Like millions of other NFL fans
around the world, I cringed and keeled over in sympathy pain when
Cam Newton was inadvertently punched in the family jewels during
the first half of Sunday’s game between the Bucs and Panthers.
Not only was I sick to my stomach over witnessing Newton getting
punched in the junk, but I was also ill knowing that the chance
of me winning my cash game matchup went out the window, along
with Newton’s prospects of procreation.
Luckily for me, Newton was able to play through the pain and
saved my fantasy day with a late rushing touchdown to make up
for an otherwise dreadful performance. It was also fortuitous
that I did not play against Todd Gurley, as he once again proved
to be a one-man fantasy wrecking crew in Week 16.
Here is a review of my winning cash game ticket, including a
last-minute move to play Dion Lewis against the Bills.
Fantasy Points: 16.8 Grade: D
Junk punching jokes aside, Newton was terrible for fantasy purposes
on Sunday despite the fact that he had a fantastic home matchup
against a Bucs team that ranks in the top-10 in points allowed
to quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. The fact that
this game came down to the wire is shocking, and an indictment
of the type of team the Panthers are heading into the playoffs.
It took Andy Reid nearly a month to realize that his Chiefs are
a better team when Kareem Hunt is the focal point of the offense.
The rookie running back now has three games of at least 20 fantasy
points, including a 42.6 monster two weeks ago against the Chargers.
I felt confident riding Hunt based on his recent increase in usage
and was rewarded with 33 total touches for 116 yards and a touchdown.
I had some concern with Lewis in that Belichick would use Gillislee
heavily against his former team as a big screw you to the Bills,
but decided to look past those worries with Lewis as my No.2 RB.
His $6k salary was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but the
lack of Burkhead on the starting 53 roster was too good to pass
up. Lewis came through with a season-high 35.3 points and the
second best running back of the day, behind the league-winning
Gurley performance against the Titans.
In cash games, I try to balance my wide receiving corps with
one expensive high-floor player like Allen with more risky plays
like Cole and Godwin. Cole has become the favorite for Blake Bortles
with the Allen boys out with injuries, and his 22 targets over
the past two games for a sub-5k player were too good to pass up.
Godwin was a bit of a leap of faith (sorry, I couldn’t resist)
based on his age, inexperience, and overall terrible play by Jameis
Winston this season. Godwin had a great game of 98 yards on just
six targets and came one end zone drop away from a 20-point fantasy
Ironically, the wide receiver that I paid the most for based
on his apparent high floor proved to be the worst start of the
group, as Allen managed just five catches for 63 yards on 10 targets.
Evidently, Bruce Arians does not like to look at stats and trends
regarding his opponents. If he did, he would have known that everyone
and their second cousin have managed to exploit the Giants with
the tight end in 2017.
I needed a tight end with a salary of 3.5k or less to round out
my lineup, and I rolled the dice based more on matchup than recent
performance. This proved to be a terrible move that nearly cost
me the win.
McCaffrey has been solid against subpar defenses at home this
season, averaging just over 22 points in his games at home against
the Packers, Dolphins, and Falcons, and he even played well at
home against solid defenses like the Saints and Eagles.
The Bucs are the sole team that ranks in the top 10 in points
allowed to running backs, quarterbacks, and wide receivers, making
a flex player like McCaffrey a no-brainer start at home vs. Tampa
The injury to Newton threw off the entire Panthers offense, which
negatively affected McCaffrey and the other skill position players
in the passing game. The Bucs also played an inspired brand of
football that has escaped them for most of the season.
D/ST: Bears Points: 14
A snow game against the worst team in the league and a rookie
quarterback that turns the ball over at a greater rate than any
other QB seemed like a no-brainer play. The Bears did not get
a touchdown, but they did force three turnovers and held the Browns
to three points.