Some of us have known for weeks that we'd be playing in the playoffs but now the regular season is officially over and the moment of truth is right around the corner. As Tom Petty said best, the waiting is the hardest part. But, until then, let's get into our last regular season weekly recap.
- Is there anyone hotter than Russell Wilson right now? The Seahawks are flying high behind Wilson as he threw another 5 TD passes this week. Wilson had 10 TDs thru 9 games and has thrown 16 over his last 4. Unreal. What's even better for Wilson owners is that he gets Cleveland and St. Louis at home in the fantasy playoffs. I have no Russell Wilson shares. This makes me sad.
- The good Eli Manning showed up last night, pitching a near perfect game, going 27 of 31 for 337 and 4 TD tosses. Eli draws two tough opponents for the fantasy playoffs - Carolina and Minnesota - so I'm not sure how you can play him but the Giants are fighting for the playoffs and Eli looked great last night.
- I'm not sure how much sense I can make of the Jaguars' Blake Bortles on Sunday. An inefficient 16 of 30 for 250 yards but got 3 TDs thru the air and another one yard score on the ground, running up the score against Indy. Bortles has delivered a lot of good days for us this year and I'd feel comfortable - even confident - rolling him out in the playoffs against Atlanta and New Orleans the next two weeks. In Blake we Trust!
- Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered yet another useful fantasy performance with 263 yards and 3 scores. Fitzpatrick has 9 TD tosses and 0 INTs over his last 3 games and is an interesting play for the playoffs (@Dallas, vs. New England). Sometimes you have to ride the hot hand.
- You know the landscape for RBs is thin when I'm leading off with Isaiah Crowell. The Browns RB took control of the SF defense and carried 20 times for 145 yards and two scores. Please don't be fooled and trot Crowell out against the Seahawks next week.
- Todd Gurley gave us the game we were looking for by gashing the Lions for 140 yards and 2 scores, sharing the weekly title with Crowell. Gurley has struggled the previous few weeks but took advantage of the matchup here. With Tampa Bay at home this week, Gurley has a shot at carrying your team to the fantasy championship game. Unfortunately, he'll face Seattle's defense in Seattle in Week 16.
- Lamar Miller did that thing where he played one half of football really well for the Dolphins and then they changed what they do at half and forgot about Miller... Lamar did his damage last night in the opening half for 2 scores and finished with 89 total yards. Miller has San Diego and Indy in the fantasy playoffs so if he isn't firmly attached to your starting lineup, you need professional help.
- Tim Hightower carried 28 (!) times for 85 yards and a score against the Bucs defense on Sunday. That's amazing usage and bodes well for a guy that gets Detroit and Jacksonville in the fantasy playoffs. I was counting on Mark Ingram to carry me through in a league but Hightower might just do it instead - roll with confidence.
- I've said it before, I'll say it again - that Odell Beckham Jr. is good at football. 7 catches for 166 and 2 scores and a ton of fun to watch. If you watch a lot of football and allow yourself to cheer for guy's on your squad, OBJ is one of the best guys to have on your team. He's likely to eclipse 100 catches and 1500 yards this season and is bankable fun. With 12 TDs, he's also in the conversation for the first receiver picked overall next year.
- Our friend Doug Baldwin continues the "what the hell is going on around here" tour by scoring 3 more times. Baldwin has been the recipient of 8 of Wilson's TDs over the last 3 weeks and gets Cleveland and St. Louis at home in the fantasy playoffs. You've got to play this guy if you scooped him up.
- Ted Ginn Jr. has been one of my fly route fliers (like Baldwin) and he's been a great play the last two weeks. Ginn turned 3 targets into 2 catches for 120 yards and 2 scores. Ummm...yeah, that's not production you can rely on but it's sweet if you hit it. I hate to say it but he's not a bad play in the playoffs with the Giants and Falcons on tap.
- I want to give a hat tip to Brandon Marshall who has had a fabulous season for the Jets. I avoided Marshall like the plague this draft season as I didn't want to rely on Geno Smith. Well...Ryan Fitzpatrick is a different story and Marshall has enjoyed another great season. Marshall caught another 6 balls for 125 and a score, giving him a TD in his last 6 games. Moreso, Marshall has 89 catches for 1187 yards and 11 TDs. He'll almost certainly eclipse 100 catches for the 6th time in his career and he has a chance to set a personal record for TDs with only 2 more. He'll finish the year 22nd on the all-time list for catches and around 31st for yards. Congratulations to B.
- Jordan Reed somehow destroyed the Bears on Sunday. To be fair, it looked like the Bears' gameplan was to leave Reed uncovered for most of the game, so the fact he caught all 9 targets for 120 yards and a score isn't all that shocking. The Bears were really good at stopping TEs...I honestly have no answer for this.
- GRONK! We got Gronk back in our lives on Sunday and he didn't disappoint. The all galaxy tight end caught all 4 targets for 87 yards and a score. Stick him in your lineup and enjoy the show.
- The Gary Barnidge tour made another stop in the end zone on Sunday as the Browns best weapon now has 901 yards and 8 scores on the season. Barnidge will be a top 3 TE pick next year after Gronk and in line with Greg Olsen.
- Jay Cutler - Jay's day of 19-31 for 315, 2 scores, and one fumble was his best fantasy day in a month. You probably didn't start Jay this week but you would've been okay if you had. Jay has overall been a steady floor guy all year until the last month so it was nice to see a rebound from him. Worth noting - his last 4 games look like this: 18-32, 19-31, 18-31, and 19-31. That's probably where Jay is best for the team even if that's not a lot of volume for the fantasy racket.
- Alshon Jeffery - Alshon grabbed 6 of 9 for 107 and a score. Alshon's day could've been bigger as a couple of those missed targets had major points associated with them. One ball was overthrown and one was underthrown, which tells me, obviously, that the timing is off. You have to wonder if the injuries to Alshon have impacted the timing that we'd expect from two veteran players. Still, Alshon is the only must start asset on this squad right now.
- Matt Forte & Jeremy Langford - Forte took 10 totes for 45 yards and a score and only had one catch for 8 yards. Langford carried 11 times for 37 yards and secured 3 of 7 targets for 27 yards. That's a timeshare, folks. I had expected Forte to continue the split he enjoyed last week (2:1) but this was a straight up 1:1 with the tilt heading in Langford's direction. I don't know if they saw something in Langford this week or just want to get him on the field more but it's a terrible time for fantasy owners for this to happen.
- Zach Miller - All you Zach Miller fans out there - rejoice! Miller delivered a legitimately useful game and was a real bright spot on this game. Miller grabbed 5 balls for 85 yards and a score. With Marquess Wilson and Martellus Bennett on IR, it makes sense for Miller to see steady targets over the last 3 weeks. With Tight End being so inconsistent this year, I get it if you're rolling with him in the playoffs.
Let's hear it - who's in the playoffs? I've got 2 squads fighting for virtual gold.