2021 Fantasy Three Things/Five Players from Sunday’s Games: Week 17 (Part 2 of 2)
(PART 2 of 2…)
Well, Diontae Johnson did enough to lock in some more titles last night, but Najee Harris took a few away…but more than Najee taking some away was Nick Chubb falling flat for opponents (more than FFMers owning/needing Chubb) to get a few wins that it looked for sure were not happening pre-MNF.
We got a few more wins out of last night than losses, to put a bow on a pretty satisfying season.
But we still have another week for those of you in week #2 of a two-week title game/point tally contest, and we have some where the-last-NFL-week-is-title-week folks, and we always have the yearlong point tally leagues coming to an end, finding out their winner/champion of the full season after this week.
We’ll be working all week looking at Week 17 tape and keep up with injury news for Week 18 projections -- but more importantly we’ll be looking over what teams are ‘playing’ their normal players and what teams aren’t…and that’s a tricky situation to wade thru the lies, and how much is ‘expecting to play’ really going to be…all game or a half or what? Plus, we keep up with contract incentive motivations for players for those final week sudden spike performances. So much wildness for Week 18. We’ll do our best to project it all, but just know…there’s final week curveballs (on ‘playing time’/’has something to play for’) all over. We’re staying on top of it.
The ‘Five Players’ part of this week piece with the Waivers, Sleepers, Avoids, DSTs, IDPs is the Part 2 of this report…and it’s all at the bottom section in its usual spot (yesterday’s part 1 is still here in its usual spot if you want parts 1 and 2 all in one place…it’s here.
This is for most of you reading this…if you won your title game. If you lost, don’t click: https://youtu.be/_d7IJY1XnKM
“…bad mistakes, I’ve made a few…”
We kept fighting to the end.
FYI on our Week 18 schedule of events:
-Weekly scoring projections = starts Tuesday night, drops between 7-9pmET, and then updates every night of the week through Sunday 12:30pmET.
Video Q&A = NO Tuesday or Thursday editions, just Sunday morning this week 10:30am start. Email me if you need title help ahead of that or need something checked.
-CFM early signups (to check you’re signed in and accessing fine) start January 6th evening. Jan. 6th to 9th is the time for early sign up and making sure you can see the test messages to be ready for the reports starting to publish/post Jan 10th.
Jan. 10th we will post our first of many scouting reports for the new CFM season. And it will be the start of our all month long ‘Dynasty Rookie Draft Re-Do’ project and discussion using the 2020 and 2021 rookies…that begins with the top five and a valuation discussion for the Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball (DOBB) subscribers.
More detail, from me, on what CFM and DOBB are planned to be for 2021 will be posted on 1/5 for the 1/6 kickoff.
-All this week we will be doing game reports of interest from Week 17 (next week we will do some Week 18 games of interest and then all month we do all the playoff games).
The playoffs game reports are free to view on FFM all playoffs long, including discussions on FF-playoff version projections and ideas, for those that partake in those postseason Fantasy events (and more and more are).
January (and every month) is full of content at FFM and CFM, as usual. Football never rests.
*FROM PART 1 of 2 (posted Monday 1/3)…
Well… SO many people in title games yesterday, I can hardly believe it. Actually, SO many in multiple title games I could not believe it…as you flooded my email through the week/weekend. It was an awesome sight to behold (and a lack of sleep all weekend trying to respond in time)!!
We’ve (the FFM collective) have been on a statistical tear the last few weeks…especially, obviously, the last two weeks…or we wouldn’t have been in the finals Week 17 (for most reading this, Week 17 was the finals, but we got some Week 18ers too).
All the euphoria and anticipation and magical ride so many have been on to get here…and…then we get what looks like a 50/50 week on a universal win rate. One of the lower win rate weeks of the season, as a collective for FFMers. The stories, the specific players who helped beat you (Ja’Marr) or saved you (Penny) are all over the board.
If you won your league title…it's a euphoric day. The donuts and coffee at work tasted a little better today. Life seems to be a bit brighter. You got the perfect closure. I only need to high-five you here.
If you lost the title game yesterday…it’s the worst. You scratched and clawed your way to Sunday, or you steamrolled your way through your league to Sunday…and then you got whacked. And now, not only did you lose…the FF season is over. Abruptly…it always feels so abrupt at the end.
No more combing over box scores and articles and reports prepping for next week. They took away the game you love/hate and kicked you in the gut on the way out the door with it ending with a loss. It’s so bizarre to reach the season end on a Monday. It’s like…now what do I do for the next seven months? But you’re not thinking that far ahead yet, you’re reeling from it all ending with a loss…the rug pulled out, the sucker punch…that player you hate scored big against you…and that player who carried you in-season put up a dud at the wrong time, and now we hate him.
There’s really no consolation to offer, outside of the fact that – no one knows the pain (and joy) of what you’re going through more than me…so, feel free to email me your tale of woe. Sometimes typing it out releases some steam…and my delightful responses can help digest the bitter pill. And you can email to blame me for pushing A, when B was the right call…it’s my job. And sometimes, the A-B decision doesn’t work out…occasionally horrifically so.
Beyond any direct contact we might have, let me just say to the folks who suffered a loss Sunday – it is really difficult for anyone to get to this point/to the finals of any given season. Just two teams out of 10, 12, 14, 16, 32 make it to this point of the Fantasy season…no matter how good their teams are/were. Everybody in your league, but one person, wishes they had made it to the spot you just did – you had a chance for a title, you got to plan all last week and play in the title game…where everyone else might have been prepping Amazon Christmas gift returns and taking down holiday decorations all week – you were in the thick of it. Bonus time. Extra time. Overtime. An opportunity. All the diligent work of reading, watching, listening, planning, debating, shock wins, devastating losses, key injuries, a million waiver maneuvers…you punched and counterpunched through it all and got in a position to win the title. It’s all you can ask for.
Your job is to score the most points in your league…you cannot control the schedule.
Your job is to overcome injuries and COVID and scramble your way to the playoffs if you were inundated with these issues to start the season.
Your final magic trick for the Fantasy Football season is to get to the final game.
Many of you reading this checked two or all three of those boxes in the 2021 season. You would have liked to have dotted the ‘i’ and received that prize money to close the book on the 2021 season – but being one of the final two at the very end – you did your job. You played the game as well as anyone, and then bad weather or a spike game from an opposing player, and/or an ill-timed down game from one of your stars or a key player taking his uniform off and throwing parts of it into the crowd in-game cost you the title – that doesn’t takeaway the fact that all the mental work, the strategizing, the bad draft picks, the bad waiver claims, the dumb trade, the this-or-that dilemmas you wrestled with all season got you to the very end – you made more right decisions than wrong decisions. You did your job, but this one week didn’t go your way. One day doesn’t erase what you did since August (Redraft) or since January (Dynasty) or whatever month you got cranked up.
I side with/feel for the people who lost today. I am thrilled for the winners, but honestly I am walking around in a funk this morning (as I type this) thinking about those teams we all had that were gonna win this week, but inexplicably lost. I was so hoping for a monster event where we all won like at a 70-80% win-rate and could just pour verbal champagne on each other today, but even then…I’d probably be thinking about those ones that got away.
I really need to enjoy the wins more than lamenting the losses.
I really need to take a breath, brush off the dirt of getting knocked down/losing in some leagues Sunday and stand back up and reflect that – this was a pretty damn good season. A lot of hard work and fancy maneuvers and working with crazy players like Rashaad Penny, D’Onta Foreman, Cordarrelle Patterson. I’ll never forget this season…maybe more than any other.
Wrapping this intro section up, I have an odd thought/statement that came to mind. I shouldn’t say/type it but it’s what came to mind, as tawdry as it is…it just fit. I’ll clean it up a touch from my original wording…
Wrapping this week up: If you made it to Week 17 titles, win or lose…we really ‘McGuyver’d’ the shit out of this season.
We should be proud of that/it wasn’t luck. It wasn’t a red carpet rolled out. We didn’t go wire-to-wire with the perfect draft and none of our key players ever getting hurt…as we just waltzed to the title. No. It was so many little decisions along the way…we outmaneuvered all the teams/owners to get here/to the end. It sucks if you didn’t cash the final check, but you got to the title – that’s a pretty major accomplishment facing a bunch of people trying to do the same to you, trying to stop you from getting to the finals.
You won’t fully appreciate it now, but you will in a week or so – we really did ‘McGuyver’ the shit out of this thing this year. You did that. I did that. We did that. It was the opposite of luck. We’re all pretty damn good at this. Title or not.
Well, that’s the FINAL Three Things/Five Players of the 2021 season…the ‘season is essentially over’ edition. Well, it’s kinda the last one…I’m releasing the Week 17 edition in two parts. Part one today, part two tomorrow. More on that at the end of this part one.
We will be reporting out on Week 17 (and Week 18) games all week/month, prepping for Week 18 projections all week (like normal) for those in title games or the 2nd game of a two-week point tally contest or just an all-season point tally league…or for those using them for DFS, etc.
January is not the end of football work for FFM and CFM. Honestly, it’s getting to be one of the 2-3 busiest work months of the year with 2022 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft scouting starting, the Senior Bowl, the NFL playoffs. Football really never ends – that’s why you should all be in Dynasty leagues to keep the party alive all year ‘round. Fresh content on FFM or CFM every day all year is our goal/duty. More on what we will be covering and what to expect from CFM or Dynasty Offseason will be reported out on in the next day or so.
Good luck to those who still have their games up in the air going into MNF tonight. The more Diontae Johnson scores over 10 FF points (in any format of scoring) the more titles will be secured…or stolen back from current deficits. Whatever you need tonight, good luck!!
Diontae is going for 20+ tonight…because nothing FF-bad will ever happen to you, not on MY WATCH!
NO Tuesday VIDEO Q&A this week, but I will do a Sunday morning version…the final for 2021 season, for sit-start questions or Dynasty stash final grabs, etc.
===== THREE THINGS (from Sunday games)… =====
*These are my first reactions from the live watches last week, and opinions/scouting can change when I watch the tape back all week.
-- The weather WAS a factor here…both QBs combined for just 317 yards passing and 0 TDs/3 INTs. Josh Allen (11-26 for 120 yards, 0 TDs/3 INTs, 15-81-2) made up for it on the ground, as he does.
It’s amazing to me that a big framed, 4.7+ running QB is one of the best running QBs in the league. I mean, I have more faith with Allen on the run than I do guys like Kyler or Lamar…plus throw in the arm ability – and Allen as the best all-around weapon QB for FF 2022 and beyond is a debate for the offseason…and as the 2021 League MVP, but that will NEVER happen.
-- Kyle Pitts (2-69-0/4) took a short pass and ran past defenders for a 61-yard play. He did not catch a pass the rest of the game (missed some of it with a tight hammy). It was good play…it was simple play…but it’s too simple for Arthur Smith, who continues to defy logic by not doing anything special to get Pitts the ball in unique ways.
This 2021 rookie head coaching class is an abomination…and Arthur Smith may be its worst rep still employed. Which makes you worry about Pitts in 2022 with this joke of an offensive mind.
-- Art Smith has also found a way to ruin Cordarrelle Patterson (9-28-0, 2-24-0/2)…CP was one of the best weapons in the NFL for the first half of the season, as a WR-RB-WR weapon that confused defenses. Smith helped out his opponents by taking CPatt out of the passing game and making him a power RB for 10-15 carries for nothing each week. What CP does in his 2022 free agency will be interesting – does he stay at the only place that has ever given him a real chance…or bolt for (empty) promises elsewhere? I’m guessing he stays, but…
-- Watching nine games at a time Sunday afternoon for the 1pmET games, this was the game I paid the least attention to. Four completed passes by the Giants in this game. Unreal. There’s no reason it will be any better next week. You wanna start an NYG player for FF Week 18…God bless you.
-- Darnell Mooney (7-69-1/13) has established himself as the Bears true #1 WR…but that’s in the Matt Nagy regime. Will he be with a new staff? Maybe. He and Justin Fields seem to have a real connection – and Mooney has been ‘the guy’ for Fields, Dalton, and Foles this season. Allen Robinson (4-35-0/6) hasn’t been close.
-- Will Joe Judge get dumped? I keep looking for any NYG note to give from this game…and I got nothing, so that’s not good for Judge. The Giants get worse every week. Judge hired Jason Garrett…his fault. Judge has been fine with Mike Glennon (4-11 for 24 yards, 0 TD.2 INTs) as his backup, and now it’s biting him. I like Judge…enough to give another year, but he’s made it very tough to support the way this team has died to the finish.
Freddie Kitchens will never be considered for an O-C job ever again.
-- Watching what Cincy did with Ja’Marr Chase (11-266-3/12) here compared to what KC did with Tyreek Hill (6-40-0/10)…it should preclude Eric Bieniemy from ever getting a head coaching job interview again. Bieniemy shouldn’t even be an NFL offensive coordinator.
I assume Bieniemy will be back with KC in 2022, and then we have to start discounting Tyreek back some more because 2021 was Tyreek’s worst season (to my eyes) since he became a #1 WR. All the same characters back in 2022 = I don’t see how it will change/improve. Mahomes/Tyreek gets a little more ‘off’ every year…while Rodgers-Davante only gets better. Oh, they’ll pay lip service to ‘changes’ in the offense in KC…but they won’t actually do anything different. The ‘genius’ playbook is SET IN STONE.
The Andy Reid coaching tree is rotten to the stump.
-- Joe Burrow (30-39 for 446 yards, 4 TDs/0 INT) just backed up my claims from last week – he’s a better NFL QB than Patrick Mahomes (26-35 for 259 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT). FF-wise, not so sure Burrow will be better…but in NFL teams, I take Burrow. Joe Burrow is the real ‘next Brady’ hope of the football world. He’s also a left tackle/upgraded line away from being a top 3-ish FF QB in 2022 and beyond.
-- Watching Travis Kelce (5-25-1/7) this season…I can see the ‘juice’ leaving his body. He’s no longer ‘that’ Kelce (unless he has a secret injury he’s working through). Still good…just not ‘great’ anymore. He won’t get any younger ahead… Father Time catches up to everyone…except Brady.
We’ll be discussing Kelce’s Dynasty value and all the 2022 Dynasty values in our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball subscription starting in January with CFM (get as a Combo for the best deal!).
-- I had hoped to steal a decent FF start out of Foster Moreau (1-9-0/1) this game but he burned me again. The Colts have been weak against the TE, but Vegas didn’t take advantage…which, they won, so who cares. No more Moreau talk for Week 18…probably.
-- Carson Wentz (16-27 for 148 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) chokes in another big spot, per usual. He does get Jacksonville Week 18, so he might actually have a decent game. Not a QB1 talent or QB1 output even in the BEST situation of O-Line and run game support he could ever be in.
-- I’m glad to see Zay Jones (8-120-0/10) start breaking out in the NFL. He was always a talented WR, but when you don’t explode quickly in your NFL career…you get forgotten fast. Jones has revived a career that was barren…so there’s hope for forgotten Bryan Edwards (0-0-0/2)…like 3-4 years from now, at the Zay pace.
-- Damien Harris (9-35-2, 1-12-0/1) got nicked up again in-game…hamstring. I would guess Bill Belichick will keep this RB committee plan going into 2022 because Harris may be his best back, but he has gotten hurt in-game and missed time or missed the next game seemingly every other game this season. He’s played well, but he has an allergic reaction to staying healthy.
-- Dare Ogunbowale (9-36-0, 2-32-1/2) had the kinda game I figured but he did get the screen pass TD late to allow him a respectable/’meh’ FF start for the week. He’ll get one more shot next week, but I bet Ryquell Armstead (6-28-0, 1-6-0/2) gets a few touches to see if they have anything here.
-- I thought Kristian Wilkerson (4-42-2/8) had the best chemistry with Mac Jones (22-30 for 227 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) in the preseason, but it didn’t mean anything in September – Wilkerson got cut, then put on the practice squad. He’s a pretty talented UDFA prospect who might have a shot at a future in 2022 or 2023. He’s not a superstar prospect, just very solid/stable/good at his craft WR with grit and some athleticism.
-- Well, I didn’t think Antonio Brown (3-26-0/5) could do anything to get himself booted off the Bucs team…but AB always finds a way to achieve the impossible. We’ll get into the AB thing deeper during the week, but AB going down and out springs Cyril Grayson (6-81-1/8) as his probable replacement…a guy we talked about this week on the TB game report from Week 16, and a guy trying to crack into our Dynasty Stash top 175 (he will this next run).
And the AB meltdown boosts the future of Jaelon Darden in that AB role. AB is gone, Chris Godwin could be gone…there are job openings with TB12, suddenly, maybe…in 2022.
-- The Braxton Berrios (8-65-1/12, 2-12-1) was live and in full effect Week 17…he could not be stopped, early on…then he disappeared. Will Berrios get a shot at the main slot WR job in 2022? Probably not.
Berrios now has 4 TDs this season…tied with A.J. Brown and D.J. Moore among others.
-- Ronald Jones (10-26-0, 1-1-0/1) got hurt in this game, so Ke’Shawn Vaughn (8-31-0, 2-14-0/3) will potentially be the lead RB for Week 18…which may spring his career back on track. A real opportunity to show what he has with RoJo and Fournette both set to be free agents in 2022.
-- Finally!! Finally, Mike Vrabel is giving into the simple plan of D’Onta Foreman (26-132-1) doing a poor man’s Derrick Henry impression to carry the offense.
The crazy thing about all this is…Foreman was out there to be had by any team all season, but it was the Henry injury that sent the Titans into desperation to sign him midseason, and it has saved their division title and #1 seed hopes. Foreman was overlooked by all NFL teams…and now look at him. In other news, Jacksonville started Dare Ogunbowale this week.
-- Tua Tagovailoa (18-38 for 205 yards, 0 TDs/1 INT) is going to flop to the finish and will bring up all the is Tua ‘the guy’ chatter again, as it should. Tua cannot handle aggressive defenses and that means he’s not a legit NFL franchise QB. Deshaun Watson could be headed here after all. If not Watson, someone else…via draft or trade.
-- If Tua is replaced…Jaylen Waddle’s (3-47-0/7) future value gets shaken up/restricted. Waddle is fine enough/solid, but Tua’s ‘baby throws’ give Waddle a PPR life most are not afforded. It would be taken away if Tua is replaced/dumped.
-- Another week, another time the Eagles just work better with Boston Scott (14-47-2, 4-39-0/4) and Jordan Howard (11-26-0, 0-0-0/1) as the tag team duo...working better than Miles Sanders.
If Philly makes the playoffs, they will 100% activate Sanders as fast as they can and jam him right into the starting lineup and Scott will not hardly see the field.
-- Jaret Patterson (12-57-1, 5-41-0/5) looked pretty solid as the emergency starter this week. Patterson tore up the mid-majors at the University of Buffalo and then tested terrible at his Pro Day and went undrafted. He has grinded his way to ‘Antonio Gibson handcuff’.
Patterson is more proof that one cannot scout by metrics/analytics alone. Patterson will likely always be ‘the other guy’ on every team he’s on. Just there for emergency, but he can hang in this league on vision and toughness making up for a lack of ‘juice’ in his legs.
-- Ricky Seals-Jones (1-8-0/2) ran full speed, face first into a camera/cameraman early in the game…and it knocked him and the camera guy out of the game. John Bates (3-35-0/4) may get a full start Week 18 v. NYG.
-- Matthew Stafford (26-35 for 309 yards, 2 TDs/2 INTs) tried his best to blow this game, because…that’s what he does. But, fortunately for him, he was facing a torn and tattered Ravens defense and the Rams got the win in the final minute. I don’t want to hear anything about Stafford as MVP…he gets zero of my consideration for the award.
-- Another week, another Rashod Bateman (7-58-0/10) is outshining Marquise Brown (3-28-0/8) event. I wanna say that Bateman is too good to have me thinking/projecting that he’ll never get past Brown (in targets) but I also know this Bateman pop is happening with Tyler Huntley/Josh Johnson. Lamar Jackson, I believe, is tied eternally to Marquise. I need to see differently to believe it. I want to believe in Bateman. Lamar should believe. But I don’t believe in Lamar…or, more importantly, that Lamar will change his targeting preferences.
-- Such a huge opportunity for Van Jefferson (4-63-0/5)…a WR on a higher volume passing game offense with the defense all focused on Kupp-OBJ, and yet Jefferson cannot climb to another level. Jefferson does not look ‘good’ to my scouting eye, and his numbers are showing it – he’s caught 48 of 86 targets (55.8%) this season with ‘the great’ Matt Stafford…that isn’t going to cut it for a guy whose big attribute is ‘hands’.
Jefferson split snaps with Ben Skowronek (2-18-0/2)…assumedly because Van is failing.
-- How the Chargers shutdown the Denver run game; I have no idea. But it happened. The NFL is a fickle beast to try and tame/predict. Last week, LAC’s run D was the worst I’d seen in the 2021 season from any team, any week…then Week 17 they’re the 85 Bears. Because of that, Javonte Williams (14-30-0, 1-2-0/1) flopped as did Melvin Gordon (10-43-0, 3-29-0/4), who scored a TD but it got called back to kill him off for FF for sure.
They’ll probably be stuffed again by KC next week, and then we’ll get a new head coach in 2022 where Javonte will take his rightful spot as full lead RB.
-- Noah Fant (6-92-1/7) made a short catch, and then stopped…and then accelerated (past 4-5 defenders like they were standing still/shocked)…it was one of the best things I’ve seen from a non-Pitts TE this season. A reminder on Fant as a serious elite-potential TE…if he can get a real offensive head coach and O-C, and QB.
-- Speaking of beauty…Mike Williams (3-63-1/4) made a fantastic deep ball catch and launch into the end zone TD, reminding us all that he was one of the best WRs of 2021 season…that was suppressed by limited targets by his coach’s (HC and O-C) terrible offensive planning.
Two of the worst offensive coordinators I witnessed this season were in this game: Shurmur and Lombardi. They both need to go, but only one probably will.
-- Elijah Mitchell (21-119-0, 2-11-2/2) returned from injury, and was thought not to be 100%...but is the heavy lead anyway -- and he was really good, again. Mitchell IS Shanahan’s guy. No debate. No Trey Sermon talk. Mitchell is the RB1 hope for FF 2022 as the 49ers lead guy.
-- Brandin Cooks (7-66-1/11) has a year remaining on his deal…a $16M+ final year (or $7M+ to cut). Will he be a Texan in 2022, or should they move him to build for the future? My guess is they will keep him to be a mentor and BFF for Davis Mills (21-32 for 163 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) if David Culley stays, but if Culley is gone…could be up in the air/Cooks on the move again, and he’d be in-demand.
-- How did Trey Lance (16-23 for 249 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT, 8-31-0) look here? My live look first reaction = I wasn’t that impressed, but I need to rewatch it and scout the tape in detail to digest it all. And I will, as will Ross, and we’ll weigh in on ‘Ross’s guy’ this week.
-- Michael Gallup (3-36-1/4) went down in this game, and he’s likely got an ACL…going right into his free agency. That’s a shame. Cedric Wilson (6-35-1/6) goes in-play as a Flex option Week 18. Wilson has been productive most every time he’s asked to fill-in as a starter.
-- In his last 10 games, Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for a high of 52-yards in a game. Seven of 10 games under 50 yards rushing. Are we seeing the end of the Ezekiel Elliott era of him being ‘elite’? It goes fast with RBs. I have the same feeling about starting Zeke for FF as I do Saquon, right now…and that’s ‘I should sit them, but I can’t’.
Elliott is set to make $18.2M in 2022…and can’t be cut, per se – or it would be a $30M+ hit to the CAP to do so. 2023 is more the time we might see Elliott being debated to be released. 2024 is for sure, if it doesn’t happen prior.
-- I thought this might be a decent week for Antoine Wesley (4-30-2/5), and it was. Not huge targeting…but he’s the guy Kyler tends to look for in the end zone because he’s a 6’4”+ target for him. 3 TDs in his last 2 games for Wesley. The momentum should continue into Week 18 v. SEA.
-- Taysom Hill (17-28 for 222 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 12-45-0) returned and had his typical Taysom game…10+ rushes, 200 or so yards passing…but he didn’t get a late, long TD to make his FF day worthwhile. I’ve not loved what I’ve seen from Taysom for FF…he’s been good/stable/a winner…but just not rolling up the FF numbers on purpose – usually saved by a late fluky play for a big FF score moment. He’s fading into high-end QB2 land.
-- FYI, Sam Darnold (17-26 for 132 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) is beyond awful…not helped by an aggressive, emerging top defense in the Saints crushing him. Darnold v. TB Week 18 probably isn’t going to be great for Sam either.
-- That Saints-DST…7 sacks, 10 TFLs in this game. The Panthers are so dead. Bucs-DST should tee off on them in the finale. The Saints-DST will squash the Falcons Week 18.
-- D’Andre Swift (4-32-0, 2-7-0/3) fought his way back from injury and practiced in full all week, and then got into this game…and didn’t start…and was barely used in the game. A major, purposeful snub by Dan Campbell. There may be some trouble in paradise there?
-- Rashaad Penny (25-170-2, 2-15-0/3)…the shocking savior of FF 2021 for many FFMers. Who would have thunk it? Shows how important pining over all those big name RBs was in the preseason. It will be interesting to see where Penny winds up in free agency…might be back in Seattle? Why not?
Wherever he goes…I’ll pitch in some GoFundMe money as a thanks for bailing us out for FF just when we needed the help.
-- You know what I thought about when watching D.K. Metcalf’s (6-63-3/9) big Week 17 game here? Not ‘wow, he’s so awesome!’ More…I think he’s my leading contender for ‘next Antonio Brown WR flake out guy’. He has some issues, man. He’s ready to fight everyone. He’s acting out more and more when he’s disappointed by little things. Super gifted…super troubled/arrogant/immature. Also in the running for that honor: Kadarius Toney.
-- Memo to self for the future: There is no level of cold that affects Aaron Rodgers (29-38 for 288 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 2-8-0) or Davante Adams (11-136-1/14) at Lambeau. The two of them played a game in ‘feels like -5 degrees’ like they were in a dome.
-- Nothing Dalvin Cook (9-13-0, 3-0-0/3) could do here…no Kirk Cousins opened up the GB defense to stack the box…and they did so to perfection.
-- Sean Mannion (22-36 for 189 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) got his audition for future NFL work, and despite Cris Collinsworth trying to con himself and the public into how great Mannion was playing…he wasn’t, and he’ll always be a career backup.
You see what Zimmer thinks of Kellen Mond (2-3 for 5 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) by not turning to him after halftime. For good reason, Mond stinks. He’s the next regime’s problem.
From a Yahoo report…
Asked after the Week 17 game whether Mond might get an extended look in the season finale, Zimmer didn't mince words.
“Not particularly,’’ the coach said.
Mond entered the Green Bay game on the Vikings' penultimate possession after replacement starter Sean Mannion was hurt briefly, completing 2 of 3 passes for 5 yards. It was Mond's first regular-season action after the Vikings used the 66th overall pick on him in April.
But on the final drive, Mannion was back out there. They were the only two active quarterbacks, with starter Kirk Cousins in the COVID protocol.
Asked why the Vikings might not want to see more of Mond against the Bears, Zimmer offered a pretty damning response.
“I see him every day (in practice),’’ he said.
The usual 2nd-half off the Three Things/Five Players will post tomorrow…giving me more time to prep for my best projections of Week 18 situations – we got places where starters will rest some and we got players playing for contract incentives, etc.
Look for the usual section of this report in ‘Part Two’ tomorrow.
A fitting outro for the week…RIP: https://youtu.be/tScJ1ik6peI
PART 2 of 2, Five Players……
===== FIVE PLAYERS… =====
*** FIVE WAIVER PLAYERS TO TRUST***
*Looking at players owned less than 50% on average in leagues across the whole FF-landscape. Your league, obviously, may be different/deeper.
**Adding a school grade to show my interest level (A-F)…and I don’t mean that a D-F grade is ‘bad’/just showing how pressing/important to me, your situation may differ due to injury, etc..
***FAAB % mentioned at any time below is based on a 17-20 man roster league. And it’s hard to predict the right bid % because every league, situation, lineup needs are so different. So, doing the best I can to ‘project’ (i.e. ‘guess’) what they will be based on early chatter.
*Again, note…not a grade on talent…just how important/urgent/great the waiver move is in context.
1) RB Jaret Patterson, WSH (Grade: A)
Should get the full start again with Antonio Gibson likely held out to heal his broken body…but with Ron Rivera playing to ‘finish strong’, ‘who knows’ if he’d try to limp Gibson out there? Patterson should get a full start v. NYG, which is nice.
2) RB Kenneth Gainwell, PHI (Grade: B)
Sanders is very likely out. Howard-Scott both have COVID, so unsure if they’ll get off the list by Saturday (if it were Sunday, more likely…but they play Sat.). It all could leave Kenneth Gainwell with the full start in a mostly meaningless game for Philly.
3) QB Trey Lance, SF (Grade: B)
Built for FF scoring, but not ready as an NFL passer…and this is a must-win SF game v. the Rams…a Rams team that doesn’t really need this, so not sure how full throttle they’re going. But Lance should get FF points regardless of how aggressive the Rams D is here.
Jimmy G. is trying to get back to play is what holds Lance back from being an ‘A’ pickup.
4) RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB (Grade: C)
In line to get a lead role with/if Ronald Jones is out…and a tasty matchup with Carolina. If Jones is gonna play, it knocks this grade down to C-D levels, but Jones should be held out to get ready for the playoffs.
Vaughn himself is questionable (robs) so we may or may not see him here is what holds his grade back from being an A.
5) WR Marquez Callaway, NO (Grade: C-)
Starting to come into his own AND is seeing much more targeting the past few weeks…finally getting treated right. Good matchup with ATL.
6) WR Braxton Berrios, NYJ (grade C-/D+)
The leader of the Jets WR group is killing it the past two weeks. Tougher matchup v. BUF (if they try) and some minor risk Elijah Moore or Jamison Crowder are back. Weather may not be great for this game either.
7) WR Zay Jones, LV (Grade: D+)
Suddenly, Zay is Derek Carr’s BFF target…right up there with Hunter Renfrow. Zay is a good WR talent and is finally getting respect again. Indoors v. LAC Week 18 is a good thing. If Waller is back, it’s a hit to Zay Jones’s upside.
***FIVE WAIVER PLAYERS TO DISTRUST***
1) WR Kristian Wilkerson, NE
Two TD game last week…albeit against Jacksonville.
I like Wilkerson, but I don’t think he’s breaking through as a star performer right now – just a guy open/uncovered vs. the cluster-F that was the Jacksonville Jaguars last week.
2) RB Rex Burkhead, HOU
The Titans are getting great against the run and are in a must-win game this week v. HOU. No chance Rex does anything.
3) RB Austin Walter, NYJ
He’s terrible and facing the Bills, if he does get a start if Carter is out…but splitting touches with Ty Johnson in the passing game…and Tevin Coleman could be back and bump Walter all the way out of any real work this week.
4) RB Duke Johnson, MIA
I don’t trust him or the MIA O-Line and facing NE…and with Lindsay or Gaskin apt to get touches.
5) RB Le’Veon Bell, TB
He looks so shot, it’s not even funny. If RoJo is out, Vaughn will get the work…not Bell, is my belief. But Vaughn is having some issues as well (ribs), so Le’Veon may get extra touches…with Kenjon Barner and possibly Gio Bernard.
***FIVE BUY LOW PLAYERS***
*NOT ‘Buy at any price’…it’s Buy LOW. Try to find a deal. If none to be had, walk away. It’s also NOT…go immediately ask the owner ‘What do you want for ____’, don’t telegraph your desires.*
***We’re past most trade deadlines now. If trades are still open in your league, you’ll get some of our ideas from the daily game reports. Dynasty leagues, as we get deeper into the season we’ll be discussing players to consider for trade in the offseason in the game reports.***
The Buy Low Players will resume again Week 1-2 next season!
***FIVE SELL HIGH PLAYERS***
*NOT ‘Sell at any price’…it’s sell HIGH/sell good. Try to find someone in love with your player or seen as neat value thrown into a multiplayer deal. If no one respects the player/buys right…then walkaway.*
***We’re past most trade deadlines now. If trades are still open in your league, you’ll get some of our ideas from the daily game reports. Dynasty leagues, as we get deeper into the season we’ll be discussing players to consider for trade in the offseason in the game reports.***
The Sell High players will resume again Week 1-2 next season!
***FIVE DEEP SLEEPER WAIVER PICKUPS***
*Total flyer/lowly owned or not-owned players
1) RB Patrick Taylor, GB
Green Bay has the #1 seed locked up. Not sure how much, or if, they will play Jones-Dillon. If Patrick Taylor gets the majority of touches…he’s a very good NFL RB prospect, a big-guy banger facing the weak rushing defense of the Detroit Lions Week 18.
2) TE John Bates, WSH
If Ricky Seals-Jones’s injury Week 17 has him out Week 18…Bates would get a full start vs. dying NYG.
3) WR Cyril Grayson, TB
With AB gone, it is Grayson stepping up the past two weeks now as a real speedster/playmaker. Whether he works with a little Brady and a lot of Gabbert, or a lot of Brady…Grayson is a one play FF scoring event waiting to happen. And he needs more work/snaps to get ready to be an impact player for the playoffs with all the TB WR injuries.
4) Jonathan Ward, ARI (or Eno Benjamin, ARI)
I think Arizona is going to shut everyone key down for Week 18. They have nothing left to play for. They are locked in to the #5 seed. Conner/Edmonds likely sit out the game. Which RB will start in their place? I think it will be a Ward-Benjamin split, but I believe Ward might get the role as the lead ballcarrier and Benjamin as more the 3rd-down guy. Just a hunch from things I know/see. But both will play…it’s not ALL Eno.
5) TE Tyree Jackson, PHI
Dallas Goedert on COVID list…Tyree could get a 50%+ snap share and see his first real targeting of the season in Week 18. He’s Darren Waller 2.0. -- only better.
-- FIVE…IT’S OK TO QUIT THEM PLAYERS (for REDRAFT) --
1) RB Craig Reynolds, DET
Swift came back Week 17…and he worked as a 3rd-stringer at first, but then saw more time as the game went on. Jamaal Williams was the lead. Reynolds a forgotten #2. It looks like Reynolds is going to be a ghost for Swift, and especially Jamaal v. GB this week. No ‘Week 18, the backup gets a big run’ opportunity here, I don’t believe.
2) WR Courtland Sutton, DEN
The Broncos had no WRs but Sutton last week, and he still couldn’t put up a bigger FF performance. The WR COVID gang will be back this week and Sutton will continue to disappoint.
3) RB Myles Gaskin, MIA
He’s totally lost his job…and lost even 2nd-string work it looks like (to Lindsay). What a rapid fall from grace.
4) WR Van Jefferson, LAR
I think Sean McVay has had enough of the drops. Ben Skowronek is going to start splitting with Van J. as the #3 WR and may send VJ to the bench ultimately.
5) TE Evan Engram, NYG
Engram was preferred by Mike Glennon…and that was mostly FF-meaningless. Now, Glennon is gone…so it’s sure death for EE in the finale.
***STREAMING DSTs OFF WAIVER(?) OPTIONS (UNDER 50% owned options)***--
Tennessee’s defense has been heating up for weeks…now, they get Houston Week 18 with the game being MUST WIN for the Titans (for a #1 seed/bye). They will likely play out of their minds.
Facing Jake Fromm, even in Week 18 with some backup defenders playing some, is FF-money.
-- Sleeper/lesser-name IDP’s whose box scores or live watch caught my attention --
1) DB M.J. Stewart, TB
Started the last three weeks with 11-10-6 total tackles in those games with 3 PDs, 2 TFLs and a FF. Should be in for another start Week 18. I don’t think he’s a star talent, but he’s playing like his life depends upon it lately.
2) LB Troy Reeder, LAR
The Rams lost Ernest Jones two games ago and now Reeder is the main man in the middle and he’s a 10+ total tackle threat every week…with TFL potential. His last two weeks as ‘the man’: 8.0 total tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 0.5 PDs per game.
3) LB Frankie Luvu, CAR
A season/career high 9 tackles Week 17…7.0 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, 1.0 QB hits per game the past two weeks. And he’s only playing 50% (approx.) of the snaps in those games. Might he get an 80%+ snap opportunity Week 18?
4) DE Josh Sweat, PHI
Sweat is quite the streaky player, but in case you lost track of him lately – he’s back in hot streak mode.
4.0 sacks, 3 PDs, 1 TFL, 4 QB hits in his last four games. He had just 3.5 sacks his first 12 games of the season, but he’s coming on strong now.
5) LB Elerson Smith, NYG
His numbers aren’t popping (0.0 sacks this season), but two things are starting to happen…
1) The coaches are starting to talk about his progress in the media, that’s a good sign.
2) QB hits registered in each of his last two games. He might get a stronger amount of snaps Week 18…and might have a game. He’s a really intriguing, talented edge/all-around OLB defender.
Outro: For most of us, the Fantasy 2021 season is over… https://youtu.be/T1XgFsitnQw
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