Le’Veon Bell Carries Fantasy Owners to Victory
When it comes to Fantasy sports, I’m not sure if anything is more disappointing than watching all the games on Sunday and realizing you have no chance to win. Every decision you made was the wrong one. This happens to all of us. In one of my big money leagues, a two-QB league, I started Ben Roethlisberer, Derek Carr, Donte Moncrief, Jordan Reed, Matt Forte, and Terrelle Pryor. Those six players accounted for a grand total of four points. Four points! Are you kidding me? I’m not bitter at all; but hey, if you’re going to lose, lose big. It wouldn’t have mattered who I started, I never had a chance. At least I don’t have to agonize, wondering what would have happened if I had only started Player A over Player B. Nope. I was toast either way. Hopefully, you did better than me.
Oakland at Kansas City
Maybe you didn’t have any other options but Carr was always going to be a tough start here. His history versus the Chiefs (small sample size I know) wasn’t good. He was coming off the dislocated/broken pinky, and although he could play with the injury versus Buffalo, the cold in Kansas City was going to give him problems. It also didn’t help that his receivers dropped several passes early in the game. It’s one bad game. I wouldn’t panic about him yet. The Chiefs are winning these games but it’s really because their defense and special teams that are on one heck of a run. It appears the defense is scoring more points than the offense. The Chiefs got ahead early and then relied on the defense to carry them the rest of the way. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are the only automatic starts on this offense. Spencer Ware didn’t do much here and had a touchdown vultured by Charcandrick West.
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
Well, if you had Le’Veon Bell, I’m guessing you’re a very happy Fantasy owner right about now. I mean 47 points. Damn! I think it’s safe to say he was worth a first or second-round pick now despite missing the first three games. No touchdown passes from Roethlisberger. Would it have killed him to throw one? I received so many questions from owners wanting to start Mike Gillislee this week. Listen, I get it. He’s the goal line back so he will vulture the touchdowns from LeSean McCoy. However, unless you just don’t have anyone worthwhile at running back, you can’t start him, as you just can’t rely on those vultures. He had two touches Sunday. Two. He’s a complete roll of the dice.
Denver at Tennessee
This is not about Fantasy but Denver is not making the playoffs; not with that remaining schedule (New England, Kansas City, Oakland). They don’t have much of a running game, especially against a defense that plays the run tough. This just puts too much pressure on Trevor Siemian, and he’s not the QB you want to ask to win games week after week. Not at this point in his career anyway. Marcus Mariota didn’t do much this week but that was expected. There was a reason so many of us advised to trade him after Week 12. He had a bye last week, played Denver yesterday and he plays Kansas City next week. It’s tough to see him among the Top 10 quarterbacks during this span. The Titans’ passing game may not be much of an option until Week 16.
Washington at Philadelphia
Yeah, you ate it if you started Jordan Reed. You can get mad at yourself if you had a decent option on the bench but in the end, maybe you should just be mad at yourself. Even under the best of circumstances, Reed is an injury concern. He always seems to be hurt. He was a decoy Sunday with only one target. Live and learn. Jamison Crowder was quiet in this game as well. Could the long season be catching up with him? Ryan Mathews did return but was less than impressive. He was the lead back however, something we didn’t expect coming into the game. Zach Ertz has now become the tight end we thought he’d be entering the season. He’s being found early and often by Carson Wentz and has become a PPR monster of late. Jordan Matthews returned as well and is really the only reliable wide receiver for Philly. But we knew that already.
Arizona at Miami
You really do have to believe that the Carson Palmer era in Arizona will be coming to an end when the season is over. Sure I know it was pouring through most of the game but with three more turnovers and two other fumbles, he’s just not taking care of the football. You just can’t have that in today’s NFL. It’s funny, David Johnson had 121 total yards yet for some reason I feel like he didn’t do enough. Maybe we have just come to expect too much. No, I’m not on board the J.J. Nelson train because he had two TD. Those were his only touches of the game. I wonder if the NFL will suspend DE Calais Campbell for the low hit on Ryan Tannehill that looks to have ended his season with a possible torn ACL. This was why that rule was put in place as the QB really has no chance to defend himself. Matt Moore will take over the starting duties for Miami and because of that teams will no longer respect the deep ball and will play closer to the LOS. Every Miami offensive player takes a hit because of this with the possible exception of Jarvis Landry in PPR leagues.
San Diego at Carolina
The good news about Melvin Gordon is that there is some optimism that the hip injury he suffered Sunday, which caused him to be carted off the field, may not be serious. The bad news is that he will have an MRI on Monday and, with only two weeks left in the Fantasy season, it may not matter. If Gordon is out, then San Diego will be without either of their two top running backs (Danny Woodhead). Phillip Rivers will have to drop back and put the ball in the air quite a bit down the stretch, making Dontrelle Inman a strong play, if he isn’t one already. Sure, the Panthers won. Yes, they scored 28 points. Yet Cam Newton was 10-27 for 160 yards. He has regressed as a passer. We can talk all night about why. Have the hits he has taken this season finally added up? Have the receivers regressed? Is there an injury we don’t about? Does it matter anymore? He’s no longer a QB1 for me and Kelvin Benjamin is no longer a good Fantasy start.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
If Jeremy Hill played the Browns every week, he’d be a Hall of Fame running back. The Bengals treated this game like all they wanted to do was get the win and get out of Cleveland (insert joke here). They got up early and then played ball control, as they were pretty confident that the Browns weren’t going to mount any kind of big comeback. I’m still on board with Tyler Boyd being the wide receiver I want between him and Brandon Lafell. You were kidding yourself if you really thought that Robert Griffin III was going to be the cure for what ails the Cleveland offense. I’m not even sure the Browns want to win a game. They just want to get the number one overall draft pick next April and go from there. RGIII is not the answer but they are doing the right thing by giving him four games to find out where he fits. However, he also makes starting any Browns wide receiver problematic.
Chicago at Detroit
The Bears aren’t a good or even average team but they are finding out a few things. First, Matt Barkley can at least be a backup in this league, and if the team decides to draft a quarterback in the first-round next season, he could even be a caretaker until that quarterback is ready to play. Second, Jordan Howard looks like the real deal at running back. He may not be Ezekiel Elliott but he’s good enough to get the job done. They will need a playmaker or two at wide receiver if Alshon Jeffery leaves in free agency. The big news this week out of Detroit will be the middle finger of Matthew Stafford (do not insert your own joke here). He suffered a dislocation of that finger and tore the ligaments. He was able to finish the game but that was with the adrenalin flowing. How well he is able to grip a football this week will go a long way towards determining his status for next week against the Giants. That game is in New Jersey. It could be extremely cold and we’ve seen a similar situation with Carr and how that affected him.
Houston at Indianapolis
This was another game won by Houston thanks to the defense and the running of Lamar Miller. Brock Osweiler did little to nothing once again. He has killed DeAndre Hopkins this season, and also killed the dreams of many Fantasy owners. Donte Moncrief also did his best to crush some Fantasy championship dreams by leaving the game early with a hamstring injury. So much for his touchdown per game streak. Andrew Luck makes some bad decisions but he’s also running for his life behind the offensive line more often than not.
Minnesota at Jacksonville
Well, a win by the Vikings keeps the dream of Adrian Peterson coming back later this month alive for one more week. AP had made it known that he does plan on returning this season if and only if the Vikings remain in playoff contention. Stefon Diggs still doesn’t look anywhere near 100-percent healthy. How good has Marquise Lee been over the past month? Even when healthy you have to wonder if he has passed Allen Hurns as the second wide receiver in this offense. Allen Robinson had another rough game, but that was always expected with Xavier Rhodes covering him more often than not. The running game is pretty much non-existent.
Jets at San Francisco
Like the Browns, the Jets are doing the right thing by going with Bryce Petty. He does pretty much kill the value of Brandon Marshall, but the team needs to know where Petty fits in their future quarterback plans. Matt Forte had to leave the game with a knee injury. If he is forced to miss time, then Bilal Powell becomes valuable once again. He may be anyway, as Forte may not be in the Jets future plans anyway, and they may elect to see what Powell can do in a full-time role. Oh well, the Colin Kaepernick run was fun while it lasted. He came out on fire Sunday, but then he looked much closer to the player he was in Week 13. Carlos Hyde had a monster day with 193 yards rushing. What happened to the Jets’ run defense, which was supposed to be so tough?
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
You have to believe that something is wrong with Drew Brees. I thought so last week versus the Lions and nothing I saw yesterday to change my mind. I don’t know if there is an injury we don’t know about or if he’s just tired and/or sore. His throws aren’t crisp and he’s been picked off five times in the last two games. This is not to disrespect the Lions or Bucs defense, but they aren’t great. However, Brees has been making them look good. Brandin Cooks dropped a touchdown pass in this game and that came back to haunt the team. Mark Ingram played but didn’t look good. Neither did Tim Hightower, as the run game is looking like it’s out of gas. The Saints have shown the blueprint of how to stop the Bucs’ passing game. Press Mike Evans and have a safety playing over the top. With no other true threat at wide receiver, the big plays just won’t be there. You will also take Jameis Winston out of his comfort zone, as he tends to look Evans’ way on just about every pass attempt. Force the Bucs to beat you with the short passing game to Cameron Brate and/or the run game. Most teams don’t have the patience, especially if they fall behind.
Atlanta at Los Angeles
The Falcons did all Fantasy owners a good deed by announcing that Julio Jones would miss the game early enough for owners to make a lineup change. Jones has turf toe and that will likely bother him for the rest of the season. The Falcons also got Tevin Coleman involved in the offense again. This is great for the Falcons but bad for Devonta Freeman owners. You’re still going to start Freeman over Coleman, but it will again be a guessing game to figure out which back will be used more often. Kenny Britt is still usable, as the Rams will likely be behind in most of their remaining contests, but a big game is highly unlikely. Todd Gurley, who may be Fantasy’s least valuable player has fallen into the flex category but did have a score here. Still, it’s extremely hard to trust him.
Seattle at Green Bay
The Seahawks are becoming an infuriating team. One week they look good, the next week bad, and so on. The bad weeks have also come on the road. Are they becoming a team that can’t win on the road because their offensive line can’t hold up? Maybe. The snowstorm that was expected to hit during the game didn’t, and although it was cold, it wasn’t brutally so. There really is no excuse here. If the Packers have figured out their defensive problems, and the last two weeks it certainly looks like they have, then no one will want to play them in the playoffs, if they can get in. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play most of the fourth quarter. Rodgers is dealing with a calf injury and the big lead allowed the Packers to give him a little extra rest. Ty Montgomery is back to rushing the ball when the game matters. I have no idea why they went away from him in the first place.
Dallas at Giants
You can look at this game in one of two ways. Dallas wasn’t going to run off 15 straight wins to close out the season. They were going to lose again. So no big deal losing to a division rival on the road in prime time. The other way, Dak has regressed a whole bunch over the past two games. He’s aiming rather than throwing the ball. He’s not making quick reads. He’s holding the ball too long. Before we crucify Dak Prescott and call for Tony Romo, let’s not forget he won 11 straight games. True, he’s had two bad games in a row, but both were on the road and versus two of the best defenses in the NFL. There is no reason to panic yet. If the Giants lost this game, all we would be talking about is how awful Eli Manning played. He had the one big play to Odell Beckham, but that was it. He had several turnovers and should have had several more. The Giants’ defense however bailed him out. I wouldn’t trust anyone in this offense outside of Beckham.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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