Home > Uncategorized > Week 16 In Fantasy Football: Championship Week

Week 16 In Fantasy Football: Championship Week

For reasons that I’ll discuss here later, I’m glad that the fantasy football season is over. At least it should be. Unless you are playing in a total points league, there is no reason why your league wasn’t decided last night. Week 17 is always a crapshoot. For the first couple of years that I played fantasy football, our league went through the final week of the regular season, and it didn’t take us long to realize what a poor decision that was. You’ve gotten this far with the best team in the league. Now you are left to vie for your title with the likes of Hank Baskett, Lynell Hamilton and Billy Volek?

The Indianapolis Colts are the poster franchise as to why you don’t play fantasy football in week 17. Hell, they made a case on Sunday that it may not be right to play in week 16. We all knew that the time of hibernation for the Colts’ stars was coming, but how it came was absolutely disgusting. I get that a team’s goal in the preseason is to win the Super Bowl, not go undefeated. But as Tom Brady said on Monday in his small appeal that the Patriots not rest in week 17, “You can get hurt at any point. Everyone always says ‘injuries, injuries’ but the reality is you can be hurt the first play of a playoff game.”

That’s the risk you take playing football. Getting hurt is a part of the game. By resting your starters, you avoid potential injury in that regular season, but that doesn’t mean that potential disappears in January. Meanwhile, your offense — yes, yours, Jim Caldwell — risks losing its momentum, its rhythm, its swagger and there’s no guarantee that it will get that back in time for their first playoff game, which won’t come for another 19 days.

Colts fans should be irate (the local government is). Fantasy footballers should be miffed, too. I’m sure many of you were depending on the likes of Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne this past week. Because of the early hook, they combined for just 15 fantasy points. And if you want to complain to some of the brass, be prepared to get cut off and told to shut up.

And now … a string of bullet points:

  • I will listen, but it’s going to be hard to persuade me that Chris Johnson isn’t the No. 1 overall pick for 2010 drafts. Adrian Peterson is fantastic and, despite relatively low yardage totals this season, set a career mark for fantasy points. But Johnson’s ability to just gain five yards out of nothing fascinates me. He always falls forward to get those extra yards and is clearly the game’s premier game-breaker at the position. He’s an adequate pass catcher and has shown that he can handle short-yardage work.

    He is No. 1, no question

  • Norv Turner said that he wants to play his starters, despite the fact that the Chargers are locked into the No. 2 seed in the AFC. But there are guarantees for how long he will play them. I would say no more than a half. If you can live with that, feel free to start Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson against the Washington Redskins. Not LaDainian Tomlinson. Once again, he scores — twice this time! — by basically falling into the end zone, set up by a pass interference penalty that placed the ball at the 1. He’s nothing more than a flex play, and that’s when he’s expected to play 60 minutes.
  • In one of many efforts this week from quality players that helped no one in their fantasy playoffs, Matt Ryan throws three touchdowns after throwing six in his previous six games. And it came against the league’s No. 2 pass defense.
  • Why were the Falcons throwing touchdowns up by 21 with less than 5 minutes to play in the fourth quarter? As a Roddy White owner, I don’t care. It all counts.
  • Where will Terrell Owens play next season? Does anyone give a damn? Fantasy players shouldn’t.
  • After carving up the likes of Cleveland, Buffalo and Oakland, I really wanted to see how Jamaal Charles would produce against Cincinnati’s stout run defense. And he didn’t disappoint — 24 carries for 102 yards. Charles has shown that he deserves to be KC’s undisputed No. 1 running back going into next season, but I am worried about him. He isn’t very big and doesn’t seem like someone who can take 25 touches per game. Fumbling is still a concern and his offensive line isn’t very good. As a likely top-15, I think he will be a bust.
  • If you are deploying Chad Ochocinco in week 17, know that he gets the pleasure of matching up with Darrelle Revis. Of course, Ochocinco is always one for a showdown.
  • Hey, in a week that will probably mean little-to-no playing time for Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and maybe Carson Palmer, Drew Brees and Kurt Warner, I guess you could do worse than Charlie Frye. Like, Drew Stanton. Or Matt Hasselbeck. God, he should just retire.
  • I guess last week wasn’t a fluke by Jerome Harrison. Holy Christ, 39 carries! In the short-term, I love him this week against the Jaguars. But with Mike Holmgren coming in and Eric Mangini possibly leaving, I have absolutely no idea if I can trust him next season. Chris Jennings and Josh Cribbs are still there, too and both players look to have some talent. I’m probably just going to stay away from Harrison. This two-week stretch, while phenomenal, has probably moved him up too high on too many draft boards.
  • On a related note, I am never trusting any Raiders RB either. Darren McFadden is clearly not going to be used as a franchise player and both Michael Bush and Justin Fargas have enough talent to always steal carries. Plus, you just never know who is going to get the start — Bush was expected to get the nod after an impressive week 15 game, but it actually went to McFadden — or how long Tom Cable will stick with them. Bush got just one carry after halftime.
  • The Raiders have some talent on offense and defense, but this is probably not true.
  • Ricky Williams banged up his shoulder against the Texans and had to leave early in the third quarter. Of those injured in week 16, he was the most crucial to fantasy owners, but early indications are that he’ll be fine. Of course, that doesn’t help the owners who were left with his 61 total yards.
  • Arian Foster finally did something with his opportunity — 19 carries, 97 yards and one untouched score — but it’s too bad he was basically one week too later. He’ll go back to being meaningless next season with the return of Steve Slaton. Unfortunately, this surge by the Texans probably means that Gary Kubiak will keep his job. That’s the worst news of all for this backfield.
  • Laurence Maroney provided owners with a goose egg against the Jags. He fumbled at the goal line in the first quarter and basically spent the rest of the game on the sidelines. Sammy Morris, although he had averaged only a little less than seven touches from weeks 12-15, ended up getting 12 carries. That’s Bill Belichick.
  • RE: Resting stars in week 17: “Whoever plays, plays. Whoever doesn’t play, doesn’t play. It’s like that every week. We could go out there the first play of the game, something could happen and someone else could be in there. Everybody needs to be ready to go all the time.” That’s also Bill Belichick.

    Did this drop cost you a title?

  • Cadillac Williams had a pretty decent season for a guy who is working with two busted knees, but I’m staying away from him, too. The Bucs just aren’t going to let all that money they paid Derrick Ward go to waste.
  • The Saints have clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but they probably won’t be resting on Sunday since they’ve already spent the past two Sundays slacking. I’d start all of the usual plays with confidence versus the Carolina Panthers, including Pierre Thomas if he is able.
  • Derrick Mason did his best Braylon Edwards impression to help the Ravens lose in Pittsburgh. But hey, for fantasy purposes, Ray Rice gained 141 yards on the ground. He is easily a top-5 pick in 2010.
  • The Steelers must win this week to have any chance to get into the playoffs. Hines Ward will most likely play, but it’s clear that he won’t be 100 percent until next season.
  • I don’t want to waste any time on talking about the Giants. That would be an insult to the other 27 or so teams that actually deserve attention. I will say this though: Brandon Jacobs is done. D-O-N-E, done. It’s a little sad because after being so productive last season, it looks like he has reached his finish more sudden than a virgin at a brothel.
  • Steve Smith broke his left arm while catching a touchdown pass. What a freakin’ man! He had successfully surgery on Monday. He should be fine for next year. Although, since Jake Delhomme will likely return to the team, I’m not too high on him in ’10.
  • DeAngelo Williams may play this weekend against the Saints, but with him nursing a sore ankle, why risk it? Jonathan Stewart has been absolutely fantastic. In three of the past four weeks, Williams has missed extensive or all game action due to injury. In those three games, Stewart has gained 435 yards on 79 rushes with four total touchdowns. Considering the trouble the Saints have had stopping the run recently, I think playing Stewart and resting Williams would be the best course of action for Carolina. If you are depending on Williams for fantasy purposes in week 17, you should start — or continue — to look for another option.
  • Dear, Brandon Jackson: Donald Driver’s owners would like you to transfer some of your points over to their man. I mean, it’s not like anyone cares about you scoring three touchdowns anyway.
  • Has there been any non-QB — other than Chris Johnson — who has carried fantasy owners to more championships  over the past few weeks than Ryan Grant? Still, 10 TDs is probably the ceiling for him. He’s best used as a very solid No. 2 RB in fantasy.
  • Steven Jackson should play this week after finally listening to his body and taking care of his back last week. He probably shouldn’t have played in the past two or three games, but he just gutted it out. He should play and is a must-start, as always.
  • That’s what Early Doucet gets for scoring a touchdown! He will know better next time to let Larry Fitzgerald handle it. He won’t have to suffer another spinebuster.
  • Calvin Johnson had his most productive game in a few weeks and caught at least seven passes for the first time since week 11. But how about a little ball security, Megatron? He was relatively sub-par this season, but I would still have him around my top-5 WRs for next year. The health of Matthew Stafford and just Johnson’s overall talent makes him almost irresistible.
  • Alex Smith must have Vernon Davis on his fantasy team. There is no other explanation as to why he didn’t just run this ball in.
  • Alex Smith was great from weeks 11-13, but he followed that up with four games ranging from OK to wretched in weeks 13-16. Just when you thought that there would be hope for him after all in this league, that doesn’t appear to be the case. He struggled against the Lions at home on Sunday. He is destined to go down in history as a gigantic draft bust and nothing more than a quality backup QB.

    It seems like November was just a tease

  • Jabar Gaffney should just stand in that corner with Brandon Jackson. You would have had just as much value ejected.
  • Brian Westbrook got 11 touches, about six more than I expected. If you are still playing this week, I would consider him a usable flex start against the Cowboys in a division-winning game. He may up that touch total to 15.
  • Brent Celek has another huge game — 121 yards with a score that came on a play in which he was apparently wearing the invisibility cloak. He has a good chance to finish fourth among tight ends in yards and touchdowns. He is looking like a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick next year. Not bad for a guy who was picked in the 18th round of my 12-team league this past summer.
  • I’ve already said what I needed to say on the Colts. Just know that wide receiver Pierre Garcon has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the due to a hand injury. Many other healthy Colts will likely be just as good as inactive after one series versus the Buffalo Bills. But from what I saw, I still wouldn’t want any part of Curtis Painter. I would rather own Charlie Frye. I’m serious. Since Charlie Frye will be facing the Ravens this week, I don’t know if I would easily rank him over Painter this week. But it would be close. I’m serious. Seriously this time.
  • Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene ran for a combined 200 yards. Jones has one more year on his contract, but I think it’s obvious that the carry numbers between these two will be a little more even next year. Free agent Leon Washington will find another home.
  • Jason Witten has been much better in the past five weeks, but I think he’s going to drop out of the top-5 at tight end in drafts next season. He just doesn’t get the looks around the end zone.
  • With the Washington Redskins … I can’t wait to see how the Chargers’ second-teamers embarrasses them this Sunday.
  • Adrian Peterson scored again, fumbled again and ran over another defender. Too bad I can’t find video of that. It was pretty spectacular. He didn’t hit the 100-yard mark on the ground for the 13th time in 16 games and both of his touchdowns came from just one yard out. Still, his offensive line will improve next season and he’s an easy choice at No. 2.
  • Sidney Rice’s game-tying touchdown catch looked like something out of the Larry Fitzgerald guide to receiving. Breakout years from players such as Rice is why I will be waiting on drafting WRs next year. It is going to be a VERY deep field.
  • For a very solid cornerback, Antoine Winfield was absolutely burned on numerous occasions in the past couple of weeks. But this is probably the reason why. If he’s not healthy, the Vikings’ pass defense has major issues. Or, I should actually say more issues than the major ones it already has.
  • Speaking of which, Jay Cutler had 38 fantasy points in my league through his past six games coming into Monday night. Anyone who was able to make it to their championship game with Cutler in their starting lineup should be given more than some respect and a fake trophy. That person needs to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is some serious management, kids!

Jay Cutler's impressive performance on Monday still doesn't take him out of the running for most disappointing fantasy QB in '09

This week, my team did what I thought it would do: Score the most points in the league to win its third-place matchup. That means if Elias hadn’t changed Kurt Warner’s week 15 fourth-quarter touchdown pass to a run, I not only would have advanced to the finals, but I would have won the championship with ease. Well, much like many of you, I guess it’s just another year of “next year.”

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