Three things happened over the
wildcard weekend that I honestly never thought I would witness
in my lifetime. Marcus Mariota completed a touchdown pass to himself
to score a ridiculous 13 fantasy points on a single passing play.
Blake Bortles won a playoff game while posting more rushing yards
(88) than passing yards (87), and Leonard Fournette rushed for
only 57 yards on 21 carries against the Buffalo Bills, a defense
that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs
Of course, I kid about Fournette rushing for only 57 yards, as
more than a few talented running backs have struggled in their
first playoff game, even against subpar defenses like the Bills.
But his 2.7 yard per carry average and inability to reach the
end zone was certainly a surprise and killed my cash game lineup
I missed on both Fournette and Gurley, with nearly half of my
salary allocation producing 28.9 fantasy points combined. Below
is a review of the entire lineup, including where I made a smart
move by starting Cooper Kupp against the Falcons.
Smith was on pace for a great game prior to tight end Travis
Kelce leaving with a concussion. With Kelce out of the game for
the entire second half, the Kansas City offense sputtered, and
the Titans were able to limit Smith without the threat of his
favorite target. I wavered between Smith against the Titans and
Brees against the Panthers. In hindsight, the latter would have
been the better play, but I stand by the logic on Smith, as he
would have likely scored in the mid-20ís if Kelce was able
to play the entire game.
I went back and watched the film of Fournette vs. the Bills to
see why the rookie struggled so mightily against a defense that
allowed 18 rushing touchdowns in 16 regular season games. The
Bills did an excellent job of jumping gaps and hitting Fournette
in the backfield, while Blake Bortles did not do anything in the
passing game to make Buffalo reduce their focus on the run.
Gurley came through with 111 total yards for 18.1 fantasy points
but failed to score a touchdown as the Rams offense sputtered
at home against the Falcons. When head coach Dan Quinn and his
staff looked at this game on Monday morning, I suspect that they
were upset with their decision to give Gurley only 14 carries
in a game that did not have a negative game script.
With only four games on the slate, I was forced to double up
on more than a few games. I decided on a Hill-Smith stack at home
against the Titans, a team that is far more susceptible to the
pass than the run and Hillís recent success at reaching
double figures (eight consecutive games) gave me a solid floor
mixed with a massive upside for the speedster. The volume for
Hill was there with 11 targets and seven catches for 87 yards;
he just didnít reach the end zone as predicted.
I pared Hill with rookie Cooper Kupp, one of my favorite mid-range
priced wide receivers due to the fact that I anticipated he would
be active as the Rams looked to avoid Desmond Trufant outside.
That logic proved to be correct, with Kupp garnering a career-high
13 targets from Jared Goff, for a solid stat line of 8/69/1 for
I was not correct in my thought process in regards to rookie
Corey Davis. With seven targets on the day, he did get the volume
I expected, but the receiving touchdown I predicted went to Eric
My worst play on this ticket was Austin Hooper against the Rams.
I should have followed my own advice on fading the tight end based
on the fact that he was not getting enough volume in the offense
over the past month to justify a start. There are times in which
I like to go against my gut and roll the dice on an inexpensive
tight end with touchdown upside, and I really did not like any
other tight end outside of my flex play, Delanie Walker. Hooper
did get an end zone target, but he and Matt Ryan could not connect,
and Hooper finished with just three catches for 15 yards and no
In hindsight, I should have played Walker as my tight end and
tried to find a cheap wide receiver for my flex. I liked Walker
based on the idea that Mariota would lean heavily on his most
trusted passing option in a difficult road playoff game. Walker
caught six of his eight targets for 74 yards, matching his second-highest
catch total of the season.
Defense: Rams Points: 3
Picking a defense out of four playoff teams is not an easy task,
so I decided to pick the one going against the quarterback who
I felt had the best chance of imploding. I went back and forth
between the Rams and the Chiefs, only to settle on the Rams and
their No.4 ranked pass rush and the probability they would force
Matt Ryan to throw a few picks under pressure.