I'm starting to rethink how leagues run the playoffs. You work for 14 weeks to get to the playoffs and it can all be over in the blink of an eye. I happened to survive my two big games this weekend and advance to the championship, but I've been on the other side of that coin many times. It's never easy to say goodbye to a team you were really proud of but for half of the playoff contenders, you need to do just that. To those
about to rock of you who suffered a loss this weekend, we salute you!
- Is there any doubt that Cam Newton is your 2015 NFL MVP? If he turns in another like performance in Week 16, he'll be the FFB MVP, that's for sure. Cam turned in another videogame performance with 340 yards through the air, 100 on the ground, and 5 TD passes including two more to Ted Ginn Jr. He did get stuck with a lost fumble so...I mean, he wasn't perfect... If you've been reading this column throughout the year, you know how much I like Cam. If you're playing for your leagues championship this weekend, you can't possibly want anyone else to lead the way.
- If not for Cam, we would've led in with Kirk Cousins, he of the 319 yards, 4 TDs, plus another TD on the ground. I certainly didn't see that coming but things are clicking for this squad. I'll be very curious to see how much his % owned and % start numbers go up this weekend against the Eagles. My guess is he will be a very popular player on championship rosters.
- We coaxed good numbers out of Tyrod Taylor and Eli Manning in their failed comeback bids against the above QBs. The stat lines for both players were terrible at halftime but they were able to finish with top 10 lines. FFB isn't always pretty, but you take the points however they come.
- Brock Osweiler was somehow able to put up a top 5 performance with 296 yards, 4 total TDs against one INT. Part of that line is due to Osweiler putting it into the hands of a healthy Emmanuel Sanders and part of it was the secondary for Pittsburgh being susceptible to big plays. More than all of that, it's due to Pittsburgh's amazing offense pushing game flow that way. That piece of information is only valuable if you'd like to start the Ravens QB in your championship game, which I don't recommend...
- University of Northern Iowa grad David Johnson let the world know he was for real and rewarded all of you who started him in the fantasy playoffs with an epic 29 carry - 187 yard, 4 catch - 42 yard, 3 TD performance. I can't imagine that anyone could lose their game with this effort in your lineup so if you played the rookie, you're going for gold next week. Johnson's performance may have you thinking he's the best player from UNI ever - but he's got a long way to go before he tops future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner or former defensive MVP Bryce Paup. Go Panthers!
- I keep looking at the stat line for Danny Woodhead and think it's a misprint. 8 carries, 10 yards, 6 catches, 50 yards...4 TDs. That's 1.25 ypc, but 30 fantasy points. Sometimes (many times) this game makes no sense to me.
- The rest of the running back world is barely worth mentioning as this was an aerial assault week, but I'll mention the Bills backfield of Karlos Williams and Mike Gillislee. Gillislee broke a big run to pad a statline of 4 carries, 81 yards and a score. The run looked more like terrible defense than anything Gillislee brought to the table. With LeSean McCoy out, we'll once again stare at an unknown backfield committee with Williams and Gillislee. I have no idea who to trust but I do know that Dallas is susceptible to the run.
- The guys we were so excited about going into the week - Denard Robinson, Bryce Brown - were not worth the virtual ink spilled on them. This is the time of year where we're all grasping at straws and the RB world is so devoid of talent that we're willing to accept anything as possible. I got fooled by Bryce Brown in one league but it's not like I sat someone who did great things - the 2015 RB world is tough (although - I did warn you all not to trust Belichick).
- I hope that as a football fan, you caught the Steelers / Broncos game. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders put on one of the greatest displays of receiving that I've ever had the privilege to watch. Brown caught 16 of 18 targets for 189, 2 scores, and the dagger at the end of the game to seal it. This was against the #1 pass defense in the league and Chris Harris Jr., one of the best CBs in football. On the other side, former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders caught 10 of 16 for 181, 1 score, and pitched in a 24 yard run. It was so much fun to watch - even more so as I have Sanders in one league and didn't play against either of them.
- The biggest beneficiary of the Kirk Cousins hot streak is DeSean Jackson, who caught 6 balls for 153 and a score on Sunday. Jackson was hurt the first part of the year and this was his first big game. If you happen to have Jackson, you have to start him this Saturday night - he gets to play the Eagles in Philadelphia with the division on the line. This could be epic.
- A shout out to Kamar Aiken who hauled in 8 balls for 128 yards and a score. Aiken hasn't quite filled the Steve Smith Sr. vibe but he's come as close as you could hope for in the stat line. I liked Aiken coming into the week to take advantage of the plus matchup and I would absolutely double down on him this weekend as the Ravens will have to throw to keep pace with Pittsburgh.
- Let's use this spot to mention the shenanigans of Odell Beckham. I don't have a hot take on the incident but I'll add my two cents. If he wants to be a superstar in this league, he can't do that. If he has one more incident like this, he's automatically put in the Albert Haynesworth / Ndamukong Suh category. Many have already called him a diva, pushing him to the Terrell Owens / Chad Ochocinco category but being a dirty player is much worse. The spear to the side of the head of Norman was quite possibly the worst deliberate action I've ever seen in a professional football game. Tom Coughlin should be ashamed that he didn't have the guts to sit his star player when he saw that replay and the officials should be ashamed of themselves for not removing Beckham from the game. Beckham has the ultimate responsibility, but his hands aren't the only ones dirtied by this.
- Jordan Reed once again led all tight ends with 84 yards and 2 scores. Dropping Reed two weeks ago before these back to back great games would've been really stupid and is definitely not something that I did...
- The tight end landscape has felt desolate all year but Greg Olsen has been Mr. Rock Steady. Add another 6-79-1 line to his year and he's at 71-1048-7. No one ever lost money investing in Greg Olsen.
- The target leaders for this year for Tight Ends starts off with Olsen and Rob Gronkowski, but right behind them are Gary Barnidge and Delanie Walker. Barnidge will certainly be a hot commodity next draft season but don't forget about Walker. He's going to turn a profit next year as Mariota gets better.
- Jay Cutler - 26-37 for 231, 2 TD, 1 terrible INT, and a lost fumble. Yes, you could've conceivably done worse than Jay Cutler this weekend in fantasy - I just hope for your sake that you started someone better suited to this fake football game. I can't imagine that you're thinking about starting him next week - just don't do it.
- Alshon Jeffery - PFF recently rated Alshon as the #3 WR in the league. He really needs to do a better job of staying healthy and on the field because we simply don't have anything around him right now. One catch for a 10 yard score before he left. *~Sigh~*
- Matt Forte & Jeremy Langford - Forte carried only 8 times for 47 yards but added 6 catches for 57 and a walk-in TD. Langford toted the ball 11 times for 46 yards and chipped in 1 catch for 11. We talked about it last week how the split was even and therefore terrible for fantasy owners. While the Forte line was useful, he missed out on that volume that has made him so reliable in the past. I'll play Forte next week but you just can't have the expectations usually associated with his production.
- Zach Miller - Miller caught all 6 targets for 57 yards but failed to find the end zone this week. He's clearly become a target for Cutler but we're still talking small potatoes. Miller has to find the end zone for your loyalty to pay off and TB is middle of the road against tight ends.
Who is playing for fantasy glory next weekend?