The final week of the NFL regular season is here. The offseason is in full effect. We know many teams will be resting their players for the playoffs, which means we will see players looking to establish a 2023 roster spot, or camp invite.
Let’s kick it into storylines for this week.
First Career Start
Sam Howell will be under center for the Commanders this week. The fifth round rookie will be making his debut. Reportedly Taylor Heinicke mentioned to the coaching staff the rookie deserves a shot. It will be a tough matchup against the Cowboys.
A fun fact about Howell is that he has never had a steak or burger. Noting he is only a chicken tender guy, but not sure how this affects his dynasty value. It will be important to note his performance. The Commanders may be looking for a new starting quarterback in 2023 and Wentz has no guaranteed money moving forward.
Howell is known for his big arm and mobility. He led the league in the preseason with 527 passing yards. I am intrigued how his first start will finish – specifically noting Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.
I talked about last week how Justin Fields and Justin Jefferson have the opportunity to set records. Unfortunately, Fields will not play this week due to a hip injury. He missed the record by 64 yards. Jefferson needs 194 yards to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season record.
This would have been more plausible this week but Jaire Alexander held Jefferson to 15 yards in Week 17. The Vikings play the Bears and this certainly is feasible for a record to be broken on Sunday. I am not sure how likely it is given that Jefferson would set a career high in single-game yards (194).
Final NFL Playoff Spot
If the Rams beat the Seahawks then the final spot comes down to the Lions or Packers. The two NFC North teams play the final game of the season. Baker Mayfield is playing for a contract next season, so he certainly will be playing to win on Sunday.
The Lions started the season 1-6 and Dan Campbell turned this team around. His players believed in him. If they make it into the playoffs there should be an argument for Campbell to be Coach of the Year.
Aaron Rodgers versus Jared Goff for the final playoff spot seems interesting. One would believe there is no way Rodgers loses this game. There was a time this season when people were advocating to bench Rodgers and start Jordan Love… you can almost see the chip on the shoulder.
Final Games & Free Agents
The last game of the season will bring players playing their last regular season games for the respective teams before hitting free agency. Some may have already played their final game since they may have an injury this week.
These are a few notable names, with many more out there with the 2023 free agency looming. Here is the current salary cap for each team in 2023. I think it is fair to assume about the top 5-7 at each position will get re-signed or franchise tagged. This still would leave intriguing names to find new landing spots.
There will be value change coming. Some good, some bad. One value change I can think of is if the Bengals move on from Joe Mixon. Their Super Bowl window is here, but just a hypothetical I am thinking of. Another potential move could be David Montgomery to the Chiefs.
The NFL awards will be intriguing to see how they fall. The MVP has been a back-and-forth debate between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen – with a little Jalen Hurts thrown in. Many people wonder why this cannot be a Justin Jefferson award too.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Garret Wilson, Kenneth Walker, Chris Olave, and even Brock Purdy has been mentioned.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sauce Gardner, Aiden Hutchinson, and Tariq Woolen lead the group
Comeback player of the year is an interesting topic. Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley figure to lead the group coming back from their injuries. Geno Smith is a name thrown around to win the award too, but I do not see what he is coming back from. I understand the ‘break out’ year and see why he could win the award.
Coach of the year has several intriguing options. One of my favorites may be Dan Campbell if the Lions can sneak into the playoffs. Nick Sirianni or Brian Daboll are worthy candidates too.
Let us know who you think will win the awards and drop your Fantasy MVP in the comments too.
Friday morning (1/6/23) brought amazing news when it was reported Damar Hamlin addressed the Buffalo Bills. He FaceTimed into the team meeting and we can only imagine the moment that was for them.
On Sunday the Bills play the Patriots at home. This game is going to be electric and the Bills should carry that momentum into the playoffs. The Bills and their coaching staff will put everything on the line for their teammate, friend, and brother.
The final week of the regular season is coming to an end. Dynasty championships will be finalized too. Thank you to whoever took the time to read one of these weekly articles. Make sure to head into the offseason with us. Stay tuned for the content coming out and prepare for the rookie drafts and the 2023 season!
Cheers to Week 18!
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