First, it’s all going to come down to Monday Night.
Owners with crucial Fantasy matchups last week were either devastated or ecstatic in the final moments of Monday’s 31-15 Saints victory over the Bears. I personally play in two leagues that were affected by Mark Ingram and Alshon Jeffery’s garbage-time TDs.
I actually called my former roommate prematurely to congratulate him on a victory, as he was up by six points with less than two minutes left when Jeffery’s TD knocked him out of the Fantasy title game. We were on the phone when he lost.
I feel bad about it, and he claims I jinxed him. In an ironic twist, I played the same guy in Week 15 last season and was down 17 points entering MNF with only my kicker, Justin Tucker remaining. Tucker’s 61-yard FG with 38 seconds left knocked him out of the title game. The most exciting ending to any Fantasy contest of my life was also the worst moment of my friend’s Fantasy career. Well, until Jeffery eliminated him this season that is. Perhaps those are tied for the worst moment of his Fantasy life.
Well, this year should be equally exciting with The Broncos and Bengals facing off in the last game of the Fantasy season. Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas, Jeremy Hill and A.J. Green are must-start options in any format. It’s safe to assume that many of them are on teams competing for Fantasy titles, and this will make Monday’s game extremely stressful for owners looking to win their respective league.
D-Thomas is probably on a ton of teams playing for the crown, as he is arguably the steadiest player that was selected in Round 1 of drafts entering this season. Thomas owners can be trailing by about 15 points and still feel good about their chances. Manning owners can always feel confident, as he is capable of dominating a game (although, he’s looked awful). The rest of the aforementioned players should all score double-digit Fantasy points and the season should come down to the wire in most leagues. I’d be shocked if a championship matchup didn’t involve someone from Denver or Cincinnati.
Regardless of the situation, entering Monday night with either a slim lead, or trailing by any amount, will be one of the most stressful times of your Fantasy career. Good luck… you’ll need it. And if your opponent calls to concede with time on the clock… do not pick up the phone!
- The Fantasy MVP is Andrew Luck. Owners didn’t need to invest a first round pick to obtain him and Luck enters Week 16 with 4,492 passing yards and 38 TDs. He’s even picked up another three TDs with his legs. Luck will be the QB of many a championship squad.
- DeMarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell are obviously strong MVP candidates, too. Murray doesn’t win the award because he’s stressing owners out during the championship week with a hand injury. Bell was picked so far ahead of Luck on Draft Day that the QB gets my vote.
- Bust of the Year? Adrian Peterson is the obvious answer, as owners typically invested a Top 3 overall pick on the troubled RB only to receive a grand total of 75 rushing yards.
- However, I’m not picking AP for my Bust of the Year. Although AP crushed his owners, he wasn’t putting up awful stats while remaining in your starting lineup. A true bust is too good to bench, but ruins Fantasy seasons with poor performance. So the 2014 Bust of the Year is… Giovani Bernard.
- Bernard was a first round pick in most leagues and had a few productive weeks early in the season, but has absolutely killed his owners down the stretch. Losing his job to Jeremy Hill right before the Fantasy playoffs is the icing on the cake and clinches this award for the Bengals’ backup RB. Bernard enters Week 16 with only 636 yards and five TDs and could realistically fall to the middle rounds on Draft Day next season.
- The “Most Annoying Player to Own” for the 2014 season has to be LeSean McCoy, who was a Top 3 selection in almost all formats and failed to live up to the hype. Shady has managed to play in every game, but produced lackluster Fantasy numbers almost every week and had a few key TDs vulture in the all-important Week 15. Luckily, you probably weren’t playing in Week 15 if you selected McCoy in Round 1.
- The free agent pickup of the year is Odell Beckham, who went undrafted in most Fantasy leagues after an injury-plagued preseason. Savvy owners who scooped him up off the waiver wire have been rewarded with 71 receptions, 972 yards and nine TDs in only 10 games. He’s a legit WR1 and will enter next season among the NFL’s trendiest Fantasy selections.
- Anyone who started Julius Thomas, Rashad Jennings, Isaiah Crowell, Sammy Watkins, Tre Mason or Josh Gordon last week are justified in hating them forever.
- Does anyone realize that LSU has five impact rookies at skill positions? Beckham, Hill, Alfred Blue, Jarvis Landry and Zach Mettenberger were all teammates in college last season. OK, so four impact rookies and Mettenberger. Still, not too shabby.
- Rob Gronkowski will finish as the highest-scoring TE by such a wide margin that he’ll be selected in Round 1 next season in the majority of leagues.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood