Quick Notes: Three Things From Each Sunday Game + ‘Top Fives’ (Week 16)
Well, it was another mixed bag week of results for wins-losses around the FFM-universe. Unlike last week, where there were so many down performances in the NFL that many of us snuck by with the better ‘bad week’ then our opponents. This week there were a ton of statistical explosions that if you had/faced Aaron Rodgers or Big Ben or, yes, Nick Foles…you needed numbers to overcome just average/good QB play – but so many RBs and WRs had good weeks too…it was hard to make up ground. Last week the winners won a low scoring affair by attrition, this week the reversal – win/losses with some of the highest scoring of the season. Your team doing ‘good’ didn’t cut it this week – you needed a bunch of great if you faced the killer QBs.
Looks like we’re tracking in the 50-50 range for winners on an early sampling, which I hate…we should be in the 60-70%+ win-range for a good-to-great week. I don’t think we’re getting there this week. However, there are a lot/too many fantasy title games now relying on the MNF game, to my surprise…I guess that’s good, but I thought we’d have these titles in the bag by now. There’s a lot of needing Jordy-Sutton-DaeSean to have a normal or good or great results to pull a win or several ‘Jared Cook better not score a TD’ type nail biters tonight. Jordy and Sutton, it appears, can tip the scales for FFM’ers tonight…and maybe we get out of this week more in the 53-55%+ win rate range.
I’m surprised by how many games are close and are down to 1-2-3 players going tonight – I guess that’s fitting. I guess we are all forced to watch our families with one eye during Christmas eve and the other eye on our phones looking at the play-by-play/game results. If that’s you…I wish you well tonight. To some degree, all we could ask for is a chance to realistically win down to the last game of title week (for most people).
Good luck to all on tonight’s MNF. I’ll be watching. Make sure to let me know how it all goes for you – I can understand your joy or pain like no other. I like to see/know what worked, what didn’t, etc.
This will be my only post of the day – I’m doing a lot of Christmas activity and going to special church services (at 4pm so I can be home in time for MNF) before I settle in to watch MNF/open some presents and enjoy a family night. Hope you have a happy and safe Christmas eve and Christmas day!!
Special note: Coming up this week on FFM…
My primary job this Week 17 is three things:
#1) Put out the best projections possible for those who have Week 17 as their title week!
The NFL is turned upside down with who sits and starts that it makes managing your fantasy lineup total madness in Week 17. With Christmas on Tuesday, there will be little national info for your waivers that day or all week. Don’t worry, I am here for you.
Actually, it is my time to shine – now, we’re going to get into a lot of secondary players I know better than their own teams do, not joking. I certainly know them more than the fantasy analysts…because I spend all off seasons doing high-level scouting for the NFL Draft…and I actually watch all the preseason (and regular season) games.
It’s one-part superior scouting and one-part good inside contacts on who might be playing or not Week 17. What players will rest and which ones in line to get a Week 17 push. I’ll be working the rumor mill all week and that is not easy with so many people on vacation/it’s time consuming working the telecommunications.
Projections will be out Tue. night, Wed. night, Thu. night, NOT Fri., Sat. night, and Sunday noonET. The projections will change quite a bit day-to-day as I get new intel.
For those ‘done’ (Week 16 was it) but want some fantasy fun Week 17, and you have our DFS lineup optimizer – we’ll be updating that system every time we update the Week 17 projections.
#2) Try to enjoy this holiday week!
Christmas Eve service with the family tonight/this afternoon (grrr…I wanted to go tonight but too much on the line on MNF). A few Christmas eve gift’s exchanged at night and then the whole shebang on Christmas morning. Then hit the road to visit family Wednesday.
Considering the way Christmas falls this year, in relation to the football schedule, I’m going alter my normal football writing/reporting schedule a bit…
#3) What work I will be doing this week…
I’m not going to recap every game all week (this week), like I usually I would…for a couple reasons. (a) What has happened Week 16 and trends developing…all out the window for Week 17, mostly, because so many teams change their lineups, playbook, starting QB, etc.
What I will be doing/posting…
--Projections daily (per schedule above)
--I will be watching the Week 16 game tape and talking to contacts, and I’ll report on my pertinent findings with a daily report out Wednesday through Sunday.
--Dynasty Stash reports/rankings will be updated per normal schedule – in prep for this final week, for most, to make grabs.
--No Video Q&A’s this week.
New Year’s week we’ll start to get back to game analysis and transitioning to the offseason material (NFL Playoffs, Senior Bowl, Super Bowl, Combine, free agency, NFL Draft, etc.).
…and now the Quick Notes from Sunday (and Sat.) Week 16
*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
-- The stat line was ‘meh’ for Lamar Jackson (12-22 for 204 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 13-39-0) but this was by far his best game as a passer. He made some beautiful throws in this game…the first time I’ve seen him do so, in the pros.
-- I said Philip Rivers tends to stiff non-Keenan WRs after they’ve had a big game…he only has eyes for Allen and does a terrible job working/improving Tyrell Williams (1-12-0/2) and Mike Williams (1-7-0/3). You see how Mike did after he was a stud last week…
If you’re a Chargers fan, I’m sorry…but the Chargers are one of my least favorite teams and I enjoy when they flop, like they did here, because they could have diversified this offense with Tyrell and Mike Williams…and Virgil Green…and Justin Jackson should’ve been working more earlier in the season, but they never do things like that. They lean on the same two guys (Allen-Gordon) all the time the past 2-3 years…which is fine if they were mega-superstars, but they good-not-great; overrated due to high touch counts.
The Chargers lost this game and they should’ve lost the three prior as well.
-- Eight different players caught a pass for the Ravens…and all eight of them has either 1 or 2 catches. The Lamar Jackson passing game will not produce viable, consistent WR-TE production in 2018…and beyond.
-- I spent this whole game watching, thinking…how is Adrian Peterson (26-119-0, 1-8-0) still this good? Or more to the point…how did every NFL team just ‘pass’ on him this offseason? He looked faster and more powerful than Derrick Henry (21-84-1) in this game.
Washington can let AP just go, right? If not, how much does this pour cold water in Derrius Guice’s value to start the 2019 season?
-- If Jordan Reed is all but ‘done’ with his persistent foot issues and Vernon Davis will be 35 years old and cost $6M+ (or $1+ to release) – will multi-year experienced Jeremy Sprinkle takeover as the #1 TE for Washington next season?
The 6’5”, 2017 5th round draft pick is a pretty quick/mobile TE with reach/radius.
-- Just to say it again…TEN IDP 2nd-year LB Jayon Brown (9 tackles) looks absolutely fantastic – like a real star tackle accumulator for the future (and he’ll get you sacks and TFLs). His closing speed is one of the best I’ve seen among the young players this season.
-- Baker Mayfield (27-37 for 284 yards, 3 TDs/0 INT) did his part this week…a sweet FF week. He did his usual ‘spread it around’…never leaning on one receiver option. It’s near impossible to bet on any of his WRs for fantasy next week. Someone is going to be FF-good, we just don’t know who. It’s been that way all season with Baker…which makes me wonder/think it will probably always be that way. That’s just the kind of QB he is.
-- With A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd gone, Jeff Driskel’s top weapon remaining is C.J. Uzomah (4-49-1/5)…6.2 targets per game the past 5 games with Driskel playing.
-- For what it is worth, Breshad Perriman (2-76-0/4) led the Browns in receiving yards…and he is averaging 37.2 yards per catch the past three games (5 catches). He’s showing signs, but he’s not a primary look for Baker.
-- I can complain but not complain about the Isaiah McKenzie (1-8-0/8) dud – if you told me he’d get 8 targets in this game, I would have been pretty confident in a sold FF game. This is the risk of being teamed with Josh Allen.
-- Speaking of duds…Rob Gronkowski (0-0-0/3). As bad as it was, and he has been…a must-win against the Jets next week, and he’ll be a universal TE1 rank…back-end TE1. Hard to play him, but who do you have on the bench or off waivers to use? What a wild year for fantasy TEs.
-- The James White (8-41-1, 2-13-0/4) bounce back because the Patriots need him to get the offense going theory…ummm, no. Just 4 targets. Got fantasy goodness on a 27-yard TD run, which is not normal for him.
-- Amari Cooper (4-20-0/5) got shutdown for the 2nd time in two weeks. I stick by my assessment of Amari in his Dallas era – a lot of ‘luck’ on his big plays, but people are bought in that it was some kind of special Amari magic.
Amari is a good/solid talent on a below-average passing game. Good for fantasy because he gets over-targeted but he’s not ‘special’. His value got way overheated late in the season.
-- The sleeper TE play of Blake Jarwin (2-8-0/3) hit a brick wall. 7 targets in each of his prior two games…but fell short here. Next week? Who knows?
-- Per usual…the Bucs played with/outplayed their opponent, but TB yielded a fumble returned for TD and another fumble nearly returned for a TD/setting up an easy score.
Minus the fumble-return D-TD, the Bucs held another opponent to 20 or fewer…making it four of their last 5. The Bucs DST is playing hard down the stretch.
-- Taylor Heinicke (33-53 for 274 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs, 3-33-0) started out well and then got consumed by the moment/the Falcons. Curtis Samuel (7-41-0/13) was clearly his favorite WR look. Keep that in mind for Week 17 lineup consideration. They play the Saints…in a game the Saints do not need.
-- I suspect Christian McCaffery (21-101-0, 12-77-0/13) will not play Week 17, or if he does it will be for a series, maybe. Cameron Artis-Payne (1-7-0, 1-13-0/2) should be a nice fantasy start Week 17…my first guesstimate.
-- I thought Brian Hill (8-115-0, 0-0-0/1) would get a little bit of a run here but did not expect a 100+ yard rushing game. He got most of it on a 60-yard burst.
Hill is nothing special, but he ran with effort…and the Panthers looked like they quit after halftime. Expect a Coleman-Hill split Week 17…with Hill taking more touches. Possibly, Tevin doesn’t even play.
-- DANG IT!!! Evan Engram (2-26-0, 6-87-0/6) had two TDs in this game robbed from him…one literally robbed. He took a red zone jet sweep (yes!) and was tackled near the goal line and fell on his tackler, his body never hit the ground and he rolled in for the score – but he was marked down short and his team never challenged…instead hurrying up to run a play(?).
Later, he caught a sweet pass over the middle was all clear to rumble into the end zone…but when he turned for the catch, he lost his balance a bit and as he tried to recover and fell 1-yard short of the score (and was touched by a defender upon his crash landing). SO CLOSE to a monster game.
Kudos to Pat Shurmur, who I’m sure is in the building at 3am and leaves at midnight and has ruined his family/personal life to study football at the facilities 20+ hours a day and it only took him 11 months with the team and 16 weeks into the NFL season to realize giving a 4.4+ running TE a rushing attempt might be interesting. Way to go! Great scouting and vision after 300+ days with the team!!
-- What did I warn you about Marlon Mack (12-34-11-4-0/3)? Just because he had one big week last week that did not mean it erased the 4 weeks of trouble prior. The first rushing TD of the game was a short one for Nyheim Hines. Just when you think Mack’s ‘the man’…he’s not, not fully.
-- Just when you thought Eric Ebron (3-28-0/5) was a TD machine, and he was (12 TDs this season), he dried up at the wrong time…1 TD his last 4 games.
-- As I warned to start the week, and as we mocked on the Video Q&A…Kalen Ballage (4-10-0, 2-39-0/4) was not a lock to be the main carry guy this week. I thought there might be more Kenyan Drake (6-23-0, 4-41-0/5) in their time of need, and there was, but nowhere near enough. No team deserved to not make the playoffs more than Miami because of Adam Gase. The Gase era may be over. It shouldn’t be based on W-L record, but it should in absolute disastrous pursuit and use of their weapons.
How far can you go led by Frank Gore and Kenny Stills in 2018?
-- Like I’ve been harping on…Leonard Fournette (18-43-1, 3-28-0/5) has the David Johnson problem…no O-Line, the opposing defense knows he’s getting the ball, and no way to produce numbers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fournette sat Week 17, but Doug Marrone lives in a different universe than I do running a team.
-- I bet Miami sits Ryan Tannehill (15-22 for 146 yards, 1 TD/1 INT) for the finale, and gives David Fales the start…a tough start at Buffalo.
-- Jamaal Williams (15-95-1, 6-61-0/9) paid off big this week, as I expected/hoped…but I’m left a bit lacking because as great a game he had – he had his nose in on two more TDs, but it wasn’t meant to be. I suspect he’ll be the main guy again Week 17.
-- Aaron Rodgers (37-55 for 442 yards, 2 TDs/0 INT, 5-32-2) saved his best for last…a dud most of the 2nd-half of 2018 season, and then single-handedly won titles for people this week. Probably leaves on a high note/doesn’t play Week 17 or a courtesy start and quick exit.
If DeShone Kizer is announced as starter…the Lions-DST is in play. Davante Adams will not play then either, I’d project.
-- Kudos to Robby Anderson (9-140-1/13), he’s been blazing hot. I bet against him this week…I thought Jaire Alexander would take him down, but then Jaire left early with an injury and the floodgates opened for Robby and the whole defense…a DST play I had rated highly that smacked me in the face in some spots.
-- I cannot believe I live in a world where Nick Foles (35-49 for 471 yards, 4 TDs/1 INT) is being debated as the best QB for the Eagles now/for the future. What happened to the 100% of national football analysts who said he was ‘lucky’ with the Super Bowl? Why are these same people who said Foles needed to go after they lost Week 2 to Tampa Bay (Foles starting) allowed to opine on how great Foles is now? It’s the magic trick of football analysis…everything is about the right now, and the masses will forget the track record of things said before. If you’re wearing a suit and employed by a sports outfit…you must know football more than the rest of us unwashed deplorables.
How big a contract should Foles get in free agency in 2019? You think he’ll get anywhere near that ridiculous contract Alex Smith got? Ha! Don’t make me laugh. Foles could lead the Eagles to a second Super Bowl this season and still be doubted as a legit NFL starter. Whatever happened to those ‘RPOs’ that made him great?
-- For the record, Josh Adams (11-21-0, 0-0-0/1) had a rushing TD in this game…and it was called back. I think Adams has had 3 rushing TDs negated over the past 4-5 weeks.
-- D’Onta Foreman (7-0-0, 2-28-1/2) returned from his injury…and scored a TD. Looked OK to me but didn’t get much to work with. Lamar Miller will be the lead this week, if he can go…and I’m sure he will.
-- I was hoping for more touches for Zach Zenner (8-45-0, 2-22-0/3) but I got the typical Jim Bob Cooter nonsense. The Lions were down 27-9 into the 4th quarter…and they have LeGarrette Blount in there taking carries. NFL O-C’s are hopelessly clueless. What is there to gain with LeGarrette Blount continuing to run for 2+ yards per carry every week…and deep into a meaningless (for DET), down by 2-3 score Week 16 games? Why not see what Zenner can do? Unbelievable.
-- Kenny Golladay (6-58-0/15), can I say again…amazing. The catches he makes in tight coverage…sublime. A true star in the making. I’m wondering, if because of their situation/QB, that Golladay isn’t a better long-term play than Courtland Sutton right now.
-- Eric Wilson (9 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFLs, 3 QB hits) got the start for Eric Kendricks being out. Every time Wilson has been forced to start this year, he’s been productive/really good. He shows well in the preseason. What else does this guy have to do to impress Mike Zimmer?
-- Needing a good game from Mitchell Trubisky (25-29 for 246 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 5-3-0), we didn’t get it. He played great…look at the numbers, but it wasn’t fantasy great. Credit the 49ers defense for keeping a lid on a better game – the 49ers defense is playing as well as any in the league right now, at least playing with the most effort and hustle.
-- Matt Breida (4-20-0. 1-6-0/1) got hurt in-game, and left early for the millionth time this year, it seems. He didn’t return. There’s no way he’s the lead RB for the 49ers next year, he will be in a 70-30 split with Jerick McKinnon…with JMK as the 70%.
-- When you needed a big game from Tarik Cohen (6-12-0, 1-7-0/1), you get almost nothing. The only guy who has been able to stop Tyreek Hill and Tarik Cohen in a game from time-to-time…’the delicate genius’ Matt Nagy. Hill last season, Cohen this season.
-- Boy, did the Rams miss MVP Todd Gurley…how could they ever survive without him? What’s that you say? Wait. You’re telling me they just picked up an RB off the street who hasn’t been in good in 3-4 years and he barely knows the playbook – there’s no way that would work well right away! What’s that you say? The off-the-street guy rushed 20 times for 167 yards and a TD? Hmmm.
I told you John Kelly (10-40-0, 1-9-0/1) was not an answer.
-- You want more evidence of O-C stupidity? David Johnson (10-35-0, 1-32-1/5) only had one pass catch…and the throw was from a WR. There was not one QB to DJ completed pass in this game. How hard is a screen pass? Hell, DJ going deep has been money two weeks in a row…and they only run it once a game. Don’t want TOO much success.
Good Bye Steve Wilks…please never be a head coach again, and you won’t be. Enjoy being D-C back in Carolina. What an abject disaster this year.
-- The Brandin Cooks (3-27-0, 3-35-0/3) fade continues. Robert Woods (6-89-1/7) really is the #1. For those in dynasty, we need Cooks to make a big play in the playoffs to get his value puffed back up to start moving away.
-- Another week, another game where all-world receiver/receiving threat RB (college TE/WR/RB) Jaylen Samuels (12-53-0, 3-11-1/3) comes out of the game almost every time in passing situations/five-wide. Shocker…the Steelers lost and are on the verge of missing the playoffs.
If your terrible planning around Samuels all season/now is any indication of how awful you are planning your football team in general…then this disappointing season makes all the sense in the world.
-- Last 4 weeks, Drew Brees has tallied 3 TD passes and 3 INTs. He killed off many a fantasy team down the stretch. He didn’t play poorly…just got beat by defenses too often and then came out of games for Taysom Hill wildcat some as well.
-- Even though they lost, Ben Roethlisberger (33-50 for 380 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) helped fantasy teams win/beat me in a few spots. I have to tip the cap – that was one helluva a QB-performance against a defense that was white hot for weeks.
-- Andy Reid gets suckered into this type of game by his opponents every week now, and thus the greatest QB talent in NFL history with the greatest statistical pace in various passer categories is reduced to having to make miraculous throws to even stay in games now.
Instead of forcing a shootout from the jump, of which he has the best QB to do so, Reid tries to win the games through tried and true run games, clock management, etc. The opposing teams run all over KC and then Reid gets worried his defense might get tired, so he tries to run to slow the pace…and, thus, neutralizes the offense.
You know what? Screw the defense. Try to win every game 60+ to 50+. Who cares if you give up the ever-worrisome ‘big plays’? All teams do is ‘try not to give up big plays’ and then they randomly win-lose based on which team made the one mistake. Dude…just play the run heavy against Seattle and blitz all the time and give up big plays to let your defense not be on the field for forever tying (unsuccessfully) to stop the run/Wilson with a normal defense.
What makes Patrick Mahomes (23-40 for 273 yards, 3 TDs/0 INTs) the league MVP? Having a great season despite his head coach’s game plan. I think Mahomes had like 59 yards passing in the 1st half – that’s unconscionable.
-- Seattle is a known run team and does not hide it. Mahomes is a passing symphony and Andy Reid tries to hide it at first…only using his special weapon for when they get down/have to, in games of late. Shocker…they’ve lost two in a row/trying to blow their #1 seed.
I believe Andy Reid would rather be like Seattle and have Chris Carson (27-116-2) than he would have this exciting passing game that scores too fast and sometimes has turnovers.
You’ve seen how poorly head coaches/team management discern talent, under-utilize unique weapons, butcher the NFL Draft, poorly work free agency and the salary cap, etc. – why wouldn’t we assume they’ll have the wrong in-game plans of attack for their Sunday ‘chess matches’?
Chris Carson did his usual short runs/eat clock, Russell Wilson threw passes to guys so wide open you thought coverages were blown…while Mahomes had to be ‘Magic Johnson’ while running for his life to complete surreal passes. When will the media turn on Reid for forcing Mahomes to be a miracle worker all the time? They won’t – they credit him with all the Mahomes numbers as ‘great play calls’.
-- Doug Baldwin (7-126-1/12) was our big upside WR of the week…and he delivered. More targets than the other three WRs combined (12-9) and scored a TD, should’ve had two TDs…was just a hair short on a long play. He’s back as Wilson’s ‘guy’.
*Just waivers to trust and not + deep sleepers top 5 this final week. So many shifting sands on players (who is starting, who is sitting) all week that I’ll be updating news/rumors daily, but for now here’s my best predictions on what we’ll be looking at tomorrow:
Top 5 ‘Waivers to Trust’ (players tracking under 50% ownership in leagues)
1) C.J. Anderson, LAR – Some Gurley owners grabbed CJA ‘just in case’ last week. Others grabbed John Kelly. More than 50% of leagues nationally ‘passed’, likely thinking what I thought…how much could C.J. Anderson matter anyway? If Gurley sits again, he’ll be an RB1 this week.
The question is…will Gurley sit again? Why not…Anderson looks better than Gurley, no?
2) Lamar Jackson, BAL – In 4pts per pass TD leagues, LJax will be a QB1 threat this week…but is facing a tough, motivated Browns team.
3) Nick Foles, WAS – In a 6pts per pass TD league, the Eagles are in a must-win, and it could be bombs away Foles again…400+ yards passing last week and he’s just getting acclimated to starting again. Facing ‘out of it’ Washington this week it could be another Foles miracle!
4) Curtis Samuel, CAR – The clear top target for Taylor Heinicke in his QB debut. Will face a Saints team playing backups this week.
5) C.J. Uzomah, CIN – Jeff Driskel is out of healthy top targets, leaving him with CJU…for those in need of TE help.
Top 5 ‘Waivers to Distrust’
1) Teddy Bridgewater, NO – He’s not a great fantasy QB, and much will be made of him getting a start in a favorable matchup…but how good will Teddy be with all the main weapons sitting and possibly Taysom Hill homing in on some work…maybe even Hill starting/playing a half? Why not Hill? They use him a lot more than Bridgewater…this would be extra work for when they do use Hill on offense in games.
2) D’Onta Foreman, HOU – If Lamar Miller is back for Week 17, it will be Miller getting everything…even if it isn’t working.
3) Nelson Agholor, PHI – 5-116-1 this week…one 83-yard miracle, or it would be his normal nothing. He’s a weak WR not in Foles’s top 3-4 target options play-to-play.
4) Brian Hill, ATL – Had 100+ yards rushing this past week and should get good touches this week…but keep in mind he’s not all that talented and the Falcons have a weak O-Line while the Bucs defense has been getting better and better all 2nd half of the season…especially the past 5 weeks.
5) Equanimeous St. Brown, GB – I love ESB, but I am assuming DeShone Kizer will start, and then I cannot trust ESB…or Jake Kumerow.
Top 5 ‘Deep Sleeper Plays on the Radar Screen’
1) Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR – I assume Carolina will shut down Christian McCaffrey for the season after he set the receptions record for RBs this past week. CAP is a solid RB who will produce kinda like Jamaal Williams did last week for GB -- if given the full workload.
2) Dwayne Washington, NO – If Kamara-Ingram sits and they give the full start to Dwayne Washington…then the CAR-NO game will be my must-watch of Week 17. DW is a talent and might get his best opportunity yet to shine.
3) Zach Zenner, DET – If the Lions make Blount inactive, then there is hope here.
4) Jeff Wilson, SF – If the 49ers shutdown Matt Breida, as they should, he will get 20+ touches in this game.
5) Darius Jackson, DAL – You assume Rod Smith gets the start this week, and that’s probably true but keep an ear open if they go with Jackson as the starter and resting Smith along with the other starters.
6) Bills-DST and Lions-DST – The Bills have a tough defense and could be facing David Fales and the just ended-season of the sad Dolphins. The Lions may get a gift with DeShone Kizer starting against them…the human turnover machine.