Welcome to The Lowdown for Week 17. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe — feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
Stop the Suffering
Well, another NFL regular season is drawing to a close– and not a moment too soon. You’d think that writing about fantasy football and the NFL would be a dream gig, but not here at Sharks. The editors here are such sticklers for decency. Think I’m exaggerating? Watch this: in one of my Experts Leagues, I missed out on a #^%*ing playoff spot thanks to that $@^~head excuse for a QB Colin Kaepernick. See that? I typed out the actual street word for coitus, but this publishing system doesn’t even have the sense to let me vent my frustration and then let Bukowski edit it manually. Is that some communist-level bull$@^~ or what? [Editor’s Comment: Looks like I can just put this edit on cruise control as it appears that Johnny G has finally gotten the message. Good job, comrade!]
Anyway, back to football. At least Week 17 is ending without any Thursday night games on the schedule. Has there ever been a worse idea the NFL has come up with? I mean, it’s inhuman to expect teams that played on Sunday to turn around and play again on three days rest– a fact borne out by the propensity of home teams to win on Thursday nights (less travel). It’s also inhuman to expect professionals like myself to do any sort of analysis on the Thursday night games, given the lack of timely information and the fact that I’m usually recovering from some sort of mid-week household crisis. Throw in the seizure-inducing “color rush” nonsense, and Thursday nights can simply +@$# it. Wait… now +@$# is a banned word? Are you #^%*ing kidding me? Really? [Editor’s Comment: No kidding, comrade.]
The End? Really?
I read the latest Fire Sale and I have to say it left me with mixed feelings. Many of you know that I have always marked out for Tom Casale’s work, going back to the days when I had my own fantasy sports site (Sports Grumblings) and I hired him to write for me. That was roughly 15 years ago, and I’ve never stopped being a fan. In my opinion, it is a huge miscarriage of justice that the Fire Sale has never won an FSWA award, and as far as I know, hasn’t even been nominated. Hopefully, that will change this year.
Tom says he’s retiring; I don’t know if I believe him or not, or if I simply refuse to accept that the Fire Sale will no longer be around. It’s not right when people you feel you’ve “mentored’ in any sort of way retire before you do. It’s just not right.
Tom, if you still read this old fool’s column– I’m hoping you find the desire to come back again next season. If you’re really retiring, then I wish you and the family (still have no idea how you got your wife to marry you) nothing but the best. Peace brother.
Interesting Players of the Week
Not necessarily the players in line for the biggest games this week, but rather some players that caught my interest and upon whom I shall cast my gaze…
- Aaron Rodgers, GBP (vs. DET) – 42.88
- Drew Brees, NOS (vs. ATL) – 42.02
- Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. NOS) – 39.77
- Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. CLE) – 38.68
- Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. GBP) – 38.08
- Blake Bortles, JAC (vs. IND) – 37.26
- Andrew Luck, IND (vs. JAC) – 37.16
- Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SFO) – 37.09
- Jameis Winston, TBB (vs. CAR) – 36.79
- Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. RAM) – 35.75
I mentioned in my last column that Aaron Rodgers had hit his stride again, looking nearly flawless. After his dismantling of the Vikings, there should be no doubt that he’s the top play. Looking forward to a shootout with Matthew Stafford this week with the NFC North crown on the line. Russell Wilson might be in line for a good game, given that Seattle needs to win to have any shot at a first-round bye in the post-season. Wouldn’t be surprised if Ben Roethlisberger fails to finish the game, since the Steelers are locked into their playoff position.
- Le’Veon Bell, PIT (vs. CLE) – 53.20
- David Johnson, ARI (vs. RAM) – 48.95
- Devonta Freeman, ATL (vs. NOS) – 44.17
- Thomas Rawls, SEA (vs. SFO) – 41.06
- DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. HOU) – 40.94
- Mark Ingram, NOS (vs. ATL) – 40.70
- Latavius Murray, OAK (vs. DEN) – 39.39
- Isaiah Crowell, CLE (vs. PIT) – 38.11
- LeGarrette Blount, NEP (vs. MIA) – 37.93
- Frank Gore, IND (vs. JAC) – 35.43
Le’Veon Bell is the back I’d start a team with if I were an NFL GM, but much like Ben Roethlisberger, I wouldn’t be surprised to see DeAngelo Williams get the majority of snaps against the Browns. With David Carr on the shelf, the Raiders may have to lean more heavily on Latavius Murray... Thomas Rawls looks like a really solid start this week
- Mike Evans, TBB (vs. CAR) – 56.94
- Jordy Nelson, GBP (vs. DET) – 56.66
- Odell Beckham, NYG (vs. WAS) – 56.06
- Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. CLE) – 55.98
- Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. RAM) – 55.26
- Dez Bryant, DAL (vs. PHI) – 55.18
- Brandin Cooks, NOS (vs. ATL) – 54.95
- Golden Tate, DET (vs. GBP) – 54.88
- DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (vs. TEN) – 54.79
- Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. SFO) – 54.13
Love the prospects of Golden Tate this week– I think he tops 100 yards against the Packers. Did I notice Tom Savage at least attempt to get the ball to the Texans’ top offensive play-maker last week? Savage is already way ahead of Brock Osweiler… the Bucs have only the slimmest of chances of making the playoffs, so small as to be essentially zero. However, I expect Mike Evans to end the season on a strong note against what has been a highly disappointing Panthers’ secondary.
- Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. DAL) – 27.11
- Travis Kelce, KCC (vs. SDC) – 26.79
- Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. CIN) – 25.14
- Eric Ebron, DET (vs. GBP) – 24.06
- Jesse James, PIT (vs. CLE) – 24.00
- Coby Fleener, NOS (vs. ATL) – 23.81
- Jimmy Graham, SEA (vs. SFO) – 23.11
- Jared Cook, GBP (vs. DET) – 22.35
- Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. CHI) – 21.68
- Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. HOU) – 21.63
Did you see Travis Kelce‘s 80-yard TD last week against the Broncos? I still don’t understand how he managed to out-run everybody on that vaunted defense, but however he did it, I’m impressed. Back in August, did anyone predict that Jimmy Graham would have (a) played in every game, and (b) put up 61/859/6 through the first 15 games? I mean it’s below his typical Saints output, but to put up this kind of production coming off that serious knee injury he sustained in 2015 is simply amazing. If you’re in a keeper league, you might want to get Jared Cook on your roster for next season; really seems like Cook and Rodgers are starting to get comfortable with each other on the field.
Good luck to everyone fighting for the Trophy in this final week of the NFL regular season… to everyone else, I hope to see you again next season!