3M Report: Week 16

Ryan McDowell

reedWelcome to this week’s edition of the “3M Report” – a weekly look back at the mayhem, magic and mishaps from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. So let’s take a look at week number 16 of the NFL season.

The NFL obliged us on a busy Christmas Eve with a game many had no interest in watching as the Oakland Raiders played host to the Chargers. Oakland came out on top in this snooze fest. The disappointing performance of rookie receiver Amari Cooper got me thinking. I’ve moved Cooper into my top six dynasty wide receivers, as have several other DLF rankers, but maybe this is a case of too much, too soon. This time last year, I was sold on Mike Evans and boosted him all the way to the top of my overall rankings. While I still love Evans’ talent and value him at a very high level, I think my ranking was premature and a case of “getting too cute.” With Cooper’s second stinker in the past three games, I’m reminded of the danger in overvaluing youth.

A Saturday night battle between NFC East foes Washington and Philadelphia served as yet another reminder that Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed has established himself as one of the best players at his position. Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski is in a tier of his own, but there’s nothing wrong with having Reed as the second best dynasty tight end. Reed dominated the Eagles to the tune of 129 yards and two scores as the Redskins clinched their division title.

When the Jets and Patriots meet, viewers are rarely let down, and this was the case Sunday as the Jets stunned New England after Bill Belichick deferred the winning overtime coin toss. While it was nice to see Keshawn Martin, a player I’ve had stashed, perform well for the Patriots, the real story for me is the continued high level play of Jets’ wideouts Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The pair combined for 11 receptions for 162 yards and three touchdowns. As crazy as it might sound now, these two may actually be very affordable this off-season, since both are on the back side of their careers. [inlinead]

In what looked like a certain blowout loss, the Cleveland Browns hung with and nearly upset the Kansas City Chiefs, falling 17-13. While quarterback Johnny Manziel did not throw a touchdown and only had 136 passing yards, he did rush for over 100 yards, leading the team for the third time this season in just seven games started. The Browns will have another early pick in next spring’s NFL Draft and most expect them to select a quarterback. I will be interested to see if they hang onto Manziel or feel the need to get him off their roster.

In another matchup of disappointing offenses, the Colts squeaked out a victory over the Dolphins. Miami’s poor gameplan when it comes to running the ball continues to be an issue as Lamar Miller carried 15 times for just 31 yards. I don’t see any way he can return to this team next season. The bright spot for the Dolphins continues to be their receivers as Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker led the way with over 200 combined receiving yards. While quarterback Ryan Tannehill did eclipse the 300 yard mark, he also failed to throw a touchdown and took six sacks against a mediocre Colts’ defense. It’s time to start questioning if he is the future of the position in South Beach.

In the San Francisco loss to the Lions, the 49ers were led by an offensive core of Blaine Gabbert, DuJuan Harris, Vance McDonald and Bruce Ellington. Yes, things can get ugly at the end of the season for teams already well out of the playoffs, but this is extreme. This team needs a complete makeover and the 2016 starting quarterback is almost certainly not on the roster. This makes me worried about a player like Carlos Hyde who could be the most talented player on a terrible team, which is far from ideal for a running back.

Speaking of ugly offenses, the Dallas Cowboys lost their eleventh game of the year, with star receiver Dez Bryant sitting this one out. The Cowboys seem to be playing for a better draft spot and you can’t really blame them. We know Bryant and Tony Romo will be back, but I’m wondering if the team will be confident enough in running back Darren McFadden to enter training camp with him as their starter. If they don’t make a move to add someone during free agency, McFadden becomes a player to target in trades, assuming his cost will still be low.

The Bears defeated the young Tampa Bay Buccaneers and we may be witnessing the takeover in Chicago. Rookie Jeremy Langford was back in the lead role, carrying the ball 19 times for 83 yards, while Matt Forte had just 11 carries. Forte is a free agent as of next week and the Bears don’t seem too interested in rewarding him with a long-term deal. This leaves Langford as the likely 2016 starter and a player to buy before it’s too late. Start making offers for him as soon as you can.

We finally got the game we’ve been waiting for all year from the Atlanta Falcons, who ended the Panthers’ undefeated streak. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards and a long score to Julio Jones, while running back Devonta Freeman totaled 90 yards and a touchdown. It was a fast paced and balanced offense the Falcons should have employed long ago and it paid off with a big win.

The biggest shocker of the day had to be the Steelers’ loss to division rival Baltimore. The Ravens ran all over the Steelers’ defense and Ben Roethlisberger and the passing game never really got on track. A pair of underrated wideouts, Kamar Aiken and Markus Wheaton, continue to play well, yet they don’t seem to be gaining any significant dynasty value.

With a pair of explosive offenses and poor defenses meeting up, we expected fireworks in the Jacksonville/New Orleans game and they did not disappoint. The Saints got off to an early lead and cruised to a 38-27 win. A pair of second year wideouts starred for each team as Allen Robinson went for 151 yards and a long touchdown, while Brandin Cooks of the Saints had 123 yards and a touchdown of his own. Robinson’s value has steadily been on the rise all season, while Cooks is on a late season hot streak. Both could end up being first round dynasty startup picks this off-season.

Doug Baldwin continued his hot streak with an 8/118/1 stat line, scoring his eleventh touchdown in the past five games. A Twitter poll I conducted last week found that a very small percentage of dynasty players were willing to give a future first round pick for the Seahawks’ receiver. So, even in this all-time hot streak, Baldwin’s value has not gone far. He’ll be a interesting player to watch early this off-season.

A pair of Arizona Cardinals continue to impress and both deserve to move way up the list of dynasty rankings. Rookie running back David Johnson struggled to get things going on the ground, but added three catches for 88 yards, totaling over 120 yards on the day. After his big game last week when he posted over 40 fantasy points, I’ve seen some claim Johnson should be valued as highly as the dynasty RB3. Receiver Michael Floyd continues to be underrated, but he led the team with six receptions for 111 yards. Over the past four weeks, Floyd is the WR16, scoring in double digit fantasy points in each game.

Without Odell Beckham, it seems the New York Giants never stood a chance as the Minnesota Vikings took an early lead and never looked back. The story here was the dominance displayed by the Vikings and the continued improved play from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The former first round pick continues to post average fantasy numbers, but has led the Vikes to ten wins and a chance at a division crown in next week’s showdown with Green Bay. Bridgewater is a difficult player to place a dynasty value on with his level of play. He won’t be losing his job anytime soon, but with the Vikings’ strong running game, Bridgewater could be more of a Joe Flacco type of fantasy asset, safe and solid, but rarely high scoring.


ryan mcdowell
Latest posts by Ryan McDowell (see all)