advantage in the title game.
Definitely. It’s a larger advantage than normal because
the No. 2 and No. 3 tight ends likely won’t be playing in
the final weekend. Travis Kelce (83-1,038-8) and Zach Ertz’s
(72-800-8) teams have nothing to play for having already locked
in their playoff seeds. It means that “Gronk”, who
has been on a roll averaging 16.1 FPts/G over the last month,
should give his owners a head start on claiming the title. He
went 6-83-2 against the Jets in their first meeting this season.
3) Tom Brady hasn’t cracked 20 fantasy
points in a month.
Yes, the 40-year-old has shown a few signs of aging. Still, I
wouldn’t want anyone else under center if I was a Patriots
fan. A fantasy owner, however, only cares about statistics and
he’s ranked 25th among QBs over the past three weekends.
In Week 6, he posted a moderate 20.8 fantasy points against his
Week 17 opponent, the New York Jets. Brady has averaged 22.8 against
the Jets since 2015 and 24.5 against the rest of the NFL.
4) Rookie running backs can be big-time
contributors in their first season.
With one game remaining, four rookies running backs rank among
the top-nine in FPts/G; Kareem Hunt (15.6), Leonard
Fournette (15.1), Alvin
Kamara (14.3) and Dalvin
Cook (14.1). And in PPR leagues Christian
McCaffrey is ranked 13th. Remember this when you draft next
season and Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, Derrius Guice or Nick Chubb
are available and you are looking at veterans who averaged 10
FPts/G or less.
5) Giovani Bernard is a solid play
Assuming Joe Mixon’s ankle prevents him from playing in
Week 17, his replacement is a viable play given that the Ravens
are much better against the pass than the run. Baltimore is third
against opposing QBs, second against WRs, but just 21st against
RBs. Bernard is only 45% owned in Yahoo leagues.
“Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man
of some sense to know how to lie well.” – Samuel Butler
1) Receivers know what a catch is.
“I don’t know,” said Austin Seferian-Jenkins
on GMFB Monday morning. Join the club. The Jets tight end “lost”
two touchdown catches to controversial reversals this season -
against New England and Carolina. Jesse James lost a touchdown
against New England. Sunday, Kelvin Benjamin lost a touchdown
against New England. We already knew that Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant don’t know, or agree with, the “current definition”
of a catch. Someone please fix this for 2018.
2) Joe Flacco isn’t a viable fantasy
option in Week 17.
False. Despite an offense ranked 26th in total yards and 25th
in touchdowns, Flacco has been pretty good the past few games,
averaging 21.9 FPts/G over the past three (ranks 6th among QBs
who played three games). Baltimore plays Cincinnati in Week 17
and Flacco is available in almost 80% of all Yahoo leagues.
3) Antonio Brown is the best receiver
in the NFL.
Maybe. But, while “A.B.” has been catching passes
from dependable Ben Roethlisberger this season and his entire
career, DeAndre Hopkins had Deshaun Watson for just six starts
and has had to overcome Tom Savage, T.J. Yates and Taylor Heinicke
(who?) in the other nine games. In the six games Watson started,
Hopkins averaged 15.35 FPts/G compared to the Ben-to-Brown hookup
which has averaged 14.8 FPts/G this season. I love Brown, but
all other things being equal, Hopkins might just be the better
receiver. Next year when Watson returns from injury, things should
be “more equal.”
4) Davante Adams is a good, but not
yet elite, fantasy wide receiver.
Actually, Adams is one of only four receivers who will finish
in the top-10 in FPts/G for both 2016 and 2017 (min 10 games).
I think you will agree that the other three are elite (Brown,
Julio Jones, A.J. Green) so why not Adams?
5) The Minnesota Vikings are a great
Wrong. The Vikings are a great defense, but a subpar fantasy defense
in 2017. Yes, Minnesota is first in points allowed (242), first
in yards allowed (4,214) and first in yards per play (4.7), but
as a fantasy defense/special team they rank 26th. With 36 sacks,
19 turnovers, one defensive TD and zero kick return touchdowns
they are averaging just 4.1 FPts/G, less than half the Jaguars’
league-leading average (8.4).
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.