I really don’t think there are too many things more nerve wracking than waiting for the Monday night game to start/finish with your Fantasy Football playoff life on the line. This is especially so with tonight’s game expected to be quite the shootout. How many points is enough to feel safe? Would anyone really be surprised if 70-plus points were put up in this game between the Saints and Lions? I know I wouldn’t. In my big money league I will go into this contest with a 52-point lead over my opponent, but he has Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson playing tonight. I’m not feeling so good, especially because the last time I played against this team with that duo they ruined my Thanksgiving, as Stafford connected with Johnson for three touchdowns. I certainly can’t afford that to happen again. Here’s hoping you have a finals matchup to worry about in Week 16.
In the mustard versus ketchup game we learned that even when teams know that the ball is going to Mike Evans, they still can’t stop him. Evans has really had a good season; just imagine the kind of numbers he would’ve put up without all the dropped passes. He’s a Top 10 WR for me, and if Vincent Jackson is out again this week, Evans will see a boatload of targets once again.
The Cowboys pretty much played their Super Bowl on Saturday and held the Jets in check, as no one had a great day. Chris Ivory is probably being cursed by quite a few Fantasy players, as he had a terrible night and backup Bilal Powell certainly looks like the back with more life in his legs right now. I don’t think I could start Powell over Ivory, but it’s certainly not out of consideration either.
How many Fantasy teams went down in flames Sunday when Adrian Peterson left the game after having his ankle rolled over? Peterson suffered the injury right before the half and was well on pace for over 100 yards rushing. He did briefly return in the second half but the Vikings didn’t push their luck, as they weren’t having any problem with the Bears. AP should be good to go next week and if he starts for Minnesota, he should also start for our Fantasy teams.
The next Fantasy complaint will come from those that had just about any Jaguars player in their lineup. Most, including myself, were expecting a shootout but it never materialized. Denard Robinson, who was a hot waiver wire pickup during the week, only had 74 total yards from scrimmage and zero scores. Allen Hurns had only two receptions for 44 yards and zero scores. Allen Robinson did get into the end zone but had only three receptions for 57 yards. It just wasn’t the kind of day we were expecting from Blake Bortles and company. T.J. Yeldon missed the game with his knee injury and with the Jags loss on Sunday, they are all but out of playoff contention. There will be little or no reason to push Yeldon back into the starting lineup unless he is completely healthy.
So the battle for first place in the AFC South came down to Brandon Weeden versus Charlie Whitehurst at one point on Sunday. Ouch. The big question we are going to wrestle with this coming week is whether or not we should start Andrew Luck (assuming he will start for Indianapolis). This won’t be an automatic. It will come down to who else you have on your roster. Let’s not forget that Luck will not have played in over a month. He’ll be rusty, and it’s not like he was setting the world on fire before his injury in the first place. I do expect the Colts to do all they can to get him on the field. Matt Hasselbeck has done an admirable job in his place, but he’s done; he just doesn’t have anything left to give.
If you were playing against Odell Beckham on Sunday and lost your matchup by less than 10 points, you have a right to be upset. Beckham should’ve been thrown out of the game at least two or three times by my count. He threw at least two punches at Josh Norman and then went head hunting on what was an extreme cheap shot when Norman was looking the other way. That helmet to helmet hit alone should’ve gotten him thrown out of the game. Well, it appears the NFL wants to send a message and is serious about getting these kinds of hits out of the game; Beckham Jr. has been suspended one game by the NFL for his conduct. It was also reported that Norman and several other Panthers players allegedly taunted Beckham during pregame warmups with black baseball bats.
The rookie season for Marcus Mariota could be over after he suffered a right knee injury versus the Patriots. If this is true, then his owners in Dynasty or Keeper leagues have to be happy with what they have seen, as Mariota certainly has the look of a franchise QB. Now the Titans need to go about the business of getting him some playmakers on the outside.
The bad news for Fantasy owners is that LeSean McCoy left the game Sunday with an MCL sprain. He only had 37 total yards from scrimmage when he was injured and may have sealed your fate as far as your Fantasy playoffs are concerned. The good news is that the injury is considered minor, and if you survived your semifinal matchup, you may just get McCoy back for the finals next week versus the Cowboys.
Well, Spencer Ware ended up being active Sunday but he didn’t receive any touches due to his rib injury. Ware was just there in case Charcandrick West ended up suffering an injury during the game; he did not. Next week, though, this could go back to being a timeshare.
Pete Carroll did Fantasy owners no favors this week when he signed Christine Michael. The writing was on the wall that it was going to be a guessing game about which Seattle RB would get the most touches. Carroll came out and stated Friday that he would go with the hot hand. So would it be Bryce Brown, Fred Jackson, Michael, or Derrick Coleman? Brown was everyone’s favorite pickup earlier in the week, but that optimism quickly faded. None of the backs ended up reaching paydirt, but Michael had the most carries and yardage (16-84). This doesn’t mean, however, that he will be the main man this week. Still, if you need a back, or even if you want to block your opponent, you may want to grab him off the waiver wire.
Mike McCarthy also decided to play games at the running back position once again, as he barely used Eddie Lacy in the first half. This was surprising to say the least, as Lacy had rushed for at least 100 yards in three of his last four games and the wet conditions would seem to favor a ground game. Lacy had more carries than James Starks (11-9) but Starks did more damage (51-23 yds.). And if that wasn’t bad enough for Lacy owners, John Kuhn scored the only TD for the backs. Hopefully, the lack of touches for Lacy was just part of the game plan and not because of any team violations.
Now you know why it’s so hard to bench your studs. Yes, Denver boasts one of the better, if not the best defense in the NFL, and they did shutdown the Steelers in the first half. However, the Steelers figured them out in the second half with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown completing passes at will. It seems the Broncos’ game plan was to take DeAngelo Williams and the run game away (they did) and trust their secondary to limit Brown and company (they did not). No one wants to see the Steelers in the playoffs, as teams seem unable to cover Brown these days. It may be hard to argue against him being the first overall draft pick in PPR leagues next year.
Once again, Lamar Miller was shut down in the second half of a game. Monday night it was because of an ankle injury, whereas Sunday it was because of a banged up quad along with the score being a blowout. Miller and this entire Miami offense is just very difficult to trust and I wouldn’t want to rely on any one of them in my finals.
A.J. Green also suffered an injury yesterday and didn’t play much in the second half. His injury (back) is not expected to be serious, however, and apparently he was just kept out as a precaution and should be good to go next week versus the Broncos in what could be a battle for a first-round bye.
We are beating a dead horse here, but the Eagles didn’t give DeMarco Murray his first carry until halfway through the third quarter. Will Philadelphia eat the guaranteed money they owe him and release him during the offseason? Right now Darren Sproles is the most valuable RB in Philly.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.