One week after losing Carson Wentz, we lost a huge part of NFL fantasy when Antonio Brown tore a calf muscle. In fact, AB is likely in everybody’s Dreamteam side. Or was. He’s got at least 2 weeks on the sideline, and with only 2 weeks left in the season the man who got so many into the Fantasy Final, has left those same guys super short in their quest for ultimate glory. It’s a big blow to us, and I guess to Pittsburgh too. But who cares about them?
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo is now 5-0 in his first 5 career starts. The last QB who was able to win his first 5 starts was Ben Roethlisberger. That’s some pretty good company to be in. He really needs to buy his kicker, Robbie Gould, a big old Christmas present. Gould have kicked the game winner for the 49ers in the last 2 weeks.
What we learnt
Here’s a few things we learnt in week fifteen. Nobody knows what a catch is. Nobody! Todd Gurley is a stud. His 4 TD game against Seattle just proved it. The Jaguars are heading to the playoffs. The last time that happened, Obama hadn’t become President and Michael Jackson was still alive. Philly became the first team in 26 years to block a punt, field goal and PAT in the same game. Aaron Rodgers returned, lost, and is now out again for the year. Dallas, Seattle and Detroit remain on the outskirts of the NFC wildcard race and a loss from any of them will mean elimination. Dallas and Seattle play each other this week.
Each week, I’ll give a brief list of the Fantasy relevant players that appear in the injury reports. You won’t see every player here, just the ones I think may have some Fantasy implications.
|Adrian Peterson||RB||Arizona Cardinals||Neck||Placed on IR|
|Carson Palmer||QB||Arizona Cardinals||Arm||Placed on IR|
|David Johnson||RB||Arizona Cardinals||Wrist||Placed on IR|
|Julio Jones||WR||Atlanta Falcons||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at New Orleans|
|Mohamed Sanu||WR||Atlanta Falcons||Knee||Questionable for Week 16 at New Orleans|
|Tevin Coleman||RB||Atlanta Falcons||Concussion||Questionable for Week 16 at New Orleans|
|Jeremy Maclin||WR||Baltimore Ravens||Knee||Doubtful for Week 16 vs. Indianapolis|
|Kelvin Benjamin||WR||Buffalo Bills||Knee – Meniscus||Questionable for Week 16 at New England|
|Charles Clay||TE||Buffalo Bills||Knee||Questionable for Week 16 at New England|
|LeSean McCoy||RB||Buffalo Bills||Knee||Questionable for Week 16 at New England|
|Devin Funchess||WR||Carolina Panthers||Shoulder||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay|
|Cam Newton||QB||Carolina Panthers||Shoulder||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Tampa Bay|
|Adam Shaheen||TE||Chicago Bears||Chest||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Cleveland|
|Joe Mixon||RB||Cincinnati Bengals||Concussion||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Detroit|
|Jeremy Hill||RB||Cincinnati Bengals||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Tyler Eifert||TE||Cincinnati Bengals||Back||Placed on IR|
|Isaiah Crowell||RB||Cleveland Browns||Shoulder||Questionable for Week 16 at Chicago|
|Duke Johnson||RB||Cleveland Browns||Shoulder||Questionable for Week 16 at Chicago|
|Sean Lee||LB||Dallas Cowboys||Hamstring||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Seattle|
|Emmanuel Sanders||WR||Denver Broncos||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at Washington|
|Clay Matthews||LB||Green Bay Packers||Hamstring||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Minnesota|
|Davante Adams||WR||Green Bay Packers||Concussion||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Minnesota|
|Aaron Rodgers||QB||Green Bay Packers||Shoulder||Placed on IR|
|Ty Montgomery||RB||Green Bay Packers||Wrist||Placed on IR|
|Deshaun Watson||QB||Houston Texans||Knee – ACL||Placed on IR|
|J.J. Watt||DL||Houston Texans||Lower Leg||Placed on IR|
|Andrew Luck||QB||Indianapolis Colts||Shoulder – Labrum||Placed on IR|
|Allen Hurns||WR||Jacksonville Jaguars||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at San Francisco|
|Marqise Lee||WR||Jacksonville Jaguars||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at San Francisco|
|Allen Robinson||WR||Jacksonville Jaguars||Knee – ACL||Placed on IR|
|Travis Kelce||TE||Kansas City Chiefs||Illness||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Miami|
|Hunter Henry||TE||Los Angeles Chargers||Abdomen||Placed on IR|
|Greg Zuerlein||K||Los Angeles Rams||Back||Placed on IR|
|DeVante Parker||WR||Miami Dolphins||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at Kansas City|
|Kyle Rudolph||TE||Minnesota Vikings||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at Green Bay|
|Dalvin Cook||RB||Minnesota Vikings||Knee – ACL||Placed on IR|
|James White||RB||New England Patriots||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Buffalo|
|Rex Burkhead||RB||New England Patriots||Knee||Doubtful for Week 16 vs. Buffalo|
|Chris Hogan||WR||New England Patriots||Shoulder||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Buffalo|
|Julian Edelman||WR||New England Patriots||Knee – ACL||Placed on IR|
|Janoris Jenkins||DB||New York Giants||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Brandon Marshall||WR||New York Giants||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Odell Beckham||WR||New York Giants||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Robby Anderson||WR||New York Jets||Hamstring||Questionable for Week 16 vs. L.A. Chargers|
|Matt Forte||RB||New York Jets||Knee||Questionable for Week 16 vs. L.A. Chargers|
|Amari Cooper||WR||Oakland Raiders||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at Philadelphia|
|Carson Wentz||QB||Philadelphia Eagles||Knee – ACL||Placed on IR|
|Antonio Brown||WR||Pittsburgh Steelers||Lower Leg||Out for Week 16 at Houston|
|Bobby Wagner||LB||Seattle Seahawks||Hamstring||Questionable for Week 16 at Dallas|
|Kam Chancellor||DB||Seattle Seahawks||Neck||Placed on IR|
|Richard Sherman||DB||Seattle Seahawks||Achilles||Placed on IR|
|Marquise Goodwin||WR||San Francisco 49ers||Back||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Jacksonville|
|Pierre Garcon||WR||San Francisco 49ers||Neck||Placed on IR|
|Cameron Brate||TE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Hip||Questionable for Week 16 at Carolina|
|DeSean Jackson||WR||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Ankle||Questionable for Week 16 at Carolina|
|O.J. Howard||TE||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Jamison Crowder||WR||Washington Redskins||Hamstring||Questionable for Week 16 vs. Denver|
|Jordan Reed||TE||Washington Redskins||Hamstring||Placed on IR|
|Terrelle Pryor||WR||Washington Redskins||Ankle||Placed on IR|
|Rob Kelley||RB||Washington Redskins||Ankle||Placed on IR|
If you’re stressing out about your guy being on here as “Questionable”, don’t. Every man and his dog will wear the Questionable tag at some stage this year. If a player misses a training or has a niggle or anything really, they get deemed as “Questionable”. Here’s what the designations mean:
Questionable – 50/50 chance of playing. The most common of all designations. Even more so than healthy on some weeks
Doubtful – 75 percent chance will not play. Be a bit more concerned. Keep a close eye on reports
OUT – Speaks for itself. Definitely will not play this week.
IR – Injured Reserve. Player has basically been shut down for the year due to injury.
PUP – Physically Unable to Perform. We’ve all been here after a big night on the drink, right guys? This one is for long-term injuries sustained in pre-season or early on that aren’t necessarily season-ending (as is my understanding). They’ve got until about week 6 to be upgraded or placed on IR.
Suspended – Also speaks for itself, except this one has a definitive timeline (in most cases).
Start or Sit
You know the drill by now.
Case Keenum, QB, Minnesota – Keenum has emerged from obscurity to be the leader of one of the NFC’s top teams. They’re still gunning for the top seed in the playoffs, and if they get there, the Vikes could be the first team to ever host a Superbowl. I hope they fail. But putting that aside, Keenum faces the team that Newton just had a 4 TD game on. This Packers defence has been giving up almost 24 points a game this year, including 21 to the 0-14 Browns. Keenum and co should shred them.
Also Start: Blake Bortles vs. 49ers, Nick Foles vs. Raiders
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas – If you’ve still got Zeke on your roster you can’t sit him based on the Seattle match-up. The dude has been busy training during his time away and looks like he’s in sensational shape. Seattle isn’t the same team they were to start the year. Todd Gurley tore them apart last week for 180 total yards and 4 TD’s. Zeke is going to be super hungry after missing these last 6 weeks to a suspension that he feels he didn’t deserve. And with Dallas still a slim chance at a post-season appearance, they’ll get him involved in a big way.
Also Start: Christian McCaffery vs. Buccaneers, Jay Ajayi vs. Raiders
Martavius Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh – I mentioned Antonio Brown at the top of this article. Which means that Bryant and Juju Smith-Schuster need to step up and fill the massive void. Bryant saw 6 targets, catching 4 for 59 yards and a TD vs the Pats after AB went out. I really expect Bell to be the go to guy for the Steelers, but Big Ben loves to get his numbers up, which means plenty of opportunities for the outside guys to get in the endzone. Bryant should see at least 10 targets and that makes him a great play.
Also Start: Sterling Shepard vs. Cardinals, Mike Wallace vs. Colts
Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh – If you know your American history and folklore, (and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?) then you know that Jesse James was an infamous outlaw and bank robber. So the irony the this Jesse James was the one getting robbed last week when that catch rule reared its ugly head. And in a rare occurrence, the Patriots were on the positive side of a hugely controversial decision. But saltiness aside, James could be big this week. Like his teammate above, there’s suddenly an extra 12 ish targets per week to go around. And on top of that, Houston have been giving up TD’s to TE’s on the regular.
Also Start: Eric Ebron vs. Bengals, Adam Shaheen vs. Browns
Washington Redskins, DST – The Broncos don’t have a starting QB right at the moment. Trevor Siemian dislocated his shoulder, leaving Osweiler as the man to take over. And we know what he’s like. Plus, they’ve got Paxton Lynch who might get the nod. So far it hasn’t been decided. Washington has a good match-up depending on who starts, and a great match-up if the worse of the 2 options starts, whoever that is.
Also Start: LA Rams vs. Titans, LA Chargers vs. Jets
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco – Garoppolo is the man. He took a team that was in contention for the #1 draft spot and won 3 straight games. He’s thrown for 1,008 yards, 3 TD’s and 2 picks in his 3 San Fran starts. But that came against Houston, Tennessee and Chicago and as I said earlier, Robbie Gould has a lot to do with those wins. Gould has kicked 34 of the sides 51 points the last 2 games. Now Jimmy G gets to face off against the best pass defence in the league in Jacksonville. I’d look elsewhere if you can.
Also Sit: Derek Carr vs. Eagles, Marcus Mariota vs. Rams
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay – Williams had his time in the sun, getting almost 20 carries per game from weeks 10-14. And then Rodgers came back last week and Williams sees just 10 carries and 30 yards. I know ARod is out again, but Green Bay officially have nothing left to play for except pride and Minnesota have a lot to play for. Their run defence ranks second in the NFL. They have given up 7 TD’s to running backs all year, and 3 of those were to Jonathan Stewart in the 1 game. Only 2 guys have rushed for over 65 yards vs the Vikes in their last 10 contests.
Also Sit: Samaje Perine vs. Broncos, Frank Gore vs. Ravens
Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington – Crowder has been a disappointment this whole season but lately he has been seeing more targets, receptions and yardage. Denver though has been one of the best defences of the past few seasons, and a huge reason is Chris Harris Jr. Even though they’ve fallen away slightly this year as a unit, Harris has not. And he should be matching up directly on Crowder. Harris has kept Keenan Allen to 76 yards and a TD in his two meetings this season, and KA has been one of the form WR’s of the year. Crowder has not.
Also Sit: Marquise Goodwin vs. Jacksonville, TY Hilton vs. Ravens
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland – Cook got into score last week, but it got waved away due to offensive interference. His past 3 match-ups have been pretty decent but he’s had only 4 catches and 28 yards in those games. Philly has been a lot better at defending TE’s than those units. Evan Engram’s 87 yards last week was the most against the Eagles from the position for a few games. And Cook won’t be replicating that. He’s been largely uninvolved and with Crabtree and Cooper on the outside, plus Marshawn running (his mouth) from the back, Cook should continue to be bypassed.
Also Sit: Antonio Gates vs. Jets, Charles Clay vs. Patriots
New Orleans Saints, DST – The Saints are pretty much a start each week but the Falcons have some serious fire power, as evidenced by the much needed win over Tampa Bay last week. Ryan didn’t have a huge day, and Julio was downright woeful. But when the passing game isn’t on, the running game can still hurt you. Freeman went Gwen Stefani B-A-N-A-N-A-S on them for 126 yards, 68 receiving yards and a TD. I think it’s going to be a back and forth battle and the Saints will struggle.
Also Sit: San Francisco vs. Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals vs. Giants
So as I mentioned already, AB is done. Gone. Finished. He needs to be replaced and the next tier of WR ranks is a tad thinner than when I was trying to replace Wentz last week.
The obvious choice is DeAndre Hopkins. But everyone should have him already.
The next rung is Julio, AJ, KA etc. These dudes can go HUGE, but are also fairly inconsistent so far this year.
Then you’ve got your others. The guys who have had good seasons but are not at the same level as the ones already mentioned. It’s a good chance that you’ll be bringing in one of these guys. I will be.
So my favourite options are (in no particular order):
Michael Thomas – $10.3M. Next up – Atlanta, Tampa Bay
Tyreek Hill – $11.1M. Next up – Miami, Denver
Adam Thielen – $9.8M. Next up – Green Bay, Chicago
Josh Gordon – $7.5M. Next up – Chicago, Pittsburgh
In a side note, Zeke is back for Dallas. You can bet he’ll be heavily involved in the offense as the Cowboys continue to push for that last wildcard spot. He’s super expensive at $16.9M but might just be what you need to steal a league championship.
Vice-Captain – There’s no Friday game this week but you get 2 games on Sunday to make up for it. Unfortunately, from our perspective, the first game is Colts vs Ravens. I can’t see who you would have in this game. The second game is Vikings vs Packers. It looked a far more promising match-up a week ago but now with ARod back out, there’s not much to work with here again. If you’ve got Thielen I’d run with him.
Bet of the Week
I went a superb 0 for 3 last weekend. So I’m due for a good win.
Just 2 weeks ago, the Saints and Falcons played in Atlanta and the 2 high powered offenses spluttered out with a score of 20-17. The over/under game score for this week’s rematch is at 52.5 points. But despite the 37 point score line in week 14, these sides are routinely putting up 30 point games. I’m on the over here.
I don’t know what Zeke is paying to get on the score board this week, or to top 100 rushing yards, but after what Gurley just did to Seattle (152 yards and 3 TD’s rushing) I’m going to put a bit on those plays.
Moneyball tips of the week
Gronk DESTROYED the Steelers a week ago. Buffalo are worse, so I can see him having just as good a day here, or at least getting in the endzone. He’s $8,500 and the most expensive TE, but he’s also the very best.
Speaking of Pittsburgh, with AB out it creates a lot of opportunities for the next man up. Juju has been great in his rookie year. He easily has the best TD celebrations, often poking fun at other NFL moments (like the hit on Burfict that got him suspended). He’s $7,100 and should have a big day vs a shotty Houston D.
It’s the second last week of the year, but the best week of the year. Have a fantastic day and week. I hope that all your wishes come true. Merry Christmas to you all.
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