I feel bad for Tony Romo owners.
All signs pointed to another great game from Romo and, instead, he bows out after the first series due to a hand injury. I don’t blame Romo as that injury did look ugly and he banged it pretty good on another player’s helmet. But for fantasy owners that were depending on Romo in their championship game, it was most likely a devastating blow. It won’t ease the pain any, but in all likelihood you had to start Romo this week and it was the correct decision. Fantasy football can be a cruel mistress and sometimes, often even, bad luck will dictate a game’s outcome.
Toss in a side of Adrian Peterson on Sunday and week 16 was enough to make you walk away from the game entirely. For Peterson owners, it’s not just about seeing their stud falling in a championship game. Dynasty owners fully understand that an ACL injury, let alone the addition of the MCL, can be an 18 mos. injury when you factor in the psychological recovery period. At a minimum it’s an nine to twelve month physical recovery period and a six month psychological period. This injury, at this time, casts a significant shadow over Peterson’s 2012 season. He’s all but assured to start the 2012 season on the PUP list and his production will suffer. Peterson will be 27 1/2 when 2012 kicks-off, and his days as an unquestioned top three pick at the running back position are likely gone.
If you still have a championship game to be played here in week 17, good luck! I’ll still be posting one last advice thread.
Week 17 is an entirely new ball-game. If you do hold a championship game during this week, it can be a frustrating exercise. Here is a quick look at some of the things you may need to consider:
In the AFC ….
New England has clinched a first round bye but home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is still up in the air. This essentially provides all the catalyst you need to get a full game from all of your Patriots.
Ravens and Steelers have both clinched wild-card spots but are in a battle with the Patriots for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Before you get too giddy, understand that the Patriots will lock up home-field throughout the playoffs with a win and their game is during the early slate of games. Both the Steelers and Ravens play late. BUT … Baltimore, even if the Patriots were to lose in the early game, still needs a victory to secure a first-round bye. What does it all mean? It’s likely a safe play to start all of your Ravens and Steelers.
Houston is locked in and will likely be resting many of their players. Expect Foster to get little-to-no work. This may be a great play for Tate but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be playing many snaps. I fully expect Tate to get 15+ touches which would be enough to make him a worthwhile RB2 this week. There’s little reason for Andre Johnson to be played this week, despite what is being reported. I expect the Texans to give AJ another week of rest.
Denver and Oakland – Both teams play late and the AFC West division hangs in the balance. Denver controls their own fate and can lock up the division with a victory. Start any Broncos or Raiders that you need to.
Bengals, Jets, Titans – Bengals control their own fate here and need a win at home vs. the Ravens in a late game. The Jets and Titans both play prior to the Bengals. You can safely start all players from the Bengals, Jets and Titans.
In the NFC ….
You’re in trouble if you need help from Green Bay. With nothing to play for, expect no more than a quarter of play. Even the starters are lobbying for time off. This will be a good opportunity to play Randall Cobb, Matt Flynn or Brandon Saine if you’re a little desperate. Flynn has shown the ability to be a worthy starter.
San Francisco can clinch a first-round bye with a victory in their early game vs. the Rams. It’s safe to play all of your 49ers.
New Orleans essentially can only clinch a first-round bye with a victory should San Francisco lose. The Saints play early as well against the Panthers. This means that it is safe to start all of your Saints.
Giants and Cowboys – What a game this will be! Winner is in, loser is out. It also happens to be the late game on Sunday night. Kudos to the schedule makers. And, yes, it’s safe to start all of your Giants and Cowboys. The big question remains about Romo’s ability to play. You know he will be out there come Sunday night, but how will he perform? If I had Romo on my roster, I’d be starting him in unless I had a top eight quarterback to play ahead of him.
Congratulations to all of you that took home a ring in week 16. For the rest of you, keep your head on straight for another week or two while we highlight players to be picked up, dropped or otherwise considered. This is a time to really do your homework and get an early start on identifying the sleepers for 2012, while there is still time to get them onto your rosters.
More to come …
Dec. 23, 2011
Wonders never cease. The Indianapolis Colts took down the Houston Texans! You can bet that Colt’s management would prefer to see the first overall draft pick in 2012 rather than another win, but you can’t expect players to be okay with that. To their credit, they played hard. Their run defense was completely outmatched by Houston’s adept run blocking who opened gargantuan holes for Arian Foster. Expect the Colts to burn their first pick on Andrew Luck and then turn their attention to defense. It’s true that Reggie Wayne may be playing his last game as a Colt in week 17 but don’t count him just yet. With Manning expected to return in 2012, he’ll certainly have something to say about that.
Don’t worry Colt fans, your team can still lock up that top pick with a loss vs. Jacksonville next week.
Most frustrating from last night was that the Colts didn’t feature Donald Brown. Whether due to Addai being fully healthy or wanting to protect Brown for 2012, Addai was clearly the lead back. I expected Brown to receive 15+ carries. He’s obviously the most dynamic back in the Colt’s backfield and is running with a lot of confidence. He’ll be a great risk-reward pick in drafts next year, both dynasty and redraft. I’m happy to see him remain healthy.
I’m not sure what I think anymore as it relates to the protection of players on the field, especially quarterbacks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely in favor of the increased flags and penalties for blatant blows to the head, hits on defenseless players, low or crack-back blocks and even questionable late hits. But some of the penalties from last night against J.J. Watt and others were ridiculous. I know the game moves quickly and referees are forced to make a quick judgment, but something has to be done in my mind.
One last note on last night’s game. Did you happen to catch the exchange between Wayne and Orlovsky after the game winning touchdown catch? On the way back to the sideline, they were each doing their best to get the other to take the game ball. Why?!?!?? What are you really going to do with a game ball from your 2nd win of the year in week 16? I’d almost like to do a youtube parity on what I think they were saying during this exchange.
USC’s Matt Barkley will be returning to school. The move is a little surprising to me but considering Barkley had been saying that there are a lot of things left undone, it’s not THAT surprising. He wants to win the Heisman, wants to lead the Trojans to a major bowl game (USC is eligible again in 2012) and I also believe he wants to be the first pick in the draft. He’ll be the odds on favorite for just that following 2012.
For all of you holding Kahlil Bell, he now makes a great start this weekend vs. Green Bay. He’s no lock to get into the end zone but with Marion Barber out, expect Bell to get a heavy workload in both the running and passing games. If you are in a PPR league, we’re putting the over and under number on Bell’s receptions at five. I’ll take the over. He’s a sneaky late addition as a flex play, and perhaps even as a low end RB2.
Make sure Anquan Boldin is on your bench this week. He’ll be sitting the next two games due to a clean-out of his troublesome knee. He’ll be back for the playoffs but I’m still seeing questions about whether or not to start him this week.
A.J. Green is definitely in for week 16. Get him in your lineup. Look for opposing cornerbacks to jam him at the line … and directly to his shoulder. That’s just the way the game is played.
In all formats, I’d be sitting Felix Jones this week. His hammy isn’t bad enough to keep him out of the game completely but all signs are that he will be very limited at best. The Cowboys are preparing recent acquisition Sammy Morris to carry the load.
Turning my attention to DLF for a bit, I want to touch on a few things. I’ve received a few emails recently thanking us for our fantasy contributions this year and asking what we have in store for 2012. First I want to say, “thank you” to all of you who have supported us over the years and make us a daily visit. Until you’ve started a site like this, you may not quite understand all the work that goes into it, the time away from family and the amount of planning and discipline it takes to try and keep content fresh, impactful, timely and professional. And we are essentially doing it for free because we’re passionate about the game and perhaps a bit over-the-top in our commitment to it.
But make no mistake when I say that we do have big plans for DLF’s continued growth, in all areas. I’ll be posting another piece about our future and 2012 specifically before long, so stay tuned and please continue to support us if you like what you see. We love seeing your comments as it’s something that tells us that we are making a difference in your fantasy lives. If you haven’t yet, please sign up on our forum and become part of our community. The community of coaches that we are assembling are the best on the planet and we won’t stop until we have every one of you signed up and contributing in our forum!
Just one more “good luck” to all of you playing in a championship game this week. Your DLF owners are in the championship game in the second year of DLF’s Expert Dynasty League, which consists of most of the best fantasy sites in the business. We’re up against DynastyGuys.com for the ring this year and I know they want to win this thing as badly as we do. We’ve only lost once in the past 19 weeks now so we like our chances. We’re down McFadden and Jennings but we still have Kahlil Bell and Demaryius Thomas.
More to come soon….
Dec. 21, 2011
I can’t compete with Star Wars. Moreover, I’m pretty much the straight-man around these parts. I just can’t match the creativity of the others in the end. Every now and then I’ll have a right-brain moment, but it’s just not often enough that I can call upon it routinely. As a Star Wars fan though, it’s tough not to enjoy a piece like that. Good job Ken.
Firstly, to all our readers and visitors, Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope this time of year is a joyous one for you and that you stay safe in your travels! I also hope that you stick with us for another year and reward us for our hard work with your continued clicks and forum posts. We’re doing this because we love fantasy football and want to leave a mark on the game. We truly hope that you appreciate our efforts!
For most leagues, week 16 is championship week. Most prefer to steer clear of week 17 games for purposes of determining fantasy league championships due to players being rested. This can occur in week 16 as well, but it’s a relatively rare occurrence. For true fantasy fans, it’s a fight between wanting one more week of fantasy football vs. having a championship game determined by actual starters and not having to scrape together a team. Between one or the other, I have come to prefer a week 16 championship game.
But bear with me here while I do offer one alternative that splits the difference.
In one of our main leagues we have broken the championship game into championship games. Read that as two games, week 16 and week 17. With this method, it’s essentially a two game playoff between our top two division winners. Win both weeks and you get the ring, split the games and the team with the most points wins. It has been a great way to extend the fun while still providing for a full year of fantasy fun. If I am in another league with two divisions, I would have the same format. I strongly suggest looking into the possibility … it really has been fun since we first instituted it.
Looking at week 16, there are some very interesting match-ups that are worthy of note.
Marshawn Lynch, who has exploded over the past eleven weeks is up against the NFL’s #1 rushing defense, San Francisco. It’s not a good match-up and in week one, Lynch could only muster 33 yards on 13 carries vs. the same Niners. Note that in week 15, Lynch could only muster 42 yards on 20 carries. His touches were still noteworthy, but his yardage totals were not. I’m expecting a sub-par week from Lynch and am suggesting that you do not start him if you have anyone even remotely close in value to start in his place. In our PPR Expert’s league championship game, we are choosing to start Denver’s Demaryius Thomas over Lynch. It’s a tough choice but one we’re willing to live with as we are believers in the 49’er defense vs. Seattle this week.
I’ve also received a fair amount of input about the possibility that Aaron Rodgers sits in week16. It is possible that Rodgers doesn’t play a full game but much of that will be dependent on the aforementioned 49’ers vs. Seahawks game, which takes place on Saturday afternoon. Should San Francisco win that game, as expected, the Packers need to win to lock up home field advantage. Should the 49’ers lose, the Packers could rest Rodgers after the first half. Either way however, I expect Rodgers to play at least three full quarters and 75% of Rodgers is far better than 100% of most other starting quarterbacks. For week 16, Aaron Rodgers is in your lineup. No questions asked.
In New York, Hakeem Nicks will be visiting Revis Island, which doesn’t bode well for his fantasy production. In most cases, Nicks still needs to be in your lineup. I do support using other marquee names over Nicks if you have the option but you can’t allow him to ride the pine in your championship game in most scenarios. In a championship game, your best players need to be on the field. You know what we say here at DLF – “Don’t get too cute!”. It’s a softer way of saying “Don’t bench your studs”. I don’t consider Nicks a stud in 2011, but benching him is getting too cute in most situations.
What can Brown do for you? Donald Brown that is. Brown has remained healthy and has proven that he can be a producer. You’ll recall that I was nowhere near the Delone Carter train that so many were on before the first game of the year. I put my money where my mouth was in my drafts and selected Brown ahead of Carter. That is not to say that Brown will be a RB2 or higher in 2012, but he has a chance. He’s a great flex player currently and 2012 will be his year to shine or fade away. He’s really stepped up his game and looks dynamic for the Colts. However, his week 16 match-up vs. Houston is only slightly better than that of Marshawn Lynch. You can play Brown in a pinch, but likely only as an emergency flex player. In PPR leagues, he holds more value. Watch him more on Thursday night to see if he can run hard, stay healthy and enter 2012 as the lead back for the Colts. He’s averaging a healthy 5.1 ypc.
What do you make of Tebow-mania.? A couple weeks ago I said he was “walking dead”. I don’t know that his play signals anything other than that as far as prototypical quarterback play goes, but just what of Tebow has ever been prototypical? The kid wins, plain and simple. No he’s not going to win every game and he looks anything other than poised doing it, but he has the heart of a winner and if the Broncos can sleep at night knowing that they, too, have to be unconventional in their approach, just maybe there is something there. Tebow still has his critics for sure. ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, who used to be a local TV/radio guy in my area before his ESPN gig, and is without a doubt one of the worst personalities to analyze the NFL, simply can’t see straight when talking about Tebow. Cowherd simply can’t get out of his own way on the topic and knows that Tebow is polarizing, which means ratings. Denver is now in a tough spot and Tebow has earned himself at least the first eight games of 2012 as their starter, at least in my mind. I just believe he’s too unconventional to last for long at this level. But it’s impossible not to root for the kid. I will give Cowherd that – but nothing else.
Those poor Bills, again. They win four of their first five, get their fans excited, only to slide back into oblivion in the end. They could have easily been 7-0 to start 2011. No, I’m not ready to say that C.J. Spiller is worthwhile as a starting running back in the NFL, but he’s making his case and if he can amass 175 yards over these next two games, I’ll call him a worthwhile sleeper for 2012. It shouldn’t be that tough against Denver and New England. Just where will Fred Jackson’s value be next year?
Keep an eye on A.J. Green’s shoulder injury this week. He’s a strong start if he can practice again on Thursday. If he doesn’t, he may be best on your bench rather than risking a start. All signs point to him returning and he says he’s good-to-go. We’ll see.
A sneaky start this week comes in a package of silver and blue by the name of Felix Jones. I like the match-up vs. Philly this week and if he was fully healthy, Jones would make for a high upside RB2. With a bum hammy however, Jones is no more than a high risk, high reward player for your championship or playoff game. Look elsewhere unless the news out of Big D is glowing.
Another risky play for your big game is that of CJ1k. CJ is likely to get his 1,000 yard mark this week IF he plays, and that is a big “if”. CJ says cutting is a problem and the short week isn’t going to do him any favors. Combine that with a tough Jacksonville defense that held Johnson to 24 yards in week one and his prospects are less than rosy. CJ said he expects to play so he’ll likely be in your lineup come Saturday. He’s not a play that you can feel comfortable about and you can consider alternatives in this case.
What’s gotten into Reggie Bush? It could be that he’s finally running with heart after his own teammate exclaimed that he “sucks”. We’re finally seeing the Reggie that was advertised coming out of USC. And somehow, he’s still healthy. He’ll be a difficult player to slot in redraft leagues next year but he’s the type of player that can have an incredible impact if he picks up where he leaves off this year.
You’re likely sitting Steven Jackson this week vs. Pittsburgh. There just simply isn’t enough upside to play Jackson here unless you have nothing else to fall back on. In PPR leagues at least, he should rack up 6-8 receptions at a minimum. He’ll be the check down early and often.
Kevin Smith is an interesting start this week in Detroit, when they square off against the Chargers who have everything to play for. Smith practiced fully today and seems to be good-to-go. He still scares me this week but you could do worse. He’s in line for a lot of touches as San Diego will work overtime to shut down that relatively prolific passing offense, currently ranked fifth in the league. The emergence of Titus Young has given Stafford another weapon and Kevin Smith should find plenty of seams to run through come Saturday. I’m calling him a high upside RB3 and is best as your 5th or 6th offensive player in a flex role. If he can stay healthy, I think he can put together a nice game.
That’s all for now folks, I’ll check in tomorrow before the game begins. Good luck to all
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff