The Champions for most Fantasy Football Leagues will be determined this week and here’s hoping you made it that far. In head-to-head leagues luck is just as important as skill at this point in time. Last week, if you had Peyton Manning you were probably toast, as he didn’t have a touchdown and only accumulated two Fantasy points in most leagues. This week it was Aaron Rodgers’ turn to pull the rug out from Fantasy owners, as he also didn’t have a touchdown and ended up with just nine Fantasy points. It wasn’t all his fault, though, as the Packers’ receivers dropped seven passes during the game after only dropping 13 balls for the entire season prior to Week 15. Losing is never easy but it hurts even more when your best player/s just don’t show up in your Fantasy playoffs.
If you made it this far, I’m going to assume you did it without having Drew Stanton at QB but if you’re relying on anyone for the Cardinals, now would certainly be the time to cut bait. Stanton is out approximately four weeks with a knee injury, leaving the starting job in the hands of Ryan Lindley. Yeah, good luck with that. The Cards are also playing Seattle this week. Good luck with that also. I won’t have any Cardinal offensive player ranked as a starter this week.
Fantasy owners were probably really upset that WR Julio Jones
didn’t play yesterday, especially coming off the monster game against Green Bay the previous Monday, but really, it was the best thing. The last thing anyone who had him on their roster would want is for Jones to play and either be at less than full strength and leave the game early or just be a decoy. The Falcons announced that he would be inactive almost two hours before game time allowing most owners plenty of time to find a replacement, and hopefully you chose his teammate, Harry Douglas.
Is WR Odell Beckham Jr. the Fantasy football MVP this season? We have been discussing this over the past few days since talking about it on the RotoExperts Weekend Morning Show this past Saturday. While there is no debating that he has been great over the past seven weeks, he was also virtually useless for the first seven weeks of the season. It’s hard for me to vote for OBJ as the Fantasy MVP when you may not even have made the playoffs with him on your roster if you started the season with a record of 2-5 or 1-6. Still, though, he’s a Top 10 WR for me next season.
What started out as a promising season for the Dolphins has gone downhill in a hurry. With another late season swoon this could be the end of the Joe Philbin era, which also means a new coaching staff may not give a long leash to QB Ryan Tannehill. At this point it doesn’t look like Tannehill will ever become an above average starter. His completion percentage is high but his yards per attempt is low. This would seem to indicate that while he is accurate with short range passes, he is either unwilling or unable to throw the ball deep. We all know very well the problems he has had getting the ball deep to WR Mike Wallace. This offense may end up with a substantial overhaul.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Fantasy owners that RB Jamaal Charles wouldn’t have the best of games yesterday. He came into the game with a knee injury, so it seemed likely that the Chiefs wouldn’t give him a full workload, and then once he suffered the head injury in the third quarter they just decided to play it safe and hold him out since the game was well in hand. The good news for Charles’ owners is that he passed his concussion test and should be good to go for Week 16.
Colts WR Donte Moncrief was the popular pickup this week and even made it into quite a few starting lineups. The logic was solid. Reggie Wayne has looked like a shell of his former self the past couple of weeks, as the long season seems to be getting to the 36-year-old and Moncrief was playing more snaps and getting more looks from QB Andrew Luck. Alas things didn’t work out yesterday, as Moncrief only had four targets during the game and zero catches. He did have a touchdown called back due to penalty but that was on a batted ball in the end zone and not for a pass that was directed toward him. Ouch!
Hopefully you didn’t get caught starting WR Torrey Smith versus the Jaguars. Smith had been hot of late until his knee flared up during pre-game warm ups last week, forcing him to be a non-factor. Yesterday wasn’t as bad but he still only caught two balls. The other starting WR, Steve Smith, had five receptions for 37 yards. The bottom line is that it is very hard to trust this Ravens passing game on a week-to-week basis.
What did you do about Packers RB Eddie Lacy this week? All week long we had been hearing how Lacy couldn’t finish the game Monday due to his hip injury, how he wasn’t practicing much and how James Starks was going to get at least half the touches and may be a better play than Lacy. Well, that went down the tubes as soon as the game started, as Lacy looked as good as ever with 97 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. This is why we usually advise to start your studs. Coaches rarely if ever tell the truth.
The NFC South is just crazy. I’m writing this column before the Saints play tonight, so as of this moment the Panthers are in first place with a 5-8-1 record. Quarterback Cam Newton missed the game after surviving a car wreck earlier in the week but suffering two transverse process fractures (similar to what Tony Romo suffered versus the Redskins earlier this season). Derek Anderson took over the starting job and led the team to victory. With the Panthers in the playoff hunt they will likely look to start Newton in the final two games if he’s able to get through practice the next couple of days rather than play it safe and shut him down for the season.
Where do we start with Johnny Manziel? Not only was he a complete disaster yesterday but so was the entire Browns’ offense. How many Fantasy football teams started WR Josh Gordon yesterday (four receptions for 48 yards) or Isaiah Crowell (17 yards on seven carries), or both, or how about all three? Starting a rookie QB, no matter how the hype, in your Fantasy playoffs is a fool’s errand. This is not to say he will be a bust, although, I’m not a believer, but he still has a long way to go before he is Fantasy relevant.
Jet fans are an angry bunch even when they win they lose. The victory over Tennessee yesterday probably killed any chance they might have at getting the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft thus possibly eliminating any chance they might have at getting Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Once again, this is assuming that the new coaching staff (Rex Ryan will likely not be back) will want to replace Geno Smith or perhaps he gets another year to prove himself. Either way, the Jets’ offense is unlikely to improve by leaps and bounds anytime soon.
Peyton Manning disappointed Fantasy football owners once again yesterday by only throwing for 233 yards and one score. Now we can sugarcoat things all we want and say how the Broncos are rushing the ball more because that is how you win games at this time of year, and this is true, but Manning’s arm strength does not pass the eyeball test right now. It doesn’t look like he can fire the ball down the field at this point in time, and if the thigh injury he suffered versus the Chargers doesn’t allow him to push off properly then it will be even more difficult for Manning to push the ball deep into the secondary. None of this matters, though; it’s not like you aren’t going to start Manning and your other Broncos this week.
Tis the season for coaching change speculation. We’ve known since before the season that it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that unless the 49ers made a deep run into the playoffs that coach Jim Harbaugh would be gone. Well the 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention yesterday and Harbaugh can pretty much update his resume. Running back Frank Gore’s future with the team could also be coming to an end, as the switch to Carlos Hyde could be in full swing next season. As for next week, however, it may be best to sit all of your 49ers, as QB Colin Kaepernick has taken an obvious step back and both Gore (concussion) and Hyde (back/ankle) are both dealing with injuries that could make them inactive.
Lions RB Joique Bell has gone from someone having a disappointing season to a must-start RB over the past couple of weeks. His game has picked up since the injuries to RB Reggie Bush have either kept him out of the lineup or limited his worth to the team. Bell will never be confused for someone who is a game breaker but he’s the goal line back and seems to be hitting pay dirt each and every week.
What were LeSean McCoy owners thinking last night while watching Chris Polk and Darren Sproles get the goal line carries and vulturing possible scores for McCoy? This is a problem if coach Chip Kelly believes that McCoy shouldn’t be used near the goal line. Sure, he may rack up the yardage and get his share of receptions but we want that quick six points. Now, this could’ve just been the game plan and you’re still going to start McCoy over Polk or Sproles next week, but it’s still a situation worth monitoring and could change his draft status next season.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz